While honeymooning in Niagara-on-the-Lake we made plans to visit Ravine Vineyard for a private, reserve tasting. Scheduled for 2pm, we arrived early and snuck in to their attached restaurant for lunch. Lacking a reservation with only an hour or so before our tour, they still cheerfully seated us in the waiting area and offered to start service. We were so comfortable there we decided to continue our lunch right where we’d started.
While we were delighted by the daily soup, a mushroom soup with an herb muffin and paired with a Ravine Sauvignon Blanc, we were astonished at the wood-fired eggplant and sausage pizza! Not only did the Ravine Estate Merlot pairing lift it to another realm, I’d swear the tomato sauce was made from roasted tomatoes. No matter, it was outstanding and we happily waltzed into the tasting room….most eager to try their reserve wines.
Nothing really prepared us for the romance, attention and value we received with our tasting. For a mere $10/person we sampled 4 different reserve bottles and nibbled on charcuterie. Our knowledgeable wine-guide, Michael spent 90 minutes showcasing the wines, showing us the winery and regaling us with the journey each bottle took to reach our lips.
Ravine Vineyard has a
wine (See what I was thinking on my original post? Wine!) farm to table mentality, complete with organic garden and raising their own pigs. Much of the charcuterie included with our tasting was produced right there at the estate! On our plate was pickled fennel, cured ham, duck, tongue, pastrami, pickled candy-striped and honey beets, roasted almonds and a quail egg. Now, I must confess that after trying the tonuge I passed the remainder on to my husband (who eats anything) and I had to work on the quail egg a bit. I’m notoriously picky about eggs in the first place, refusing standard hard-boiled eggs at almost any occasion. Only the fact that it was quail and something yet untried by me that allowed it to pass my lips.
On to the wines:
- 2010 Reserve Chardonnay Reserve: Oaked, gorgeous and a marvelous bouquet. 2010 was one of the best years for the Niagara-on-the-Lake region. This bottle came home with us.
- 2009 Cabernet Franc, West Block Reserve: 2009 was a terrible growing year and Ravine chose to cut their losses and remove most of their grapes. They only produced 2 barrels of cabernet franc that year, divided between their East and West Blocks. The West Block has richer soil and more shade, producing more earth and depth.
- 2009 Cabernet Franc, East Block Reserve: The East Block had more dust and heat. Beyond that I can no longer remember….but this bottle also came home with us. It will be a challenge to save this gem until our 5 year anniversary in 2018, but that’s what Michael told us to do!
- 2009 Cabernet Sauvignon Reserve: This wine had a beautiful flavor, but was a little light for me (for a cab). Apparently this was a result of a wet growing year. Nonetheless, it was too light for my big, bold cab tastes.