Who is that ‘Cabernet Frank”?
Schedules, Vineyards, Temperatures, and Bikes
One of the things I like when traveling is to be busy but to build in just enough flexibility that you don’t feel like you are on a rigid schedule all the time. I get enough of that at my job! I enjoy somewhat “active vacations”, where one can end the day, or make part of the day involve a great meal accompanied by a glass of delectable wine from one of the vineyards in the area we are traveling in.
Another element of our summer travels is that we tend to do many of our trips up to the northern part of the United States and into Canada. For a flatlander Floridian like me, it is that oft-referenced ‘relief’ from the heat of our Summers. This combined with high humidity can just suck the life out of you. There’s nothing like the cool, fresh air of a crisp summer’s day in the northern climes! Especially, where there are breathtaking vineyards and fine wine along the way!
And so it was, on the Jasper-Niagara trip that we decided to rent bicycles in Niagara-on-the-Lake, one of the most charming small towns you’ll ever visit. We cycled from there to Niagara Falls. Our team had done the research and found a bike shop within walking distance of our vacation rental home with an ample supply of good quality rental bikes. And I cannot overstate the importance of quality rental bikes!
Niagara Falls, here we come!
The early part of the ride was delightful. We were on an asphalt trail that takes you through Colonial-era military barracks and parade grounds. From there the trail mostly runs along the high banks of the river. One could feel the cool damp air coming up off of the water. This was a welcome relief on an unusually warm summer’s day. As we got closer and closer to Niagara Falls, we did encounter a few hills. And you could sense you were nearing an area with a lot of people and activity. We had reached Niagara Falls and the thousands of tourists. Yes, we did the “touristy” boat ride to the falls, which one surely must do when here. After viewing the most powerful waterfall in the United States, we enjoyed a light snack and a couple of cold beers, but we really didn’t take time to eat lunch…..
Upon starting back, we realized how warm it had become during the day. Also, we saw how little water we had remaining in our bottles. But, more importantly, how hungry we had become. The pedaling became more of a chore and the hills became more taxing. As a result, our stores of energy were being depleted. And we were drawing on the ‘long-term energy storage’ now!!
As we were coming into the wine country and the beautiful vineyards that are just south of Niagara-on-the-Lake, we stopped on the bike path to called one of the wineries to make a reservation for dinner (most of the wineries have restaurants associated with the winery to showcase their wines ideally paired with a meal as recommended by the waiter or the sommelier).
Two Sisters Winery
We pulled into Two Sisters Winery where we had made our reservations for dinner. I will admit to feeling totally embarrassed to be walking in there and not being in khakis, a blue oxford button down and a navy blazer at a minimum. The building was extremely nice, elegant even. We all dispatched to the bathrooms to wash hands, faces, and try to spruce ourselves up. After checking in, the hostess who took us to our seats in the main dining room.
I can only speak for myself, but as I sat down, I was taken by the fact that the place was extremely busy, but it didn’t feel ‘crowded’. It was truly a beautiful setting overlooking the vineyards and an outdoor dining area that was full. Surprisingly, we had virtually no wait time before we were greeted by our lovely server.
And let me just say, I was ready to eat the leather on my belt, I was so hungry! I mean it felt like low blood sugar was upon me. We had not eaten since breakfast and it was now dinnertime. Needless to say, the exercise we had done riding the bikes from Niagara-on-the-Lake to the falls and back through the vineyard had taken it out of me!
Meeting “Cabernet Frank”!
It was our waitress who made the introduction to “Cabernet Franc”. She felt it would be a fine compliment to the entrees we had selected from the menu that evening. I had never had it before and certainly not from Two Sister’s Winery. Let me just say that upon the first sip of this “Cabernet Franc”, I would say it was the absolute best wine I had ever tasted in my life!!! It was perfection and I have had my share of red wines from vineyards in several places in the world.
In a relatively short period of time, my pasta dish was served and so I ordered a second glass of “Cabernet Franc”. The paring with the pasta with the tomato based sauce mixed with ground beef was absolutely delectable. It delivered the taste and the satisfaction as good as any meal I had ever eaten before! So, let’s just say “Cabernet Franc” and I became close friends that evening.
When combined with the white linen dining experience, the gorgeous vineyards surrounding the winery and restaurant, it was absolutely terrific. This along with the cooling evening temperatures made for a most pleasurable experience.
Upon completing our meal, we made our way to the bikes as dusk was setting. We mounted up once again and made a leisurely ride to our vacation rental home. It wasn’t that far to go and as we eased along in the cool air, I thought to myself how lucky we were to be able to enjoy such a day. We had a great day of outdoor activity on bicycles, a taste of tourism at the falls themselves, and a delicious tasty dinner in Niagara-on-the-Lake. Most of all, we had the pleasure of being introduced to “Cabernet Franc”. A fine wine which was fermented right there in the vineyards we had just ridden through.
What a great and beautiful day, a perfect ending, the essence of travel enjoyment with good friends!
For more information on this experience, check out our trip: Jasper to Niagara-on-the-Lake on R-tinerary.com.
Also, check out the Two Sisters Vineyard on their website.