Archive for the ‘Sweet White’ Category

I was in the mood for something VERY spicy! Once in a while I get those misguided urges and order some expensive Thai food from the restaurant across the street.  This time it was PANANG GAI aka Hot Red Curry with Chicken. As I waited for the chow to arrive, I studied the vino…

I’ve always reserved Gewürztraminer for my forays into hot&spicy Asian cuisine, so this Liebfraumilch is going to be an adventure!

Hrm… a mild nose of honey with grapefruit and pear; the sugary essence was almost thick on the nostrils.  A very tentative sip drew incredible sweetness to the palate to the point of too much!  Though sweet, there were great fruit flavors of juicy peaches and fresh apricots.  I’m not a lover of sickly-sweet table wines all by themselves so I put the bottle back in the fridge until dinner got here.

Its about time!  The delivery boy was out of breath – I bet he ran all the way across the street rather than driving.  I could have stepped out to get it myself but feh – free delivery for residents of my condo complex, so why not take advantage of the perk.  YIKES!!!  This has got to be the hottest red curry ever!! *cough. I rolled a mouthful of the wine around my tongue and was surprised at how effectively the heat was carried away by its sweetness!  Talk about extremes canceling each other out.

With a lot of residual sugar, save this for sipping WITH hot chow or as an aperitif for someone who really likes sweet wines. I forgot to take a picture of the bottle before uncorking and it just would not have looked the same empty, so it went straight to the recycle bin.  There ARE a few images out there on Google search, but none I’d repost here.

Not the greatest German offering I’ve tasted; I’d not buy it again for myself.

LCBO/Vintages ~$13/btl.



The day started with a passable breakfast at the new restaurant adjacent to the hotel and we were soon on the road this bright and sunny and WINDY day. Once on the picturesque Niagara Parkway, we ambled along the edge of the gorge stopping at a few outlooks for pictures.  The drive was splendid and relaxing and though our tour reservations were for 1pm, we left with plenty of time for sight-seeing. One particular stop was at the Whirlpool and its one-of-a-kind-on-the-planet Spanish AeroCar!  A marvel of modern early 20th century engineering!  You won’t catch me on it!

We arrived at the winery at lunch time and relaxed in the Welcome Center with a Mozzarella & Parmesan cheese board, dry Riesling and Chardonnay as our wines.  Watching as people explored the courtyard or enjoyed their own snacks was interesting. The couple that shared our little snack space and also in our tour group were visiting from Milwaukee on their honeymoon. We proudly announced this as our 7th anniversary.  A nice couple.

The tour started with a basic introduction to the founders and theirhistory leading up to today.  Rather than rewrite all that, please visit the Inniskillin website and explore.  As our guide was yammering on about this and that, a truck rumbled into the lot, and the workers proceeded to start emptying into the crusher/de-stemmer. Aha! These Chardonnay grapes were plump and firm and felt ready to burst!

The tour meandered through quite a bit of the place, stopping here and there at various points along the production line. The main fermentation tanks are massive vats two stories tall and gleaming stainless steel! Below ground in their conference room and ageing cellars, various barrels and rooms held some of their test-batches and premier reserves.  I think the guide mentioned that with the barrels lining the pictured chamber, the Cabernet Sauvignon they held would be for private stock or special presentation wine. Not sure that that means, but I’ll bet the bottles would be expensive!!

At the end of the tour, was the much anticipated tasting! A Chardonnay Reserve, a Meritage and a Vidal Icewine…

Chardonnay VQA Reserve 2009: Pineapple and mango, hints of spice and vanilla fill the nose of this fully-oaked Chard. Tropical and creamy on the palate with a mineral finish. (LCBO ~$15/btl)

Meritage 2009: Cranberry and spice dominate thru an alcohol-evident aroma. The texture is smooth with a juicy tannin that leads to a lingering spicy finish. Not the most sophisticated Meritage I’ve tried but fun in this setting. I’m unsure of its availability or pricing.

