The Grape Count

In Vino Veritas- "In Wine there is Truth"
Grapes to try to date: 200

Grapes tried: 104
Grapes to go:

Monday, October 31, 2011

#85- Pinot Auxerrois

I am a proud Canadian so it always gives me a bit of a thrill to find a wine that I love and can't wait to brag about. Plus, I have a cool connection to the winery.

The grape is the Pinot Auxerrois and goes by several names depending on where it's grown. In Alsace for example it's known as Auxerrois Blanc. But in Canada it's known as the former. It's not a grape that is commonly grown in North America. There is one winery that is known for their Pinot Auxerrois and that is Gray Monk in the Okanagan Valley in British Columbia.

Way back in 1996 I lived in Kelowna for my radio practicum. My two classmates- Karen and Leanne and I packed up and moved to the Okanagan Valley for 4 months to work at three separate radio stations for our last semester of college. We were working for free so we figured we'd go someplace warm to do it. So Kelowna was our chosen destination. Just to give a nice point of fact here- Kelowna had one of the coldest and snowiest winters they'd had in 20 years that winter. It's almost as if we brought winter with us! Can't win em all I guess.

In any event, in late April, we got to do a wine tour and the very first stop on our wine tour was Gray Monk Winery. At the time there were very few wineries in the region (not compared to the 200 + now that call BC home) so we became familiar with the local wineries. Gray Monk has always stayed in my memory as one of my favourites.

Back to the grape. The parents of the Pinot Auxerrois is the Gouais Blanc and Pinot Noir. Wine fact- it is a full sibling to the Chardonnay grape as they both have the same parents! (I'm taking a good whiff of it now and I can certainly see how it relates to its sibling. Its character does indeed remind me of a chardonnay on the nose).

But it doesn't taste anything like the chardonnay grape at all. This one is buttery and creamy with great notes of peach and other orchard fruits (in Canada, many of our fruits come from this valley). On the tongue, I capture honey before any of the fruits such as lime and a tinge of apple. It is a very delicious combination. I am very reluctant to keep any for Craig though I bet he'd very much like this wine. It's not very acidic and moderate in alcohol, this is a wine that is great to drink on its own or to pair with white meats. I had barbequed chicken and side vegetables with the wine and found it to be a perfect pairing.

I do recommend this wine and am a huge fan of it for summer barbeques. It's also a reasonably priced wine and you can find it in most stores for under $20.

Sunday, October 30, 2011

#84- Agiorgitiko

It was a beautiful September day and we were having an exceptionally warm month compared to let's say- our July. I love barbeques so I was intent on making the most of the nice days. I had already planned my dinner- a rack of baby back ribs (pork) with a side greek salad. Now all I needed was a wine to match.

Greek salad + Greek wine = perfection! Or that's what I was hoping for anyway when I chose a Greek wine for dinner. While the ribs were busy being barbequed to deliciousness on the grill, I went inside and popped open the bottle of red to let it breathe a bit before dinner.

Now I haven't had the greatest luck of late with my Greek wines (even though I love Adonis Greek looking boys, greek mythology and my dream is to go to Greece and explore their history- heck I even fake married a Greek boy this summer in Thailand...ahem..different story...digressing back....)

So it was with a little trepidation that I pulled out a 2007 Kouros Nemea wine. It is bottled by Kourtakis Wine Cellars.

In a word- fabulous! This is just excellent wine! I'm sitting here writing the blog sipping on the wine weeks after I originally opened it (yes I'm way behind on my blog writing) and it is still amazing in the mouth. I did keep it in the fridge but I thought for sure it would have gone bad.

Indeed it hasn't. In fact, it might be better than what I remember it to be when I paired it with the ribs and the greek salad (though I will say that I loved that meal- nearly finishing the bottle, all of the salad and a half rack of ribs to boot).

