Posts Tagged ‘Niagara-on-the-Lake’

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.

Its becoming incredibly difficult to find a barrel-aged Chardonnay these days.  I’m having to look more closely at a lot of Chardonnay labels to determine stainless steel or barrel finishing.  So when I spotted this last bottle of Strewn Winery’s Ontario Premium Barrel-Aged Chardonnay VQA 2008 on the shelf at my local LCBO, I snagged it not caring about its $13.95 price tag.

I made the mistake of putting the bottle in the fridge this morning – to make it good and cold for sipping after a hard day at the office. Huge mistake!  Far too cold and muted, the first impression on my nostrils was BACON!  Oh my! What have I done! *grumble   (who doesn’t like bacon, but really – wine?! No!)  I stoppered the bottle, saved the cork, (I was very pleased to see the wine maker chose to use a natural (if not lower grade) cork) and let the bottle rest on the counter.  Twenty or so minutes later as my honey and dijon marinated pork chop neared completion on the grill, I took up the wine again.

Much better!  A lightly spiced baked apple aroma confirms the barrel-aging was accomplished in a combination of American and French oak, lightly toasted. The lustrous golden color and 12.5% alc/vol offered a smooth flavor of cling-stone peaches and subtle flowery tickles.  Moderate acidity and medium-bodied in mouth feel with only a faint wisp of lingering wood; the finish carries a decently pleasing, fairly complex mineral twang.

I have no idea what supplies of this wine are like at various LCBO stores, so check their website.  If you’re not into fresh Ontario pork as much as I am to go with this basic barrel-aged Chardonnay, try it with a home-made Alfredo Linguine! The interaction of the rich sauce and assertive wine would be most pleasing!




*image credit – Strewn Winery – fair use provisions for review and critique.