Monday, December 21, 2009

Report from ... Ontario Wine Society Taste & Order Event – November 30, 2009

In truth, I don’t have much to say about the wines, for the simple reason that the wines I tasted here will see the light of day in either my newsletter or Weekly Wine Note (though one of the wine reviews has already found its way into a Newsletter). But what I would like to say is that the evening was very impressive and interesting, if not a little overwhelming. Take into consideration that there were 33 wineries in attendance, each having 3-4 wines on for tasting; they were then spread out over 4 rooms, in alphabetical order, throughout the main level of the Faculty Club of the University of Toronto and you begin to see the scope of the event. This is made all the more impressive when you consider that the event was put on entirely by the volunteers of the Ontario Wine Society (OWS), no help from either the Wine Council, the LCBO or any other trade organization. According to VP of the OWS, Sadie Darby, “the event was put on to promote the wines and wineries of Ontario.” Those in the know about Ontario will realize that the province has well over 33 wineries, but the event was only open to those industry members of the OWS … which does help to explain the lack of support from the Wine Council, LCBO or anybody else because they would have wanted to have more winery inclusion - but really, could you imagine trying to taste over 100 wineries wines in only 3 hours? Nor can I.

Lots of wine was poured, and amongst them plenty of interesting new wines will be making its way onto the shelves of some of your favourite wineries. My top new wine of the evening, the yet to be released Peller Estates 2007 Andrew Peller Signature Cabernet Sauvignon (to be reviewed in a January newsletter); top County pick: Sandbanks 2007 Cabernet Merlot Reserve (to be reviewed in January) and top sweet selection, Lailey Vineyard 2008 Cabernet Sauvignon Icewine (another for the January newsletter).

Slight drawback was the lack of food presented, plenty of bread, but I saw only about one or two hors d’oeuvres trays, which were swarmed by attendees as quickly as they were spotted, leaving little for those late in arriving to the scene of the massacre – waiters should have demanded danger pay. Another drawback was that the Faculty Club does not really lend itself to this style of walk around event, sit down yes – I hosted a tasting for the OWS here earlier this year as a sit down affair – but the walk around style and the lay out of the place does not lend itself to this style of event; I almost missed the last room where the winery of my Chardonnay pick of the evening was just packing up; good thing I accosted Mario Testa before he hightailed it out the door and back to Stouffville.

All in all a very enjoyable and educational evening, and made more impressive that it was all done in house at the OWS. Their next event will be taking place in the Distillery District of Toronto at the Cannery Restaurant, and will be featuring Schott-Zwiesel stemware, my buddy Lloyd Thistle and yours truly … details can be found here.

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