Old World Style, New World Attitude – Burgundy in the Benchlands

Rediscovering Classic Wine Styles in Lincoln

Old World wines are made in countries like France, Italy or Germany. They tend to be restrained and lighter-bodied. Winemakers in these countries follow techniques that have been used for centuries. New World wines come from countries like the United States, Canada and Australia. They tend to be fuller bodied and have bolder fruit flavours. Winemaking practices vary dramatically and there is much experimentation.

While both styles have their charms, what if you could have the best of both worlds? Some amazing wineries right here in Lincoln are putting their own Niagara spin on classic French winemaking. Do yourself a favour and plan a day to rediscover Old World classics right here in Lincoln.

Tawse Winery owner, Moray Tawse chose the Niagara Bench area because its soil content is much like the Burgundy region of France. Finding the right terroir was fundamentally important to Tawse.

Terroir refers to how a region’s soil, climate and terrain affects the taste of the wine. The Town of Lincoln’s terroir is special due to its location—with the Niagara Escarpment at its back and Lake Ontario at its front. The constantly circulating breezes between the lake and escarpment slow down spring warming and prevent cold air from settling in the fall, lengthening the growing season. The region’s glacial till soils, deposited by continental ice drifts over thousands of years, are a blend of sedimentary stone and rock from the Canadian Shield, providing a distinctive character to the region’s wines.

Tawse Winery is dedicated to producing terroir-driven wines of exceptional elegance, depth and character. The family-owned organic winery combines traditional winemaking techniques with innovative technology, applying rigorous organic methods to every aspect of production, from grape-growing to winemaking.

Must buy: 2017 Pinot Noir – Tintern is an aromatic wine with notes of field berries and cassia, layered with cigar box. The palate is pronounced with bold, yet well-integrated tannins with minerality, red fruits and toast. The 2017 Pinot Noir – Cherry Ave displays notes of raspberry, black cherry and tobacco.

Next, go a little off the beaten path to check out Domaine Queylus, a hidden gem atop the Niagara Escarpment. Selecting only varieties adaptable to the vineyard’s complex soils and microclimate, Domaine Queylus produces premium cool-climate wines, including Pinot Noir, Chardonnay, Cabernet Franc and Merlot.

Domaine Queylus believes the combination of a strong terroir with the expertise of its winemakers can produce exceptional wine. Just as soil, climate and topography influence the final product, so do a winemaker’s decisions. This is the human element of terroir.

Must buy: Chardonnay Tradition 2018 is a perfumed, barrel-fermented, long-aged Chardonnay of intense fruit and terroir. For its Chardonnay Reserve Du Domaine 2018, the winery chooses from its most subtle, elegant barrels to assemble a long-aged wine of terroir, class and elegance.

Also check out Westcott Vineyards, a boutique winery specializing in hand-crafted Chardonnay and Pinot Noir. On top of Twenty Mile Bench in Jordan, this family winery is housed in a 200-year-old restored Mennonite barn. Its seasonal patio, passionately executed by Chefs Ricky + Olivia, serves delicious meals and snacks made with local ingredients from its garden or nearby farms.

As they say on their website, there are “a thousand decisions in every bottle.” Westcott Vineyard’s winemakers listen to the earth, the grapes and their customers, combining all of these elements to impart their artistry into each bottle.

Must buy: Westcott Vineyards’ Pinot Noir Rosé sells out every summer. It is a dry, crisp and clean wine with notes of strawberry and sour cherry.  2017 Brilliant Traditional Method Sparkling was crafted in the traditional French Champagne method. Brilliant is displays fresh acidity and bright fruit. In 2017, 2,500 bottles were hand crafted and every few months, the winery releases a new batch.

Must try: The only thing better than wine is a delicious food and wine pairing. Try this recipe from Westcott Vineyards’ Chefs Ricky and Olivia:

Why we love it: This grilled Brie is an easy appetizer, leaving you time to enjoy the outdoors and take advantage of the quintessential Canadian BBQ season. This dish will elevate your backyard BBQ game and is an indulgent, old-world-inspired recipe perfect for pairing with your favourite local wine.

Ingredients

  • 1 wheel of Brie
    *TIP – Freeze your Brie ahead of time, so it holds its shape better when grilling
  • 1-pint local strawberries, sliced (or any seasonal fruit eg. peaches, apricots, cherries, cranberries)
  • 3 tablespoons local honey
  • 2 tablespoons white wine or sparkling wine
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Optional serving suggestions

  • Sliced baguette
  • Pita chips
  • Crackers
  • Seasonal crudité and fruit
  • Salted nuts

Method

  1. Freeze the Brie wheel for at least 1 hour to ensure the Brie holds its structure while grilling. This will also buy you more time to develop a beautiful, charred exterior.
  2. Preheat your grill to high heat.
  3. In a small pot, heat a splash of water over medium-high heat. (You can do this over your preheated grill or on the stovetop)
  4. Add strawberries and stir. Cook for 2 minutes to soften them.
  5. Add honey and deglaze with white wine and cook for an additional 2 minutes.
  6. Season with salt and pepper.
  7. Set the compote aside for topping your Brie.
  8. Remove the Brie from the freezer. Lightly brush both sides of the Brie with canola oil, greasing the rind to prevent it from sticking.
  9. If grilling on the BBQ, place the Brie directly onto the grill.
  10. Cook for 4-5 minutes and then flip to grill the other side for an additional 4-5 minutes or until the Brie feels soft in the centre and is hot.
  11. Place the wheel of Brie on a platter and top with your fruit and honey compote.
  12. Serve warm with sliced baguette, seasonal fruit and crackers.

COVID-19 Measures

Protecting the health and safety of yourself and others is very important.  As the COVID-19 situation in Ontario continues to change, a minute or two of extra planning is an important step in ensuring safe adventures.  This activity is adapted with personal and public health COVID-19 measures in mind.  All participants must adhere to the current restrictions and guidelines for the Niagara Region found in the Ontario Government’s COVID-19 response framework, including physical distancing, wearing a mask or face covering, frequent handwashing and staying home when ill.  Enjoy this activity in a small group (with members of the same household) and avoid large crowds.  Have fun and be safe.

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