Wine Your Through Niagara: The Hare Wine Co.

The Hare Wine Co. is a beautiful new winery to Niagara on the Lake, opening it’s reclaimed barn doors in 2016. Located on the mature and bountiful lands of Niagara , the estate winery vineyard was named after the hare for it’s symbolism of fertility and good fortune. When guests enter estate, the Hare Wine Co. wants you to experience a shift in time to the founding days of the region. I definitely got this feeling as a sipped my VQA wine in the tasting room built from rustic and repurposed wood, metal and brick materials. Plus, gotta love all the bunny imagery!

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The Wine Hare Co. has four series of wines, all with pretty rabbit labels perfect to pick up at the winery for spring get-togethers! We tried wines from the Jack Rabbit, Crown Land and Frontier Collection. We also used our Winemakers Selections Tasting Pass to sample the late harvest vidal and icewine. The winemaker has really told the story of the vintage and crafted some uniquely Niagara wine. We left with two bottles from the Jack Rabbit series to enjoy this Easter.

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The tasting room is open daily and no appointment is necessary to visit the tasting bar. The Hare Wine Co. offers a flight of 3 wines for $5, and the fee is waived with the purchase of a bottle. In addition to the daily tastings, there always seems to be a fun upcoming event! My mom and I will be back on April 28th for the Etsy Spring Market. Local shopping and wine sounds like the perfect day to me!

Cheers!~GDW

Wines for Easter Dinner

If you’re like me and always put in charge of bringing the wine to family celebrations, then I’m sure you’ve started thinking about what will pair best with Easter dinner. Most Easter dinners involve pork or bird roasts that are complimented best by medium-bodied white and red wines. I’ve found three local Ontario wines that will work great with your dinner and satisfy different wine tastes. Each bottle is under $20 and available at most LCBO locations. I suggest picking them up now before that the weekend rush!

Strewn Chardonnay Barrel Aged VQA

The Strewn Chardonnay from Niagara is a full-bodied and rich white that will pair really well with turkey or Cornish hen. It has toasty peach aromas and buttery fruit flavours. If you tend to steer away from oaked Chardonnays because of their overwhelming butteriness, you don’t have to worry with the Strewn Chardonnay as it’s really balanced with good acidity and a clean finish.

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G. Marquis The Silver Line Pinot Noir

The more adventurous culinary family is having lamb or duck for their Easter dinner, and these types of meats deserve a delicate and refined red wine. The G. Marquis Pinot Noir is a medium-bodied dry red that will match the flavours of the lamb or duck nicely. It’s really elegant with a smokey spice aroma, cherry flavours and a hint of violet.

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Cave Spring Dry Rosé VQA

The Cave Spring Rosé is a versatile and food friendly wine. It will pair well without a lot of menus, but particularly if you’re having ham or salmon. This rosé is a medium-bodied dry wine made up of 57% Pinot Gris, 18% Riesling, 14% Pinot Noir, 7% Cabernet Franc, 4% Gamay. It’s lovely aroma of ripe red cherries is followed by flavours of red berries and finished with a refreshing acidity.

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Hope you have a wonderful Easter weekend filled with fresh new wines for Spring!

Cheers!~GDW

 

 

 

Wine Your Way Through Niagara: Kew Vineyards Estate Winery

This is the first post in a new series, “Wine Your way Through”, and I’m starting with what has to be the cutest winery in Niagara, Kew Vineyards Estate Winery. I visited the winery with my family last month and had a wonderful afternoon sipping bubbly in their pretty tasting room. Kew Vineyards encourages guests to soak in, waste time and enjoy their experience on the estate and with their wines – I definitely felt this warm hospitality when I found myself several hours later finished a cheese board and second tasting flight!

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Located in the Beamsville Bench on a 160 year-old estate, Kew Vineyards has some of Niagara’s first Riesling vines, brought over from Germany by Mr. Hermann Weis in 1975. Since then, Kew Vineyards has been passionate about growing uniquely Niagara terroir wines, allowing the cool climate vineyard tell it’s story. Today, they are well known for their sparkling wines, producing several different types.

