Next Stop: Lake Country

 You guys, I just love Lake Country. All of the wineries (that I've been to so far) have just the best views. Even though it was raining all day it was still gorgeous, not to mention the wine was pretty fantastic as well! Lake Country also brings us our next guest star; Carlie! Carlie and I work together and we happened to have the same day off so I invited her to tag along with my Lake Country adventures! We went to two wineries today and both were VERY different experiences, though neither disappointed. 

Winery #1: Arrowleaf Cellars

I went to Arrowleaf last summer on a wine tour, and while I thought it was nice, it was a little crowded and I didn't find we got to learn enough about the wines. This year my experience couldn't have been any different!! Carlie and I were the only two in there and we had a fantastic, in-depth tasting. Arrowleaf is a family-owned winery and has been around since the early 2000s. They're definitely more known for their aromatic whites, but I actually think their reds are quite lovely as well! Also, the labels on their bottles are beautiful. I'll be sure to include a picture because I think they're so unique, with different wildflowers on each of them!

1. 2019 Wildblume

I'm such a sucker for sparkling wine but an even bigger one for good sparkling wine. This is such a cool sparkling wine because it's a blend of Vidal and Auxerrois (try pronouncing that correctly, I dare you) which are two very unique and very rare grapes. They use the Charmat method to make their sparkling, which is the same method used to make Prosecco! This had a beautiful taste to it, full of peaches and cream, citrus, lots of floral notes as well. It's just a nice fresh and crisp sparkling wine and you can bet I bought a bottle of it!

2. 2020 Bacchus

Once again, another very unique and rare find! Bacchus is a German grape; a cross between Silvaner, Riesling, and Muller-Thurgau. And I can bet you haven't heard of two of those grapes either! This is an incredibly aromatic wine, full of citrus, elderflower, even some herbal notes in there as well. It's very simple and light, incredibly refreshing, and a perfect summer wine! This is a must-try wine without a doubt. 

3. 2019 Riesling

This was a very nice off-dry Riesling with a high acidity to balance out the sugars! This was very pleasant and easy to drink. Lots of lemon in here, some nice floral notes as well with some nice minerality. As I said, the acidity balances this wine out so well and cuts through the sweetness, making it perfectly balanced.

4. 2020 Rose

This was a nice Rose made from Pinot Noir, Merlot and Zweigelt. The colour was a nice pale salmon and it was very bright and fresh on the nose. A dry Rose, this had a ton of strawberry and raspberry in it, as well as some nice floral notes of rose. I'll be honest, it took me by surprise how much I loved this Rose! Not that I expected to hate it or anything, but I actually loved it and would definitely recommend others to try this wine!

5. 2019 Pinot Noir

You already know what I'm going to say. I really enjoyed the 2018 vintage of their Pinot Noir, and the 2019 did not disappoint! This is a very approachable and easy to drink Pinot Noir! It was aged 9 months in French oak and was incredibly light and balanced. It's full of gorgeous, jammy red fruits, as well as some more oaky notes of cedar and forest floor. Very light tannins and a really nice finish. 

6. 2019 Zweigelt

Oh Zweigelt. My favourite enemy. In an attempt to study for my WSET Level 3, Chris gave me a blind tasting that included a Zweigelt! Which I had never actually tasted before! So I officially have a love/hate relationship with this grape. It has a nice deep purple colour and was very aromatic on the nose. This is very fruit forward with plum and cherry dominating, but there was also some spiciness! Our taster, Carlos, gave the perfect description of a Zweigelt: It looks like Syrah, smells like Merlot, and tastes like Pinot Noir. I could not agree more.

7. 2018 Archive Reserve 

Our final wine was very special, one of Arrowleaf's top wines. It's a blend of Merlot and Zweigelt and honestly is an incredible wine. On the nose you get a lot that rich, dark fruit like blackberry and black currant, as well as some mocha and cedar and even some leather! It has a beautiful mouthfeel with really well-balanced tannins. Out of all the wines we tasted at Arrowleaf, this was the winner for Carlie! 

You can buy a bottle and drink it in their cute picnic area!

Our taster, Carlos, deserves a special shout out! He was so friendly, was able to answer all our questions both spoken and unspoken! He gave us such a nice experience and so if you ever find yourself at Arrowleaf, see if you can get Carlos to do your tasting. You won't be disappointed!

