Tasting Canadian wine at Harbourfront
By Elli Davis, February 18, 2009
Do you have an afternoon free to visit the islands or walk along the Toronto harbour? While you're there you could give Canadian wine another try?
Vineyard Estate Wines on Queens Quay goes all out to persuade you to engage with Canadian wine again. They offer a wine tasting and wine 101 class for you and up to seven of your friends, absolutely free (why it tops out at seven, who knows? - is it an obscure LCBO bylaw or perhaps it's to discourage hockey teams from showing up).
As a group we were greeted by manager Jennifer Hall who took our coats and lead us to the center of the store. The store was done in earth tones and was brightly lit. The atmosphere while not exactly romantic, certainly did not inhibit thirst or appetite.
Our sommelier was a charming enough chap by the name of Julian Benson. He had places set for each of us. Each place was set with six wine glasses of different shapes, a glass of water and a bread basket. Julian then went on to pour us wines from our local vineyards: Peller Estates, Hillebrand and Thirty Bench. Julian taught us how to tell the age and extract the different flavors of a wine. He reminded us what glasses one should use to serve different wine in, what temperature different wine tastes best at, and the importance of using a decanter.
We went first through the more popular white wines, on to the reds and finishing up with a single dessert wine. The final lesson in the tasting was to set criteria for your wine for the evening and come back with a suitable bottle. Well, there goes free but if you've had any luck at all with your tasting you are certain to find a bottle not to regret.
You certainly won't find a better value in food and drink anywhere at Harbourfront.