The other half of my skydiving and wine Saturday took place just outside of Niagara-on-the-lake, the least original name for a town ever, at the Hillebrand Estates Winery. I have always been a bit confused as to when I should call something a vineyard or a winery, so I checked it out: A vineyard is the actual plot of land that grows the grapes, and a winery is the production facility to make the wine. A vineyard may contain a winery, but not the other way around, obviously. Neat! Moving on.
After dabbling around town, checking out monstrous waterside houses that could easily be mistaken for hotels and swinging in to Peller Estates to buy some wine…you know, because we were in the neighbourhood…we got to Hillebrand for our 4 o’clock wine and chocolate tasting. We got taking down into a darkl and chilly wine cellar with a massive harvest table; since I am currently at home sweating my pants off, I’d like to stress how chilly and lovely it was down there. First up was a fruity Chardonnay with some milk chocolate.There were only seven of us, plus the guide, so as you can see, he was pretty generous with the wine servings. Since it was such a small group, we also got to talking about the more interesting aspects of wine; like what to pair with curry, Cheetos and desert, and how one could possibly pair wine with a 25 course meal without eating it or using sparkling wine more than once. Which, if you don’t know, is the final examination for getting one’s sommelier accreditation; a much more arduous task than I thought, I figured all you had to do was drink a lot.
Stephie really liked the cab-sov which was accompanied by a 75% cocoa, while Tori enjoyed the chocolate, mostly…but found some room on her palate for ice-wine, go figure. The ice-wine was paired with a super dark and bitter 85% cocoa, probably my favourite coupling.In the end, she had so much wine she didn’t know what to do with it.Not to worry, the rest of us helped her out. You’ll note there is no chocolate left on that plate.
*Not shown: a tasting of a cab-sov ice-wine mixed 1:4 with brut, magical, I highly recommend it…if you are so inclined to spend $80 on a bottle of ice-wine…I was not, so the tasting had to suffice.