Where do I start? I suppose I could start where I left off, with this post about our last visit to Ravine. That post ended with the following line: “We’re planning an organized tour this summer for a group of friends and we’re going to make sure that one of the stops is Ravine. ” A man of my word, I did plan Ravine in for the second stop of our tour, a stop that conveniently crossed the lunch period so we could enjoy some of the world class cooking coming out of the kitchen.
We met up with Jen (Jennifer Coburn) in the tasting room where she started us off with a sampler of one of my favourite wines of 2012, the Picone Vineyard Cab Franc. Jen has the most infectious personality, and she bubbles with enthusiasm, her eyes sparkling the whole time she is engaging us.
I had tasted and loved this before, and I found in addition to the previous notes…
The nose is dark cherries with a slight floral note. The palate has loads of luscious dark cherries, black raspberries, and rich, ripe plums, finishing with light spice and tobacco notes. The medium tannins, nice acidity and delicate care in integrating all these components mean that this wine will drink very nicely now or for the next 5-7 years.
…that now there was more blueberry and cassis notes on both the nose and palate, and I detected a light menthol note on the nose I had missed before. The mineral core was really showing now and I can only say that this wine was even more delicious than before. We had some time to wander around the restored Woodruff house and take some more pictures of the beautifully restored building, including the deli shop/bakery in the back.
Jen had planned a little tour of the winery grounds, starting with a short walk over to their organic garden. On the way over, chef-proprietor Paul Harber joined us and added some colour on the history of their organic gardener, Gummi, and how she came to be the gardener at Ravine (Paul had worked with Gummi at Michael Stadtländer’s farm restaurant). She now maintains a large organic garden that provides for the restaurant – picking twice daily for the lunch and dinner menus.
We then made our way back to the restaurant through the basements of the buildings. Here, in Disney fashion, are all the workings of the winery and the kitchen that most folks never see. First we saw the bakery and the main food prep areas:
And the wine production area:
We originally thought we might sit outside at the bar seating right at the large, wood-fired oven. That lasted about 5 minutes until the rain hit, and then we headed inside for shelter.
Once settled inside, one of the most beautifully presented charcuterie platters arrived for our appetizer! We then ordered our mains for lunch, and each was paired beautifully with Ravine wines. The food is uncomplicated, natural, executed to perfection, and beautifully presented:
After a quick lunch, we popped back into the tasting room for a few more tastes and to load up on the wines already sampled (including more of the opulent 2010 Picone Cab Franc). Given our exhaustive tasting in March, I just tried a couple new ones, including an off-dry 2010 Gewurztraminer with a decent acidic backbone to keep it fresh.
For Debbie and I, this wasn’t our first visit to Ravine Vineyards, but for all of us, it won’t be our last. In fact, my friend Andrew said he would love to take a week and work at Ravine – compared to many “work environments” the staff at Ravine have mastered the art of making hard work look like fun. The energy here is palpable, and I can’t thinks of a better word to describe the feeling other than “electric”!
OK, so you made it all the way to the bottom. Here’s the deal. Wine Country Ontario is running a contest (will be using the hashtag #12DaysWCO on Twitter) where they are giving away prizes for 12 days in a row. The featured gift that they have for Friday the 14th of December was selected by yours truly and is $100 Gift Card for dining at Ravine Vineyard Restaurant! Want to enter? I’ll make it easy for everyone:
Twitter: Tweet the following without modifications: “I just entered to win $100 Gift Card to @RavineVineyard from @UncorkOntario at http://uncorkontario.com/?p=1838 #12DaysWCO” .
Facebook: Like the UncorkOntario Facebook page and/or leave a comment on the page if you have already liked the page.
Comment: Leave a comment about this article below! In the spirit of Christmas, I’ll allow you to combine all three avenues to enter, to a maximum of 3 entries per person.
UPDATE: The winner is Peter Obradovich of Toronto! Congratulations Peter!
Fine Print: Random draw from entries received by Sunday, December 16th at midnight (EST). All other rules & regulations that lawyers involved in contests usually write in small print may or may not apply. Prize supplied by Wine Country Ontario – kudos to them for this fabulous contest (watch Twitter for the #12DaysWCO for other prizes too!).