We've set the alarm, this time. Yes, it's a day off, but we've got plans!
After the obligatory coffee and chat, we all get dressed and load into Mike & Ruth's car for a little sightseeing. We're driving further south in the Okanagan, along the lake (no sign of Ogopogo). First we duck into a little village called Peachland, right on the water (which is quite choppy today), with a nice beach and little shops along the beachfront road. Apparently it's packed in summertime, although still seems to be a happening place in September, too!
Then it's further down the lake, and into some hillier territory, with many more green patches -- those would be the vineyards!
We arrive in Summerland and drive among a number of vineyards before reaching our destination -- the Dirty Laundry Vineyard.
Whoever has set up the marketing for this vineyard would be a hoot to have at parties.
As we learn, the Dirty Laundry Vineyard is named after an old Summerland place nicknamed... you guessed it, The Dirty Laundry. You see, back when they were building the railway and having a goldrush in these parts, there were many Chinese workers brought in to the area. It wasn't the safest job in the universe, so one of the guys looked for an alternate way to make a living. He decided to set up a laundry service. Realizing that he had many clients with many needs other than clean shirts, he extended the services provided, so long as you knew the password (woo woo) to get upstairs. As the townspeople started to notice that the men were leaving with clean shirts and giant smiles on their faces, the laundromat became known as The Dirty Laundry.
And so the logo of Dirty Laundry Vineyards is an old iron, representing the laundry, and the steam rising, representing what went on upstairs. If you stand back to look at the steam, you will also find seven naked ladies in various poses.
As you walk in the main gate, you will first see the old laundry machines, and then you'll notice the various frilly undergarments strewn along the path, on light fixtures, etc. (OK, Don might have noticed the frilly undergarments first...)
At this point, of course, I'm thinking "brilliant marketing ploy -- the wine must not be that good." I am proven wrong when we get to the tasting bar.
Our first taster is of their 2010 Pinot Gris -- a wine so delicious, even Don (who's not usually a white wine kind of guy) is gaga over it. "Fresh and breezy, this lady is. Let her caress your senses with fresh nectarines and a lively citrus finish." OK, she can caress me any day!
Next up is their 2010 "Hush": "A complicated, evasive woman, this one will keep you 'blushing'! Consisting of 35% Pinot Noir, 29% Merlot, 22% Cab Franc, 5% Riesling and hush hush. This wine sings of black currant and raspberries with hints of passion fruit." Again, neither of us is particularly keen on rose, but we're each willing to make an exception for Ms. Hush.
And then, the 2010 Merlot.
Oh... my... god... !!!
Sadly, they've limited purchases to one bottle per customer, and we can see why. If we'd had room in the car, we'd have taken ten cases of this! "Dark, mysterious and alluring this woman is. She will remind you of dark cherry, wild berries and chocolate." And she will make you feel tingly in many places -- holy geez, this was a good wine. I could have just sat with a round of smoked gouda and a bottle of this Merlot and been a happy girl every day of the rest of my life. Oh yes, with Don beside me... ;-)
Finally, the piece-de-resistance, their 2008 Bordello -- Ruth and Mike were very excited, as they've never offered this at tastings they've attended before. It's the vineyard's top-of-the-line wine, almost double the price of the Merlot. We weren't sure anything could top the Merlot, but... once again, we were wrong. "An exotic swirl of Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot. This gal is silky, velvety, full bodied and rather provocative. She will flirt with you, and make you crave another encounter." Why yes, she did! Our bartender let us enjoy the first sip as-is, then gave each of us a piece of chocolate and asked us to try it again after. Sweet lord of all that is beautiful and orgasmic... the already-incredible wine smoothed out into velvety goodness that made you want to weep.
We are going to start a petition to get the LCBO to bring this stuff in to Orillia!!!
Now that our breakfast is complete, we decide it's time for lunch. Another beautiful piece of marketing -- we grab a picnic basket, fill it with scrumptious goodies (we pick baguette, garlic Boursin and smoked salmon), choose a bottle of wine which they uncork for you, and you bring your picnic out onto the patio, overlooking the vineyard and the valley below. Summerland even has a steam train that passes along below, tooting a joyful whistle as it picks up tourists and heads along its route. Decadence!
As we're partway through our picnic, the winery's owner comes out to present us with dessert -- a cone of freshly-picked green grapes that spurt juicy sweet tartness into our mouths with every tiny perfect bite.
I might have to move here. Not to Summerland, but to the winery's patio. I could even donate some frilly undergarments to the cause...
We linger a while, get the owner to take our photo, and then head back inside to go shopping. We grab two bottles of the Bordello -- one for our last dinner with Ruth & Mike, and one for Don's birthday -- one of the Merlot ('cause that's all we're allowed), two Cabernet Merlot (which we haven't tried yet, but how bad could it be?) and a Pinot Gris. Life is good. :-)
Sigh... we bid adieu to the Dirty Laundry, and Mike, who's fortunately been very self-controlled and lunch, drives us back up the highway to Kelowna. Don laughs that this is the one and only time he's ever known me to sleep in the car. I restrain myself from mentioning that Mike lacks the habit of getting distracted by "shiny things" and making last-minute correctional swerves back into the proper lane. We'll see if Don finally starts reading our blog... ;-)
A couple of errands, and we head back to the house and throw in some laundry. Mike wants a lesson in Travis-picking, and I'm determined to get some work (and blogging) done. I realize that I've been staring at the blank screen for a very long time, and may have started drooling... I head downstairs and face-plant on the bed, listening to Mike and Don Travis-picking "Louise".
I regain consciousness about two hours later. Just in time for more laundry and dinner. :-)
It's another beautiful feast -- barbecued steaks, salmon for me, corn, grilled veggies, potatoes, bread... and Bordello. Ruth notes we're all quieter than we've been... guess we've worn ourselves out a bit. Dessert is nanaimo bars, dark chocolate and Merlot. Mmm-mmm. We're all zonked, and it's only 10:30! Oh well, probably a good thing -- we have to drive to Castlegar the next morning for our house concert at Tim and Roberta's, Mike has to meet a prospective client in the morning, and Ruth has an appointment as well. The (extended) weekend is over, time to go back to the real world. Sigh...
Musically & Marinatedly,