Monday, May 5, 2014

Report from ... The New Sip and Sizzle, Niagara-on-the-Lake (Part 1) - May 4, 2014

One of our favourite spring events to attend in Niagara was put on by the Wineries of Niagara-on-the-Lake, it was the Wine and Herb festival that happened every year in the month of May ... but I guess the event was getting a little stale and tired and so the wineries have decided to shake things up a bit.  After the long and arduous winter we endured Niagara-on-the-Lake decided to try in put a sizzle into the chilly spring we seem to be having creating Sip and Sizzle, a BBQ themed wine and food pairing.

These days I am lucky enough to live in St.Catharines ... I say "lucky" because when these events come around (and there are 26 wineries attached) we can spread our touring out over a few weekends, unlike in the olden days when I resided in Toronto and had to hit all 26 in one weekend.

Throughout the month of May we'll be hitting a handful of the wineries and trying their pairing.  We went through the booklet-style "touring pass" and picked out the ones that interested us ... there are some that have grilled fruit and grilled veggies as their main focus that just did not seem to float our BBQ craving boat and those that were sweet also did not cause a stir within us.  In all we will be trying about 17 of the 26 offering, though who knows, maybe we'll pop in somewhere that we have not picked out because the urge struck us on that day.

On this Sunday we hit 6 wineries: Palatine Hills, Konzelmann, Hinterbrook, Rancourt Winery, Trius and Pondview ... here is the pictorial evidence and some thoughts about the pairings.

Star of the Day ... Konzelmann

Greeted by this sign when you walked in the door at Konzelmann
Pairing was as advertised ... the fear was the meat to bun ratio would be off,
but it wasn't, meat was well grilled and juicy while the onions, and later the
addition of the optional honey-mustard topping made for a delicious bite.
The pairing with the 2012 Shiraz brought everything together nicely.

Second Place ... Palatine Hills

Pairing the smoky puled pork with the chilled Gamay Rose was a nice touch.
Hickory Smoked Pulled Pork with Grilled Tortilla and Garlic Aioli ...
very tasty and you definitely got the smokiness, but it needed a few more
squeezes of that aioli to make it perfect.

The Rest of the Day's Wineries ...

The good news is we did not have a bad bite of food all day ... here are the remaining four winery's offering and what we like and what they were lacking keep them out of the top spot of the day.

Rancourt Winery

Rancourt changed their offering a little to make it more meaty and delicious
ditching the veggy relish and cooking the meat in Vidalia-Onion BBQ sauce, topped
with honey-mustard - the result was a delicious slider that was lean and a touch dry,
but still quite tasty.  The mustard and BBQ sauce did the trick.
In a neat little marketing move they also packaged up their wine, the BBQ sauce
and a bottle of the accompanying wine in a gift pack.


Smoked Balsamic Mennonite Sausage topped with Crisped Parmesan Asparagus Spears
prepared by OliV Tapas ... the thing I liked here was the asparagus did not take
over the sausage and actually created a nice pairing - problem is now every time
I want a sausage I'm gonna have a put an parmesan asparagus spear into the mix.
The 2013 Rose turned out to be one of the nicest in a day full of Roses.

Trius / Hillebrand

Simple enough sounding ...
with simple, yet effective, presentation ...
But the result was in need of a little something extra:  the sweetness of the
Icewine Saurkraut needed something to balance it, like a grainy mustard.


This was our most talked about pairing of the of the afternoon, but it was for
all the wrong reasons ... the wine was nice, and the meat was tasty enough, though
there needed to be more, but the wow factor here was that amazing Quinoa-Cranberry
Salad, just couldn't get enough of that; but when the star is suppose be be the BBQ'ed
item the side isn't suppose to be the star ... that's like when the bridesmaids look
better than the bride on her wedding day.
On the other hand we need that salad recipe!!!

And that was our first weekend outing folks, I'll post again after the next weekend we're out and about ... for now you can grab tickets to the new Sip and Sizzle at the Wineries of Niagara-on-the-Lake website, and maybe we'll see you on the tasting trail.

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