Monday, August 27, 2012

PELLER ESTATES is a pure pleasure in Niagara-on-the-Lake, Ontario (8-17-12)

Our second night in the Niagara Falls area brought us about 15 minutes

north of the falls to the highly esteemed and the 25/27/26 Zagat rated

PELLER Estates Winery Restaurant (, which is worth the

trip from hours away for sure!

We had a superb tour of the winery with Samuel and then a private

tasting with the sommelier, Gillian Evans. Everyone here went out of

their way to treat us so nicely. Indeed, we had discovered this warm

welcome at every winery in the Finger Lakes and Niagara region (save

for one-REIF, which we departed quickly with no purchases!).

The dining room is as clean and elegant as one can get, although the

weather was so divine the doors to the terrace were open and the fruit

flies were abundant as the grapes are near harvest just outside the


They use an in-house filter system called GAIA which produces a soft

sparkling water. Samuel got a special treat with an OJ, cranberry

drink mixed with Sparkling local white grape juice.

The amuse was Prosciutto, goat feta, fig & baby greens, a nice homage

to many local farms, which we enjoyed with Peller Riesling Private

Reserve 2010.

We chose the tasting menu of seven courses(a 5 course option is avail

for $89) for $109 and included the wines ($154 total) and Samuel

ordered up the Niagara HEIRLOOM TOMATO Salad with Buffalo Mozzarella,

Basil Ice Cream, Popcorn Shoots & Pristine Soya Bean Oil followed by

the Willow Grove Hill Pork dish composed of Braised Pig's Trotters

Croquettes, Icewine Glazed Belly and Apple Smoked Loin. These came

with baby squash and green beans. He adored the croquettes, was

unfazed about the plainish loin and did not care much for the belly,

but overall it was a nice presentation and he gobbled up the veggies


Apricot, whole wheat and sourdough breads arrived with Icewine butter

(Peller is one of the top Icewine producers) and we proceeded with our

first courses.

Next came Grapeseed Oil Sous Vide Pickerel (walleye) with Fingerling

Potatoes, Fried Capers, Smoked Mayo, Pickled Quail Egg, Roasted Fennel

& Green Beans paired with a superb oak aged 2010 Sauvignon Blanc

Signature Series.

Icewine Lobster, Black Truffle, & Basil Ravioli comprised of double

smoked bacon, Brebis (sheep) Parmesan & Chardonnay "sur Lie" Cream

Sauce. The Truffle Roasted Diver Scallops, Morel Mushrooms, Rigatoni,

Black Truffle Cheddar was in Pine Nut Sorell Sauce and served with

Seared Foie Gras. These two decadent and divine dishes were paired to

perfection with Peller Chardonnay "sur Lie" Signature Series 2009.

Our server Darryl brought out a Blackberry-star anise-Merlot ice that

was novel for sure.

Crouqail Farms Duck Salad with Arugula, Poached Duck Egg & Flaked

Confit had crisp potato, and Mustard Dressing and used the best of

local ingredients. I was curious again about the room temp

(66.7degrees F to be exact) duck egg which apparently is cooked for

hours at this temp and hence never warm. It worked much better than

the previous night. A Gamay Noir Private Reserve 2010 had depth and

pepper flavors more than I would ever expect from a light red and went

nicely with the duck and beech mushrooms in the salad as well.

Prosciutto wrapped Rabbit Saddle was served with Grilled Strawberries,

Green Beans, Chive Oil, Mustard Fennel Puree and shaved fennel, none

of which was too licorice-y at all! A 2009 Pinot Noir Private Reserve

was sublime.

The cheeses were 5 Canadian artisanal with blackberry compote, ice

wine infused raisins & guava jelly.

Cumin Gouda, Five Year Cheddar & Blue Mountain smoked blue all came

from Ontario with

Chevre Noir & St Henri hailing from Quebec. A Late Harvest Vidal (from

Peller of course) was paired.

Blueberry Cheesecake came with Goat Cheese Custard Blueberry Sorbet,

Graham Cracker Crumble and was served with a Cabernet France 2010 Ice of Peller's best wines and best years! We bought lots home

and would go back tomorrow if it was closer.