Monday, 19 May 2014

PRINCE EDWARD COUNTY - more Hillier wineries

The Tall Poppy Cafe:  This café in Wellington is open for from 7 am to 3 pm for breakfast and lunch. In the summer it opens again for dinner in the evening. The menu showcased fresh "county" ingredients and the decor was family-oriented. Large tables for sharing with other customers and the friendly atmosphere gives the café a nice energy.

By Chadsey's Cairns:  We had started out on bicycles from here in the morning but the wine tasting room (a beautiful chapel-like building) was not open. So, after our lunch in Wellington we stopped here before continuing our bike ride from Hillier Creek Estates. By Chadsey's Cairns is a charming winery set in a tranquil location beside the burial grounds of the Chadsey family and a stone fence built by Ira Chadsey. I tasted five wines of the many they had to offer:

Chenin Blanc - This was a crisp and dry style of the versatile varietal, with strong citrus aromas and flavours.

Riesling (2011)- A delicious off-dry style with aromas and flavours of apricot, clementine and honey resulting from botrytis-affected grapes (20%). I purchased this wine and enjoyed it at Thanksgiving with turkey.

Gewurztraminer - I couldn't detect the usual aromas for this varietal (lychee fruit, honey) but some floral and baked apple aromas were apparent.

3 Point Hitch (2012) -  This was an interesting blend of Gamay Noir (70%) and St Laurent, a varietal popular in Czech Republic and Austria (30%).  The aromas were intriguing (licorice, smoke/campfire, medicinal herbs, and chocolate) while the cherry and cranberry flavours were less complex than the aromas.

Gamay Pinot (2011) - This 60/40 blend of popular County red grapes was lightly oak aged, resulting in a smoky aroma along with blueberry.

After picking up our bikes at Hillier Creek Estates we rode by a few wineries on Closson Road so we could arrive at Closson Chase and continue on to one last winery before heading back to Wellington for a swim at a public beach.

Closson Chase:  It was a scenic ride to Closson Chase and inside the winery art work was displayed and brightly painted walls provided a dramatic background to our tasting. We tasted three wines - two Chardonnays from the same vintage but made from grapes from different vineyards and a Pinot Noir.

2011 Closson Chase Vineyard Chardonnay: I detected aromas of mango, vanilla and spice and flavours of butter, pineapple and mandarin. This wine went through malolactic fermentation (a process to convert harsh malic acids to softer lactic acids) but maintained a nice acidity on the palate. The server suggested a seafood pairing.

2011 Closson Chase South Clos Vineyard Chardonnay: This wine went through the same vinification process as the Chardonnay described above but the results are different due to the unique terroir.It had aromas of melon, orange, banana, and vanilla and flavours of mandarin and apple with some butter caramel but generally it has a milder oak profile and would pair well with fowl.

2010 Churchside Vineyard Pinot Noir: This pinot had aromas and flavours of blueberry, black cherry, and spices and would pair nicely with duck or even lamb.

Karlo Estates: It was close to 5 pm and we had to ride our bikes as fast as possible from Closson Chase to Karlo Estates. The tasting room and the outdoor

 bar at Karlo Estates merited a more leisurely visit but we were lucky to still be attended at the bar before they closed.  We were able to taste 7 wines despite having to rush somewhat:  an off dry Riesling, Frontenac Gris Rosé (which I purchased); a 2010 Cabernet Franc (that didn't impress compared to others we tasted); a Merlot that was fruity but not complex; Quintus, a blend of five varietals that I enjoyed but decided it was not good value at 35.00; and two ports. Karlo Estates is the first winery to make port in the County and both the white and red Van Alstine ports were flavourful and could be easily paired with cheese or dessert. The red port is made with Marquette and Frontenac Noir grapes and the white is a blend of Frontenac Blanc and Gewurztraminer varietals. The roasted nuts at the bar were a welcome and unique treat at the end of our day. On a return trip to the County I would come back here to enjoy the ambiance and savour the wines a bit more slowly.