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Taste the Season is our favorite of the wine events in Niagara on the Lake. We spent the day there, visiting wineries, had lunch at the Garrison House and dinner at Ravine. It was an awesome day!

We got there just after 12pm and stopped at Trius first followed by Stratus and Jackson Triggs.  Our group really enjoyed the mini pot pie served at Trius with their 2014 Cab Sauv. We also purchased 2 bottles of the wine they served at JT – Cab Franc/Cab Sauv blend – which they served with a yummy beef barley soup.

We had lunch at the Garrison House (a restaurant that has been featured on HGTV’s You Gotta Eat Here) and everyone enjoyed their meal – very very good. I had the charcuterie platter – delicious. Highly recommended: Great place, friendly service, great food and local wines.

After lunch we tackled several more wineries: Strewn, Konzelmann, Rancourt, Pondview, Coyote’s Run, Chateau des Charmes and Ravine. We crossed over to Ravine’s restaurant for dinner. We probably ate too much and drank too much but had a great time catching up with friends and visiting some of our favourite wineries that we hadn’t been to in a while, all in beautiful Niagara on the Lake. What’s not to like? 🙂

 

 

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Chris and I spent the day in wine country (Beamsville) with some friends and it was an awesome day.

Our first stop was Peninsula Ridge where we tasted three wines and purchased two (2008 Merlot, 2009 Meritage).

Our second stop was Rosewood Estates where we got try mead for our first time – we tasted the Mon Cherie honey wine. We also tried the reserve Riesling (a bit sweet for me) and the Pinot Noir, which we bought.

Third stop was a guided tasting at Thirty Bench, which was truly the highlight of the day:

We each chose 4 wines to taste and the guide walked us through – she was fantastic, very knowledgeable and engaging. It was hard to believe we hadn’t been to Thirty Bench before but we’ll definitely make it a routine stop when we’re in the area. We ended up buying 3 bottles: the 2007 Merlot, the 2009 Winemaker’s Red and the 2009 Cabernet Sauvignon. All absolutely fantastic reds.

We also had a great view of downtown Toronto – such a clear day!

Next stop was Organized Crime where they had a 2008 Syrah made with Viognier, however, it would be their last due to issues with the unpredictable weather.

And finally our last stop was at Stoney Ridge (which is what kicked off this whole outing – we shared a Groupon for a tour/tasting/lunch).

Gorgeous weather, awesome wine, great company!

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Another awesome delivery this month! 2 medium-bodied reds to enjoy. Excited.

Tawse 2008 Pinot Noir Laidlaw Vineyard

Winery food recommendation: This is a substantial Pinot Noir and works very well with stronger flavours. Try barbecued ribs, sausages, and steaks. Excellent with all roasted meats and stronger fish, like salmon.

Review – David Lawrason: This has a lovely nose with a calm, elegant rappport. Look for bright currant/cran fruit, vanilla, earth and tobacco notes. It’s mid-weight, a bit sinewy with some green tannin, but overall it has a solid, firm and lively feel. Still youthfully tannic, so it need to cellar about three years. Excellent length.

Malivoire 2009 Old Vines Foch

Winery food recommendation: Definitely a red meat red! Flavours match best with hearty foods such as stews (beef or lentil), as well as roasted or barbecued meats. Duck is another excellent choice. Also, ideal with earthy Portobello’s or other flavourful mushrooms.

Review – David Lawrason: This is deeply coloured, with a lovely floral, blackberry, cinnamon, chocolate nose. Expect some dusty rosehip tea notes as well; very pretty. Its rather tart and juicy on the palate; almost skimpy in feel, with moderate tannin and considerable blueberry and clove on the finish. Very good length.

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What a treat this month!

Anytime we receive something from 2007, we’re happy. 🙂 But this month, it was even better:

Henry of Pelham Estate 2007 Cabernet Merlot Reserve

(by David Lawrason)

This has a soft, sweet and pretty nose of blackberry , vanilla/mocha, tobacco and herbs, in that order. It is medium-full bodied, quite rounded and polished with considerable but well integrated tannin. This has very good focus and excellent length, with some gritty tannin. Best 2011 to 2015, although some versions, like 1999, have surprised with their longevity.

(by Tony Aspler)

Colour: Deep ruby

Nose: Vanilla oak, cedar, red and black currant

Taste: Well extracted, sweet fruit, firmly structured with a firm tannic finish

Stratus Vineyard – 2007 Stratus Red

(by David Lawrason)

Those expecting a blockbuster from this iconic red in Niagara’s excellent red 2007 vintage may not be aware that winemaker J. L. Groux’s outlook is French-school finesse and poise, not power. The fruit – from seven grape varieties – is ripened to a perfect raspberry-cherry pitch then layered with dried herbs, background coffee, cedar and vanilla. It’s mid-weight, delicate yet firm etched with perfect acidity and dusty tannin. Excellent to outstanding length. Best 2013 to 2018, maybe longer.

