Archive for Dinners

Burgundy Dinner @ Vintage Conservatory

Please join us for a Burgundy-themed dinner at the just-opened Vintage  Conservatory at 224 King Street West across from Roy Thomson Hall.

Monday, November 20, 6:30 p.m.
$225 per person (member & member guest)
(includes HST & gratuity)
40 person limit
224 King St. W

Register here.

Reception wine 

Your evening starts with a glass of NV Remi Leroy Extra Brut Champagne.

Remi Leroy is a small grower-producer located in the Aube. The Extra Brut is a perfect way to begin your special evening.


Seared scallops – Butternut squash purée, guanciale lardon, transmontanous caviar, pickled cauliflower, chili oil, micro greens

2015 Domaine Buisson-Charles Meursault Vieilles Vignes, Cote de Beaune
2015 Jean-Marc Vincent Auxey-Duresses Les Hautes, Cote de Beaune

Mushroom vol au vent – Chanterelle and oyster mushrooms, truffle cream, puff pastry, arugula, shaved truffle Parmigiano, balsamic reduction

2022 Domaine Clair Dau Marsannay Rosé Louis Jadot


Magre duck breast – Apple parsnip purée, grilled broccolini, grape jus, crispy shallots

2011 Domaine Antonin Guyon Les Fournières, Aloxe-Corton Premier Cru
2012 Domaine Berthaut-Gerbet – Denis Berthaut Fixin Les Crais, Cote de Nuits


This meal in a Toronto restaurant would cost at least charge $450 so we hope you agree that the event represents good value. As the Vintage Conservatory is a private club, corkage will not be charged for additional wine you wish to bring to enjoy. Please advise on dietary restrictions in the comment box when you register.





Une Soirée en France

Monday, November 29th Vintage Conservatory, Yorkville  7 PM— Imagine yourself on vacation in London. You stumble into the famed Berry Brothers & Rudd’s shop in fashionable St James’s St, looking for good wine. Their selection is outstanding and the merchant is so impressed with your knowledge of Bordeaux (or what she calls Claret) that she invites you to an exclusive dinner at the shop that evening.  It’s a joint venture with one of the dining clubs they have supplied over the centuries and will have a classic French theme:  Grower Champagne, Premier Cru Chablis, Mature Claret.  In the best EU communitaire spirit, it will end with a top Mosel Auslese with dessert.

With a start, you wake up and see your open laptop and realize what prompted the daydream … you were looking at Toronto Winetasters November Dinner – Une Sourée en France (with a détour to the Mosel).  It will be held at the Yorkville location of the Vintage Conservatory, where we have had several highly-successful dinners.  The event will be held in a private room, and of course, COVID protocols will be followed, including proof of vaccination.

Click here to register.

As the Vintage Conservatory is a private club, you may bring – with no corkage – additional wines from your cellar to share with friends and to supplement the evening should you so wish.

Menu & Wine list

Ruppert-Leroy Cuvée Papillon Pinot Noir Brut Nature, NV
Seared Hokkaido Scallop
parsnip, apple, fennel
Pascal Bouchard Montmains Chablis 1er Cru, 2015.
Braised Beef Short Rib
12 hour slow cooked Ontario Short Rib, braised in sherry until tender
– or –
Cherry Cola Braised Lamb Shank
each of Short Rib & Lamb Shank served atop
creamy aged cheddar polenta, with roasted glazed baby carrot, crispy onion
Ch Haut-Bages Averous, 1990
Ch Haut-Bages Averous, 2000
Ch Haut-Bages Averous, 2003
Honey & Lavender Panna Cotta
hazelnut florentine, bartlett pear
Dr. Pauly-Bergweiler Bernkasteler alte Badstube Am Doctorberg Riesling Auslese. 2003.

Note that we will be pouring 3.75 oz of the champagne and white wines, and 2.5 oz of each of the Bordeaux (approx. 18.5 oz total).

Cost and Registration

The cost for members is $200, including HST and gratuity; and the cost for guests is $250.  (Click here to join/renew if you haven’t renewed your membership yet).  We think this is excellent value – think of it as $145 before tax and tip, for three courses and a tasting flight of six mature wines.

If you’re hooked already,  click here to register.

