Monday, 17 June 2013

Niagara Wineries - weekend at Eve's

George golfed with the 3 guys that he worked with at Sears, 30 years ago, on the weekend. They used to golf every May 24th before we had children with birthdays around that weekend. They see each other, very sporadically, through the year but haven't golfed for a whole weekend in years. Of course its not just golfing, they also play cards, hang out at Rick's family cottage, eat and drink, re-tell old stories and of course, verbally abuse each other.
I spent the weekend with Eve, at her place in the country north of Burlington. We created a water feature in her garden and did some planting, ate and drank, hot tubbed, and generally caught up on each others lives. Saturday we drove down towards Niagara to tour some wineries.
It was a lovely warm spring day, so nice after all the rain we have had. I drove and was D D, while Eve and Karen did some tasting. It was so nice to see grape vines with leaves and miniature grapes on them.

Because, in the last 6 years or so, we travel to southern Spain or France in the winter time, we see the grape vines when they are dormant. I have come to love the look of the gnarled old vines with their rough bark, in straight rows, held in place with long strands of wire. The vines we saw this weekend did not look as old as the European ones and did not have the same sense of "character" but they were still a lovely pale green, planted on the rolling land that is the Beamsville Bench area.
Lavender beds in front of the vineyard.
We picked up a winery map and in the 4 hours we were there only managed about 2 inches of it. The wineries are thick on the ground. It almost seemed silly to get in the car to drive to the next one as you could see it just down the road. Some are very new, with the landscaping not yet looking "settled". All have been beautifully designed and detailed. All offered tastings at $1 or $2 a taste.
Karen and Eve tasting. This host considered Eve a real challenge but was unable to find her
a wine that she liked as much as the California wines she favours.
We had a delicious lunch at one of the wineries, sitting on a deck, looking over the vineyards. Had a quick stop at an antique store and continued on to the next winery. The last one we went to was a real find. We were shown the cellars with their oak casks and the stainless steel vats for the "un-oaked" varieties. Karen and Eve bought wine and a brick of chocolate there.
The red wine cellar
With the loot.
We finished off the trip at a cheese store in Jordan Station where I got to do some tasting and came away with a delicious Brie like cream cheese and a mouth watering blue cheese from Tasmania.
Back of the car, full of goodies.
The best part of the trip, for Eve, was that she was able to find a Canadian Chardonnay that she likes. Much more reasonable than her California favourite and easier to get.

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