What a relaxing and lazy weekend as I am sure by the lack of information/blogging was apparent. This is the ‘real’ write up on the Hillebrand Winery Restaurant event we went to on Saturday evening. Events like this one are a nice way to go have a meal entirely designed around the wines that are paired with it. Hillebrand’s wine club does a great job with ensuring their members get good literature about upcoming events and this evening was entirely due to that.
For those that have never been Hillebrand is located just a stones throw from the QEW highway around halfway to Niagara on the Lake(NotL). The winery has over the past few years renovated, including the restaurant. Hillebrand offers a tremendous amount of activities that can keep a novice to an aficionado pleased. These range from basic wine tours/tastings to seminars on Icewine and classique methode. But what I think keeps the winery a must see on a NotL wine touring day is their wine selections. I am extremely fond of their Trius line of wines with the Trius Brut, Vidal Icewine and Red offerings being consistent, good value and occasionally spectacular. If you are planning a visit be sure to give yourself time to hit their tasting bar and experience a wide range of wines and see for yourself.
Dinner was a three course affair with one or two selections per course, the menu is below and if you click on the thumbnail you will see the full version. Wine was not included, though we were started off with a glass Trius Brut on the house. The Brut is simply perfect to start, it is tasty and at the same time clears your palate. I have said this several times but it is worth repeating, you will be hard pressed to find a sparkling wine made in the Traditional Method that has the overall package for such a low price.
Since three of the four of us decided on what turned out to be a brilliant scallop entrée I bucked the suggested wine (2007 Trius Riesling) and opted for a bottle of the 2007 Trius Unoaked Chardonnay. Not an expensive white but as it warmed up it was really a great compliment to the dish. Lots of fruit, balanced acidity and easy to drink, it was a good pairing with the scallops and the salad. It is to be noted that scallops were brilliant.
For the second course the carnivore family all had the rib-eye offering, and we were beyond pleased with our choice. To compliment this I decided on a 2002 Trius Red. The 2002 is really one of Niagara’s best vintages for reds and this one was no exception. It is just a pleasing Bordeaux style wine. It is Cabernet Franc forward as I believe the wine is made up of almost 60-65% of the grape. The wine is balanced, complex and everything you are looking for in a red wine to compliment a good steak. If you can get the 2002 (might only be available at the winery itself) you will be rewarded.
For the final course a 2007 Trius Vidal Icewine was chosen. Icewine is one of those things you love or you hate. It’s sweetness is not for everyone, nor the price. Icewine is expensive for more then anything else then low yield and higher effort. But in truthfulness it is also worth the increased price. This wine was young and fruit forward and straw yellow in colour. I have had a 1999 Trius Vidal recently that had a great caramelized colour and deeper texture to it proving that icewine can be aged but do not expect it to have that youthful spring in it’s step. Back to the ’07, it was velvety on the palate with honey and peach being the primary aromas. The icewine cheesecake was just topping on the proverbial cake.
Overall the food, wine and company made for a great night out. On a side note, it is hard to find a three course meal (and a higher end one at that) with three good bottles of wine for four people under $400 with tip and tax though Hillebrand accomplished this for us. Well done!