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We can’t wait for this one! What could be better than pairings of wine and BBQ! Yumm!

http://wineriesofniagaraonthelake.com/sip-and-sizzle

 

Sounds delicious!

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A few months ago, I was the lucky winner of a Savour the Sights dinner (contest held by Embrace Niagara) at Jackson Triggs in Niagara on the Lake. We decided to pair it with the Wine & Herb festival this past weekend and made a weekend of it. The Wine & Herb passport allows you to visit  20+ wineries to sample a pairing. Each winery is assigned an herb and their pairing consists of an hors d’oeuvre inspired by the assigned herb with a wine tasting.

Saturday we visited wineries and enjoyed some great pairings:

CHÂTEAU DES CHARMES

Herb Inspiration: Basil (Lemon)

2011 Aligote/ Coq au Vin Chicken Breast and Smoked Chili Lemon Emulsion

COYOTE’S RUN ESTATE WINERY

Herb Inspiration: Hoja Santa

2009 Red Paw Vineyard Syrah / Adabo and Red Paw Syrah Braised Beef Tostado (Mexican Pizza)

COLANERI ESTATE WINERY

Herb Inspiration: Garlic

2009 Chardonnay / Turkey Tetrazzini with Liberina’s Roasted Garlic Cream Sauce

INNISKILLIN WINES

Herb Inspiration: Cilantro

Late Autumn Riesling / Kent Farms Chicken Curry with Gomes Tomato and Cilantro

MARYNISSEN ESTATES WINERY

Herb Inspiration: Sage (Peppery)

2009 Merlot / Seared Sage Pork Belly with Merlot Soaked Cherries

RIVERVIEW CELLARS ESTATE WINERY

Herb Inspiration: Mojito Mint

2011 Bianco Riesling Gewurztraminer / Mojito Mint Pistachio Ice Cream

We enjoyed having a refreshing minty ice cream pairing for dessert. 🙂

As usual, we stopped at Ravine for lunch:

Chris:

  • Soup of the day: Potato & leek with a mini scone/muffin
  • Ravine burger with green salad – aged cheddar, tomato, lettuce, Ravine’s smoked Canadian bacon

Val:

  • Lemon dill brined smoked scallop – cauliflower puree, Ravine pork belly, eggplant & goat cheese ravioli
  • Spinach, goat cheese and wild mushroom quiche

We stocked up on some great wines! I was happy to pick up some perfect-for-the-patio Inniskillin Pinot Noir Rosee (Nicki – this ones for you! :))

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We checked into the hotel to freshen up before heading out to Jackson Triggs for dinner!

We were warmly welcomed at the winery and handed a seemingly bottomless glass of sparkling wine which we enjoyed in the Great Hall with about 12-14 other guests while hors d’oervres were passed. Note that I’ve posted a pic of the menu for the evening down below which contains the details of the wines and courses. Graham and Paul were the hosts and were awesome throughout the evening. Graham provided some history about the winery – we were interested to learn that Mr. Jackson and Mr. Triggs were from the Labatt wine division of yore.

Paul then gave us a tour of the facility and explained the grapes and winemaking process. Paul made the tour really fun and informative at the same time.

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The views of the vineyard were superb. During the walk through the facility, we enjoyed 2 more courses:

Another Sparkling (Sauvignon Blanc based) paired with a vibrant amuse-bouche of salmon sashimi – very tasty and the citrusy wine was fantastic.

Then, outside, we enjoyed a white Meritage with an asparagus tart, quail egg and goat cheese and asparagus soup. This was a fabulous representation of spring – delicious. Again, the view was amazing:

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Then we moved inside for 2 more courses. The chef Tim Mackiddie introduced each course with such enthusiasm – everyone at the table was eager to dig in after his passionate intro!

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A Chardonnay paired with a fiddle head risotto with mascarpone and forest mushrooms:

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Followed by a Pinot Noir paired with a blue crab cake with rhubard and fennel (sorry no pic – I dug in too quickly!).

We were then led to the Barrel Cellar for the main course which was a Syrah paired with an Ontario hen cooked in hay with spring peas and spring sqaush. The hen was delicious – so moist! The chef explained how they cooked it in hay to retain the moisture – very cool!

Then, up to the Boutique for the dessert party where we enjoyed a Vidal Icewine with several passed dessert bites.

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It was a fantastic event – I can’t say enough about Jackson Triggs. The meal and wines were excellent as was the tour of the facility and the vineyard views were spectacular. Our hosts Graham and Paul were awesome and made our night very special. Our fellow guests were great as well – we met some wonderful people.

