9.20.2006

grapes

I am planning a little day trip to the Niagara wine region, for winery tours and tastings.

We've done that in the Finger Lakes region in New York State and really enjoyed it. We were young and poor and the prospect of free wine was irresistible. For some reason we've never visited wineries when we've been in California, although I'm not sure why.

For more than a year now, we've been driving past the signs for the wineries on our way back and forth from the Buffalo airport. It's kind of hard to forget they're out there.

Tips, recommendations, favourites? As always, opinions are welcome.

14 comments:

James said...

Make sure you drive through Niagara-on-the-Lake. It's a nice little town. You can wave to the 1812-era US fort across the river.

The Niagara Parkway runs the length of the Niagara river, from Niagara-on-the-Lake to Fort Erie -- it's a nice drive.

M@ said...

You can also visit the 1812-era fort in Niagara-on-the-Lake, Fort George. I haven't been there since I was young but it's really well kept up.

One tip about visiting the wineries: start early in the afternoon. We once went out to a few wineries with some friends, got there around 3:30, and couldn't really get to very many as their tours were pretty much full and they were closing too soon.

I wish I could remember which winery I had a spectacularly good meal in... but I think they all keep to a fairly high standard.

Have a great time, and wave when you pass the Lake St exit in St Catharines... I'll probably be at work, wishing I was visiting some of those places myself.

Peregrinato said...

I can only recommend a place I've wanted to visit but haven't had the chance to yet--Inniskillin. Now let me know how it is :)

L-girl said...

I can only recommend a place I've wanted to visit but haven't had the chance to yet--Inniskillin.

Hey Peregrinato!

One of our guests at the wmtc party gave us a bottle of their Ice Wine. We noticed it in the LCBO and were horrified to see the $55 price tag. I hope it was a re-gift from someone who doesn't care for it, because no one should be giving us $55/bottle wines for a backyard party!

Thanks for the tips, M@ & James.

A spectacular meal, eh? That would be a real bonus.

I have a little guide to the wineries that the LCBO puts out. There's so many of them!

Peregrinato said...

There are also late-harvest ice wines which are neither as expensive or sweet as standard ice wine. In Canada and Germany, ice wines are so named because they grapes are plucked while frozen on the vine; in California, there's a variant that is mechanically frozen (and thus some purists would say not real icewine), but is also much less expensive (about $17 US). But go, have fun :) You know I like ice wine!!

David Cho said...

I have never gone wine tasting, but is the movie Sideways' portrayal pretty accurate?

You recommended that movie to me, and I thoroughly enjoyed it. The plot is pretty thin, but the dialogue and acting are just superb.

M@ said...

I suspect, L, that the gift was chosen because it's so uniquely Canadian. I know that I often bring ice wine as gifts, especially for work colleagues who live far from the area. I was brought up in the fruit-growing region myself and I feel like it's something that's especially "ours".

I recently gave away a merlot ice wine -- the first red ice wine I've ever seen. Anyone actually tasted a red ice wine?

A late harvest vidal is definitely nice -- and certainly worth the price at under $20 -- but try tasting one side-by-side with a real ice wine... just doesn't compare. I don't have a terribly experienced or fine palate, but I know the difference between "my, that's nice" and "has anyone seen the top of my head?"

Peregrinato said...

...I need to try the red ice wine....

Unfortunately, real ice wine (including late harvest) is hard to get around DC, so I don't get to have it often, and when it do, it is sometimes to daydream of Canada.

L-girl said...

The plot is pretty thin, but the dialogue and acting are just superb.

Truly.

The wine-tasting scenes are exaggerated for laughs, as I recall. When we did it, it was all pretty low-key. (Of course, we were the only ones there at most of the wineries, so maybe it gets as bad as that...?!)

L-girl said...

I suspect, L, that the gift was chosen because it's so uniquely Canadian.

I'm sure you're right. I still hope it was a "re-gift"! Too expensive!

I don't have a terribly experienced or fine palate, but I know the difference between "my, that's nice" and "has anyone seen the top of my head?"

What a great expression! I'm the same way.

it is sometimes to daydream of Canada.

That is so sweet.

Lone Primate said...

Make sure you drive through Niagara-on-the-Lake. It's a nice little town. You can wave to the 1812-era US fort across the river.

I think James is talking about Fort Niagara, built by the French, assumed by the British, and finally assumed by the Americans, in New York. And yes, you certainly can wave to it... from Fort George, right across the river, so close you can see people on the other side. The guns still point across the water. :D I've visited both forts... they're extremely well maintained now, though for Fort George was a ruin till the 50s or 60s; only its powder magazine is an original building, standing for years alone in a depression in a field.

L-girl said...

We like forts and historical stuff like that. We might include it on the wine trip, if we're not too loopy.

I probably visited Fort Niagara when I was a kid - my parents always took us to stuff like that too.

L-girl said...

By coincidence, I just saw a story in the Star on the Niagara Wine Festival, going on now through October 1st. [www.niagarawinefestival.com]

I was planning to go out there in early to mid October. Does anyone know if wineries are still good to visit that time of year? If no one answers this, I'll do another post...

impudent strumpet said...

Merlot icewine?????

***mind boggles***

That sounds like the kind of thing that's either going to be the best idea ever or the worst idea ever, and you won't know until you try it.