A Wine Lover's Diary, Part 610: Fishing NWT (August 22, 2016)
Wednesday, August 10th: Up at 5 am to get to the airport, picking up Art and Jeff on the way. We link up with Steve and Harald at Pearson Airport and will meet Harald's brother Robert in Calgary. We're going for a week's fishing to Peterson's Point Lake Lodge, 200 miles north of Yellowknife.
Margaret Peterson and her daughter Amanda greet us at Yellowknife Airport. En route to the Explorer Hotel we stop at a local store to pick up a bottle of Atemms Pinot Grigio 2014, King Estate Pinot Gris 2014, Cloudy Bay Sauvignon Blanc 2013 and Chapoutier Rasteau 2013. (We have already shipped forty plus bottles with us on the flight.) We dine in the hotel restaurant. I order Caesar Salad and Rib Eye steak with twice-baked potato. The wine: Jim Barry Wood McRae Shiraz 2010.
Thursday, August 11th: Up early to find Yellowknife locked in with fog. Margaret drives us to the Tindi Air base for our traditional breakfast of strawberries, bannock cakes and jam and Pol Roger Champagne.
Champagne breakfast prior to take-off
We have to wait for the fog to lift before our Twin Otter takes off for the one-hour-and-twenty-minute flight to the lodge, due north of Yellowknife. It's raining when we arrive and settle into our cabins. I'm sharing with Harald and Robert. There is a group of six guys from Florida here as well.
After a lunch of spicy fish soup and toasted cheese sandwiches prepared by the lodge's cook, Norma, we take to the lake. I'm fishing with Steve and John is our guide. I'm skunked that afternoon but Steve catches a 21 lb lake trout, which means he gets on the board. (20 lb fish and above are recorded nightly on the board in the communal lounge and dining room.) Dinner: Smoked meat sandwiches, cole slaw and pickles followed by blueberry cheesecake. The wines: The Lucky County Shiraz 2013 and two bottles of Kilikanoon Killerman's Run Shiraz 2011. Heavy rain this evening.
Norma and her cheesecake
Friday, August 12th: Fishing with Robert today with Jeff as our guide. In the morning I caught a 17-pounder, a 12 and a 4 lb trout. Steve, who cooks all the shore lunches, prepared beer-battered fish on an open fire. The wines: Redstone Winery Viognier 2013, McMichael Group of Seven Chardonnay 2014 and Te Pā Sauvignon Blanc 2015. In the afternoon I caught eight fish, none bigger than 8 lbs. Robert got a 24-pounder, which put him on the board. A bone-rattling ride back to camp as the wind whipped up the lake.
Two-decker outhouse. Top for management. Lower for Point Lake Union of Guides.
Dinner: steak. The wines: Roumier Chambolle-Musigny 2009, Amiot Chambolle-Musigny Les Amoureuses 2012, Fonseca Guimaraens Vintage Port 1986 with a selection of cheeses Harald brought including a delicious Stevenson Stilton. Rhubarb crumble for dessert.
Saturday, August 13th: A beautiful sunny day. Breakfast: blueberry pancakes and bacon.
Sunrise at Point Lake
Fishing with Jeff, and Didier is our guide today. In the morning I caught 13 lb, 11 lb and 14 lb, but nothing for the board. For shore lunch Steve cooked blackened fish with dirty rice. The wines: Pascal Jolivet Indigené Pouilly-Fuissé 2007, 13th Street Gamay Noir 2009 and Donnachiara Greco di Tufo 2014. Four small fish in the afternoon. Still not on the board. Dinner: Turkey pot pie with Oyster Bay Pinot Noir 2014, Tawse Tintern Road Pinot Noir 2013 and Domaine de Montille Beaune Les Perrières 2005. Dessert: fresh fruit cheesecake pizza.
Sunday, August 14th: Awoke to a thick fog on the lake. A breakfast of French toast and baked oatmeal with bacon. The fog cleared very quickly. I caught one small fish all morning. Steve's recipe today: trout glazed with Dijon grainy mustard, maple syrup and French shallots. The wines: Henry of Pelham Cuvée Catharine Sparkling Rosé, Tempier Bandol Rosé, Pascal Jolivet Sancerre Clos du Roi 2014.
