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A Wonderful Winery

October 6, 2013

Sometimes I have to admit that Terry is right. I had a meeting in Niagara and she came along and she hit a home run worthy of Miggy.

I was trying to find an old favourite winery when Terry suggested Ravine. Well it was on the way so why not.

Well where is it? Down the road from Chateau des Charmes, in Niagara on the Lake area.

Relatively new, it offered an adaptive re-use of an old structure, that was moved taken apart lost, then repurchased then rebuilt on the site. I really think that is cool.

Well we went in and were served by a lovely lady. She saw us waiting and jumped in. By her service I thought she was an owner, but she wasn’t, she just was really good. I really like that as I feel service is extremely important. If I use Traverse City as my 100 level of service (best I have been treated…ever) she was at 95 which is the highest I have seen outside of that area.

We were given a quick tour and saw a wonderful charcuterie room in the basement and then the new production facility. And there it was….. a sorting table….don’t see many of those in use….that means hand-picked, no machine harvest and dump into the destemmer.

Now the wines. The upper line is amazingly good. Biodynamic and does that mean better wine? Well better grapes should lead to better wine and this style should cause more care to be given to the vines. No nasty chemicals, more wild things…well it should, and here it does.

There is a restaurant and well it is amazing. We returned later that day for dinner and enjoyed our meal on the deck. Charcouterie tray from site raised Berkshire…wonderful with their Rose.

For the main course I had duck comfit. I had never had this before and they recommended the Riesling with it ( no Pinot here) and it really worked well.

Terry had the pork chop again with the recommended Riesling.

The food was wonderfully prepared, served and presented. A joy to eat.

Our server from the wine store saw us and came over to see how we liked it. A nice touch.

Ambiance: excellent

Service: excellent

Food: excellent

Wine: top notch

What can I say. The service was superb, the wine and food are great.

NB: the menu suggests pairings, which did work well and there was a good selection of wines that included wines from other wineries and regions

I guess we will be back.

We had the 2010 Merlot with two very good steaks Friday. It was wonderful and mated so well with the food. Not cheap but worth every penny.

Appearance: clear deep red with wonderful slow developing legs

Nose: great! dark hues, cigar boxy notes, earthy pencil shavings….oh so nice and it opened up so well

Taste: like a Merlot should be, it isn’t jammy. Good lively acid, nice tannins and deep dark fruit. A well made wine with a long luscious finish

This wine is 12.5% alcohol, just where wine should be imho. Tasty food friendly a product of a more than capable winery.

I am glad I have more

tootles 🙂


Vintage Tasting

August 18, 2013

Last Sunday was the Vintage Tasting. It was held at Oxley Estates and they deserve kukdos for their effort.


The food was excellent, the event was well organized and I like how you had to walk thru the vineyard to get to the event….It was a wonderful entry.

The wine is what it’s is all about. Here are the highlites:

1)  Grand Crew from Crew…at $50 bucks it should be good and it was…excellent actually

2) Syrah…I think this could be our wine….it does well here…lean unlike it

3) Pinot….I had alot of good Pinot…Rory’s is excellent and I was quite impressed with Mastronardi’s…I have had it thru its life and its good.

4) Whites…I had some excellent ones from Sprucewood and that didn’t surprise me…Tanya can do whites well

5) Colio…the winemaker was serving and we talked for a time and he really gets it and I see it in his wines…so much better and with those resources, they may be  a winery to follow. I have always liked their people, but not their wines…that is certainly changing

Well I have been drinking alot of California wines lately and having the locals really reminded me just how good our wines are. I think they are much better than PEC and better than Niagara. Its the heat units…the numbers don’t lie and now thee vines are maturing and the winemakers are figuring out what can be made

Well it was a great day and foretells a great future





This is Funny…Kind of

August 18, 2013

Well yesterday I finally got off my butt and made my beer. Ok, I don’t have a real mash tun, I have always used my Mario Batalli Pasta pot. Yes it is the same one he used on Malto Mario…it is fricken huge.


Well I lined to strainer with cheesecloth and the grain filled the whole strainer. At that point I knew I was in for it. Well I inserted the strainer and added heat. I could not get it above 150 and needed 160…oi and of course it boiled over and filled my cook top…..well my New Zealand top advertised that it can hold a gallon of water inside….well I didn’t get that much boil over…almost. I actually had to suck the wort out of the burner of my wok ring with a turkey baster…my gas valve was under wurt…not good


Then when I removed the grain to sparge it I had only 2″ of water left…..oh boy I made a concentrate. I added yeast as it was getting close to the best before date and well who cares at this point.


I took this as a teachable moment. I need a real mash tun but any bigger will not fit in my sink…does that mean a new fawcett???? …oi…need one anyway…so hiho hiho its off to Adventures in Homebrewing I go…maybe next Sunday…oh then a brew pub or the Oak….I can’t wait!!!




The Holy Grail of a Burger

August 5, 2013

The Hamburger or Ground Round is a most wonderful food and I am on my search for the Holy Grail of burgers.

