Okanagan cookbook goddess Jennifer Schell is back.
Her fourth ode to local food and wine is called the B.C. Wine Lover’s Cookbook (Appetite by Random House, $35).
The 280-page, full-colour and glossy tome is much more than a collection of recipes.
Schell visited wineries in the Okanagan, Similkameen, Fraser Valley, Vancouver Island, Gulf Islands, Lillooet, Thompson, Shuswap and Kootenays. She came away with profiles of wineries and favourite family recipes of winery owners and winemakers with suggested wine pairings.
For instance, the pages on Silkscarf Winery in Summerland features a story about owner Roie Manoff, a former Israeli Air Force fighter pilot turned winemaker.
The name Silkscarf is a nod to the first Israeli fighter pilots, who flew in open-air cockpits, their silk scarves snapping in the wind.
Roie’s wife, Ruth, helped develop the recipe for upside-down grape-leaf rice that accompanies the story.
Silkscarf’s 2019 Viognier ($23), a creamy expression of apricot and grapefruit, is the recommended as the ideal match to nutty-and-fig-flavoured rice dish.
Schell herself is a winery co-owner with Schell wines in East Kelowna with her brothers Jonathan and Jamie.
Her winery is profiled as a garagiste, a small-batch winery making less than 2,000 cases of wine a year. Her family’s recipe for a good-old crab boil is included with the pairing of pear-and-vanilla Schell Wren Chardonnay.
“In this cookbook, I wanted to showcase the beautiful cultures and nationalities that make up the (B.C. winemaking)
community... and the perfect wine to pair with ... their favourite recipes,” said Schell.
“My dream is many of these dishes will become part of your own family’s traditions.”
Besides writing the book and curating the recipes, Schell is also responsible for most of the stunning photography.
Over the past few years, Schell has also written the award-winning The Butcher, the Baker, the Wine and Cheese Maker series of cookbooks.
Her books are available at local bookstores and Amazon.ca.
Canada Day wines
It’s the nation’s birthday Wednesday, the perfect time to show your patriotism by drinking Okanagan wine.
Sipping on any local red or white wine is a no-brainer to mirror the red and white on the maple leaf Canadian flag.
But don’t stop there. Go pink with a pale or robust Rose.
And bubbles are always apropos when celebrating something, so make sparkling wine your Canada Day go-to.
Intrigue Wines in Lake Country has the perfect casual bubbly with Social White Frizzante 2019 ($20), a peachy and moussey sparkler that can be used for cheers at virtually any Canada Day event from picnic, patio or boat ride to barbecued salmon dinner.
Oliver Twist in Oliver has a new-release lineup of red, white and rose to please any Canada Day palate.
The 2019 Pink Cadillac Nostalgia Series Rose ($20) features a label with a 1950s pin-up girl posing, naturally, on an elaborately tail-finned pink Cadillac.
The label is a nod to Oliver Twist having a 100% female team from all staff and management to winemaker and owner Gina Fernandes Harfman.
The 2019 Kerner ($21) is billed as sunshine in a glass for its bright, off-dry aromatics.
The 2019 Viognier ($22) is lush and exotic with peach-pineapple-and-blood-orange profile.
If you need a big red to go with your Canada Day barbecued steak or burger, the 2017 Red Meritiage ($37) fits the bill with a rich-and-sensuous profile of blackberry, raspberry jam and dark chocolate.
Nota Bene turns 20
Twenty years ago, a new winery on Oliver’s Black Sage Bench released a Bordeaux-style red blend called Nota Bene.
It was a hit, garnered a cult following and proved an Okanagan red could fetch $60.
Extra cachet was added by Vancouver-based actor Jason Priestly of Beverly Hills 90210 fame, who was an early investor and brand ambassador.
The annual parties to release the new vintage of Nota Bene became legendary with rock band performances and synchronized swimmers in the pool.
The 20th anniversary bash was also planned to be a blowout, until the COVID-19 pandemic came along.
Now Black Hills is throwing a virtual party on July 17 from 6-7:30 p.m., starting with a follow-along tasting with winemaker Ross Wise, music by Steven Page, formerly of the Barenaked Ladies, and appearances by Priestly and Olympic gold medallist ski crosser Kelsey Serwa.
Admission is the purchase of 12 bottles of Nota Bene from the Black Hills online store.
By the way, Nota Bene translated from Latin is ‘take notice.’
And wine lovers have been taking notice of this powerful and elegant wine with a blackberry-and-mocha profile for two decades.
Steve MacNaull is an Okanagan wine lover. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org