Bistro28 & Fairview Cellars Winemaker’s Dinner

November 25, Victoria, BC. It takes both a great chef and a great winemaker to put on a successful winemaker’s dinner. Not only does the menu need to be interesting and delicious, it also needs to leave a space for the wine to pair with the food. Then, the wine needs to step up and add new elements to make the pairing more than its separate parts.

Last night’s Fairview Cellars dinner at Bistro28 in Victoria succeeded on a number of levels. Chef/owner Sam Chalmers’ dishes were bold, thoughtful, and even a little quirky at times. Which seemed to be a good match with winemaker Bill Eggert’s part new-world, part European-classic style. Fairview Cellars’ stylish wines acted as a firm underpinning to Chalmers’ inventive approach to cooking.

Take the first course. Sautéed local spot prawns were mixed with chorizo sausage meat and then slathered on a toasted baguette slice—earthy, savoury, a little spicy and very satisfying. The matched wine was a racy Sauvignon Blanc 2009 (with 5% sémillon) (from the Golden Mile region just North of Osoyoos) that brought a touch of natural acidity to the palate and helped refresh between bites. Well done.

The second course featured a luxurious salmon gravlax paired with Crooked Post Pinot Noir 2008 (a new Fairview Cellars’ offering named for the challenge of digging post holes around the boulders in the vineyard). Possibly one of the lightest coloured pinots in BC (and criticized for this by a couple of prominent mainland wine writers), I appreciated the aromatics in this young wine and the low alcohol content (12.5%). New world pinots are often big and boozy and so miss the prize of delicacy.

Fairview Cellars is known for its cabs and course three was easily the highlight of the night. Chalmers’ Blue Foot chicken breast served with chicken confit ragout, a brunois of yam and fried lardon went up against Eggert’s Cabernet Franc 2008. The chicken (and the lardon) had been sourced from Two Rivers Specialty Meats. and was served on the slight-side of done, giving the flesh a tenderness rarely achieved with chicken and a flavour that one guest referred to as almost-duck-like. Fairview Cellars’ Cab Franc is a leader among BC Francs and shows what can be done when this grape is left to hang to ripeness, as it does in the Okanagan’s Golden Mile Bench. These conditions are rarely available in France and, in time, BC might well become a world leader in growing Cabernet Franc.

Course four was a surprise. The wine, a 2008 Bucket of Blood Syrah called for something bold—and again Chalmers delivered. Forgoing the standard Big Meat match with Syrah, we were instead served turnips! This unusual dish combined thin slices of roasted turnip with sautéed greens, toasted hazelnuts and an olive-citrus vinaigrette. The desired, meaty flavour was neatly replicated by this inventive combo. Vegetarian lurkers take note.

Course five paired Eggert’s well-respected, flagship Cabernet Sauvignon Premium Series 2007 with Metchosin lamb sirloin, sunchoke purée and pea-shoot salad—a classic pairing that couldn’t fail to work—making a splendid ending to a fine dinner.

A quick tot of Fairview Cellars’ Sauterne-like Late Harvest Riesling and it was out into the snow and the cab ride home.

Fairview Cellars is represented by Rayna Corner of Quench Wines.



2583 Cadboro Bay Rd in Oak Bay.

(250) 598-2828


Fairview Cellars

13147 – 334th. Ave.

Oliver, BC V0H 1T0

(250) 498-2211

Comments are closed.