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RELEASE < BY BILL YOUNG > SPRING in the vineyards M

any of us have taken advantage of the re- cent warm spell to eagerly begin our spring ritual in our gardens. It never ceases to amaze me how much we look forward to those chores each spring and by August

they have become pure drudgery. Spring in the vineyards is kicked off by bud break. Like

the whistle in a race it starts the growing cycle in motion. At this time of year viticulturists or grape growers are busy “spring cleaning”. This is the time when they refresh and renew; making sure everything is ready for the growing season ahead. Aided by our relatively short and mild winter, Ontario’s vineyards are now ready for the summer sunshine. This is a wonderful time of year to visit our local win- eries. The wineries are not as busy as they are in the sum- mer months and the staff have more time to spend with visitors and are delighted to share their knowledge. This spring wineries are starting to release the first

white wines of the highly touted 2011 vintage, as well as continuing to release the superlative 2010 reds. Peninsula Ridge Estate Winery is one of my favourite local wineries to visit due to its close proximity to the GTA and its world- class wines. The property encompasses 80 acres on the Beamsville Bench—considered by many to be one of the premier grape growing regions in Canada. Spring also subtly changes our appetites for food and

wines. During the colder months it is rich slow cooked foods that comfort and warm us with their complex muted tastes and creamy textures. We often pair these foods with fuller bodied whites or reds. The first stirrings of spring, however, bring with them a desire for more delicate and fresh flavours. Tender spring asparagus is a welcome sign. Many people think that asparagus is not wine friendly, but when it is young and freshly picked it lacks the bit- terness that makes it difficult to pair with most wines. Oven roasted with a squeeze of lemon and sprinkled with freshly grated parmesan cheese just before serving it pairs wonderfully with Ontario VQA Sauvignon Blanc. One of my favourites this season is Peninsula Ridges 2011 Wis- mer Vineyards Sauvignon Blanc. The powerful nose is full of aromas of melon, yellow mango and floral. The palate is clean and crisp with flavours of kiwi, honeydew melon, gooseberries and mineral undertones. The fine acidity car- ries through to a long and lingering finish which pairs perfectly with many of your favourite spring dishes. For those to experience Ontario wineries in the spring

I would suggest you do so in the next few weeks. Orchards are ready to blossom and the landscape will soon be a riot of brilliant green. Unfortunately, as with all the better things in life, the moment will soon pass and the opportu- nity will be lost. Carpe diem!

Bill Young joined ORC in 2011 as Assistant General Man- ager. A seasoned hospitality professional and a long time oenophile with a private collection in excess of 500 bottles, he is an avid supporter of Canadian wines and a former Vice President of the Niagara Chapter of the Ontario Wine Society. Bill is looking forward to sharing his love of all things related to the enjoyment of wine with like minded ORC members by way of our own cORCscrew wine club.


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