Saturday, March 02, 2013

Niagara Wine Trail - Oh Canada!

Wow! OK, it started off as a family vacation. My wife and sons voted to go to Niagara Falls, Canada for the Presidents Day break. One of the biggest features they liked about this vacation was that there are no wineries at Niagara Falls....this was obviously a misconception. The No. 1 Rules was? "Dad, we're not going to any wineries."

Suffice to say, this was immediately taken up as a challenge. I was happy to be put to the test.

A few weeks later and here I am, a happy man.

A few thoughts on Canada before I go off on my individual reviews.

The falls are amazing and breath taking....and then there are the next 22 hours left in that day.


As you may remember, I've been trying Canadian wines since the 1990s, when I first started going up to Toronto for sales conferences n the book business. The locals thought I was crazy, but I always wanted to taste local wine. Henry of Pelham and Cave Spring have long been in my wine cellar as well as assorted ice wines. I'm kind of nuts that way. That it's taken me this long to get there is still the biggest shock!

The Niagara tasting country is gorgeous, even in winter. Amazing!

Firstly, all the wineries grow vinifera. Amazing. The Canadian government paid the growers to pull out their hybrids and grown only vinifera. Now that is a partner!!! Not every one did it of course, but still and all, amazing.

Secondly, they make great wine in the Niagara region. Absolutely fantastic chardonnays, pinot noirs, and cab francs. Amazing.


Thirdly, it's much more like the North Fork than like the Hudson Valley or the Finger Lakes. The wineries are relatively close together, and you can handle a whole bunch in a day if you're a zealot like me.

All in all, this is an extremely mature region, with new wineries starting every day, but also including some absolutely HUGE wineries that make great quality wine!

For the record we went to Charmes, Ravine, Colaneri, Southbrook, Flat Rock, Vineland, Tawse, Reif, Lailey, and Konzelmann. Also enjoyed a great bottle of 30 Bench!

A great trip! Amazing wine country! Now, back to my kids. I am sorry. I promise we can go back and do nothing but play video games and visit Dave & Busters and play more video games...and then Dad can go sneak off again ;)