Watching the waves of Skaha Lake ebb and flow from the patio at Play Estate Winery at the south end of of Penticton, you might forget—for just a few moments—that a stunning view is also behind you.
Turn around from the wind-whipped lake to breathe in the refreshed restaurant space of Sonetto. The chandeliers are from Spain, the oversized mirror was found in France, and the menu is Italian, through and through, right down to the pasta.
“It’s the oldest pasta ‘factory’ in Italy,” explains co-proprietor and restaurateur Giulio Miceli. “It’s the world’s first ‘designated’ pasta, like a terroir.” It comes from La Fabbrica Della Pasta di Gragnano and speaks to Miceli’s passion for authentic, classic flavours of Italy.
It is paired, of course, with wines produced from the terroir here in the Okanagan as well as local ingredients. Miceli has long been a champion of blending the cuisine of Italy with B.C.’s best, having come from Vancouver’s famed La Terrazza.
The rejuvenation of Play’s space has been in the works for several years. Sonetto is now nicely separated from the winery’s tasting bar by stunning new woodwork, allowing for display wines and various artful objects.
The patio overlooking Skaha has a new pergola and heaters, with more work to come to make it even more accommodating to sit outside with a glass of wine. Walking in the front door at the northern end of the building, the outdoor space looking north is becoming a more casual spot.
“It’s pet friendly at the front, so you can walk up from the beach this summer and relax,” Miceli says.
Inside, head to the right for the tasting bar to try wines now under the care of winemaker Rebecca Ruggeri, who brings her extensive knowledge of cool climate winemaking—having worked in premium wineries in New Zealand, Australia, California, Ontario and elsewhere in B.C.—to Play.
The Spotlight Series of wines focuses on bright, juicy, fresh wines. Merlot is the current red wine to note, but watch for future releases of Cabernet Franc and other “more restrained” wines, says Miceli.
The Moscato Frizzante Teatro is a slightly off-dry, aromatic (thanks to Muscat grapes orange, white and Ottenel), lightly effervescent sparkling wine that is both food friendly and easy to enjoy on its own with friends.
And speaking of get-togethers, Sonetto has created a special menu for New Year’s Eve to ring in 2023 and will have live entertainment with recording artist Rebecca Sichon of Vancouver.
The NYE menu has choices for each course. Begin with a Caprese salad, Calamaro of grilled Humboldt squid or classic beef carpaccio; then the pasta course has Capellini Al Pomodoro (tomatoes, basil, grana Padano cheese), or Guilio Pasta (prawns, capers, chilli peppers, Parmigiano Reggiano) or Gnocchi Al Pesto.
The main course: Gamberi of jumbo tiger prawns, or Osso Bucco, or Melanzanna alla Sicilliana … aka eggplant lasagna.
For dessert, you could choose classic cannoli, or try the ciambelle—Italian carnival fried mini-donuts, served with a fresh caramel sauce you can pour over the donuts with a theatrical flourish, if you choose.
Considering that the winery is aptly named play, and Sonetto comes from the word ‘sonnet,’ which comes from the Italian sonetto meaning ‘little song,’ these little bites might be the perfect end to 2022.
Play and Sonetto will be closed from Jan. 1-17. Sign up for their e-newsletter to be the first to know about future dinners and wine releases. Reserve a table for lunch or dinner online, or plan to enjoy happy hour soon.
This article is written by or on behalf of the sponsoring client and does not necessarily reflect the views of Castanet.