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Help me scratch some NOTL wineries off the list?

hey guys,

After going through threads and other reviews online, I'd love your two cents on if you think there are any wineries that aren't worth it. We're just going for a weekend and doubt we'll have time to do everything. Anything glaring that should be scratched?

Stratus
Thirty Bench
Flat Rock
Strewn
Lailey
Coyote Run
Tawse
Ravine
Malivoire
Konzelmann
Marynissen
Vineland Estaes
Le Clos Jordane

Just fyi, never been to NOTL before but we just did Napa/Sonoma last fall so we're not total beginners. Looking for a good mix - big and small, high end/low end, etc.. As for varietals, we lean toward reds but don't really care as long as it's good. We know we're not in big cab country so we're pretty easy. If it helps, we're going to Peller for dinner so I feel like we can scratch a "big" winery off our list. Any advice welcome!

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  1. How many days will you be touring? That is a huge list and I've never found it fun to do more than 3 wineries/day-although that depends on the kind of experience you're seeking. Stratus, Tawse and Le Clos Jordanne are musts (especially since you prefer reds), although I consider them all higher end wineries.

    You may also want to consider Hidden Bench.

    SWS

    1. Friday dinner to Sunday dinner, that's all unfortunately. Ideally we were hoping to do 4 per day, but that may be too ambitious... ?

      3 Replies
      1. re: miketoronto

        Personally, yes, I think much too ambitious. Go with 2-3 per day. You'll find it exhausting-I know, I know, it seems silly to think of it as exhausting but your palate gets blown with too much and then you aren't doing justice to the wines...

        1. re: Splendid Wine Snob

          I agree. We spent 3 days in NOTL last summer (only NOTL, not Beamsville/Vineland). We drove by ourselves for 2 days and joined a tour for 1 day. We only managed to do 3 wineries when we drove, and 4 on the tour but that was all day. Also, you are going to Beamsville as well as NOTL, so you'll probably need to group them to make it more convenient.

          Of your list, we tried Stratus, Lailey, Coyotes Run, and Konzelman.

          I really liked Stratus for the overall tasting experience. Their Stratus Red and White are both fantastic. We also really like Lailey for the variety they have and pretty good quality wine. So I would say those two.

          We are looking to go for a Beamsville/Vineland weekend. And we are definitely going to Tawse, Thirty Bench, Hidden Bench.

        2. re: miketoronto

          And oh, 13th Street has some pretty darn delicious Rieslings. Their bubbly is great too.

        3. My two favorites are Strewn and Lailey. Both are small and personal. The whites win out for me. Coyote Run is a third just because it has an interesting history and very nice people. All three offer a short tour.

          1. Strewn has a very good restaurant, Terroir La Cachette, which is a local highligt for food, but their wines are well below par, if that is the focus of your visit. Maybe one of 10 is decent per year.

            Stratus doesn't justify the price point, and unless you shmooze well, they will charge you for tastings. Their Wildass blends, which are sold by the case, mostly through phone sales, are much better value, but you can't (at last try) buy them on site.

            Marynissen and Lailey are the two local stars of older vine crafted wines in the area, and have the best reds by miles.

            Dinner at Peller is generally very well done.

            -----
            La Cachette
            1339 Lakeshore Rd, Niagara On the Lake, ON L0S1J0, CA

            2 Replies
            1. re: Snarf

              LCBO has the Wildass featured in next week's release.

              1. re: Snarf

                Totally agree with Snarf. Marynissen and Lailey shouldn't be missed especially since you like reds.
                Lailey's 2008 Syrah and Marynissen's Bottoms Up are a must try.

              2. We go to wine country to tour about once a year, and our very favourite is Lailey. They do a wonderful cheese pairing that is ridiculously cheap for the huge amount of delicious cheese that they serve. You have to book it in advance. The wine is wonderful but a bit expensive.

                We also like Flat Rock, Coyote Run (great reds, which can be hard to find in that neck of the woods), and Tawse. Not on your list, but another one of our faves, is Fielding. They have a great unoaked chardonnay, and they have a few sweeter summer whites that are pretty special.