The wine is very aromatic and the fruit smacks you in the face long before you stick your nose to glass. beautiful ruby colour, the wine has been aged in oak barrels for 6 months (I love oaked red wine). It is moderatly rannic and 13% alcohol. It is buttery and voluptuous in the mouth. So many different flavours bounce in your mouth, a truly balanced and elegant wine. I very much love this wine and will be buying it again for sure. It appears oxidation of the wine doesn't affect it too much which is good to know if you don't finish a bottle right away.

The grape is the Agiorgitiko grape and it has been grown in Greece since forever (500 BC). It is low in acidity and is a moderate wine. The names means St. George in Greek. God bless St. George! It is a heat resistant wine therefore making it a great grape to grown in Greece (so I've heard- anyone want to pay me to go? Takers? Anyone? Hello!) It's grown in the Nemea region (the wine is from this region). It is a soft tannic wine and is quite dry.

I can't wait to finish the bottle. And I think I will unless Craig puts up a fuss. What's that Craig...silence...great! Let's down this baby!

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

4 of 4- Review of the Rocky Mountain Wine & Food Festival- the Spirits and a Cause!

Dedicating 4 posts to one event says something about the event. Soon I'll return to my task of reviewing wine but first I need to finish my reviews. Last but certainly not least is the spirits we tried as well as an really cool cause we learned about that deserves some recognition.

I was there for the wine and not so much for the spirits but hey, I'm not going to turn down a taste or two. Our first stop of the night actually was Giffard out of France. They have a range of products and some really interesting liquers. I'm kicking myself for not trying their Cassis as it's apparently a popular aroma for wine (missed opportunity!) but we did try two of their premium liqueurs-- their Abricot de Rouisson (Apricot) and Ginger of the Indies. My mo and sister each got one. I tried the Apricot liquer first and while super sweet on the palate, was quite good and drinkable. As I watched my sister make a wretched face with hers, I took a sip of the Ginger liqueur and proceed to mimic her face. To be fair, the lady behind the desk made no bones about really needing to like ginger a lot to drink the drink. Of course my mom loved it. I on the other had such a disgusted face going on the lady behind the table gave me the apricot shooter to wash the taste out of my mouth. So I guess it depends if you like liqueurs or not. One I liked; one I'll only take again if I'm running a very serious cold and need to knock the crap out of it.

We had a few other liqueurs, most of my memory being that my throat was on fire (and mom was fine of course- she's a total trooper) but one spirit that does stand out for me in a very good way is the Smoked Salmon vodka from Alaska Distillery. At first we were really reluctant to try the product- by itself it doesn't sound very appealing. We stood there and hummed and hawed and watched the other reactions from those braver than us willing to try it. We spoke with a couple of guys (very good looking gentlemen I might add) who were sipping the drink and loving it. The table was also running low on the vodka so it was do or die. What convinced me though was not the vodka itself but what they were mixing it with-- Caesar mix! Yes, the Americans were making their product work with a very Canadian drink. So we all braved the mix and sipped....and loved! It added such a beautifuly smoky twist to my favourite cocktail. A marriage made in heaven. You get your nutrients and now your Omega 3 in your drink! This vodka is a definite recommend.

As we made our way back to the end of the room (our starting point), Kristin and I stopped by Corby Distilleries and checked out their wine selection. We tasted the Jacob's Creek Reserve Barossa Shiraz and it was just excellent. But to be honest, it wasn't the wine that impressed me but what we learned from the gentleman behind the table. We learned that they not only support a book club, but that they provide the wine for the book club as well. I know- a book club- big deal. But it's what this book club does that is so inspiring. The group is called "Read for the Cure", a  book club started by a group of Toronto women who had just finished cancer treatment. The book club raises funds for cancer research. I love the idea and was pleased to hear that an Ottawa and Calgary chapter now exist. Who's in for starting an Edmonton chapter? (hint: me me me!). I do love that Corby Distilleries (through the Stoneleigh brand) supports such as great cause. And they certainly deserve recognition for that.

So there you have it! My review of the Festival. I love this Festival and look forward to it each and every year and if you haven't been, I certainly suggest that you do. Until next's back to reaching my 100 wine milestone.

