The Birthday Wine Road Trip

If I had to choose between birthday cake and birthday wine, guess what I’d pick.


You guys know me well.

Not that I was forced to choose between the two, but good wine is even more of a birthday treat for me than cake. It’s also a bit more extravagant, and I’m starting to think I’m worth an occasional extravagance.

So in honour of my recent birthday festivity, Ken suggested a winery road trip for me to select some special wines.

Have I mentioned I’ve got one helluva guy?

After our B&B guests got on their way for the day, we hopped in the car and headed out to Twenty Valley. Our first stop was a winery I hadn’t been to yet.

Domaine Queylus.

My particular reason for venturing out there was twofold. First, for their Chardonnays, second, their Merlot. For all you Pinot Noir lovers out there, you should know that there were four available to taste too.

I started with both of the Chardonnays, and their 2016 Rosé.

Then moved on to the 2013 Merlot, which was beautiful. There seem to be so few Niagara Merlots around these days, that whenever I find one, I must try it.

The Merlot is the completely empty tasting glass below. You can see how much I liked it.

But for my treat purchase this time, I selected the 2016 Pinot Noir Rosé. I’m savouring every Rosé day of summer that I have left.

Next stop, Hidden Bench.

I’m all about finding peaceful spots lately, and the grounds at Hidden Bench are most definitely that. Walking through the vineyard, it was so quiet you could hear the gentle rustle of the wind in the leaves all around.

Sigh… tranquil.

The patio is a perfect spot for a sunny afternoon

So I popped in to the tasting bar to ask for a glass of the Locust Lane Rosé, which I enjoyed while soaking up those vineyard views.

I could’ve happily stayed in that very spot for the rest of the day.

But with the promise of more delicious wine to sample, I went back into the tasting bar

I’ve only talked about my love for Chardonnay 568493 times on this blog, right? The photo is a bit grainy here, but I think it shows the sheer happiness I feel when I sample a beautiful Chardonnay.

The 2014 Estate Chardonnay is certainly beautiful, so it was added to my Birthday wine stash along with the 2016 Nocturn Rosé.

I’m going to hold on to summer as long as I possibly can.

Of course, no celebration of mine would be complete without a visit to Creekside.

As much as I hate to admit it, cooler weather will be here soon, so my thoughts are starting to drift to hearty reds for those chillier days.

Creekside has come to my rescue again – I think they have created my 2017 regular fall sipper.

It was tough to choose between all these beauties….

So I picked two – the 2015 Cabernet Merlot and the 2015 Shiraz Cabernet.

At $14.95 and $15.95 respectively, it’s a great price point for my fall go-to red.

Creekside never disappoints. Ever.

Fabulous wine and service, always.

The birthday wine celebration continued the following day too.

Yes, I was very spoiled.

Especially at my next stop – Icellars.

You guys, I can’t emphasize enough what a gem Icellars is.

Spectacular wine, and such a genuine, warm welcome.

Daniel helped me out again on this visit. We caught up on how the summer has been….

….and chatted some more about the early history of wine…

….and of course, about the dazzling Icellars wine portfolio

My particular faves remain the 2014 Chardonnay, 2014 Wiyana Wanda, and the 2015 Cabernet Sauvignon

But I have a feeling that what I tasted out of this barrel will also be a favourite of mine when it is released.

I can’t wait. It’s already gorgeous stuff.

I bought more of my beloved 2015 Cabernet Sauvignon, and promised I would come back soon.

Our final stop was at Marynissen.

Chardonnay lovers, you really need to stop in at Marynissen. They have five Chardonnays available right now. 

The Platinum series is especially interesting. The 2013 vintage offers three different yeast strains and it was fascinating to taste them. Same grape, same year, different yeast, producing three distinct flavour profiles. Each was lovely for unique reasons. My personal favourite was the one made with VIN2000 yeast. In the tasting notes, Marynissen says it is more of a new world style Chardonnay – rich and complex, with aromas of pineapple and citrus.

I’ve always felt I was more of a new world girl.

But I also enjoyed the one with the VIN13 yeast, which is supposed to be a blend of new and old world styles.

So delicious.

What better way for a Chardonnay lover to celebrate than with sampling five different Chardonnays at one winery?

It was the nicest way to finish my birthday road trip.

Now, there was only one problem.

How would I select ONE wine to drink on my birthday?


So the answer of course, is to just revisit those feelings of celebration all year whenever I open these wines.

It’s still much better than any cake ever.