21st Annual Niagara Icewine Festival 2016 pt. 2

 

21st Annual Niagara Icewine Festival – Discovery Pass Tastings

 

I recently had the opportunity to head down to the Niagara Region for the 21st Annual Icewine Festival, my first time down to experience this event. I am a huge fan of Ontario Icewines and I was excited to use the Discovery Pass (still available for $40, more information here) to try some Icewine inspired wine and food pairings. As I was flying solo I had to be careful of my alcohol consumption and limited myself to four wineries over the two days I was down. One of the great things about the Discovery Pass is that it can be split between all the weekends that the Icewine Festival runs as well as between people. On this trip I visited Fielding Estate WineryRedstone WineryMegalomaniac/John Howard Cellars of Distinction and Inniskillin Wines. My last post was about my stop at Fielding Estate Winery and after a delightful start to my tour, as well as the recommendation of Katharine at Fielding Estate Winery, my next stop was Redstone Winery to try their aged Cabernet Franc Icewine pairing and their Syrah.

 Redstone Winery

Write-up from the Niagara Icewine Festival brochure – It’s Gonna be ‘Chili’… Bundle up and join us fireside on the Terrace at Redstone to enjoy a cup of Chef Sider’s Icewine-inspired creation. A sweet and savory pairing of our 2010 Cabernet Franc Icewine with a Braised Venison and Dark Chocolate Chili is sure to keep you warm.

My first visit to Redstone Winery and my first time trying their wines. Somewhat understated on the outside, this winery with terrace and restaurant is simply gorgeous. The use of natural materials in the construction and finishing is beautiful. The Discovery Pass tasting was set on the terrace overlooking the vineyard below. An ideal setting save for the fact of the gusty wind blew over my glass spilling my sample. My cat-like reflexes saved the glass from smashing below and I told the sample guy to pour a bigger sample to prevent that from happening again. He did laugh, but didn’t pour a bigger sample. I retreated inside and took a seat at the bar to try the wine and chili.

 

A steadying finger to save this glass from blowing over!

The 2010 Redstone Cabernet Franc Icewine VQA Niagara Peninsula VQA had a colour of golden raspberry marmalade, a nose of strawberry compote and a slight whisper of sherry rancio, and flavours of strawberry rhubarb tart with a pleasant sweetness balanced gently by the tart, low acidity finish. A fine example of an Ontario Icewine with some age and maturation, with secondary and tertiary aromas at play. The chili on its own was big in its flavours of chili powder and cumin but overpowered the delicate nuances of the Icewine, turning it too acidic when tasted together. I can appreciate the intention of the sweet/savoury pairing but it just didn’t jive for me. While looking through the menus as I tasted my Icewine and chili I saw Fried Chicken Skins and thought to myself that it would be a crime to not try them. My favourite food item from the weekend, the crispy battered skins served with a garlic and lemon dipping sauce were exceptional, nicely seasoned with a spice rub with similar flavours as the chili. I will be back just for a double order of the Fried Chicken Skins! The Cabernet Farnc Icewine matched nicely with the fried chicken skins, both very indulgent in their own right, together the sweet and grease was an extravegent pleasure.

 

Selections from the Lunch menu

 

Fried Chicken Skins – Amazing!

Katharine from Fielding recommended the Syrahs from Redstone so I tasted what they had on offer, their 2011 and 2012 that was just being released.

 

Redstone Winery 2011/2012 Syrah

The 2011 Redstone Syrah VQA Lincoln Lakeshore VQA Redstone Vineyard was a pink crimson in the glass with aromas of tart red sour cherry and a light floral note. In the mouth there was still some tannic grip from the young tannins with finesse and crisp acidity on the pepper finish.

Jelena at the tasting bar poured a sample of the 2012 Redstone Syrah VQA Lincoln Lakeshore VQA Redstone Vineyard, a warmer vintage in the Niagara Region compared to the 2011. The colour was similar to the 2011 with a little purple added into the pink crimson. The nose was cooked red fruit and sun-baked brick, replayed on the palate with brickish tannins, a rustic yet smooth and juicy finish. I found the 2012 more masculine in nature than the more feminine 2011.

With a small sip left in each glass I combined the two for my own special Redstone Syrah blend and was pleasantly satisfied with the results, an Ontario Syrah that hit on all notes, the big fruit from the warmer 2012 and the delicate floral notes from the 2011. Truly a case where the sum is greater than the parts, the 2011/2012 was exceptional with ultimate balance and great harmony.

