Drake Road Trip: County Terroir Wine Festival

Posted by Chris Loane, May 30, 2013

We had such a blast last weekend hitting the road with our friends and heading to Prince Edward County to sample some seriously delicious wines. Our Drake Devonishire Innkeeper, Chris Loane, shares his highlights and favourite memories from our road trip.

Drake Devonishire Inn

We all met on Saturday morning at the Drake Hotel for our trip to Prince Edward County and the Terroir Wine Festival. Although there was a cool wind, the weather was perfect wine drinking weather. There were 19 of us on the bus and we were all looking to get out of the city for the day and enjoy some fresh county air.

The festival is held at a beautiful location. The Crystal Palace is located on the Picton fairgrounds, and was built in 1887. It's a scaled down version of Joseph Paxton’s Crystal Palace built in 1851 in London, England. This may possibly be the only one left in North America. It's a beautiful old building with ceilings over 100 feet high and plenty of open air for us city folk. So, we have the weather and the location, now to what we came here for.. THE WINE.

Prince Edward County is host to over 30 wineries and what makes the wine from this region so unique is the mineral-rich soil in the region. The limestone and other rocks in the area give a beautiful complexity on the palate. It is wine for the serious wine drinker. The éminence grise behind the establishment of the County wine industry is Geoff Heinricks, who was the first to propose that Prince Edward County could one day be a major player in the Canadian wine industry. He thoroughly investigated the soils and microclimates of the County and concluded that the cool climate coupled with the all-pervading limestone base would be an ideal situation for the grapes of Burgundy (i.e. Pinot noir and Chardonnay).

It was pleasure taking 18 new friends on the PEC Terroir bus trip. We had fantastic time at the festival, and then we took a quick tour of the new Drake Devonshire property before heading to Norm Hardies for pizza's. If anyone hasn't been to Norm Hardie's winery you must go. Norm's winery is not a place, but more of a feeling. A feeling you've come home.

Some highlights from the festival:

2010 VanAlstine White Port, Karlo Estate Winery: This unusual wine is a blend of estate grown Frontenac Blanc and Gewürztraminer. The nose is reminiscent of fresh apricots, lychee and hints of rose petal. On the palate mandarin orange and lemon pie interplay with a kiss of hazelnut. Balanced acidity gives way to a lingering finish.

2010 Pinot Noir Cuvee County, Rosehall Run Winery: This medium bodied County Pinot Noir is layered with red cherry, raspberry and a hint of earth on the nose, on the palate a real mouthful, red berries flavors, well structured with refreshing acidity, a lovely balance of fruit , spicy and smoky with an elegant and supple finish.

2011 Reisling, Norman Hardie Winery: A peircing minerality complemented by luscious tropical fruit, this wine lingers forever on the palate. A limited production for this much sought after summer sipping wine.

Drake Devonishire Inn
Drake Devonishire Inn

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Tags: Drake Devonshire Inn  Drake Hotel  PEC  The Drake Hotel  Wellington