Showing posts with label wine. Show all posts
Showing posts with label wine. Show all posts

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  • Saturday, October 29, 2016

Giveaway - Win Tickets to 2016 Gourmet Food & Wine Expo



I am giving away three (3) pairs of 'Elite Pass' tickets (valued at $100/pair) to the upcoming 2016 Gourmet Food & Wine Expo that is taking place from Thursday, November 17 to Sunday, November 20 at the Metro Toronto Convention Centre in downtown Toronto. Tickets are valid for any one day of your choosing.

Your chance to win tickets to #GFWE and contest entry form is at the bottom of this post.

2016 Gourmet Food & Wine Expo

The 22nd annual Gourmet Food & Wine Expo offers you 1,500 wines, beers, spirits and gourmet foods to experience - more than ever before. You can journey around the globe with cooking pros, talk one-on-one with industry experts and taste the newest dishes and drinks.

You will have the opportunity to sample tons of new craft beer, awesome spirits, world-class wine and of course, food from some of the area’s top restaurants and chefs.

Some of this year's highlights include:
  • Tutored Tastings Program offers the opportunity to taste some of the world's best wines while learning from top industry experts. Separate ticket required - purchase here.
  • Chef Stage features complimentary cooking demonstrations all weekend hosted by celebrity guests and incredibly talented locals.
  • #TrendCentral Stage presents interactive tastings sessions of cutting-edge wines, beers and spirits.
  • Spiritology Pavilion infuses passionate bartenders into the heart of the action to showcase the latest from Toronto’s exciting cocktail scene.
  • Grand Tasting Bar offers a unique opportunity to taste incredible wines alongside top industry experts.
Having attended this event each of the past 5 years, I can tell you firsthand that you'll have a great time!

Event Details:

When:Thursday, Nov. 17, 2016, 6-10 p.m. VIP Preview Evening
Friday, Nov. 18, 2016, 2-10 p.m.
Saturday, Nov. 19, 2016, 12-10 p.m.
Sunday, Nov. 20, 2016, 12-6 p.m.

Where:Metro Toronto Convention Centre, North Building
255 Front Street West
Toronto, ON

Must be 19 years of age or older. No children or infants permitted.

How to Enter:


Gourmet Food & Wine Expo 2016 Ticket Giveaway

Good luck!




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  • Saturday, September 3, 2016

SwirlTO - Elevated Beverage Experience in Toronto

SwirlTO Buy Tickets
At the end of , you will have the opportunity to heighten your senses at SwirlTO - an elevated beverage experience unlike any other. With no need for tickets or tokens, guests enjoy an all-inclusive night of wine tasting along with spirits and beer tasting for one ticket price. Premium wines, spirits and beers from more than 80 exhibitors, together with exciting entertainment and distinctive food pairings from Oliver & Bonacini make SwirlTO a must-attend event this fall.

Some of the names you'll see there include Beringer, Cesari, Foreign Affair, Henry of Pelham, Masi, Thomas George, Yalumba, Nickel Brook Brewing, and El Dorado.

SwirlTO will also feature the Canadian Whisky Tour presented by the LCBO in The Round Room, bringing guests back in time to indulge in a night of premium beverages and distinctive food pairings. Elegant décor and exuberant entertainment combined with unforgettable tastings will deliver an engaging and tantalizing experience for all the senses.

Meet winery, distillery and brewery principals that will be bringing hundreds of premium products. Each sample will have an exclusive pairing created by Oliver & Bonacini. You can also take Master Classes in wine and spirits. It’s an all-inclusive evening for the novice, enthusiast and expert.

As a bonus for my readers, use SwirlTO Promo Code VWP10 and save $10 off your tickets. Click here to buy your tickets today. Enjoy and see you there!

Event Details:

When: from 6:30 p.m. to 10:00 p.m.
Where: The Carlu - 7th Floor, 444 Yonge St, Toronto, ON
Tickets: Save $10 when you use Promo Code VWP10
Buy SwirlTO Tickets Here




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  • Saturday, November 22, 2014

2014 Gourmet Food & Wine Expo

Tutored Tasting on Wine Faults at GFWE
I arrived for the 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.

