If you’re not a fan of winter, the Niagara Icewine festival may just change your mind. It’s running from January 13th through to January 29th. A wide range of cool events are taking place across the region. Wine Country Ontario is the best place to get all the info and plan your festival fun. Check it out at www.winecountryontario.ca In my opinion, there is no better way to enjoy a frosty winter weekend than sipping extraordinary wine, indulging in scrumptious food and a good old fashioned barrel rolling contest. As part of the Niagara Ice Wine festival, Twenty Valley kicked off their Winter Wine Fest in style this weekend. If you’re a big fan of Icewine this is a ‘not to be missed’ festival. If you’re not a fan of Ice Wine, this is a ‘not to be missed’ festival. Over 30 wineries participate, pouring their best Icewine, sparkling and still wines of the year, paired with delicious food from the local chefs. I started my day with a tour of the family owned Fielding Estates Winery, and what a way to start the day! Heidi Fielding offered us a tasting of their absolutely delightful Sparkling Riesling. If you’re not big on sparkling wine, it’s not a problem at Fielding where they produce 13 – 15 different types of wine each year, many of them small lots. Following the sparkling starter we tried the rich 2007 Meritage and wrapped up the visit with a lovely Vidal Icewine paired with a spicy pecan tart from Sweetie Pie’s Bakery. On to Malivoire where we started our tasting with their Gewürztraminer Icewine paired with Icewine infused Cumbrae chicken created by Chef Jan-Willem Stulp. A match made in heaven. We went on to try their 2010 Small Lot Unoaked Chardonnay, paired with the Icewine chicken with the addition of apple and pear which complimented the wine perfectly. We wrapped up our tasting with their M2 Small Lot Gamay, one of their signature wines, accompanied by the Icewine chicken, this time with cherries from Cherry Lane. Next we made our way to Flat Rock Cellars. The picturesque Flat Rock Cellars, with their stunning view of the Toronto skyline in the distance (on a clear day), was particularly magical as big flakes of snow fell to the ground. The always-welcoming Ed Madronich, owner of Flat Rock guided us through a delicious tasting journey of several of their world-class wines. All of which are low yield, hand picked, hand plunged and treated with the utmost love and care. Beginning in a rather unconventional way, we started with the 2010 Estate Pinot Noir. If you ask Ed, I’m sure he’ll happily explain why starting with a red followed by white works. And it did. We moved on to the delicious The Rusty Shed 2010 Chardonnay. We tasted their The Rogue Concoction, definitely one of my favourites, and only available at the winery. To add to this delectable visit, we were served a wonderful Mulligatawny soup was created by the wine maker. We also sampled their award-winning 2010 Estate Riesling and then, just for good measure, finished off with their yummy Sparkling Wine. The fun didn’t end there! Flat Rock shared their homemade Icewine marshmallows, which we roasted over their rustic campfire pit – perfection! Stay tuned for my next Nice Ice Baby post later this week for more from the Niagara Icewine festival and what’s to come this weekend.