A couple of Sundays ago, our friends and us went to the Niagara Icewine Festival. For those of you not familiar with the Niagara region or Icewine, this region of Ontario is an optimal fruit and grape growing area, thanks to the Niagara escarpment which extends for miles and offers a good protection from the elements. This with the right mix of soil creates the ideal condition for wine grapes. And somebody clever discovered some time ago that if you harvested the grapes after a deep freeze, you could make this wonderful, sweet, deep, syrupy nectar called icewine. Yum!!!
Most Icewines produced in the region are made with Vidal or Cabernet Franc grapes. This is a Cabernet Franc Icewine:
Don't you love this gorgeous, deep caramelly colour? It tastes heavenly. I find the Cabernet Francs to have a richer taste.
With the purchase of a Discovery Pass, we had the opportunity to visit 6 wineries. All participating wineries were offering food samples to create a pairing with their icewines. (Of course, we had a designated driver, who just had a few sips here and there.) The food pairings were heavenly, from roast pork to risotto to icewine marshmallows roasted over the fire pit (just divine!), to a delectable chocolate ganache tart. More yums!
Even if you're not into wine, it is always worthwhile to take a drive up to that gorgeous area, regardless of the season. There's so much to see on the beautiful countryside roads. In the spring, all the fruit trees are in bloom, in the summer, everything is growing, in the fall, the leaf colours are simply breathtaking. But as you can see, even the winter scenery is spectacular:
There's something peaceful and ruggedly beautiful about these dormant vines, all in neat rows.
All in all, we had a wonderful day, good friends, good food, good wines.
Speaking of grapes, I recently found this oddball. Yes, this is a grape! I figure it must have grown beside a pumpkin patch and as a result, it has an identity crisis. It doesn't know what it wants to be. A grape or a pumpkin? Make up your mind!