Thursday 28 July 2011
Here Lies My Thirst
I found the brochure in a cheese shop a week ago. Coffin Ridge Winery? You had me at wine.
Nestled in the rolling hills of Northeastern Ontario, Coffin Ridge is the area's first commercial vinyard. Ontario wine mostly comes out of the Niagara region, but the soils to the north are just as fertile, it seems. A boutique winery, Coffin Ridge grows a handful of varietals, but offers a diverse collection of wines, including a silver medalist at the 2011 All Canadian Wine Championships.
I asked why the place was named Coffin Ridge.
"Well, that's Coffin Hill over there," explained our host. He pointed out the window. "And we have a sense of humour, so..."
A dark sense of humour, for sure. The winery has embraced a death motif, with its black and red painted building, to the black bunting, to the coffin-shaped shelves and windows in the tasting room. The vinyard exudes goth; the Bone Dry Riesling is very nice, I've yet to taste the Back From the Dead Red, the Resurrection Rose is that award-winner I mentioned, and all can be purchased as gift-coffins.
In the tasting room, you're given three wines to sample and then you may purchase more wine to drink on the premises. If it's a nice day, I recommend taking it outside to enjoy with a lovely view of Georgian Bay. You might also want to indulge in what was the most delicious cheese plate I've ever seen.
Coffin Ridge has only been around a few years, but if their awards are any indication (five in all), they've hit the ground running. I can tell you I liked everything I tasted, and my friends and I walked out of there with many bottles between us. Its gothy aesthetic sets it apart from other wineries but doesn't smack of effort; over the decade, wine marketing has taken on a new dimension by targeting discreet demographics with "funny" and "hip" labels (i.e.: Fat Bastard, Guilty Men, Cat's Pee on a Gooseberry Bush). Coffin Ridge isn't pandering to the goth market through design. They're just having a good time.
And making great wine.