Wednesday, March 3, 2010

A Look Back…

Who was watching that Men’s Hockey game on Sunday afternoon between Canada and the US? Who cheered and who just about died when the US tied up the game seconds before the end of the third period? What was your reaction when Sid “The Kid” Crosby scored that final goal in overtime to make Canada proud and the final gold medal awarded to Team Canada? Team United States put up a remarkable fight – they kept us on our toes at all times and we have to say thank you to them for not giving up. Now, as we look back at the last seventeen days, here’s a quick recap of the BC wineries and the Ontario wines that I recommended we all enjoy while watching our favourite sports and our favourite athletes.

Quails Gate Winery
Tasting Room and Restaurant open daily except December 25th, 26th & January 1st.
Tours available April 30th – October 11th.
3303 Boucherie Road
Kelowna British Columbia
V1Z 2H3 Canada
Phone: 250-769-4451
Toll Free: 1-800-420-9463
Fax: 250-769-3451
“Try their Fortified Gamay Noir; definitely a unique after dinner treat.”

Cedar Creek Estate Winery
Tasting room open daily
Tours available May 1st through October 31st
Restaurant open for lunches only – June 12th to September 20th. Special dinner series available on select dates during the summer.
5445 Lakeshore Road
Kelowna, British Columbia, Canada
V1W 4S5
Telephone 250 764 8866
Facsimile 250 764 2603
“NAFTA could have caused this winery to close but hard work & perseverance made it strong.”

Summerhill Pyramid Winery
Wine shop and tastings available year round.
Tours available at 12 noon and 2 pm
Restaurant closed from January 2nd to February 10th; open daily the rest of the year.
4870 Chute Lake Road
Kelowna, BC Canada
V1W 4M3
(250) 764-8000
toll free: 1-800-667-3538
fax: (250) 764-2598
“Wines aged in a geometrically precise Pyramid.”

Mission Hill Family Estate
Wine Shop open year round except December 25th, 26th and January 1st.
Tours available January 2nd – October 15th.
NOTE: Not all tours are available at all times, check website for details.
Restaurant opens for lunch May 14th – September 19th
Restaurant opens for Tapas June 26th – September 5th
1730 Mission Hill Road
West Kelowna, Okanagan Valley
British Columbia, Canada
V4T 2E4
Main 250.768.7611
Retail Store 250.768.6498
General Information 250-768-6448
Facsimile 250.768.2267
“Regularly described as the most spectacular winery in Canada”

Sleeping Giant Winery (at Summerland Sweets)
Winery open daily for tasting and purchases
6206 Canyon View Road
Summerland, BC V0H 1Z7
(250) 494-0377
“Over 20 fruit wines to choose from”

Red Rooster Winery
Wineshop and gallery open daily.
Patio open during summer months.
891 Naramata Road
Penticton, BC
V2A 8T5
(250) 492-2424
Fax: (250) 492-2400
“A Penticton winery that supports local artists”

Howling Bluff Estate Winery
Tasting Room and Inn open from April 30th – October 15th
Winner of the 2009 Lieutenant Governor's Award for Excellence in British Columbia wines
1086 Three Mile Rd
Penticton, B.C.
V2A 8T7
Winery 250.490.3640
“3 wines and an Inn overlooking Lake Okanagan”

Elephant Island Orchard Wines
Tasting Room open daily from May 1st to October 11th. Will open by appointment during the off season – just call ahead first.
2730 Aikins Loop
RR#1 S5 C18
Naramata , BC
V0H 1N0
Phone: (250) 496-5522
Fax: (250) 496-5521
“No, it is not on an island.”

Wild Goose Vineyards
Winery open for tours & tastings from April 1st to October 31st. Call for appointments between November 1st and March 31st.
Picnic area on site where the winery recommends you bring a lunch and enjoy it with a glass of Wild Goose wine.
2145 Sun Valley Way, Okanagan Falls, B.C.
Phone: (250) 497-8919
Order Line: 1-877-497-8919
Fax: (250) 497-6853
“2009 Pacific Northwest Winery of the Year”

Chandra Estate Winery
Tasting room open daily from April 1st to October 31st. Open by appointment only from November 1st to March 31st.
33264 121 Street
Oliver, BC
V0H 1T0
Phone: (250) 485-4081
Toll Free: 1-866-777-4081
Fax: (250) 485-4051
“The winery with unique names for their wines - and they're organic.”

