|Bright and sunny Trafalgar Square|
For me it was a case of discover Canadian wines! When you think of North American wines you tend to think of the California wine growing area but in actual fact Canada has some very good wineries.
The Canadian wine region is basically in British Columbia, Nova Scotia and mostly in Ontario. The Niagra Penninsular alows for perfect conditions to grow the vines including soil condition, winds and perfect temperatures coming off the Niagra Escarpment. They are in the same latitude as many of the other cool climate wine regions in Europe.
When I arrived I was given a glass for tasting and a booklet with all the wines listed by the table number they were on.
When I first got there I wanted to walk around and have a quick look at all the tables before starting at table 1 for some tastings and work my way around the room. It was then that I saw Olly Smith and asked him about his recommendation. He was very charming and pointed me to Peller Estates to try their Andrew Peller Signature Series Ice Cuvee and I certainly wasn't disappointed! This then led me to talk to them about their Icewines and thus my interest in them started. It was lovely meeting Olly and he very kindly posed for a photo.
To make the Icewines the grapes have to be harvested at night, -10o temperature and have to have been naturally frozen on the vine. The water freezes but the sugars and dissolved solids do not. This results in a highly concentrated dessert wine that due to its acidity is not too sweet and matches both with spicy foods and cheeses as well as sweet puddings.
I have always been partial to a dessert wine especially one that complements the cheese board and the ice wines are in that category. I will hopefully be doing a whole blog post dedicated to the ice wines soon but let it be said they are amazing. There were several examples at the tasting.
|Andrew Peller Signature Series Riesling Icewine 2008|
|Andrew Peller Signature Series Cabernet Franc Icewine 2010|
|Inniskillin Wines Riesling Icewine 2008|
Their Sussreserve Riesling 2009 was sweet and refreshing and went very well with the stilton cheese that was on the cheese board. Their Pinot Noir Reserve - Natural Fermentation 2009 was light and in fact too light for the stilton.
Stratus Vineyards produce a very floral and not too sweet Icewine, Riesling Icewine 2008.
There was a section called Sparkling Wine Focus Table with a 'help yourself' tasting of some of the finest sparkling wines. There were some beautiful sparkling wine, which I must say I am a bit partial to, such as 13th Street Winery's Premier Cuvee 2008 and Grand Cuvee Blanc de Noirs 2007. This sparkling wine was like a mild explosion in your mouth stripping it of everything but the lovely, fine flavours of the wine!
Another well know wine personality I met was Oz Clarke.