Le Gavroche’s Manuel Ferreira will run Tinhorn Creek’s new restaurant
By John Schreiner
October 26, 2007
Tinhorn Creek winemaker Sandra Oldfield has launched all of the four vintages of her flagship Oldfield’s Collection Merlot with hot-ticket winemaker dinners at Vancouver’s Le Gavroche restaurant.
Now, the relationship between Tinhorn Creek and La Gavroche owner Manual Ferreira is deepening.
At this year’s winemaker dinner, the winery’s general manager, Kenn Oldfield, announced that Ferreira has agreed to develop a restaurant at the Okanagan winery, likely opening next summer.
The restaurant, expected to operate during the eight-month wine touring season, promises to be a major addition to the growing number of fine dining restaurants now operated by Okanagan wineries.
The winery will build an extension to its barrel cellar, providing a platform that will give the restaurant and the diners a dramatic view over the valley while enjoying Ferreira’s cuisine.
Raised in Portugal and France, Ferreira came to Montreal in 1976, starting a restaurant career which, after a stop in Toronto, brought him to Vancouver in 1978, the year in which the late Jean-Luc Bertrand opened Le Gavroche. After working with other fine Vancouver restaurants, Ferreira partnered with Bertrand in 1990. Since 1994, Ferreira has been the restaurant’s sole owner. Manuel Ferreira
Le Gavroche is classicly French. However, that does not necessarily mean that the Tinhorn Creek restaurant will have similar cuisine. Ferreira has wide-ranging food and wine interests. Senova, his other Vancouver restaurant (opened in 2005), specializes in the Mediterranean cuisine of the Iberian peninsula.
His friendship with Kenn and Sandra Oldfield goes well beyond business. On occasion, he has picked grapes at the winery. Most notably, he was on hand in 2004 to help pick the grapes for the Oldfield’s Collection Syrah, the winery’s debut Syrah. Only 42 cases of this elegant Rhone-style Syrah were made in 2004. The wine, at $35 a bottle, is being offered exclusively to members of Tinhorn Creek’s Crush Club. To join the club – membership is free – check the winery’s website, www.tinhorn.com.
Oldfield’s Collection is the tag for the winery’s reserve range. The other wines in that range are the Oldfield’s Collection 2Bench White 2006 ($23) and the Oldfield’s Collection Merlot 2004 ($28).
The 2Bench White, released this summer, is blend of five white varieties (Sémillon, Sauvignon Blanc, Viognier, Muscat and Chardonnay). When I first tasted this wine on release, it seemed a bit lean. It has shown remarkable development with another three or four months in the bottle, acquiring nice weight, with more expressive aromas and flavours. A bargain for a wine this complex. 88 points.
Merlot accounts for about a quarter of Tinhorn Creek’s total production. That include 10,000 cases of the $18 “regular” Merlot, although calling that regular does it an injustice. The current issue of Wine Press Northwest rates 120 Merlots from B.C. and Washington. Two Okanagan Merlots were among the 10 rated as outstanding – one from Blasted Church and Tinhorn Creek’s standard Merlot.
Oldfield’s Collection Merlot (1,300 cases released) is even better. Sandra Oldfield chooses the very best lots of Merlot in the cellar for this wine, although within limits. She is careful not to take so many superior barrels of Merlot that she would weaken the regular Merlot at the expense of the reserve.
“I could make this better,” she told me, gesturing at a glass of Oldfield’s Collection Merlot during the recent winemaker dinner.
It is hard to see how. It’s a pretty skookum wine as it is, dark in colour, chewy in texture, plummy in flavour, with good backbone for aging. The wine has had 15 months in French oak and then another year in the bottle prior to release. I rate it 90 points.
In recent years, Tinhorn Creek begun to hold its red wines back, aging them in bottle long
Sandra Oldfield enough that they show well on release.
“Most wineries are releasing the wines too young,” Sandra maintains. “The only thing Okanagan reds lack is age.”
John Schreiner is author of British Columbia Wine Country