Tuesday, 14 February 2012

My Great Find with Almost No Gas

I was headed up to Belleville Ontario earlier this week for my grown-up job which took me right next to the heart of Prince Edward County. One of the most coldest wine regions in the world. I was initially heading to one of my favourite wineries from that region. Black Prince Winery, however I was half way there and thought to myself I had better give them a call to make sure they are open on a Monday in February.

To my great disappointment, the message chatted away at me saying that they are only open Friday to Sunday. So looking down at my gas gauge (which at this point was on the E for empty) I figured I had better make my way back to the nearest gas station. The easiest way for me to do that was to hit the home button on my GPS.

Following the lovely mono-tone woman's voice on the GPS, I take some of the most curvy snow covered roads I have driven on in a while. During this process I'm now starting to sweat a bit as the gas gauge creeps ever closer to the line on the E.

Then I see a small sign that says Huff on the side of the road with what looks like a bunch of grapes on it. Old and weatherd laying in a ditch. I'm sure that the sign had been there for some time. Well as curious as I am, and the fact that I'm headed in that direction anyway I figure, what have I got to lose.

As I come up to the winery, there are 3 moderatly sized buildings that crest a hill. All of them are farely new and in great condition.

The first on my right was an Inn. From first impressions it looked like somewhere I would actually like to stay. I can be a bit of a softy sometimes. Well kept, modern and up to date. The thing that really struck me was all of the wonderful sculptures that dotted the grounds. Some that were very detailed, even when covered in a blanket of snow.

This was because to the Oeno Gallery which was the middle building. Looking fairly new and if I were to have had more time, would definatley have stopped in for a look.

Finally the last building was where I was headed. I was quite confident the winery was open as there were a few other cars in the parking lot. Even if they all worked there, I was prety sure I could at least have a quick walk around.

I walk into the winery tasting/showroom and was very cheerfully greated by Alex. He was the one person that was in the room. I found it amusing that Alex and one of the other employees that was running in and out filling orders were having a bit of a dispute over the "Tribute to Whitney Houston" channel when Alex would greatly have prefered the Yardbirds. (I have to go with Alex on that one).

Enough about that. Let's get to the wines.

I sampled a number of different wines and was very impressed, both with the wines and Alex's ability to deliver the expressions for each of them in plain language. If you have been reading my blog, that's what I'm all about.

2009 South Bay Vinyards Chardonnay
2009 Zero De Gris
2009 South Bay Vineyards Merlot-Cabernet

2009 Off Dry Reisling

Here is what I tasted.

So here is the quick run down on each. I loved the Chardonnay and the Reisling. These two, in my opinion are two wines and varieties that can put Ontairo on the map when it comes to white wines(please feel free to quote me on that one).
The Merlot-Cabernet Blend was great on the nose, but lacked a bit of the body on the palate, which I have to say I was warned about ahead of time. Still, it was quite well crafted and put together on a whole.

Now the story about the Zero De Gris.
This is made from a grape that I have never heard of before. The Frontenac Gris. This is a French American hybrid out of all places Minnesota. The sugar on this grape is through the roof! First pressing is about 40 brix. I know what you are thinking. It's going to be like drinking something like that McDonald Orange drink syrup you had as a kid. But I was remarkably impressed.

The high acidity of this grape especially on the finish, leaves a crisp clean feel on the palate which really surprised me. Alex was also telling me just how labour intensive this variety is to harvest as it needs to be be well below -10 degrees C for the grapes to even freeze because of the high sugar content.

So some final questions to end with.

Will I go back and visit Huff Estate Winery again? Most definately.

Where can they make things that are good better? The red blend. They already are doing something about that. Can't wait for the new blend to try.

What are they doing right? - Whites and Zero De Gris. Keep doing exactly what you are doing.

Overall Experiene? - Fantastic.

Worth checking out if you haven't been there? - A MUST!

One last point. Make sure you have lots of gas in your car.
Enjoy a glass.


  1. Nice review will discuss with you further when we meet up!

  2. Thanks! It was quite the drive.


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