From the nectar of the Gods, the deep golden hued icewines, to the Gold Medal still wines, to the Gold Star VIP treatment from our award winning wineries and incredible food it was a day to celebrate! Today we are off to visit the wineries of Twenty Valley www.twentyvalley.ca in Niagara, Ontario.
Travelling in style, our day begins in an NCT www.nctcanada.com sleek black stretch limo bus, lots of leg room, with fresh brewed coffee, Reunion Island coffee (company located in Oakville practicing FAIR trade, sustainability and absolutely delicious www.reunionislandcoffee.com , an assortment of delectable cupcakes, banana, carrot and Black Velvet, (personal favorite) and double fudge for the person not watching their waistline www.covetedcakes.com an assortment of apples for those with a taste for starting off the day with the old Doctor’s axiom… “an apple a day keeps the doctor away”!
Introductions are made and we are off! No shrinking violets on this bus! Can I hear myself asking a question? No worries, everyone is having a great time, getting to know each other.
We address our group, after much “hushing”… giving them the low-down on what to expect for the day…. We’ll visit 3 wineries today, we explain, each one unique in its own way, with something special to offer. Fielding Estate Winery www.Fieldingwines.com is our first stop… Heidi Fielding, the owner will lead us personally to a tour and tasting that will include something very unique, that you most likely will never have had the opportunity or pleasure to taste ever before! Prepare your “buds”… taste buds we say, you are in for a treat!
After that, we’ll let you all loose! God help us…. You all have an hour and a half to explore Jordan Village, enjoy the Winter Winefest, we have tokens for all, embrace the atmosphere, enjoy the amazing food and the wines, the shopping, entertainment and the barrel racing! Just be SURE to return to the bus at 2:00! Really? What planet are we living on?
As the group becomes progressively lively… and less “obedient” we are hopeful we will be able to stay on time for the 3rd stop Vineland Estate winery www.Vineland.com Here we too, will be treated to a lineup of wines that includes one spectacular Gold medal winner in 2003 at Vin Italy!
Following that Legends Estate Winery www.LegendsEstates.com is our final destination, but owner Paul Lisak will be awaiting us, with passion, his awarded winning wines and unique blends, as well as an interesting philosophy!
..And we are off! It is a brilliant day to embrace, one of sunshine, glistening ice sculptures, fabulous wines, food and friendship.
Our stops… with highlights, one experience at a time…
Hello Heidi…as we disembark we are greeted by the smiling face of Heidi Fielding ready to guide our group through a tasting of several award winning wines which will include their Estate Bottled Pinot Gris, (Fielding is known for producing some of Niagara’s best) as well as their Vignoles, a wine unique to Fielding, as far as Heidi knows up until now, no-one else has planted in Canada.
A brief intro, the wine lodge pays tribute to Ontario’s cottage country, is crafted from cedar, stone and glass with a breathtaking view of Toronto across the lake, and off to the tour and tasting in the barrel cellar.
Highlight for many, the delectable rare dessert wine, produced from a little known French-American hybrid grape variety the Vignoles, which also bares the name of the wine.
“Can you smell the grilled pineapple in the nose” Heidi asks? Everyone in unison and wonder gets it! How often does that happen? It is a true winner, one of the favorites of the day.
Jordon Village, next stop. The organized group fans out to experience all this charming wintry wonderland has to offer.
The clock strikes 2:00pm… where is everybody? MJ and Collin are patiently waiting on the limo bus, fully satiated with stories of samplings and mouth watering descriptives of their culinary experience in the village. Slowly one by, two by two, we are all in motion, off to Vineland Estate Winery.
Organizing our crowd for a group photo is a challenge, but the force was with us, and everyone filed in line, very much skewed to the right at first, how much wine have we already had anyways?
Vineland Estates Winery, founded over 25 years ago, has the landmark stone tower that stands proudly over a former Mennonite homestead with structures that date back to the 1840’s. The winery’s stunning wine shop was restored in 1999 (built in 1877), the Restaurant at Vineland has panoramic views of the vineyard and there is a very cool Market Upstairs where one can purchase Canadian cheese and cured meats. A beautiful, serene location and experience is Vineland Estates Winery… and we haven’t even mentioned the wines.
They are a legacy for Riesling, with their wines consistently rated amongst the best in Ontario. Our highlight at Vineland today though, is about their 1999 Vidal Icewine, which captured in 2003 the Grand VinItaly Award Gold Medal! Not since 2004 has this wine seen the light, taken outside its residence in the barrel cellar. We had a brief chat with Winemaker Brian Schmidt and David Hulley a couple of days prior to our tour, they were sampling the 1999, “giddy” is all we can say about their reaction! “The deep copper colour, the complexity and the layers of this icewine over a decade old is remarkable” “No wonder it won the VinItaly Gold Brian exclaims”! And so did we all concur… our clan knew this was one spectacular wine, and treat, rolled out especially for us!
And so the adventure continues… to our final destination, Legends Estate Winery. Located in Beamsville, on the lakefront, the number one destination for weddings. Roots run deep here with matriarch Sophie Lizak and her husband planting the seeds of tender fruit as well as enterprise in 1946. At the helm now, at the boutique winery, with 200 acres of fruit and grapes now planted, three generations later, grandson Paul Lizak, who welcomes us to Legends Estate Winery. Very much down to earth… excuse the pun, Paul is clearly passionate about his vineyards, his wines and his philosophy. The highlight is not so discernable here, as the guests’ preferences are not totally uniform.
Terrific value is key here at Legends, which Paul explains is “key” to him. He travels a good percentage of the year around the world, evaluating what is out there, the quality at which price point. One of his goals, to offer the consumer terrific value. We sample the DIVA White, Semillon-Sauvignon Blanc blend, $14.95 and the less habitual blend of Malbec-Merlot for same. Congrats Paul, both wines well received as witnessed at the cashier’s checkout as members of our group form a queue. Just prior to that, we would be remiss not to mention the amazing warm pulled lamb souvlaki infused with Legends award winning Vidal icewine, served with accompaniments and Silver Medal 2010 Sauvignon Blanc Reserve VQA. Superb!
In a word… or two or three, to describe the day say the group when polled; Wow, impressive, exhausted, great fun, learned a bunch, a riot and where’s my comfy seat on the limo?
After a few wine trivia games, and a few of games of chance, with prizes awarded to the “listeners” the lucky and the awake, we all ride in silence.. or not, tongues a wagging, sharing thoughts, experiences of the day and a few deep sighs of satisfaction and joy.
Thanks everyone for being a part of The Wine Ladies inaugural Shimmer of Gold Icewine Tour. Hope you will join us again. Cheers!
Georgia and Susanne