Note that attendance is limited to 40 as we have limited quantities of these rare clarets.  For the next week, until midnight Friday, November 12,  sign-up will be only for our members and their guests.  After that, we will be opening this up to Vintage Conservatory members as well.

Or, for more details of the event to help you decide, read on!

The Meal & Wines

Our November event is a French dinner showcasing three classic wine regions – Champagne, Chablis, and Bordeaux: with a detour to the Mosel for a final flourish.  We will be back at Vintage Conservatory, Yorkville, with a fine dinner matched to these pre-eminently food-friendly wines.  Of course, as a wine club, we started with the wines and worked with Chef Sean to design a menu to complement them.

The evening will begin in style with une coupe de ChampagneChampagne Ruppert-Leroy Cuvée Papillon Pinot Noir Brut Nature, NV (base year 2017).  This is a very limited Grower champagne from a relatively new, and exciting, producer.  Gérard Ruppert bought his first parcel of chardonnay vines in 1970, just outside Essoyes.  His grapes were in increasing demand by winemakers and – skipping ahead – he eventually persuaded his daughter, Bénédicte Leroy, to join him and they started making their own wine.  Their first vintage was in 2010.  Their wines are highly regarded by connoisseurs and writers such as Galloni.  This cuvée is named for the butterflies that frequent the vines in the original vineyard.

This wine is a massale selection from the original vineyard of what are now over 30-year-old vines,   sees no sulfur, and has no malolactic fermentation.  It has notes of ripe blood orange, baked apple, peach, and red fruits, good length, and a mineral finish – it will be an outstanding aperitif.


It will be followed by Pascal Bouchard Montmains Chablis 1er Cru, 2015.  This is classic Chablis that is now ‘in the zone’.  2015 yielded wines on the richer side for Chablis.  Wine Enthusiast wrote of this wine in 2018 “Full of ripe yellow fruits, textured and still young, the wine has a toasty character from wood aging. Drink this rich wine from 2021.  91 pts”   Chablis and scallops are of course a classic combination, so guess what – our first course features Seared Hokkaido Scallops.  These are some of the most prized scallops, good enough for sushi.  Searing and pairing with parsnip apple and fennel will give the complexity to perfectly match this wine.


With our main course, we are pouring a trinity of Ch Haut-Bages Averous vintages – 1990, 2000, and 2003.  This is the second wine of Ch Lynch-Bages (renamed to Echo de Lynch-Bages in 2008).  Lynch-Bages has been dubbed a sort of poor man’s Mouton by Hugh Johnson.  It is, like most Pauillac, dominated by Cabernet Sauvignon at 75%.  The wine growing and winemaking techniques for Haut-Bages Averous are identical to the grand vin. It represents about 25% of the total production of the estate.

All three wines are now fully mature and will provide an interesting contrast in styles from the different vintages.

1990 – an excellent year following the quinquennial rule.  Jancis Robinson wrote “Second scorching year in a row. Very ripe, alluring wines at all levels, many outstanding. The vintage character of velvety texture and luscious, almost overripe fruit is one of the easiest to spot and tends to impose itself over any geographical characteristics.

2000 – ditto!  It was also heavily hyped at the time, Jancis Robinson wrote “Great consistency and balance. The petits châteaux represented some of Bordeaux’s best value for many years”

2003 – saw a massive heatwave in the summer which created a controversial vintage of substantial wines – praised by Parker, not so much by Robinson.  Many wines have eventually turned out a lot better than might have been thought at the time.

Our second course offers a choice of proteins – both perfectly matched to these wines, dominated by Cabernet Sauvignon and with resolved tannins and a savory profile.  Lamb is the classic partner with Claret – one thing that England and France agree on!  But Braised short ribs, slow-cooked and melting off the bone are also wonderful.  We are offering a choice of Cherry Cola braised lamb shank, or 12 hours slow cooked Ontario Short Rib, braised in sherry until tender.  Decisions, decisions! Note that you will have to make your selection when you sign up.


With our dessert of Honey-Lavender Panna Cotta, we will be pouring Dr. Pauly-Bergweiler Bernkasteler alte Badstube Am Doctorberg Riesling Auslese. 2003.  A hot summer here as well but top estates made excellent wines.  At eighteen years of age, this debutante is ready!  Anthony Gismondi has written,

“On the palate an explosion of apricot, ripe apple, egg yolk, orange, guava, honey and lime with some petrol and lanolin at the end. Crisp, ripe finish with fine balance, elegance and intensity”.