Le Vieux Pin
Tasting room open daily from April 1st through October 31st. Please call ahead to make appointment during off season.
34070 73rd and Black Sage Rd
Oliver, B.C.
V0H 1T0
Tel: 250.498.8388
Fax: 250.498.8399
“A French name for the winery, French names for the wines...”

Burrowing Owl Estate Winery
Tasting Room open year round, except for weekends during the winter season.
The Sonora Room (Restaurant) will be opening for the 2010 season on Friday, February 12th and will remain open until December. Please see website for specific details.
The Guest house has similar hours to The Sonora Room. Please see website for specific details.
100 Burrowing Owl Place
RR#1 Site 52, Comp 20
Oliver, British Columbia, V0H 1T0
Toll Free: 877.498.0620
Local: 250.498.0620
“As impressive looking a building as Mission Hill”

Golden Beaver Winery Inc.
Tasting room open daily from April 15th to October 15th, Sunday through Wednesday from October 16th to April 14th except between December 12th and January 4th when they are closed. Check website for specific details on hours.
29690 S Hwy 97
Oliver , BC V0H 1T0
Phone: 250-495-4991
Fax: 250-495-4324
“A Canadian Tokay, two wines called Vin de Cure.”

Road 13 Vineyards
Wine Shop and Tasting bar are open daily from Easter weekend through to October 31st.
All other times, please call ahead to confirm that someone will be there.
13140 316A Ave,
Road 13 RR1 S-28A C10
Oliver, BC V0H 1T0
Phone: 250.498.8330
Fax: 250.498.8331
“Call ahead to verify they will be there but visiting Road 13 Vineyards is well worth the trip.”

Herder Winery & Vineyards
Tasting room open from May through October but call in the off season to see if they are available for purchases.
2582 Upper Bench Road
Keremeos, BC V0X 1N4
Phone: (250) 499-5595
“A white wine blend of 4 grapes plus a nice selection of reds.”

Clos du Soleil
OFFICE ADDRESS: 1411 West 6th Avenue
Vancouver, BC,
Canada V6H - 4E9
Phone: 778.837.4205
WINERY ADDRESS: 2568 Upper Bench Road
Keremeos, BC,
Canada V0X-1N4
Phone: 250.499.2831
“Only 2 wines but when they have 1 of Ontario's best female winemakers helping them out, you know Clos du Soleil has to be good.”

Domaine de Chaberton Estates Limited Partnership
Tours available year round – check website for details on times.
Wine Shop open year round – check website for hours.
Bacchus Bistro open Wednesday through Sunday for lunch; Friday & Saturday only for dinner.
1064 - 216 Street
Langley BC
V2Z 1R3
Boutique 604 530 1736
Bistro 604 530 9694
Long-Distance 1 888 332 9463
“Some very unique grapes”

Now, let’s not forget the amazing wines from Ontario that we have enjoyed over the last seventeen days. Here is my rundown, with tasting notes and winery contact information, for the seventeen wines that reached the podium.

We started out the Ontario wine series with, quite naturally, a glass of bubbly. This is one of my new favourite bubblies from Ontario, made entirely from Prince Edward County grapes and the first VQA bubbly to do so. Made by Jeff Innes at The Grange of Prince Edward, it is this delicious combination of fruit, mineral and a slight touch of cream. Only $29.75 a bottle, this bubbly was released back in November so it is best to get your hands on this quickly as they are running short on bottles. To order some of this great bubbly, find the wineries contact information below and get in touch with them.

The Grange of Prince Edward
990 Closson Rd
Hillier, ON K0K 2J0

Our second day saw us enjoying a glass of East Dell Estates 2008 VQA Pinot Grigio. Flavours, and aromas, of honey, pear and green apple, this wine pairs perfectly with seafood dishes and your favourite Olympics sport. An amazing value at $12.95 per bottle, this wine is available at the winery or can be delivered to your home.

