Vanessa – a Wine Dinner like no other

Expectations were high as the guests started arriving for the Vanessa Vineyard Wine Dinner at Glowbal Telus Garden on Tuesday, March 26 for the pre dinner canapé reception that started at 6:30 pm with a welcome glass of Italian prosecco from the region of Prosecco di Treviso by winery Itinera paired with tasty bites of seared ahi tuna and beef carpaccio.

There was lots of buzz about the wine pairings we were all anticipating. I for one was curious to test the mettle of the Glowbal chefs that were tasked with creating dishes worthy of the wines we were about to taste. Every guest attending was already a Vanessa fan so their expectations were decidedly high as we were introduced to the wines of each course by Master Winemaker Howard Soon.

If you have never attended a wine dinner then you should definitely do so. Great wines, good company, fine food and the opportunity to meet the winery owner(s) and the winemaker equal excellent entertainment value. This Vanessa Vineyard wine dinner hosted by Glowbal was one of the best wine dinners I have ever attended. The dishes were marvellous and the pairings absolutely perfect. I enjoyed the company of fellow Vanessa Vineyard wine lovers and at the same time I learned more about the wines I enjoy. Having Master Winemaker Howard Soon introduce each wine was a first-rate experience.

Vanessa Vineyard Winemakers Dinner @ Glowbal by Glowbal Group

For our first of five courses we began with a Creamed Goat Cheese & Potato Spiral with a marinated vegetable salad, smoked caramelized onion mushroom soil, watercress panacotta, and an apple curry vinaigrette.

Paired with Vanessa Vineyard 2018 Rosé:

Rosé 2018

Even before you taste the Vanessa Vineyard 2018 Rosé you are intrigued by the delicate colour, beckoning you to sip and savour it’s fruity flavour with a delightfully acidic finish. The Vanessa Rosé is quite outstanding and produced in limited quantities. For those wine lovers with discriminating taste you are advised to order this wine sooner than later. Goat cheese is not the easiest to pair and the Vanessa Vineyard Rosé was a standout.

Our second course was a chilled Lobster Terrine with avocado pudding, preserved meyer lemon, and a cucumber gelée lobster tuile.

Paired with Vanessa Vineyard 2018 Viognier 

Vanessa Vineyard 2018 Viognier

The Vanessa Vineyard 2018 Viognier is everything I look for in a Viognier, or should I say, rather it doesn’t have  the traits of a Viognier which I avoid. No heavy cloying perfumey, after shave scents or taste instead a lighter much more palatable version that many viogniers never achieve. Admittedly, not my most favourite of varietals I am never disappointed by this crisp, blissful entry. What could be a better pairing than lobster and a cool Viognier?

The third course of Braised Wagyu Beef Cheek  with wild mushroom fricassee, herb agnolotti, roasted cauliflower, with a carrot raisin sauce was superb. I found this course to be a brave choice with the Braised Beef Cheek when perhaps most would pair this third offering with a more traditional tenderloin.

Paired with Vanessa Vineyard 2014 Meritage

Vanessa Vineyard 2014 Meritage

The Vanessa Vineyard 2014 Meritage is one fine wine. Made with grapes from two Bordeaux clones and one Pyrénées-Atlantiques clone the Meritage is rich, soft and still complex enough to be an all around choice for the pairing with the flavourful Wagyu Beef. And don’t forget even though the grapes have their roots in France – do not pronounce it with an accent, it is Meritage like heritage. I know this because Master Winemaker Howard Soon told us so!

The fourth course was something very special, a Roasted Venison Loin with caillettes, salsify, honeycrisp celery, valrhona cocoa espuma, with a juniper berries jus.

Paired with Vanessa Vineyard 2015 Cabernet Sauvignon

The Vanessa Vineyard 2015 Cabernet Sauvignon was made to pair with the tender texture and exquisite flavour of the lean and buttery Venison Loin. Master Winemaker Howard Soon explained that the unmatched quality of the 2015 Cabernet Sauvignon was the result of much higher than normal temperatures and a longer than average growing season. Again, if you want to enjoy this benchmark Cab Sauv please purchase this without delay.

Yes, the Dessert course, a Chocolate Ganache bittersweet chocolate custard, cocoa crumbs, licorice syrup lime purée. This dessert paired with the Vanessa Vineyard 2014 Syrah was almost too striking to disturb but somehow I managed to make a big dent and even absconed with my companions butterfly. Yes it was that yummy. This chocolate dessert was so appealing you didn’t have to be a chocolate lover to enjoy.

