Like a fine wine, the Wine and Culinary Festival is only getting better with age.
Sponsored by the Niagara Wine Trail, USA, this 4th annual installment was bigger and better than ever. Held at Academy Park in Lewiston, NY this past weekend.
Thirteen wineries from the fastest growing wine trail in the country came out to pour featured wines, while almost the same number of local food vendors and farmers markets served their desserts, fresh produce, condiments and various dishes as excellent pairings.
Chateau Niagara Winery (2466 West Creek Rd., Newfane, NY 14108, 716-778-7888, chateauniagarawinery.com) owned by Jim and Kathy Baker produces premium vinifera estate wines. They were also the first winery on the Niagara Wine Trail to produce Gewürztraminer, a wonderful summer wine with spice on the nose and rich flavor. It would pair well with stuffed peppers and garden fresh zucchini.
Over at Black Willow Winery (5565 West Lake Rd., Burt, NY 14028, 716-439-1982, blackwillowwinery.com), patrons would be amiss not to try a flight of Mead. Being the only winery that produces the ancient honey wine east of the Finger Lakes, they hold a distinctive place in Niagara USA. Freyja’s Lure is sweet with strawberry and vanilla on the nose, while Valkyrie’s Lure offers crisp pear and cinnamon, an excellent choice to store away for the upcoming fall months. For first timers trying Mead, start with Odin’s Nectar, a true honey wine that lingers until the end.
Victorianbourg Wine Estate (4402 East Lake Rd., Wilson, NY 14172, 716-751-6576, www.victorianbourg.com) served a dry Chardonnay that was perfect with a dozen steamed clams from the Wilson House Restaurant & Inn (300 Lake St., Wilson, NY 14172, 716-751-9888, www.TheWilsonHouseRestaurant.com), topped with fruity hot sauce from Burning Asphalt Sauces. Followed by Victorianbourg’s Meritage, a classic blend of Cabernet Franc and Merlot, is was a great wine to pair with a personal Margherita pizza from Pizza Amore, a mobile wood fire oven truck (716-775-5975, www.pizzaamorewoodfire.com). The rich Bordeaux suited the homemade sauce, melted mozzarella and fresh basil on this thin crust pizza.
New kid on the block, A Gust of Sun Winery (4515 Baer Rd., Ransomville, NY 14131, 716-731-GUST, agustofsun.com) is holding it’s own with dry and sweet wines, made from vinifera, hybrid, and American grapes. Try their signature 3 Westies White (named after their three West Highland Terrier dogs), a mild blend with an oaky, buttery finish.
For more information about the Niagara Wine Trail visit www.niagarawinetrail.org.
Michelle Blackley is the communications manager at Niagara Tourism & Convention Corporation, editor of Edible Buffalo magazine, and blogs at CityGirlCountry.wordpress.com