Hidden Bench Terroir Caché 2010 from VQA Beamsville Bench, Ontario, Canada

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 Rubs & Spices
Given my self-imposed dietary restrictions, food options seemed quite limited. After having toured the entire venue and tasting many, many wines, I was famished, and headed straight to the 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
Two orders of 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

Persuasion Dragon Blend 2010 from Sonoma, California, USACornerstone Cabernet-Merlot 2010 from VQA Niagara Peninsula, Ontario, Canada

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

Garcia Carrion Mayor de Castilla Crianza 2010 from DO Ribera del Duero, Spain

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 Estate Riesling 2013 from VQA Beamsville Bench, Ontario, CanadaHidden Bench Estate Chardonnay 2012 from VQA Beamsville Bench, Ontario, CanadaHidden Bench Pinot Noir 2012 from VQA Beamsville Bench, Ontario, Canada

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

Lighthall Progression 2013 from VQA Ontario, CanadaHeinrich Blaufränkisch 2012 from DAC Burgenland, Austria

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

Dr. Loosen Ürziger Würzgarten Riesling Kabinett 2013 from Pradikätswein, Mosel, Germany

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

Studert-Prüm Wehlener Sonnenuhr Riesling Spätlese 2012 from Pradikätswein, Mosel, GermanyWegeler Rüdesheimer Berg Schlossberg Riesling Kabinett 2012 from Rheingau, Germany

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

Jean-Marc Brocard Sainte Claire Vieilles Vignes Chablis 2013 from AC, Burgundy, France

MUSKOKA LAKES WINERY RED MAPLE 2012 - (#) (S) $23.95
Booth: Winery. Delicious dessert wine made with cranberry and some maple syrup. Score: 90 pts

Muskoka Lakes Winery Red Maple 2012


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  • Saturday, November 16, 2013

2013 Gourmet Food & Wine Expo - Review

2013 Gourmet Food & Wne Expo
On , I attended the Gourmet Food & Wine Expo VIP night. The show returned for its 19th year, and this is the 3rd consecutive year (4th overall) that I attended. I always find the event to be super-busy for a Thursday night. However, it did seem like there were fewer people this year. Or, perhaps it only felt more spacious because they moved the event to the upper level of the North Building.

After purchasing some sample tickets, I walked around a bit to get a feel for everything and eventually began tasting at the Michael Andrew Brands booth to sample a selection of quality wines from Giesen (NZ) and Fielding Estate Winery (Niagara). Following that, I made an unexpected stop at the Christopher Stewart Wines & Spirits booth to taste a couple of Spanish red wines that I had never heard of. It was definitely the worth the stop as the Bula 2011 (wine review below) ended up being the best value wine of the night for me. It's arriving in LCBO Vintages in January, but you'll get a chance to pre-taste this before it hits the shelves.

While walking around, I came across the Muskoka Lakes Winery booth, with Matt French holding down the fort. We tweeted each other a couple of years ago at this very same show, but failed to meet at the time. Because of this connection, the following summer I visited the winery out in Bala, Ontario and tasted some very fine fruit wines. On Thursday, I tasted their 2010 Portage - a fortified dessert wine that was made using blueberries. It was very yummy!

I eventually found my way into the Fine Wine Lounge, where last year I tasted some amazing German Rieslings. This year, it was all about the Alsatian Pinot Gris at the Trialto Wine Group booth.

By now, I was starting to feel a little hungry and went searching for some food. I ended up having a Lobster Taco from the Rock Lobster group (booth #630). The next stop was Hidden Bench Vineyard and Winery for some top notch wines. I had tasted a couple of their white wines at the recent Taste Ontario! event, so tonight I opted for their Rosé and a couple of reds. Their Pinot Noir was easily the best wine I tasted all night, but it's $38 and only available at the winery. Definitely taste this if you get the chance!

After that I decided I was done tasting wanted to use my remaining tickets on some food items. I happened to see Paris Crepes Cafe (booth #231) and enjoyed a chocolate & fresh strawberry crepe to satisfy my sweet tooth. What happened next left a sour taste in my mouth.

