Getting to know one of Canada's developing wine regions can be a lot of fun. There are currently 35 wineries listed on the Prince Edward County (PEC) Wine Tour Map. Here are four recommendations to pass a very pleasant afternoon wine tasting in 'The County'.
Since many of the producers do not have the production levels to satisfy the LCBO requirements, one of the few ways you can discover them is to visit the winery. You can order on line but that is tough if you don't know what to expect of a wine. Or you might be able to sample some wines at various food and drink shows or winemaker dinners.
If you are in the area of Wellington and Bloomfield in Prince Edward County here are some suggestions to make the most of an afternoon of winetasting.
Casa Dea Estates Winery
We started our afternoon with lunch on the patio at Casa Dea. They have a large outdoor eating area, overlooking the vines and the winery entrance and shaded by a huge tent top structure.
The menu is reasonable with appetizers in the $8-$12 area and Flat-izzas (pizza on a flat bread) in the $16 range. The flat bread is baked in the stone pizza oven. Menu selections are somewhat limited with a couple of salad choices, a soup of the day, a wrap/sandwich of the day and a few pizza type selection. Portions are substantial, the menu interesting and focused.
Our server was very friendly and very knowledgeable about the wines. The patio offers the full wine tasting menu so why not enjoy your tasting with your lunch? We chose a flight of wines to taste along with the very tasty Insalata Chevre and Flat-izza The Mamma Mia. Sharing the 2 dishes made a satisfying late lunch for the two of us.
For me the stand outs in our flight were:
Dea's Cuveé Sparkling, a very lively sparkling Chardonnay and Pinot Noir blend. Honey and apple on the nose, very dry with a tart acidity delivered via a fine mousse. Lovely and refreshing. It is currently available in the LCBO (#261263) for $18.95.
2015 Chardonnay Reserve - a beautiful nose on this rich pale golden chardonnay. Light honeyed oak from 11 months in French oak. Honey and light oak continue on the palate with peachy hints. Nicely balanced wine. I would have enjoyed a longer finish - didn't want the experience to end! $26.95
2013 Amore a rich 50/50 blend of Pinot Noir and Cab Franc. Initial aromas of dried fruits opening up to smoke and leather. Palate is big and fruity, bordering on jammy. A great food wine. 13.9% alcohol. $34.95
Check out the wines and events at https://casadeaestates.com/news. There is a Live Entertainment Lunch program on their patio every Saturday 1-4 pm in July and August. They also offer pre-arranged picnic lunches to be enjoyed in or around the vineyard.
Just down the road from Casa Dea, this winery has a compact tasting area and an interesting gourmet food shop. The day we were there were only a few specific wines open and available for tasting. I don't know if this was because it was a week day in early season but it was a bit disappointing not to be able to taste according to your style preference.
2016 Hungry Point Unoaked Chardonnay -if you are a fan of the more floral chardonnay style this one is for you! 75% Chardonnay and 25% Musqué lend candied pineapple, dried fruits and peachy stonefruit to the nose and palate. $19.95
JCR Rosehall Vineyard Pinot Noir 2014 - This won a Gold Medal at the 2016 National Wine Awards of Canada. Cherry, cherry, cherry - Medium cherry colour in the glass, light cherry on the nose and dried cherry on the palate! Light and smooth. $39.95
Visit their official website to check out more Rosehall Run wines.
By Chadsey's Cairns
Wanna buy a winery? This one has been on the market just waiting for the right buyer. I love the set up of Chadsey's Cairns - the tasting room is an old apple house dating back to the 1850s and overlooks the vines. Inviting chairs make you want to 'set a spell' and sip something while taking in the view! There is also an old barn set up for musical events and you can rent the historic 5 bedroom farmhouse on the vineyard.
I attended a Wine makers dinner that had the enthusiastic Richard Johnston walk us through their wines for each course. I fell in love with the chardonnay that night and took note of an interesting sparkling made from the St. Laurent grape. Not well known here, it is the main grape grown in Chezch Republic and appears in Moravia and Austria to some extent as well.
There are many interesting combinations involving Riesling and Gewürztraminer which sometimes are blessed with noble rot. An interesting experience in a lovely setting to be sure! I will let you discover the story of Ira Chadsey and his Cairns on a winery visit!
2014 White Horse - a blend of Riesling, Gewurztraminer and a little Chardonnay. This wine is aromatic and an interesting contrast of sweetness and tartness in the same mouthful. Medium to long finish. $23.00
2015 Power Take Off (PTO)- this is a Gamay/St. Laurent blend. Bright cherry pink, fruity nose and very lively. Makes me want to pack a picnic basket! $24.00
Check out more about By Chadsey's Cairns here.
This is the cutest winery! The funky purple barn and lovely perennial gardens are instantly welcoming. The tasting bar staff are super friendly and knowledgeable. You are welcome to take your flight out to the garden and sip amongst the beds of flowers overlooking the vines and country side.
I thought the name was reminiscent of a French winery - Clos/Closson but apparently not. The winery is located at the corner of the rather rustic Closson Road and Chase Roads!
Standouts for me were:
2016 K.J.Watson Pinot Gris VQA Four Mile Creek- The grapes for this Pinot Gris are currently sourced from Niagara Region while Closson Chase are waiting for their own vines to mature. The Pinot Gris has the Niagara 'terroir' signature for sure. Aged in stainless steel, there are nice stone fruits on the nose. Mouth feel has the taut tension of the Alsatian style (which I am a fan of!). Stone fruits and ginger are evident on the palate with a nice medium to long finish. A beautiful wine @ $22.95.
2014 South Clos Chardonnay - the nose on this made my knees buckle briefly! It is rich, slightly buttery, lightly oaky on the nose and follows through on the palate. Beautifully balanced so no element is overpowering in the least. It is clean with a bit of tension in the mouth. Nice minerality on the palate as well. Satisfying, luxurious finish. $39.95
2014 Vineyard Pinot Noir - this one one of the best Pinot Noirs of the day's tasting. Nose is quite earthy with forest-y mushroom profile. Palate has a spicy cranberry profile.
Checkout Closson Chase for their wines, shipping and events calendar. Events include Sunday Sipper Clubs, Sunset and Strings, Red, White and Blues in the County.
I came home armed with several winery purchases that I can't wait to enjoy leisurely. And I can't wait to go back to try more of the Prince Edward County Wineries. There is a lot going on in The County-the wineries, festivals on the weekends, gourmet shops, camping, beautiful beaches. Check out the individual winery websites or visit the Prince Edward County Wine Growers Association's website that is full of information on events, wineries & maps.
Let me know what awesome things you stumble upon!