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Winery Visit

Food & Wine

The Wines of Westcott Vineyards

July 15, 2015
Westcott Vineyards in Niagara, Ontario

Walking into the winery at Westcott Vineyards, you are transported back to the past. With their beautiful, rustic décor and vintage photos, it’s postcard pretty. And if the beauty of the place isn’t enough of a draw, a chance to sample their wines certainly makes a visit worthwhile.

Westcott Vineyards in Niagara, Ontario

A small-batch winery, the grapes are overseen by Viticulturalist Alain Sutra of Bordeaux France and Assistant Vineyard Managers Sonny Nguyen and Garrett Westcott, then turned into wine by Head Winemaker Arthur Harder. Here, they take pride in quality over quantity.

Arthur, who Shawn and I had the chance to chat with during our visit, has been making wine since 1981. He grew up in Vineland Station and  studied chemistry at Ryerson before moving to Germany. There, he studied viticulture for 14 years, while working for two small wineries. He brings a European sensibility to Westcott and works to create vibrant wines that bring terroir to life.

The wines:


Westcott Vineyards in Niagara, Ontario

The Violette Brut sparkling wine is 66% Pinot Noir and 33% Chardonnay and is nicely balanced with lots of limestone and citrus. This dry, refreshing sparkler would be a good start to any meal or celebration.

The 2013 Lillias Chardonnay, which will be poured at the upcoming i4C Chardonnay event in Niagara, is unoaked, but has a hint of mallow on the nose and pineapple on the palate. An easy-drinking summer Chardonnay.

Westcott Vineyards Delphine Rosé, Niagara, Ontario

The Delphine 2012 rosé is a blend of Cabernet Franc (85%) and Pinot Noir. Full bodied and food friendly, it’s got earthy strawberry on the nose and a
fruit-forward palate. Shawn and I are excited to have this one on our patio this summer. I also absolutely love the flowers on the labels of the first three wines – striking and tasteful.

The 2012 Estate Chardonnay is barrel fermented and the oak works well here. A good wine for food pairing, this is lovely on the palate and I’m a fan of the buttered popcorn notes on the nose.

The 2012 Chardonnay Reserve is a limited release of only 100 cases and is made from a selection of four barrels. 2012 was an amazing vintage, explains Arthur, a once-in-a-lifetime vintage in many ways. This wine is nicely oaked, with buttery notes and vanilla on the palate. There’s citrus, muted melon and vanilla on the nose. I would highly recommend it.

The 2012 Reserve Pinot Noir is a big Pinot, with a smoky/spicy nose and lots of tannin. This still needs some time to age and should be drinking beautifully in 5-7 years.

Westcott Vineyards Estate Chardonnay

The 2012 Estate Pinot Noir spent 1.5 years in barrel and has a mix of root beer, earth and spice on the nose. With a long, peppery finish with notes of red plum, this is another that could use a bit of age, but will be worth the wait.

Shawn and I so enjoyed our visit to Westcott, which is nestled in the 20 Valley near Sue Ann Staff’s winery. Just a year old, I suspect it will quickly become a popular destination for fans of high-quality Niagara Chardonnay and Pinot Noir.

Learn more about Westcott Vineyards at their website.

Food & Wine

A Winery is Born

January 8, 2014
Dog House White Wine From Three Dog Winery

On a recent trip to Prince Edward County, Shawn and I were able to visit the new home of Three Dog Winery. As you might remember, I blogged a while back about Three Dog’s innovative Indie GoGo campaign to raise the funds needed to complete the winery. Well, that initiative was a huge success and Three Dog is now a reality.

Three Dog Winery in Prince Edward County
The new winery building
The new winery building was filled with friends and family who were there to wish John and Sacha Squair all the best with their new business – though if the first bottling is any indication, they have more than luck on their side, there’s real winemaking talent there too. We were able to sample that first wine – Dog House White – a very refreshing and drinkable white wine blend – and both Shawn and I enjoyed it enough to take home a few bottles.
These vines were planted with love – and will be lush next spring!
PEC is home to a number of new wineries these days, but I think many of us hold a special place for Three Dog in our hearts because John and Sacha have been such incredible advocates for the area for so many years. It’s also hard not to have a soft spot for a winery you had a tiny part in building.

Interested in ordering Dog House White? You can find information on the Three Dog website, or stop by for a visit on your next trip to the County.