Nestled in the heart of Yoho National Park, the remoteness of Lake O’Hara Lodge doesn’t mean one foregoes a cold beer or a glass of wine at the end of the day. For over 15 years we have helped open peoples eyes and pallets to the wines of British Columbia. If you have taken a journey through our Journal pages from the past you have followed some of our discussion on the evolution and growth of the wine industry in BC over that period of time.  As the Grape Growers and Winemakers have experimented, tested and tasted their way through the vineyards the wines they produce continue to improve and can now hold their own on the world stage. Sure some are not great and you may not be partial to some of the styles however no wine area in the world produces universally appealing and great wines. You can find plonk in France, Italy, Australia, California and here at home in Canada. Our goal is to find the great value wines of the Okanagan and Similkameen Valleys. To that end I think we have succeeded!

New Wineries on the Map

Through some strenuous wine tasting events we have found a couple of new wineries which are worth watching out for. Lock & Worth and Daydreamer are two Naramata Bench based wineries who produce fabulous wines. Lock & Worth’s Sauvignon Blanc-Semillion 2015 is one of the best I have had recently and their Cabernet Franc; Square One 2014 have our guests asking where they can purchase the wine once they leave the lodge.  Daydreamer Wines is a result of the efforts of the Husband and Wife team of Marcus and Rachel Ansems. We have been particularly fond of the Daydreamer 2015 Pinot Gris, 2014 Amelia and the 2014 Marcus Ansems Chardonnay. These wines are well worth checking out!

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The Other Part of the Wine List

The lodge has as its central focus the Wines of the Okanagan however to expand beyond the wine we support a relatively local Brewery, Mt Begbie out of Revelstoke and as a Scotch aficionado our list wouldn’t be complete with out the “Water of Life”, all but one of which comes from the homeland of Scotland; Auchentoshan Three Wood, Gledronach 12 Yr old, Bruichladdich The Laddie and a 12 Yr old Bowmore all find a place on the list as does Nikka Coffey Malt Whisky from Japan. The Japanese produce some amazing whisky and this one is no exception. Take note that its name refers to the still and not the drink; Coffee.

 PISCO

After all that preamble finally a word about Pisco. We use Pisco in our Famous Pisco Sour which is the only mixed drink we offer and it holds a special place for me as I enjoyed numerous ones on my travels through South America. We feel we have perfected the recipe and as one guest said It is the best Pisco Sour North of Santiago” – Parker Mason.

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Well what is Pisco? It is basically a distilled grape spirit which was originally developed by 16th century Spanish settlers in South America. There is much debate between Chile and Peru with regards to Pisco and its origins. Peru references the fact that there is a town, with origins dating back to 1574, named Pisco. The area around the town was rich in and abundant in grapes and thus the production of wine. Naturally Pisco could easily have been a by-product of all this grape production. Pisco from Peru is a distillate of Young wine from any of the 8 approved varietals. The eight varietals are made up of three Aromatic Varietals; Itlai, Albilla, Moscatel and Torontel. While the Non-Aromatic varietals are: Quebranta, Negra Criolla,  Mollar and Uvina. I prefer the Pisco from the Non-Aromatic varietals and exclusively use Pisco Capel here at the lodge. In Chile Pisco is a distillate of fully fermented wine and they use different grape varietals for their pisco, limited to three. The Chilean pisco is aged and thus takes on characteristics of the Oak barrels used in the aging process.

The Pisco Sour!

The Pisco Sour appears to have its origins in the early years of the 20th Century. A cookbook Called Nuevo Manual de Cocina a la Criolla has an entry for a”Cocktail” which has all the ingredients for a Pisco Sour. However, much of the credit for popularizing the Pisco Sour goes to Victor Morris, a bar keep in Lima, who was shaking up this cocktail in the 1920’s.  So what is this classic Peruvian Cocktail comprised of? Pisco, sugar, lemon or lime juice and some egg white and all topped with a drop of Angostura bitters. I won’t give out my recipe you have to come and experience it yourself. Just ask for “Bruce’s famous”.

Cheers !