Muse Winery – Bistro Muse0
Have you ever been enamoured by the idea of going on a wine tour in France or Italy?
If you’re a wine lover like myself, you’ve probably dreamed of doing that at least once.
Maybe you’ve yet to take that big trip or maybe you have already and you’d go back in a heartbeat if you could….
Well if you want to know how to experience those same feelings of getting away from it all and having a wine and culinary adventure without having to fork out thousands of dollars to do it, Muse Winery is your answer.
I recently had the chance to spend an amazing summer afternoon at Muse Winery and let me tell you, it felt like I had been transported to Provence or Tuscany.
It was five hours of true bliss.
I’m not sure how many wineries have bistros or restaurants attached to them, but I have to say this is a real plus for me when I go wine tasting.
I mean, who doesn’t get a hankering for a bit of cheese or at least a little bite of something after you’ve sampled a few wines?
Well I sure do and that’s why I was so happy to see that Muse had added a bistro to its winery after it took over the Chalet Winery.
As usual, my “partner in crime” for the day was my friend (and cameraman extraordinaire), Mark.
He’s not as big of a wine connoisseur as I am, but he does have a taste for some white wines and definitely loves his charcuterie, so there was no arm twisting required when I asked him to come along.
When we first sat down in Muse’s outdoor terrace, aka Bistro Muse, we were both impressed with the flowers, trellises, fountain and vineyard that surrounded us.
It was an absolutely beautiful setting for a bistro.
When we were given the menu, our server recommended that we start with their special of the day which was the “Tropical Prawn Cocktail” ($9).
This turned out to be one of the most beautifully presented shrimp appetizers I have ever seen, and was equally as yummy.
We also decided to try all of their wines that they had open for tasting.. Yes, I said ALL of their wines!
Muse serves 2 ounce tasters and has nine reds and five whites to choose from, ranging from $2 – $4 each.
I tried the reds, and Mark tried the whites. I don’t think there was one taster I didn’t love, but my favourites were the “Cabernet Merlot” (2007) and the “Syrah” (2007).
I also really liked their “Grand Dame Rouge” (2007) which was a full bodied, traditional Bordeaux blend that’s apparently quite popular.
Another noteworthy red wine is the “Foch Noir” (2008), which is their own creation and recently won double gold at the “All Canadian Wine Championships”.
Mark also thoroughly enjoyed his tastings and said his favourites were the “Ortega” (2009) and the “Late Harvest Viognier” (2009).
Both of these wines also received awards at the most recent Canadian Wine Championships.
Speaking of awards, if there were awards being given out for the food we tried at Muse, they would have definitely come away with a few!
To accompany our lovely wines we ordered the “Vancouver Island Cheese Plate” ($16 for two, $30 for 4), and added the optional “Charcuterie” ($10 for 2, $19 for 4) to go along with it.
For the cheese plate, we had the option of choosing from three different Vancouver Island regions and we chose the cheese from Saltspring Island.
With the cheese came some delicious compotes, of which my favourite was the blackcurrant and shallot one (so yummy!).
The charcuterie, or sliced meats, included prosciutto, red wine salami and mild chorizo.
Everything on the plate, from the cheese to the compotes, to the charcuterie, was excellent and both Mark and I loved how our wines complemented the food.
To finish off our culinary adventure at Muse, I ordered the “Dark Decadence” ($8) and Mark ordered the “Chilly Vanilly” ($6) for dessert.
My dessert was basically like a chocolate mousse and Mark’s was a vanilla bean gelato.
Both were good but surprisingly Mark’s more “ordinary” sounding dessert was my favourite.
Wow, I know vanilla gelato sounds simple, but boy did this one ever taste amazing!
Actually, I loved it so much I ended up eating more of Mark’s dessert than he did! Definitely one of the best gelatos I’ve ever tasted.
As I was scraping the bottom of Mark’s gelato bowl, I noticed one of the resident dogs came up and sat beside our table.
There are two Australian Shepherd dogs living at this family-run winery and both are adorable and friendly.
It’s a really comfortable and relaxing atmosphere at Muse and I think one of the reasons is because it’s owners Doug and Jane really love and enjoy what they do.
Though knowledgeable and professional, the staff here are not stuffy or snobby like you might find some to be at other wineries.
I don’t know about you, but I have to say that I really appreciate that.
Another thing I need to mention is that incase you come during bad weather and the patio isn’t open, they do have the tasting bar inside and some tables to eat at as well.
They also have a cozy tasting room (room for max. 25) with a fireplace if you want to book that for a small luncheon or private tasting.
If you’re looking for something bigger like a reception, they also have the beautiful “Bacchus Room” that seats up to 80 guests.
Overall Muse Winery is a beautiful setting for spending an afternoon.
Whether you’re a wine drinker or not, I encourage you to come and relax on the patio, taste some of their culinary delights in Bistro Muse, and enjoy the peaceful surroundings of the vineyard.
I guarantee you won’t want to leave.