Weekend at Twenty Valley’s “Get Fresh in the Valley”
Most of the first weekend of May was spent touring the Twenty Valley bench wineries for the “Get Fresh in the Valley” event. We visited many of our favorite wineries and got a chance to try out some new ones. In all, we had a couple of days filled with wine and food pairings, some well paired and a few others not as much. I will tell you about some of our favorite pairings, as well as some of our new discoveries.
First off, we have been to many different weekend wine and food events in Ontario over the past few years. After leaving such events, we often wish we could make some of the food offered in the pairings. For this Get Fresh event, the passport holders were given a metal binder ring, and a front and back 6 x 9 cardstock print for the event. At each winery visited, they provided you with a recipe card for the food so you can re-create it at home. Each card was pre-punched with a hole so they could be easily attached to the binder ring. Not only was a fantastic souvenir for the event, but we are now able to impress people at home by making some of the wonderful food and pair it with the suggested wines.
The day started off at one of our favourite wineries, Kacaba Vineyards. We have been here several times and really enjoy their wines, the scenery and the wonderful and knowledgeable staff who make it a joy to visit. We discovered Kacaba during the Icewine Festival 2012 and have made a few trips back since. This time they were pairing their 2011 Reserve Riesling and 2011 Reserve Rose with a Cashew Pate with Fresh Fruit Preserve on Filo Square, which was excellent.
Two of the other wineries that we also enjoy visiting are Creekside Estate Winery and Greenlane Estate Winery. Creekside paired their 2011 Sauvignon Blanc with East coast Mussels tossed in local “Herbes de Provence”. This was an excellent pairing which we savoured at a small bistro table on their deck, lingering over this pairing, enjoying the scenery. At Greenlane we were able to sample their 2010 Estate Riesling with a Thai Vegetable Spring Roll, which was delicious. The crispness of the vegetables paired very well with their Riesling in both texture and flavour. It was such a good pairing that we forgot to ask for our recipe card so we had to drive back to get it.
We also liked the pairings at Calamus Estate Winery, Flat Rock Cellars, and Rosewood Estates Winery. The Calamus tasting area is a renovated thick stone walled 19th century barn that had a cozy and rustic atmosphere that added to the wine tasting experience. They poured us a sample of their 2010 Calamus White to go with an excellent Spinach and Artichoke dip with Wonton Cups. This was a fantastic pairing with a great crisp wine. Flat Rock Cellars immediately impressed us with its stunning scenery overlooking vineyards with Lake Ontario as the backdrop. We enjoyed our pairing outside at a picnic table, savouring their 2010 Pinot Noir Rose and Goat Cheese and Grilled Vegetable Pizza cooked in a wood-fired clay oven. We could have stayed there all day but had other wineries to try. Rosewood Estates Winery had a great pairing with their 2009 Sussreserve Riesling and a Honey, Caramelized Onion and Bacon Tarte. It was a delicious tarte paired excellently with a crisp wine. Rosewood also has an on-site apiary where they collect honey for making mead and other honey & beeswax products. The kids had fun looking at all the bee homes, from a safe distance.
We were pleased to discover two new favourite wineries to add to our ever-growing list of wineries to visit: Sue-Ann Staff Estate Winery and Peninsula Ridge Estates Winery. When we arrived at Sue-Ann Staff, there was a large bell being rung as a group tour bus left. Immediately upon exiting our car, we were greeted and welcomed inside their 19th century farm house. Once inside the building, we were were impressed with the contrast of old farmhouse with modern designed kitchen and sampling area; impressive considering the humble exterior. The kitchen is a very modern renovation, adjacent to the grand and bold decor of the dining area. One person was explaining the history of the house, the winery, the winemaker, and the pairing we were about to enjoy, while someone else expertly assembled the food. They offered their 2009 Baco Noir with a Canadian Cured Beef Tenderloin, which was absolutely divine. The staff was very friendly and knowledgeable about their wines. They also had a nice area for kids to draw so that parents can sample a wine or two. We look forward to going back to Sue-Ann Staff and sampling more of their wines. At Peninsula Ridge, we were very impressed with their pairing of a 2011 Top Bench Rose with a Parsnip and Empire Apple Soup. Personally, I will admit I was quite skeptical about this soup, as I am not a fan of parsnips. This ended up being my favourite food that I tried at Get Fresh! The flavour of the apple paired so well with the Rose – so well that I wanted more. I am looking forward to trying this recipe at home. Peninsula Ridge also has an beautiful facility.
The last three wineries that we enjoyed were at 13th Street Winery, Thirty Bench Wine Makers, and Vineland Estates Winery. 13th Street Winery was fantastic. We thoroughly enjoyed their facility, especially the large dining table, a single slab vertically sliced from a tree. It was stunning. We enjoyed their 2011 Pink Palette with a Spring Tart. The woman, who served us was a fellow American, told me about butter tarts available in their bakery. What are butter tarts? She describes them as something I would thoroughly enjoy, and since I have never had one, we happily headed to the bakery. A quick stroll through the quaint barn, lead us to the counter where we ordered a butter tart. I was in heaven. (More to follow about butter tarts in another post.) Thirty Bench Wine Makers had a fantastic pairing with their 2011 Riesling with Asian-inspired Poached Shrimp with Michael’s Killer Sriracha Sauce. One of the final (and not certainly the least) wineries that we enjoyed this weekend was Vineland Estates. The facility itself is photo worthy – in fact, there was a wedding party having photos taken as we pulled up. They had a very well paired 2010 Chardonnay Musque with a Roasted Pork belly, spring rhubarb chutney, dried fruit on a sour dough crostini.
In summary, we had a fantastic weekend enjoying the food and wine pairings at the Get Fresh in the Valley event, and cannot wait to go back and sample some of the other recommended wines on the tasting menus that we didn’t a chance to try. Now we’re also looking forward to the next Twenty Valley wine event.
Did you attend Get Fresh in the Valley? What wine and food pairing did you enjoy most?