While we were in the Okanagan, of course Hester Creek wasn’t the only winery we visited. On this trip, we ventured out to Summerland, specifically the Bottleneck Drive area, and we discovered Evolve Cellars.
Evolve Cellars was open in 2015 and above the tasting room is e, its dining room. Simple decor – white wall, white table cloth, with big window panes overlooking a gorgeous view of its vineyard and Lake Okanagan. Bryan, Kathryn, Mr. and I made a lunch reservation prior to getting there, and we’re patting our back for making a good choice.
e’s lunch menu is quite interesting. I like that they incorporate their wine into many of the dishes. We shared a few appies, including the Seared Scallops. There was nice caramelization on one side of the scallops, the scallops were cooked to the right temperature, tender and sweet. The roasted corn salsa gave it some smokey flavours and crunch. For us, they were served on a spoon and it made a perfect bite (Mr. really liked it, because he always wants “a bit of everything in each bite”).
The Bruschetta was probably my least favourite appetizer. Don’t get me wrong, it was quite good.
The tomatoes tasted fresh, and there was plenty of toppings on the flatbread; but judging by the flavour combination and presentation, it had a close resemblance of pizza slices. Compared to everything else, this now became a bit ordinary.
The name Cabernet Merlot Carpaccio definitely intrigued us. It’s a pretty standard take on a classic – capers, Parmesan, arugula, red onion, Dijon aioli, olive – what set this apart is the wine-marinated meat. The cab merlot gave it some depth of flavour and a darker shade in colour; the meat was very buttery.
For entree, I ordered the Cabernet Merlot Duck Confit. That was one generous portion – it included one duck breast along with shredded meat of duck confit. The meat was tender, flavourful; the white bean ragout still had a bite, and I would’ve liked it slightly softer. The best part – cab merlot cherry jus! The cherries were cooked down so they’re nice and soft, and the cherry flavour of course paired well with the juicy, jammy cab merlot. It’s an addictive sauce, and a luscious, satisfying plate.
Mr. ordered the Pinot Grigio Cioppino. Usually cioppino is bountiful, but this left much to be desired. I liked the pinot grigio tomato sauce, but there were only a few pieces of seafood. Portion wise it wasn’t quite enough food, especially compared to my duck dish.
But that’s OK, there’s dessert. It was cherry season so the kitchen made a Cherry Cheesecake. Cheesecake was creamy, and the cherry sauce was made with their pinot noir. It’s a lighter sauce than the cab merlot cherry jus in the duck dish, with slight acidity, and it’s served cold on the cheesecake. It was perfect for the two of us to share.
We couldn’t leave without trying their wines. In fact, we were tasting their wines over lunch. Overall, their wines are quite easy drinking and a fit for our palate. In particular, I really liked the Pinot Grigio, Gewurztraminer, Rose (2015 vintage) and the Cab Merlot. The lychee note isn’t as prominent in this Gewurztraminer as in most other Gewurzts; it had more of the melon note. The Pinot Grigio was light, refreshing, and with citrus nose and taste. It would make a great patio wine in the summer.
We tried both the 2014 and 2015 vintage of the Rose. We preferred the 2015 vintage — it’s off-dry, with strawberry note and it’s more like the Provence style Rose that we like. And with the Cabernet Merlot, it has soft tannins, lots of berry flavours. It’s not as jammy and full bodied as some other ones we’ve had, but a very good red nonetheless. It will go well with dark meat, like the duck confit dish from the restaurant.
Compared to other wineries that we’ve been to, Evolve Cellars is still waiting to be discovered. It’s a hidden gem tucked away at the corner of the Bottleneck Drive. I thought they offer a good selection of wines, and they’re all priced quite reasonably. Food at the e restaurant was very enjoyable, and I think they make great sauces with their wines. The restaurant is only open for lunch, and they also have limited picnic style items for the outdoor patio, which is only an arm’s reach away from their vineyard.
20623 McDougald Road, Summerland
Disclosure: We received an industry discount on the meal as well as our wine purchase. However, the views and opinions expressed in this post are purely my own.