Fun with Gewürztraminer at Good Wolfe Kitchen & Bar

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      Spaetzle and Gewhattaminer and a whole wall o’ wine—getting the goods on Good Wolfe Kitchen & Bar.

      Spaetzle is pronounced "sh-PETZ-leh", and it’s on the menu at Good Wolfe, a new Yaletown restaurant. In German, the word literally means “little sparrow”. It’s a dish of tiny noodles or dumplings made from flour, eggs, water or milk, salt, and sometimes a little nutmeg.

      Spaetzle dough can be firm enough to be forced through a sieve or colander with large holes. The little pieces of dough are usually boiled before being tossed with butter or added to soup or other dishes. In Germany, spaetzle is often served as a side dish, much like potatoes or rice, and it’s often accompanied by a sauce or gravy—at Good Wolfe too. It comes with selected dishes on the menu, but you can always get it as a side dish for $6. It’s on the chef’s black T-shirt, which you can buy.

      The chef is Josh Wolfe, who worked with one of Canada’s great chefs, Marc Thuet, among others, before coming to Vancouver. He delights in delicious and innovative comfort food; his dinner menu is modest in size but fabulous in flavours.

      Richard Goodine is the front man and the Good in the restaurant’s name. He was at Black + Blue before coming to Yaletown. His black T-shirt says “Gewhattaminer?”, a play on Gewürztraminer, which he says nobody can spell properly, or pronounce. You can buy one of those, too, to crack up your wine-savvy friends or confound other people.

      The steelhead pastrami—with house-made maple mustard, chervil, and caraway—sounds fantastic, and next time I’m here I’m going to try it. It’s an appetizer portion costing $11. The pink salmon shawarma is on my next-time dinner list too. It comes with white garlic hummus, parsley, and tomato, and the main-course serving costs $21. I imagine both can be had with some of Wolfe’s house-baked bread. Ask for it; it looks divine.

      But the main attraction, and the reason for this shout-out, is the wall o’ wine. The entire back wall is a giant blackboard featuring a lot of wines, physically (by the bottle, attached with clamps) and verbally (with smart-aleck sayings and observations written in chalk). It’s well worth spending time going to the back and examining it in detail.
      Good Wolfe is at 1043 Mainland Street. Go now before the lineups start and have some spaetzle, among other treats; call 604-428-1043 for dinner reservations. See for opening hours.

      Speaking of Gewhattaminer, I don’t have any at hand to share with you today, but I do have some Serendipity, a new B.C. winery, for your information. Serendipity isn’t brand-new, having just released its second vintage. At least, I think it’s the second official vintage—it’s the second one I’ve tasted, anyway. Three wines arrived here recently: two whites, one red.

      The winery is located—where else?—on the Naramata Bench in the Okanagan. Things began for Serendipity in 2005, when owner Judy Kingston went on a tour of the region to look for a retirement property. As is frequently the case in B.C.’s paramount wine region, she found an old cherry and apple orchard in Naramata, which proved to be her “aha!” or serendipity moment.

      The following year, the property was completely relandscaped to create the optimum slope and orientation for the proposed vineyard. Kingston selected the best grape varieties to plant in the four distinct soil types of the vineyard and the unique microclimate of the area. In the spring of 2007 she planted three hectares of vines, with Syrah and Malbec as the main reds and Sauvignon Blanc and Viognier as the principal whites.

      The first of the three wines in my recent tasting was Serendipity White Lie 2011, a blend priced at $18 and available from the winery only. There was also the Sauvignon Blanc 2010, priced at $20 and found in select restaurants and private stores, as well as at the winery in Naramata, of course. It’s made “in the New Zealand model”, according to the note on the bottle, and while the blend pleased my palate quite a lot, this isn’t to my liking. It’s grassy and edgy and very acidic; as my aunt used to say, “For those who like that sort of thing, that’s the sort of thing they like!” My palate detests New Zealand’s styles of Sauvignon Blanc.

      The red blend is called Devil’s Advocate 2010 and costs $25. It’s soft and rich and full, with an intriguing edge of cinnamon, and it’s quickly become one of my favourite red blends with weekday dinners. I wish I knew what grapes went into it and the white blend above, which is bright and refreshing. The red blend can be found in the B.C. LDB’s “Best of B.C.” lineup, as well as some restaurants and private stores.