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It’s not too late to enjoy the Taste the Season at the Wineries of Niagara-on-the-Lake

SONY DSCBy Michael Lowe

The Taste the Season event, hosted by the Wineries of Niagara-on-the-Lake, is already in full swing but there’s still time to indulge in the sensational pairings offered this year.

SONY DSCThe wine route was buzzing with activity last weekend as passport holders searched for their favourite seasonal match-ups. Because of its proximity to home we began at Niagara College Teaching Winery. The silky smooth pumpkin cheesecake with ginger cream (above photo) really brought the 2012 Dean’s List Prodigy Icewine to life. If you’re a stickler for orderly tasting this match would be best saved for your last stop.

SONY DSCOver at Ravine Vineyard Estate Winery awaits one of the best examples of cold weather comfort food. A savoury, hearty chicken stew is served with a light and airy cheddar puff pastry biscuit (above photo) and pairs beautifully with their 2012 Chardonnay.

SONY DSCPondview Estate Winery also hits a home run with a mildly spiced five-bean chili with beef and pork (above photo). The earthiness of the dish really brings the fruit in their 2012 Bella Terra Cabernet Franc to the fore.

Stratus Vineyards has partnered with Treadwell Farm-to-Table Cuisine matching their 2011 Kabang Red with Treadwell’s version of tourtière (below photo). If you have never tasted one of Stephen Treadwell’s classic meat pies you must stop at Stratus this time around.

2014-11-15At Pillitteri, local Chef Colin Goodine’s squash soup with sage has a nice textural contrast with toppings of crostini and toasted seeds and nuts (below photo). It proves a worthy match for Pillitteri’s 2012 Oak Aged Chardonnay.

SONY DSCJackson-Triggs has chosen to pair their 2012 Grand Reserve Riesling with cold-water shrimp Jambalaya (below photo) this year. The Jambalaya is infused with thyme, a staple in Cajun cuisine. Together with the other ingredients this pairs well with the wine. The star of this dish, though, is the salty, spicy, house-cured Tasso ham.

SONY DSCRounding out our stops on the first weekend of the event is Konzelmann Estate Winery where another heartwarming dish awaits. A small Yorkshire pudding is filled with slow cooked Alberta beef then topped off with lobster meat creating a mini surf-and-turf of sorts (below photo). The fruit-driven 2012 Cabernet Sauvignon is a terrific partner with the beefy richness.

SONY DSCThere you are, just a small sampling of what’s in store to tantalize your palate during this year’s Taste the Season. The event runs Friday through Sunday during the month of November so you still have time to get your passport. Regular passports cost $44.25 (plus fees and taxes) or $35 for a designated driver passport.

Tickets and the complete lineup of pairings can be found here to help you plan your route.