Niagara Wine Weekend – Part IV

I was smitten with this fourth location on our Ultimate Food, Beer and Wine Tour.  This part of our tour found us visiting Southbrook Vineyards, Canada’s first Biodynamic winery.  Southbrook practices biodynamic agriculture meaning everything on their winery is treated as part of an overall ecosystem.  They are certified organic and work to be a green vineyard.

The winery was beautiful.  Modern and clean.

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When it rains, this rock garden turns into a rock pool and they use the water to reflect light off the blue and white walls.  

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Setting up our table for our tasting

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Here’s the wine. 

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Everything so beautifully lined up.  It’s these little details that I appreciate. 

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Views to the outside

This is Lucan.  He was our leader for this tasting.  It was very obvious that Lucan was very passionate about food and wine.  He spoke excitedly about his work at the vineyard and all the wines being produced.  He was enlightening.

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I loved this tasting because they picked food that everyday people eat in an effort to show that anyone can pair wine with even the simplest of meals.  The one thing on this plate that I became obsessed with was the almond cookie with honey (made by their own bees).  I could have eaten an entire tray.  But alas, my incessant requests for more cookies went unheard.  I will dream of that cookie for ages.

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My haul from Southbrook.  Cabernet Franc Vinegar which I already used with oil as a bread dip.  A framboise wine that I hope to make a Sangria type drink with.  Natural honey and Peach Jam with Framboise that I think would taste amazing for breakfast on toast or waffles. 

Oh Southbrook, can I have more cookies please?  I mean, I know I should be focused on the wine, but I’m sorry, those cookies own my heart! But I digress, your tasting was the prettiest by far and Lucan’s enthusiasm was infectious.

I would definitely come back! =)

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Niagara Wine Weekend – Part II

The Ultimate Food, Beer and Wine Tour run by Niagara Vintage Wine Tours continued on with our next stop at Silversmith Brewery. Housed in a historic, converted church, Silversmith Brewery is an independently owned, small craft brewery located in Niagara and has been producing beer since 2011.

First off, I have to say that I love that this craft brewery made its home in a church.  Talk about charm!

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View from the outside

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Love that little stained glass window.  Check out all the merchandise for sale.  

Upon entering, we were seated at a long table down the middle.  We paired off and the servers proceeded to give us our beer flights and set down our food platter.

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So cozy!

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Wine Menu 

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Food platter from up top – Montreal smoked meat, blue cheese and aged cheddar, chicken pate with cranberries and pistachios, trout pate, pickled garlic stems, awesome mustard, beer nuts and crackers

Ok, so this was only the second stop and I was already impressed with the food provided.  I am in agreement when they say this is an Ultimate food and beer and wine tour.  None of these foods did I ever think would be served with beer.

Let’s start with the beer – Bavarian breakfast wheat, black lager, Golden Ale and British Pale Ale.

For me, I ended up liking the beers in pretty much the order they were served.  They were all light, even the black lager which surprised my nicely.  The Black lager had a nice coffee/cocoa finish.  I generally don’t like dark beers but this one is one I would have again.  The Bavarian breakfast wheat was smooth, definitely the type of beer I drink.  The other two had a bit of a bitter finish, but would be perfect cold on a hot summer’s day.

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Our food pairings.  Let’s give it up for the trout mousse.  My mouth waters as I think of this savoury spread.   Top corner was a chicken pate with cranberries and pistachios.  Had a little sweetness which I always love in a food.  Can’t go wrong with blue cheese – my fave!  Look at all that Montreal smoked meat and the awesome mustard that went with it.  In case you’re wondering, the green thing is a pickled garlic stem.  It was a joy to try these different flavours.  I dream of the trout mousse and chicken pate.  Swoon.

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Beautiful colours of beer.  

I highly enjoyed the location and atmosphere of Silversmith Brewery.  The food was unique and something I have not had before.  This made this experience so worth while.  And those beers! Thanks for introducing me to a dark lager that I actually would drink again!

Stay tuned for part III – Rancourt Winery =)

Niagara Wine Weekend – Part I

A week ago I had a great weekend away at Niagara Falls with a couple of my good peeps.  We made it a shopping, eating and wine drinking weekend with some cheesecake thrown in.

The main event of the weekend was The Ultimate Food, Beer and Wine Tour that was run by a company called Niagara Vintage Wine Tours.  This tour included visits to 4 wineries and 1 brewery where our group of 14 learned to pair different wine with food.

This was a guided tour and we were picked up at our hotel Saturday morning by Tom, our Sensory Analyst.  Yes, Sensory Analyst.

Here’s Tom at our first stop giving us some history about the Niagara region and what is needed to grow good grapes (hot and dry).  Tom is a retired teacher turned wine tour guide.  He was awesome.  Very knowledgeable, personable, friendly and funny.

Our first stop was at Pondview Winery , a family owned winery with roots from Sicily.  It was here that we met Keith.  We walked in and were taken to the back where an intimate wine tasting area was set up among the oak barrels of wine.

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Tasting Area


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Tables set up with wine glasses and our charcuterie plate

HDBD2351Keith going over how  to”open up” a wine.  Hold your glass in your right hand and swirl counter clockwise, let the wine air out, smell it.  Take a sip, take a bite, take a sip again. Sniff, Sip, Bite, Sip

Keith was a terrific wine guide.  So approachable and full of good tips about wine.  In case you were wondering and find yourself at the LCBO,  2011 was a great year for Niagara Whites and 2015 for Niagara Reds.

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These were the wines we tasted.  The 2nd – Cabernet Franc – was AMAZING with Oka and Parmesan cheese.  I had a super out-of-body taste experience with this wine and parmesan.

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My Pondview Winery purchases

Stay tuned for part II when I talk about our 2nd stop Silversmith Brewery.