21st Annual Niagara Icewine Festival 2016

Four fabulous winery stops for the Niagara Icewine Festival

21st Annual Niagara Icewine Festival 2016

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 Winery, Redstone Winery, Megalomaniac/John Howard Cellars of Distinction and Inniskillin Wines. My first post is about my stop at Fielding Estate Winery with the other stops to be posted over the next few days.

 

Icewine and nachos, a fantastic pairing!

 Fielding Estate Winery

Write-up from the Niagara Icewine Festival brochure – Icewine Ole! To celebrate the Icewine Festival at Fielding we’re serving up cheesy ‘Chile Con Queso’ nachos topped with crumbled bacon and blue cheese. Paired with our 2012 Riesling Icewine or 2012 Cabernet Franc it’s a fiesta not to be missed.

 

2012 Fielding Estate Winery Riesling Icewine VQA Niagara Peninsula VQA

First stop of the day and my favourite pairing of the weekend. The 2012 Fielding Estate Winery Riesling Icewine VQA Niagara Peninsula VQA colour was a bright golden yellow hue with a nose of candied apricots and pineapple jam, flavours replayed on the palate with a mouth-coating slight unctuousness, sweet with a light seam of acidity. I enjoy the classic blue cheese and Icewine pairing and this take with nachos gave a shabby chic playfulness with the added texture from the chips, a really nice cheese sauce and the pungent creaminess of the blue cheese. Simple yet luxurious, similar big flavours in each of the ingredients lead to very enjoyable pairing.

After the tasting in the tank room, I went back to the retail space and tasting bar to try some of their other offerings, specifically their 2013 Viognier, 2012 Syrah and 2012 Chosen Few high-end blend.

 

2013 Viognier VQA Niagara Peninsula VQA

 2013 Viognier VQA Niagara Peninsula VQA

Pale, pale faint tint of pale yellow, like clear water. Nose of peachy apricots, with some time a hint of candy floss. Flavours of stone tree fruit and touch of fresh lime, crispness from the cooler vintage year.

 

2012 Syrah VQA Niagara Peninsula VQA

 2012 Syrah VQA Niagara Peninsula VQA

Dark red, semi-transparent. Nose of brick pepper spice. Androgynous in nature, not masculine or feminine in style, somewhere either in between or outside. Fresh red fruit and pepper (green peppercorn?) in the mouth. Balance of fruit and spice.

 

2012 Chosen Few VQA Niagara Peninsula VQA

 2012 Chosen Few VQA Niagara Peninsula VQA

A blend of Cabernet Franc, Cabernet Sauvignon and Syrah. Translucent crimson, clean and clear. Fantastic aromas of toasted marshmallows on asphalt and Brunswick Stew. Vibrantly youthful in its tannic crispness, the dark fruit is balanced by the other big flavours that march across the palate. Drinking very well now, great potential for more to evolve from this wine.

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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.