Monday, October 24, 2011

3 of 4- Review of the Rocky Mountain Wine & Food Festival- the People!

Go for the conversation! If you're willing to chat with just about anyone, talk about what's on your plate and in your glass and enjoy meeting new people, head to the Rocky Mountain Wine & Food Festival.

I met (and reacquainted myself with) some great people at the Festival that deserve a little recognition.

First, a shout out to the organizers of the Festival itself! They did a fantastic job of marketing the event, keeping promotions going and the message alive (through various forms of social media including Facebook and Twitter). With so many wineries, and restaurants and agents there and then thousands of attendees like myself, I take my hats off to them for a job well donw.

The group at Liquor Connect (part of the Connect Logistics group) did a great job of getting their word out too regarding what they're about. I've been using the site for years and this year it went over a much improved makeover. They were also providing bamboo plates at the event that could hold your wine glass. Brilliant and we now have a dozen of them for our wine club.

At the Fluid Imports table, Jason was quick to recognize me- in fact catching me a little off guard by calling me by my Twitter name and mentioning this very blog! I have a reader and his name is Jason! Jason was great and told us all about the wines he had at the table and we ended up trying Arlene Dickinson's Persuasion Wine and Tahblik Marsanne from Australia. Both excellent wines. I really appreciated that Fluid was so progressive with their social media (Twitter and Facebook) and were one of only a handful of companies using a QR code!

While he wasn't representing a winery or a wine or even a restaurant for that matter, one of the nicest guys at the event was selling-- olive oil. And not just any olive oil- Turkey Olive Oil. The company is Nefiss Lezizz Mustafa and his partner were there to bring us the best darn olive oil this side of the Atlantic and the Mediterranean. He was also sampling olives. And man were these olives delicious! We ended up purchasing olives (2 types), olive oil and then Mustafa threw in some spices and some free soap (which I might add I have in my bathroom and the smell of this soap is simply amazing). I really think his next line of product should be perfume or candles or something! You can follow him on Twitter and Facebook
Mustafa (Twitter, Facebook, website)

I didn't get his name but I am bound and determined to find out what it is. He was just so generous to us with his time, his knowledge and his wine pours. Working at the PMA island of wines, he was absolutely a fountain of knowledge for us, from Bordeaux wine to blends to single varietal wines. His wife writes a blog for Sherbrooke Liquor Store. We even chatted about ISG and the wine class I'm taking (they completed their classes and are now sommeliers). I can only hope!

In any event, this Festival is more than just food and drink. It's all about the people as well. Last but not least- the spirits and the cause!

Sunday, October 23, 2011

2 of 4- Review of the Rocky Mountain Wine & Food Festival- the Food!

The more and more I learn about wine, the more I can appreciate how a good bottle of wine can suddenly become a great bottle of wine-- it's all in the food! If you find a perfect wine pairing, my God the combination can be devastatingly fabulous. Again, the pictures are from our Thanksgiving and again, the actors in this event are real!

Part of the allure of the Rocky Mountain Wine is the food! Oh yes, divine delicious foods. And many of the restaurants do bring wine that are perfect pairings to the wines being offered. 40 restaurants offered up their wares and again between the 4 of us, we managed to try quite a few different foods. Some were good, other stood out.

I'm not going to go into great detail about food as I'm not a great observer on my food other than whether I like it or whether I'd pass. I don't pick out ingredients or tastes or smells. I know what I like and what I don't and I know what the others liked as well so we'll touch on what we loved.

The Food

To make it easy on myself, I've basically broken it down into the "best of" for lack of imagination. Hopefully that'll do!

Best Appetizer

Blue Willow- The Blue Willow Restaurant is a well known and well established Chinese restaurant here in the city. I've never been but I've heard rave reviews about it so we were more than happy to drop some coupons on their table. Kristin chose the vegetarian spring rolls. They gave her 3 full sized rolls with a traditional sauce drizzled all over them. Light and crunchy, I bit into the rolls and it was instant love. I really enjoy Chinese food but it can be hit and miss in many instances. But the Blue Willow is hit all the way.

