NOTL - Your favourite wineries?
Four of us will be spending a day and night at The Riverbend Inn in Niagara On The Lake. Since we only have limited time I'm wondering which wineries, in your opinion, are a must?
It's been a little while since I visited the Niagara Wineries, but the ones we usually venture to are the ones where we like the wines, as in the examples below.
For example - we enjoy Peninsula Ridge (very nice show room and they have lots of wines to sample), Henry of Pelham (lots of opportunities to taste, but on the time we were there last, the staff was not greatly helpful even though it was quiet), and Cave Spring (we like the wines).
We have avoided Inniskillin the last few times - it is too busy and we never seem to get an opportunity to speak with the people at the winery about the wines and the grapes, etc
I was there a few years ago when my office did a cycling wine tour. I think that they are only just now starting to have one or two of their wines available through the LCBO. Other than that you have to order through them.
Another thing to do is ask at the Inn where they recommend. Some of the smaller places that are in that area are really interesting!
Now you're talkin' 'bout my turf Millygirl. Living in Burlington and being so close to NOTL and the Shaw Festival we spend many a weekend in Niagara. My favourite wineries are:
Peller Estates - beautiful chateau with excellent tasting facilities. Knowledgeable, helpful staff. Often do not charge for samples. My absolute favourite Niagara Chardonnay - full bodied, barrel aged with soft buttery/toffee tones. If you're looking for a good meal, the verandah overlooking the vineyard is a very nice setting for an excellent, romantic dinner.
Strewn Winery - If you're into Riesling, they do a good job.
Chateau des Charmes - another winery built as a chateau. Excellent wines and tasting facilities. They have a few unusual grapes that you do not see elsewhere in Niagara, e.g. Viognier. A very special visit is in store of Madame Bosc, the co-owner happens to be in the gift shop.
Daniel Lenko - This one will seem like an unusual choice to many. The tasting area is actually the kitchen of a rather nondescript old house. You will not see this winery on the Wine Trail as they do not market themselves to a large degree. They survive on the basis of very good, quality wines. Try a few, you will not be disappointed. Located on Hwy 8 between Grimsby and Beamsville. A hidden gem.
Peninsula Ridge - excellent facilities in a scenic setting. On the bench overlooking the vineyard with Lake Ontario in the distance. Upper end wines in a very nice tasting centre.
Special Tip - If looking for a very good meal at reasonable prices compared to most of the toney eating establishments in NOTL look no further than Stone Road Grill. This is a smallish restaurant outside of the NOTL town centre that is an absolute favourite of the locals. Reservations are a must. It may be difficult to spot as it is in a strip mall and the old, old sign says nothing more that "rest". We make a point of going here a couple of times a year. Try it, you'll like it. Guaranteed!
Personally, I've had some happy visits to the Tawse Winery. A chardonnay and pinot noir were something of a revelation for Ontario wines.