By:Jason Solanki
Published: January 23rd, 2014

What an amazing two days! Last weekend, we enjoyed many Icewines and tasty culinary creations at 9 different wineries throughout Niagara-on-the-Lake and Twenty Valley. The full photo gallery is available at the bottom of this post.

Our group of 11 began Saturday afternoon at Sue-Ann Staff Estate Winery, where we were greeted by Chris, whom I first met back in Fall of 2012 at Niagara College Teaching Winery. While waiting for the rest of the group to arrive, we tasted a few wines in Sue-Ann’s kitchen. Sue-Ann tends to make wines in a crowd-pleasing style, and her 2012 Rosé (87 pts) fits that bill nicely. It’s a blend of 92% Loved by Lu Riesling and 8% Unoaked Cab Franc and is fresh and crisp with grapefruit, peach, and lime aromas, with nice replays on the palate; it’s medium-bodied with a long, tart finish.

Chocolate bark topped with goodies at Sue-Ann Staff Estate Winery
Once everyone arrived, we walked into Sue-Ann’s formal dining room where we chose our chocolate bark and hand-picked our toppings, and then paired it with our choice of the 2007 Riesling Icewine or the 2011 Sparkling & SASSY Riesling (89 pts, reviewed here). On my chocolate bark, I opted for the nuts, dried citrus and dried berries and paired it with the sparkling wine. The pairing was fantastic - the right amount of sweetness from both the wine and the chocolate bark was in sync and perfectly complemented each other. There was also a smoked salt bark which I completely forgot about, but at least one person in our group tried it and said it was delicious! Ironically, this first stop ended up being my favourite stop of the weekend and is definitely a MUST stop if you’re heading out on the final weekend of the Icewine Festival.

Canadian Beavertails and Chardonnay Icewine at Pillitteri Estates Winery

The second stop was in Niagara-on-the-Lake at Pillitteri Estates Winery, where they had brought in Canadian Beavertails topped with lemon, cinnamon and brown sugar and paired it with their delicious 2007 Chardonnay Icewine (89 pts, reviewed here). Once the again the pairing was quite well done, and if you’ve never had a Beavertail, this was a great opportunity to try it! Icewine made out of Chardonnay is also not very common, so it is not surprising to see the largest Estate Icewine producer in the world make it - and it was a treat to taste on this day. We then headed inside to warm up a bit and found my wife talking to Beth, who convinced us that maybe we should head further inside do some more tastings. I’m glad we went inside the private tasting room to taste three more Icewines made out of grapes you normally you don’t see - 2008 Gewürztraminer Icewine (89 pts), 2008 Merlot Icewine (88 pts), and 2011 Cabernet Sauvignon Icewine (89 pts, reviewed here) - it was quite the experience!

All in all, we had a great time at this year’s Icewine Festival. I hope you enjoyed my review. It runs one more weekend (January 25-26) and I hope this will help you plan your Discovery Pass Experience to Niagara. If you’re interested in joining me on a future visit to the region, let me know and I’ll be sure to keep you posted.

For Full article, please visit