Niagara Icewine Festival and winery tour

I’m not a wine expert. And, until this weekend, I didn’t think I had any preferences in wine. This weekend, women in the family set out to enjoy the Niagara Icewine Festival by touring six wineries in Niagara-on-the-Lake (we were celebrating everyone’s birthday on the same day because it is difficult to get all of us together outside of holidays).

We got together early on Saturday morning and compiled a list of the wineries on the tour that we would like to visit. I chose mine based on the food being served. My aunt consolidated the list and chose the six most popular wineries, mapped the best route, and we set out!

Part way through the day we realized we were making good time and deviated from the plan… we made a stop in downtown Niagara-on-the-Lake where there were more festivities. We stopped at the Trisha Romance art gallery, shopped, stopped for a quick snack, and walked through a few neighbourhoods.

At the end of the day, I realized that I do indeed have a preference when it comes to wines. I prefer sweet or semi-sweet wines over dry wines. And I prefer red wines over white wines. Some of the food pairings surprised me. Every food we tried was delicious. I can’t tell you if they actually paired well with the wines.

My favourite quote of the day: “this wine smells like my bath salts, which smell really good.”

However, the best part of the day was spending it with my family. We really had a great time just being together!

Have you ever been on a wine tour in Niagara? Which wineries did you visit? Which would you recommend?

Between the Lines Family Estate Winery

A really cute, friendly, family-run winery. The parents own the vineyard. The children run the winery/wine-making. We got to enjoy our wine and treats right beside the fermenting wine.

Wines we tasted:

  • 2010 Gewürztraminer Icewine
  • Cabernet Merlot

Food served:

  • 2009 Vidal Icewine white chocolate truffle
  • 2009 Cabernet Franc Icewine dark chocolate truffle

Cattail Creek Estate Winery

How could you not try a wine called Catastrophe that has pictures of adorable kitties on the label?

Wines we tasted:

  • Select Late Harvest Riesling 2007, VQA Niagara on the Lake
  • 2008 Catastrophe Chocolate Strawberry Infusion
  • 2009 Catastrophe Chocolate Orange Infusion

Food served:

  • Butter Chicken with Mango Chutney served with Papadum Chips

Marynissen Estates Winery

We got to walk throughout the shop and peruse the storage area full of wine barrels. The Pad Thai was delicious… but I accidentally added too much sriracha sauce to mine. Despite being super spicy, it was still fantastic!

Wines we tasted:

  • 2004 Vidal Icewine

Food served:

  • Authentic Pad Thai prepared by Nutchalai “Amm” Chiprasit

Niagara College Teaching Winery

Our first and last stop of the day. We didn’t want to make purchases too early in the tour… but still enjoyed the wine very much at the end of the day and had to stop by on our way home.

Wines we tasted:

  • 2009 Dean’s List Cabernet Franc Icewine

Food served:

  • Whole wheat and roasted garlic flan with rosemary venison-mushroom ragout

Riverview Cellars Winery

I loved the view at this winery, it overlooks the Niagara River. I brought home a bottle of the 2009 Fontana Dolce VQA to share with B.

Wines we tasted:

  • 2010 Cabernet Franc Icewine
  • 2009 Fontana Dolce VQA

Food served:

  • Fresh fruit skewers and homemade cinnamon-cranberry biscotti dipped in a chocolate fountain

Strewn Winery

This was the last winery on our list. It was probably the most unique place on the tour. Strewn is not strictly a winery, is also has a restaurant and cooking school in the same building.

Wines we tasted:

  • 2006 Riesling icewine
  • 2008 Rogue’s Lot Cabernet Franc/Cabernet Sauvignon
  • 2008 Cabernet Franc
  • Merlot
  • Warm mulled wine

Food served:

  • Warm apricot streusel

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  1. Sounds like fun! I’ve toured the Peller Estates Winery, but I’ve never done anything like this. The chocolates at the first place on your list look divine! Mmm… chocolate…

  2. I wanted to hit up Strewn too.
    There’s also a tonne of wineries in the Twenty Valley that I would like to try. Next time you go, you should definitely visit Southbrook. I thought it was by far the coolest winery.

  1. Day 2: Something sweet « The Cook's Sister

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