 Best Soup

Westin Hotel- It was at the end of the evening and we were down to just 4 tickets for the 4 of us as we walked by the Westin's table. We couldn't help but stare at their dessert- it was figs on some type of cracker and had the most amazing cream cheese topping. But then they topped themselves. The Chef generously offered us 4 bowls of their mushroom soup. It was just what we needed and we all found it to be tasty and full of flabour goodness. My mom was so full she couldn't finish it (so I helped myself to it). The Westin hotel is in downtown Edmonton and close to all of the amenities including Churchill Square. It's a lovely hotel and obviously serves great soup.

Best Seafood

Billingsgate Fish Co. I love seafood. Like a lot. Mussels, shrimp, scallops, oysters, lobster-- sometimes I wonder why I live in a landlocked city. Well you can't have everything. So when the mussels were spotted at Billingsgate Fish Co.- we pounced. I'm kicking myself for not paying attention to the sauce (it was a tomato based sauce but was quite watery). Definitely very garlicy! And oh so good. Given 6 mussels, the 3 of us (mom passes on mussels) each had our two apiece and were quickly disappointed there weren't more to eat. I can't wait until I crave mussels because I definitely know where I'm going for them!

Best Main Course

The Red Piano- Reservations are recommended! And after having a taste of their pulled pork slider, I can totally see why. It was melt-in-your-mouth goodness. Quite literally. The pork was so tender and juicy, not one of us turned down a second bite. My mom tried their meatballs and they weren't bad but not as good as the slider. The Red Piano has been around for a little while on the restaurant scene and can be found in West Edmonton Mall. Their entertainment (the name gives it away) is dueling pianos! It is so much fun (I've heard) and a great night out. Kristin's birthday is coming up soon so we'll have to check into making reservations at the Red Piano!

Best Dessert
Chateau Louis Hotel- They aren't listed as having been at the Festival but I'm almost positive they were there- I took note of it because of the excellent hospitality we received when we were there and she was kind enough to point out the pictures of the Hotel to us. Please correct me if I'm wrong. It wasn't the dessert we had originally intended to have at the table. In fact we were eating a different dish that escapes me but one of the hostesses then kindly offered us a free brownie. I was the first to dig in. I had to work for it at first and break the brownie up into the melted chocolate sauce that was melted over it. Putting a piece of the brownie into your mouth was heavenly. I'm not a big dessert person but I could've eaten about a dozen of these brownies no problem!

Next up- the people! We met some amazing people at the Wine Festival and definite standouts who deserve a little recognition (and for some, your patronage). All my opinion of course but let's see if I have any influence here at all...

1 of 4- Review of the Rocky Mountain Wine & Food Festival- the Wine!

We walked in to the Shaw Conference Centre and the first thing Rebecca remarked was "It's like Disneyland for adults!" And that basically set the tone for us for the whole evening. The Rocky Mountain Wine & Food Festival is basically just that- playtime for adults; an annual event sure to please and electrify your tastebuds! It's one of our evening out pleasures of the year.

In a couple of words: a blast. The four of us (my mom, my sister Kristin, our good friend/adopted sister Rebecca and myself)  got a ride from my brother in law Mark to the Festival (no driving for us!) and arrive just before 6 pm. We had 4 hours to do our damage. With four of us, we had 160 tickets to start (and yes, we went back and got 80 more, possibly 120...). Tickets were $0.50 each. And we dove right in. We tried all sorts of food, wine, spirits and chatted with so many different people- all very nice and chatty. Can you see why we loved this place?

To make it easier to follow the night and touch on the highlights, I'm actually going to separate them into four separate blogs (don't worry, I'll post them all today). The four write-ups will be: wine, food, people and spirits and causes. I've got some categories going- wine, spirits, food, people and causes. For the wines, I'll also list all of the wines we managed to try from the Wine Access 2011 International Value Wine Awards. In the 4th blog, I'll end with my overall impression (can you guess what it is?) The pictures are from Thanksgiving a couple of weeks ago- but the actors (myself, my mom, Kristin and Rebecca are very real!) Let the reviewing start!

