Sunday, September 19, 2010

Welcome to the In-Laws

Saturday began in a blur. A sunny blur, but a blur nonetheless.

Wha? Where am I?
Confession: I don't do 6:00 am on weekends. I don't even do that on weekdays. But my in-laws, Howard and Dorothy, are visiting from England, and we promised to show them our neck of the wood.

So coffee was in order.

The blur had to go.

Ugh. Who left the light on?
That's better, right?

By nine o'clock, I was standing on the sidewalk of small town Ontario.

We brought Phil's parents to Niagara-on-the-Lake because both Phil and I thought the place was really cute.

And we had a private wine tour booked at Jackson-Triggs (which is just outside Niagara-on-the-Lake) for noon.

I like Niagara-on-the-Lake. It's just a shame the place doesn't open up until 10. I'm going to be honest, the wine tour was really the highlight of the day.

We began with a glass of their sparkling wine.

After that, our tour guide, Ashley, took us out to the vineyard to show us how the grapes grow.

Vines are planted north/south to maximize sun exposure.
These were chardonnay vines, grafted onto concord grape stalks. Apparently there's a bug in the soil that attacks foreign grapes, so all the vines have to be grafted onto native stalks.

Phil, Dorothy and Howard listen intently.
The guys who began Jackson-Triggs originally worked for Labatt's, and had a wine company with them in the late '80s. Can you imagine Labatt's Wine? Ugh.

Apparently it was a flop. They left Labatt's and began again.

Chardonnay grapes
We got to sample the grapes off the vine. The chardonnay grapes had thick skins (not as thick as Japanese globe grapes, but thick nonetheless) and a sweet tang.

La famile!
As we started moving inside, the clouds rolled in.

View of the vineyard.
From there, we moved inside the building to the production area.

Each tank holds enough booze to last you through years 25-60, apparently.
Both Phil and I thought the inverted beams looked really funky.

In front of a window overlooking the vineyard.
Why do I look so red? We hadn't even gotten to the samples yet! Unfair, I tell you.

Howard and Dorothy were looking much better than us.
But then we got taken down to the happiest place on earth: the wine cellar.

So, we learned that the barrels the wine is made in are all oak - either from France or from the US. Apparently the oak trade is so regulated in Canada, it's too expensive/difficult to get Canadian oak barrels.


Phil contemplates getting a barrel out of there.
It smelled gorgeous down there. Seriously. We should get way more involved in wine.

While we were down there, Phil snapped this picture of me.

Hm. Methinks he hadn't had enough coffee.

Afterword, we got to sample 3 wines: a Gew├╝rztraminer, a Meritage (basically a Bordeaux), and a Gew├╝rztraminer ice wine. Both Phil and I loved the two Gerwurztraminers. They were insanely lovely.

Best of all? We got to sample everything along with some food.

Mmm. Cheese + bread + meat = happiness
Really, it was just lovely. I wasn't expecting much from Jackson-Triggs, but it was a great time, and I highly recommend the personal tour.

Pinot grape at Peller Estates.
And to you, the humble grape, I offer my thanks. You make my favourite boozes.

Best of all? It was a great way to show my two favourite parents-in-law a neat part of Canada!

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