Saturday, May 27, 2006

A Day in Happyplacevilleland

What do you get when you cross the QEW with a car full of Aussies? A 2-4 of wine and a magnolia bush.

Did my hostessly duty today and introduced the Antipodeans to the joys of VQA. More of a touring day than a serious buying day. Thank God, because Sheena wasn't thrilled with many of the selections today. Maybe the good stuff is hidden under the counter on American long weekends....

Started at the crack of noonish at Peninsula Ridge at the north tip of Beamsville. Bit of a lineup. Checked out the Inox Chardonnay (what they call their non-oaked). Cabernet Franc and their flagship blend Arcanum (Cab Sauv, Merlot, Franc). All OK, but not inspired to buy anything.

Thirty Bench was next. Renovations to their tasting room. Girl behind the counter seemed to think we gave a flying f**k about her cholesterol levels. And the glasses were dry. Used to collect their Bench Blends and Reserve Merlots & Francs pretty consistently in the late '90s. Quality has gone downhill. Didn't buy, but one of the Aussies picked up an american oak cab franc in a nicely sized 500ml bottle for $16.

Up to Angels' Gate. This place keeps getting better. Lovely inexpensive Gamay Noir at $12 (good price but there are better in Niagara). Bought two Gewurtztraminers which are beautifully floral with a hint of banana. Aussies liked it too and everyone picked up a couple.

New find last September was Fielding. Oh my... what a pretty place. Pinots are gorgeous. Like a cup full of cherry flavoured rubies. The place has only been opened a year, in fact this weekend was the 1 year anniversary. Tasting room overlooks the Toronto skyline view over the lake and the natural light offsets the wine colours just beautifully. Their better stuff served in the stemless Riedels and makes for fun swirling in the sparkly light. Minimizes breakage. That's important in Sheenaville.

Then the obligatory stop at Daniel Lenko's. Sigh. Let's not dwell on the rugged features, piercing blue eyes, stubborn maverick streak or just dirty-enough-to-be-manly fingernails. Few things already sold out, and disappointing news that he's discontinuing his lovely Rose. I always loved the Rose with his ma's kielbasa.Loved his crack about the KGBO. He hates selling to the money-grubbing socialized distribution system. Viognier a bit pricy, but the nicest one in Ontario. Floral and spicy. $34. Raspberry late harvest surprised the Aussies. Thought it was flavoured ice wine. They took a few home as souvenirs. Spend some time outside sitting with Helen his ma. She loves out-of-towners and my gracious Aussie friend promised to write her and send her a postcard. Got free apricot jam out of the deal. Score.

Over to Malivoire to meet up with a few more peeps. Ladybug Rose is a perpetual favourite, but didn't buy any because it is now readily available at a few of the restaurants I like (including the new Preston Street Stoneface Dolly's in Ottawa).

Picked up a couple of Courtney Block Gamay and a Pinot Gris. Still sufficiently stocked up on the wonderful Rosemary Wine Syrup to get me through the first few weeks of Mojito season. I think.

Creekside was odd. I buy their Sauvignon Blanc by the case and have done so for several years. They seem to have had particularly bad luck in the last year and many of their wines had to be blended with imported product. Still yummy and very drinkable at decent prices, but not VQA. If I wanted Chilean Sauv Blanc I would have day tripped to Santiago when I was in South America. Hmm.. something seems fishy over there.

Shock of the day was the recent gentrification of the Jordan Hotel. Now, Sheena is a big fan of staying relevant and cutting edge. But not with taverns. I like my waitresses surly. Nobody needs yet another Bass on tap. Crab cakes in a biker bar? Please... the guy with leather chaps who looked as stunned as I was at the lack of vinyl chairs probably had more crabs than those little deep fried hockey pucks. Grrr.... sometimes intelligent design doesn't get it right.


At 2:22 PM, Blogger Leatherhands said...

LOL. (The "crabs" part.) I think I'm in love with those stemless glasses.


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