All summer I've been trying to make it out to Prince Edward County. So many wonderful reviews of food and wine kept coming up and it was killing me that almost every weekend I had was taken up by other events. Well, it's never too late in my mind, and although the vines weren't as lush as I'm sure they were this summer, the lack of tourists and activities actually made this trip one of the best ever. My husband and I spent almost 3 days and 2 nights in the county and enjoyed every second of it – wine tasting is a fantastic activity to do in the rain! And this first post is all about that – the wine.
Our first stop was in an area that often gets overlooked – Adolphustown – mere minutes from Picton. Coming from Ottawa if you jet down south just after Kingston onto highway 33 you'll end up with a really nice ride along the water ending with 2 vineyards (soon to be 3) before the short Glenora Ferry ride over to the other side. You don't want to skip these.
33 Vines was our first visit. And it totally set the mood for what was to come. Paul Minaker, the winemaker there is an absolutely adorable man, very enthusiastic and took the time to show us around. He was in the middle of his last pressing of the year, a Cab Franc that I must come back for. He gave us a taste and if it's at all as good as it was that very second – next year, we're in for a total treat. After some more tasting we left with a 2009 Riesling and 2009 Chardonnay.
Next was Bergeron Estate Winery. David Bergeron is actually in my wine class so the stop here was a must. We were greeted with a warm glass of local cider while we watched the staff hard at work, picking the last row of Gewürztraminer. Our tastings there left us with a 2009 Vidal/Riesling, 2007 Pinot Noir and a 2008 Cab Franc. We'll be cellaring the reds for a few years to bring them to their optimum.
I won't go through the details of each one, but I will list off all the wineries we visited. It's really something you have to come and do, rather than read about it. But we didn't leave empty-handed from any of them.
Exultet had a yummy sweet Dolce Ghiacciato desert wine, Vidal, Chardonnay and Pinot Noir.
Long Dog's cellar-worthy Pinot found a spot in the car, as did their Chardonnay, which we actually enjoyed that evening.
Day two we moved our way West, visiting the beautiful village of Wellington and then onto Sandbanks Winery, Norman Hardie, The Grange of Prince Edward County, Hinterland, Closson Chase, Sugarbush and Huff Estates.
Hinterland was actually closed, but we managed to get a hold of someone so that we could pick up a few bottles. I've had their sparkling rosé before and it is to-die-for. We left this time with some new picks, a 2009 sparkling wine called Whitecap, 2008 Riesling and 2008 Chardonnay.
Of all the Chardonnays though, I must say, nothing beat Closson Chase, who specializes only in Chards. We left with both the South Clos and the S. Kocsis Vineyard.
There were quite a few others we skipped, some because they were closed, others, well, just because. And at the rate I was going I had to stop somewhere! One I do want to go back to is the Waupoos Estates Winery, mostly because I fell in love with their property. The water in the backyard and the vines filling the front. Absolutely stunning. We drove by there on day 3, on our way to the Fifth Town Artisan Cheese Company (more on that in a later post!)
All in all, this area has it all. Completely engulfed in lakes and bays, beautiful sandy beaches, and of course, breathtaking vineyards. The people are some of the friendliest I've ever met, and truly enjoy having you. The food is also outstanding. I'll be showing off our meals in other posts.