TASTE the COUNTY: I haven’t talked about Prince Edward County (PEC) this year so let’s catch up. FYI: In my book, Billy’s Best Bottles Wines for 2009, read my recommendations about what to drink, where to stay and eat, and what to do in the County.
County red at the LCBO: SANDBANKS 08 Baco is a great mix of tasty fruit and something rustic, gutsy. Classic Baco. As Canadian as Neil Young. Have with family BBQs. Especially burgers. Sandbanks 08 Baco Noir, VQA Ontario #110049 $14.95
You may also want to check out Sandbanks off-dry, easy drinking 08 Vidal (#110031 $12.95). And join owner Catherine and the picking crew at harvest time – guaranteed good fun. www.sandbankswinery.com
Fantastic County White at the wineries: HUFF ESTATES winemaker, Frederic Picard, has produced the best Pinot Gris ($19.95) VQA PEC, I’ve ever tasted from Ontario. Shades of the top PG from Friuli in Italy – fresh, confident and tingling with nervy energy. If it were any purer it would be in a monastery. Five start aperitif and an oyster lovers best friend. I like to see Federick’s wine as the role model for the Ontario style – elegant, understated and a lot like the best wines of Europe.
P.S. Other wines to explore at Huff are the super refreshing 08 Dry Rosé ($16.95) and the somewhat expensive, elegant 07 South Bay Chardonnay ($30). www.huffestates.com
Carmela winery has new owners, a new winemaker, and a new name, CASA-DEA. The best part is the wines are now much better.
The 07 CD Rosso, Gamay/Zweigelt, VQA PEC ($14.95) is lively, earthy, funky and the style of red I’ve been waiting to see from an Ontario winery. A true local. Our version of a bistro wine. A great partner for food. The 08 Riesling VQA PEC ($17.25) is classic austere, dry Riesling that will delight the fan. Age a year or two. www.casadeaestates.com
Picnic supplies, books, coffee and hot dogs on Main Street in Picton
Picnic is an upscale food shop operated by Karin and Mike Potter of Harvest Restaurant. You’ll want to buy everything. I suggest you start with the free range, rotisserie chicken. 613-476-4404 www.harvestrestaurant.ca
Across the street is the gorgeous Books & Company offering the best of new and old books and Miss Lil’ys Café offering tasty baked goods, sandwiches and damn fine espresso. www.pictonbookstore.com
Also on Main Street is the wonderfully innovative Buddha Dog. The humble hot dog elevated to gourmet status. A must visit.
More County wine news in a few weeks.