The wineries in Niagara-on-the-Lake were all impressive that we visited. The closest that we found to some of the small wineries of Michigan was Small Talk Vineyards. They are a fifty year old private estate and as soon as you pull up to their parking lot, you know that it is going to be fun. Splashy vibrant colors attack you immediately. There is a huge sign saying “Come In, Come In.” You just know that it is going to be a fun visit, because they are having fun. The tasting room is like a patio with more vibrant colors.
The wines are front and center, and in case you missed the bottle from what they are pouring from, there are huge posters on the walls duplicating not only the front label, but the back label as well, because the front is what you say, and the back, may be what you are thinking. The wines were as much fun as the winery. The white wines that we tried all had interesting names, and I might add that they were all Niagara VQA wines, which is the Appellation Controlee of Canada. The Faux Pas 2012 was a blend of Riesling and Sauvignon Blanc and had spent twelve months aging in Stainless Steel. Burning Ambition 2013 was a Riesling and Gewürztraminer blend that was also aged in Stainless Steel and had just a tad of sweetness and the right amount of spice. It got a little confusing on taking my notes, because then they had a Faux Pas Chardonnay 2013 that had six months in oak and eight months in Stainless Steel, as well as Burning Ambition Riesling 2013, their off-dry take on Riesling. The RSVP Pinot Grigio 2013 was not as crisp as I would have preferred and one of the foods that they suggested pairing it with is Popcorn. There were three red wines being offered as well. Conversation Pinot Noir 2012 had a bit more fruit than I was expecting, but Pinot Noir is a tricky wine to master and this wine had eight months in oak and twelve months in Stainless Steel. Goodnight Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot 2013 was a bit lighter than I thought as well, and I missed the aging notes for this wine. The Redcap Syrah 2012 had the most appeal of the three reds and this wine spent eighteen months in toasted oak and with the spice of the wine, they suggested it to go with roasted rack of lamb. They also offered three different ciders, but since I am not a cider fan, I passed. There were also two different Ice Wines, which is the wine of the area, and probably what most of the tourists to the area look for. They had ‘Dessert Anyone? Riesling 2011” and “Dessert Anyone? Cabernet Sauvignon 2011” and the Cabernet Ice Wine was the more interesting of the two.
As I mentioned the winery has a “tongue-in-cheek” attitude that may turn off some wine lovers, but from watching the constant flow of tour busses with all of the visitors stopping by to do some wine tasting, they were doing a fine business, and they seemed to understand what they were doing. It was a refreshing change of pace from the usual and as we left, we were greeted with “Good Riddance” and how can you not smile from that?