A match made in heaven; or at least in Yorkville!

The cost for members is $200, including HST and gratuity; and the cost for guests is $250.  Click here to register for Une Soirée en France.  (Click here to join or renew your membership.)

COVID Protocol

Our event will have a seated capacity capped at 40 people.  For compliance with COVID protocols, masks will be required when not seated.  In addition, members and guests will have to complete a short questionnaire and submit proof of completed vaccination before attending – details on the registration page.




Two Hands

Winetasters @Home Episode 7
Australian Wine Dinner
Wednesday, May 26th, 8:00 PM



Event Summary

Many of you will remember the very successful Two Hands tasting that we had at the beginning of last year.   A comment we heard frequently that evening was that the wines needed food.  Well, here is your chance!  For our seventh (yes, really!)  Winetasters@Home© event, we are delighted to present a dinner with an all-Australian wine selection.

The wines:  Vasse Felix Heytesbury Chardonnay 2017 to start, three Two Hands Shiraz, all from 2007,  and Chambers Old Vines Muscat to end with. The white and red wines will come, carefully decanted, in 4 OZ servings and the dessert wine will be 2 Ozs. There are 48 wine packages available.

The food: Chef Gregory and his team at the Vintage Conservatory have created a five-course tasting menu to go with the wines.

The online event:  8 pm on  Wednesday, May 26th. We hope that this time will allow you to enjoy your meal and the wines, before joining your friends online in Google Meet.   Be sure to save a bit of your wine for the discussion!

Registration: Wine service for this event is $65 for members, $90 for non-members, including GST/HST,  click here to register. Foodservice is $65 plus HST, click here to order.

The Wines and the Menu

This event will feature five wines from Toronto Winetasters’ cellar. A vegetarian menu option is also available.

Vasse Felix Heytesbury Chardonnay 2017

Nova Scotia Scallop – summer pea puree, corn emulsion, apple chutney
Honey Ricotta Ravioli – parmesan lemon sauce, toasted pine nuts


Two Hands Harry & Edward’s Garden (Langhorne Creek) Shiraz 2007
Two Hands Max’s Garden (Heathcote, Victoria) Shiraz 2007
Two Hands Zippy’s Block (Barossa) Shiraz 2007

Forrest Mushroom Salad – walnut and roquette pesto, truffle vinaigrette
Braised Short Rib – pomme puree, sautéed kale, braising reduction


Chambers Rosewood Vineyard Rutherglen Old Vines Muscat, NV
(from 100+  year old vines)
(and Zippy’s Block Shiraz, if you have some left!)

Chocolate cake – red wine chocolate ganache

We’re sure you will want to play with the wine pairings a bit – for example, Barossa Shiraz can pair very well with Chocolate.


The Wineries

Vasse Felix is Margaret River’s founding wine estate, established in 1967. The vineyards in Margaret River contain ancient soils, situated near-twin oceans, which creates an ideal environment for growing world-class Cabernet Sauvignon and Chardonnay. Vasse Felix has four vineyards situated throughout Margaret River producing wines recognized as Margaret River benchmarks.

Two Hands’ rise to fame has been meteoric – from the germ of an idea in 1999 by Michael Twelftree and Richard Mintz, it had by 2012 achieved ten consecutive years in Wine Spectator top 100 and their success continues today.  The wines are not for the faint of heart – these are big, even massive, wines (can exceed 15% alcohol), but with the polish to attract high Parker scores.  Shiraz was their initial focus and remains their core today.

Chambers Rutherglen, established in 1858, the Chambers family has been making “honest wines with a sense of place” for over six generations. Chambers produces highly prized fortified wines such as the Muscat and Muscadelle. Robert Parker Jr describes them as ‘some of the world’s most remarkable dessert wines’.

The Vintage Conservatory

The Vintage Conservatory’s kitchen will be familiar to many of you by now.  They did the very successful “Off the Beaten Path” dinner for us in February.   Our dinner is being prepared by Executive Chef Gregory Hogg.