Big Thanks to Embrace Niagara for holding the contest! You guys ROCK! 🙂

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We spent the day in Niagara on the Lake visiting wineries as part of the Wine & Herb festival. We’ve been going for a few years now and it’s always a treat. We stopped at Thirty Bench on the way to NOTL and picked up some Riesling (Steel Post) and Winemakers’ Red (2008 and 2009). We also got to taste the new 2011 Riesling and 2010 Winemaker’s Red – a nice treat!

We visited the following wineries:

NIAGARA COLLEGE TEACHING WINERY

Herb Inspiration: Chives
2009 Sauvignon Blanc
Five Spice Ontario Pork Loin with Mango Chili Salsa

MALETA ESTATE WINERY

Herb Inspiration: Pineapple Sage
2008 Grape Brain Riesling
Baguette Topped with Brie, Fresh Pineapple & Pineapple Sage Marmalade

COLANERI ESTATE WINERY

Herb Inspiration: Italian Basil
2011 “Cavallone” Pinot Grigio
“Panini Pizazz”

We stopped for lunch at Ravine (I had the delicious grilled vegetable poutine again) then off for more wine tasting!

RAVINE VINEYARD ESTATE WINERY

Herb Inspiration: Citrus Thyme
2009 Estate Riesling
Lemon Thyme Citron Tart

MARYNISSEN ESTATES WINERY

Herb Inspiration: Sweet Basil
2009 Chardonnay
Cold Gazpacho

INNISKILLIN WINES

Herb Inspiration: Bronze Fennel
2011 Core Series Pinot Noir Rosé
Potato & Fennel Soup with Confit Pork Shoulder

KONZELMANN ESTATE WINERY

Herb Inspiration: Lavender
2010 Late Harvest Gewürztraminer
Honey & Lavender Biscotti

DIAMOND ESTATES – THE WINERY

Herb Inspiration: Oregano
2007 Lakeview Cellars Cabernet Sauvignon Reserve
Sweetie Pie’s Caramelized Onion, Roasted Tomato & Oregano Fococcia

A fun surprise was the 2011 Pinot Noir Rosé at Inniskillin – it actually smelled like bubblegum!

My favourites of the day were the pairings at Colaneri and Ravine.

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The month of May marks the time for the Wine & Herb festival in Niagara on the Lake. The herb pairings have been posted (the specific dishes, not yet) and tickets are on sale now!

 

CATTAIL CREEK ESTATE WINERY

2009 Gamay Noir Dill

MARYNISSEN ESTATES WINERY

2009 Chardonnay
Sweet Basil
 

CHÂTEAU DES CHARMES

2010 Generation Seven White
Lemon Verbena
 

Niagara College Teaching Winery

2009 Sauvignon Blanc
Chives

COLANERI Estate Winery

2011 “Cavallone” Pinot Grigio Italian Basil
 

Palatine Hills Estate Winery

2008 Neufeld Vineyard Chardonnay
Anise Hyssop

COYOTE’S RUN ESTATE WINERY

2010 Five Mile White (Riesling, Pinot Blanc, Gewürztraminer)
Lemon Grass
 

Peller Estates Winery

Andrew Peller Signature Series Ice Cuvée
Chervil

diamond Estates – The Winery

2007 Lakeview Cellars Cabernet Sauvignon Reserve
Oregano

Pillitteri Estates Winery

2010 Straight Up White
Bergamont

HILLEBRAND WINERY

2010 Artist Series Limited Edition Gewürztraminer
Coriander

PondView Estate Winery

2010 Cabernet/Merlot
Garlic
 

HInterbrook Estate WINERY

2010 Cabernet Sauvignon
Small Leaf Basil
 

Ravine Vineyard Estate Winery

2009 Estate Riesling
Citrus Thyme

THE ICE HOUSE WINERY

2006 Vintner’s Reserve Arugula

Reif Estate Winery

2008 Gamay Noir
Herbs de Provence
 

INNISKILLIN WINEs

2011 Core Series Pinot Noir Rosé
Bronze Fennel

Riverview Cellars Estate Winery

2010 Bianco Riesling/Gewürztraminer
Cilantro

jaCKSON-TRIGGS NIAGARA ESTATE WINERY

2009 Black Series Gewürztraminer 
Saffron
 

Southbrook Vineyards

2011 Triomphe Cabernet Franc Rosé
Rosemary
 

JOSEPH’S ESTATE WINES

2007 VQA Riesling (Off-Dry 1)
Thyme
 

Stonechurch Vineyards

2009 Sauvignon Blanc
Parsley

KONZELMANN ESTATE WINERY

2010 Late Harvest Gewürztraminer
Lavender

Stratus Vineyards

2008 Wildass Red

Sage
 

LAILEY VINEYARD

2011 Unoaked Chardonnay 
French Tarragon
 

Strewn Winery

2008 Sauvignon Blanc
Mint

MALETA ESTATE WINERY

2008 Grape Brain Riesling
Pineapple Sage

Sunnybrook Farm Estate Winery

Peach Blossom
Ginger

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For Valentine’s day. we celebrated yesterday by spending the day in wine country, touring the wineries in Niagara on the Lake and enjoying the Wine & Chocolate festival. On the way there we stopped by one of our favourites (Thirty Bench) to stock up on some Riesling and Winemaker’s Red.

