The Best Wine (That You Didn’t Know About)

Whenever you think of wine, you think of Burgundy, South Africa, California, etc. When you think Canadian wines, you think Niagara and the Okanagan. I travel a crap load, and have visited many of the great wine regions of the world. And I have to say, Prince Edward County produces some of the finest wines at the most reasonable prices.


Princes Edward County (PEC) is located at the Northern tip of Lake Ontario, due South of Belleville in Canada, and North of Rochester in the States. A great way to start your trip is in my hometown of Kingston, Canada’s “original capital.” From there, you head to Picton, an artsy community in the dead-centre of PEC. You can do PEC as a day-tour from Kingston, however, if you’d like to stay in the County, which is absolutely beautiful, the Drake Hotel of Toronto has opened a very suave hotel in nearby Bloomfield – the Drake Devonshire (no points redemptions available, unfortunately). Rates aren’t cheap. If you’re going to PEC during wine season, expect to pay ~$300 night. Another great option is to rent a cottage, but you have to book at least six months in advance, as the County is often sold-out.

PEC’s soil is mostly clay on limestone, which encourages deeply-grown vines, which creates strongly flavoured wines. Pinot and chardonnay grapes grow especially well, however, an amazing range of wines are produced in the County. Last year, I attended a “Champagne-DO” in New York City, which had a blind tastings of bubblies, and a $35 bubbly from Huff Estates won, far exceeding the quality of $100+ champagnes.

Perhaps it’s my desire to encourage my local economy, however, I truly believe that PEC wines are some of the best in the world. They are only starting to sell at the LCBO, however, almost all vineyards sell-out through on-location sales weeks before the end of wine season. You can’t get most PEC wines in any stores.

My favourite wineries are: Hinterland, Huff Estates  (AMAZING bubblies);  Hubbs Creek (best Pinot Noir) and; Norman Hardie, Rosehall Run (very upscale). If any of my readers are ever in the region, I’d be happy to give further recommendations, or perhaps bum a ride to the County with you 😉

(no, this is not an advertisement – I’m currently overly-enjoying a bottle of Rosehall Run Chardonnay, the inspiration for this post)

Comments

  1. Agree this is a hidden gem of a wine region and when I visited a half dozen or so wineries last year was knocked over by the quality of the pinot noirs…they’ve become my standard reference for this style. I was invited to a tasting of pinots from the region as well as Washington and Oregon, and the PECs came up at the top of my tasting notes, reinforcing what I’d discovered in the tasting rooms.

  2. I have had my summer home in the ‘County’ since the late 90’s, and I find myself spending more and more time each year living there full time. Not only is touring the 40+ and growing number of wineries a fun way to see the area, but we have become well respected as a foodie destination with many fine restaurants to choose from serving locally sourced ingredients. And of course there are the 3 stunning beaches if Sandbanks Provincial Park. BTW  the Drake Devonshire is in the village of Wellington.

  3. Wow didn’t know there was another wine region in ON. Will need to plan a visit to the area. Any restaurant recommendations to go with the wine?

    • The pizza at TerraCello is ASTOUNDING. They make the best pizza I’ve ever had (better than Italy!). Their wine isn’t great, but the food is terrific, and the atmosphere is to die for.

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