Thursday, March 10, 2016

Wine and Chocolate 2016 [Niagara-on-the-Lake]

This is the 2nd time that we attended Days of Wine and Chocolate by Wineries of Niagara-on-the-Lake (@NiagaraWine), as usual this is a passport event where you by one pass and get food and wine pairing at 23 different wineries of Niagara-on-the-Lake.

Happening during the month of February each year and valid for Fridays. Saturdays and Sundays; basically the passport is valid for one visit per winery and you can stop by any date on the weekends of February. Next passport events will be Sip & Sizzle in May, so make sure not to miss it (see my post from 2014 & 2015)

The wineries are pretty close to each other so we did pretty well in a day and for those who are not familiar of the area, make sure to grab one of the Wine Route Map available at all the wineries.

2011 Dean's List Meritage
~ paired w/ Chocolate Beef Bites
Mix of 50% Cabernet Franc, 27% Merlot, and 23% Cabernet Sauvignon with dry cherries, fig and a bit of peppery taste to it, this was perfect with the earthy beef bites. Frankly that the ugliest looking bite of the day, totally looks like #2.
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2012 Rose Sparkling, Methode Traditionnelle
~ paired w/ Valhrona White Chocolate-Stained Kettle Corn
This was a favorite of my non-wine-drinker friend and I have to agree that the easy drinking sparkling is not only pretty but pairs superbly with the sweet white chocolate corn. What a great way to start the day, dessert for breakfast!

Sand & Gravel Redcoat
~ paired w/ Rossco Spicy Chocolate Brownies
This will always be one of my fave winery with the perfect staff, scenery, a great restaurant (post here) and a bakery (have to try their doughnuts). Love the smokey chipotle of the brownie paired so well with their medium body red blend (this would be amazing with BBQ ribs).

Origin Sparkling Wine
~ paired w/ White Chocolate & Salted Nuts drizzled with Caramel & Sea Salt
We should get more single serving wine in my opinion, sometime when no ones want to share a bottle, it's difficult to finish an entire bottle, especially Sparkling. Loving this can version here. The sparkling have a touch of Vidal Icewine has just the right amount of sweetness with a crisp acidity to it which is very refreshing.

2001 Vidal Icewine
~ paired w/ Dark Chocolate Salted Caramel Pecan

2012 Merlot
~ paired w/ Classic DIY S'mores Bar 
A lot of wineries does s'mores at an open fire outdoors but so thankful they did this inside since it was super windy that day. And I was surprise at how well a Merlot paired with something as sweet as the s'more but I think it's mainly thanks to the earthy taste of the dark chocolate.

2011 Wildass White
~ paired w/ Backhouse Chestnut, Caramelized White Chocolate Surprise

2014 Grand Reserve Chardonnay
~ paired w/ White Chocolate Mousse w/ Cinnamon-Braised Pineapple, Ginger Snaps

Two Sisters Vineyards
2010 Merlot
~ paired w/ Flourless Chocolate Cake Square topped w/ Crushed Pistachios & 
Poached "Estate" Cherry

Peller Estate Winery
2013 Private Reserve Cabernet Franc
~ paired w/ Quinoa Flour Peanut Butter Brownie w/ Peanut Butter Mousse

2012 Pinot Noir
~ paired w/ Chocolate Polenta Cake Topped w/ Crisp Prosciutto & Asiago
It's more like a crisp than a cake but love the spicy combo with the Pinot Noir and love how they offer a free tasting with the passport.

Pondview Estate Winery
2014 Cabernet Merlot
~ paired w/ Chocolate-Drizzled Strawberry Garnished w/ Sea Salt

Trius Winery
2014 Trius Cabernet Sauvignon
~ Double Chocolate Marshmallow Cupcake

2013 Malbec
~ paired w/ Pig Candy ska chocolate covered bacon
What a sad piece of bacon, although it tasted great it couldn't have been a bigger piece. Lailey have been one of my favorite winery for years but since it's under new ownership, it's totally change from the people/staff to the wine (sad to say goodbye, most of their previous yummy bottles are sold out).

"The Magicin" Shiraz Pinot
~ paired w/ Dark Chocolate Eggplant Caponata

2012 Sparkling Cabernet Franc Icewine
~ paired w/ Chicken Mole "Quesadilla" w/ Habanero Creme Fraiche
Was totally expecting a mole dish with chocolate as theme but this was kind of a disappointment since the quesadilla was king of soggy although the mole was great. The sparkling icewine although sweet has a bit of a crisp acidity to it with strawberries and rhubarb flavor to it pairs quite well with chocolate.

Just had to stop by Oast Hose Brewery (@OastHouseBeer) for a beer break (see my old brewery post here) since Ben have recently been the "beer guy" lately (please follow him on Instagram here for beer reviews and news). We tasted everything on their menu that day, some new and some old staples and one of my fave was the Biere de Mars, a sour ale which was bright and refreshing with just a subtle sweetness ti it.

And you can't be at Oast House without having El Gastronomo Vagabundo (@elgastronomo#beershedkitchen, and we needed lunch anyway plus a break from all the Chocolate sweetness. Chef adam is still the best and can't wait for him to have his own restaurant so I can have more of this goodness (old post here).

Fried Chicken $20
~ brined in Oast House Barnraiser, Barnraiser beer waffles, bread & butter pickles, worst syrup, 
O.G. hot sauce.
This is the moistest fried chicken ever with the sweet and spicy combination of the 2 syrup/sauces and love the amount of pickles there, oh by the way can I have a bottle of that.

Fried Broccoli $15
~ caramelized cauliflower puree, pickled pearl onions, chermoula, lemon dressing, mint
Being the carnivore that we are, we were surprise at how good these veggies were #sogood

Sausage & Beef Braise $25
~ okra, pickled pearl onions, lemon, mint, glazed veg
All I wish was some bread to mop up the saucy goodness and love the crisp fresh vggies served on the side.

Love the how there was less of the "sweet" wine this time with quite a bit of red pairing.
Another great passport event from Wineries of Niagara-on-the-Lake

Related Post:
Sip & Sizzle 2014 [Event] 
Sip & Sizzle 2015 [Event] 

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