There are 2 schools and one is just wrong.

School 2 is wrong so I will start there. Lots of toppings, high and messy. Not good. It just hides the meat which is the grail. Chain restaurants feast on this.

School 1 is the proper Ground Round. Best are ground at the bar, second best is ground by a good butcher. But it must be made at a bar, an old school bar.

Now what is an old school bar? It is the neighborhood joint from the past age, about 1950 or older, no windows, old wood bar, crusty bartender, and above all else, an old flat top grill. Yes the flat top and old with all that flavor, years of flavor.

Why no windows? So you wife cant send the kid to look for you.

You cannot get a Grail burger in Ontario. Why? The government says that you cannot sell a medium rare burger. In Michigan they have a warning on the menu, which states you could die from undercooked meat. I like that cos I don’t eat at places I don’t trust. A Grail burger must be medium rare.

So our burgers end up in school 2 due to oppression. They can be good but not the grail.

So where is my Grail Burger? I like Joey’s Meatcutter in the Market but Terry won’t go there so I haven’t been in years. The Oak and the Bronx have great burgers, but we went to Millers on Friday.

Ok: old school 1940’s vintage, no windows, no credit cards, no menus, no plates (you get your burger on waxed paper), crusty bartender, and an old seasoned grill.

The texture was amazing, soft, wonderful, luscious, mouth feel to die for, and the taste. The taste is to die for. I just was wiped out by it.

I wanted to take a picture and post it but I was afraid that I would be barred for life to ask for a wifi password. The bartender was crusty but actually was a great guy. Still didn’t ask if there was wifi tho.

I love this place and can’t believe it took me so long to get there. i will be going back. I love the place.

This is my Holy Grail Burger, for now….the search will go on, I cannot stop




Another New Winery

August 5, 2013

If you have driven down CR 50 you would have seen a great sign with a not opened sign below it. The winery is now open and it is very different from the standard winery in the area. The winery is Paglione.


You drive in thru the vineyard which I feel any winery should do, but it is very different. The winery is also the family home. Entering it shows the owners heritage. It is very Italian. Not in a bad way but salami and cheese were laid out and the owner brought out his accordion to play.


The wines, and there are alot of them, are also very different. They employ very old school techniques. Little sulphur and natural yeast. Yes wild yeast, not inoculated. This is living on the wild side as things are not really controlled, but the results are very different.


The flavours are not like the other local wines. They taste to me like Italian wine. Ok, they are Italian and this shows. The have acid and I think would work great with pasta. The are so different from the others made down the road that they may surprise people.

There will be real debates about the taste, but I love it. Like Sour Beer, they are different. I wish them well and their enthusiasm is amazing



Winery Visit

July 20, 2013

A week or so ago, Terry and I had the pleasure to go with our friends Gary and Wanda to the new boy on the block, Easy Acres.

This winery was nowhere I thought it would be. It would be by the lake, right….wrong!! It is north of the 401 off CR 40. That’s right….north and east of Chatham. You can’t grow grapes there….we all know that.

Well they do and they do vinifera with some hybrids. Not huge acreage but the are new.

The owners are very nice and so is their tasting room which is in an older home…quite nice.

The white wines were very nice. Some lacked nose but the tastes were quite nice. I tended to like the Guisenheim (which is a hybrid) and the Auxerrois. Both are very nice summer wines which work great on the patio. The Aux had some body which is often missing and it is not too floral….a good thing. They hit this one well.

The reds were also very nice. More body than I expected and they lacked the green which I hate…So they can ripen grapes all this far north…who da thunk it.

Young vine, new, they are only going to get better and I like the wines now….good work





Same Thing but new…I knew I could beat this app

July 11, 2013

Colio has always been problematic to me. I remember a long time ago when they started. This coincided to alot of my friends making that big mistake and getting married. Served at their weddings was a local vile wine known as Colio Bianco Secco. This wine probably has hurt the entire region because many of us remember this creation and unfortunately won’t give the wine a chance.

I remember one day several years ago stopping in to Colio and basically saying ” I know you make some good wine but I remember Bianco Secco” Jennifer took me thru the wine and yes they were much much better, quite good actually.

Well the OWS (Ontario Wine Society) had this months meeting there. The have a new winemaker and things seem different. Changes have been made, he said all the right things and then we tasted his new wines. Three whites and a red. He discussed what he tried to do and well, they reflected that. The wines were fresh and clean. Nice acid and none of the odd flavours I remember. Above all, it appears the pricing is right.

Well, I really liked the Sauv Blanc. It was clean and fresh with nice grassy notes. Not overdone, I think it has great potential The others showed real promise.

I hope that he has the power and authority to keep this up. Colio always could make great wine ( at huge prices) but offered too many lines, with too man iffy wines, but they had /have good people….Just don’t get it.

I wish him and the staff all the best and if the samples are indicative of his talent and his enthusiasm for the fruit of the area I can see myself going there quite often.