Laughing Stock Visits Comox Valley

The wicked weather that blew across Vancouver Island in early December couldn’t keep determined Laughing Stock winemaker David Enns from gathering with Comox Valley’s Top Shelf Wine Club and friends at The Westerly Hotel and Convention Center.

Having enjoyed a welcoming drink with co-owners Stan Sprienger and Rick Browning, David kicked the night off with the story of how he finally managed to get to the event. High winds had cancelled flights into northern Vancouver Island and he was forced to scramble for an alternative option. Islanders know all too well what a ferry ride means in rough seas; instead, David chose wisely and opted to fly into Nanaimo. Benjamin Philip picked him up at the mid Island airstrip before heading up to the Comox Valley.

Following this story intently was a group, alternately sipping from glasses filled with Blind Trust, a white blend primarily of Pinot Gris, and from the Smoked Salmon Chowder Cappuccino made by Chef Chris Thomson. People mingled as fine wine and gourmet bites were passed around by the friendly staff. Chef Chris joined the Westerly following a culinary stint in the Rockies, working in Banff and Jasper and competing in international culinary competitions. He brings a classic style of cooking to the food and beverage program.

Throughout the evening the ingredients spoke for themselves – solid flavours uniquely assembled were accurately paired by Sommelier Laura Kempling. Vancouver Island Scallops with Beurre Blanc met nicely with a Chardonnay that David said he made for his wife, who loves the varietal. A wine club member shared his perspective on marriage, stating “a happy wife, a happy life”.

We were served another glass of ‘Blind Trust’, this one a new world red blend, predominantly Merlot and Malbec. The seared duck breast and squash gnocchi skewer were examples of the high quality local farm fare available to Chef. The Blind Trust wines vary from year to year and savvy consumers are treated to the breakdown of the blend on the neck under the foil wrap. On other lines of Laughing Stock, this information and other oenology details can be found along a ticker tape that runs the bottle.

The colourful, rich and lengthy Syrah was accompanied by braised Island Bison short rib, celery root puree and candied rosemary. Look for this Rhone-style wine from Laughing Stock as the vines mature in the south Okanagan.

The night ended with a glorious glass of Portfolio, which is, to my mind, one the best B.C. Bordeaux wines made. The evening was a great success, in no small part due to General Manager Michelle LeSage and her staff, who welcomed the group into the West Coast inspired Fireside Lobby for an educational and fun evening of food and wine. You can join the wine club, or enjoy a glass at The Westerly Hotel.

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