How to participate

Wine service for this event is $65 members, $90 non-members, including GST/HST,
click here to registerFoodservice is $65 plus HST, click here to order.

The wine portion of this event is limited to 48 orders. Register quickly to avoid disappointment.

Beginning at 14:00  on Wednesday, May 26, you will be able to pick up your package (of wines and/or food) at either the downtown location on Lombard St (Adelaide  & Church) or at the uptown location at Avenue Road and 401 (just north of the 401).   You can also drop off bottles from prior events for future re-use.  Full details will be in the confirmation email after you sign up, which will also include the Google Meet link.

Vasse Felix Vineyard

The Wines – Tasting Notes

Vasse Felix Heytesbury Chardonnay 2017

A crisp note of flint emerges in the background of this intense white, offering a core of peach, melon, and tangerine flavors. Shades of green tea linger on the finish, with fresh acidity. 91 points Wine Spectator

Two Hands Harry & Edward’s Garden (Langhorne Creek) Shiraz 2007

Minty, plummy and chocolaty, with a soft, velvety texture, this is a solid example of what the Shiraz Langhorne Creek is capable of producing. Some will criticize the slight eucalypt character, while others will laud its regional character. 90 points Wine Enthusiast

Two Hands Max’s Garden (Heathcote, Vicator) Shiraz 2007

Winemaker Notes
The color is a deep magenta with black hues. On the nose, red to black fruit characters of raspberries and red currants intermingle with darker cherry-like chocolate aromas. Subtle black pepper and smoky notes, graphite, and scorched earth add complexity. The palate opens gently with refined definition, nicely accentuated by a solid core of fruit weight without heaviness. The acid balance supports the very long but fine tannins.
Silky, open-textured, and utterly beguiling for its exuberant raspberry and plum fruit, sailing smoothly over the tannins in pinpoint balance. Picks up savory notes as the finish persists. 91 points Wine Spectator.

Two Hands Zippy’s Block (Barossa) Shiraz 2007

Winemaker Notes

Deep black in the glass. A very obvious inky nose of blueberries, minerals, coal, and dark chocolate, backed by secondary notes of daffodil and Asian spices with a thread of mint. Starting out with an even float of fruit across the palate, the mouth-feel stays soft, long, and elegant throughout. This is a surprising wine that sits on an elegant core of ripe and concentrated fruit. The tannins are soft and fleshy and well balanced with the fruit.


Robert Parker’s Wine Advocate – 93 pts – The 2007 Shiraz Zippy’s Block from Roennfeldt Road in the Marananga sub-region of Barossa Valley, is a brooding, burly wine with a splendid nose of plum, tar, licorice, smoke, game, and blueberry. On the palate it is surprisingly restrained, bordering on elegant. Savory, ripe, and medium-long, it will be approachable in 1-2 years and drink well for a decade thereafter. – Dec 2009

James Halliday’s Wine Companion – 92 pts – More life here, with some red fruit providing lift to the concentrated fruitcake and chocolate beneath; the oak and fruit work in tandem and provide a rich, but not overwhelming level of interest on the finish; chewy with some nerve to conclude. Date tasted 26 Feb 2009, drink by 2020.

Wine Spectator – 91 pts – This spicy red is distinctive for its star anise and cigar box overtones around a plump, chewy core of blackberry, plum and dried blueberry flavors, persisting through a solid frame of fine tannins. Best from 2011 through 2019. 750 cases made. -HS, Oct 2009

NV Chambers Rutherglen Old Vines Muscat (from 100 year old + vines)

Winemaker comments: Raisins and rose petal aromas combine with a luscious palate consistent with the fruit aromas and the hint of wood age. The result is a rich, well-balanced wine with a depth of flavor to enjoy with cheese dishes or chocolate-based desserts.

“Mid-walnut hue, with the last faint vestiges of red. A wine that immediately commands attention and respect with its racy touch of rancio to the liqueur raisins of a deluxe Christmas pudding center stage, backed by spices of every known kind.” James Halliday

….”Made from older vines, but still retaining freshness and lift on the palate and finish, this is a halfway house style Muscat, between the fresh, open styles and the ancient medicinal ones, and it keeps its figgy, rose petal, and walnut notes alive but combines them with a deeper, darker core than last years’ wine.” Matthew Jukes.