The Wine
The whole point of us going to the Festival is really and truly for the wine. There were some definite winners (and a few losers too) but overall we were really pleased with all of our wine selections. With 4 of us trying wines, we all shared so we managed to try over 45 wines. Here are my favourites:

Best overall wine: The Creator by Charles Smith Wines. Facebook and Twitter
Imported by Purple Valley Imports here in Canada ( Facebook and Twitter) It was only available at the Festival for $73.99 (and I didn't pick a bottle up darn it). By far my favourite wine of the night. It received 95 points by Robert Parker, this 2007 vintage wine is a Cabernet Sauvignon and Syrah blend. To me, the wine had a very earthy smell to it and the spice kicked me hard (in a good way). I found this wine to be very full bodied and balanced. Lots of flavour as it danced around my mouth. I could pick out the berry flavour, especially the blackcurrant! I hope to get my hands on a bottle of this again soon (even if it means a trip to Walla Walla Washington to do it).

Runner up wine: Persuasion Wine (Website, Twitter, hastag #persuasionwine). If you watch the Dragon's Den, you'll recognize whose wine this is- none other than Arlene Dickinson. From the Sonoma Valley in California, this wine is just an enjoyable glass of wine. Fluid Imports is the distributor of the wine here in Alberta. Again, I should have picked up a bottle so I'll be heading out to grab myself a bottle!

Best Label and Name combo: I have enjoyed this wine since it arrived here in Alberta last year. I was excited to see they've expanded their line up of wines and I have yet to have a bad wine from them. My mom and I originally picked up a bottle of Middle Sister Wines last year because we loved the names of the two wines we tried (Rebel Red and Drama Queen). This year they were back with a few more wines to try- Surfer Chick and Mischief Maker. Both excellent wines. But visit their website and see what I mean by a great label! They are imported by Vintage West Wine Marketing and I'm really excited to try all 10 of their wines currently available (maybe we'll have a Middle Sister Wine Club Meeting). Check them out for sure (Facebook and Twitter)

Best Canadian Wine(s): We tried a few Canadian wines and I can't wait until Canada becomes just as well known for their wines as we are for our Canadian hockey players and maple syrup. I do think Canadian wines are often overlooked, especially by our southern counterpart. We're known more for our icewine than anything but we've got some great wines out there and the best of the night came from Desert Hills in Oliver, BC. Oliver is    The two wines we tried were their Gamay and their Mirage Wine (a Bordeaux type of wine using all 5 grapes found in a traditional Bordeaux). The Gamay is a Judges Choice from Wine Access. The 2010 Gamay has accents of black cherry, vanilla and a spicy finish. The Mirage is full of flavour like black currents, black cherries and plum that are predominate on the nose. Mid palate with spice and dark chocolate lingering in the aftertaste. And kudos to the winery for such a beautiful websites. Doing this blog, I've visited a ton of wine websites and I have to say this is by far one of the most beautiful and well organized sites out there. (Facebook and Twitter)

Most Fun Table: Who brings an acrobat to a wine tasting? Australia's Peter Lehmann - that's who! And not just any acrobat, she was very Cirque du Soleil like and if you were lucky enough to be around her when she unpeeled herself from her hanging fabric, she handed you goodies (we go our hands on some very nice berry flavoured lip gloss). To be fair, it's likely the wine importer, International Cellars brought the acrobat in, and it was a very nice touch. We also got some nice double pours at the table and tried three of their wines- Barossa Blonde, Barossa Brunette and Eight Songs. So do blondes or brunettes have more fun? I really enjoyed the Brunette, a Grenache and Shiraz blend. I tasted the raspberries and some cherries and enjoyed the finish on this wine. Kristin enjoyed the Blonde (coincidence that Kris is blonde at the moment and I am Brunette? Hmmmm). The Blonde is a Riesling, Chenin Blanc and Semillon blend and had great aromas of pineapple and ginger and pear with similar flavours. This is a great refreshing wine. Rebecca tried the Eight Songs Shiraz and that was also an excellent wine. (Facebook and Twitter)

