2015 Wine Touring Highlights

2015 was a year of discovery while wine touring in Prince Edward County and beyond.

I emerged from winter cold storage in May for Terroir in the County and my blog 42 Splashes of Wine outlined the joys and dangers of being a wine blogger and elicited some much needed advice from other wine bloggers afterwards on the protocols of spitting. I’m looking forward to next year’s Terroir when hopefully I will be able to walk a straight line on my way back to the car, which is never driven by me.

Terroir set the tone and provided the leads for some of the most fun writing assignments I had this year. Continue reading

Spring Wines / Bay of Quinte Tourism Site

Please visit my blog Spring Offerings at Prince Edward County Wineries at the Bay of Quinte Tourism website

5 Top Reasons to take a Wine Tour

On the road with Niagara Vintage Wine Tours

On the road with Niagara Vintage Wine Tours

Treat yourself to a real wine tour in 2015 – the kind with a bus, a guide and an itinerary. It’s worth the cost in terms of information, safety and pure enjoyment. Here are my top five reasons why to pay for the experience, at least for the first visit to a wine region.

1 No Designated Drivers

It’s hard not to swallow when you are tasting wines even if you are just taking a little sip, they add up. Designated drivers often succumb to the “just a taste” offers of their friends. The cost of an official wine tour is a fraction of the cost of a DUI charge and the consequences of losing your licence. Pay for the tour, and you will all have fun, learn a lot and come home with a Continue reading

Where is PEC in Vintages Essentials?

Vintages Essentials129Vintages Essentials Magazine from the LCBO is out. This classy magazine tells Ontario wine lovers the essential top 130 wines to have in your wine cellar. There is not a single Prince Edward County wine on the list.

There are a 25 from Niagara, three from BC and  102 from the rest of the world.  The LCBO is a government owned monopoly in Ontario, it rakes off a lot of taxes from the sale of wine both through its stores and at the wineries themselves and yet it seem to think that only a couple of dozen Ontario wines, spread across the entire spectrum of wines and only from Niagara grapes, can be called “essential.”  What is the criteria?

I find this so ironic. Two weeks ago, I interviewed Norman Hardie, a leading Prince Edward County winery owner and winemaker, who said “The amazing terroir and soils of Prince Edward County have allowed us to make world-class wines.” Continue reading

South African “braai” wines

Sosaties picture from the Wats4Eats website http://www.whats4eats.com/meats/sosaties-recipe

Sosaties picture from the Wats4Eats website
http://www.whats4eats.com/meats/sosaties-recipe

It’s South Africa’s National Braai Day today Sept 24.  Braai means Barbecue. You might ask why we are celebrating Barbecue Day now when winter is just over the horizon, but for South Africans who are in the southern hemisphere this is the first of spring, when you set the chairs on the deck despite the cool breezes and say “Come on sun, bring on the good times.”

I guess that’s why they market Canada’s Braai Day on Sept 20 before the first day of fall as a final celebration of the great barbecues of the summer before you put the patio furniture away Continue reading

Why did I hate this wine?

Melnik Castle, a thousand years of history, the largest vineyard in Bohemia, impressive barrel cellars that may once have been dungeons, and massive oak wine barrels built on site emblazoned with the family crest and other carvings. What’s not to love?

Actually, the wine. Continue reading

Wine and Laughter at Rosehall Theatre

Step on the gas, don’t let Test Drive at Rosehall Theatre pass you by.

Rosehall Theatre has got to be one of the nicest venues to spend a summer evening. Theatre goers are on risers under a large canopy close to the stage with a back drop of acres of Rosehall Run vines. The play put on by Festival Players could be a disaster but you’d still enjoy the view. Which is why, when I was told I could exchange my opening night tickets to Test Drive for later in the season, I bet on the view.

TestDriveGraphicThe problem was that the lead actor had left the show and his replacement, Douglas Hughes, had only had six days to prepare to take his place. The director, Sarah Phillips, confessed to the opening night crowd, she had absolutely no idea how the show would go but we were to expect some ad-libbing, surprises and even the odd whispered cue. Continue reading

Striking gold at the All Canadian Wine Championships

I love reading the Awards list for the All Canadian Wine Championships  .It felt like old home week, when I could catch up on old friends and see how well they are doing and look for what wines to buy and wineries to visit.  As a former Maritimer, the success of Nova Scotia and New Brunswick wineries was intoxicating.

Avondale Sky Winery

Avondale Sky Winery

Last year, I visited Avondale Sky for the first tine,  a picturesque new winery built in an historic church that they had rescued from demolition and floated across the bay on a barge to its new home on their vineyard. The winemaker is a very engaging young man, Ben Swetnam, and I liked everything I tasted. Obviously the people at the ACWC did too.  They won double gold in single white hybrids for their 2013 Bliss, gold for their hybrid white blend Cheverie 2012, bronze for their 2013 Tidal Bay. and bronze for their late harvest Martock 2013.

Continue reading

It’s Nova 7 Time – across Canada!

BB winery 3I discovered Benjamin Bridge Nova 7 last spring when I visited Nova Scotia. The friendly folks at Bishop’s Cellar, one of the province’s four private wine stores, described a marketing campaign for the Nova 7 annual release similar to that of  Beaujolais Nouveau.

They told me about  publicity that leads up to its Victoria Day Weekend release and  banners proclaiming “it’s Nova 7 Time!”   festooning an entire wall of their wine store stocked high with bottles of Nova 7. It’s routinely sold out as  the enthusiastic customers rush to purchase a summer supply.

This year Benjamin Bridge, the not so secret weapon of the Nova Scotia wine industry, is taking on the country. With the largest production ever for the small Gaspereau Valley winery, they have 11,000 cases of Nova 7 on their way to market in eight provinces and the Yukon. Only Saskatchewan and Newfoundland  have been left out in the cold. Continue reading

Gewurz Eggs – April Wines

Fermentation EggsThis was going to be my April Fool’s Blog about how Gewurztraminer wine is hatched from eggs. I even had a photo to prove it but last week was so frantic I didn’t get it written.

Several Prince Edward County Wineries make surprisingly good Gewurztraminer Lacey Estates, Sugarbush and Lighthal Vineyards leap to mind but really the climate in Niagara and Pelée Island gives their wineries a better chance of getting the full Gevurz flavour right.

 
The wine: Carlton Vineyard Outlier Gewurztraminer. 2012  $25
This  Showcase wine is called Outlier because it comes from a patch of Gerwurz vines in a section of Carlton Vineyards where it is surrounded by red wine  vines. It picked late in the season at full ripeness. Continue reading