Winery #2: Ex Nihilo Vineyards

I've been a fan of Ex Nihilo ever since I visited them last summer! I like their wine and their restaurant has the best pizza. I've even attended one of their virtual tastings and it was hosted by the owner and the winemaker, so that's always cool! I was pretty excited for this tasting because it's brand new! You get to try a lot of their higher profile wine, plus you get to try all the wines in their corresponding Riedel glasses, which is always a good time! I will say I was very sad to see that their sparkling Rose, called Tous, was not available this year. I would like to say please make more because it was my favourite.

1. Imagine Sparkling 

Ok as much as I love their sparkling Rose, I quite enjoyed this one. This is a nice blend of predominantly Riesling, with Gewurztraminer and Pinot Gris in the mix. This was made using the Charmat method, which I previously said was used back at Arrowleaf for their sparkling as well! This was a very aromatic wine, full of citrus and flowers. I was mesmerized by the bubbles in this wine, which were just in a constant stream from the dead center of the glass to the top. Not sure if this was because of the wine or the Riedel glass but either way, I loved it. This was so crisp and fresh and if I hadn't already bought a bottle of sparkling wine then I would have gotten this one!

2. 2020 Viognier

This was a nice Viognier, although different than the ones I'm familiar with! This had less of that oily texture to it and honestly reminded me more of a full-bodied Gewurztraminer! This was full of stone fruit and flowers, lots of peach and apricot although I would say more of the pith than the juice! As far as Viogniers go, I wouldn't call this my favourite but that's ok! At the end of the day, wine is all about someone's personal palate! (Sidebar, I have recently discovered that I enjoy drinking Viognier with pizza. Do with that information what you will.)

3. 2019 Chardonnay

This was a very nice Chardonnay! It spent 10 months in a mix of French and American oak, with 25% of that being new. The result is a very aromatic wine! It was very light for a Chardonnay with lots of pear popping out at me. It also had that creaminess you expect from a Chardonnay and something almost bitter at the end. 

Carlie was very excited about our special Riedel glasses 

4. 2019 Pinot Noir

I thought I really liked this Pinot Noir, but then I tried the Reserve and THAT is a Pinot Noir!! That being said, I also loved this one. This wine made me feel like I should be outside in the fall with a cozy blanket around me. It was full of nice red fruit, and almost some dried berries! All in all, I've never met a Pinot Noir I didn't like.

5. 2018 Reserve Pinot Noir

THIS is everything I ever want in a wine, particularly a Pinot Noir. I'm dead serious when I say this wine reminded me of cherry vanilla Coke. It saw 20 months of oak, which is why there was so much and vanilla and spiciness on the palate along with the nice cherry flavours. In my notes I wrote: "It's too good" so that will tell you right there how I liked it. According to both Carlie and myself, this was the wine of the day!

6. Privata Red

Ok I'm obsessed with this wine because I have absolutely no idea what's in it and that's because the winemaker doesn't tell anyone! That's such a fun idea and I don't think I've come across another wine yet that's done that! All we are told is that it's a Bordeaux-style blend so maybe if I were a Master Sommelier I'd be able to tell you, but alas! This wine is so well balanced with amazing tannins. I get chocolate right away when I smell it, but as you taste all those nice fruity cherry notes come out. Carlie and I agree that this was the top smelling wine of the day.

7. 2018 Riesling Icewine

What better way to finish a wine meal than with an Icewine? These grapes were picked on New Year's Eve, which I personally think gives them a magical quality! There was so much honey and mango in here, with some nice apricot as well! It had a beautiful balance with some nice acidity so it wasn't sickeningly sweet like Icewine can be! Something really cool about their Icewine is that Ex Nihilo has a cocktail recipe for it! Apparently, it would be great in a martini! I will definitely have to test this out...

Special shoutout to my taster Josh! He was a lot of fun to chat with throughout the experience and was able to answer all of my questions! This tasting was set up in such a fun way, from the Riedel glasses all the way to the menu that had my name and tasting on it! If you can do the Memor Vivo tasting at Ex Nihilo, I highly recommend that you do!

Well that's all for Lake Country today! It's so beautiful up here so even if you don't want to visit wineries (which, why wouldn't you?) then you should still visit the area because it's beautiful, even when it's raining!!

Whine of the day: Why isn't there such a thing as a wine meal? That would be my dinner every night if it were...


  1. I’m so excited for my Memor Vivo tasting!!!

    Did you buy any wine from Ex Nihilo?

    1. You’ll love it!! Especially with the Riedel glasses!
      I couldn’t resist, had to buy myself yet another Pinot Noir

  2. Great day!! Thank you for the invite !!


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