Two weekends have passed and it seems that Niagara is exhibiting a Merlot glow of sorts, and much of that is thanks to the celebratory ground that is Montebello Park! With families cheering on the jump-and-bouncers in the massive kids section, people winning free flights with West Jet and diving into some of the decadence that was featured throughout… we are happy to close the cover and call the 2013 Niagara Wine Festival a success.
While celebratory toasts seemed to be the conversation of the day, the Educate Your Senses seminars at the Niagara College Mobile Culinary Theatre were an exciting opportunity for visitors to learn more about Niagara’s wine and their senses. Hosted by Dr. Linda Bramble, a prominent member of the Niagara wine community and highly regarded wine professional, the seminars paired a culinary expert with a winemaker to showcase the elements of each that result in an exquisite tasting experience. With each pairing seemingly more perfect than the last, we felt sure this would become a new tradition at the festival. Many positive notes were shared from the experience and the consensus was that it was a wonderful opportunity to get to know more about what you were indulging in.
Beyond this were the individual winery booths where visitors had the opportunity to select wines from various locations and chat with winery staff about the vinous offerings. It was our pleasure to stop in with the following locations:
A winery known best for a classic blend and a dedication to three cool climate varietals, Flat Rock Cellars is a major player in the local industry. On the tasting docket for the day was the 2010 Twisted, a fruitful blend of Riesling, Gewurztraminer and Chardonnay.
The winery is located on the Twenty Mile Bench in Jordan and is a unique location known for its architecture, which is beautiful but carefully planned to facilitate a gravity flow winemaking facility. The tasting room features the best view in Niagara with a direct view to Toronto across the beautiful vineyards, Jordan farmland and Lake Ontario.
In tasting this wine we learned the beautiful palate-pleasing qualities of this unique blend (they claim the first of its kind) and the pairing potential with spicy foods. We developed a bit of a craving for Pad Thai!
This winery was of particular interest as it represented the marrying of two local institutions for a very cool project with delicious results: Konzelmann and HTZ FM, one of the stations that calls the big white house of rock in downtown St. Catharines home.
The introduction of the wine coincided with the Niagara Wine Festival and was debuted through the event series. The wine is a Merlot and it embodies all of the classic elements that will make it a table must for the hearty meals of winter that are ahead.
The palate is blackberry aplenty with whispers of chocolate and cherry. Balanced beautifully, the fruitful palate is dry but sings the notes of a sweet song as the soft but present tannins do their dutiful job ensuring that the mouth feel is full and rich. Delicious.
A Niagara Institution, we have discussed this winery before and you can be sure that we will discuss their vinous expertise again. In the past we have focused on their Riesling, and this was indeed an option in Montebello Park, but today we talk Cabernet Franc.
Available at the booth was the 2010 Cabernet Franc, and it seems the ideal wine for the autumn menus soon to grace our tables. This wine makes a regular appearance on the perfect pairings list. This Cab Franc is indicative of its vintage, with 2010 being a hot year, the wine is full and rich with flavour in the glass. Well balanced and food ready this wine is an excellent companion for a Sunday roast, mushroom gravy or a sturdy rich dish like risotto.
Well-known for creativity in the bottle, the inclusion of this winery is always a highlight of the Marché-style wine experience. For a winery that once swore that blended wines would never be their modus operandi, it is interesting and wonderful to see so many unique creations gracing their location.
A personal favourite that must be shared is the Guilty Men Red. This wine is available through the LCBO and is a blend of Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and Pinot Noir. An unusual combo to begin with, the flavour profile of this wine is exemplary of each. Fruit forward with earthy undertones. This wine is a stellar pick for an affordable but impressive bottle on the wine rack.
As our pairing articles throughout the autumn continue these wines will become more useful in your entertaining arsenal! The Niagara Wine Festival may be over for 2012, but the celebrating of Niagara vines is a year-long affair!