One fine day my pal Linda and I set out to for the Shaw Festival to see a play, taste some wine in Niagara-on-the-Lake and visit Upper Canada Cheese Company. I had never been to the Tawse Winery though I am a big fan of their chardonnay. We made that our first stop. Tawse is beautiful as you can see in the picture above. To the left of this driveway were some of the vineyards (below).
We arrived right at 11am sharp when the tastings begin and were taken down into the cellar/lower tasting area. We started with a flight of the Tawse Chardonnays:
• 2010 Quarry Road Chardonnay • 2010 Robyn’s Block Chardonnay • 2010 Tawse Estate Chardonnay
Already a fan of the Quarry Road (which is only being sold in half-bottles, a perfect not-for-sharing, weeknight size) I had never had the Robyn’s Block and had not yet tried the 2010 Estate Chardonnay. These wines all have different taste profiles by virtue of the fact that the Tawse vineyards are several kilometres apart. The terroir helps impart their distinct character.
Quarry Road is lemon, green apple, mineral, refreshing, just hinted with oak and I find as it opens and warms slightly you get rounder peachy notes.
Estate Chardonnay is a combination of fruit from a few of the vineyards. It is a medium body white which spends a year in French Oak and is a little more toasty and creamy than the quarry road– just thinking of it makes me eager to pack it for the cottage this second.
Robyn’s Block is what Tawse calls their “flagship chardonnay” and comes from 28-year-old vines. Spends a year in French Oak barriques and then 6 months in stainless steel. The 2010 vintage was a warm year so it rounded and softer with stone fruit notes.
I also walked away with a bottle of the Cherry Avenue Pinot for my “cellar” (basement wine rack). Nice long finish but the tannins were still a little unintegrated (is that a word?), the wine seemed a bit young yet for drinking. I was told that the Cherry Aveue could age still a good 5-7 years and will continue to get more complex.
And while we were chatting and sipping and generally sinking into the ease of a relaxed summer day in wine country….
My car battery died.
CAA did arrive in quick time. Less than 30 minutes but meanwhile we had been offered a glass of wine by the people at Tawse and while we stood in the beautiful, air conditioned store area, one of the Tawse gentleman (why did I not ask his name? Sorry) went out to see if he could get the car running.
When the battery was finally charged, we left not only with a good story (all’s well that end’s well) but a complimentary bottle of the Tawse sparkling wine, and a bottle of wine was given to the CAA driver (all’s better that ends in free wine).
The wine was an unexpected gesture on top of already amazing customer service– and just a kind bunch of people.
Linda and I are saving the bubbly for when we re-watch His Girl Friday (the movie) as we cannot recommend the play (sadly). We couldn’t really connect with it 100%, the script was a bit uneven in tone and the humour fell flat a few times. (The cast was excellent, we will give it that.)
But looking back I think we’d have rather spent that two hours stranded at the Tawse Winery.