Yo Yo Wassup Homeys and Hoze?
You been missin' me for sure and I missed y'all too!
And in case you think I forgot:
A special "Wassup?" to all you Beaches livin', Beemer drivin', bag scratchin' DIX who give your kids stupid trendy names and live where there's no frickin' parking, just so you can say you live in "The Triangle" and hang around with other peckerwood peckerdine water peckers who are all a bunch of frickin' pecker-peckers and ought to just say "Kltpzyxm" and get out of my face for the next 90 days! (And those of you readin' this who actually get how frickin' creatively hilarious that last line was can get up off the floor now and applaud me!)
Much has occurred since your Main Man was last online. It was a good summer and one of the highlights needs to be acknowledged, so put on some Acca Dacca or Led Zep and settle in with the Winemaster of the Web...
A few weeks back, me and Her Excellency the Deaconess, decided to drop in on a couple of our homeboys, so we hit the QEW runnin' hard, and before long my Garmin GPS had dropped me at the door of Henry of Pelham Estate Winery (established 1988). The winery is actually in St. Catherines, so those of you who only "do Niagara" are gonna miss a great visit. The Speck Boyz, Daniel, Paul and Matthew know how to extend a welcome, and before long, we were eskonst in the tasting room where the pouring began and homegirl Melissa took good care of us.
Now those of you who tune in regular-like, know the Deacon has a thing for Henry of Pelham wines. In fact at an invitation only VQA event last week... that I didn't see any of you at, 'cause newsflash: you weren't invited...I was asked why I never review "certain wineries" or wines. I responded that I don't slag anyone. If I think you're fermenting monkey-water, I just ignore you and I just don't mention you at all. Henry of Pelham makes an excepshunal product though. That's why I keep ravin' about it. At the VQA event I hung around Daniel Speck much of the time, plugging his fine wines when I wasn't signing women's panties.
Well on the day of our visit to the winery, we had a gorgeous 2005 Special Select Late Harvest Vidal. If you like icewine (and if you don't, take a look in a mirror and notice the dik lookin' back at you), you're gonna love this fine product. The nose is fresh Mandarin oranges, soaked in clover honey.
Then we sampled a 2005 Pinot Blanc, which was lite and summery and a good sub for Pinot Grigio in the warm weather.
Best of all was the 99 Cab/Merlot that Danny Boy opened as he sat us down to a fabulous lunch on the patio of the Coach House Cafe. We had fresh salads, and Chef Erik Peacock's wonderful pannini sandwiches of beef and artisinal cheese. But let's talk about that Cab/Merlot. As my more astute readers know, the Deacon's not been really impressed with a lot of what passes as red wine in this province. Notable exsepshuns include Colio and of course Stratus; and to be fair, a lot of really good Cab Franc is coming out of Ontario these days too. But my, my, my... The Speck Boyz have it nailed with this true Bordeaux-style Ontario red! The tannis are chewy and the wine's full of fruit and much more concentrated than most Ontario reds. Look for the 2002 which is selling now and I think goes for about 30 bucks. And while we're on the subject of Henry of Pelham, don't forget to check out their amazing Baco Noir. Daniel Speck knows the Deacon loves this wine, and I can't stop raving about it. (The Deaconess thought she didn't like Baco until she tried this one.) The aftertaste is reminiscent of fine aged cheddar, which it naturally goes with perfectly. It's also the ideal barbecue wine and is a great match with burgers or even pizza.
Daniel took us out in the vineyard and we picked fresh Baco grapes off the vines, savouring the rich fruit flavours. We wandered around in the sun, examining the enormous pickin' machines that come all the way from France, and the rows of grapes that were precision planted using satellite technology. Daniel regaled us with fascinating tales of his family's historin the area, the first Henry of Pelham and the Empire Loyalists, who were some pretty lurch sumbitches! We wandered back into the boutique and purchased some of their great offerings to drink in the car. On the way out, Paul Speck showed up and we discussed AC/DC for awhile, your Deacon showing off his fascinating tattoos.