Chablis 1er Cru 2014 v 2015

Winetasters @Home
Episode 6 – April Tasting
Chablis 1er Cru 2014 v 2015
Wednesday, April 28th, 7:00 PM


Mark your calendar for this fascinating event – comparing two very different vintages of 1er Cru Chablis. Members may experience this Google Meet event for $85 ($105 for non-members) – prices include HST. Further details appear below, and you can sign up for this event by clicking on this link. Note that this event is limited to 48 tasting sets.

This should be a most interesting tasting. 2014 had cool summer, followed by the hottest September on record. The result was absolutely classic wines with typical steely minerality, taught and lean balanced with a delicious ripeness – the quintessence of Chablis. The top wines are for the long haul. 2015 shows the easier, more approachable side of Chablis. A warm summer was spoiled by hail in mid-September. The vines that were not destroyed gave ample fruit resulting in delicious mid-term Chablis.

Our tasting features four 1er Crus, three from the more favored South West facing Right bank of the Serein, where all the Grands Crus vineyards are located; and one from the Left bank. For each of these, we have an example from 2014 and from 2015.

We are delighted to have Thomas Bachelder lead us through this tasting. He is well known to our members as the quintessential Burgundy enthusiast and he will make this an entertaining and informative tasting.

Montée de Tonnerre is at the heart of Chablis, adjacent to Blanchot on the SE corner of the block of Grands Crus vineyards. Regarded by many as the best 1er cru (Samuel Billaud calls it le petit Grand Cru), its early austerity matures into mineral elegance. Mont de Milieu adjoins MdT to the SE. Some parts of it give wines that are a little more airy or floral while the best SE facing slopes give more incisive wines. Our examples should lean to the latter. Fourchaume is NW of the block of Grands Crus with more soil. The wines are more supple and approachable earlier, however, there is quite a variety of styles. Montmains lies across the river. With more clay, its wines have richness and depth.

Our wines come from excellent producers: Laroche, Pinson, Billaud-Simon, Pascal Bouchard, and Jadot.

For those of you who do not want to cook that evening, we are again partnering with Vintage Conservatory for a dinner option. Details will be available nearer the time.

Distribution and Call for Volunteers

As with previous @Home events, the wines will come carefully decanted into 2 OZ bottles. You will be able to pick up your tasting package either at the downtown location on Lombard St (Queen & Church) or at the uptown location at Avenue Road and 401 (just north of the 401). Full details will be in the confirmation email. Also, if you want to recycle bottles from previous tastings, you can bring them, washed, to the pick-up. (We will of course wash and sterilize prior to next use).

COVID seems to be hanging around for the near future and we would like to accommodate more members and their guests for future @home events. We are seeking additional volunteers to reach out to our membership as additional pick-up points outside of Toronto. Idea is that the volunteers would pick up at the primary distribution points and become sub-distribution points. If you are interested in being a sub-distributor please drop us a line with contact details and postal code. Lots to work out here but let’s give it a try.

We are also seeking volunteers with marketing experience to help us with the development of a social media strategy and execution of that strategy.

List of wines

2014 Domaine Laroche Chablis Les Fourchaumes Vieilles Vignes Premier Cru

(90% from clay-rich Homme Mort): Ripe aromas of citrus peel, crushed stone, anise, and brown spices. A step up in texture, ripeness, and salinity from the Fourneaux, combining a touch of sweetness with an impression of power. This dense, concentrated wine is carried nicely on the long finish by lemony citricity, with a tannic element nicely buffered by the wine’s density and ripeness. 91 points, Stephen Tanzer, Vinous, July 2016.

2015 Domaine Pinson Frères Chablis Fourchaume Premier Cru

(from vines in Vaupulent; done entirely in cuve): Reticent, slightly reduced aromas of orange zest and yeasty baked bread. A soft citrus fruit bomb in the mouth in a broad, fat style. The Pinsons always pick this fruit early but may have been delayed a bit in 2015 owing to the need to start with the hailed-on vineyards. Large-scaled, honeyed wine with plenty of palate presence, but a bit warm at 13% alcohol. 89 points, Stephen Tanzer, Vinous, July 2016.

