Not unlike their namesake, Red Rooster Winery has earned the right to strut with pride. This renowned institution of the Naramata Bench has played a significant role in the shaping of the Okanagan Valley’s distinctive wine making style, which has increasingly become recognized around the world. Winemaker Karen Gillis sources her grapes from the finest growing regions of the valley; be it the estate’s own vineyards in Naramata, as with the Malbec, or from the southern benches of Osoyoos, as with the Syrah. In the cellar Karen uses both the more time-tested and orthodox methods of the old world with some less orthodox methods, such as concrete eggs, wooden vats, and a computerized system that grants the cellar hands the freedom to focus on the finer points of the cellaring process. This attention to quality allows the cellar to produce some of the best examples of this region’s unique take on its many varietals.
But while winemaker Karen has helped to further distinguish Okanagan wine, chef Darin Paterson has matched the viticultural styles of our valley with distinctive culinary styles. These distinctive stylings can be as simple as sourcing local fruits or preserves, or they can take on creative twists such as smoking meat with old wine barrels. With ten years of experience cooking in the Middle East and nine years in Europe, Chef Darin has literally brought a world of experience and flavours to pair with these celebrated wines, and places an emphasis on locality with a specific focus on the farm-to-table tradition so integral to the Okanagan’s culinary past. His work is showcased in the Pecking Room Restaurant, open from noon until 5pm every day until September.
But this careful nurturing of a uniquely Okanagan viticultural and culinary tradition is far from the only things strutting about the winery this summer. In what was either a stroke of coincidence, or perhaps more than-likely a stroke of fate, the 20 year anniversary of Red Rooster Winery, which will be celebrated this summer with a public party catered by local food trucks and capped with fireworks (check the website for dates) just so happens to coincide with the Year of the Rooster on the Chinese Zodiac. And in celebration of such a momentous anniversary Red Rooster has shaken up a few feathers at the henhouse and released a new line of labels to adorn two of their most popular lines.
Those familiar with this beloved winery may already have noticed the new, highly detailed images of roosters on embossed labels, topped with a cherry red cap strutting a stylized rooster’s talon. The new flock further differentiates the wine with a distinctive breed for each varietal, and is distinguished more with golden foil on the Rare Bird Series, a line of wine available only at the winery and through the wine club. They can be sampled in the private tasting room with cheeses from neighbouring Upper Bench Creamery.
Those born in the Year of the Rooster are said to be determined, brave, perseverant, and hard-working. It is quite evident that these characteristics don’t only apply to people, but to wineries as well. Anyone who loves Okanagan wine – from connoisseurs to enthusiasts, would be remised to not stop by and visit the winery whose hard work has helped to place our wonderful Valley on the map.
2016 Riesling $15.99
A prominent burst of citrus coupled with a light touch of lemon catches the palate by surprise as it follows the soft minerality on the nose. This Riesling is pleasantly distinguishable from many variations of this popular varietal as it is void of the all too common petrol-like notes of some Rieslings, instead embracing more welcoming notes of citrus and a light acidity. Paired best on hot summer days with a Syrah Braised Chicken Tagine Pizza from the Pecking Room at a table with a view of Okanagan Lake Syrah Braised Chicken Tagine Pizza: A hearty 12-inch pizza made from fresh, hand-kneaded dough topped with locally sourced dried fruits, a zesty sesame-lemon drizzle, rich hung yogurt, and a touch of house preserved citrus peel. This pizza is a simple yet simultaneously complex blend of sharp, zesty notes balanced with a familiar dairy-based body.
2016 Pinot Blanc $16.00
A fun, bright and lively Rooster with aromas of ripe apple, pear, lemon and white peach. This light to medium-bodied refreshing white wine has fruit-forward flavours of citrus (lemon and pink grapefruit), green apple and pineapple. Crisp clean notes of white currant and lemon linger on the finish. Drink while young and fresh.
2016 Reserve Pinot Gris $25.00
This reserve bottling of Pinot Gris really ‘struts its stuff’ with a classic aroma of peach, melon, floral, apple, pear and a hint of wet stone. This is a medium-bodied, slightly rich wine with a round mouth-feel and just enough acidity to refresh, along with flavours of melon and peach. Spicy melon flavours linger on the almost creamy finish. Drink while young and fresh.
2016 Reserve Rosé $25.00
Pretty in Pink’ colour with a summer fresh aroma of strawberry, watermelon, crab apple, red currant, cherry and rose petal. Refreshing red fruits and red berry tea notes linger on the finish of this extra-dry rosé.