14 posts tagged with “wine”

  • From Niagara winery to Shawn & Ed Brewing Co.

    Ed Madronich of Shawn & Ed Brewing Co. in Dundas.

    My column, Eating Niagara, runs every second Wednesday in the St. Catharines Standard, Niagara Falls Review and Welland Tribune.

    The saying goes that it takes a lot of beer to make great wine.

    But one Niagara vintner is proving the opposite true.

    Ed Madronich, proprietor of Flat Rock Cellars in Jordan, is showing that it also takes top-notch tipple to turn out noteworthy suds.

    He’s doing it with The Shawn & Ed Brewing Co., the 10-month-old brewery that he opened in an old Dundas curling and skating rink with university buddy Shawn Till.

    The venture fulfils a nearly lifelong dream the two discovered they shared while shooting hoops for McMaster University’s basketball team some 25 years ago. And even though the beverage lineup at the brewery, known to locals as “the Shed,” is more hoppy than tannic, Niagara’s influence on this heady pursuit in a Hamilton suburb is undeniable.

    “I believe there’s lots of synergies between the wine business and the beer business,” Madronich said. “I’m leveraging both for this to be successful.”

    Madronich flouts all those old wives’ tales about never mixing beer and wine with a lager-heavy roster that shows the two to be a perfect pairing.

    Take the flagship Shawn & Ed brew, BarrelShed No. 1. This ruby-red beauty has sweet caramel notes and gets its body from aging in Flat Rock Cellars Pinot Noir barrels. Since batch No. 1, some of each BarrelShed brew has been set aside to use in the following ferment. The result is glorious — rich and layered.

    “I believe over time, it adds complexity,” Madronich said about the BarrelShed’s secret ingredient. “It has the complexity of wine. BarrelShed is our globally unique beer. There’s nothing like it in the world.”

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    Category Beyond Niagara, Food Finds

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  • Peach Tree
  • How to serve sparkling wine like a sommelier

    The only shutterstock image I could find of someone pouring sparkling properly.

    I originally wrote this story about how to serve sparkling wine for Niagara Life magazine.

    You could say I have a bit of a Napoleon complex with Champagne. I’ve always wanted to know how to sabre a bottle of bubbly like the French emperor did when he was victorious in battle.

    Problem is, I don’t have a sabre, and as it turns out, I’m not good with sharp objects anyway. The words “bomb” and “shrapnel” also don’t sit well with me, and both flowed freely from David Hulley’s mouth as he explained the risks of putting blade to bottle of any sparkling wine.

    The director of customer service at Vineland Estates Winery, who trained under a master sabreur, has successfully sabred many a flagon. He’s also experienced the nerve-shattering explosions and cuts when the spectacle has gone awry, so he was quick to put my inner Bonaparte in his place.

    Instead, Hulley offered a safer technique for opening and serving sparkling wine, requiring no sharp objects or first aid kit within reach. Best part is, unlike Napoleon, you won’t spill a drop, making it a truly revolutionary way of serving that méthode classique.

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  • Peach Tree
  • Get the most from this year’s Niagara Wine Festival

    I originally wrote this story for The Hamilton Spectator. Thanks to the Niagara Wine Festival for the photos.

    It’s not a party unless someone brings wine.

    Niagara has both the tipple and the ensuing festivities covered this month. September is when the region turns into a giant crush pad and celebrates the grape growing season that was.

    This year marks the 65th edition of the Niagara Wine Festival, the oldest of its kind in Canada. It’s easily the region’s biggest bash where locals raise a glass — or several — to the area’s farming roots while oenophiles from Toronto, Timmins, Texas and beyond come to see what all the hype is about.

    “It’s the best time of year to experience Niagara hospitality on the wine route,” says Kimberly Hundertmark, the festival’s executive director. “The surprising offerings that the wineries have at this time of year are not to be missed.”

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  • Reconnecting Niagara to the wine industry

    Inside the Cuvée Grand Tasting.

    It was late in my tenure at the paper when a study about Niagara residents feeling increasingly disconnected from the local wine industry was released.

    For a place where stories abound about the rite of passage of swilling Baby Duck at the high school prom, this was incredibly newsworthy. The wine industry always seemed as quintessentially Niagara as tender fruit and rushing water, and though we’ve willingly shared those with others, they’ve always been ours.

    At the root of the growing disconnect were changes made to the Niagara Wine Festival, starting in 2002 when ‘Grape’ was dropped from its name followed by having to pay to get into Montebello Park during the 2007 festival when it had always been free; and changes that same year to rules about the appearance of Grande Parade participants.

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    Category Food Finds, Reviews

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