 

 

 

 

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Rotary Club of Palgrave 18th Annual Wines of the World

Rotary Club of Palgrave 18th Annual Wines of the World

Rotary Club of Palgrave 18th Annual Wines of the World

On Saturday June 6, 2015 I was privileged to attend the 18th Annual Wines of the World event held by the Rotary Club of Palgrave on the picturesque grounds of the EMG Caledon Pan Am Equestrian Park, Palgrave Caledon. A cool breeze complimented the Caledon sunset with another sold-out offering of wines from around the world. Below are my abbreviated notes on what I had the chance to try with my focus on what Ontario wines and ciders were on offer. The program was general in the description of the wines, I tried to get as much info as possible in the short timeframe this event ran.

2013 Errazuriz Pinot Noir Chile

2013 Errazuriz Pinot Noir, Chile

2013 Errazuriz Pinot Noir, Chile – lighter style of Pinot Noir with aromas rhubarb and cherry tart and tastes to match, balanced by smooth acidity.

2013 Epica, Chile

2013 Epica, Chile

2013 Epica, Chile – dark red colour with a brickish ruby and red raspberry nose. Smooth tannins with flavours of plum and cherry, low acidity and a fruity sweet finish

2012 Graffigna Reserve Blend, Argentina – deep dark red with aromas/flavours of spicy dark red fruit and slight crayon and a strong tannic finish.

2013 Zolo

2013 Zolo Classic, Argentina

2013 Zolo Classic, Argentina – ruby garnet colour leads to big expressive nose of bright red fruit (red plum, cherry) and a tannic finish balanced with acidity.

Graffigna Pinot Grigio Riserva, Argentina – thin and insipid, vagueness in flavour.

Downey's Estate Winery "Loose Goose"

Downey’s Estate Winery “Loose Goose”

Downey’s Estate Winery Loose Goose Gooseberry Fruit Wine, Ontario Canada – light and refreshing with a slight residual sweetness, flavours of fresh gooseberries, lime pith and lemon curd. A very refreshing summer sipper.

Downey’s Estate Winery Two to Tango Apple/Raspberry Fruit Wine, Ontario Canada – pale pinkish red leads to a nose of crab apple compote. Flavours of raspberry jam, apple jelly and a slight sherry note with balanced tannins and acidity.

2013 Silver Bay Cellars Pinot Noir VQA Niagara Peninsula VQA

2013 Silver Bay Cellars Pinot Noir VQA Niagara Peninsula VQA

2013 Silver Bay Cellars Pinot Noir VQA Niagara Peninsula VQA, Ontario Canada – aromas and flavours of bright cherry tart with a slight tannin grit and some brick on the finish.

2013 Sandbanks Cabernet Franc VQA Ontario VQA

2013 Sandbanks Winery Cabernet Franc VQA Ontario VQA

2013 Sandbanks Winery Cabernet Franc VQA Ontario VQA, Ontario Canada – translucent purple red with nose and flavours of ripe red fruits and a simple balance of refined acidity and fruit freshness. Excellent example of young Ontario Cabernet Franc. Enjoyable on its own, would match well with bistro cuisine.

2013 Peninsula Ridge Estates Winery Merlot VQA Niagara Peninsula VQA

2013 Peninsula Ridge Estates Winery Merlot VQA Niagara Peninsula VQA

2013 Peninsula Ridge Estates Winery Merlot VQA Niagara Peninsula VQA, Ontario Canada – bright red leads to aromas of red plum and cassis that are replayed on the palate with some wonderful toasted marshmallow notes on the finish. Balanced with bright acidity and tannic backbone.

2011 L'Evidence Bordeaux, France

2011 L’Evidence Bordeaux, France

2011 L’Evidence Bordeaux, France – big dark red with big alcoholic heat, aromas and flavours of singed red and black fruit with tannic grip and high acidity. A big, food friendly red.

2013 Henry of Pelham Family Estate Baco Noir VQA Ontario VQA, Ontario Canada – nose of sweet red fruit and candied cherry compote. Acidity in balance with a delightful fruit-forwardness, almost like a cross between Merlot and Gamay. A tamed brute with a smooth finish and complementary tannins. Excellent.

2014 Pierre Sparr Gewürztraminer, France – nose of lychee, rose petals and orange sorbet, replayed with flavours of orange peel and lemonade. Low acidity and a sweet finish.

