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!
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.
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!
I can’t wait to go back this summer and enjoy the beautiful outdoor space!
Like with fashion, winter doesn’t mean you have to put away your favourite whites. Just as you switch those crisp white shorts to cream velvet pants, same goes for wine. When summer cools with winter, replace your light citrusy whites for more full-bodied aromatic options. Read below for my picks on how to keep white in style all year long.
The 2016 G. Marquis The Silver Line Chardonnay is like wrapping yourself in a soft beige pashmina scarf by a wood-burning fire. Made with 100% barrel aged VQA Niagara grapes, this Chardonnay is full-bodied with warm richness. Lovely notes of honeydew melon, poached pear and florals are followed by smooth toasty flavours of vanilla. A presence of tart green apple and good acidity really structures this wine nicely. Available at the LCBO for $17.95.
The 2016 Norman Hardie Riesling will remind you of a crisp outdoor hike in a sleek white parka. Norman Hardie is a well-known wine producer from Prince Edward County, who’s wine consistently receives rave reviews. The 2016 Riesling has strong mineral notes of wet snowy stone and tastes of baked apple pie. This is a dry wine with an invigoratingly fresh acidity. Available at the LCBO for $21.00.
The Cave Spring Pinot Gris is delicate and elegant, like a beautiful ivory lace blouse worn to a winter dinner party. Located in Beamsville, Ontario, the Cave Springs Winery has a 30-year history of crafting sophisticated cool-climate wines. Their Pinot Gris is wonderfully perfumed and aromatic, with smells of light florals, pear and spices. It’s a medium bodied dry style wine that offers a warm smooth vanilla finish. Available at the LCBO for $16.95.
While you may be reluctant at first to defer away from red wine in the winter, you’ll soon realize that like a beautiful white chunky knit sweater, a full bodied aromatic white wine is a great addition to your winter repertoire.
Cheers! – GDW
You deserve something sparkly this Valentine’s Day! My favourite type of sparkles are the pink ones rising in my coupe champagne glass. If you’re also looking to indulge in some bubbles today, I highly recommend the 13th Street Cuvée Brut Rosé.
The 13th Street Cuvée Brut Rosé is everything I love in a sparkly pink drink. It has delicate bubbles, bright acidity and a creamy finish. Made of 71% Pinot Noir and 29% Chardonnay this wine is considered a blancs de noirs. The majority Pinot Noir grapes give the Cuvée Brut a medium body with lots of interesting flavour and complexity. When you smell your glass of sparkles, you’ll get lovely scents of raspberry macaron, macadamia nut and orange blossom. Sipping on your bubbles, you’ll enjoy the flavours of fresh strawberry chutney on toasted brioche.
This Valentine’s, the 13th Street Cuvée Brut Rosé is definitely the sparkle your should treat yourself to! It’s available at most LCBO locations for $27.95. If you have the opportunity to visit the 13th Street Estate, the Rosé can also be purchased at the winery.
Happy Valentine’s to you! Hope it’s a sparkly one!
Cheers! – GDW
Valentine’s isn’t just about romantic love, but all the loves in your life. Celebrate those special to you like your mom, bestfriend, sister and daughter. And what better way to celebrate your ladies than with wine made by women. Below I’ve selected wines created by female winemakers in Ontario for each of the women in your life.
For your mom, the Henry of Pelham Cuvée Catharine Brut. Sandrine Bourcier, head winemaker at Henry of Pelham, laid the foundation for her wine career in Northern France. The Cuvée Catharine sparkling wine is reflective of Sandrine’s French influence, as it uses the traditional champagne method. Also reflective of it’s Niagara grapes, this wine has fresh flavours of apples and citrus. Named after the matriarch of the Pelham family, the Cuvée Catharine Brut is the perfect wine to gift and enjoy with your own mom.
For your bestfriend, the Malivoire 2016 Ladybug Rosé. With the expertise of assistant wine maker, Elisa Mazzi, Malivoire Winery in Beamsville Ontario has created a really fun Rosé! The Lady Bug Rosé is a medium bodied dry wine bursting with flavours of fresh summer strawberries. It will be best enjoyed with your bff après work on a Wine Wednesday. It’s a friendly wine, pairing well with whatever your cravings may be that night – from thai take-out and a new episode of the Bachelor, to charcuterie and a rerun of Sex and the City.
For your sister, the Southbrook Connect Organic White. The Souhbrook Winery, in Niagara, was the first wine estate in Canada to be both organic and biodynamic certified. This is in large part thanks to the leadership of Ann Sperling, Director of Winemaking and Viticulture. Ann is passionate about vineyard-centric winegrowing, which is noticeable in the lovely Southbrook Organic White. This wine is slightly off-dry with a balanced acidity and flavours of melon and green apple. In the spirit of Southbrook, connect with your roots this Valentine’s and enjoy a glass of wine with your sister.
