Gourmet Food & Wine Expo VIP Night at the Metro Convention Centre, where it has always been held since as far back as I can remember, checked in at the Trade & Media booth to get my badge and wristband, and then proceeded down the hall to first attend a seminar on Wine Faults.
This was a very interesting seminar, as we learned about the 2 basic types of faults – oxidative and reductive. We tasted some Sauvignon Blanc that was fresh and typical of the varietal, then compared this same wine that had been either artificially oxidized and reduced. One of these glasses had an oxidized Savvy, and tasted like it was off with a nose of stewed orchard fruit, green apple and wet dog flavours. The other three glasses had a Savvy that had been reduced to various different levels. Prominent notes of sulphur and rotten eggs were found in glasses 3 and 4, while the 5th glass had aromas of rubber and mineral.
Keep in mind that some oxidation can be desirable in some wines - such as big, red Cabs or even Port wine, which also usually change their colour to brick-red or brown; the colour of white wines tends to change to a darker yellow or brownish tones. Only when a wine is over-oxidized do undesirable traits being to show. The principal is much the same for reduced wines, where too much reductive activity will lead to undesirable wines.
The last part of this seminar involved adding a few drops of Copper Sulphate to a few of the wines and see the results. The first wine, which was normal, suddenly tasted like it had been aged and oxidized a number years in just a couple of minutes. When we added Copper Sulphate to wine #3, it cleared up the wine completely and smelled and tasted quite normal. However, adding the chemical to wine #4 did not make any difference. Thus, the experiment shows that wines that have been slightly reduced can be fixed. Please do not try this with your wines at home.
Once the seminar was finished, I made my way through the trade & media entrance and began tasting some wine. The crowd was still fairly light on this VIP Thursday evening, which I didn't mind considering how packed it was last year. Methodically going through the aisles one-by-one, it seemed as though there were more smaller exhibitors, and fewer big displays. Maybe it's just me, but there also seemed to be fewer restaurants participating this year.
Photos and wine scores of many of my favourite wines that I tasted on this night are posted below, many of which can be found at the LCBO. Due to the volume of yummy wines I tasted, detailed reviews will be posted at a later date. As usual, the Hidden Bench booth is a must stop for any wine aficionado. As well, wine shows are a great place to try some new wines that you may have never heard about or considered purchasing - keep that in mind as you peruse the floor.
One of the highlights was meeting the recently-crowned German Wine Queen, Janina Huhn. We spoke at length about wines and how being crowned 'The 66th Queen' has changed her life. She can be found all weekend long, along with her Royal Chair, at the Wines of Germany booth to engage in conversation or take photos.
Fire in the Kitchen booth, where I had seen earlier in the night their full-sized grilled cheese stuffed with chicken, caramelized onions and pickles. This really hit the spot and tasted even better when topped with some of their specialty rubs & spices!
Next, with time running out and still many tickets remaining in-hand, I found Ourrr Lobster Shack and settled for a 6" lobster roll. At $9, it was a bit pricey, but yummy. Still not quite full, I searched for Amaya Restaurant, but by the time I finally found them, they had already run out of food and were packing up. So, I decided at this point that dessert might be my best option to close out the night.
Marble Slab Creamery would fit the bill nicely. Vanilla cheesecake ice cream mashed with raspberries and chocolate brownie, followed by a decadent Gingerbread ice cream topped with graham cracker crumbs and caramel - both satisfied my sweet tooth.
Lastly, it was great to see so many friendly faces on both sides of the counter, many of whom I met over the last few years. It was also very nice to meet some new folks - hopefully, our paths will cross again.
Hope everyone enjoys the show as much as I did this year. The Gourmet Food & Wine Expo runs until Sunday. Tickets can be purchased here. Cheers!
PERSUASION DRAGON BLEND 2010 - Sonoma, California, USA (#) (XD) - $37.95
Booth: Noteworthy Wines booth. Blend of Russian River Valley Cabernet Sauvignon and Chalk Hill Merlot. Available for licensees only, so you'll want to try this here. Score: 90 pts
CORNERSTONE CABERNET-MERLOT 2010 - VQA Niagara Peninsula, Ontario, Canada (#) (XD) - $19.00
Booth: Winery. Hails from the great 2010 vintage, highly aromatic nose featuring smoky, black fruits and hints of barnyard. Palate it big and full-bodied with dark fruit, flowers and rhubarb flavours. Balanced acids and very good length on the finish. Could age another 4-5 years, but drinking well now. Not many left, according to the owner. Score: 89 pts
GARCIA CARRION MAYOR DE CASTILLA CRIANZA 2010 - DO Ribera del Duero, Spain (#318931) (D) - $15.95