And last but not least, the wines I was able to try that are on the Wine Access International Wine Award list. They are broken into three categories- Category Champion, Judges' Choice and Killer Value. I managed to only try the Judges Choice (and not on purpose either) I'll list whether it was a like, dislike or neutral for us overall.

Judges' Choice
Zuccardi Q Malbec 2009, Argentina- Like!
Gruner Veltliner Grasshopper 2010, Hungary- Like!
Boutari Moschofilero 2010, Greece- Dislike.
Kung Fu Girl Riesling 2010, USA- Like!
Desert Hills Gamay 2010, Canada- Like! (see review above)
Whitehaven Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc 2010, New Zealand- Like!
Vila Real Colheita White DOC Douro 2010, Portugal- Neutral.
Manium Crianza 2007, Spain- Like!
Cotes de Rouisson Villages Bila-Haut Rouge 2009, France- Like!
Santa Margherita Prosecco 'Valdobbiadene' NV, Italy- Like!
Robert Oatley Vineyards Chardonnay 2009, Australia- Like!

There are so many other great wines to try and I couldn`t list them all here but I`ve got my booklet on the ready and perhaps over the next few months I can try them again and write a review. Up next- the food!

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

#83- Vernaccia

Our weekend was coming to an end. The next morning we'd be packing up and heading home, this camping trip likely our last one for the season. The September long weekend was beautiful  and was a great overall first time camping with us experience for Owen. Alberta weather is unpredictable so it was possible to get another weekend in but not likely (and as I write this October 3, a definitive no).

That night after our hike, Craig and I had one last wine to try- the Vernaccia wine (again, being as this was an Italian wine weekend, is from Italy). It is from Azienda Agraria Le Rote Vernaccia di San Gimignano. Yeah, say or write that five times fast!

We headed back to the campsite and took to our usual positions. Craig got the fire ready, I started to make supper and in between the two of us, keep Owen occupied. He loves to play so it was a constant shuffle between duty and keeping the kid happy (we couldn't stand the prospect of him telling his mother that he hated camping with us. No, we wanted to make this weekend so damn good for him that there'd be no competition as to who his favourite Aunt and Uncle were. Exhaustion be damned!)

I decided to make chips to go along with our burgers rather than just a potato. I'm not a huge potato fan so I was up for the challenge. It was a lot of work but I'm happy the effort was worth the result as our potatoes turned out splendidly. As did the burgers. From the picture, you can see we had all the fixin's to go with out grilled AAA beef. It was such a perfect supper and ending to a magical weekend.

And while most would pair a red with the hamburger (so yesterday....) we decided to pair our remaining white with it, and to good results. The vernaccia is a light wine that for us, completented the flavourful dinner and didn't try to compete with it. I'm sure a red would have done nicely but it was great to have a light, crisp and fresh wine that evening. The vernaccia grape is acidic and usually citrus based. I did notice both, again, complimenting the dinner quite nicely.

I know there may be some hardcore wine drinkers out there shuddering at the fact that I made this wine and food pairing but all I have to say is: shut it! Life is about being real. Not all of us have the ability to spend a lot of time dissecting our wine and determining the perfect wine pairing. Especially when camping. To me, wine is about being real. Taking changes. Experimenting. Hating wine. Loving wine. Discovering new tastes. This is why I do this blog- it's not about pretending to be a wine expert which I am far from. But I do drink lots of wine and I like trying new wines so for me, this is indulging a passion and love. Nothing more, nothing less. The worst thing that will happen is I make a terrible wine-food choice. Oh well, guess I'll just have to try again!

