Friday, November 12, 2010

Tasting Niagara

To taste

So, another tasting trip to Niagara recorded in the tasting notebook. A very educational trip this time, expanding my understanding of the 2009 vintage, getting a glimpse of 2010, and gaining more insight into what works or not in Niagara. Highlights: the 2009 rieslings are stunning. Precise, austere, and aggressive, needing a long time in bottle. Syrah is going to be an important varietal in Niagara, as long as more producers are courageous enough to commit to it. The ones who make it are showing that intense, complex, and varietally-true syrahs can be made in Niagara that rival any cool-climate examples from the rest of the world . . . if only there was more courage. Until there is, we have to celebrate and support the few producers who are working hard for these wines. My dream is to see every single cabernet vine ripped out of Niagara, and replaced with syrah. One can dream, no?

Tasting at Thirty Bench Wine Makers
Tasting at Flat Rock Cellars
Tasting at Fielding Estate Winery

Finished the day off with a mad dash to Upper Canada Cheese, to pick up a hunk of their sublime Niagara Gold Guernsey Cow's milk cheese. Then, a 30 km sprint to Niagara on the Lake, to pick up raspberry jam at Greaves. Not for me - I'm pretty sure my mother would not let me back in her house if she knew I was in Niagara and didn't pick up her favourite jam. Early dinner at my favourite spot, Old Winery Restaurant. The spiced curry lentil soup was beautifully seasoned, although a bit gritty in texture. The Mediterranean pizza was so satisfying, with artichoke heart, olives, sun-dried tomatoes, and feta cheese - crust perfectly thin and crispy. After a long day of tasting dozens of wines, the only thing suitable for dinner was a pint of Alexander Keith's India Pale Ale. The perfect pick-me-up for the long, congested drive back to Toronto.


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