I love Tinhorn Creek Winery. I use to drag my husband there every year, until he confessed that driving me around while I tasted wines was not his idea of a fun vacation. We haven’t been back since. So when I heard Il Sogno was hosting a wine and food pairing with Tinhorn Creek, I told my buddy GR that it was on like donkey kong.
I’ve never been to Il Sogno before, but some of the 50 plus diners I met that night were frequent fliers. Sitting at our table was the new wine maker of Tinhorn Creek, Andrew Windsor, who between meals, would discuss the wines we were drinking. Overseeing the entire event was GM Heather Wigmore, formerly of Muse Restaurant.
The long time customer sitting to my right, Dr. Quinn, raved about the pasta maker of Il Sogno, Assunta, as well as the executive chef, Brian Diamond. She praised the portion sizes in the set menus and appreciated the little extras given to her throughout the meal in past dinners. Another treat for me – I found myself a new family doctor in Calgary.
The first taste teaser to arrive at our table was a salmon crudo with lemon and fennel. The woman sitting in front of GR, Jackie-O, mentioned she really liked the fresh and crunchy blend of fresh lemon and sea salt. GR said the salmon crude reminded him of Vancouver.
The next bite was a soft beef meatball with lentils and tomato braise. To wash it all done, we sipped on Tinhorn Creek Gewürztraminer 2013, which Andrew described as having mineral notes with lycée, a dry style that was both refreshing and sweet.
A big winner at our table was the antipasto octopus salad with radicchio, potato, lemon emulsion, and parsley vinaigrette, paired with Tinhorn Creek Pino Gris 2013. I have never tasted octopus like this before. The texture was perfect, not chewy, while GR thought it tasted a bit like raw tuna. Andrew noted the wine was an aromatic fruit friendly, creamy wine. Jackie-O pointed out the presentation was like a work of art, and this one one of the reasons why she loved Il Sogno. The restaurant prides itself with both the taste of the food and aesthetics.
My favourite dish and wine of the evening was the Pasta Cavatelli Bolognese with Tinhorn Creek Cabernet Franc 2012. Andrew informed us that this wine was aged 12 months, lucious with bright red fruit and spice. He added that it’s one of the wineries best selling wines. I liked it so much that I ordered 12 bottles that night.
The next course was a beef short rib with soft polenta, butternut squash, and broccolini. Andrew paired the beef with the Oldfield Series 2Bench Red 2011, an acidic, ripe but balanced blend that was barrel aged for at least one and a half years. The beef was tender, like pulled pork, in a mellow tomato sauce.
For dessert, we were served a lemon tart with blueberry sorbet, poppy seed creme anglaise, and almond streusel with Oldfield Series Kerner Icewine 2013. I gave GR my dessert while I conned the server into giving me another glass of Cabernet Franc. Andrew noted that the ice wine we were tasting was the last crop from the winery’s oldest vineyard.
GR and I were impressed with the overall experience. I’m keen to try another wine and food pairing event. I also plan to bring L over to sample the pasta dishes. Fei Po gives Il Sogno two fat thumbs up.