Fillets of trout ready for the fry pan
In the afternoon I caught three fish, not very big. (Beginning to get antsy about making the board.) Dinner: ceviche, wild game lasagna, salad and lemon cake. The wines: Thirty Bench Small Lot Cabernet Franc 2011, Tre Brancaia Rosso Tuscana 2011 and Seghesio Zinfandel 2013.
Monday, August 15th: Breakfast: Frittata and croissants. Fishing with Art. Caught a 20-pounder this morning, much to my relief, as well as a 14 lb and four small ones.
My board fish - 20lbs. Now back in the lake.
For lunch Steve cooked trout alla puttanseca with which we happily consumed Te Pā Sauvignon Blanc 2015, Donnachiara Greco di Tufo 2014 and 13th Street Premier Cuvée Sparkling 2008. In the afternoon I caught a 14-pounder that had swallowed a white fish; the tail was sticking out of the trout's mouth!
Rainbow over Point Lake
Dinner: chicken breast stuffed with seafood, accompanied by rice and salad. Dessert: apple spice cake with toffee sauce. The wines: Inniskillin Shiraz Cabernet 2010, Domaine de Montille Corton les Pougets 2005, Domaine Taupenot-Merme Corton Rognet 2010. This afternoon, Greg, one of the Floridians, caught six fish over 20 pounds, the largest 39 pounds. But these guys eat sandwiches for lunch in the boat.
Tuesday, August 16th: Breakfast: Blueberry pancakes and beef sausages. Four fish this morning, a 12-pounder and three small ones. At the Outpost where we broke for shore lunch we were greeted by a caribou. Steve's plat du jour was wasabi-crusted trout with shrimp chow mein.
Shrimp chow mein
The wines: Joie A Noble Blend 2014 and two bottles of Grosset Polish Hill Riesling 2004. One fish in the afternoon and then at 4:30 pm the sky went dark grey and a sudden storm blew up. We raced back to the lodge but the waves were rising to four feet, threatening to swamp the boats, so we took shelter on an island until the storm passed, feeding on wild blueberries. Arrived back at the lodge in blazing sunshine. For dinner: an appetizer of smoked fish nachos, then moose roast, mashed potatoes, minted peas, carrot, orange and cashew salad, followed by rice pudding. The wines: Clos de los Siete 2011, Wirra Wirra Church Block Cabernet Sauvignon Shiraz Merlot 2013 and Fonseca 1997 with a selection of cheeses.
Wednesday, August 17th: My anniversary – made arrangements to Skype Deborah this evening. Breakfast: French toast and sausages. Caught three fish this morning. Lunch at Pigpen – a cabin on the shore above the river that's been abandoned. Inside is like a museum with stocks of salad dressing, herbs, toilet paper for an army, clothes and sleeping bags. There are also boats and motors. On the sandy shore there were grizzly bear prints but no evidence of the bear itself.
The last lunch has been traditionally Steve's bouillabaisse – a meal we all look forward to. Steve prepares the fish broth and the roux at home and brings it up with the mussels, shrimp, scallops and tinned lobster. The wines to accompany this special dish: Pol Roger Réserve Champagne, Jean-Marc Pillot Chassagne-Montrachet Les Vergers 2010 and Michel Bouzereau et Fils Meursault 2011. A spectacular lunch. In the afternoon I caught six trout including a 12-pounder. But at least I made the board; in fact, we all did. Dinner: chicken breast stuffed with cream cheese and basil, baked carrots and parsnips, rice and salad. The wines: Juan Gil Monastrell Jumilla 2013, Château Batailley 2000, Jaboulet Hermitage La Chapelle 1990 and Marcarini Barolo La Serra 2004. A birthday cake was presented to Steve and we all received lodge mugs.
Last supper wines
Steve's birthday cake
Thursday, August 18th: Awoke to learn that I'm a grandfather again! Sasha, Guy's wife, delivered a baby girl in the early hours of this morning. Her name is Isla and although she didn't make the board, she weighed in at a healthy 8 lbs 11 oz.
Breakfast: grilled cheese sandwiches. Packed up and flew back to Yellowknife. Then to Calgary and back to Toronto. A thoroughly enjoyable fishing trip.