There’s only one problem I have with the Discovery Pass program.
It’s hard to pick which wineries to go to. So many of the pairings are just too delicious.
Here was my situation. I was only going to be out in the Bench for one afternoon. There are eight tickets in the Discovery Pass. So I was trying to split them up evenly – go to four in Beamsville, and four in Niagara-on-the-Lake. But as I read through the Discovery Pass booklet, my dilemma became clear. How on earth could I only pick four? So many of the pairings sounded so good.
Well, I ended up doing five, and there were many more I wish I could have gone to. All of these pairings were delicious, though, so I was not disappointed with my choices.
If you’re heading out that way to do the pairings, here are my selections. All highly recommended.
I started at Mike Weir Winery, with its beautiful rolling vineyard view.
I started here because I love The Yellow Pear. I couldn’t resist their pairing of Icewine Grilled Cheese with Mike Weir’s 2014 Limited Edition Riesling. Yes, you read that right. This was not an Icewine pairing, which I thought was a great idea. As much as I am starting to appreciate Icewine, it was nice to have another option.
I actually purchased a full sandwich here – didn’t go for just the sample. Hey, it’s The Yellow Pear. I love their grilled cheese, so a full size serving was a necessity. I’m not usually a Riesling girl, but the suggested Riesling pairing went very well.
My next stop was Fielding Winery.
They had grabbed my attention right from the very beginning. They were serving nachos, one of my favourite snacks in the whole wide world.
These are Cheesy Chile Con Queso Nachos, topped with crumbled bacon and blue cheese. If you like nachos and blue cheese, this one’s a must. I loved it.
You got it. The Cab Franc.
Now you might be thinking “Uh, Jo, isn’t this the Icewine Festival? Where’s the Icewine?”. It’s coming, I promise.
And I am definitely going to make these nachos. Oh yes.
I also did a bit of cellar restocking here. A variety of Fielding reds were purchased. More details about that will be in another post. Very soon.
Anyway. The next destination was Tawse.
I wanted to go to Tawse because they were pouring their Chardonnay Icewine. I had never heard of Icewine being made from Chardonnay. Seeing as it’s one of my favourite grape varieties, I really wanted to try this one.
I was even luckier because they started me off with a generous sample of Spark – a really tasty sparkler.
Then out came their featured pairing – a savoury cheesecake, topped with Icewine bacon and onion jam.
Next we went across the street to Megalomaniac. Believe it or not, I almost didn’t go there. Now this, my friends, would have been a disastrous mistake. They were pouring Icewine cocktails, which I think you know is one of my favourite ways to serve Icewine. I erroneously assumed it would be the same cocktails as last year. They were delicious, but I didn’t want to use my precious tickets on something I had tried before.
Lo and behold, there were three new cocktails for me to savour. It would have been such a shame to miss these beauties. If you love Icewine cocktails, make sure you get yourself to Megalomaniac pronto.
When we arrived, there was this really cool, misty view of Niagara Falls in the distance.
We started off with the Coldhearted Personality – a mix of their Sparkling Riesling and Coldhearted Riesling Icewine. It was refreshing.
Next, a Vodka Martini, made with Vodka (of course), Coldhearted Riesling Icewine, Lime bitters and Triple Sec. Wow, that was an interesting cocktail.
Following that, a Cherry Vodka Martini, with Grounded Cabernet Franc Icewine and Cherry Vodka. All with a cherry on top.
Finally, it was Sweet Seduction. Chocolate liqueur with Grounded Cabernet Franc Icewine. Oh goodness. This was amazing.
Such a great selection.
I didn’t think I could possibly do any more. Then I remembered the pairing that was awaiting me at Sue-Ann Staff Estate Winery. Listen to this. The Discovery Pass listing promised “….succulent sweet potato gnocchi swimming in an herbed mushroom butter sauce paired perfectly with Sue-Ann’s multi-gold medal winning 2012 Vidal Icewine.”
This was so good. Sweet potato gnocchi and Icewine is a perfect match.
You may have noticed that none of my pairings were the classic Icewine-and-dessert-combination. I love tasting Icewine with savoury and spicy foods, and I really like how wineries are showcasing Icewine’s versatility. It is not just for dessert, folks.
You have two more weekends to enjoy all this Discovery Pass deliciousness. I’ll be recapping my Niagara-on-the-Lake picks in my next post.