Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Featherstone X-mas Open House - Nov. 25, 2007

Is it me, or does Louise Engel, one half of the ownership of Featherstone Estate Winery, put on quite possibly the best open house spread of any open house this time of year. Annually I find myself there and each time I am impressed with the array of delicacies she provides. This year was no different, though I did hear from both patrons and fans alike that they believed there were less nibblies than in previous years … yet it was all still wonderful … and really, how can one find time to complain when they’re stuffing Walnut Cranberry Stuffed Brie laced with Pepper Berry Blast into their face; or munching on pieces of Prosciutto red peppr pizza topped with roasted red onions (in thyme and verjus). Louise, the former owner of a gourmet shop outside of Niagara, knows all the great recipes to help make the ordinary extraordinary … take for example a bag of mixed nuts, add rosemary, cayenne, brown sugar, sea salt and butter – and voila, Festive Seasoned Nuts. Or how about something more interesting like Orange Curry Chicken on Deep Fried Wonton. The only thing missing this year was the blue cheese shortbread cookies, but they were replaced admirably by the Rosemary Shortbread … and again who can complain when you have your mouth stuffed with homemade shortbread cookies that taste this delicious.

After putting on such a spread, Louise and Featherstone shutter their store (mid- December) for a well deserved winter’s nap – their wines are still available on-line through their website ( - where you’ll also find some of those recipes. They re-open in April when the new whites begin to flood their shelves. Next year I am looking forward to tasting what David Johnson (winemaker and co-owner) learned from last winter’s jaunt down to New Zealand – the Sauvignon Blanc should be something to write home about. Enjoy your hibernation Louise and David, again you’ve earned it.

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