Sunday, October 17, 2010

Niagara-on-the-Lake Part Three: Wine, Chocolate and Dirt

Being the traveller that I am I spend many birthdays and Christmas’ in different countries, usually celebrating with whomever random traveller I have met up with at the time. I do not believe in presents so much but I remember one birthday when I was in Guatemala I wrote in my journal the only thing I wanted was chocolate cake and red wine. Nothing in the world is truly more pleasurable than chocolate and red wine...for a single person.

Coyote’s Run Estate Winery has caught onto this. Coyote’s Run was the second winery on my Niagara-on-the-lake tour. They had me from Merlot... that is when it was paired with chocolate. They sell delicious chocolates from Brix chocolate that pairs with their wines ( We tasted a Merlot Shiraz with Brix medium dark chocolate. The extra dark Chocolate went with their 2008 Meritage. The Black Paw 2009 Cabernet Franc went with a delectable medium dark chocolate.

I was already feeling quite good from the amount of wine I had tasted in the previous winery apparently all you have to do is tell them you are writing about the winery and the wine keeps flowing. With chocolate added to the mixture I really couldn’t complain. I had however noticed something that caught my eye as I entered the retail store a chalkboard advertising workshops with the viticulture team in the vineyard. The guy behind the counter kind of laughed when he told us about it. "You get to work in the dirt doing physical labour and you have to pay for you but people love it." He didn't seem to understand why, I however had to pull myself away from signing up. I have been fascinated with working in a vineyard picking grapes for years. Perhaps it’s because when I think about it images of the movie A Walk In The Clouds with Keanu Reeves always come to my mind. The men are all hot and sweaty from picking the grapes in the field then when they are harvested the women dance in a giant wooden barrel while the men dance and clap around the outside. The music gets faster as the women and eventually Keanu are wet covered in grapes juice then the scene switches to them running into a bedroom...right, now what was I talking about here?

I am sure most of the middle ages wine lovers who sign up for these workshops do not have the same imagery running through their heads as mine but they still enjoy the experience to learn more about their favourite vintage and go through the entire process in and outside a classroom setting.

The other unique thing about Coyote’s Run winery is the different soils naturally occurring on the vineyard. They use the same grapes but on different soil, red and black clay. They have named the two different types of wine along with the Coyote theme; Red paw and Black Paw. Red paw is on a red orange coloured soil and the wine is lighter fruitier and more fragrant. When the grapes are planted on the back soil the wine turns out full-bodied spicier.

The vineyard has had a good summer for growing this year they were 2-3 weeks ahead as all the fruit was early this year. Their 2007 Pinot Noir Black paw sold very fast with it being Cherry strawberry in the nose and very earthy. You can also get an oak, smoky oak or spicy scent from the pinots here. This winery does Pinot Noir very well and they are saying 2009 will be the best across Ontario the conditions have been great for this wine. It’s been a perfect storm for Pinot Noir with the hot dry days and cool nights. Cool nights create colour sun develops flavour and sugar. I discovered the Cabernet doesn’t fare so well in these conditions. I was excited to try the Ice wine Niagara is famous for. Coyote’s Run has one of the best in the region, I am told. It is an absolutely delicious dessert wine that tastes like liquid cake.

After finishing at Coyote’s Run we were going to try out a different winery where I could learn more about organic farming but instead we decided to take our purchases to try out at a friend’s house which is located on a vineyard. We finished the night at the Old Winery restaurant and Wine bar. I felt like I learned a lot and maybe I could even keep up with these children of the grape or perhaps this saying is true for me;

“Wine gets better with age, I get better with wine.”

Get your Hands Dirty!
Experience Coyote's Run like you never have before - by working in the vineyard. Bring your boots and your sunscreen to actually learn in the vineyard from our winemaker. This fun and informative full-day workshop includes fun 'classroom' classes, hands-on vineyard training, soil studies and a delicious lunch in our outdoor vineyard pavilion - and don't forget some special tastings from our barrel cellar. Reservations required.

Coyote’s Run also offers wine and cheese tours as well as wine and chocolate tours for more info:

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