The Wines of Mount Julian

Dinner at Mount Julian is always about turning a meal into an incredible experience.  So far this summer, we have talked about the atmosphere, the history, and the food, and how those all play a role in writing the story of each individual meal.  What we haven’t explored is the wine and how it plays a role in the night.  Now it is time to take a trip downstairs to Mount Julian’s wine cellar with our GM Ben, who does all of the wine pairings himself.

 

As I’ve learned this summer, a good wine pairing makes all the difference.  As Ben says, “a great pairing starts with two separate items – a food and a wine – and turns them into one.  The wine mellows out, the food becomes richer, and things just… work”.  It’s amazing to watch as guests try the wine, try the food, and then try the wine again.  Their eyes widen and their faces are taken over with excitement as the wine and the food intermingle to create something even better than either the wine or the food could be on their own.  It’s the closest thing to magic that I’ve witnessed.  When Ben walks into the kitchen and asks for a sample of the food for the night, glass of wine in hand, I know that something exciting is about to happen. But like any good magician, Ben doesn’t share his secrets lightly.  After a little convincing, though, I got to the bottom of the wine story.

 

Ben’s background with wine really begins with an enjoyment of the stuff.  For Ben, it’s not about memorizing details such as what grape comes from what region and which year was better than others.  Just like Mount Julian, wine is all about the story.  Ben loves what he refers to as the chase, which involves tasting wines against each other, with food, without food, and soaking up each experience to compile a working knowledge of what kind of wine goes best with which food.  He “never gets sick of driving around, stopping in on winemakers, and tasting their newest creations”.  It’s an adventure that leads to lots of exciting wines on the menu at Mount Julian.

 

When deciding on which wines to order, Ben has some favoured staples from Prince Edward County mixed with some international choices.  Other than that, though, he bases his wine orders on the season.  As he explained to me, he is currently “working off the wines [he] picked in the spring for the summery flavours and heat. Lighter wines to go with fresh fruity dishes, cold soups, and similar”.  As summer begins to roll into fall, with some of the trees already starting to lose their leaves, he is looking ahead to fuller bodied wines to accompany stewed meats, root vegetables, and rich sauces.  A lot of these pairings will come from warmer climates like Australia and California.  I have been trying to understand what Ben looks for in a wine, and it really comes down to the wines with stories.  Ben explained that he looks for smaller wineries and passionate winemakers, as they produce wines that never fail to be interesting.  He often shares stories of how he “find[s] a great wine one year, [buys] enough to regret it shortly thereafter… and a year later, regret[s] that [he] didn’t buy more”.  These stories are always shared as the wine is being poured, and never fail to make the wine more interesting and more exciting.

 

One of the most interesting questions to ask wine enthusiasts is what their favourite wine is.  When asked, Ben simply stated that “it depends on the day, the food, who I’m with, the season, what else I’ve had, and my mood.  In the winter, with a braised beef with Viamede double smoked bacon, root vegetables, and a mushroom demi-glace, I’ll reach for that Californian Shiraz I’d normally shirk.  In the summer, feet dangling off a dock, I’ll take a Viognier spritzer.  There’s no shame in that!”

 

There are so many stories pouring out of the Mount Julian wine cellar.  Each wine adds a new patch to the patchwork of stories that blankets a night at Mount Julian, and there is no experience quite like it.  The only thing left to do is to see for yourself!


Packing For A Viamede Cottage Stay

by Alyssa Joynt

Going on vacation can be stressful.  The packing rush, the multiple turn-arounds for forgotten chargers, favourite stuffed animals, and bathing suits, and the constant chimes of “Are we there yet?” from the back seat make getting on the road difficult.  That’s why we want to make it easier for you with the perfect cottage packing list.  So grab a pen and paper and start taking notes for your need-to-bring list… wait, don’t do that.  We’ve done it for you!

Bedding and Towels

The last thing you want to worry about while on vacation is laundry, so it’s a good thing you don’t have to.  All of our cottages get full housekeeping service, so your beds will be freshly made (yes, we provide sheets and blankets) and your bathroom is fully equipped with full sets of fluffy towels.  It might not be a bad idea to bring your brightest beach towel to decorate your porch railing, though.

The Kitchen Sink

One of the things people like about our cottages is that it gives them the opportunity to cook their own food (and if that isn’t your shtick, you can get all of your food at The Boathouse or even enjoy the comfort of home-made food minus the prep, by ordering from our signature BBQ Menu).  We provide the pots and pans, all of the dishware, coffee and a coffee maker, a fridge, a microwave, a toaster, and even an oven and a stove, depending on the cottage you book.

If you are particularly partial to a specialized coffee, or you can’t live without your morning smoothie, bringing your coffee machine or blender might be a good idea.  We don’t have a lot of specialized cooking ware, but we do give you the counter space for it!

All cottages also have a barbecue, because what is cottage country without a night spent grilling, drinking a beer, and catching up with family and friends out on your front porch?  And don’t worry about packing the kitchen sink – our cottages all have sinks, dish rags, and dish soap to help with the clean up.

So all you need is any food you won’t be eating at our restaurants, and any specialty cookware you can’t live without.

Toiletries

You know what’s also annoying to pack? Hair products.  To this day we are still perplexed about how to conveniently travel with something that isn’t quite solid and isn’t quite liquid.  With our full housekeeping service comes regular refills of shampoo and conditioner, so unless you have a specialized kind we’ve got you covered! We also provide hair dryers, but I personally prefer the beach-hair-don’t-care look. We also provide soap, so the only supplies from your bathroom that you’ll need are sunscreen, toothbrushes and toothpaste (but if you forget those we have some at the Front Desk!). And maybe makeup and hairspray (but we encourage you to go cottage-chic and throw the hair in a pony, and freshen your complexion with nothing more than your fave sunblock).

 

We hope you’re looking forward to your vacation almost as much as we are looking forward to having you, and we hope this has helped answer some of your perplexing packing problems.  Just remember to pack underwear, bathing suits, sunscreen, and your sense of fun, and of course your camera so you can relive it all when you return to real life.