We sipped. We savoured. We conquered. Those were our sentiments as we left Sip and Savour Ontario last week, with wine eyes taking a moment to adjust to the still bright sky as we exited – wine eyes begotten by sipping the fruits of labour from a couple dozen Ontario wineries.
Sure, everyone knows Ontario makes some great wines. But few that are outside looking in ever consider them world-class. You hear about Bordeaux or Tuscany or even California when out of country, but when was the last time you and a stranger struck up a conversation in a remote land about Niagara vs. Prince Edward County offerings?
Our assumption, if we dare make one, is few outsiders have ever attended Sip and Savour. After sloshing many a vino around our palates – like Kacaba‘s eye-opening Cabernet Franc, any of Le Clos Jordanne‘s Chardonnays, Colchester Ridge Estate Winery‘s “Grand Crew,” or Huff Estates‘ Off Dry Riesling – we’ve no doubt that some of the globe’s best grapes are grown right in our proverbial back yard. The craftsmanship of Ontario wines has evolved to a point of revery, and we can now stand tall and say we’ve wines that are on par with the best from France, Italy, etc.
And while we’re at it, we’ll also shout out to the merits of our chefs. They were on display at the Fermenting Cellar during Sip and Savour as well, from Crush Wine Bar’s pan-fried halibut sandwich on house-made potato bun to Distillery Events’ own duo of Ontario Tea Candied Salmon (roasted and gravlax style) – nary a craving went unserved.
If you’ve yet to fully embrace all that Ontario’s vineyards can yield, events like Sip and Savour Ontario are the perfect foray into discovering all that our province can offer. And if ever you forget, just remember those God-awful jingles our provincial government likes to use as piss-off agents, such as “Ontario… the place you know you’ll love,” or our perennial eye-gouger, “Good things gro-o-ow in Ontario.”