Wednesday, November 7, 2007


A couple of weekends ago I had the opportunity to cook a dinner for some customers of mine in their home in Penticton, British Columbia. These customers have become friends of mine, and I wanted to do something nice for them to show them my appreciation for the friendship they have extended to me over the past year or so. In my book, we have people come into our lives sometimes that make us appreciate the quiet, unassuming moments of exchange between us and them, and we come away with a profound feeling of connection. Those are life's "golden nuggets."

This couple - Rick and Gail Riddall - are food and wine lovers. They enjoy cooking and dining out. They also have pretty good taste in wine. Like me, living in the Okanagan has afforded them the opportunity to drink some great local wines as well as some amazing international wines. They are always seeking new experiences and are eager to find wines that stand out from the crowd.

Personally, I am relatively new to the wonderful world of wine. I have really only been drinking wine for four years and much of that has to do with the fact that I am knee deep in vineyards and wineries here in the Okanagan. But, I have drank a lot of wine in those four years (hic!) and I have a slight knowledge of them. Enough to know what I like and dislike at least.

As I cooked for Rick and Gail, we drank a very nice bottle of Zinfandel. It was the "7 Deadly Zins" which is produced by Michael and David Phillips out of Graton, California. I am somewhat new to Zinfandels, but this wine is killer, and I'm smart enough to know a good thing when I taste it. Rick and Gail loved this wine and were amazed at the full body and the richness of flavor. It is a smooth, easy drinking wine that is fruit forward, slightly sweet with an ever so gentle peppery finish. Very slick indeed!!

Here's a link to Michael and David:

After our Zin and a fine dinner, Rick decided to decant a bottle of Port! I was pretty stoked about this because I love Port, and the bottle that Rick was pouring was one of the best produced in the world in 1994. It was Churchill's 1994 Vinatge, and I'll tell was just too good! If I ever wished I could wring out the last drop from a bottle, this was it!

Here's a link to Churchill's:

The Riddall's neighbor came over with a wedge of Stilton cheese to pair with the Port and we had a bit of a chat about wine. Jim is a member of the Opimian society of Canada. I didn't even know what the Opimian society was until that evening, but it piqued my interest.

The Opimian Society, founded in 1973, operates as a non-profit wine purchasing cooperative and all members benefit from its nationwide purchasing power regardless of their province of residence. The society currently has about 16000 members nation wide and is open to anyone.

Here is a link to the Opimian Society:

All in all, I had a great time and drank some amazing wine and Port. Sometimes things unfold before our eyes and we realize we are "having a moment." I really like times like these and think of them as "life's golden nuggets."

More please!


Rick Riddall said...

Mark, you truly are a friend and a great Chef who did a masterful job of cooking dinner for Gail and I just prior to your last trip to Toronto. Yes, we did enjoy that Zin you brought to our table and the Port did top off the evening so well that Jim and Sandy our neighbours who brought over the cheese are looking forward to experiencing your culinary talents in their kitchen as soon as we can get our time tables lined up.

Livingston Cooks said...

We'll make it happen!!

Cin Cin!