Sunday, February 12, 2006

Winery visit - Tawse Winery

Tawse Winery is a relatively new addition to the Niagara scene. I had a few minutes to spare on Saturday - and decided to use these to visit for the first time.

The winery is fairly easy to find. There are signs along the QEW (look for the stylized 'T') and along King St (the main drag of the Wine Route.) The winery is about a 1/2 mile up from King.

As it's a new, more "boutiquey" winery, I expected a modest, perhaps rustic building. On the contrary, it's a large, multi-level winery with a state-of-the-art gravity fed system. The wines available for tasting are the first produced in the new facility. However, the winery has been producing for several years at an off-site facility. (Don't ask me where these wines went - because I've never seen them.)

Well - it's evident that there is good funding behnd this winery. No luxury has been spared. This is the first time I've tasted from Riedel stems. The owner and winemaker (veteran Deborah Paskus) have chosen specific stemware for each wine they have available for tasting.

Anyway - to the wines:

Officially available were:

Chardonnay - Beamsville Bench Reserve - 2002

This was the better of the two. It's very classy with a fine aroma. The oak is there, but not overdone. (The winery uses equal parts new, one year old, and two year old French oak barrels.)

Chardonnay - Robin's Block Estate Chardonnay - 2002

This was excellent as well - although I gave the Beamsville the edge.

I also tasted two unlabelled reds (the labels hadn't yet arrived):

Cabernet Franc
Pinot Noir

Both were a little too chilled. I was in a hurry and didn't have time to let the liquid warm up slightly. Both were fruity, complex and medium-bodied. I'd certainly like to go back later in the year.

A couple of cavets:

- check the tasting hours - Tawse is open Saturday but not on Sunday
- there is a $2.50 / sample tasting fee (waved if you purchase wine) - the pour is a good size.

These are premium wines - so don't go to Tawse for a quick sniff, swirl and sip - be sure to have have enough time to savour.


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