Archive of ‘Wine’ category

2014 London Wine & Food Show

Last weekend, I was lucky enough to attend the London Wine & Food Show. I was amazed at all of the delicious things to eat and drink at the show…and in London itself!

Desktop4The London Food and Wine show happens once a year, and it showcases the best food and wine in the region.

First up, I met with EPIC Wine Country. EPIC stands for Essex Pelee Island Coast. (Awesome, right?) This region of Ontario has been producing wine since the 1860s. During prohibition, the value of grapes dropped so farmers decided to sell tobacco instead. Luckily, tobacco demand declined and in the 80s, people in the region started making wine and growing grapes again. Due to their location, wine made in EPIC Country is a little sweeter and not as acidic as wines made elsewhere in Ontario. The region is known for Riesling, Chardonnay and Cabernet Franc.

There are 18 wineries in the area, and the wine route is very compact and easy to do in a weekend.

I loved talking with all of the passionate wine makers and tasting their delicious wines! I definitely found a few favorites. Here are my top 4.

Colio Estate Winery

IMG_9547Colio Estate Winery was the second winery to set up shop on the island. I liked their labels, specially the Bricklayer label.

I enjoyed their Bricklayer Wine, which is a homage to the Italian bricklayers that immigrated there. This wine is Pinot Grigio mixed with Chardonnay. It’s a 0 but comes across as a 1 because of the Pinot Grigio.  Goes well with pasta with a white sauce or seafood.

Pelee Island Winery

Pelee Island Winery is located on…you guessed it, Pelee Island! Visit the island, the Southern most inhabited point of Canada and have some wine to boot!

Visitors can enjoy the summer in a very relaxed atmosphere and can even BBQ their own food from their deli hut.
Pelee Island Time
was my absolute favourite white wine. It has a bit of videl ice wine with a dry fruit finish, almost cooked. It was sweet and oh so good.

Bonus! It’s available at the LCBO.

Sprucewood Shores Estate Winery

IMG_20140118_155031600Sprucewood Shores is right on the shore on Lake Erie. Visitors can enjoy gourmet picnic baskets with a glass of wine down by the lake. In the summer they host Sips Sounds and Bites every Sunday with local food and live music.
My favourite rosé of the day was their 2011 Rosé. It was clean and crisp with overtones of strawberry. It’s currently only available at their winery- a great reason to visit!

Cooper’s Hawk Vineyards


Cooper’s Hawk Vineyards has lots of wildlife and there are lots of hawks on the property. The owner also happens to be a cooper- someone who makes barrels- so their name fits more ways than one!

Their winery is a LEED property and is on conservation land. They’ve only been open for 2 years, but many of their 2012 whites are already sold out!

Their 2012 Rosé was my second favourite rose of the day. It was nice and sweet but not overly so. They paired it with dark chocolate and it was amazing. It is available on direct delivery and at the LCBO!

I drank a lot of great wine to get to those favourites! Of course, there was more than just wine…there was also beer!

Bayside Brewingbayside bayside2I’m not a beer drinker, but was won over by Bayside Brewing‘s Bayside Light Lager. It was refreshing without being weak. It’s 4% ABV with a well balanced finish. Check out their cool, custom driftwood taps.

Their location in Erieau, ON includes a micro-brewery, retail area, tasting room and BrewPub.

Now onto the food!

The Arts & Cookery Bank was there serving up spiked homemade marshmallows! So good. They are actually a digital photo gallery (cool, huh?) in Elgin County housed in a converted 1914 Bank of Montreal and an 1883 timber frame barn! The barn houses a kitchen and you can take cooking lessons! Find out more here.

January 2014 Of course, you can’t have a Food & Wine show without cheese! Gunn’s Hill had some fab cheese out to try. All of their cheese is made with milk from their family farm!

My favourite was their Oxford’s Harvest, a  mild, creamy Swiss style cheese with cumin inside. 5 Brothers is a mix of Gouda and Swiss and is aged for 8 months.

I also sampled some delicious sheep milk Gouda from Blyth Cheese.

I had such a fun weekend visiting London and this show. Thanks to Ontario’s Southwest for giving me a taste of what the region has to offer!

Click here to find out more about the London Wine and Food Show.

Taste the Season this November at Niagara-on-the-Lake

Last weekend, I explored the wineries of Niagara on the lake with Taste the Season!

Taste the Season
lets you celebrate the season’s bounty with locally inspired VQA wine and food pairings at 27 wineries.