There was only about 20 minutes remaining until the show was about to close, and I had 3 tickets remaining which I wanted to use on food. I happened to see a sign for IPA Kicked Chicken at the Magic Oven booth. It looked really good, and I was definitely interested in trying it. However, it was 5 tickets. So, as any savvy shopper would do, I asked the Owner if he could cut me a deal. I even offered to take a smaller portion, but he would have none of it - as he kept warming/turning samosas for what was probably Friday's crowd - and told me to go find a friend. He also made some other comments, which I won't repeat here. Suffice it to say, I wasn't pleased, especially since I have seen (and spoken to him) at wine trade tastings.

So off I go to find something worth 3 tickets and bump into Fire in the Kitchen (booth #1130), where they make specialized rubs and seasoning for grilling and oven roasting. Here, they offered a Mac & Cheese with Shredded Chicken which we could top with any of their seasonings that had been infused with oil. It was very delicious! The funny part about this is that I met the owner of Fire in the Kitchen a couple of summers ago in Bracebridge, when I was en route to Gravenhurst and Muskoka Lakes Winery. The rubs are quite tasty, and you can buy them at Longo's.

Bumping into friends and colleagues, and meeting new friends is always a highlight at these events. I won't name names, but you know who you are and it was great to see you! I did miss The Wine Sisters, who were apparently at the InterVin booth, but for the life of me I could not find it!

Here are my top 5 wines that you should try if you're heading out to the Gourmet Food & Wine Expo this weekend. Enjoy!

Tasting Notes:
HIDDEN BENCH ESTATE PINOT NOIR 2010 - VQA Beamsville Bench, Ontario, Canada (#) (XD) - $38
Medium-high intensity aromas that exude elegant notes of smoke, beetroot, cherry and florals. Aroma replays with ripe red fruits leading the way on the palate. Medium-bodied mouthfeel with integrated tannins and balanced throughout. The finish is medium-long and smooth. My kind of Pinot. Gorgeous. Available at the winery only. Score: 91 pts  (Booth #324)

Wine Review of 2010 Hidden Bench Estate Pinot Noir from VQA Beamsville Bench, Ontario, Canada

DOMAINE ZIND-HUMBRECHT CALCAIRE PINOT GRIS 2011 - AC Alsace, France (#190413) (M) - $27.95
Arrived in Vintages Nov. 9th. This white wine has a beautiful nose consisting of floral, peach and honeycomb. Juicy mouthfeel with bright acidity. Palate is medium in sweetness and has flavours similar to the aromas - peach and honey, along with minerals. Slight chalkiness arrives at the mid-palate. Finish is long and elegant. Very nice! Score: 90 pts  (Booths T03 & T04)

Wine Review of 2011 Domaine Zind-Humbrecht Calcaire Pinot Gris from Alsace, France

BODEGAS BULA 2011 - DO Montsant, Spain (#292094) (XD) - $17.95
Blend of 40% Carinena, 40% Garnacha (Grenache), and 20% Syrah. Medium-high intensity aromas of red currants, cherries and subtle smoke and dried figs. Full-bodied with red fruits, licorice, new leather, and sweet vanillan notes. Good structure, with tannins integrating very nicely. Finish is long and smooth. This red wine has the stuffing to age 5 years. Stay tuned - will be in Vintages this coming January. Score: 90 pts  (Booth #906)

Wine Review of 2011 Bodegas Bula from Montsant, Spain

MUSKOKA LAKES WINERY RED MAPLE 2012 - Canada (#050039) (S) (375 mL) - $23.95
Was one of my picks from the last Vintages release, but apparently didn't make it on to store shelves due to issues at the LCBO warehouse. Pleasant aromas of sweet cranberries and hints of maple syrup from the glass. Full-bodied, yet light on its feet with lovely aroma replays. Nice acidity. Hints of maple syrup continue on the medium-long finish. Sweet and delicious! Hopefully the issues will be resolved soon, as this is a recommended buy for the holidays.  (Booth #817)

Wine Review of 2012 Muskoka Lakes Winery Red Maple

GIESEN THE BROTHERS LAND SAUVIGNON BLANC 2012 - Marlborough, South Island, New Zealand (#308270) (XD) - $17.95
From the LCBO General List and readily available. Very nice and intense aromas of guava, passion fruit and nettle. Medium-bodied with bracing acidity. Aromas show through on the balanced palate. Vibrant with a lengthy, bitter finish. Chill well. Tasted this a few months ago at the iYellow Summer Wine Jam with fairly consistent notes. Score: 89 pts  (Booth #913)