East Dell Estates
4041 Locust Lane
Beamsville, ON L0R 1B2

On the third day, which also happened to be Valentine’s Day, we enjoyed a wine that is completely unique to the Ontario wine industry - Black Prince Winery 2008 Chardonnay Terroir Elite. This wine is completely unique in the Ontario wine industry because, for the first time ever, we have Prince Edward County grapes aged in barrels from The Carriage House Cooperage which is a local cooperage house in Prince Edward County – the only one of its kind. Never before have the grapes and the barrels been so closely linked and the wine they created together is one to be enjoyed over a candlelight dinner. There were only 100 cases of this wine produced and, at $29.95 a bottle, these wines are going to fly off their shelves.

Black Prince Winery
13370 Loyalist Parkway, RR#1
Picton, ON K0K 2T0

Day four was the day we got to enjoy my favourite White Meritage from Ontario - Hidden Bench Vineyards and Winery 2007 Nuit Blanche. Ever since I had this wine, when Harald Thiel brought a bottled that day Nuit Blanche to an Ontario Wine Society event I was organizing, I have been in love with this wine. The current vintage – 2007 - has a rich mouth feel with sweet fruit characters and a lingering finish. The wine shows refined aromas of papaya, guava fruit, Chinese allspice and smokey minerality. $40 a bottle but completely worth the expense.

Hidden Bench Estate Vineyards & Winery
4152 Locust Lane
Beamsville, ON L0R 1B0

The fifth day of the Olympics was the first day the Men’s hockey team were playing and, given that Wayne Gretzky was their GM prior to Steve Yzerman, it seemed fitting that we should enjoy a bottle of Wayne Gretzky Estates 2007 Merlot. It has a fruit-forward style highlighted by aromas of blackberry and cherry. Rich, rounded palate and moderate tannins frame ripe berry fruit, finishing with mocha and oak spice. Possible food pairings – mild curries, pork tenderloin, souvlaki, chili or stew – everything we would love to eat at this time of the year to keep us warm. To grab a bottle – or two – of this wine which retails at $15.95 a bottle, visit your local LCBO, the winery itself or order online.

Wayne Gretzky Estate Wines
3751 King St, PO Box 55
Vineland, ON
L0R 2C0

On day six, I wanted to share a store of a wine that, in normal circumstances, may not have made it to the shelves - Marynissen Estates 2007 Bottoms Up. From Jeff Hundtermark – winemaker at Marynissen Estates - In 2007, our lees filter unceremoniously gave up and is now non-functioning. The decision was made to place all the Lees from the bottom of each tank (all 7 varieties) into one tank and allow the lees to settle the old fashioned way... by gravity. This procedure took approximately 5 months and a further 4 rackings until we were able to recover as much as we could. The bonus, as we found out, was that the wine being in contact with the lees for that period of time provided intense fruit concentration, integrated tannin structure, and the deepest of colour. The serendipitous part of this story is when we decided to taste the wine before using it to top up barrels; we discovered just how special the wine was. We immediately ordered new American Oak barrels and aged the wine for a further 8 months. This wine is available at the winery directly so contact them to place your order today.

Marynissen Estates
1209 Concession 1, RR#6
Niagara-on-the-Lake, ON L0S 1J0

Day seven saw us enjoying an old classic from winemaker Natalie Spytkowsky - Rosewood Estate Winery & Meadery 2008 Natalie’s Sussreserve Riesling. Natalie has been making this wine since her early years at Angel’s Gate Winery and it has become known as her signature wine. An off dry style of Riesling, this wine has won awards at major competitions for both this vintage and many past vintages, this wine is made by adding unfermented Riesling grape juice back into the wine just before bottling which creates added complexity, character, structure, natural acidity and of course sweetness. The 2008 vintage has bright notes of lemon, lime, peach and wild flowers. The palate is fresh with balanced acidity and sweetness. Pairs best with lemon or butternut squash risotto, Weiner Schnitzel, Thai dishes, Munster and St. Paulin cheeses and warm apple desserts.

Rosewood Estate Winery & Meadery
4352 Mountainview Road
Beamsville, ON L0R 1B2

On the eighth day, we chose to indulge in another celebrity wine – this one from Dan Aykroyd’s shelves - Dan Aykroyd Wines Discovery Series 2007 Cabernet Shiraz. This Cabernet Shiraz displays a rich bouquet of dark berry fruit and peppery notes. The palate is smooth in texture, showing concentrated flavours of plum and cassis complemented by an undercurrent of spicy layers. Winner of the All Canadian Wine Championships 2008, bronze medal in the Red Vitis Vinifera category, the Canadian Wine Awards 2008, bronze medal, and the prestigious Cuvee Wine Award. Available at the winery or through your LCBO store at $14.95 a bottle.