2011 Cannanou Riserva Sardinia, Italy – bright red colours leads to a spicy red fruit nose and sweet red fruit, flavours of cranberry sauce and fresh cherries. Low tannins and an acidic finish.

2014 Café Culture Pinotage, South Africa – dark red with a nose of freshly ground coffee, replayed with sweet fruit, light tannins and refreshing acidity.

Spirit Tree Cidery 2013 Reserve, Ontario Canada – light and refreshing with tart apple notes, fine thin mousse. Would never have guessed it it 8% abv., drinks much lighter.

Pommies Farmhouse Cider, Ontario

Pommies Farmhouse Cider, Ontario

Pommies Cider Farmhouse Cider, Ontario Canada – a slightly drier version of the flagship Pommies Dry Cider with a gorgeous fine fizz, a hint of residual sweetness swept away with a refreshing acidic twang. This is my go-to cider for the summer, another fine offering from Pommies Cider Co. Simply excellent!

#Somewhereness

photo-56someWHEREness – OLD SOILS new wines

Tasting Notes from Trade Tasting held at St. James Cathedral Centre in Toronto on Monday, April 20th, 2015. Eleven wineries represented – around the horn it was Norman Hardie Wines, Southbrook Vineyards, Charles Baker Wines, Stratus, 13th Street Winery, Flat Rock Cellars, Cave Spring Cellars, Tawse Winery, Malivoire Wine, Bachelder Niagara and Hidden Bench Vineyards & Winery. A separate Late Harvest and Ice Wine table was set up with seven wineries offering sweeter samples.

St. James Cathedral, Toronto

St. James Cathedral, Toronto

Terrior, the french term for Somewhereness, describes the interplay of all the characteristics that make up a wine and how the uniqueness of individual place, type of soil, and varietal choice influence the final product. The Somewhereness experienced continued my belief that Ontario makes delicious wines that truly speak to their sense of place. Balance was a descriptor used to describe many of the wines tasted. Fruit and acidity, tannins and texture, refreshing and satisfying.

“Somewhereness is more than just an event. It allows us to recognize the particular beauty of a place. Since Ontario’s wines have just such a particualr beauty, Somewhereness celebration makes sense in a single sip.” – Matt Kramer, author and wine columnist, quote from programme.

Somewhereness Trade Tasting

Somewhereness Trade Tasting

I tasted whites first, followed by reds with a sweet and a couple sparklers mixed in. Also showcased were a number of artisan food purveyors with some awesome cheeses, smoked salmon, bacon and eggs, breads and preserves offered to compliment and complement the wines. Below are my short notes and impressions from what I tried. Some I thought would be excellent with FOOD and are noted as such.

Norman Hardie Wines

2013 Norman Hardie Wines Calcaire VQA Ontario – mineral witha  tinge of sweetness. Nose and flavours of apricots and granny smith apple. Summer sipper, light and refreshing.

2013 Norman Hardie Wines County Chardonnay VQA Prince Edward County – crisp fruitiness, zingy lemon pith – FOOD

2012 Norman Hardie Wines Niagara Chardonnay VQA Niagara Peninsula – crisp and refreshing, smoother than County, balance.

2011 Norman Hardie Wines Niagara Pinot Noir VQA Niagara Peninsula – floral and pretty, feminine power, excellent. My favourite Pinot Noir of the day.

Southbrook Vineyards

2014 Southbrook Vineyards Small Lot Orange Wine – a natural wine with no sulphates, may use very low (10 ppm) in bottling, cloudy pale orange colour gives way to vibrant orange swirl aromas and crisp blood orange flavours. Definitely unique, discussion about the predisposition to having a taste for a certain amount of sulphates from the trace amounts in most wines.

2012 Southbrook Vineyards Poetica Red VQA Four Mile Creek – freshly opened bottle slightly closed. Beautiful nose of red licorice, raspberry, red ink. Tannic, acidic, young spicy bite. Balanced in its power, still a baby. Decant for FOOD now, will evolve for years to come.

2010 Southbrook Vineyards Vidal Icewine VQA Niagara Peninsula – golden brown colour with a nose of caramel squares, sherry notes, caramel apple pie. Flavours replayed with slight acidity, not unctious and not thin but smooth. Sampled with de la terre bakery multigrain baguette topped with rhubarb ginger jam.