Our stops included the following wineries and pairings:

Niagara College Teaching Winery

2008 Dean’s List Chardonnay Milk Chocolate Cashew Brittle

Maleta Estate Winery

2006 GRAPE BRAIN Cabernet-Merlot Milk Chocolate Coconut Cream

Southbrook Vineyards

2006 Cabernet Franc Icewine Dark Chocolate Icewine Truffles

Ravine Vineyard Estate Winery

2010 Ravine Sand and Gravel Cabernet Franc Salted Pretzels Dipped in Milk Chocolate

We also had lunch at Ravine (our usual lunch spot when we’re in the area) where I enjoyed a fantastic and decadent grilled-veggie topped poutine – very tasty!

Konzelmann Estate Winery

2010 Vidal Special Late Harvest Milk Chocolate Orange

Palatine Hills Estate Winery

2006 Cabernet Sauvignon Proprietors’ Reserve Dark Chocolate Almond Meringue

Marynissen Estates Winery

2008 Solstice Milk Chocolate Sugarplums

Inniskillin Wines

2009 WMS 3 Vineyard Cabernet Franc Triple Chocolate Biscotti with Hazelnuts

Jackson-Triggs Niagara Estate Winery

2007 Proprietors’ Grand Reserve Cabernet Franc Icewine Milk Chocolate Caramel Pecan Square

We ended our day at Peller Estates Winery for a sumptuous dinner:

Valentine’s Day Dinner at Peller Estates Winery
Sweep your sweetie off her (or his) feet.  Winery Chef and CityLine personality Jason Parsons is ready to help. Experience the romantic setting of the Peller Estates Winery Restaurant while enjoying a sumptuous menu inspired by this special time of year.

We enjoyed a fantastic 5-course tasting menu (I chose the optional wine pairings add-on) and by the end of the meal, we were stuffed!

Throughout the day, we replenished our wine stocks for the coming months.

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It’ll soon be February and that means – it’s time for the Days of Wine and Chocolate festival in Niagara on the Lake, which I love, love, love! We’re probably going to go down on two separate weekends to be able to try as many as possible.

We’ve already purchased our tickets and we’re looking forward to tasting some of the delicious pairings below. My husband and I have flagged a few particularly interesting ones (in pink) although they all look amazing!

