Après PEC Terroir

So on the way out of PEC, we had to visit Vicki’s Veggies (@vickisveggies) and pick up some heirloom tomato plants for the garden. Since we were in that end, we figured we would pop in and see the renovated cheese factory that now houses Exultet Estates as owners Gerry and Lia Spinosa had promised that they had some special wines not on sample at the Terroir event.

The winery is indeed an old cheese factory although most of the interior has been retrofitted to modern standards. Gerry and Lia were both on premise and we had a short discussion about the vineyards, the retrofit of the building, and a quick tour showed that they kept some of the neat original features of the cheese factory, like this cheese door.

Cheese Door Still Functional

We then sampled two amazing Pinot Noirs from the 2009 vintage.

2009 Pinot Noir

2009 Pinot Noir : The first comes from different plots comprised of 6 different clones. The cherry/kirsch on this is quite pronounced and the body is reminiscent of a warm climate Pinot. Loads of body, spice, and lots of fruit well integrated with the tannins. A bit expensive at $55 but worth it to the Pinot-phile.

2009 Beloved: : This one comes from a “special” plot on the land and is comprised of just one clone. Hard to believe but the cherry and kirsch is kicked up yet another notch on this one – again hard to believe this is coming from PEC in 2009. Wow! A beauty that should only get better with time, this one also is “steep” by Ontario standards at $65.

Both wines only available at the winery, and they will ship. With only a couple of years under their belts, I can’t wait to see what else is going to come out of this winery in the future.

Then we had to scoot over to Norman Hardie for a bite of lunch. We again met up with @Ontario_Wines (Rick Bates) and his crew for some delicious stone-fired oven pizza and Norm’s county Pinot. The rain held off and the pizza and wine combination was great.

@Ontario_Wines (Rick Bates)

Pizza & Wine @NormHardie

A quick sampling of the Chardonnay’s and Pinot’s convinced me again that I prefer the County wines to the ones made with Niagara fruit. The County 2009 Pinot Noir is classic, elegant Pinot, with the nice trifecta of fruit (cherry), spice, and oak, all in harmony. $35

Norm’s 2010 Riesling is also quite good – showing that great stony minerality from the County, with some stone fruit and residual sugar to keep you wanting another sip. $21.

Sadly, I was out of wine money after this and had to pass on the 2009 Cabernet Franc at $25, but if I head back to PEC this summer I am sure to pick some up. It was superb and compared to some other high end Cab Franc’s, a deal at $25,

Vicki (the veggie lady) had told us that Norm had bought hundreds of plants and was going to have a roadside stand of fresh vegetables later in the year. With the pasta, olive oils, and other cooking goods in the tasting room (not to mention the pizza oven), Norman Hardie is quickly becoming the foodie destination winery. Watching Norm back up a forklift while talking on his cell and welcoming new guests, he really does seem to have mastered the multi-tasking required to build a world-class destination! 🙂

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2 Responses to Après PEC Terroir

  1. Earl Dunbar says:

    Oh man … I will be in the County late August through Labour Day Sunday. I purchased some Norman Hardie pinot last summer, and will probably open it this weekend (with grilled salmon) … I don’t recall the pizza oven being there or fired up last year, but it is a must on my list this summer!

    I also recommend County Cider, just up the road from Fifth Town Cheese. Their ciders pair perfectly with Petra’s cheeses. But the sweet news is that they are making some fine, fine wines. Their Pinot, Cab and Chards are quite good! County Cider also have a pizza oven and patio dining.

  2. mcshawn says:

    Yes – the oven is new at Norman Hardie since we were there last summer. Pizza is some of the best I have had in a while, and pairs perfectly with the ’09 County Pinot. We made it to County Cider last year and agree with your comments – unfortunately we were slightly too early for lunch that day. The view from County Cider’s patio is amazing!

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