Tuscany in Ontario


Sometimes the more you learn, the more you realize how much you don’t know. Take wine making for instance. Now, I have been to a lot of wine making regions on various trips but that was not the focus of the trips and I have not paid much attention. My lovely wife enjoys a glass of wine but I admit that giving me a nice glass of wine would be like giving a beautifully ripe strawberry to a hog. However on a recent trip to the Niagra on the Lake, Ontario region of Canada, my education process began. img_1050

There are hundreds of wineries in this beautiful region and we had the opportunity to visit two of them complete with tastings for Janet. I observed and listened intently to some things I did not know. For instance, the glasses used for some wines are different in that they are wider and deeper and encourage one to get their nose in the glass and smell the aromas which enhances the taste on the palate. We learned about pairings of wines with food. Cabernet Franc is an excellent choice with tomato dishes and pizza. Merlot is excellent with lamb. Chardonay, Pinot Grigio and Sauvignon Blanc are great with seafood. There are red blends that are great with filets and all things chocolate that include berries and other fruits along with a blend of wine. We learned about the different grapes that are grown to produce the various selections of wines. img_1043

Most of this information was given to us at the Trius Winery where we also had a delicious lunch on the patio in the brilliant fall sunshine. img_1049

We then moved on to the Colonari Estate Winery where I was intrigued by the “Appassimento” process of drying out the grapes to a certain degree to enhance the body and structure of the juice which in turn enhanced the sweetness of the wine. This is labor intensive and involves moving trays of grapes into a drying greenhouse. Only three wineries in the region use this process and blend some of their wines with 40% juice from this process. This particular winery was amazing and the grounds looked like you were right  in the middle of the northern Italian wine regions. img_1052

If you take the time to do the tastings at selected wineries, you can learn a lot. Again, I don’t know much about wine but I learned a considerable amount from listening to the hosts who served the various choices of wines at the tastings. I asked what was the difference between California wines and the Ontario wines and the comment was made that California has a consistent warm climate which enhances the sweetness of the juice. The “Appassimento” process facilitates this to a degree in the Ontario region because of the short growing and wine making season. img_1039

As an aside, the Niagra on the Lake region is an excellent place to ride a bicycle with a beautiful bike path that extends all the way to Niagra Falls winding its way along the wineries and flanked by the Niagra River. You can also ride by Ft. George which was built by the British in 1789 and recreated and restored in the 1930s. Riding into town, you can take in the various shops and restaurants of which Zees is one of our favorites with excellent food like braised lamb shank and the house specialty grilled swordfish. A great place to stay is the Harbour House B&B which is right on Lake Ontario which is beautifully appointed and maybe has the best house made granola I have ever tasted at their complimentary breakfast. img_1048

All in all, we enjoy Niagra on the Lake and venturing into Canada from our house in Pennsylvania is only a four hour drive. But once you are there, it has the feel of Europe with the vast areas of grapevines, road signs in metric measurement, and bilingual tourists from all over the world. img_1037

Again, introducing me to good wine is kind of lost when I prefer an ice cold IPA. However, I am learning and the process is definitely interesting. I learned just about how much I don’t know about a particular subject but I will venture north again with my lovely wife to learn more and enjoy the wonderful ambiance of Canada. Thanks for reading.

9 thoughts on “Tuscany in Ontario

  1. Kathleen Osmond says:

    Glad you enjoyed it Pat..Canada ROCKS!

  2. Nice article! I also enjoy an ice cold IPA but I’ve been forced to expand my horizons. We moved to Napa Valley in 2014 and I’ve been on a crash course of learning about wines. I still don’t know why someone would pay $800 a bottle for a bottle of Cabernet when I drink good stuff from France for $20. But maybe I’m not evolved yet … Check out our blog to see what life in wine country is like: http://www.topochinesvino.com.

  3. Art Bonn says:

    Wow not far to go to feel like you’re in Italy, sounds wonderful. Sharon has been getting into the wine lately and me too. I don’t deserve the good stuff cause it’s all the same to me. A little education would be helpful also, thanks for the help, great post too.

  4. Bill belch says:

    always great wisdom from you pat ,great to see that you and janet had a great trip and of course a good bike ride ,the wine country looked great . roll on great post !

  5. Russel Davies says:

    Pat, that is a beautiful part of Canada. We have ridden bicycles along the Welland Canal. We stayed in a charming B&B in Thorold just a block from the canal. We did drive through the vineyards east of St Catherines on our way to have dinner at Niagara on the Lake. The most excitement happened the day before when we parked at the Rainbow Bridge on the US side of the falls. One is not allowed to bike on the pedestrian walkway over the bridge, You must ride with the cars and trucks. So here we are on bicycle showing our passports to enter Canada. We rode along the falls and downstream along the Niagara Escarpment. There is a trail within the Park that runs along the edge.

    Our Canada vineyard experiences are in the Eastern Townships south and east of Montreal just over the border from Jay Peak. Our daughter has lived in Vermont since she did her 3 year residency in Family Medicine at UVM in Burlington. She practices in Vermont, now in her 6th year, and has a house in Waterbury. That is our Ski House.

  6. Dan Ros says:

    Now I don’t want to be at work anymore after reading that, so thank you…

    On Fri, Sep 16, 2016 at 11:48 AM, chroniclesofmccloskey wrote:

    > patmccloskey posted: ” Sometimes the more you learn, the more you realize > how much you don’t know. Take wine making for instance. Now, I have been to > a lot of wine making regions on various trips but that was not the focus of > the trips and I have not paid much attention. ” >

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