Wine tasting & pairing at 13th Street Winery
by Mike Keenan
Their website accents three key words ‒ “Wine, Food, Art.”
13th Street Winery, founded in 1998, turned twenty last year. Purchased in 2008 by the current owners ‒ John & June Mann and Doug & Karen Whitty, both families enjoy deep roots in the Niagara community.
Doug Whitty is in the third generation of operating the St. Catharines family farm, originally established in 1908. John Mann has been farming for over 30 years, while also building a successful automotive dealership network in St. Catharines and surrounding areas.
The Art component is rapidly displayed at the entrance and even while one parks in the adjoining lot. Unique sculptures command strategic viewpoints throughout the surroundings. Immediately, interest piqued by this eclectic display.
As for the Wine and Food components, we enter the inviting tasting bar to enjoy a guided sampling and pairing of wines, later to relax on the outside verandah, enjoying the serenity of the attractive environs.
Our sommelier is young and talented ‒ Andrea Vani, a Niagara College grad with a flair for creating just the right pairings to stimulate one’s taste buds. Alongside is winemaker Jean Pierre Colas from Chablis, France, a town in Bourgogne-Franche-Comté in north-central France, where he remembers running around vineyards at age 5. In Canada for 20 years, the last 10 here at 13th Street Winery with only one assistant, he “likes to be in control” as they process 25,000 cases from 400 tons of grapes, 95% of it ‒ local.
Andrea starts us off with sparkling Cuvee Rosé, a blend of Pinot Noir and Chardonnay accompanied by Brie. Yum! Next, it’s Riesling from June’s Vineyard featuring clay and yellow limestone soils, aged in stainless steel and paired by cured pork. This also works exceedingly well.
Our third sampling is Gamay Vin Gris, soft-pressed by Jean Pierre, and determined to make much more next season, he claims that it quickly flies off the shelves. There’s no pairing, which is fine, but Andrea has saved two red Gamay wines for last, the first aged in stainless steel and paired with firm Handeck cheese and the latter aged in French oak barrels and paired with walnuts and salty olive tapenade.
Roaming around, there’s a remarkable Gallery Room with a harvest–style table, the ideal location to bring together friends, family, and others to explore a common love for wine, food, art, and conversation.
Before we get back in the car, we visit the 13th Street Bakery with its delicious aromas. They feature local farm-fresh fruit and butter tarts!
At the 13th Street Winery, thanks to Andrea and Jean Pierre, we enjoyed an exceptional experience, an opportunity to truly awaken all of our senses!
For more information, their website is located at: www.13thSteetWinery.com
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