There is so much to do in January, who knew?
We were lucky enough to receive Niagara Icewine Festival Discovery Passes from Kimberly Hundertmark (Thank you, Cheers!) of Niagara Wine Festivals, so we decided to use these at Niagara on the Lake Wineries. The Niagara Icewine Festival Discovery Pass provides you eight pairings during the three weekends of wine and culinary adventures at wineries across Niagara's Wine Region. Those without a Discovery Pass can still enjoy the pairing but at a cost of $10.00 per pairing, per person, per winery. Discovery Passes are $40.00 plus taxes, for the eight pairings and you choose which wineries you want to visit. This event is yearly, the last three weekends of January.
It is always great to see what food pairings go with your favourite icewines. Icewines are not just a dessert wine, icewines can be paired very well with meat as well. Don't be scared to open those icewines with a great Beef Tenderloin or a Maple Glazed Pork Loin, Chicken or even Seafood... You'd be surprised how well these pair... and why not add some icewine to your gravy or glaze or look up recipes with icewine for something new to try. We have some aged icewines and until this event, can't say we were eager to open them, but now, we keep looking at what we can make to go with them.
It was a hard decision for us to pick just 3 wineries to visit, but we have always had a sweet tooth for Pillitteri Estates Winery, so we headed off to taste their “Braised Duck Grilled Cheese and 2013 barrel aged Reserve Vidal Icewine”. Was a brilliant pairing, and who would of thought?!?! While we were there, we decided to taste a flight of vintage icewines. Here Mary Ann was pouring a 2002 Chardonnay, 2002 Vidal, and a 2007 Squeaky beak (red) icewine. Well knocked one of us over when we said "Oooh I love the first one", and low and behold it was the Chardonnay (it's no secret that we are JUST starting to appreciate Chardonnay Wines - give us time Jo and we will be 'licking barrels with you' haha). We also decided to enter the 'Snap a selfie and you could wine a free Cuvee Weekend Package valued at $700.00.' It was easy, snap a selfie holding the Cuvee wine bottle, post it with #Cuvee2017 to Instagram or Twitter along with the winery where it was taken... and then sit and wait for the contest to end (It ended 31 January) Note: Cuvee is March 24th and click here for more details on CUVEE 2017 . Good luck to all that entered.
(photocredit: Niagarafied's Ken Peterkin).
Second on our list was the new winery called The Hare Wine Co. It’s funny, because we just visited this winery the weekend before a fell in love with their signature wine called Jack Rabbit Red which is also available in a white, but we stocked up on the red. On returning to this beautiful winery we enjoyed their Discovery pairing of “Sticky Toffee Cake" which is smothered in a Treacle sauce and topped with an Icewine Chantilly and served with 2014 Vidal Icewine with flavours of peaches and exotic fruits. Absolutely amazing pairing - we only wished the sampling was bigger... Like a 9" x 11" pan please, LOL. On a serious note, you do get enough to appreciate the pairing.
Third and final stop was Konzelmann Estate Winery. Here they were serving up a “Lobster Bisque and 2010 Vidal Icewine”. If you love seafood, Konzelmann will have your mouth watering when you walk through the door! This pairing was lovely, as it had some bite but really brought out the sweet apricot, peach and honey of the icewine. Lobster is one of our favourite foods and we thoroughly enjoyed the fact that this Discovery Pass Program taught us that food pairings do not always have to be with a red or white wine - we have learned and will probably open and purchase more icewines this year.
Next year will we will definitely organize ourselves better to enjoy a bit of each weekend with the Discovery Pass, as it goes over three weekends and is one of the events that is shared throughout both the Niagara on the Lake Wineries and the Wineries of Niagara Escarpment & Twenty Valley. There is so much to do and see in Niagara's Wine Country... so glad we are able to experience these finer things with our friends and to share them with you, our followers.
Til next time, have a great day and great wine!!!