Cool temperatures lure a North Texan to a weekend in Canada's wine countryPosted August 25, 2011
By Andrew Marton
Special to the Star-Telegram
I gently cup the clump of marble-size chardonnay grapes hanging tenaciously from a vine as the morning sun beats on my neck. I'm smack in the middle of an Ontario, Canada, vineyard, as part of an extended tour of one of our northern neighbor's most underappreciated natural jewels: its wine country.
Yet at that very tranquil moment, I can't get Paul Giamatti's whiny voice out of my head. Giamatti, as you may recall, played to neurotic perfection the oft-exasperated, thoroughly erudite wine connoisseur in Sideways, which I consider the most refined road-buddy-food-and-drink picture Hollywood ever bottled.
As it turns out, this five-day trip is my own self-styled Sideways wine and food adventure, with Ontario subbing for California vine country. All the elements are there: one minute, I'm on the Canadian road. The next "scene," I'm trudging through the deep furrows of a typical vineyard. Jump cut to a tasting room where I sample a gold-hued chardonnay, considering its "nose" and trying to find its most apt descriptive term -- let's say, "gun smoke."
For me, Canada usually calls to mind the prose of Margaret Atwood, the music of Joni Mitchell and Neil Young, ice hockey, the vistas of Vancouver. And, of course, bacon. But I rarely associate our northern neighbor with great wine or gourmet food.
My recent sojourn there would turn those misconceptions "sideways."