Charles Baker Wines

2014 Charles Baker Riesling Ivan Vineyard VQA Twenty Mile Bench – minerality and vibrant young fruit sweetness against a lemon lime finish and a dry acidity to end.

2012 Charles Baker Riesling Picone Vineyard VQA Vinemount Ridge – juicy and still young, almost jammy on the nose. Tastes of apple pudding and a lemon curd tart that fell in gravel, hints of petrol starting to evolve. Balanced acidity and fruit, outstanding expression for a hot vintage.

2008 Charles Baker Riesling Picone Vineyard VQA Vinemount Ridge – silky smooth with the same aromas and flavours of the 2012 with more petrol to bring it into a nirvanic state of equilibrium. The next evolution with more integration – outstanding. My favourite white wine and favourite wine of the day.

Stratus Winery

2011 Tollgate White VQA Niagara Lakeshore – nose of fruit and dryness with a hint of caramel, buttery and creamy on the palate with cardamon spice. – FOOD

2014 Wildass Rosé VQA Niagara Lakeshore – pink grapefruit aromas and flavours from this freshly bottled pink prettiness. Clean, clear, dry and refreshing.

2010 Stratus Red VQA Niagara Lakeshore – excellent, perfect balance of dark red fruits and bright acidity. Fine wine finesse that shows how the sum is greater than the parts.

13th Street Winery

NV 13th Street Winery Cuvée Rosé VQA Niagara Peninsula – fantastic nose of Laura Secord strawberry cream chocolates, fine mousse of strawberry and white cherry. Sampled with Fat Chance Cold Smoked Salmon prepared by Imant Malins, enjoyed the smokey fatness of the salmon with the fruit and acidity of the sparkler.

Flat Rock Cellars

2014 Flat Rock Cellars Nadja’s Vineyard Riesling VQA Twenty Mile Bench – nose closed at moment but hints of lemon pineapple upside-down cake come through. Lively and exciting on the palate with a luxuriously smooth oiliness, mouth coating then refreshed with acidic backbone. Great expression of Somewhereness. Interesting to taste a new, younger version from this vineyard compared to the 2007 I tasted in the fall.

2012 Flat Rock Cellars Gravity VQA Twenty Mile Bench – dark ruby with a nose of rusty beets. Flavours of red cherry, crisp red current, roasted beets. Smooth tannins for so young. Lots of potential for evolution.

Cave Spring Cellars

2010 Cave Spring Cellars Sparkling Riesling Extra-Dry VQA Niagara Escarpment – nose of petrol, lemon pith, orange peel with a mouthful of lemons and limes and vibrant acidity. Evolving mid-age Riesling with bubbles. You can tell it is a Riesling, in a good way.

2013 Cave Spring Cellars Dolomite Cabernet Franc VQA Niagara Escarpment – crisp nose of red raspberry, brick and clay. Bright acidity to balance the chalky stewed red fruit. Still a baby, potential for fantastic evolution.

Tawse Winery

2011 Tawse Winery Laundry Vineyard Cabernet Franc VQA Lincoln Lakeshore – inky purple goodness with a nose of black and red fruit. Finely gritty (good) tannins reveal the black raspberry and blackberry acidic backbone.

Malivoire Wine

2011 Malivoire Wine Stouck Meritage VQA Lincoln Lakeshore – inky depth in this dark and angry wine. Grip from tannins and copious black and purple fruit, leather and smoke. Serious and masculine. Lots of life left in this juggernaut.

Bachelder Niagara

2012 Bachelder Chardonnay Mineralité VQA Niagara Peninsula – mineral sweetness on the nose with flavours of crisp apple and lemon

2012 Bachelder Pinot Noir Parfum VQA Niagara Peninsula – lighter style of Pinot Noir with fruit-forward cherry on the nose and palate. Balanced acidity to the fruit. FOOD

2012 Bachelder Lowry Vineyard Pinot Noir VQA St. David’s Bench – balanced and lovely with light red fruit. Integrated tannins for so young, drinking very well now.

