Niagara parkway that runs from Niagara-on-the-Lake to Niagara falls my ne one of the most scenic drives in the country. All houses are well maintained, architecturally pleasing, studded with historic sites and wineries that maintain tasting rooms for interested parties, and sell their wines to those who like what they tasted.
On a recent trip, I stopped at Lailey Vineyards (recently sold to Chinese interests), Inniskillin, Reif Estates, and Riverview Estates.
Lailey is a small quality-oriented winery with a small tasting room. Since the winery was sold the winemaker Derek resigned, and quality standards may change in the future.
Sauvignon Blanc Fume, 2013
Pale green yellow colour, fruity with a pleasant mouth feel and acidity. Long finish
$ 30.00 winery only
Pale yellow in colour. Floral, off dry. In teh mouth the wine evolves to display its fine texture.
Old Vines Pinot Noir, 2009
Limpid red in colour. Aromas of strawberries segue into layered fruit flavours in the mouth A fine pinot noir to enjoy with cream cheeses, pan-fried veal cutlets, veal schnitzel or lamb stew or even roast turkey.
Well extracted, full-bodied, layered with a range of flavours and satisfying aftertaste. A blend of syrah, petit verdot, and malbec.
A food wine par excellance.
Merlot, 2012 (Unfiltered)
Aromas of plums waft out of the glass. An intense, full-bodied and well-extracted wine. Enjoy with hard cheeses, stews, select cold cuts, roast leg of lamb, pappardelle with hare stew.
Just a few hundred meters down the road there is Reif Estates. Klaus Reif (the owner and winemaker), a graduate of Geisenheim School of Oenology, the foremost German school of its kind.
The tasting room is large and the selection impressive.
Straw yellow in colour. Apple/pear aromas followed by yeasty notes. Light, refreshing with a clean finish
Chenin Blanc, 2013
Brims with floral aromas of honeysuckle. Light and balanced.
Merlot Reserve, 2012
Dark red in colour. Well-extracted. Smoky, and spice flavours. Well balanced with a long finish. Pair with roasted root vegetables, ratatouille, roast leg of lamb, roast duck, semi-soft cheeses, and pastas with meat sauce.
Cabernet Sauvignon, 2012
Dark brilliant red. Blackberry, cocoa and spice aromas are noticeable on the nose. Full bodied, layered with a long and satisfying finish
Red Meritage, 2012
A blend of cabernet sauvignon, merlot and cabernet franc
Aromas of cassis greet the nose. Full bodied, intense, deeply flavoured with a long and satisfying aftertaste.
Pair with medium-rare steaks, roast filet of beef with Sauce Choron or Sauce Bordelaise, game stews, roast rack of lamb.
Just a few kilometres down the road is Inniskillin, founded by Donald Ziraldo and Karl Kaiser in 1970’s, it is one of the oldest boutique wineries in Niagara-on-the-Lake
Now owned by Constellation Brands, the winery expanded its tasting room and offers food on its large patio.
The choice of wines is large, service efficient, and all wines tasted showed great finesse.
Typical apricot/peach aromas, off dry, well balanced and pleasant
Sauvignon Blanc, 2013
Fruity, balanced, refreshing with bracing acidity. Excellent food wine from cream-sauced pastas, seafood pastas, cold cuts, marinated octopus, marinated squid, deep-fried calamari.
Chardonnay Reserve, 2013
Fruity, balanced, pleasant and very enjoyable mouth feel.
Montague Vineyard Chardonnay, 2013
Pale yellow in colour. Pear/apple aromas. Intense. Balanced with long aftertaste.
Klose Vineyard Riesling, 2014
Floral/fruity aromas greet the nose. Off dry but balanced with good underlying acidity.
Pinot Noir Reserve, 2013
Fruity and medium bodied.
Cabernet Franc, 2013
Spicy. Fruity. Medium bodied. Cellar for three to four years.
Meritage, 2013 ( A blend of cabernet franc and merlot)
Intense flavours of berry fruit.
Legacy, 2012 (Blend of shiraz and merlot)
Dark red in colour. Great depth and intensity.
This small winery started as grape growers, and then converted to a winery. Only the best fruit is used to make the estate wine. The rest is sold to other wineries
Angelina’s Reserve Chardonnay, 2012
A fruity, finely a balanced, flavourful, medium-bodied wine.
Reserve Gewürztraminer, 2012
Tropical; fruits on the nose. Off dry.
A fine patio wine to enjoy with oriental foods or on its own or for a fruit bowl
Riesling Reserve, 2012
Fruity, light, off dry with good acidity. Pair with seafood pastas, breaded sole filets, ceviche, marinated green and black olives, and cream cheeses.