October Wine: Joie’s Noble Blend

A stately blend of whites, a return to classic copper and getting back into the game.

Credit: Adam Blasberg

A stately blend of whites

Contemplating JoieFarm’s leading wine, the 2008 vintage of A Noble Blend, you can’t help wondering whether it was wise for a seven-year-old operation to be claiming nobility – aristocratic status. Certainly Joie’s magnum bottle looks “noble,” at least by the definitions offered in my Oxford English Dictionary. Unusually narrow and almost two feet tall, it is “imposing” and “splendid.” Maybe even “stately.” The test, however, is whether the wine inside the bottle is “of excellent character.”

As it happens, no question. Joie’s Noble Blend is both a bad pun and a good idea. JoieFarm’s founders are the chef, author and sommelier Heidi Noble and her sommelier partner Michael Dinn (a name some of you may recognize from his days at CinCin). In addition to creating a burgeoning winery and vineyard on two hectares on the Okanagan’s Naramata Bench, Noble and Dinn have crafted a fine aromatic white in the tradition of an Edelzwicker or a Gentil, the mysterious blends that wineries in Alsace produce without ever acknowledging the content. (More to the punning point, the literal translation of Edelzwicker is “a noble blend.”)

This tribute wine is a great success, leveraging the fabulous white varietals that have always grown best in the Okanagan’s relatively short season. There is Gewürztraminer, Kerner, Pinot Blanc, Pinot Auxerrois, Pinot Gris and Oraniensteiner (a Riesling-Sylvaner cross). The resulting wine is off-dry with hints of peach pit and lime, a light white that works wonderfully with spicy pork dishes or even Indian cuisine. (The latter detail is interesting because JoieFarm’s single red wine is available only at Vij’s Restaurant in South Granville.) Joie is available at Marquis Wine Cellars in Vancouver (marquis-wines.com) for $27.90 or $59.80 for the magnum.

Classic Copper

Classic Copper

Heating and cooling quickly,  copper is the most responsive material used in cookware today, and while never out of style, it has experienced a resurgence of late. Mauviel, producers of copper cookware since 1830, carries an extensive line of copper items including its M’Heritage Copper Stainless Steel 2mm Roaster. The rectangular pan’s copper exterior – with stainless steel handles and non-drip edge – is bonded to a stainless steel interior, ensuring it’s safe to use with all types of food and utensils. A bonus: it looks as good on the tabletop as it does in the oven. 34 by 25 centimetres, $530; 40 by 30, $690, available at Cookworks, cookworks.ca

Shangri LaGame On

Chestnuts, chanterelles and game meats heat up the kitchen this month at Shangri-La’s Market restaurant. “In this year that has been filled with fiscal and other challenges, our fall menus reflect home-style cooking, full flavours and old-fashioned comfort food,” says executive chef David Foot. We’re excited to try the 100 Mile House venison Poire au Lard. Emphasizing the rich flavours of autumn, the dish has venison medallions garnished with pomegranate seeds and served alongside dried pears roasted over double-smoked bacon julienne with a dash of Thai chili for piquancy. Yum. $29 at Market by Jean-­Georges, shangri-la.com