Icewine Festival in Niagara or how to enjoy winter in Canada.

Capture d_écran 2017-02-21 à 20.23.59

One of the main tips I got from Canadians about winter time is:

“Take full advantage of the winter!”

… and so I did!

Just a couple hours away from Toronto, Niagara region feels like going from Paris to Dauville for the weekend. It’s romantic, bucolic but also alcoholic!
Unlike Dauville and its imported champagnes, Niagara region grows and ferments its own liqueurs – and trust me, they are worth it!

If you only experienced Niagara wines from LCBO, I don’t expect you to like it…
However, you need to be aware that the real deal – good wines – stay home and sell out before even having a chance to meet an LCBO representative.
Conclusion: if you want to get good wine from Niagara, and yes it exists, you have to go to the source. I am still not 100% convinced by the reds, but rosés and rieslings are pretty tasty.

Lets go back to our subject: the Icewine Festival – a wonderful way to take advantage of winter!

Over a month, from the 13th to the 29th of January 2017, some wineries opened their doors to the public offering a taste of their ice wine paired with a delicious bite to eat.

Here are the highlights of our weekend:

1 – REDSTONE WINERY

 

Red Ice Wine - Red Stone Winery

Their venison and dark chocolate chili was absolutely devine by itself, but paired with a Cabernet Franc Icewine from 2010, it felt like heaven. The flavours matched perfectly and elevated our palate to another dimension!
Try also their riesling and rosé while taking a look at their nice store. I am already looking forward to going back next year.

2 – SUE-ANN STAFF ESTATE WINERY

Vidal Ice Wine and Crème Brûlée Sue-Ann Staff Estate Winery

They got me at roasted sweet potato and cardamom crème brûlée! And trust me, it’s worth the trip. It is absolutely perfect, just like their award-winning vidal ice wine.

Sue-Ann is the definition of a modern working woman. She took over a winery in a largely masculine industry and adapted it to women with original designs, fun and somehow some feminine delicacy. The tasting room seems to come straight from an Edgar Allan Poe story making your icewine degustation experience a mystical one!
Many reasons to check it out.

3 – RAVINE VINEYARD

Cabernet Ice Wine - Duck Confit Tartlets - Ravine Vineyard

This place is just enchanting. That and their cabernet franc icewine is incredible, especially with a duck confit and blue cheese tartlet.
If you are around, try their restaurant. The view is magical, just like the food.

4 – KONZELMANN ESTATE WINERY

Late vidal icewine - Konzelmann Estate Winery

A big winery compared to the other ones. Still, you want to try their Gold medal winning vidal icewine served with a memorable lobster bisque.
The funny story about this winery though is that it used to be a peach orchard. When they bought the land, they gave the peach trees to their neighbors, who thank them every year with a few pounds of fresh juicy peaches. That’s when it gets even more interesting: turns out, Konzelmann fermented these peaches and makes the most flavorful and pretty colored peach wine I’ve ever had!
Try it and you will end up with a few bottles in your trunk… I did…

Next time, I will go for Wine and Chocolate in the Niagara region! 
Can’t go wrong with that.

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