Dan Aykroyd Wines
4041 Locust Lane
Beamsville, ON L0R 1B2
905-563-6063 xt 25

Day Nine found us at the second weekend of the Olympics and there is just something so satisfying about comfort food on a weekend so I wanted to make sure we had a wine that would pair well with classic comfort food. Now, comfort food means a lot of things to a lot of people but, for me, there’s nothing like a homemade burger where I got “unique” with the toppings. Ketchup, mustard and relish just don’t work on a homemade burger for me and when it comes to something to drink – I want something just as tasty as the burger I’m about to enjoy. That is why, for day nine, I chose Chateau des Charmes 2007 Estate Bottled Cabernet Franc. This wine, from the warm 2007 growing season has concentrated currant and cassis aromas and flavours. There was limited barrel aging for this wine – only long enough to impart some slight spice and smokiness and not mask the vibrant fruit that is coming out as you swirl the glass. This wine is $13.95 a bottle and is available both at the winery and at your local LCBO.

Chateau des Charmes
1025 York Rd
Niagara-on-the-Lake, ON L0S 1JO

By the time we hit day ten, it felt like we needed another white wine so for that day, the choice was Tawse Winery 2008 Quarry Road Vineyard Gewurztraminer. Tawse Winery was named Best Ontario Winery at the 2009 Wine Access Canadian Wine Awards and this particular wine was awarded the Gold Medal at the 2009 Ontario Wine Awards.

Tawse Winery
3955 Cherry Ave, PO Box 822, RR#1
Vineland, ON
L0R 2C0

Having had a break from red wines, on day eleven, we return to them with Creekside Estate Winery 2007 Shiraz. The winemaker at Creekside Estate Winery – Craig McDonald - hails from Australia so it is almost natural that when he makes a Shiraz, he is going to put an Australian mix on the final product and, when you combine his expertise plus the expertise of the rest of the winemaking team at Creekside and the incredible growing season that 2007 has become to be known for Ontario, it is not much doubt that this wine is a world unto its own. Typical Shiraz is mostly black pepper and cloves in the aromas and the flavours alike but the 2007 growing season added a couple of extra dimensions to these components – slight floral and plummy, jammy fruit. This wine can be picked up at the winery, online or at your local LCBO store.

Creekside Estate Winery
2170 Fourth Ave
Jordan, ON

On day twelve, we chose a wine from a new type of winery – a virtual winery. Virtual wineries mean that they do not have store fronts or wine boutiques for you to enter and that all of their sales come from their website. Nyarai Cellars is Ontario’s first virtual winery – you can’t visit them, you can’t tour their facilities, you have to go to a local restaurant to try their wines but they will deliver their wine (that you order online) right to your front door. From their opening, Sauvignon Blanc has been a very important grape to them – it has become their flagship grape – and for very good reasons, it is one of their most outstanding wines. Fermented in 100% stainless steel, this medium-bodied wine exhibits flavours conveying notes of white grapefruit, green melon and driven tropical fruit embraced by firm acidity promoting a lingering finish. Now, since the release of this particular blog entry, back on February 23rd, I have learned that the wine is sold out but that the 2009 vintage is coming along nicely and will be available in the coming months.

Nyarai Cellars

The wine for day thirteen saw a wine that uses the art of assemblage - Ridgepoint Wines 2006 Cabernet Merlot. What this means is, in relation to the 2006 Cabernet Merlot, each of the grapes involved – Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc and Merlot – they were each fermented separately, aged over two years in a combination of American and French oak barrels and artfully blended at bottling. The result is a wine that has complex aromas of blackberry, dried plums, eucalyptus and pleasant oak with a hint of milk chocolate. On the palate, this medium-bodied wine displays smooth tannins with refreshing acidity on the finish, for which Niagara is known. A great wine to pair with food, I recommend pairing this with roasted meats, tomato based dishes or even some chocolate but also with our shortest day of sporting events at the Olympics. This wine is available at your local LCBO at a price of $14.95 but you can also order their wines directly through the winery.

