Taking a recommendation from my wino friend (hey, Mitch!), this week’s destination was The Foreign Affair, tucked in right along the shore of Lake Ontario. A bit off the beaten path, the winery is a hidden gem housed in a former agricultural study building, next door to the Vineland Research and Innovation Centre.
Years ago, Len and Marisa Crispino, founders of The Foreign Affair, were living in Italy when they fell in love with Amarone-styled wines. What makes this style of wine so unique is that vintners actually dry the grapes before crushing them, a process known as appassimento. This two- to six-month drying process causes some of the water to evaporate which results in stronger flavours and colours.
As The Foreign Affair website explains, “The entire process is very labour intensive and significantly reduces the yield. This means that the best quality and more grapes are required to produce a bottle of appassimento wine.”
Inspired to produce appassimento back home, Len and Marisa got to work and opened The Foreign Affair Winery in 2004. Their award-winning winery has been recognized as the first winery to bring the appassimento style to Canada.
The winery, which looks like the most elegant cellar in existence, is also home to some of the friendliest winery staff we have ever met. Sommelier Dan was extremely knowledgeable and passionate, even offering up different recipes to pair with the wines being tasting.
A tasting at The Foreign Affair allows you to sample three different wines. After sampling the 2015 Enchanted (a blend of Riesling and Chardonnay), the 2009 Merlot, and the best-selling 2013 Temptress (a blend of Cabernet Franc, Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, and Petit Verdot), we left with a bottle of the 2013 Temptress and the bittersweet sadness that comes at the end of an affair.