Wine Review of 2012 Giesen The Brothers Land Sauvignon Blanc from Marlborough, South Island, New Zealand


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  • Saturday, November 17, 2012

Gourmet Food and Wine Expo 2012

Gourmet Food & Wine Expo 2012
On , I attended the Gourmet Food and Wine Expo VIP Preview Night. I arrived just after the show opened at 6 p.m. and the place was buzzing with lengthy lineups for sample tickets. Once I got upstairs to the main pavilion, I noticed the first few aisles were busy, while the rest of the venue was relatively quiet. I quickly seeked and found one of the many booths to purchase sample tickets - 1 sheet of 20 tickets cost $20 - and fortunately, this line was short.

Vintages booth at Gourmet Food and Wine Expo
My first stop was the Dreissigacker booth represented by K&S Wine Imports in the Fine Wine pavilion located in the northern part of the hall. I am regretting tasting only two of the lower-end Dreissigacker Rieslings as both were outstanding wines (full detailed reviews will be posted later). I can only imagine how good their top-tier wines are! Must check out if you enjoy German Rieslings! It's a shame these aren't available at the LCBO.

The next stop was Coyote's Run, also in the Fine Wine section, to taste their new Meritage. While it was good, it definitely needs at least 2 more years before it's drinkable. By now, it was time for me to head over to the Canadian Cheese Tasting.

Canadian Cheese
This year's cheese tasting definitely seemed to have less interest than last year. Perhaps it's because they didn't serve any wine to pair with the cheese? Regardless, I had already tasted 2 of the cheeses on the menu previously. Upper Canada's Comfort Cream is a soft cheese that I tasted last month, while the Avonlea Clothbound Cheddar is a favourite of mine and was tasted back in July. The other delicious cheeses we tasted were the 14 Arpents semi-soft, and the Ménestrel firm and Aged Farmhouse firm cheeses. The final cheese tasting was the Le Rassembleu (blue cheese) and this was quite different from other blue cheeses - it was firm and had very earthy/hay/manure aromas. On the palate, the blue cheese was more traditional in flavours dominated by saltiness.

Cornerstone chilled wine lineup
Following the cheese, my mouth was feeling quite dry, so it was definitely time to whet my taste buds with some wine. Walking around, I eventually found myself at the Cornerstone Estate Winery tasting quite a few wines from their expansive lineup. In case you didn't know, Cornerstone is also home to the 2012 Winemaker of the Year - Andrzej Lipinski. His influence is definitely felt in these wines as they were all above-average. The Gewurztraminer and the Chenin Blanc were my favourite. Definitely taste the Icewines if you visit this booth!

Next, I found myself at the Trialto booth to taste a big, primarily Merlot-based '09 Bordeaux. It's very nice! I love Malbec, and the Catena version at the Trialto booth also impressed me.

Over the past year, I learned that the Georgian region is the oldest wine-producing region in the world - going back 8,000 years. I had never tasted wine from this country before, and shows like this are a great opportunity to sample wines that you might not otherwise be adventurous and purchase. Georgia is known for making sweet red and white wines. I tasted one of each Thursday night and both are quite the experience. Both were different, but the Qvevris (white wine) was definitely more pleasurable for my palate.

Back to more traditional wine for my taste buds, I found myself at a French wine booth. A couple of low-end reds from Antonin Rodet were tasted, but I was left quite underwhelmed by both offerings. By now, I felt like I needed something to nosh on to get me through the last hour or so. I wandered around and bumped into a few friendly faces. One friend told me about lobster rolls that were located just around the corner from her booth. At 5 tickets, they were expensive and a bit small. But, they were delicious! Thanks for the suggestion, Lindsay!

I wandered around some more and eventually found my way to the WineAlign booth to chat with a few colleagues and other winos. Also got to meet John Szabo. While there, it was suggested I check out Hidden Bench Vineyards & Winery. I believe this was the first time I had tasted anything from Hidden Bench and I came away with only good feelings. Their Riesling is very good, while their Terroir Cache needs more time to settle. Soon after, the announcers started telling everyone to close shop and get out, politely of course. =)

The show continues to run today and Sunday, and I hope your visit will be enjoyable as you wade through the hundreds of wines that will be poured. As mentioned earlier, full reviews of the wines I tasted will be published in a future post. Cheers!


