“It’s the first tasting and we’ve already screwed it up,” I say as I look over at the friendly staff member. Dan and I started off on our Discovery Pass wine journey to sample the delicious New Vintage selection that has appeared in Niagara.
We are at our first stop, Château des Charmes, when we are handed a wonderful Reisling, chocolate salted caramel and Toscano cheese wedge. Instructed to start with the chocolate, we of course don’t listen, and immediately plop the cheese into our mouths. Screwed up faces and sideways glances, we are wondering if our palettes are off or is this guy loony for giving us this pairing. It’s us… it usually is. Slightly amused, the gentleman politely reminds us to start with the chocolate and that our cheese selection is intended for the Cabernet Franc to follow. As he runs off to get us more cheese, we have two thoughts:
1. We are getting more cheese. Yay for more cheese.
2. Maybe there’s something to this food and wine pairing science after all.
After taking part in the New Vintage Festival last year, Dan and I decided to purchase the Discovery Pass to the Niagara New Vintage Festival 2012 because it would be our best value and 3 wineries just isn’t enough. The passes are only $30 each and they are good for six winery experiences. In person, without a pass, the visit would cost $10 per winery so after visiting three wineries, you would have already paid for the pass anyway.
After leaving the castle-esque building of Château des Charmes, we made our way to Between The Lines Family Estate Winery. As we pulled into a charming spot that butts right against their personal house, a happy group of wine tasters were formed around their wine shop. The place was quite busy and the tastings were taking place right next to their processing equipment and wine barrels. After experiencing their pairings, it was time to keep moving – this wine isn’t going to drink itself!
The last stop of the day was Coyote’s Run Estate Winery. Upon exiting the car, we hear a band playing somewhere. Upon further exploration, we discover a cozy veranda where tasting participants are cooling off while listening to some live jazz. We quickly grabbed our pairing and made our way back out to sip the wine whilst enjoying a live show. A delightful wrap-up to a terrific day!
The best thing about this whole experience is that the event is still going strong. This coming weekend (June 23 & 24) is the last weekend to partake in the festivities yourself. If you want details about the winery options and events, please visit niagarawinefestival.com. We plan to go out again this Saturday to use our Discovery Passes to the fullest!