February 03, 2015

iYellow Wine Tour - #NiagaraChilled

This right here ladies and gentlemen is the look of a very happy gal!

A couple weeks ago my awesome friends at iYellow Wine Club invited me and a guest out on their iYellow Wine Tour. For this trip we headed down to Niagara Wine Country where we checked out three different wineries during the #NiagaraChilled event. 

After boarding the iYellow Bus, we were given gift bags with all the essentials needed for a long day of wine tasting: water, snacks, note pads and pens and background information for #NiagaraChilled. On top of that, I showed up with a massive box of Timbits for everyone. Yup, I was THAT girl walking up and down the aisle of the bus offering Timbits to random strangers...

Anyways...moving on...

Stop One: Rosewood Estate

After being stuck on the bus for just over an hour, what better way to be greeted on your first stop of the day than with a warm mead cocktail

Rosewood gets it. 

Rosewood Estates is the Niagara Region's first winery that is also a meadery. I know what you're thinking, "JennJenn - what the heck is mead?" Well, mead is essentially honey wine! Mead is created with fermented honey, water and yeast. Boom - mind blown. 

Fun fact: Mead was given to newly weds as a sign of good luck. They were meant to keep it for a full lunar month, and this is where the term "honeymoon" comes from. 

My adorable friend, Jen came along with me for our fun-filled day! 
After our mead cocktail warmed us up - we were given a mini tour of the facilities and then brought to a separate room for a private tasting. And by tasting - I mean game time!

The game? Guess the mead. We were given three different wines and the Rosewood Estates team did not tell us about each. Backwards, right? They were struggling not to speak passionately about each wine - but wanted to give us a chance to try and figure it out for ourselves. We sipped, swirled, and smelled each wine, taking notes of the different flavours. At the end, we were asked which we thought was the mead wine. I guessed correctly - *self high five* - and we all received mini bottles of honey before heading back to the front for some shopping. #Winning 

Carbs, because - necessary for a day of drinking. 
When asked to fill in my contact information...this is what happens
The 6 ain't friendly but that's where I lay up...

Second Stop: Pillitteri Estates

Pillitteri Estates was probably my favourite stop of the day. Mainly because our tour guide, Neil, was amazing. Hilarious, knowledgeable and just ready to have a good time. I you know me personally, you know I crack jokes and Neil was right there with me dropping the one liners with me. 

That personal touch always adds to whatever experience you are having, right?

Casks on casks on casks 
After explaining to us how the kids stole their fathers wine many years ago and entered it into a local contest in which they won BIG and that was basically how Pillitteri wines got their start - Neil took us around the massive property showing us all the different features. 

I was having barrels of fun, I tell ya! 
After monkeying around we headed back to the main quarter for our private tasting. We tasted 4...5...8....I lost count of how many, delicious wines. Upon hearing that your girl JennJenn over here is a fan of bubbles...they brought out a bottle for me to try. Which, I of course fell in love with and purchased for myself before leaving. Because, pink bubbles - obvs.

Third Stop: Inniskillin Estates

Our previous two tours may have run a little late (we were all a bunch of chatterboxes #oops), but we finally made it to (what I thought was) our last stop. Here we were seated in a private room with a long table set up for our lunch. And considering the amount of wine we had consumed all morning up until that point....lunch was a wise idea

Lighting was terrible romantic down there and I'm still trying to figure out ins and outs of my new Samsung camera...sooooo...here is the one decent food shot I could get. LOL  Lunch was delicious though, with large portions of salad, brisket and sides...but my fave part was dessert. 

Bread pudding FTW! 

After lunch we were given a background on Inniskillin and tasted a few different wines. Their Cab Franc 2008 Icewine was a standout for sure

Fun Fact: Once a batch is running low on bottles, Inniskillin will actually take them off of the for sale list so that they can hold onto a few. 

Surprise Stop: Oast House

iYellow Wine Club surprised everyone on the tour with an unexpected stop at Oast House Brewery, one of the Niagara Region's newest (and coolest) brewers!

We sampled a few tasty brews, and I fell in love with the Saison - which had hints of banana. It was nice to end the day off on a different note because we had been sipping sweet icewine all day. Plus...the space at Oast was just uber cool. They even had a ping pong table!  

Huge thanks to iYellow Wine Club for bringing me out for an amazing day, that may have been referred to as "The. Best. Day. Ever!" a few times...

If you're still looking for some Valentines Day plans - might I suggest heading to the iYellow Wine Cave and sampling some delicious South African wines? iYellow Wine Club is hosting a "I Love South Africa" event that day and you can even enter to win a trip for two to South Africa! 

If you win...I will keep my calendar open to join as your plus one...just saying. 

I'll be at the afternoon session on Valentines Day - so let me know if you're coming so we can cheers to a glass of wine...or two!

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