Hidden Bench Vineyards & Winery

2011 Hidden Bench Vineyards & Winery Terroir Caché Red Meritage VQA Beamsville Bench – blend of Cabernet Franc, Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and Malbec. Deep and rich nose of black fruit and stewed liquorice. Chalky and youthful tannic grip with jammy black fruit. Big, balanced wine. Excellent. FOOD

 

Drive-By Stratus Tasting

Stratus Winery

Stratus Winery

After spending a night in Niagara Falls with the family, we decided to stop at a winery on the way home, specifically Stratus Winery, to pick up a bottle of 2012 Wildass Red as a gift for a friend. It has been a few years since my last trip to Stratus and I was excited to get in and try a few of their fantastic wines. With two kids in tow, I didn’t have a lot of time to make detailed notes on what I tasted but did have a chance to try some recent vintages of their single varietal offerings. Below are what I tried, in the order they were tried, the price of each and the notes I made. Beside the two bottles of 2012 Wildass Red (one gift and one for ourselves), I also picked up the 2012 Kabang Red, the 2012 Stratus Gamay and a bottle of the 2011 Stratus Sauvignon Blanc as that was the beautiful wife’s favourite of what we tried. I enjoyed all that I tried, each wine being distinctive and original.

Wall of Stratus Wine

Wall of Stratus Wine

2011 Stratus Sauvignon Blanc – $29 – Softened herbaceousness, slight grassy note, fresh and clean. A perfect summer sipper dressed in vintage Chanel.

2011 Stratus Viognier – $38 – Nose of closed flower bud and a hint of stone fruit. Flavours of apricots, apricot cookie – fruit forward with some bread/yeasty notes.

2011 Stratus Petit Verdot – $38 – Heavy tannic nose, hints of roses and wet brick. Flavours of dark berry fruit, heavy earthy brick. Brooding and powerful with an elegant finish.

2010 Stratus Cabernet Sauvignon – $55 – Nose of red fruit, flavours of red fruit with grip and still bright tannins. Young, vibrant and alive.

2012 Stratus Botrytis Sémillon – $29 (500 ml) – Nose and flavours both sweet and spicy with pineapple compote and guava.

Wines of the World – Palgrave Rotary

This past Saturday I had the honour of attending the 17th Annual Wines of the World Fundraiser held by Palgrave Rotary Club at the EMG Complex in Palgrave. This event is the largest fundraiser for the Palgrave Rotary Club and is a wonderful chance to meet others from the area and try a large number of wines all in one place. The event showcases a number of domestic and international wines that are general list at the LCBO and available for under $20. Numerous tasting stations are set-up with each pouring 2-3 wines alongside food stations, a couple beer stations and a station featuring some of Caledon’s own Pommies Dry Cider. Only 2.5 hours long, it is tough to sample all of the 35+ beverage choices offered, but I tried my best and made notes on the 17 I did have a chance to partake in. Although I had tried a number of the these wines in the past, most of what I tried were new vintages and due to the sheer volume my tasting notes are somewhat abbreviated. In no particular order, here are the whites followed by the reds.

Lindsay from Pommies Dry Cider offering samples

Lindsay from Pommies Dry Cider offering samples

Pommies Dry Cider – Lovely apple notes, not too sweet, not too tart, great balance. Made in Caledon, my go-to cider choice. Excellent and highly recommended.

Grant Burge 2011 Chardonnay

Grant Burge 2011 Chardonnay

2011 Grant Burge Summers Chardonnay, Australia – Nose of lemon zinginess, flavours of lemon, acidic zinginess, really zingy. Better with food to balance out the zinginess.

2012 Carl Reh Riesling Kabinett, Germany – One of my favourites, a classic German Riesling at 8.5% alcohol, light and refreshing. Aromas of lime and brightness. Tastes just like lime bar mix with a pleasant residual sweetness. Reminded me of my time as a Rotary Exchange Student in Germany (Berlin, Potsdam, Werder) and the everyday wine that I drank with the Erdmann Family.

2011 Chateau Des Charmes Barrel Fermented Chardonnay VQA, Canada – Another favourite, I have tried a few past vintages of this wine and have been impressed with the flavours and elegance. Nose of apple, butterscotch and lemon pith, a gorgeous mouthfeel, taste of vanilla’d apple tart. Finish makes you want to drink some more. Delicious.

2013 Pansy Rose Kim Crawford, New Zealand – The only Rose I tried, an easy drinking summer wine with a little acidity to balance the sweetness. Nose of strawberry and rhubarb complimented by cherry and raspberry on the palate.

2010 Creekside Laura’s Red VQA, Canada – Classic Bordeaux nose with dark fruits, graphite, and stoney dirt. Refined flavours of ripe plum, cherry and raspberry jam with a nice tannin grip. Lovely and delicious.