For your daughter, the Grange of Prince Edward Gamay Noir. The Grange of Prince Edward Winery in Prince Edward County is owned by the mother-daughter winemaking team of Caroline Granger and her daughter Maggie. The wines from their 60-acre farm are 100% estate-grown fruit and reflective of this unique area in Ontario. The Gamay Noir is a dry light bodied red with lively tastes of cherry. I recommend enjoying this wine with your daughter on a Sunday afternoon with a chocolatey treat!
Hope you have a happy Valentine’s Day filled with loved ones and wine!
Cheers! – GDW
I’ve never been a big fan of Valentine’s Day, but have always loved celebrating with my girlfriends. When Leslie Knope introduced the idea of Galentine’s Day, I was definitely on board! This year I celebrated with a 3-course brunch and wine pairing. If you’re not totally sold on the Galentine’s idea, this event could be replicated for any brunch occasion with friends or family – no cheesey hearts involved!
I welcomed my Galentine’s with coffee and baked goods. We had the most delicious coffee from Velvet Sunrise, called Velvet Espresso, and I picked up fresh pastries that morning from my favourite bakery at the St. Lawrence Market, Stonemill Bakehouse. To add a little “fancy” to our brunch, I served the coffee in china teacups and the baked goods on an antique silver tray.
After our caffeine and sugar fix, we moved onto the main event. I made coconut French toast – using coconut milk and a baguette is a really nice alternative. For sides, we had market bacon, berry salad and homemade maple syrup. I served the main course with the Jackson-Triggs Grand Reserve Entourage Sparkling Brut. With warm flavours of toasty brioche and structured tropical acidity, this bubbly paired nicely with the French toast and bacon. I tried this wine for the first time a few weeks ago and haven’t stopped drinking it since! You can purchase it directly from the Jackson Triggs Winery or at select Wine Racks for $29.95.
We finished off our Galentine’s brunch with sugar cookies and pink bubbly. My girlfriend made the cookies using a great recipe from Zoella – these cookies turn out better every time she makes them! I chose the Pelee Island LOLA Rose VQA 2016 to pair with the cookies, and it was a hit! The LOLA Rose is a light and fruity sparkling wine with tastes of strawberry and orange. This wine is one of my local favourites – plus, labels don’t get much prettier than this one! At $14.95, it’s also a great price-point and available at most LCBO stores.
Happy Galentine’s Day!
Cheers! – GDW
On this spookiest of nights you should definitely be drinking a scary themed wine (check out my blog post on Halloween candy pairings). This time of year there are many options available at the LCBO and I have diligently tried most of them in order to recommend the best one. My spookiest wine pick goes to…the Coffin Ridge Riesling Bone Dry.
The Coffin Ridge vineyard and winery is located on the northern end of the Niagara Escarpment in Ontario. An experiment in northern viticulture, Coffin Ridge is Grey County’s first commercial vineyard with vines planted back in 2001. The owners have extensively researched cold climate grapes and chosen varietals, like this Riesling, that are suited to the northern geography. Coffin Ridge uses sustainable viticultural practices and hand picks their grapes where they are then mysteriously transformed from “grape to wine, from life to death.”
The Riesling Bone Dry is true to it’s name and is a light bodied, dry wine. However, it offers an aromatic and flavourful style with tastes of lime, green apple and spices. It has a wonderful smell of an apple pie baking in the kitchen. The perfect wine for a chillingly spooky Halloween night.
Coffin Ridge’s Riesling Bone Dry is available for $17.40 at the LCBO. It is sold out on the winery’s website, but I suggest checking out the online shop for their other wines like Resurrection Rόse and The Dead Red.
Cheers! – GDW
To kick off the Halloween season I hosted a Witches Who Wine party. This was a wine tasting event where I paired wines with Halloween candy.
All my guests festively obliged to wearing their favourite witch hat and best black outfit. Upon arrival to the party, they were greeted with a yummy sparkling apple cider cocktail (recipe coming soon to the blog). Each witch was provided a wine tasting card to score the five wines on appearance, aroma, taste and pairing. And from here, the fun ensued!
This is how I paired the wines and candy:
1. Grenache and Reese peanut butter cups
2. Sauvignon Blanc and Skittles
3. Beaujolais and Nibs
4. Late Autumn Riesling and Mars
5. Zinfandel and Twix
The winning pairing was the Zinfandel and Twix! I enjoyed all of the pairings and suggest trying a few of them out with your leftover Halloween candy. You can find the specific wines chosen for the event at the LCBO, all for under $15.00.
In addition to the candy pairings, I provided a few additional snacks for guests. I put out a small spread of cheeses, fruit, charcuterie and dips. The artichoke dip from Olympic Cheese at the St. Lawrence Market was big hit!
The Witches Who Wine party was a fun way to celebrate the Halloween season, taste some new wines and spend time with good friends (including our witchy friend below – the GDW photographer!).
Cheers! – GDW