Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Feeling PECish ─ Part 2

(Read Part 1 here)

PEC wineries devote their efforts primarily to two varieties:  the notoriously difficult Pinot Noir and the wine world’s workhorse, Chardonnay.  Some of the Pinot Noirs that I tasted in PEC (especially around Hillier) were thin, tart, overly acidic, and occasionally under-ripe, all of which are risks in a cool climate.  The weather in 2010 was warmer, allowing for fuller ripening, and the expectations for that vintage (not yet available) are high.  Who knows, perhaps global warming will be a boon to PEC.    

As for the Chardonnays, they often saw too much new oak, although that’s more of a personal preference than a flaw. 

We tasted some good Pinot Gris and, based on those samples, the region shows great promise for that grape variety.  More PEC vintners should try it.  But everybody buys Chardonnay…

Another winery – Hinterland – devotes all its efforts to sparkling wines and I think that they’re on to something.  With PEC’s cool climate and limestone foundation, the region may be ideal for sparkling wine.  And most vintners are already growing Pinot Noir and Chardonnay, 2 of the 3 varieties that also can go into making Champagne, where tart and acidic wine is a boon.

I only have eyes for ewe
Compared to the slicker Niagara region, PEC has a bucolic charm.  Translation:  they roll up the sidewalks at night (and don't necessarily unroll them in the morning) and cell service is very spotty.  The region seems torn between wanting tourism dollars but not the tourists who come with it.  There are relatively few hotels, so a last-minute getaway in the summer is nearly impossible.  

Hot Diggity!
Although the selection of restaurants is good, many are closed more than one night a week in high season. Restaurants are well spread out among the many little towns, making walking to them impossible; a designated driver is a necessity.  We had dinner at Angeline’s in Bloomfield and Blumen Bistro in Picton.  Both are good but we give the edge to Blumen for its good food, moderate prices, great service, and ambience.  And getting down for lunch at Buddha Dog in Picton, with its locally sourced products, is good fun but it’s very small and busy. 

Sweet Cheeses!
It’s out of the way but if you love excellent cheese made from goat, sheep, or cows’ milk, make the time to visit Fifth Town Artisan Cheese, which is at the east end of the County.  Great selection!       

We visited 10 wineries over 2 days.  You can find the better wineries concentrated in 2 districts.  In my next 2 posts, I’ll give you my impression of the wineries around Hiller and Marysburgh.

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