(by Tony Aspler)

Colour: Ruby

Nose: Cedar, black currant, red currant

Taste: Well extracted fruit, firm structure, good length

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Mmmmmmm

Icewine is soooo goooood.

This was our loot for the day:

Some of our fave reds we picked up while we were in NOTL

Icewines and Late Harvests

Our first stop was at Angel’s Gate Winery where we got to enjoy their sweet and sour 2008 Select Late Harvest Riesling paired with a soft baked pretzel. Yum. That’s the 2nd bottle from the left in the pic. While we were there we also tried a light . We prefer our reds a bit bolder but it was still a nice sip.

Second stop was Fielding Estate Winery. We tasted their 2007 Late Harvest Gewürztraminer and 2008 Cabernet-Syrah paired with gourmet late-harvest baked beans. Everything was awesome although again, we prefer our reds with a bit more body. Probably some of the best baked beans I’ve had. The late harvest is the 2nd bottle from the right in the pic.

For our third stop, we stopped by Wayne Gretzky Estates Winery (to wish Wayne a happy 50th!) and had a nice treat: Shiraz icewine (1st bottle form the right) paired with a beaver tail with cinnamon and powdered sugar and drizzled with Shiraz icewine syrup. Yum.

Fourth stop was Flat Rock Cellars where they had the cutest pulled pork sliders you could  imagine (icewine-infused) paired with their 2007 Sweet Revenge Vidal Icewine. We enjoyed it but found the icewine a bit too sweet for our liking so decided to pass this time.

Fifth stop was Creekside Estate Winery. We sat outside and tasted roasted chestnuts with red pepper butter, paired with their 2007 Vidal Icewine. I had never had chestnuts before and didn’t really know what to expect…must be an acquired taste. 🙂  The icewine was great though (middle bottle in pic) and once we got back inside, we got to enjoy a glass of mulled wine to warm up – nice!

Our sixth stop was Colaneri Estate Winery and although the building was under construction, it was still a very nice setting and boy, they really put on a fantastic tasting (3 pairings!). First pairing was their Pinot Grigio “Profondo” paired with a mushroom risotto. Second pairing was an espresso flavoured panna cotta with their Vidal Icewine. Third pairing was a chocolate tart with their Cabernet Franc icewine. All very very good. We purchased the pinot griogio (1st bottle on left in pic).

Since we were ni the area, we also made two stops to pick up some of the wines we really enjoyed:

Maleta Estate Winery: We tasted the Cabernet Merlot as well as the 2003 Meritage (2 bottles of each). We were also very fortunate to taste some of their icewine paired with icewine truffles and they were both fantastic! Maleta is one of our favourite stops  – great wine, friendly staff. We’re so glad to keep seeing great things from this winery.

Lailey Vineyard: We had received their 2008 Meritage in our December wine of the month delivery and enjoyed it so much , we picked up 2 bottles while we were in town. Nice.

Our wine fridge has been replenished.

We finished the day off with a fabulous dinner at Colossus in Oakville. Now I can barely move I’m so full. 🙂

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We’ll be going to this probably on January 22nd – we’ll be buying Discovery Passes. Looking forward to it since it’ll be our first time!

Icewine.

Makes us proud to be Canadian. 🙂

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At first, I didn’t think we’d be able to make it for this one since we have a lot on the go on the weekends it falls on, but Chris didn’t mind heading down on the Sunday, so it looks we’ll be going after all. We’ll probably do the Discovery Pass to visit 6 wineries that have food & wine pairings. Should be fun!

A Vintage Harvest

September 17-26, 2010

Enjoy more than 100 events including winery tours and tastings, concerts, Niagara cuisine, wine seminars, live entertainment and one of Canada’s largest street parades during the 59th Niagara Wine Festival. The hub of the Niagara Wine Festival can be found in historic Montebello Park in downtown St. Catharines.

Food prices are $3 to $6 per portion, while wines can be purchased by the sample, glass or bottle. Festival Tokens can be purchased in Montebello Park or in advance at the Festival office. Admission is FREE.

The Discovery Pass is your gateway to tour the Niagara Wine Route for a fresh taste of wine and culinary pairings during the two weekends of the Niagara Wine Festival. Just $30 per pass.

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