Monday, July 9, 2007

A Tour of Wine Country

The kids are away at camp, so Todd and I decided to go on a civilized kind of vacation, one that does not involve "I Spy" games in the car or restaurants featuring children's menus. We decided to spend the weekend at Inn on the Twenty, a wonderfully luxurious and restful inn located in Jordan, Ontario. The inn features a fabulous restaurant and is associated with the Cave Springs winery.

We spent Saturday afternoon on a winery tour run by Crush on Niagara. This was loads of fun and we visited Peninsula Ridge, Calamus, Flat Rock and Vineland Estates wineries. Taking an organized tour is definitely the way to go. We visited Malivoire and Fielding Estate wineries on our own the next day and at least one of us (not me) had to show a lot of restraint. Our tour guide did an admirable job of pretending that he truly enjoyed driving six sloshed middle-aged parents around town and even cheerily lugged all our purchases to the minivan.

About the wine ... well, I enjoyed most of it but I'll readily admit that I'm not a connoisseur. Despite my best efforts, I have trouble picking out flavours like "wet stone", and I generally rely on Billy's Best Bottles to help with my wine shopping. Billy's Best Bottles is an excellent guide to the LCBO (that's Liquor Control Board of Ontario, for those outside the province) and I will forever be grateful to Terry and Glenda for telling me about Billy. So I won't give any wine recommendations here but I do urge you to visit Calamus Estate Winery, if you're in the area. This is a very small winery that has been producing only for a few years but it has already won a number of awards. It's located in an old barn built in the 1800's, and the six of us could barely cram into the tiny tasting room. Nevertheless, the wine is very tasty and behind the barn, there is a telescope inside a dome observatory, which the owner is planning to have operational next year. That alone makes a repeat visit a must!

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