And no one is attacking me about this. In fact, I find the wine community quite supportive, engaged and just as willing to try new things as I am. Where I find I have issues sometimes is with the wineries themselves. Of course they're out to protect their brand, to encourage people like me to pair their wines with the perfect foods and speak in nothing but positive tones about their wine. But I say get real. I appreciate the effort and should I find time to do so and want to, the pairing will be made. But then give me 5, 10 choices. What if I don't like lamb shanks? Then what?

Alright done rant, if it is one. I think it's time to move on to a new colour (red) and a new country (Greece) next. You in?

Monday, October 3, 2011

#82- Grillo

I hate writing about wines that don't have websites. It appears this one did exist at some point but no longer exists. How can a winery in this day and age not have a website? Perhaps there's a new venture there waiting. But I probably have to learn Italian first.

But back to the wine and our camping adventure and drinking 5 Italian wines. This day was a beautiful and perfect day for a nice relaxing walk. Craig and I loaded up our backpacks with sandwiches and wine and headed out and down the Columbia Icefields Parkway to the Athabasca Falls parking lot. It was jammed pack. Parking to be found nowhere. We watched cars go in circles desperate for a spot. We were in that same circle and chose to try the middle lane up the circle instead of being sheep and lo and behold a nice parking spot was waiting for us.

This was Owen's first time at the Falls and being the Aunt and Uncle in this situation, Craig and I were overly prepared in our pep safety talk that morning. Owen is a typical 5 year old- curious, agile and prone to running when given the opportunity. He is also safe, thoughtful when it comes to risky situations and a good listener. We tried to prepare him for the Falls and what he'd see and the dangers that accompany such a wonder. In case you've never been to the Falls (it was Craig's first time too), here is a link to Parks Canada and the Wikipedia entry . Here's also a great Youtube video. I just checked out the official website and it's terrible, almost embarrassing. I really do to make a living making websites. Wait a second....

Anyway, Owen behaved very well and only once tried to climb the fence for a better view but he only got about 0.75 inches off the ground before Craig was grabbing him.

We had a great time walking around the Falls and Owen walked when asked and the point was driven home as we descended the rock staircase to the bottom and witnessed a little girl barreling up the stairs, and not paying attention smacking her head on overhanging rocks at full speed. The crack was deafening. I immediately went over to her aid. Her parents sauntered over, not even bothering to say thanks. I'm guessing she's okay but it still drives the point home that children need to be supervised.

As we headed to the bottom, Owen was hellbent then on being the best behaved 5 year old there and reminded us every few seconds that he indeed was. We threw rocks in the lake and he and Craig built their very own Inukshuk. Very Canadian I'd say.

And then it was off to walk a bit further down the river to a large boulder and surrounding rocks. A perfect spot for our picnic lunch. We whipped out our sandwiches and wine.

The wine is a Noi Negociants Grillo wine from Italy. It is a white wine. The Grillo grape does not appear on the Wine Varietal table. It's also known as the riddu grape and grown in the Sicily. It's often used in Marsala wine which most of us have heard about. It also has a few other names it goes under but Grillo is one of the easier names to remember. Normally Italian wines don't put the name of the grape on the label but this one did (and so nice when you're hunting for varietals).

Of course this is camping and camping means simple foods. Just like the day before, we had packed out sandwiches. This this time it was a nice turkey sandwich on white. A touch of mustard and a handful of nuts and I was in my glory drinking wine, eating sandwiches and looking out at spectacular views of the most beautiful backyard someone could ask for.

Both Craig and I enjoyed this wine and it didn't take us long to nearly finish the bottle back at camp. It was chilled from the night before. The wine is very yellow and it quite minerally. A bit on the sweet side (makes sense with the Marsala connection) and smells grassy. Some say hay. Pick up a bottle and you can decide for yourself. As with the other white wines we've been drinking all weekend, I liked this wine as well and would definitely pick it up again.

I'm thinking upon review that it's time to go on a shopping spree and go and get myself some more Italian wines. But why shop here- back to the source! Wine trip anyone?