Niagara Tour – Day 1, Stop 1: Organized Crime Winery

I’ve organized a couple of tours to Niagara for friends from the Ottawa area. This year we had a much smaller group than normal but I think it made it that much more fun. And instead of packing in 7 wineries in one day, we decided to spend more time at each winery and went with 4 wineries. I’m going to cover the trip in several posts – this is post 1.

Day 1 was the pre-tour day. Most of the day was spent getting from Ottawa to the Niagara region, although we left early enough in the morning that we managed a great stop at Zest in Port Hope and still had time for a few winery visits.

Zest Bistro in Port Hope with Debbie, Andrew, & Michelle (photo credit to the Zest staff!)

Delicious Food at Zest Bistro

Our friends Andrew and Michelle had stopped in at one of the big wineries but had never been on an extensive tour before. We decided that we should hit the bench area with them first and show them some of the great wines coming from that region. We chose a bunch of favourites that were close together, and decided on Organized Crime, Fielding Estate Winery, and Diprofio Wines and if there was time we would hit Hidden Bench as well.

First Stop: Organized Crime Winery

Organized Crime Winery – it’s more about the “music” than the “mob”. (photo credit Andrew Weber)

We’ve been fans of Organized Crime since our first visit to the region in 2008. We just happened upon the place and loved the small family feel to the tasting room – like being in someone’s dining room. We’d organized tours there as well after ’08 and loved the sarcasm of Krystyna. I always find it funny when I hear that people are put off by her because her personality is one of the reasons I love visiting Organized Crime. I guess it isn’t for everyone.

They were fairly busy as they usually are on a summer weekend, and being the long weekend likely doubled the traffic. We got to witness some of the typical Krystyna humour as the folks in front of us asked questions that she was in the middle of explaining. Everyone took it well and the room was filled with laughter.

Lots of laughter in the tasting room at Organized Crime! (photo credit Andrew Weber)

We eventually made our way to the tasting bar and sampled some of the new wines (having previously visited in March). Here’s the notes:

2011 ‘The Mischief’ White Blend: Comprised of 50% Gewurztraminer, ~30% Sauvignon Blanc, and ~20% Viognier, this fruit forward blend hits the nose with stone fruit (peaches & pears), melon, and distinct honey notes. Great mout-watering acidity cleanses the nominal residual sugar. Great food-friendly wine – I would pair this with spicy Asian dishes. $19, available at the winery.

2008 Chardonnay Reserve: With full barrel ferment in 500L barrels, I expected this wine to be fairly heavy on the oak. The nose however came across with strong typical fruit notes of apples and lemon and lighter nuances of butterscotch and smoke. On the palate, the fruit hits first and then the butterscotch takes over into a long, smooth finish. $28. Available at the winery.

2010 ‘Pipedown’ Red Blend: Krystyna explained that this is a wine that they sell mainly to restaurants and the restaurants didn’t care for the fact that consumers could buy the wine at the winery so to smooth out relations, they only offer the wine by the case. Although previous versions had Cabernet Sauvignon, Syrah, and Petite Verdot, this vintage is comprised of Cabernet Sauvignon (43%), Cabernet Franc (43%), Petit Verdot (9%), and Merlot (5%). Aged 11 months in Frech oak, the nose exudes rich dark fruit and caramel toast notes. On the palate, cassis, black cherry, and dark plums carry you through to an ultra smooth vanilla cherry finish. $22. Available at the winery.

Organized Crime Winery:

  • 4043 Mountainview Road, Beamsville, ON
  • 905-563-9802
  • Website



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