well, more wine!
So this trip takes some planning, about four days of planning. I research wine awards and wineries, I inventory our wine cellar to see what we need, and I review the tasting notes I've made (if we hated it, I'm not buying that wine again and if we loved it, I want more). All of this research comes with me and I take my papers with me into every winery we visit; not so much as to impress the staff as to signal that I am seriously interested in more than just sampling some wine - I'm there to buy. I do not profess to have wine connoisseur's palate or experience. I'm often at a total loss as to how to describe the kaleidoscope of flavours I taste in a wine and I've never experienced the length and breadth of flavours extolled by a winemaker. There is great rejoicing when I discover that the winemaker and I agree on just a single note. In other words, I am an amateur, albeit an organized one.
To be fair I really should write a post about each one of the eight wineries we visited this year, but honestly I don't have the time and I'm not sure I have the audience either. So here are some notes on the ones that impressed us this on this year's tour:
|Kew Vineyards 2013|
The tasting experience was accompanied by a cheese board, a selection of 3 (or was it 4?) lovely cheeses and bread to go with them. The pace was unhurried, aided no doubt by the fact that we were the only ones there at the time, and wonderfully civilized. And the wines? From some of the oldest vines in the region, planted in 1975 (the year we were married), the riesling and chardonnay are lovely, but the 2012 Marsanne Viognier is the jewel in the crown - outstanding! Thank you Liisa, for taking the time to showcase your wines and winery in such a professional and approachable manner. See you next September!
|The Foreign Affair 2013|
This winery made it onto the list because we wanted to explore their exclusive amarone style wines, fermented from dried (appassimento) grapes. Warm, rich sensory memories of sipping great Italian wines in Venice and Rome came to mind. Noelle was our tour guide for the tasting and she, like the staff at Kew, knew her wine, from vineyard and grape to process and final product. Check out the 2008 Chardonnay, 2010 Temptress and 2011 Dream. Thank you Noelle for leading us into this amarone world and for letting us taste a $110 bottle of wine. We didn't buy it but we did bring home 9 bottles of Foreign Affair wine.
|Tawse Winery 2013|
Tawse has garnered several awards in the years since our last visit, not the least of which is the Canadian Winery of the Year for three straight years (2010, 11 & 12). I'm really sorry I didn't record our tasting guide's name (the bill says 'serve 55'), but she gets kudos for deviating from the official tasting menu, to offer us a wine that she felt would be of more interest to us. In other words, she listened to us, and she was right; the 2011 Gamay was wonderful and we took home 3 bottles. We also bought 6 other wines including the 2011 Lenko Chardonnay which at $44.95 wins the prize for the most expensive bottle of the trip. This gal also tasted the wine from the newly opened bottle before offering it to us. Might not seem like a big deal, but single bottles of wine can go off making for a very unpleasant experience and winery staff often don't take a moment for this important step. Well done! We'll be back.
Cattail Creek - an honourable mention (over 4 years since we were last here)
Okay folks, I've got to get back to work. There are 88 bottles of wine (down from the 91 trucked home last year - we're cutting back I guess? LOL) to be catalogued and slotted into the cellar. Thank you Niagara wine country for an idyllic five days. Same time next year.
(text and photos ©2013 April Hoeller)