Icewine Vidal VQA 2007: Oh my! At first sip, I thought it was pure honey. The second sip was a fascinating experience filled with lychee, dried apricot and fig. A balanced sweetness, though with the alcohol caressing the back of the throat. Not entirely sure of this style of wine as this is only the second time I’ve chanced to taste an icewine. (LCBO ~$50/btl @372ml.)

In the boutique, I found a Montague Estate Pinot Noir VQA 2004! Made with select grapes from their Montague Estate (sub-appellation: Four Mile Creek) this already 7yo Pinot is said to be a passable vintage carrying ripe red fruit and spice… I’ve now stored the bottle safely away with the plan of uncorking it on our 14th anniversary on 10-Oct-2018. I hope the fellow at the counter was correct in his assertion that this Pinot can be safely aged for up to 20 years… (winery only ~$25/btl)

A wonderful outing! Now we’re heading back to the hotel to freshen up before dinner and a trip to Fallsview Casino Resort!




**image credit: ME!!  I took all these picture myself. Logos and facilities are obviously copyrighted to the winery and shared under personal use. Want to see more of the images from Inniskillin, drop me a note and i’ll see what i can dig up for you.

Of all the vinos in my diary from the early 00’s, this Jaune d’Or Port is still one of those extraordinary dessert wines that, to this day, have yet to be encountered a rival.

“But Porto is RED!”  I’m hearing you shout. “Rich, dense and luscious!”

Aha!  But, my dear readers, this most unique White Port is like nothing else I have ever tried!

On another trip to the TwinCities of Minneapolis/St Paul, an excursion to a couple wineries in this Minnesota AVA was planned and enjoyed. Chateau St. Croix is just over the state line into the recognized Wisconsin AVA in the flood-plain of the St Croix river. This is  a well-designed new-world winery with an old-world styled manor-house in a Classical French design complete with lion-topped entry pillars and two suits of armor!  This place felt really nice.

Pre-tour, the tasting bar offered a few standard varieties – Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Sauvignon Blanc and Chardonnay.  As my tasting notes help me recall, the first three were run-of-the-mill.  The Chardonnay was dee-lish!  Fully oaked la-dee-da…  I even savored a full glass as the guide led us thru the tour.  Upon the tour’s completion, we were allowed to sample one more of their wines.

I chose this port as I just adore Port and have never seen a ‘white’ one.

The bouquet was crisp and sweet – like a freshly-baked sugar cookie. The first sip was overwhelmingly succulent with hints of papaya and anise.  Sip number two brought forth the full intensity of this most divine liquid!  Rich honey and licorice, long reminders of cream and vanilla and an almost whiskey-like presence has this 20.4% alc/vol stuff in a category all its own.

Available in VERY limited realease from the winery only, this American Golden Port is a rare treasure.  Keep your eyes peeled to their website for the announcement  of a new release. Be warned that the price is commensurate to its release and availability.

Chateau St Croix Jaune d’Or 2004.  For maximum experience, sip lightly chilled all by itself.

Truly unique – an unrequited love.



**image credit – Chateau St Croix winery – used under Fair Use Provisions for Review and Critique

As everyone is by now well aware, I live within a stone’s throw of Ontario’s Niagara Region; renowned for its viticulture. I travel to many places often in search of regional wineries and their respective wines.

For the Labor Day weekend, I traveled to the wonderful Twin Cities for the Minnesota State Fair. Though there wasn’t  a booth set up for any of the local wineries (that I could see) I had heard that the University of Minnesota had been hybridizing various varieties of grapes with more hardy and cold-resistant v. riparia vines. One such complex hybrid is the Frontenac grape.

This full-textured wine poured into the tulip glass to shine in a brilliant straw color.  The aroma was of light citrus and faint wisps of spice. Almost too sweet for my liking, the rich ripe pear and peach flavors masked the 12.5% alcohol content.  Though very unique and definitely a regional thing, I’m not that struck on it.  Pleasing in flavor, to be sure, but overly sweet for much else than an after-dinner sipper or at its $14/btl price point, a rather nice base for a white wine punch.