Each pairing includes a glass of wine and a delicious bite. This weekend I went to Small Talk, Hinterbrook, Konzelmann, Southbrook, Hillebrand, and more!

Above is a pairing from HINTERBROOK ESTATE WINERY. 2011 Cabernet Merlot with a mini Braised Beef Pot Pie topped with cheese.

My favourite winery was Small Talk. I loved their bright colours and cheeky branding…not to mention their wine!



It was a lot of wine, delicious food and tons of fun! A Taste the Season Touring Pass: $44.25 per person or $35 if you are the driver and just want to eat!

I recommend making a weekend out of it and staying at the many lovely inns in town.

Taste the Season is in Niagara-on-the-Lake on FRIDAYS, SATURDAYS & SUNDAYS on NOVEMBER 1-3, 8-10, 15-17, 22-24, 11 am to 5 pm

Why Wait Wednesdays at Eight Wine Bar


Wednesday gets a bad rap. It’s the middle of the week, and everyone is blah and just waiting for Friday.
Now with Why Wait Wednesdays, you can dance and drink your Wednesdays away at Eight Wine Bar!


Yummy Cosmo

With $5 drinks, $5 beer and $5 wine on tap, you can pretend its Friday as you dance to tunes from DJ Vladi Dadi.


Along with your wine, enjoy new menu items that feature a burger board, fresh steamed mussels and old favourites such as lamb spring rolls, lobster rolls and truffle popcorn.

Wednesdays 5 p.m. to 8 p.m. at Eight Wine Bar,  8 Colborne St  Toronto, ON (at the Cosmopolitan Hotel)


Magnetic Hill Winery


Just up the hill in Moncton is one of the most adorable wineries that you’ll ever see. This bright yellow house is not only part of the Magnetic Hill Winery, but you can also stay there at the Bed & Breakfast.

The house was actually a beautiful 1867 estate home. Owners Jeff and Janet had a vision. They bought the home and put tons of work into lovingly restoring it. They raised the house and built another building directly underneath it to become the winery shop. The winery has been open since 2005.

September 20134

The shop itself is stuffed with tiny delights- like metal man wine bottle holders or giant high heel bottle holders.


All of their wines use their hand-picked fruit and are fermented, filtered and bottled on site. Stop by for a free tasting and experience some delicious fruit wines!

We blind taste tested Illusions, their award winning white wine that was made using…wait for it…rhubarb! They grow and harvest the rhubarb for the wine. The wine was dry with a medium body and didn’t taste like rhubarb at all! We also got to try a strawberry wine and a red blueberry wine.

My favourite two wines were: Mystique: A cranberry wine with a sweet taste on the tongue that fades and leave you with a nice kick. I love it, because I prefer sweeter wines, but not -that- sweet. This wine is a 1 on the sweetness scale.


Speaking of sweet, my other favourite was the Chocolate River Spiced Fruit Wine. It was served in a fun way! We were invited to take a bit of chocolate covered puffed quinoa (yeah! delicious!). First, we took a sip of the sweet wine that had notes of blueberry and various spices. Then, we tasted the chocolate quinoa and the wine together- amazing!
A fancy way to serve this dessert wine (a 5 on the sweetness scale) would be to put the quinoa in the glass and then pour wine over it. What a treat!

This little wine shop has tons of personality and character. The owners have re-purposed parts of the original house that the bed and breakfast is now in. The old fashioned wooden insulation has been used to create one of a kind gift crates for gifts. The old windows and kitchen cupboards are used as displays in the shop. And the bright, buttercup yellow colour of the house? Inspired by the old kitchen cupboards. If you look up, you can see the original foundations of the house above you.

Fancy a snack? You can purchase a picnic basket filled with cheese, crackers and wine to enjoy on the premises in while taking in the view.

Best of all, the wine is affordable (prices range from $11- 15) and one of a kind. It makes a great gift! Click here to see all of the wine list.

California dreaming with iYellow Wine Club



When I first came across iYellow Wine Club, I was intrigued. I’ve been to wine classes before (notably, the LCBO class I took a couple of years ago) but I am by no means an expert. I was very excited to be a guest at the final session of one of their classes.

Angela and Chris

Angela and Taylor

The founder of iYellow Wine Club is Angela Aiello. She designed the club to help build wine confidence. With this club, you can taste, learn and have fun with wine.