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On my visit the Kew Vineyards, I started with the bubbly flight for $10 and tried the 2013 Blanc de Noirs, 2013 Tradition and the 2010 Rosalie. We also ordered the cheese board and finished with a tasting flight of the reds. The Blanc de Noirs, Organic Pinot Noir and Chardonnay bread dipper from Wildly Delicious came home with us. This was all enjoyed in the prettiest tasting room with pleasant and helpful hosts. Kew Vineyards was also very accommodating, allowing us to bring our little Frenchie girl!

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I can’t wait to go back this summer and enjoy the beautiful outdoor space!

Cheers!~GDW

 

Books & Wine, Review of Drink Pink: A Celebration of Rosé

As rosé becomes more popular, Victoria James’s book “Drink Pink: A Celebration of Rose” could not have come at a better time to help us truly appreciate the pink drink. James guides the reader through the history of rosé, how and where it’s made, and delicious food pairings and recipes.  This informative and enjoyable book is a delightful read that reminds us rosé is “…what wine is all about, pleasure and simplicity” and that “no other wine embodies the joie de vivre like rosé.”

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The first part of “Drink Pink: A Celebration of Rosé” provides a comprehensive history of rosé, from it’s birthplace in ancient Greece to it’s popular rise in North American today. James explains that as rosé becomes trendier, producers are rushing to meet high demands which often leads to a decrease in quality. According to James, these rosés often “…have no soul, no sense of place, and are not a reflection of the centuries of tradition that made the wine what it once was.” I was surprised to learn that I should run when I see a bottle with the words “whisper” and “angel” on it! Have I been drinking bad rosé all along? James does not leave me in fear and walks the reader through the best rosé regions and varietals. I’m left feeling educated and excited to seek out and enjoy great rosé.

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The last half of the book is filled with wonderful food pairings and recipes from well known chefs and leaders in the wine industry. Their words wholly support James’s belief that, “the beauty of rosé is its versatility – how it straddles the line between red and white. It is the perfect pairing for many foods (tapas, cocktail spreads, main dishes) – all year long.” You’re left wondering how you ever thought rosé was restricted to summer months only! Not only does James provide instruction for delicious sounding all-season dishes, but she paints a beautiful picture about where and how they should be enjoyed with rosé.  I hope that when I attempt the Roasted Chicken Provencal, the experience is as magical as James describes!

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In addition to the book’s great lessons, history and recipes, “Drink Pink: A Celebration of Rosé” is filled with amazing illustrations by Lyle Railsback. The over 75 full colour pictures are the perfect accompaniment to James’s rosé guide. With the image of a grape bunch giving blood, I’m sure I will never forget the saignee (“bleeding”) method for making rosé! Railsback’s drawings really embody all of the fun and charm of this book.

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Whether you’re already a rosé fan or haven’t been swayed yet, I highly recommend reading “Drink Pink: A Celebration of Rosé” to really appreciate the pink drink. Curl up in your favourite reading chair, pour yourself a glass and “…celebrate how amazing rosé can be.”

Cheers! ~ GDW

Girl on a Budget: Wines Under $10

Sometimes a girl is on a budget and needs decent wine for cheap. While it’s nice to drink expensive vintages, there are times that call lower price point wines, like a when you’re hosting a big party or saving for a trip. But a girl on a budget does not mean that good taste has to be compromised! I’ve rounded up my top three wines from the LCBO that are under $10 and don’t taste like bathwater.

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1. Beso de Vino

Beso de Vino is a red blend from Spain. It’s a full bodied dry wine with a deep purple colour.  I was introduced to it by a friend several years ago and it’s been a constant go to since then for hosting, gifting and weeknight drinks. Beso de Vino is a crowd pleaser! I haven’t met someone that doesn’t enjoy this easy going wine. It’s has luscious dark fruit flavours with a hint of spice and licorice. Available at the LCBO for $9.95.

