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Sip and Sizzle — Wineries of Niagara-on-the-Lake dish up a taste of spring

By Michael Lowe

Recent weather has been making it hard to believe it’s spring, but the wineries of Niagara-on-the-Lake are doing their part by serving goodies from the grill during weekends in May. Here’s a quick peek at their Sip & Sizzle event!

My first stop at Ravine Vineyard Estate Winery set the tone for the day with a splash of colour. Always a location for good taste, Ravine’s lovely Cabernet Rosé was a perfect match with tender, harissa grilled chicken on a mixed grain salad (above photo).

 Over at Pondview, a chicken hot-dog (above photo) goes Asian with a tangy slaw jacked up with hoisin, fresh cilantro, lime and sriracha mayo. Paired with Cabernet Franc Rosé showing its subtle sweetness against the sriracha, this was one of the best pairings of the day.

There was a huge crowd at Trius, and limited table space, which made composing a good shot almost impossible. In any case, the lamb Merguez sausage (above photo) topped with slaw and minted yogurt hit the spot. Mild spiciness, good depth of flavour matched nicely with 2015 Trius Merlot.

 A substantial, meaty wild boar sausage on the menu at Peller Estates is dressed with crispy fried shallots and maple mustard and matched up with their 2015 Private Reserve Gamay Noir. It’s a nice balance of savoury and sweetness and marries beautifully with the Gamay.

My first visit to The Kitchen at Two Sisters winery made an instant impression so it’s no surprise that it’s on my list for the day. A perfectly seasoned, crispy cod and potato fritter, served with tomato, zucchini and basil salad, is paired with their outstanding 2016 Sauvignon Blanc (above photo) — simple fare, done right and served with excellent wine. Hard to beat that!

 One of the handful of vegetarian options is at Niagara College Teaching Winery. Forbidden, or black, rice salad is presented with mushrooms, leeks, white cheddar and garlic toast crumbs (above photo). It’s a satisfying combination that makes healthy eating fun and delicious.

There you have it — just a sampling of what’s tasty during this month’s event. There are still three weekends left in May, so there’s plenty of time to pick up a passport and enjoy.

Winery tastings run from Friday through Sunday and passes can be purchased here.

Regular passes cost $45 and driver passes are just $25. Sip, enjoy the sizzle and have fun.