Ridgepoint Wines
3900 Cherry Ave
Vineland, ON L0R 2C0

Day fourteen sees our final glass from the Prince Edward County wine region of Ontario - Sandbanks Estate Winery 2007 Baco Noir Reserve. Whatever vintage you may have, this wine has always been one of the best made wines that Sandbanks Estate Winery has ever made. Baco Noir has always been known to be a bit of a “fruit bomb” when it comes to flavours and even aromas and this one does not disappoint. While very fruity in general, the predominant flavours are blackberry and a hint of chocolate and this wine has not disappointed in competition. Gold, Silver and Bronze as well as honourable mentions have made this wine as award winning as our Canadian athletes have been at the 2010 Olympics so it is only fitting that we have a glass (or two) of this wine. Sandbanks Estate Winery will deliver anywhere in Ontario for free and does not have minimum orders, so to order the 2007 Baco Noir Reserve, which retails for $24.95, call the winery.

Sandbanks Estate Winery
17598 Loyalist Parkway
Wellington, ON K0K 3L0

As we enter the final weekend of the Olympics, I chose a lovely white wine that epitomizes the hard work our athletes have put in over the previous two weeks – Fielding Estate Winery 2008 Pinot Gris. When you read the description the winery provides on how this wine was made, it is intriguing to see the complexity and thought they put into making this wine. “Three vineyard plots from different sub-appellations (Vinemount Ridge, Niagara Lakeshore, Lincoln Lakeshore) were selected and harvested at different stages to help bring different flavour profiles to the final wine. The grapes were soaked on the skins for a short period before pressing and cold settling. Fermented cold using several yeast strains for three to four weeks, the wines were kept on light lees to help build richness in the final wine. A small portion of the final blend was fermented warm in a neutral French puncheon barrel to help add complexity and mouthfeel.” The result is a wine that is light straw in colour with a copper rim and crystal clear. Pear, tangerine and honey are the aromas that come into play and they flow evenly into the flavours of key limes, anise and flowers. Like any good Pinot Gris, it has a fresh and lively mouthfeel, great balance, good concentration on the flavours and a slight hint of residual sugar on the finish.

Fielding Estate Winery
4020 Locust Lane
Beamsville, ON L0R 1B2

On our final Saturday, I chose to highlight a type of wine that previously had not been mentioned – fruit wines. In Ontario, we’re not all about grape wines! Yes, we do make some absolutely amazing grape based wines here but the unsung hero of the Ontario wine industry is definitely fruit based wines so today’s wine is Southbrook Vineyards NV Blueberry. Now, when it comes to fruit wines, there are a lot of hits and misses when it comes to blueberry. Think about all the different fruits out there that you see in your grocery stores – blueberries are definitely one of the smallest. So, naturally, it takes a lot of work to get an intense, true to life, taste from such small berries in a bottle of blueberry wine, but Ann Sperling and her team at Southbrook Vineyards manages to do just that. At the winery, they refer to their Blueberry Wine as “Courageous. On the wild side, with a hint of northern herbs.”

Southbrook Vineyards
581 Niagara Stone Rd, RR#4
Niagara-on-the-Lake, ON
L0S 1J0

Well, we have made it to the final day of the Olympics – and we all know what today brought to Canadian sports. Although Sidney Crosby scored the final goal for us – which was amazing – it’s about more than just him. There were two other guys who scored early on for us and there was Luongo who kept a lot of US goals out of the net. One person alone CANNOT win a hockey game – it was a team effort – so it makes sense to have as our final wine, one that is a blend of different grapes and as sweet as the final victory was - Stratus Wines 2008 Icewine Red. Like the name suggests, this is a red blend in Icewine form but it is the blend that is surprising to most. A classic Meritage blending of Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc and Merlot but instead of Merlot, J-L Groux decided to introduce Syrah into the mix. Young Icewines tend to have flavours that are not completely developed and need some aging time in a cellar to make them really interesting. That is not the case with this wine as it is already showing floral and berry characteristics and, more importantly, it doesn’t show a bell pepper flavour component which is common with some Cabernet Franc grapes. Given the superb flavour of this icewine, it is only fitting that we choose to end our series of wines to drink through the Olympics with on the night of the Men’s Hockey Gold medal game and the closing ceremonies. Available for purchase, at the price of $39.85 a bottle, at the winery or online.

Stratus Wines
2059 Niagara Stone Road
Niagara-on-the-Lake, ON L0S 1J0

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