One of the best way to learn what you like (and what you don’t!) and have a fun wine adventure is to take advantage if you happen to live near a winery. Lucky for me, I live about an hour away from one of the best wine regions in Canada. I try to get to Niagara a few times a year to visit wineries and learn more about how they approach making their wine. It’s fascinating to get to talk to someone in the know about the choices that were made in making a wine! #nerd
Cuvée en Route
I’ll be heading to Niagara later this month for an event I’ve come to know and love. Put on by the folks at Brock University’s Cool Climate Oenology and Viticulture Institute (CCOVI), Cuvée en Route is an annual showcase of the delicious wines this region has to offer. On March 24, 25 and 26 wineries throughout Niagara create small tasting menus (usually 3-4 wines) and often share wines you can’t get at a normal tasting. Case in point – last year I had wines from as long ago as 1998! This is a great opportunity to taste things you wouldn’t be able to find anywhere else.
Wine Passports – The Best Kind of Travel
First of all, the pass is a deal. $30 gets you tastings at over 30 wineries all across the region – that’s less than a dollar per winery!
Secondly, some of my favourite wineries are participating this year. Here’s what I’m most looking forward to after looking at this year’s brochure.
Kacaba Vineyards and Winery
I went to Kacaba last year and had a great time. Not only did they offer me a taste of wines above and beyond their set menu for the event, the person pouring for us seemed just as excited to tell me all about the wines as I was to hear it. This year they’re doing a vertical: the same wine from a number of different years. This is a great way to see how weather and climate can affect a wine. Kacaba’s vertical is of their barrel fermented Chardonnay from 2013, 2014 and 2015. As a recent Chardonnay convert I’m so down for this tasting.
Malivoire Wine Company
Instead of doing a vertical wine tasting you can also do a horizontal, which is the same grape, the same year, but different vineyards. I’ve never done one of these so I’m hoping to make it to Malivoire and taste their Gamay horizontal. It also doesn’t hurt that I quite like Gamays and believe that Niagara makes them particularly well.
Pondview Estate Winery
Pondview is a winery I know in name only, really. I’m sure I must have had their wine before but can’t quite remember what it was like. For Cuvée en Route they’re offering four wines with a bit of age on them made of grapes I like – a 2013 Pinot Gris, Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc (another Niagara specialty) and a 2014 Chardonnay. I’m looking forward to giving them another try – and hopefully making my memory of them stick.
Sue-Ann Staff Estate Winery
This is another winery I visited last year. I had the great pleasure of meeting Sue-Ann Staff herself, getting to know her excellent wines and meeting her adorable dog, Brix. This year she’s offering a vertical of three Reislings (her specialty) from 2008, 2011, and 2014. Can’t wait!
Have I piqued your interest yet? I hope so, because I’ve teamed up with the CCOVI folks to give away two tickets to this year’s event.
The contest closes at 11:59pm on March 16th, so enter soon and tell your friends!