Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Niagara-on-the-Lake Winery Visit: Peller Estates Winery

Another in our series of reports on Niagara-on-the-Lake winery visits.

Peller Estates Winery is an upscale Mecca for wine lovers and tourists. The winery, which boasts a spectacular building and a Zagat top-rated restaurant, has past honors as Canadian Winery of the Year. The wine boutique was overflowing with premium wine merchandise, tasting stations and swarming visitors.

We worked our way to a tasting station and began tasting the Private Reserve Red Flight. The Private Reserve is the mid-level line of wines, in between the Family Series and the premium Signature Series’ Ace of Bass, and I tasted through the three wines beginning with the 2007 Private Reserve Merlot. This was pleasing enough, but not remarkable. The 2008 Private Reserve Cabernet Franc was thoroughly enjoyable with a rustic taste of currants and spice.

We’re big Meritage fans and turned our attention to the 2008 Private Reserve Meritage. We rated it “decent” but not as nice as the Cab Franc.

The Signature Series Flight led off with a 2004 Signature Series Merlot. This was velvety smooth with juicy red fruit and we rated it as an all-around winner. The 2003 Signature Series Cabernet Franc, which retails for about $35 Canadian, was next. I was liking the super fragrant aroma, but Glorious T (who arrived on the scene after checking out the shop merchandise) did not like it. The pepper is the thing for her and she didn’t go for this particular taste. We wrapped up the tasting with the ‘04 Signature Series Cab Sauvignon and the general impression was that the tannins were over the top resulting in a woody taste. This was our fourth winery and we decided we were only going to spend time with the wines we really liked.

The crowds were much larger than any of the other wineries we had visited on our Niagara trip and so we prepared to leave. As we were walking out, we noticed a sign that beckoned with the promise of more bargains downstairs. Down we went and the further down we went, the higher up our opinion of Peller Estates went.

We emerged from the stairway into an amazing barrel cellar showcase. Barrels were stacked in all directions and the centerpiece was a magnificent dining space enclosed with floor to ceiling windows. The fine table linen and glassware gleamed as wait staff prepared for a special wine tasting education event.

We worked our way to a tasting bar made from wine barrels. The cellar temperature was cool and the pressing masses upstairs apparently overlooked this awesome area under their feet. While the tastings upstairs were $7 per flight, the tastings for the bargain wines were only a dollar. We had a friendly server all to ourselves and started with a ‘06 Sur Lie Chardonnay. This wine is aged in oak barrels and aged on the skins for 12 months. It had a toasted oak and citrus flavor with a nice medium body.

We moved to the 2006 Private Reserve Merlot. This really grabbed us as an elegant wine.This had a nice touch of blackberries and soft oak. It had a medium body and a round finish of chocolate and spice. The price was only $6 for a Niagara Peninsula VQA Merlot, so we were all over it.

The tasting finished as it should with some 2002 Riesling icewine. Our server coached us, telling us to chew the sweet juice for 10 seconds to truly enjoy its wonderful nuances.

Peller is a family-owned winery the should be on the radar for all wine lovers touring Niagara-on-the-Lake.

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1 comment:

TheGourmetCoffeeGuy said...

Great post about Peller Estates Winery. Had heard about it and your post certainly provides a very good description. Thank you for sharing.