Welcome to my life in Niagara! Grab a glass, there's bound to be wine.

Cuvée en Route

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One of the things I’m working on this year is to be more selective with my words.

This is a challenging task for me, as I can be – well, – wordy. Quite often, though, less is more.  After the Cuvée Grand Tasting, I happily spent my weekend going from winery to winery, participating in Cuvée en Route. I originally planned to give you a descriptive play-by-play of that wine-der-ful weekend. But since I had pretty much done that on Twitter, I thought I would give you my highlights from each winery – things that made the experience just that much better. Wines – and people – that wowed me.

So here we go. I promise I’ll try to be brief.

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First stop, Peninsula Ridge. Their promised flight of oaked Chardonnays had me from the start. It seems like oaky Chardonnays are not as popular any more in some circles, but I love oak. The one I particularly liked was their 2014 Barrel-Aged Chardonnay. The bonus is that it’s at a great price point too. At $15.95, it’s a terrific deal. I’ll be sipping on this a lot this summer.

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Next up, Malivoire.

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I hadn’t been to Malivoire for quite some time, so I was eager to go there. Especially when they were offering a vertical flight of their Old Vines Foch – from 2014, 2013, and 2005. Our server (I unfortunately didn’t get her name) was delightful, and super-attentive. They also had a wonderful story printed up for us to read about their Marechal Foch. I’m not going to tell it to you though – you have to go to the winery and read it yourself. You’ll be happy you did. It was such a treat to try the 2005 vintage, and the 2014 was a special barrel sample. I would be happy to drink any of these vintages at all.

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We then went to Redstone for their flight of Syrah. Syrah is one of my favourite reds, and I was looking forward to having a taste of their sold-out 2010. It was as good as I expected, and I also enjoyed the 2012. Christian was a great server, knowledgeable and easy to talk to. I want to get back and try the restaurant soon, as I have heard very good things.

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Of course, I had to stop at Kacaba. I love going there. Always friendly, enthusiastic service from all of the staff and oh, yes, the wines! Kacaba was doing a barrel tasting of four of them, but they started me off with a sip of their first, newly-released sparkling.

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It’s gorgeous.

Kacaba also makes one of the few Unoaked Chardonnays that I have liked so far. At $14.95, it’s a steal.

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After that, a visit to Moosimo was necessary.

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Ah, Foreign Affair. I’m having quite the intense love affair with their wines. Though I’ve mostly bought their reds, their flight of whites will get more of my buying dollars in the future. A luscious, creamy, 2010 Chardonnay, and I also enjoyed the 2012 Sauvignon Blanc.

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I’ll let you in on a little secret. Moosimo is looking for a girlfriend – So now I wonder, where’s Moosima?

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Then, it was off to Westcott. Their Sparklings and Chardonnays totally rock my world. Victoria is also a fantastic host, and I love their cozy, welcoming vibe.

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I can’t resist saying this. Their Brilliant Sparkling is – wait for it – brilliant. There really is no other word. I think I need to get some for upcoming Easter festivities. I think you should too.

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I have relished their Estate Chardonnay ever since I first sipped it. From now on, the Lenko Old Vines Chardonnay will definitely be in my wine rack too.

That was it for day one. By this point, you may be thinking “How on earth can she drink all this wine?”. Perseverance, my friends. Truthfully, I have been known to spit sometimes, instead of swallow. I also limit myself to a couple small sips of each wine. This was not an occasion for debauchery. This was about savouring.

Speaking of that, Henry of Pelham was the first place I savoured on Sunday. Their back vintage Merlot tasting was very special. Merlot from 1998, 1999, and 2000 was poured. Yes, you read that right.

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My particular favourite was the 1998. What a treat to be able to sample an eighteen year old wine! I don’t often get to sample wines that old – though it kind of made me feel a bit old too. I was still in my twenties in 1998. Yowza.

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We drove over to Rockway next. This is one winery I had never been to. I had two terrific things happen while I was there. The first was that David, their winemaker, was there pouring for all of us, available for all of our questions. The second great thing was that I arrived on the day of their Open House. This meant I was there for the wine sale, of which I took advantage.

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Only after I had my tasting, of course.

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I really enjoyed the 2014 Wild Ferment Chardonnay, and the 2012 Small Lot Syrah. Then I quickly proceeded to the Wine Boutique to partake in the sale.

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Next, I made a quick stop at Creekside. The 2013 Reserve Viognier is something else. I’m really loving Viognier lately but this one is exceptional.

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Another quick stop, this time at Niagara College Teaching Winery. They were offering a vertical tasting of Pinot Noir. The 2010 Dean’s List Pinot Noir in Canadian Oak was my favourite of the lot. I’m just beginning to explore Pinot Noir, as it’s never been my first pick in a red. I enjoyed learning a bit more about it, and the College’s program.

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I continued my Pinot exploration at Konzelmann.

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They also gave me chocolate. I love Konzelmann.

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I finished up my day at the beautiful Stratus.

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Stratus does a lot of interesting things, but this tasting really piqued my curiosity. They were sampling Sangioivese, Tempranillo, and Tannat, all from the glorious 2012 season. These are grape varieties that you don’t often find at a winery here.

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Yes, there are some pretty incredible wines at Stratus. But you knew that already.

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You’ve probably noticed that I spend a lot of time at the wineries. With all of the weekend tasting passes and such that we have, how was Cuvée en Route different? Well, the thing that I loved about it is that I was able to try some wines that I normally wouldn’t be able to – like special vertical tastings and back vintages. It also pushed me to try some wines that I don’t usually select when I’m tasting – like Pinot Noir. It gave me the chance to experience yet again the wonderful variety of wine, and wine experiences we have here.

And there’s a lot of good stuff going on.

 

If you attended any part of the Cuvée 2016 weekend, I’d love to hear about your experience. Leave me a note in the comments below, or on Twitter or Facebook.