Wine and chocolate with great company make for such sweet evening! We are still thrilled by the turnout and enthusiasm for all who joined us in our Pelee Island Winery and Saxon Chocolates “Virtual Wine and Chocolate Tasting Experience” last week on Thursday, April 29th.

Over 200 people logged in to spend an hour with our hosts Tim Charisse, one of our very own Pelee Island winemakers and Amy Karlin of @AmyIn613, along with our friends from Saxon Chocolates and members of our team for a sweet night in. Participants who purchased the event package received all their Pelee Island wine and Saxon chocolate for the tasting, 2 Pelee Island Winery glasses, tasting notes and an event tasting mat.

It was our first time hosting an event of this type and WOW! you all blew us away with your chat room activity and your prowess with the trivia! We had some great discussions both between our hosts and in the chat room that we wanted to share some further information on. We also wanted to make sure we answered all the questions for those who submitted them, as well as share the tasting notes and some of Amy’s favourite restaurants in Ottawa where you can try Pelee Island Wine paired with their incredible culinary offerings.

The Wines & Chocolate Tasted

Pelee Island Winery Late Harvest Riesling VQA Ontario white wine. Pale lemon in colour. The intense bouquet is laced with hints of peach, nectarine, and lime. The fresh, crisp acidity is complimented by the honeyed late harvest character. It is an ideal balance of cool climate acidity with a fragrant orchard fresh aroma and a delicate peach bouquet. An explosion of tastes.
Pelee Island Winery LOLA Secoo VQA Ontario sparkling wine made from Chardonnay and Muscat grapes grown in sustainable vineyards on Pelee Island.
Pelee Island Winery Cabernet Sauvignon Reserve VQA Ontario Red Wine. Medium ruby red colour. This wine is full bodied and characterized by plum, cherry, blackberry, vanilla and tobacco flavours.
Pelee Island Winery Lighthouse Cabernet Franc VQA Ontario Red Wine
Lighthouse Cabernet Franc VQA & Saxon Dark Chocolate

Pair with: Creamy lamb masala, pork loin steaks in shallot and mushroom gravy, grilled flank steak skewers with dried tomato pesto, vegan meatballs with spaghetti, and appetizers such as smooth pâté and most hard cheeses.

Ottawa Restaurant Pairings: Pair this medium bodied gem with a fresh Margarita pizza from City Goose, or with Two Six Ate’s delicious lamb shank dinner.

Cabernet Sauvignon Reserve VQA & Saxon Dark Chocolate

Pair with: Rosemary-pepper beef rib roast, pizza vesuvio, ribeye steak or vegetarian chilli.

Ottawa Restaurant Pairings: Take home BBQ kit from Al’s Steakhouse or a delectable lasagna from La Roma.

Pelee Island Winemaker Tim Charisse behind the scenes during the virtual event.
Winemaker Tim behind the scenes.
LOLA Secco VQA & Saxon Milk Chocolate

Pair with: Delicate fish, fresh oysters, Porcini mushroom risotto. or use as an aperitif.

Ottawa Restaurant Pairings: Zesty fish tacos from The Soca Kitchen.

Late Harvest Riesling VQA & Saxon White Chocolate

Pair with: Lemon or honey cheesecake, roasted duck with apple dressing, sausage stuffed jalapenos with blue cheese, spicy jambalaya, and curry butternut squash soup.

Ottawa Restaurant Pairings: Taj’s Indian Cuisine’s  famous butter chicken, or Pure Kitchen’s cauliflower wings.

Other Wines Mentioned in the Chat Room

Bella Red Sparkling VQA

LOLA Nero Sparkling Red VQA

Questions About Wine

What is VQA and what does it mean to your wine? Discover here.

What does Sustainable Winemaking Ontario Certified Mean? Find out here.

Read more about some of our Sustainable Winemaking Practices at Pelee Island Winery in our blog.

What is Brix? Wine Folly, one of our favourite sites for all things wine, has a great article here.

Question – “For a long time Pelee Island wine was strongly associate with Gewürztraminer When did winemakers branch out to other varietals?” Answer – We’ve always grown multiple varietals. In the early days of Pelee Island Winery, sweeter white wine was simply more popular. The prickly pear cactus graced the Gewürztraminer then and still does today. Canadians have grown their love of wine and the demand and support for Canadian wine reflects that.

Pelee Island Winery is in the sub-appellation known as the South Islands. We are members of what is referred to as the EPIC Wine Region (Essex Pelee Island Coast).

Questions About Chocolate

Delicious White Chocolate Peppermint Bark from Saxon Chocolates.

Question – “Where can we buy Saxon Chocolate?” Answer – “Some of our main retailers are Indigo, Crate and Barrel, Staples, The Shopping Channel, Pusateri’s, Summerhill Market to name a few!” * And of course, Pelee Island Winery will continue to include delicious Saxon treats in our special gift packages.

Question – “Why is sweet wine paired with sweet chocolate? Would it be better with a bitter to have contrast?” Answer from Winemaker Tim – “You always want to pair the wine with the main component on your plate, that’s why it calls wine pairing. I know it sounds silly, but that is really it. You always want to find the dominant part on your plate and pair the wine to it. With salad it is usually the vinaigrette, with the main it is usually the protein like beef or chicken and the sauce. If you don’t pair the wine to the dominant part on you plate either one will go down. The wine overpowers the dish or the dish overpowers the wine. So you really want to pair it. That’s why a sweet wine goes well with white chocolate as it is usually very sweet. If you would have a dry wine, the chocolate will over power the wine.With a bitter chocolate the chocolate more likely will over power the wine.

Question – “White chocolate! Tell us more!!!” Answer “White chocolate is made with a blend of sugar, cocoa butter, milk products, vanilla and is not typically a chocolate because it does not contain chocolate solids. The story is that… it was a way to use up excess milk powder that had been produced for World War I and was no longer in demand, introducing white chocolate.”

📸 Kamara Morozuk Photography

This and That

Happy Birthday to those who joined us and Thank You to those who purchased this package as a gift!

The potential cat names…Mittens, Lola, Charcoal, Kleenex, Sprinkles, Fluffy, Rob, Rosé, Tiger, Saxon, Franc, Bella, Cat King, Wino, Tim, Buckles, Merlot. We love the creativity!

Spotify playlist “Wine and Chocolate Perfectly Paired

My 88 year old Mom born and bred in Leamington (next town down the road from Pelee Island Winery) was with us here and enjoyed it too!” Thanks so much for joining us Mom! We’re very happy you enjoyed it!

Thanks again to all who joined, our friends at Saxon, our hosts and team members. There was a clear message that many wanted more so stay tuned!


Pssttt… Don’t forget while you’re here to sign up for our Birthday Club and receive a $20 Gift Voucher for your birthday!