Our evening at Stage Wine Bar was just as I remembered it. Casual atmosphere, fun wine list and great food. We were told they had just introduced a few new items to the menu so we were sure to have fun selecting. We started with the charcuterie and cheese list and chose a couple items as we settled into the menu. First up was a classic, as they make their own terrine in house. Today was duck, pork, and pistachio I believe. We also selected a Sheeps cheese from Italy and I apologize as the name escapes me. Served with traditional accompaniments of grainy mustard and pickled veg, it was well made and flavourful.
We paired this dish with a 2009 Pinotage from Stoneboat Vineyards in Oliver. Not much Pinotage grown in BC and if your not familiar with the grape it is generally a medium to full bodied red with good fruit and likes a softer touch of oak than other reds. Stoneboat has been making the most serious version of Pinotage in BC from their 1998 plantings and in time we will start to see how this grape becomes its own personality. The 2009 vintage I had was showing soft texture, silky tannins, big ripe fruit flavours and nice finish. It paired well with the terrine as the fats gave the wine some grip and a smokiness I really liked.
Next up was a new addition to the menu with crispy brussel sprouts. If there are brussel sprouts or Octopus on the menu, I am guaranteed to order it. I was not the biggest fan of these little cabbages growing up but have taken quite the affinity to them over the last few years. I love to roast them at high heat (400 degrees) after tossing them in some oil and salt and pepper and then a squeeze of lemon juice right before you serve them. Stage Wine Bar fried them quickly and topped them with some parmesan, fried capers, and lemon juice. They were just what the doctor ordered. If you haven’t tried Brussel sprouts in a while, give them another go, you will be pleasantly surprised. If in Vancouver, try the brussel sprouts at The Flying Pig in Yaletown, they rank high on my list for these little cabbage jewels.
They also have octopus, so it was an easy decision. This has been on the menu for awhile and hope it stays. Tender slices of octopus quickly fried, you squeeze a little lemon on top and enjoy the texture. I like octopus to have some bite to it. I can appreciate the ultra tender, but I think octopus should be identifiable by its texture without being too chewy and rubbery. I enjoyed this with a taste of Sauvignon Blanc from Greywacke in New Zealand.
We moved on to an oatmeal crusted goat cheese over wilted greens and tomatoes. Light, fresh, summery. I switched over to a glass of 2007 Syrah from Burrowing Owl. Still quite young and exuberant. Threw a whack of alcohol and the fruit was tightly wrapped together. This dish helped loosen the wine up with the acidity from the tomatoes and the fats from the goats cheese. The flavours were great, the balance and weight were in tune with a big BC red, it was simply too young.
Gnocchi with wild mushrooms, topped with some parmesan cheese. This dish had the textures and flavours to tame the Burrowing Owl Syrah. It played out the red fruits on the palate and the peppercorn on the finish while softening the tannins and alcohol. Well done.
For dessert we tried a play on donuts coated in a cinnamon sugar and served with a salted caramel sauce and citrus creme friache. They were heavenly light and completely decadent with the accompaniments.
I paired this with my favourite way to finish a meal. Espresso and Eau de Vie or Grappa. Today they had the Poire Williams from Okanagan Spirits. The flavours all complimented each other and it was a great evening.