Daniel took great care of us and we highly recommend the Coach House Cafe for an excellent summer or fall lunch. But it was time to go, as we had another stop to make...
The weather was warm and balmy and we were late for our next appointment, but our host Jonathon "Saskatchewan Brain Boy" Kuhling was forgiving. Peninsula Ridge Estate Winery is located at 5600 King Street West, in Beamsville, and a more picturesque spot would be hard to find anywhere. Sitting on the Beamsville Bench, Pen Ridge is the home to 40 acres of vines and the thermal winds of Lake Ontario hit the escarpment wall, ensuring the plants suffer little in the cold Canadian winter. Jono was in fine spirits and took us for a tour around the property. You just can't imagine the view from this place! On a clear day, you can see the CN Tower across the lake, and the previously mentioned warm breezes from the lake keep the air fresh and clean. We wandered through the plantings past various wildlife including wild boar and tapir, and skirted one of the two ponds on the property. And then it was in to the tasting room to sample Pen Ridge's best offerings. Jono poured himself and the servings were generous and wonderfully relaxing as we prepared for the imminent drive back to Scarlem.
Noteworthy wines included a 2005 Cabernet Rose. This is made in the dry style and would be excellent with turkey sandwiches. Only $14.95 in your LCBO general list.
We especially enjoyed the 2005 Sauvignon Blanc. This wine has wet stone and red grapefruit on the nose with great tropical flavours. This is only $18.95 and a steal, but unfortunately not available at your LCBO...yet.
We also liked an '03 Vintner's Private Reserve Chardonnay that had spent 18 months in oak. If I'm not mistaken, it sells for $42.00, which will cause some of you faint-hearted fainters to feel faint and eventually actually faint.
But I've saved the best for last...Jono Kuhling blew our minds with an unbelievable Cabernet Franc, the likes of which I've never tried. This was a 2001 made with natural yeast. That means whatever yeast is floating around in the atmosphere is permitted to find its way into the vat. Now I could say it was "AWESOME!", but since I don't use that crackerdine word, I'll just say it was "UNBELIEVABLE!" My notes say that it was "Effing amazing!" This is a wild stallion of a Cab Franc, as far from the smooth Stratus offering as you can get. It's so over the top it won't be to everyone's taste, especially if you live in the Triangle. Think of it as bein' 3rd row center for Black Sabbath on a really good night and you get the idea. Quaff this wine while listening to "War Pigs". You won't be dissapointed.
Y'all check out Peninsula Ridge at:
And while you're there, why not fire-off a congrats email to Winemaker of the Year, Jean-Pierre Colas!
Also a reminder to all of my loyal electronic followers that there's another couple of wine books out there that your Deacon approves of; both of them written by babes! Check out Natalie MacLean's newest offering: Red, White and Drunk All over. This is a delicious travelogue of a book, written in Nat's highly approachable style. It covers everything from stemware to regional grapes and is available at Indigo/Chapters. This would be a great gift for the wine fanatic.
Remember too, to pick up a copy of the book by the Deacon's favourite trapeze-swingin' fox, Jennifer "Chotzi" (and you can pronounce that "Hotzi") Rosen. It's called The Cork Jester's Guide to Wine and promises to be another classic. Like Nat MacLean, Chotzi is an award winner, and I loved her last book, Waiter, there's a horse in my wine, which she was classy enough to send me last year. Anyway, check them both out for a double kick in the brain. They may be easy on the eyes, but these dolls know their stuff...
And if you haven't grabbed a copy yet, pick up my homeboy Tony Aspler's exhaustive Wine Atlas of Canada.
Anway, in the next issue, I'll be reviewing my newest fave restaurant where they serve...wait for it...
Indian / Mediterranian fusion!
You heard me.
Deacon Dr. Fresh
Back online so you can be happy again..