Andrew Moffit's Public Weblog.

Tuesday, May 24, 2005

May 2-4 Weekend Wine Tour

I went on a Niagara region winery tour this past long weekend. I was expecting to get 'wedding drunk', but due to the outragious number of all-I-could-eat restaurants I oinked out at, that didn't happen.

First stop was Puddicombe Farms in Winona. I scored their cranberry wine (made with cranberries instead of grapes) the highest ranking of the tour with a 4 out of 10. 3.5/10 was my purchasing threshhold, and I ended up buying 5 bottles of wine. They had 5 tastes for $1, but when I pulled out a $100 bill, they indicated to nevermind about the fee.

Next stop was Kittling Ridge, complementary tasting on their normal wines, a $0.50 charge for their older more limited supplies.

Then to Birchwood Estate. They were CLOSED if you can believe it. then a short trip down the road to;

Royal DeMaria. This was an interesting place. Canada's only all icewine winery. All their wines were very expensive, and one was $5000 per bottle, some sort of mixture of 2 (or 3?) icewines. This winery was selected to present her majesty Queen Elizabeth II a set of 5 of their best icewines during her golden jubilee celebration last year. We were also told a story of Richard Branson coming in and buying a whole box of very very expensive wine. They didn't know it was him at the time, but later learned who he was. I'm not a big fan of icewine I've learned. Too thick and sweet.

Next stop was Willow Heights. The most luxorious winery thus far. I bought the Mediterranean Romance. A 3 on the sugar scale -- I believe it was mixed with Brandy, and the alchohol content was high and the price cheap.

Then to Kacaba Vineyards. I didn't like any of the wines here, although I only tried dry reds. The cobblestones were uneven on the path up, that or I had a little to much to drink...

Next stop was the black eye of the whole tour. Cave Spring. It was nestled in a very nice little village (Jordan Village). Too bad the lady in the winery shop was a snobby biddy. She offered to break my $100 bill over at the bar, I then declined due to the fact I would have $99.50 left after she broke it. We left in disgust for Cave Spring, Jordan and The Inn on the Twenty.

Then to Flat Rock Cellars we went.. Don't go here unless you want to pay $1.00 per taste! What an outrage!!! I guess they have to pay for their semi-interesting architechural (so called) masterpiece that is the winery shop. We left without a second glance at what wines they may have had that were good. It was getting close to 6pm the normal latest that the wineries are open on Saturday... So we rushed towards the next one;

Creekside Estate Winery. The people at this one were a delight, I think we all bought something from here. I bought a red of some sort, I think... There was a sign that said there was a charge per drink, but we just ignored it, and they never mentioned it. They recommended that if we wanted to try one more winery within range before 6pm that we rush to;

Henry of Pelham Family Estate Winery. We actually didn't make it in time to taste all of their wines, but they had some reds still out on the bar and agreed to let us taste those. I wasn't fond of any of those wines, but a summary of the history of the name was interesting. Something to do with England back in the day giving land to people who fought in the war. here's a (Link) to the history on their webpage.

Day 2

After a stay at the Courtyard Marriott in Niagara Falls, a visit to the casinos, restaurants and a trip through Nightmares, we were back on the tour.

The first stop was Maleta Vineyards & Estate Winery. This was the smallest winery so far, but the lady was very pleasant and even gave us a box for us to put our bottles of wine in, which had previously been rolling around the trunk. I bought some sort of red wine from here. She recommended we try the next stop;

Coyotes Run Estate Winery. A nice winery with a businessesque feel.. I didn't care for any of the wines I sampled here, but their jelly spread for their crackers was the best so far!

Next was Marynissen Estates Winery. A dog slept in this wine shop stinking up the place. I didn't care very much for their wines either, the lady that was serving didn't have any useful information, it was like she was a bartender -- not a wine specialist and she would have rather been somewhere else.

Then to the famous Inniskillin Wines. One of the more outragously priced places to taste wine, the only reason we lingered was due to a self tour they had. I was looking to teach them a lesson somehow for not having free tastings, but I couldn't think of anything.

Reif Estate Winery was the next stop. First taste was free here, so I chose wisely, a sugar code 2 cabernet gamay -- it wasn't too bad, but I wasn't about to buy it because I wanted to sample more.. Anyways on to

Lailey Vineyard. This place was too busy, so we didn't get a chance to check it out.

Our last stop (because of how busy it was and how tired we were) was my favorite wine company; Peller Estates. It was the nicest and biggest place yet, and had a restaurant and all kinds of other things. We didn't stay long because it was busy and they didn't offer much in the way of free tasting, I had a sip of something, but it wasn't very tasty. I came away from this place with the name Peller leaving a bad taste in my mouth!

We definitely had a better wine tasting experience in the Niagara Escarpment region (Grimsby, Jordon, Vineland), and next time I go wine tasting I'll try to concentrate my time in that area only... Some day I'll find a wine that's MINE.


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