Paired with the Vanessa Vineyard 2014 Syrah

Syrah in general, and in particular the Vanessa Vineyard 2014 Syrah, is really the go-to
standard of red wines. When in doubt bring out the Syrah, you really can’t go wrong with this juicy, fruity, smooth, big flavour red wine.

One of the best ways to enjoy the wines of Vanessa Vineyard is to become a member of their wine club. Always be in the know about new releases, special events, and exclusive offers. Vanessa Vineyards – Memberhsip has its Privileges.

About Vanessa Vineyard

When one of the owners first visited the property, he noticed the pasture was covered in butterflies and from this he took the Greek word for butterfly, Vanessa, as our vineyard name. On the advice of respected vineyard developers Robert Goltz and Richard Cleave, a decision was made to fully commit to transforming the site into a vineyard dedicated exclusively to red wine grapes due to the Similkameen Valley’s favourable climate and the site’s ideal growing conditions. A team of advisors assisted in choosing the best clones and rootstock for our site based on its microclimate and terroir.

Due to the quantity of rocks that were on the site, the vineyard development was initially challenging. Although at first viewed as burdensome, the rocks became a key asset for the soils. The rocks act to stress the vines while allowing the day heat to be harnessed and imparted throughout the cooler nights. Additionally, the gentle sloping hillside and southwest exposure of the site are optimal for the vines as they directly benefit from the afternoon sun, which contributes to the lengthening of the growing season and the production of intensely ripe fruit. With these factors the fruit is able to capture the minerality of the soils on which it grows that are unique to the land, and allows Vanessa Vineyard to produce fruit of the highest quality, with flavours and minerality that are distinctive.

Our vision is to produce only the highest quality grapes that reflect the terroir on which they grow and, in time, to become one of the best red sites in Canada. For the first five years we were exclusively grape growers, selling our high quality fruit to a select few wineries in British Columbia. In 2012, the decision was made to begin producing small quantities of premium wine. We hope that by using only 100% estate-grown fruit in the making of our wines that we can properly represent the Similkameen Valley and strengthen its reputation as what EnRoute Magazine calls one of the “world’s five best wine regions you’ve never heard of “.

We are committed to achieving uncompromising quality and production efficiency and, most importantly, to respecting the land on which we operate. We aim to bring innovation to the Similkameen Valley, and build a strong reputation in the wine industry through our standard of quality and environmental consciousness.

Howard Soon, Master Winemaker

A living legend, for over three decades Howard Soon has been on the leading edge of winemaking innovation. Originally a brewmaster, a taste for more creativity saw him join the fledgling BC wine industry in 1980. Shortly thereafter, Howard began establishing milestones in BC wine, becoming the first to release a series of single vineyard designated wines, amongst innumerable other benchmarks. His collaborative relationships with growers led him to Vanessa Vineyard in 2006, where working with our viticulture team, he oversaw the planting of our vineyard. He subsequently purchased the vast majority of our grapes for his highly-acclaimed Sandhill Vanessa Vineyard wines. In 2017 Howard “retired” to “go back to the workbench” as he coins it, focusing on truly small lot winemaking as Master Winemaker for Vanessa Vineyard.

Explore Vanessa Vineyard

Vanessa Vineyard is now included with your BC Wine Country Explorer’s Pass – on sale now! #SwirlSipExplore  Explorer’s Pass Program available at

About Glowbal Restaurant Group

Glowbal Restaurant Group is one of Western Canada’s fastest growing restaurant groups and has become one of the most successful restaurant companies in Vancouver. The group of eight brands include Glowbal, Coast, Italian Kitche, Trattoria (Kitsilano, Park Royal and Burnaby), Black + Blue, The Roof, The Fish Shack and Nosh (Burnaby and TELUS Garden). Immersing guests in an experience that is fresh and vibrant, with flawless service, impressive wine and cocktail lists, and some of the most inventive, celebrated cuisine in the Pacific Northwest, it’s no twonder that Glowbal restaurants are exactly where everyone wants to be.

I received dinner, including taxes and gratuity, for myself and my companion at no charge to facilitate this review. All opinions are my own. Images MyVanCity. Featured image courtesy of Vanessa Vineyard.

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