While spending a few days in Victoria last week, I attended The Fairmont Empress wine tasting and food pairing event on The Veranda of the hotel. The evening was a collaboration between the iconic hotel and Road 13, a vineyard and winery in Oliver, British Columbia.
What a treat to sit with Road 13 owners Mick and Pam Luckhurst, who purchased Golden Mile Cellars in 2003, renaming it Road 13. Their winemaker, Jean-Martin (J-M) Bouchard, was also at the foodie affair. Originally from Sherbrooke, Quebec, Bouchard studied wine science at Charles Stuart University in Australia and worked at a number of Australian wineries, including Penfolds. Eventually, he ended up back in Canada, working at Sumac Ridge Estate Winery in Summerland, BC and Hidden Bench Vineyards & Winery in Niagara, Ontario. Bouchard returned to the Okanagan Valley, where he took on the position of winemaker at Road 13 Vineyards.
The event at The Fairmont Empress was titled Sometimes, It's All About The Dirt. Bouchard gave an explanation, saying "We try to keep what was in the vineyards in the wine." Emphasizing the importance of soil, which gives personality to the wine, Bouchard said It's All About the Dirt is a recognition of the importance of terroir and soil "without being too wine-geeky about it!"
The evening's tasting menu, with five courses prepared by Executive Sous Chef Ken Nakano of The Fairmont Empress, was paired with Road 13 wines:
Viognier Riesling Sauvignon Blanc
Grilled King Tiger Prawns / Pineapple Curry Vinaigrette
Honest John's Rose'
Galloping Goose Chorizo Sausage / Patatas Bravas
Honey Roasted Organic Chicken Breast/ Pear and BOursin heese Risotto
Duck Confit and Morel Mushroom Ravioli / White Truffle and Spinach Pesto
Smoked Metchosin Lamb Loin / Roasted Ratatouille
Pictured from top to bottom:
The Fairmont Empress overlooks Victoria's Inner Harbour
Wine tasting glasses at the ready on The Veranda
Jean-Martin Bouchard and Mick Luckhurst of Road 13
Red on red
All photos by Sue Frause.