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  • Saturday, November 19, 2011

Gourmet Food & Wine Expo - Review

First time attending the Gourmet Food & Wine Expo in about 6-7 years and it has changed quite a bit (or maybe I've changed).

Got there early before the show was officially open and was able to roam around quite freely before the venue got packed - and it filled up fast once the doors opened.

I was able to attend the Cheese Pairing Seminar and it was a delight - 6 different cheeses paired with a Baco Noir, Reisling and... beer! Surprisingly, some of the cheeses did go well with beer. Check it out, if you get a chance. Many great cheese are also available throughout (quelle surprise!), some exhibitors offer free samples.

The Chilean olive oil is EXCELLENT. Very rich. Try it! I really should have purchased a bottle - I may ask someone to get me one. :) The hot sauce booths along the wall are always a favourite of mine at any show. Spanish paella was a sight to be seen - I wish I had taken a picture of the two pans.

It was great meeting friends throughout the night, and also meeting a quite a few new friends for the first time. I am sure our paths will cross again.

Ended up staying right 'til the end, when they started to usher patrons out.

Here are my Wine Reviews:

TRUMPOUR'S MILL PINOT NOIR - VQA Prince Edward County, Ontario, Canada (#230227) - $16.95
This was the first wine I've ever tasted from Prince Edward County. Light-medium bodied, with red fruits, uncomplicated. I look forward to visiting The Grange and the area next summer.

DEVIL'S LAIR FIFTH LEG SHIRAZ MERLOT CABERNET 2010 - Western Australia, Australia (#212605) - $15.95
I was wow-ed by this one. Raspberry, red fruits, oak, some mint/herbal notes. Full-bodied, full throttle red. Tasted more expensive. Recommended.

KACABA MERLOT RESERVE 2007 - Ontario, Canada - $42.95
Deserving gold medal winner at 2011 InterVin International Wine Awards. Not your typical Merlot - big, dark fruits, chocolate/mocha, well oaked, lots of grippy tannins. Long finish. Cellar a few years or open now and decant for an hour.

AMADO SUR MALBEC BONARDA SYRAH 2009 - Mendoza, Argentina (#037036) - $15.00
A light-style of Malbec that was more fruit forward. Red licorice, currant, plum flavours.


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  • Monday, November 14, 2011

Winners of Tickets to Gourmet Food & Wine Expo

Congratulations to the following winners who entered my contest and won a pair of tickets to the 2011 Gourmet Food & Wine Expo.

Winner of a pair of VIP tickets for :
Dhimal V.

Winners of a pair of of tickets for :

Enjoy the event!

Thank you to everyone else who entered in this contest! If you would like to purchase tickets to the event, click here for more information.







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  • Monday, October 24, 2011

Win Tickets to the Gourmet Food & Wine Expo

Contest is now closed. View winners here.


Want to go to the Gourmet Food & Wine Expo this November in Toronto? If you answered 'YES', then here is your chance to win a FREE tickets to the Expo.

The Gourmet Food & Wine Expo offers you an unparalleled opportunity to sample over 1,500 fine wines, beers and spirits from around the globe, and to savour the culinary delights from local restaurants. The Expo embraces the style and sophistication of a cocktail party paired with unprecedented educational opportunities and compelling feature areas.

Prizes:
  • One (1) Pair of Thursday VIP Preview Evening Tickets (Nov. 17)
    • Pair valued at $80
  • Two (2) Pairs of Friday Admission Tickets (Nov. 18)
    • Each pair valued at $36 (or $40 at the door)

How to Enter:
  • You can enter as many times as you wish using either (or both) of these methods:
    • "Like" this page and post to Facebook:

       
    • Follow me on Twitter (@cono_sur) and use this Tweet button:

Contest Duration:
  • Contest begins Monday, October 24th and ends on Saturday, November 12th at 12pm EST.
  • Three (3) lucky winners will be chosen at random. Winners will be announced by Monday, November 14th.

Good Luck!




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