Most residents of Niagara will tell you the autumn is their favourite time of year, the humidity disapates and the temperatures are mild, the leaves are changing colour and the grapes are ready for harvest. It means it’s time for the Niagara Wine Festival.
This is the reason Katie and I were first drawn to Niagara. Throughout the world, wine and culture are interconnected and the places that embrace those qualities become special and breed a special kind of people.
I love wine and the environment of the places that make wine. I can’t tell you specifically what I taste in each glass of wine I drink and I admit I have very little idea about what food pairing best matches a bottle of wine. Those specific details are not that important to me.
I think one of the things many of us develop living in a growing region is a taste for the things that grow around us, a weird intrigue about where the food comes from and how it came to be on our table. Niagara produces an abundance of quality foods from the ground and raises others in our farms. Niagara also has a unique combination of micro-climate and excellent soil that produces excellent grapes and has attracted quality wine-makers to the region.
Over the years I have been too busy enjoying my wine to pay a lot of attention to the technical aspects of the sophisticated wine drinker, in fact, the one lesson I learned that I put before all else is to drink what you like. In Niagara, you are bound to find a lot of choices that fill that simple criterion.
Our favourite approach to Niagara Wine Festivals has been the Discovery Pass. We find that at $30 per person this is a great value and represents a way to check out new wineries and wines while looking for new favourites (or revisiting some old favourites). We used Discovery Passes during the New Vintage Festival and shared the experience.
We will be visiting a number of wineries and taking in several events over the next week and will showcase our wine adventures here on EmbraceNiagara all next week, but don’t wait for us to tell you about it, if you are in the area get out and experience it for yourself.
When I want to learn more about what to look for in a wine, specific wine advice, food pairings or buying guides I turn to Ontario’s world-reknowned wine expert: Natalie MacLean. I encourage you to do the same.
Ms. MacLean was kind enough to share a couple of her interviews about Niagara wines with EmbraceNiagara readers (see below).
Natalie MacLean, author of the bestseller Unquenchable: A Tipsy Quest for the World’s Best Bargain Bottles, publishes the largest Ontario wine website.
Natalie talks to Daniel Speck (Henry of Pelham) about their transition from “traditional” wines to the launch of their popular Sibling Rivalry label and that REAL men can drink rose:
Natalie and Brian Schmidt of Vineland Estates Winery discuss the nature of cool climate wines found here in Niagara:
JUST THE FACTS
2012 Niagara Wine Festival
Official Website: http://www.niagaragrapeandwinefestival.com
Map of Wine Route (PDF): http://www.niagarawinefestival.com/files/official-route-map_2010.pdf
Information on Discovery Pass Events: http://www.niagarawinefestival.com/page/winefest_dp_listing