Prince Edward County wine tour with The Wine Ladies and the lucky winner of the Lenzr photo contest

We ‘re all set to enjoy a tour of three of Prince Edward County’s award winning wineries, and a much anticipated, relaxing and delightful stay over at the Timberhouse Country Inn located in Brighton. Joining us on our tour, a new cast, Sandra Ausma, the winner of our Lenzr photo contest, her partner John as well as Dave Dingle of Shrinkway and Rob Campbell, director of the contest. Caption: Timberhouse Country Inn “ Great Room” A fabulous trio of wineries and personalities make up our itinerary including Caroline Granger, co-founder of The Grange of Prince Edward Vineyards & Estate Winery , Dan Sullivan, of Rosehall Run Vineyards Inc. , and Closson Chase winemaker Deborah Paskus. These wineries are collectively producing some of the finest Chardonnays and Pinot Noirs coming out of the county, if not the province, according to United Kingdom Master of Wine and international wine journalist Jancis Robinson. The excursion begins at the Timberhouse Country Inn Resort, set amongst majestically standing mature trees, it is on the edge of a major wildlife corridor and a nationally significant wetland. As we slowly drive up to the entranceway, any recent thoughts of the lunacy of the 401 quickly fade and a sense of peace and well being ensues. We are greeted at the Timberhouse by owner Dave Dingle and his beautiful partner Michelle, glass in hand, beckoning us to come in, “we’ve gotten a head start, hope you don’t mind” they announce as we are welcomed into the Great Hall, brimming with charm and warmth as the fireplace cackles and the sound of chatter and laughter is instantly contagious. Lounging on the comfy sofas, Debbie and Bill Watson, winners too of a second Lenzr photo contest are clearly enjoying the moment, nibbling on homemade guacamole and salsa with tri-coloured tacos for dipping, while sipping on a Gewurztraminer and a Riesling courtesy of Rosehall Run Vineyards Inc. Caption: In the barrel cellar with Caroline Granger Introductions are made, conversations flow effortlessly and before too long the Great Hall is roaring with chatter and laughter. “Our chariot awaits”, of modern times, a gleaming white stretch limo, first stop The Grange Winery… Welcoming us to the tasting room, Caroline Granger, she does not disappoint… a gracious host, passionate, soft spoken and with a fine penchant for story telling we quickly realize. While sipping on winemaker Jeff Innes’ inaugural sparkling wine, (PEC’s first VQA bubbly) a 50% blend of Pinot Noir and Chardonnay each, simply delicious, we learn about the property and the origins of this Loyalist patented Trumpour farm, over 200 years old, which is honoured with the Trumpour’s Mill wine label today. The winery produces two lines, the original Trumpour’s Mill as well as the more recent premium wines Grange of Prince Edward. Caption: The Grange French Oak barrels After a brief and enlightening visit to the cellars,we are once again escorted to the tasting room and enjoy two 2007 Pinot Noirs; the first Trumpour’s Mill VQA with a wonderful fresh cherry nose, soft tannins and bright acidity and the second from the premium Grange line, Grange Diana Block Pinot Noir VQA. Caroline went on to explain how for this Pinot Noir the grapes are hand sorted and the wine is gravity fed to French oak barrels. She recounts the story, she dove into the bin to rescue a bunch of grapes that didn’t quite make the grade. Five of her best Mexican friends who routinely work here every year, had a good chuckle, as did she but warned the next time they would be the one diving in and getting all “juicy”! This Pinot Noir won over our hearts, with the black and red ripe, cherry fruit, a roundness on the palate, soft and sweet tannins with a lingering finish. We bid farewell, thank Caroline for her generosity and re-embark; next stop Closson Chase. Familiar to us on numerous counts, we’ve had Sonja Smits, co-owner of Closson Chase on our radio show (great lady and fine actress), this winery has garnered loads of praise, including being lauded by Jancis Robinson, as per above; she’s a big wheel in the world of wine. Closson Chase, a relatively new winery in a very new and exciting wine region has over 30 acres of limestone-rich soil under vines of the classic Burgundian varieties Chardonnay and Pinot Noir. Winemaker Deborah Paskus is one of Canada’s most celebrated winemakers and is committed to small yields and French inspired vinification. At the tasting room, Deborah is not around, we were over an hour past due our appointment, however we are greeted by Lynn Carmichael at the tasting bar. Ready to pour, to chat and very importantly ready to furnish us, the boisterous dozen, with a second freshly baked loaf of bread, still warm from the oven. Lynn pours us two Chardonnays, both ’07, one from the PEC property and the other from Beamsville in Niagara. We remark and vote on the wonderful and ample virtues of both, with the Niagara wine gaining most points. Both delish, with the Beamsville Chardonnay, being from vines thirty years of age as opposed to six (in PEC), The Beamsville Chardonnay is more layered, more luscious, buttery, with slightly less acidity than the PEC. Caption: It’s all about Chardonnay at Closson Chase that day. Rosehall Run Vineyards Inc. is next, and our final destination. It’s still pouring outside, the limo drops us off as close as possible. We make our way to the winery, our stilettos digging holes in the dirt, (vanity prevails once again) entering through a side door… no establishing shot here, where Dan Sullivan, winemaker and vineyard manager (had a real artistic winemaker flair about him… we liked him right away) greeted us with his big brown expressive eyes, with a gleam and a passion that lit up the whole room! Heck… we didn’t even need a flash for our camera with all of that! Caption: Looks like we will be here awhile filling The Wine Ladies signature glass Rosehall Run located in the heart of Hillier wine district, was established in 2001 by Lynn and Dan Sullivan. With over 30,000 vines planted comprised mainly of Pinot Noir, Chardonnay, Chardonnay Musque and Ehrenfelser, (a variety widely planted in B.C ) Rosehall produces a good variety of wines with an excellent reputation for consistent high quality. Dan was awarded the 2006 Prince Edward County Artevino award for winemaking excellence and has also been the recipient of numerous international awards. Caption: 2006 Prince Edward County Artevino Award Dan led us on a comprehensive tour throughout the winery, including barrel tastings of his Cab Franc, numerous Pinot Noir, his Sullyzwicker, a Syrah from Steve Singer’s neighboring vineyard Fieldstone and more. It was tough keeping up with Dan as he flitted to one set of barrels to another in his excitement to share. We finally landed upstairs to finish with Dan sending us off with a host of wines to enjoy at home and in the limo. One of our absolute favorites was the 2007 Pinot Noir Rosehall Vineyard VQA PEC . Someone commented that it was a “pretty” wine, silky, seductive, and smooth with ripe strawberries and cherries on the nose, ending with a lingering finish. Caption: Enjoying the fruits of the stainless steel tanks labour Meanwhile back at the Timberhouse Resort, the chef is preparing for our return, where upon we are spoiled with a fabulous Thai sauté shrimp appetizer to start and a perfectly grilled melt in your mouth filet mignon, bacon-wrapped and adorned with an herb butter for the main course. A further assortment of wines are displayed on a table where we can pick and choose. Red Tail Vineyards , an off grid, 100% solar powered winery in PEC has sent us their 2007 Pinot Noir and their Pinot Gris, wonderful… thank you Pauline and Gilbert Provost, Huff Estates has their 2008 Riesling Off-Dry there for the taking and enjoyment as well as an array of wines from the trio of wineries we visited that day. And what a day, and night! We are all totally satiated, relaxed and feeling mighty fine, enjoying these fabulous wines of Prince Edward County one sip at a time!

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