Oh Canada…How SWEET it is! – In Pictures

20th September 2010

I just returned from a trip to Niagara-on-the-Lake, Ontario, Canada and I must admit that I was pleasantly surprised by the wines I tasted. Out of all the wine growing regions across the world I have been fortunate enough to visit, I have sorely neglected those in my own backyard.   The trip was a short three hour car ride with friends and it turned out to be a wonderful weekend. I must admit that I had a lot of preconceived opinions on the quality of the wine coming out of Canada.  I was expecting to find only quality ice wines. (See pictures after the break!). However, I enjoyed being proved wrong as I tasted both red and white wines that were beautifully crafted and expressive.  Nestled about thirty minutes to the north of Niagara Falls along Lake Ontario, this small wine growing community is emerging on the world stage for its ice wine production.  Ice wines are produced by allowing the grapes to freeze on the vine.  Those frozen grapes are harvested and pressed while still frozen.  The result is a delectably sweet dessert wine called ice wine.

Now, Canada (cold) being known for ice wine (also cold) is not a stretch, but surprisingly, the region is also producing Sip-Worthy red and white table wines. Niagara-on-the-Lake winemakers can produce these wines because of the moderating effects of Lake Ontario.  As the hot summer ends, the leftover warmth stored up in the lake warms the area as winter sets.  This extends the wine growing season allowing the grapes more time to ripen.  The region is producing Cabernet Franc, Chardonnay, Riesling, and Pinot Noir, along with some sleepers to try like Aligoté produced by Chateau des Charmes.

I have put together a slideshow of my trip and will be showcasing some of the wines I brought back next week.   Cheers!

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