NOTL bike tour!
Ahh...I can finally post this now - I hope you're all not too sick of posting about NOTL... Gave my SO a birthday gift of biking around NOTL visiting wineries for the long weekend (it was a surprise and I didn't want her to see this post!).
Looking for advice please. I've researched older posts - based on those, I've made reservations at Stone Road Grille and Tony De Luca's. Really looking forward to meals there - if anyone has been there lately and could suggest good dishes, I would appreciate it. Also, should we go for the tasting menu at Tony De Luca's? (We're staying at the Shaw Club, and I do have tentative reservations at Zee's - would you go there instead of Tony De Luca's?)
My biggest challenge is to plan a good biking route. I have to admit, I don't have a lot of knowledge of Ontario wines - but we're going to learn! I have a tour booked at Stratus, because we're really interested in the LEED building. Other than that here's what I was planning - Vineland (we need a little distance for that bike ride!), Flat Rock and Chateau Des Charmes. Any suggestions? We'd like to bike for most of the day on Sat and Sun.
Also, if anybody has any great suggestions for picnic shopping, I would appreciate it.
Thanks so much for your help.
Thanks so much to all of you for your advice. Gourmando, thank you - I'm relieved to be rid of the decision between DeLuca's and Zees. I'll free up that reservation now! Thanks for the hints on which wine to order too!!
Should have mentioned earlier that we're pretty active and would enjoy a longer bike ride, so yep, Flat Rock wouldn't be a problem. If it's too hot, we'll re-think - thanks for the warning though.
Do any of you have any idea where Daniel Lenko is located? His winery seems to discreetly miss most of the maps...
Thanks again. I'll be sure to report back.
Lenko is located on King Street in Beamsville. He's not on the Wineries of Ontario Map because, according to the man himself, he refuses to pay to get onto it. The best point of reference is a sign on the side of the road that says "Jancis Robinson's favourite Canadian wine" (his 2002 Syrah...which, sadly, he has none left..or, more than likely, refuses to give up). Drive up the path to the bungelow, and knock on the door. If no one answers, go around back to the barn. His "tasting room" is open on the weekends. If you go out that far, be sure to visit Fielding, Thirty Bench, and Hidden Bench too.
I had dinner at Stone Road Grille last week, and I think they have improved on their already excellent food. Ryan Crawford is an extremely gifted chef, and the place is deservedly packed every night of the week. The house charcuterie plate was fabulous: everything made in-house (boar sausage; chicken liver mousse; chutneys; pickled stuff: yum!) The seared duck leg confit was honestly the best duck I have ever had (and I have had a grotesque amount of duck in my time...). Succulent. We also had a bottles of the Charles Baker Riesling '05, and the Le Clos Jordanne Grand Clos '03 that were both absolutely superb, and among the best wines that our region has produced.
For picnic shopping, try the Epicurean in downtown NOTL; I think you can get take-out for lunch. Stone Road has started to do take out ("Rest-a-go-go") that would undoubtedly be superb. Willow Pastries, next to Stone Road, would also provide good additions to any respectable pic-a-nic basket, as would DeLuca's Cheese Shop near Stratus (they do sandwiches, or you can buy from their wonderful selection and do it yourselves).
Tony DeLuca's is much higher-end than Zee's; it's really comparing apples and oranges. I think you are good to stick with the former. Zee's is too close to Stone Road in alot of ways, that I think you'll have better variety with DeLuca's.
Finally, you've picked some nice wineries. I would also suggest Coyote's Run and Lailey in NOTL, Niagara College Teaching Winery when you get off the QEW, and Malivoire and 13th Street in the Jordan/Vineland area.