We are home and unpacked, so I figured it was time to give you the low down on a few more wineries from our most recent visit to the county. If you missed the first post from last week you can catch it here.
It’s been a hot and dry summer, and outside of one brief rain it was particularly hot during our stay. It made for ideal beach days, and we even had a good clear night to catch the new Star Trek movie at the drive-in. Two of our party had never been to a drive-in, and seeing as there will likely be less and less opportunity to experience this kind of movie magic as time goes by we packed up the entire crew and headed over to the Mustang Drive-In.
Now I remember going to the movies to be a glorious thing. I can remember heading off in the car, dressed in my pajamas, and then playing with the other kids in the play structure out front until dusk. The fact that I was allowed to actually go somewhere in my pajamas was exiting enough, but then to be in the car with popcorn and that weird radio hanging on the inside of the slightly lowered window which coincidentally also let mosquitos in made for a magical evening. I think possibly that my parents were at their coolest in my eyes for taking me. I just loved the sense of adventure. I don’t remember how many times we went but I totally remember seeing “Ëscape to Witch Mountain” (you don’t own the market on magic movies Harry Potter, but spoiler alert, they were actually aliens stranded after their family was killed in a UFO crash and raised as human orphans) and the best of all movies to catch at the drive-in, in all of it’s cultural iconic glory, “Star Wars”. C3P0 and the land speeder completely blew my mind.
I don’t know if my family enjoyed the experience as much as I remember enjoying it myself, but we had a good time and made a memory together. What more can you ask for?
The next day we headed off to visit a few more wineries on the seemingly unending list of wineries and vineyards to visit. As always, it was a successful, fun, and educational afternoon all rolled into one. Three out of five wineries were completely new to us.
Our first stop was By Chadsey’s Cairns Winery. It’s a bit of a drive down the lane to get there and while it seems unassuming at first, you eventually arrive at a 207 year old farm with some of the most magnificent old trees lining the property. The story behind the name is pretty interesting and you can read the tale for yourself here. Our host was Richard who was friendly and warm and a great conversationalist with all of the perfect jokes that flow effortlessly but come from being a natural people person. He has worn many hats, including politician and educator, and having the chance to chat with him was worth the visit itself. Of note, Richard was one of the first growers to pioneer the process of burying the vines for the winter, so I thought that was really a neat side discovery.
Also of note, this winery is for sale. If only. They have the vines to grow 100% of the grapes needed for all of their wines. It’s definitely going to be an exciting prospect for someone.
So what did we try? We had lots of choice here but narrowed it down to three: Muscat and two sparkling wines, a rose called Rosessence and a sparkling red, PTO (Power Take off). So good, really, really good. We hemmed and hawed over what we wanted to bring home and ended up buying all three. Seriously. That good.
Next we worked around to Hinterland. This was a quick stop because we had an ambitious list of places to visit, but I really wanted to pick up another bottle of their Borealis. Hinterland only does sparkling wines, but they are very good and I keep them tucked away for special celebrations like birthdays and anniversaries. This year they have also branched off into a nice dry cider with only a hint of sweetness. This is not the same as the ciders you can buy in cans beside the beer at the liquor store, this is a more sophisticated kind of cider. A toast the bride at the wedding shower kind of cider.
On site they also have the new County Road Beer Company and a new outdoor patio offering a simple menu for the hungry traveler. We didn’t get a chance to enjoy the beer this time out, but looking forward to it in the future.
Back in the car with my Borealis in tow and we were off to visit Closson Chase Vineyards with their beautiful purple barn. Beautiful place where you could also go to just purchase a glass of wine and enjoy the scenery. The barn and the grounds are lovely. The washroom is probably the nicest one among all of the wineries as well. Not that I’ve checked all of them, I’m just saying that they go out of their way to provide a relaxing visit for their guests and take care of all of the details.
Here we tried two different chardonnay’s and a pinot noir. Also all good wine, but we agreed on a chardonnay.
Now at this point in my story I am realizing that it must sound like we drink A LOT of wine. Not so actually. We do bring home a number of bottles from our visit and store it for gradual drinking over the coming year. In fact I only just opened a bottle the we purchased from Karlos Estates last year to go with a meal over the weekend. Each bottle is more of a time capsule for me, a memory of a trip, a reminder of an experience, a pause to consider everything that has transpired between a winery visit on a summer’s day and the current moment of drinking, a bridge to stir up conversation around a table about time spent together. We definitely don’t bring them home and drink them all in two weeks and go back for more. They are special in and of themselves.
Ah, Broken Stone. I was looking forward to this one.
Broken Stone was a happy discovery for me last year. We pulled in on a whim at the end of the day and were welcomed by the owner who shared a little bit about his family’s dream of getting out of the big city and building a successful life among the vines. Who doesn’t dream about running away from it all and starting fresh on occasion?
We tried the chardonnay (it was a chardonnay kind of day apparently), a vidal and pinot gris blend called Simplicity, and their Cab Franc. The Simplicity was a pleasant surprise, light a sweet and great for drinking by itself with a friend on a summer evening. The three of us all agreed that it was a great wine. We purchased one to bring home as well as the Cab Franc which didn’t make it past dinner that night. Things are looking good at Broken Stone.
The last stop ended our day on a high note. These vineyards are owned by by the Peck family who unlike many people who move to the country from away, are from the local community originally. They’ve been selling wines since 2007. The family does also, true to its name, make maple syrup in the spring which you can also purchase in their store.
They also had a good variety of wines to choose from and again, they were all good. We brought home a Riesling and a lovely red blended with maple syrup for added sweetness. That one blew our socks off. It was really well balanced and the sweetness was subtle. We took some home.
Overall it was a great day of wine touring! Sometimes you can try a winery and come away thinking it was ok but you don’t need to go back. Today however, every place we visited delivered a solid experience with good and great wines.
One day over the coming winter I’m going to be enjoying one of these wines and thinking about what a fabulous day we had soaking up the summer sun, meeting interesting people, and trying some new wines.
Where to next?