Read part one here where we headed to Niagara College, Chateau des Charmes, Southbrook, and Cattail Creek.
Next stop on our little winery tour was Hillebrand. We’ve bought some of their wines from the LCBO (ie. the only place you can buy booze in Ontario. Literally.) and enjoyed them, so in addition to the icewine Matt wanted to do a tasting of their Reds. None of them really jumped out at me.
We grabbed a sample of their Vidal Icewine paired with warm chili topped with cocoa nibs. I remember liking the icewine, but loving the chili. Matt claimed it wasn’t as good as my mom’s chili recipe, but I thought it was some stiff competition.
I really liked the quaint atmosphere of this winery. We sat by the fire pit as the sun was starting to poke out for the 3 minutes of sunlight that we got the entire day.
Pillitteri Estates looks pretty unassuming when you approach it, but it’s definitely a winery you shouldn’t miss. It has, by far, the best selection of icewines, not surprisingly since they are the world’s largest icewine producers. We got a pairing of a shiraz icewine with a cheese tart as well as a tasting of 4 of their higher-end icewines. My favourite, and the best one of the day in my opinion, was the 2007 Chardonnay Icewine. It was really flavourful and sweeter than juice. Matt liked the Vidal Sparkling Icewine, which was my second favourite.
Last stop was Konzelmann Estate Winery which is located in a fancy stone castle in a beautiful property right on Lake Ontario. Matt wanted to do a tasting here, but we got there just as they were closing up shop. I was a bit disappointed that their icewine sample didn’t actually include icewine. Instead they gave us their Canada Red wine paired with “Trainwrecker Beans” which were a version of baked beans that included bacon, beef, icewine, and red wine. Oh and beans. The trainwrecker beans were to die for and luckily I got the recipe. I hope to make it soon and share the recipe with you guys!
5 o’clock rolled around and all the wineries were closing up shop so we headed to our hotel to check in. We stayed at the Angel Inn which I picked for 2 reasons: 1) the room was cheap, and 2) the first floor is a bar which I thought would be both fun and convenient.
The hotel room was a bit of a dump. It was clean but run down and not well maintained. It felt like crashing at a friend’s house after a long night of drinking. Luckily Matt and I have low standards.
The bar has live music until 12:30 in the morning, which didn’t matter much to us since we were at the pub downstairs drinking anyway. It would have otherwise been impossible to sleep until after the band stopped.
After walking around the deserted streets (the town basically closed down at 5 and there was nothing to do until dinner) we headed back to the inn for dinner.
The pub itself was really good. There aren’t many places to eat and drink in Niagara-on-the-Lake that are casual, fun, and laid back but the Angel Inn is a classic English pub that fits the criteria. They had a good domestic and imported beer selection on tap and even had their own brews (I liked the Angel Wheat beer).
Also the food was delicious. I’ve been on a pie kick lately (what’s better than a warm pie on a cold winter day?) so I was happy to see a variety of English pies on the menu. I went with the shepherd’s pie which trumped Matt’s steak and guinness pie, but not by much. We followed up dinner with a sticky toffee pudding cake and a too many more beers : P
Our friend Nathan who moved to Niagara Falls just last week met up with us for drinks later on which was awesome because I was in Florida when he moved away and didn’t get to see him before. Plus Nathan might be the most knowledgeable person I know which makes any conversation with him very interesting.
Since the Inn didn’t have breakfast we headed up the street for breakfast at Escabeche at the oh-so-swanky Prince of Wales Hotel. I just had some overpriced yoghurt and granola (which was, ya know, just yoghurt and granola) and Matt had eggs benedict with the most delicious Hollandaise sauce I’ve ever had.
We headed back home right after breakfast. I asked Matt if he wanted to hit up any of the Twenty Valley wineries on the way home.
“No”, he said, “we need an excuse to come back.”
As if I need an excuse to drink wine?
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