Rodney Strong Alexander Valley Cabernet Sauvignon, USA – Didn’t write down the vintage (’11 maybe?) but from what I can remember tasting this previously is that it is consistent in style between specific vintages. Aromas and flavours of dark red fruits, black fruits, cedar. Classic jammy Napa Cab high in alcohol and big fruit but balanced and lovely.

Palgrave Rotary Wines of the World

Palgrave Rotary 17th Annual Wines of the World

2011 Pirramimma Petit Verdot, Australia – Great nose of dark tar and dark fruits. Dark and brooding on the palate with delicious young tannins and a spicy finish.

2011 Hautes Cotes De Nuits, France – Nice nose of bright cherry that was replayed on the palate however somewhat muted. Better to smell than to drink. Meh, nothing special.

2013 Stoneleigh Pinot Noir, New Zealand – Nose of brick red fruits, pleasant lighter style of Pinot with an acidic tang to balance the cherry, raw beet, tart raspberry.

2012 Fifth Leg Carbernet Sauvignon Shiraz Merlot, Australia – Nose of dark fruits, blackberry, mulberry. Blackberry flavours with an overly acidic finish and alcohol burn. Not a big fan of this style of blend tasted on it’s own, needs to be paired with food.

Palgrave Rotary 17th Annual Wines of the World

Palgrave Rotary 17th Annual Wines of the World

2012 Ringbolt Cabernet Sauvignon, Australia – Nose of cedar, tar, toasted barrel. Dry, dry dry tannins paired with black fruit. Young and closed still, will be great in a couple years.

2009 Monte Antico IGT, Italy – Smooth, still bright on the nose and palate with cherry raspberry and ripe plum. Great value on an easy drinking red.

2011 Red Diamond Cabernet Sauvignon, USA – Big nose of cherry jam, replayed with sweet raspberry jam, ripe red cherry, tart tannins. Nice California Cab.

2011 Las Rocas Garnacha, Spain – Raspberry jam nose, found the mouthfeel spicy, harsh and tangy. Not a fan of this offering.

2012 G Marquis Pinot Noir VQA, Canada – Starts off with aromas of earthen cherry and vanilla replayed on the palate with beet root juice and great acidic balance. Beautiful young Niagara Pinot.

2011 Cathedral Cell Cabernet Sauvignon, South Africa – Lighter style of Cabernet Sauvignon, not as good as the Rodney Strong. Lighter red fruits, underripe strawberry and raspberry. Meh, nothing special.

2010 Montecillo Crianza, Spain – Lighter style of Tempranillo with bright tannins. Cherry, ripe plum, hint of cedar on both nose and palate. Better with food.

Day of the Pig

Day of the Pig

Day of the Pig

Whole Hog for Day of the Pig

Whole Hog for Day of the Pig

Day of the Pig! What a great name for an annual festival celebrating everything swine held at Seed to Sausage just north of Kingston. The Day of the Pig started as a celebration of the opening of the Seed to Sausage retail outlet and has grown every year with this being the 4th instalment. Besides being an excuse to visit my sister, brother-in-law and niece (who live in Kingston), I was eager to attend to submit my signature barbeque sauce in the barbeque sauce competition that was only one of the many events held during the day. My sauce made the finals and finished either 4th or 5th out of 27 entries. Also featured were a number of local vendors in a farmers’ market atmosphere selling various and sundries (!) – handmade chocolate, pastas, baked goods, preserves, sauces, home brew kits, cheeses and fermented products. Also on offer were the samples of two wineries and two breweries as well as some food vendors selling tacos, burgers and some delicious smoked salmon sandwiches.

Carving the Pig on Day of the Pig

Carving the Pig on Day of the Pig

The centre piece of the day had to be the whole hog that was cooked overnight. I spoke to the cook who said he used a combination of hickory, cherry and green birch for the smoke flavour. Green birch was a new idea for me, his opinion was that it was essential to give it “some zing”. I patiently waited to get some of the jowls and was not disappointed with the taste or texture. Any seasoned barbequer will tell you it really all starts with the quality of the meat and this pig was glorious! I snagged a large chuck of back-fat that was rendered to perfection and the real taste of pork was simply sublime.

I tried to sample all that was on offer and was impressed with the quality of all that was offered as well as the genuine people that were selling their wares. I always take pleasure in talking to the producers that make what they are selling to get a chance to feel that passion they put into their product.

