Get Fresh in Twenty Valley - 2014
with Fred Couch ©
After a long, harsh winter in Ontario, a sure sign of Spring is the Get Fresh in Twenty Valley passport event. Twenty-four wineries participated in this year's event. For one set price, ticket holders could visit all 24 of the wineries for a wine and food sampling. As an added bonus, a recipe card could be picked up at each location to create a unique cookbook. Again this year, the Watering Can Flower Market in Vineland offered passport holders a complimentary Spring planter workshop.
You could try your hand at creating a unique planter and take it with you to bring a touch of Spring into your home.
To properly plan your weekend, the wineries were listed under Twenty Valley East and Twenty Valley West. With the help of Wine Country Ontario's wine route planner, it was easy to map out the weekend's itinerary. Most of the wineries served a savoury dish from soup to salmon. Three wineries took the sweet route and offered a miniature cheesecake, gelato and a "death by chocolate" cake to go with their wine pairings. With passports in hand, we were off to a delicious Spring weekend touring the wineries of the Twenty Valley.
We started our tour at Henry of Pelham Family Estate Winery with a glass of Cuvée Catharine Rosé Brut - a blend of Pinot Noir and Chardonnay with hints of strawberry and raspberry. This was served with a smoked salmon cheese bite.
Di Profio Wines offered one of the few sweet options on the passport with a miniature cheesecake with kiwi and chocolate. This went really well with the 2012 "The Kitchen Zinc". The wine is a unique blend of Sauvignon Blanc, Vidal, Muscat and small amounts of Gewürztraminer, Riesling and Chardonnay. If you visit this winery ask how they came up with this unusual name
Some of the pairings offered in Twenty Valley East included:
Flat Rock Cellars (top left) - a Greek souvlaki chicken pie with lemon and herb crumble. This was matched with the 2010 Rogue Concoction which is an aromatic wine; however the winemaker is keeping the blend a "secret".
Harbour Estates Winery (top right) served up a delicious white pizza with their 2012 Riesling.
Rockway Vineyards (bottom left) paired smoked salmon with pickled ramps & lemon dill aioli on a cucumber slice paired with a 2012 Riesling.
Hernder Estate Wines (bottom right) served a mushroom & gorgonzola soup with their "Caluroso" which is wine inspired by the sun and sherries of Spain. The wine is fermented, blended and fortified after a 10-year ageing period.
Some of the highlights in Twenty Valley West included:
Kacaba Vineyards and Winery (top left) paired the 2013 Pinot Gris with a tiger shrimp & mango-lime salad with glass noodles.
GreenLane Estate Winery (top right) always comes up with one of the best presentations and this year was no exception. A gourmet chicken slider with mango chutney went really well with the 2012 unoaked Chardonnay.
Malivoire Wine Company (bottom left) was one of the few wineries that went the sweet route with the "Monk's & Malivoire's Marvelous Gelato". The 2012 Lady Bug Rosé had just enough sweetness to go well with the gelato. The gelato was especially made for Malivoire by Monk's Chocolates of Grimsby.
Vineland Estates Winery (bottom right) served up a delicious BLT but not what you might expect. This chef-inspired sandwich consisted of slow roasted pork belly, guacamole, Upper Canada Cheese Company's Comfort Cream and smoked tomato jam on Pullman loaf. The wine chosen to go with the BLT was a 2012 Cabernet Franc. This was probably our favourite pairing of the weekend. Well done, Vineland Estates.
Another favourite tasting was at The Good Earth Food and Wine Company . They served up a tasty Chilean Empanada & Aji sauce. The 2012 Rosé was the perfect wine to go with this dish.
Our overall impression of this year's event was that it was one of the best ever - combining unique recipes perfectly matched with some of Ontario's best VQA wines.
For more information on the winery members of the Twenty Valley Tourism Association and future events visit the website at http://www.twentyvalley.ca
Photos by © F.G. Couch
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Robert A Bell