CATTAIL CREEK ESTATE WINERY

2008 Select Late Harvest Meritage Dark Chocolate Butterscotch Crunch

MARYNISSEN ESTATES WINERY

2008 Solstice
Milk Chocolate Sugarplums
 

CHÂTEAU DES CHARMES

2008 Cabernet Franc, Estate Bottled
Dark Chocolate, Red Currant and Chili
 

Niagara College Teaching Winery

2008 Dean’s List Chardonnay
Milk Chocolate Cashew Brittle

COLANERI Estate Winery

2009 ‘Pensieri’ Merlot Tiramisu
 

Palatine Hills Estate Winery

2006 Cabernet Sauvignon Proprietors’ Reserve
Dark Chocolate Almond Meringue

COYOTE’S RUN ESTATE WINERY

2008 Meritage
Dark Chocolate Wafer with Blueberries
 

Peller Estates Winery

2010 Private Reserve Gamay Noir
Dark Chocolate with Dried Cranberry & Sage

Diamond Estates

20 Bees Late Harvest Vidal and 20 Bees Buzz & Bubbles Sparkling Wine
White Chocolate with Pomegranate Filling

Pillitteri Estates Winery

2009 Straight Up Red
Dried Cherry & Pistachio White Chocolate Biscotti

HILLEBRAND WINERY

2010 Trius Cabernet Sauvignon
Dark Chocolate Infused with Red Wine

PondView Estate Winery

2010 Cabernet Franc Rose
Chocolate Truffle with Dried Cranberry
 

HInterbrook WINERY

2009 Cabernet Franc Icewine
White Chocolate with Hickory Smoke
 

Ravine Vineyard Estate Winery

2010 Ravine Sand and Gravel Cabernet Franc
Salted Pretzels Dipped in Milk Chocolate

THE ICE HOUSE WINERY

2009 Northern Ice Signature Series Red Dark Chocolate Espresso

Reif Estate Winery

2008 Pinot Noir
Caramalized Pine Nuts & Dark Chocolate Square
 

INNISKILLIN WINEs

2009 WMS 3 Vineyard Cabernet Franc
Triple Chocolate Biscotti with Hazelnuts

Riverview Cellars Estate Winery

2009 Fontana Dolce Sangria
Milk Chocolate Candied Orange Peel

jaCKSON-TRIGGS NIAGARA ESTATE WINERY

2007 Proprietors’ Grand Reserve Cabernet Franc Icewine 
Milk Chocolate Caramel Pecan Square
 

Southbrook Vineyards

2006 Cabernet Franc Icewine
Dark Chocolate Icewine Truffles
 

JOSEPH’S ESTATE WINES

2007 Merlot Reserve
Dark Chocolate Mint
 

Stonechurch Vineyards

2007 Cabernet Sauvignon
Dark Chocolate Paprika

KONZELMANN ESTATE WINERY

2010 Vidal Special Late Harvest 
Milk Chocolate Orange

Stratus Vineyards

2008 Sauvignon Blanc

Chocolat au Herbes de Provence
 

LAILEY VINEYARD

2010 Pinot Noir 
Dark Chocolate with Juniper Berries
 

Strewn Winery

2009 Cabernet Select Late Harvest
Dark Chocolate Almond Raisin

MALETA ESTATE WINERY

2006 GRAPE BRAIN Cabernet-Merlot
Milk Chocolate Coconut Cream

Sunnybrook Farm Estate Winery

Chocolate Embrace
Dark Chocolate Nutmeg

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We had booked the following wine dinner for Saturday night at Peller and decided to make a sleepover out of it and spent the day Sunday touring some wineries and ending with a guided tasting at Thirty Bench.

Chef’s Table Dinner Series

Come behind the scenes at Peller Estates Winery Restaurant and discover how Winery Chef and CityLine personality Jason Parsons approaches the art of pairing wine and food.  Your dining experience begins with a reception in Jason’s kitchen where he will discuss collaborating with winemaker Lawrence Buhler and his approach to developing innovative food and wine pairings.  You will then enjoy a seasonally inspired tasting menu presented by Jason and perfectly paired with wines selected by Lawrence.

Jason welcomed us and gave us a tour of the kitchen, explaining what happened at each station and the pass (his spot).  Our chef’s table was in a room adjacent to the kitchen and the doors were kept open all night. We were encouraged to walk around the kitchen anytime we liked throughout the evening, talk to the staff and ask questions. It was fantastic!

And the food and wine? Holy moly. We knew we were in for a special evening when we sat down to this (these were all mine):

Chef’s Signature Tasting Menu (Sept 3, 2011)

Pastrami Cured Salmon

Doughnut Peaches, Plums and Goat Feta

Ice Cuvee Rose “Signature Series”

Curried Cauliflower Velouté

Sautéed Swiss Chard, Saffron Arborio Croquette

Pinot Gris “Private Reserve” 2010

Ontario Beef Tartar

Horse Radish Cream and Panzanella Salad

Riesling “Private Reserve” 2010

I actually took a bite before I remembered to take a pic...

Seared Scallop and Foie Gras

Niagara Peach, Corn and Grey Owl Cheese Fricassee

Gamay Noir “Private Reserve” 2009

Frost (to cleanse the palate)

Seared Venison

Grape, Leek and Red Wine Bread Pudding, Grainy Mustard Plum Sauce

Merlot “Signature Series” 2004

I actually got to cross off a life list item (Eat venison) with this dish! Bonus 🙂

Peller Estates Signature “Blue Ice” Empanada

Sovereign Grape Jelly

Late Harvest Vidal 2010

Baked Milk Chocolate Mousse

Roasted Peach and Almond Brittle

Cabernet Franc Icewine “Signature Series” 2008

During the visits to the kitchen, we saw plates coming up to the pass, desserts being made and a fair amount of hustle and bustle:

View of the kitchen. That's Jason at the pass.

Dessert! Doughnuts being made

Venison entrees on the pass

Appetizers ready to be sent out

Chris, me and Jan at the start of our evening

This was one of the most enjoyable meals I’ve ever had. Everything was fantastic, the food, the wine, the staff – all superb. I would highly recommend it to anyone thinking of visiting Niagara on the Lake and looking for something to make it extra special. We’ve visited Peller many times including three of their dining experiences and they always deliver memorable, elegant and top of the line food, wine and service. Just fabulous.

Sunday:

We decided to visit some wineries, some new and some old favourites to stock up on wines. We stopped at Konzelmann, Hinterbook, Ravine (lunch) and Maleta. Then headed over to Beamsville and visited Fielding and Thirty Bench, where we enjoyed a guided tasting.

We bought lots of wine – that should hold us until our next visit. 🙂

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