Erica Gilmour from Hummingbird Chocolate Maker

Erica Gilmour from Hummingbird Chocolate Maker

Hummingbird Chocolate Maker @HummingbirdChoc had various specific origin chocolates for sample and available to purchase. Owner Erica Gilmour was on hand to answer questions and explain the nuances between each type. Although each was listed at 70% Coaco, the mouthfeel and flavour profiles were vastly different with my favourite being the Momotombo from Nicaragua for the warm sweetness.

Smoked Salmon Sandwich from Findlay Foods

Smoked Salmon Sandwich from Findlay Foods

The smoked salmon sandwich from Findlay Foods was outstanding, generous with the salmon and just the right amount greens and sauce.

Pyramid Farm & Ferments owner Alex Currie

Pyramid Farm & Ferments owner Alex Currie

Pyramid Farm and Ferments had some amazing fermented products, a glorious bright kimchi and a product new to me, kombucha, a refreshing fermented tea drink brewed in a similar manner to sauerkraut. Alex Currie, one of the owners, was on hand talking about their products and offering samples.

Back Forty Artisan Cheese

Back Forty Artisan Cheese

The cheeses from Back Forty Artisan Cheese, similar to everything else I tried at Day of the Pig, were superb. I picked up the Madawaska and Highland Blue and I have no shame in saying I ate the Highland Blue over a couple days all by myself. Made from ewe’s milk, it had the perfect balance of salty-pungent-stink that I love in blue cheeses. I still have the Madawaska in the fridge and have yet to open our taste it but I am sure it will be awesome as well.

I had the chance to taste all of the wines offered from both of the wineries present, Casa-Dea Estates Winery and Three Dog Winery. Below are my tasting notes. I had the chance to speak with Paul Marconi Vice-President for Casa-Dea Estates Winery about who they are and what they do. All three of the wines they had on offer are LCBO list products and he puts on over 10,000 kms a month promoting their range of products. He also explained why their sparkling wine is labelled as VQA Ontario instead of VQA PEC.

Casa-Dea Estates Winery wine on offer

Casa-Dea Estates Winery wines on offer

Casa-Dea 2011 Pinot Gris VQA Prince Edward County

Nose of lime and lemon replayed on the palate with refreshing dryness and a hint of tart green apple. Cool and clean with only a hint of a whisper of residual sweetness. A great Summer sipper wine for everyday drinking. Nice expression of the varietal. 100% Estate grown fruit.

Casa-Dea 2012 Dea’s Cuvée VQA Ontario VQA

Charmat method with 60% Pinot Noir and 40% Chardonnay. Dry with very little residual sugar aftertaste. Both nose and palate have very pleasant ginger zing with some lemon pith. Dry and fine mousse with very fine ginger ale-like bubbles, similar to the champagne of the ginger ales that my mom would give me when I was sick with most of the bubbles stirred out. Labeled as VQA Ontario as the method of production did not meet the VQA standards for Prince Edward County designation. 100% Estate grown fruit.

Casa-Dea 2010 Cabernet Franc VQA Prince Edward County

Nose closed at first, slow to open up. With some time came fresh red fruits – raspberry, slight cherry (?), hint of red current. Bistro-style wine that worked really well with the Hispaniola chocolate from Hummingbird Chocolate. Flavours of ripe red current and red raspberry. Integrated tannins, smooth and youthful but very pleasant. 100% Estate grown fruit.

Three Dog Winery wines in iffer

Three Dog Winery wines on offer

Three Dog Winery 2013 Dog House Red VQA Ontario VQA

Youthful Baco Noir nose of black fruit and bacon. Slightly rough youthful tannins need some time to simmer down. Excellent match for food, great with pork. Fine expression of varietal – a Baco that tastes like a Baco. Palate of black fruit and smoked meat.

Three Dog Winery 2011 Dog House White VQA Ontario VQA

Dry Vidal with a touch of Riesling, an impression of sweetness on the nose and in the mouth, maybe a little floral touch too. Some tree fruit on the palate, think pear and apple. Nice seem of acidity on the finish. A great summer sipper, perfect for the patio or on the dock.

I found a great video on YouTube about the Day of the Pig, I just happen to appear around the 1 second mark! Thanks Derek Cooper for posting! It was a wonderful day and I hope to be able to make it back for the next Day of the Pig!