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  • Sunday, July 1, 2012

2012 Niagara New Vintage Wine Festival - Review

Logo of 2012 Niagara New Vintage Wine Festival
Last weekend I had the opportunity to visit Niagara for the 2012 New Vintage Wine Festival. I was able to make it on the very last day of the festival, which runs for only 2 weekends in June, and managed to squeeze in 6 wineries using the Discovery Pass; we finished just as they were closing up at the last winery in Niagara-on-the-Lake.

2011 Rosé paired with Shortbread at Fielding Estate Winery
We started off in Beamsville at Fielding Estate Winery. This was my first ever visit to Fielding and probably won't be my last. Their 2011 Rosé paired well with the cheddar & thyme shortbread topped with a hot (and delicious!) red pepper jelly. The jelly was the dominant flavour in this pairing. The second pairing was a goat cheese & chive shortbread topped with red onion marmalade that paired well with their 2011 Estate Bottled Pinot Gris. Full reviews of all the wines tasted during our tour will be posted soon.

Next stop was Stoney Ridge Estate Winery for three delicious wines of varying styles. First pairing was the 2010 Pinot Grigio with strawberry fondue over bread - quite nice! Next was the 2009 Cabernet Merlot paired with goat cheese fondue over bread that complemented each other extremely well. They also offer a very nice selection & variety of cheeses in the winery that are worth checking out. The third and final pairing was their Icewine-infused port-style 2009 Passion - an excellent wine - that paired really well with dark chocolate fondue over a strawberry.

AVella's Wood Fired Oven Pizza at Flat Rock Cellars
Our third stop on this lovely afternoon was at Flat Rock Cellars for some AVella's Wood Fired Oven pizza paired with the 2011 Pinot Noir Rosé (which will be in VINTAGES as part of the July 7 release). The Margherita pizza was juicy and quite nice, while the pepperoni pizza was very dry and over-cooked. The pairing was amicable.

For the fourth stop, we ventured into Niagara-on-the-Lake at the always enjoyable Château des Charmes for some cheese and a chocolate salted caramel. We began with their off-dry 2010 "Old Vines" Riesling paired with the chocolate salted caramel square - both items were delicious. This was followed by a pairing of their 2010 Cabernet Franc with a rather large triangle of Toscano cheese - lots of spice/pepper from both fronts going on here, with the cheese offering slightly more spiciness.

Chocolate Salted Caramel paired with 2010 Old Vines Riesling at Château des Charmes
The fifth stop was regrettable. Diamond Estates offered an enticing menu of goat cheese, tomato, basil and balsamic was served on a round (stale?) cracker and paired with a much-warmer-than-room-temp 2009 Dan Aykroyd Cabernet Shiraz. There was also a too warm port-style offering paired with blue cheese on a round (stale?) cracker. It wasn't bad, but I left disappointed with the entire experience.

By now, it's about 4:45pm and things are starting to wind up as we reach Inniskillin Wines for our 6th and final stop of the tour. They offered two wines from their Winemaker's Series - the 2011 Viognier and 2011 Pinot Gris. Both white wines were similar to each other and went well with the curried-lime flavours of the tandoori chicken wrapped in roti.

This concludes my review of the 2012 New Vintage Wine Festival as we toured 6 wineries throughout the Niagara region. Next up in this series is the big event in September. I encourage everyone to get a Discovery Pass for the Niagara Wine Festival and visit a few wineries, then head on over to Montebello Park in St. Catharines for cheese, food, music, and more wine! It really is a lot of fun! Get in touch with me if you'd like to join our group.


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