2. L’Orangeraie Rosé

If you’re in the mood for Rosé, the L’Orangeraie is a great budget friendly option. From the South of France, this wine is medium bodied and extra dry with good acidity. Notes of herb, bell pepper and floral are followed by tart cherry and citrus flavours. A classic example of a southern French Rosé, L’Orangeraie is sure to please any pink drink lover. When I was first putting together this post, L’Orangeraie was at the LCBO for under $10, but recently increased to $10.25 – still a good deal!

3. Two Ocean’s Sauvignon Blanc

Most wine drinkers at some point have probably had the Two Ocean’s Sauvignon Blanc. This white wine from South Africa is light bodied and dry  with flavours that will not offend anyone. Easy drinking and crisp, the Two Ocean’s Sauvignon Blanc has light tastes of soft citrus and grapefruit. It’s guaranteed to be enjoyed on a hot summers day! The 750ml bottle is $9.95 at the LCBO, but you can get the 1500ml bottle for only $17.95 – perfect if you’re hosting a summer party!

Cheers!~GDW

 

February Wine Faves

I’m really excited to be starting a new blog series on my favourite wines of the month. The first post is about my wine faves from February. There’s a good mix of varietals, regions and price range. I also have a liqueur listed that isn’t a wine, but I was so impressed I had to include it! Take a read below for my thoughts on each of the wines and links to details at the LCBO.

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  1. The 2016 G.Marquis Chardonnay is a full-bodied and rich Ontario wine, perfect for winter white sipping – $17.95.
  2. The 2014 Frog’s Leap Zinfandel was one of my favourite wines from my trip to Napa last year and is now available at the LCBO! – $49.95.
  3. The 2016 Domaine des Aspes is a French blend of Chardonnay and Viognier that offers the perfect balance of crisp vibrancy and rich creaminess – $16.96.
  4. The 13th Street Cuvée Brut Rosé is everything I love about a sparkling wine; delicate bubbles, bright acidity and a creamy finish – $27.95.
  5. The Henry of Pelham VQA Rosé is dry, fruity and easy drinking. Definitely a crowd pleaser – $14.95.
  6. The Cave Spring Cellars Pinot Gris is a wonderfully perfumed and aromatic wine that you should definitely try if you haven’t explored this style – $16.95.
  7. The Julia Florista is a full bodied and fruity red blend new into the LCBO from Portugal. Great value! – $8.95.
  8. The 2012 Château Mont-Redon is everything wonderful you expect from a Châteauneuf-du-Pape! It’s a good price point to start your exploration of this amazing French region – $45.95.
  9. The Sandbanks French Kiss is a great option if you’re looking for a full-bodied Ontario red – $19.95.
  10. The Hidden Bench Estate Pinot Noir is a 10/10 for me and could not be any better! The perfect mix of earth, herbs, smokiness and cherry – $31.95.
  11. The VQA Pelee Island Lola Blush is a light and fruity sparkling wine perfect for enjoying with friends – $14.95.
  12. St. Germain is a French liqueur made with elderflower blossoms. Adding this liqueur to sparkling wine makes a beautiful cocktail – $14.95-$49.95.

 

Cheers! – GDW

Sparkling Rose Gin Cocktail

This sparkling rose gin cocktail is super easy to make and perfect for spring. I made this drink as the signature cocktail for the Dawna Styles Pop-Up shop a couple weeks ago and it was a big hit! Read below for the recipe.

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Ingredients

1/2 oz Dillon’s Rose Gin

1 oz St. Germain

2 oz Prosecco

How to Make

Fill cocktail shaker with handful of ice

Add Dillon’s Rose Gin & St. Germain

Shake & pour into cocktail glass

Top with Prosecco

If you can find edible flowers, that would be a perfect addition to finish off the drink!

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Cheers! – GDW