The Winter session classes were held weekly at the lovely Ritz Carlton Hotel from Feb until April. Each class ran from 6-7:30pm and is $45 per class. At each class you get to taste 6 wines all paired with (DELICIOUS) cheeses specially selected from the TOCA Cheese Cave. The theme for the winter classes was California Wines.

blind taste test!

blind taste test!

I unwittingly arrived on exam day. The class had to blind taste  6 wines, 3 white and 3 red. We had to guess the grape, vintage (how old the wine is) and region. Needless to say, I just watched. And was amazed! This class knew their stuff. The class was fun and informal. Sommelier Taylor Thompson and Angela were charming and informative as we tasted each wine.

Here are some things that I learned:

  • Wine legs are the streaks of wine the fall down the glass after you have swirled the wine. If the legs fall quickly, the wine could be from a cool climate.
  • If wines are called a specific grape, it must contain at least 75% of the grape
  • Don’t know what to say about tasting notes in a white wine? Try pear, there is almost always a note of pear in a white wine
  • If the wine is a ruby red colour, it’s a young wine. Red wine gets brown with age.
  • If the wine has less acidity, it could be a warmer wine.
  • If you taste leather or earth, the wine has been aged.

The wines we tasted included: Entwine, Bonterra Piont Noir,and Silver Palm chardonnay. Yum.

After the quiz, our wines were accompanied with some fantastic cheese (and really good bread) from Toca’s cheese cave.



I snuck a quick peek at the Toca cheese cave

I loved this class, and would definitely recommend signing up for their next session. In addition to classes, iYellow Wine Club organizes day trips and wine events around Toronto and outside the city. On May 25th they will be hosting a Prince Edward County Tour and they have several other Toronto events. If you’ve always wanted to learn about wine, but were too afraid, this is the club for you.

Say Cheese & Say Cheers: Black Creek Pioneer Village Beer Workshop

Last night, I went to Say Cheese and Say Cheese at Black Creek Pioneer Village for the first time. (Full disclosure, I work closely with BCPV) I haven’t been back to Black Creek since I was in grade 6! So it was a unique experience. The beer workshop is hosted by the lovely Julia Rogers, cheese society member and all around awesome person.

The tour started off with one of Black Creek’s cheerful animators leading us around the village. Each person was assigned a character card, and we learned a lot about what the beer scene was like in the 19th century. The principal beer makers were women!  They made beer for the whole family. Also, women could only own property if they were widowed.

After learning a bit about everyone’s characters, we traipsed into the mill. We took a look at barley and other things needed to make beer. Barley looks like coffee when it’s all ground up! Barley also is what gives beer it’s colour and most of it’s flavour.

After the tour, we headed down into the brewery and pub. Julia had arranged a nice selection of Canadian cheese and beer.

The first pairing was St. Albert’s Cheddar and Black Creek India Pale Ale. This cheese was my favourite! It was medium textured and creamy. It’s available in various stores, and also at Pusateri’s fruit market.  Black Creek IPA is made on site and is available at the LCBO.

The next pairing was Lankaaster cheese from Glengarry Cheese. It was an hard aged cow milk cheese, and reminded me a bit of Parmesan. I liked it. It was paired with Creemore Springs urBock, a strong German lager, from Creemore, Ontario. A great ale for winter.

Next up was C’est Bon Chevre, which I enjoyed. This goat cheese was from Transvaal Farm in Saint Mary, Ontario. It was  light and delicious! One of the things that I loved about this event was hearing stories about the cheese maker. This particular goat came from Riverdale Farm! And now it’s happily living on Transvaal Farm. The cheese was paired with a festive fall Pumpkin Ale from Great Lakes Brewery, in Etobicoke.

(PS: These sweet potato “root chips” were delicious! And made in-house. )

Mouton Rouge was next, a raw sheep milk cheese from Ewenity Dairy Co-op, in Fergus, Ontario. This cheese wasn’t my favourite. It was supple and a bit gritty. This cheese was paired with Black Oak Nut Brown Ale, made at the Black Oak Brewery in Oakville! This brown ale goes well with meat and bitter chocolate.

Last but not least was Celtic Blue Cheese, a creation from Glengarry Cheese, in Glengarry, Ontario. This firm cow milk cheese was served on a dollop of strawberry jam. The contrast between the sweet jam and nutty cheese was perfect.  This was paired with a whopping 10% beer, Trois Mousquetaires Imperial Baltic Porter, from Les Trois Mousquetaires in Brossard, Quebec.

All in all, it was a fantastic experience! This was the last session for the year, but more workshops will happen in 2012, and each pairing is different!

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