A Taste of Wine…

Crisp,racy,buttery,fruity,peppery,like petrol,grassy and oh so sweet. There are many ways to describe a wine and to each palate there is a different analogy. I like the scene in the movie  Sideways when Maya thoughtfully describes her glass of Pinot – wondering what the day was like when the grapes were picked , was the sun shining, whose hands touched that particular cluster of grapes that were then  crushed and left to ferment, in aged wood barrels, in dark,damp cellars. The experience of tasting a wine appeals to your senses –  Sight, lifting the glass up to the light, taking in the slight variations in colour from one red or white to the next. Smell, closing your eyes and inhaling the aromas that fully infuse the glass and then your nose. Touch, holding the stem of the glass, twirling the wine inside, letting the thin, cool glass rest on your lips as you sip. Taste, taking that first sip, swirling or perhaps, slurping and gargling the wine in your mouth so every part of your palate is awakened. Hearing – the descriptions of each individual sharing that same bottle of wine.

Wine tasting is an appealing way to get outside on a beautiful Fall day, to explore the character of the different vineyards, to meet the winemakers who work so hard and are truly passionate about their craft and to learn about the different grapes and wine-making techniques – this however, in my opinion, is not an activity to take too seriously though, it’s about being with good friends, sharing a laugh and taking the time to savour life’s simple pleasures….like……the aroma of a chilled Riesling reminding one of a soggy, canvas shoe that had been left to dry in the sun after a long day of picking grapes in a muddy, earthy field of dirt and clay.

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An autumn afternoon in Niagara on the Lake, Ontario, Canada :

Our tour started at SouthBrook Winery – Contemporary building, great lines, graphic plantings, gorgeous table for tasting with beautiful views. Poetic vintages – lovely poetry by Canadian writers on their bottles.

Five Rows Winery – Started with 5 rows of vines, rustic barn, warm, comfortable, picturesque, great aroma, built with pride and love. Very cozy table, chunks of Parmesan and earthy crackers, full reds and dessert in a glass Ice-wines. Lovely mother who described her son’s wines flawlessly.

Between the Lines – Simple, knowledgeable, passionate  young winemaker and educator. Truffles that burst in your mouth filled with Cabernet Franc Ice-wine.

After all the wine-tasting, we stopped at the Stone Road Grille for a bite to eat.The restaurant is very nondescript  from the outside and is easy to pass over but trust me – you want to dine here ! As you enter and pass through the dark curtained entrance-way, look up to find the flying turkey. The restaurant’s atmosphere is quite eclectic: gold-framed mirrors and whimsical artwork hang on the deep,cherry red and grey walls. Booths are covered in funky dotted fabric and invite you to relax and take in the vibe. Among the items we chose to sample was a velvety parsnip soup, mussels and frites (they were served in terracotta flower pots), steak/frites, creamy mushroom risotto and heavenly,warm chocolate mousse cake with salted caramel ice-cream,topped with sponge toffee – I would go back for dessert alone!

Check out the website http://www.stoneroadgrille.com for details.

© 2011 Ann Ivy Male

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