Booth: Christoper Stewart Wine & Spirits. 100% Tempranillo. Medium intensity nose showing dark fruits, dark cherry, currant and cedar oak aromas. It's medium-to-full bodied with balanced oak and dark, stewed fruits, black cherry, and blackberry flavours. Has balanced acids and a long finish. Very good value. Score: 89 pts
RIO MADRE 2013 - DOCa Rioja, Spain (#354753) (XD) - $14.95
Booth: Christoper Stewart Wine & Spirits. Rare to see 100% Graciano wine. Low-to-medium intensity nose with black cherry, black currant, cedar oak, and hints of cherry aromas. Palate is medium+bodied with flavours of blackberry, floral, oak, and sweet ripe fruits. Good acids, rounded tannins and a medium length finish. Will be available in VINTAGES on January 10. Score: 87+ pts
CANTINA DI NEGRAR AMARONE DELLA VALPOLICELLA CLASSICO 2010 - Veneto, Italy (#044784) (D) - $36.95
Booth: Mark Anthony Brands. Quite dry with just a hint of sweetness. Will be on sale at the LCBO very soon. Score: 89 pts
HIDDEN BENCH ESTATE RIESLING 2013 - VQA Beamsville Bench, Ontario, Canada (#183491) (D) - $23.95
Booth: Winery. Organically grown from estate vineyards. Medium-high intensity aromas with lovely orange, Flintstones vitamins, and citrus with crisp aroma replays on a light frame. Medium-dry in sweetness and juicy, with bracing acids and very good length on the finish. Quality stuff. Was released into VINTAGES on August 2nd. Score: 89+ pts
HIDDEN BENCH ESTATE CHARDONNAY 2012 - VQA Beamsville Bench, Ontario, Canada (#068817) (XD) - $28.95
Booth: Winery. Barrel fermented in French oak; partial malolactic fermentation. Ripe pear and butter aroma profile with much of the same on the palate, plus some butterscotch and caramel for complexity. Medium-to-full bodied with restrained use of oak and just a kiss of sweetness on the palate. There's a fine seam of acidity and the finish is excellent in length. Released in VINTAGES on November 8th. Score: 90 pts
HIDDEN BENCH PINOT NOIR 2012 - VQA Beamsville Bench, Ontario, Canada (#274753) (XD) - $29.95
Booth: Winery. Classic Pinot aromas and flavours. Elegant nose of sour cherry, strawberry and beetroot of medium-high intensity with balanced aroma replays on the palate, along with hints of mushroom and subtle oak spice. Medium+ level of tannins are not overbearing and show good balance with the very good acids. Well-balanced red wine with excellent length on the finish. Drink now or over the next 5 years. Available in VINTAGES. Score: 91 pts
HIDDEN BENCH TERROIR CACHÉ 2010 - VQA Beamsville Bench, Ontario, Canada (#505610) (XD) - $38.20
Booth: Winery. Blend of 53% Merlot, 19% Cabernet Franc, 16% Cabernet Sauvignon, and 12% Malbec. Seductive medley of purple, black and red fruits, along with floral, cherry, licorice, forest floor, sweet vanilla and hints of cocoa. On the palate, it's full-bodied and has violet, cassis, black & red currants, licorice and oak flavours. Complex and poised with mouth-watering acids and a finish that lasts! Amazing wine! Released in VINTAGES on November 8th. Score: 92 pts
LIGHTHALL PROGRESSION 2013 - VQA Ontario, Canada (#) (D) - $20
Booth: Winery. Off-dry sparkling wine made with 100% Vidal. Score: 89 pts
HEINRICH BLAUFRÄNKISCH 2012 - DAC Burgenland, Austria (#) (XD) - $24.95
Booth: Wines of Austria. Made using the Blaufränkisch grape (also known as Lemberger), this comes across as quite similar to Pinot Noir with earthy, sour cherry, beetroot aromas. It's light-to-medium bodied with strawberry, cherry, red fruit and oak spice flavours on the palate. Has very good acids and a long finish. Score: 89 pts
DR. LOOSEN ÜRZIGER WÜRZGARTEN RIESLING KABINETT 2013 - Pradikätswein, Mosel, Germany (#927756) (MD) - $21.95
Booth: Wines of Germany. Medium-high intensity aromatics showing lovely citrus, petrol and orange aromas, with all making a balanced appearance on the palate. Medium-dry sweet with vibrant acids and a lengthy finish. Released in VINTAGES on October 11th. Score: 91 pts
STUDERT-PRÜM WEHLENER SONNENUHR RIESLING SPÄTLESE 2012 - Pradikätswein, Mosel, Germany (#912659) (M) - $28.95
Booth: Wines of Germany. Mineral-driven orange zest and petrol aromas of medium-high intensity. Vibrant acids on the mineral-driven palate with peach flavours dominating the flavour profile. Medium in sweetness and excellent length on the finish. Gorgeous wine for those that enjoy sweet wines. Released in VINTAGES on October 11th. Score: 91 pts
WEGELER RÜDESHEIMER BERG SCHLOSSBERG RIESLING KABINETT 2012 - Rheingau, Germany (#378083) (M) - $25.95
Booth: Wines of Germany. Highly aromatic nose featuring sweet beeswax, citrus, and honey wafting out of the glass. Medium-bodied palate is medium sweet with honeyed fruit and orange flavours. Excellent balance overall with finely tuned acids and a mineral-tinged finish that goes on forever. My favourite wine of the evening and was released in VINTAGES on September 27th. Score: 93 pts
JEAN-MARC BROCARD SAINTE CLAIRE VIEILLES VIGNES CHABLIS 2013 - AC, Burgundy, France (#329995) (XD) - $24.95
Booth: Sommelier Tasting Bar in VIP Area. Released in VINTAGES on November 8th. Grapes for this wine come from 60-year-old vines. Unoaked. Elegant buttered popcorn and buttery apple aromas with very nice aroma replays on the medium+ bodied, creamy palate. Good balance over all, with balanced acids and a long, smooth finish. Delightful! Score: 90 pts
MUSKOKA LAKES WINERY RED MAPLE 2012 - (#) (S) $23.95
Booth: Winery. Delicious dessert wine made with cranberry and some maple syrup. Score: 90 pts