A pleasant surprise on the Ontario Wine Route is Rosewood Estates Winery and Meadery in Beamsville, Ontario.
Mead is a honeywine and in the words of my friends who introduced it to me, it is the “nectar of the gods” and is believed to be the first alcoholic beverage known to man. Mead is sweet as a rule, but there are some off-dry varieties. Rosewood Estates owns more than 225 hives throughout the Niagara Escarpment which produce the honey for the mead as well as a variety of honey products and beeswax candles.
Rosewood Estates has some interesting varieties of mead available. Our first tasting was the 2007 Mon Cherie. Blended with Niagara sour cherry juice, this medium-dry mead was fragrant with just a slight chocolate taste. Earning a 2008 Bronze Medal, the 2007 Mead Royale is a true mead rather than a blend. The Mead Royale is sweet with flavors of fruit and a barely-there taste of mint.
Our take-home choice after tasting was the 2009 Mead Blanc. Blended with Gewurztraminer grapes, this mead from Rosewood Estates has a nice acidity with the tropical fruit flavors that lends to enjoying with a bold meal such as our favorite Asian cuisine nights.
Of course, Rosewood Estates is also a winery and we were greeted upon arrival at the sight of a crew of workers sorting just-picked Pinot Noir grapes.
During our free tasting session, we first selected the 2008 Pinot Noir which is actually hand-harvested. Not as dry as many Pinot Noirs I’ve had, I enjoyed the strawberry and raspberry flavors with a bit of a mocha note. The merlot we selected to bring home was the just-released 2008 Merlot Emerald Shore Single Vineyard. My man is a merlot fan and sometimes I just can’t quite enjoy the same wines he does. This merlot is less dry than many, but not sweet in any way. A very mellow palate with flavors of berries, cherries, mocha and vanilla will be a great accompaniament with a winter meal of roast beef.
The tasting room at Rosewood Estates Winery and Meadery houses a small museum honoring the art of beekeeping and honey-making. A beautiful two-sided rosewood hive is displayed making it possible to watch the bees in action.
Rosewood Estates is just a short distance from Peninsula Ridge Estates Winery on the Ontario Wine Trail with easy-to-follow signs.
Source: Personal visit to Rosewood Estates Winery & Meadery