Niagara part II: in which service wins the day

Having the Gardiner Expressway closed for repairs is a mixed blessing. It makes the trip west out Toronto much more painful (Lakeshore can just suck it) but it appears to make the QEW less clogged. At least, that was our working hypothesis last Saturday.

And why were we heading west on the Gardiner and QEW last weekend?



This wasn’t an overnight trip, this was a day trip. A quick down-and-back to fill the rack, driven in no small part by the release that day of Hidden Bench’s 2009 Tête de Cuvée Chardonnay. We made return trips to 13th Street, Foreign Affair, Hidden Bench, Stratus, Tawse, and Thirty Bench. We also tried three for the first time: Di Profio (which now hosts Nyarai), Marynissen, and Organized Crime. I must say, for all I’ve heard about Marynissen, I wasn’t very impressed. It had a very ‘fire sale’ feel inside, possibly because the new owners have told them to have one. Not sure. None of their wines jumped out at us, but the deal for two cases of Cab Franc — $140 — was decent value.  $5.83/bottle of (admittedly, a very weak) Ontario Cab Franc is a decent option for everyday house wine.

The real highlights of the day were Hidden Bench (where I was selling fellow tasters so hard I might as well have been wearing an “I ♥ Felseck!” tshirt), 13th Street (where the awesome Lindsay looked after us, and whose winery should probably coin the phrase “pastoral cool”), and Tawse (where we expected to run in, grab two bottles, and run out, but instead spent time in the cellar with the delightful Catherine serving us all kinds of interesting pours and eventually up-selling us on their wine club). The service really stood out on this trip, but I expect nothing less of those three locations.

We even managed to squeeze in a lunch at Stone Road Grille. We probably should have stopped at Southbrook for a Treadwell pizza, or had a bite on 13th Street’s deck, but it’s hard to pass up the grille.

Here are the friends we brought home with us to live, less the two cases of Marynissen:

And here it is in word form:

  • 13th Street 2010 ‘Essence’ Syrah
  • 13th Street 2008 Premier Cuvee Sparkling
  • 13th Street 2011 Viognier
  • 13th Street 2010 Sauvignon Blanc
  • Di Profio 2010 Cabernet Sauvignon (x2)
  • Foreign Affair 2009 ‘Abbraccio’ Cabernet Sauvignon
  • Hidden Bench 2010 Felseck Riesling
  • Hidden Bench 2008 Terroir Caché Red Blend
  • Hidden Bench 2009 Tête de Cuvée Chardonnay (x3)
  • Nyarai 2010 ‘Cadence’ Red Blend
  • Nyarai 2011 Viognier
  • Organized Crime 2008 ‘Download’ Red Blend
  • Organized Crime 2011 ‘The Mischief’ White Blend
  • Organized Crime 2010 Fumé Blanc
  • Organized Crime 2008 Syrah
  • Stratus 2008 Sauvignon Blanc
  • Tawse 2003 Bench Reserve Chardonnay
  • Tawse 2009 Laidlaw Pinot Noir
  • Tawse 2010 Laundry Vineyard Cab Franc
  • Tawse 2009 Spark Chardonnay
  • Thirty Bench 2011 Steel Post Riesling
  • Thirty Bench 2011 Triangle Riesling

That should last us a week or two.

3 thoughts on “Niagara part II: in which service wins the day

  1. Hate to tell you this, but Collins is closing on a house just outside of Niagara on the Lake. We now have friends with a place in wine country (and the place looks really nice). This could be a problem…

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