2014 Domaine Billaud-Simon Chablis Montée de Tonnerre 1er Cru

Hints of yellow fruits on the nose, with complicating notes of white pepper and crushed oyster shell; smells austere. A bit sweeter on entry than the Mont de Milieu but even more backward and stony today in spite of the roundness of texture. In a more refined style, a hint of orange oil giving this bone-dry premier cru a sexy suggestion of sweetness. Finishes with penetrating minerality. 92 points, Stephen Tanzer, Vinous, July 2016.

2015 Louis Jadot Montee de Tonnerre 1er Cru

Professional tasting notes are not available.

2015 Domaine Billaud-Simon 1er Cru Chablis Mont de Milieu

Cool stoniness greets the nose, picking up peach and melon flavors, before converging on the tangy mouthwatering finish. Shows terrific harmony and length. 93 points, Wine Spectator, December 2017.

2014 Domaine Billaud-Simon 1er Cru Chablis Mont de Milieu

Green plum and melon fruit pervade this intense, bracing, and compact white, which leans toward the austere side in the balance, staying long on the steely, chalky finish. Best from 2018 through 2027. 94 points, Wine Spectator, March 2017.

2015 Pascal Bouchard Montmains Premier Cru Les Vieilles Vignes

This vineyard on the left, cooler bank of the River Serein brings out great minerality in its wines even in warm vintages such as this. Full of ripe yellow fruits, textured and still young, the wine has a toasty character from wood aging. Drink this rich wine from 2021. 92 points, Roger Voss, Wine Enthusiast, October 2018.

2014 Pascal Bouchard Montmains Premier Cru Les Vieilles Vignes

The flint and chalk nature of the soil shows in this wine. From old vines well situated in the Premier Cru of Montmains, it has concentration and a tight, young texture that will need to develop. It is fresh and full of citrus now, although a riper, creamy character will be coming through as it matures. Drink from 2018. 94 points, Roger Voss, Wine Enthusiast, May 2016.


Winetasters February Dinner ‘Off-The-Beaten-Path’

Wednesday, Feb 24th, 8:00 PM

Wednesday, Feb 24th, 8:00 PM — For our fourth Winetasters@Home event, we present a unique wine and food experience. We have tapped Chef Jon and his team at the Vintage Conservatory to create a five-course menu paired with wines from our cellar. The dishes on the food menu may look familiar but your wine journey will take you “off-the-beaten-path” as we visit Alto Adige and the Jura.  Perhaps not as famous as regions like Bordeaux or Burgundy, both of these regions have a number of smaller producers making outstanding wines.

Mark your calendar for Wednesday, February 24, at 8 PM. We hope that this time will allow you to enjoy your meal and the wines before joining your friends online to share our observations. Be sure and save a bit of your wine for the discussion starting at 8 PM.

To sign up for the wine portion of this event ($55 members, $80 non-members, including GST/HST) click here.

Given wine, constraints, the wine portion of this event is limited to 36 orders. Register quickly to avoid disappointment.

To sign up for the Vintage Conservative Five Course dinner click here. ($65 per person plus tax)

The wines will come carefully decanted into 4 OZ bottles. Beginning on Wednesday, February 24, you will be able to pick up your tasting package either at the downtown location on Lombard St (Queen & Church) or at the uptown location at Avenue Road and 401 (just north of the 401). Full details will be in the confirmation email.

The Five Course Dinner Menu

Trout Tartare
Nori chip, sesame, horseradish

Beet Salad
Whipped feta, pistachio, apple

Mushroom Pasta
Strozzapreti, Parmesan

Confit Duck Leg
Lentils du puy, runner beans, fennel

Basque Cheesecake
Sherry vinegar caramel

The Wines
(4 OZ bottles)

2018 Nals Margreid Punggl Pinot Grigio: This is not a typical Italian Pinot Grigio. With this wine, we ventured off-the-beaten-path to Alto Adige. This wine perhaps is more stylistically Alsacian or German with complexity and length.

2012 Alois Lageder Tenutae Lageder ‘Krafuss’ Pinot Noir: We’ll linger in Alto Adige a little longer and try a Pinot Noir from one of the region’s fine producers. Perhaps stylistically this wine will be more New World oriented as the tasting notes speak of “cranberries, blackberries, paired with cloves and anise.” We’ll find out when our glasses are poured.

2016 Nals Margreid Jura Pinot Noir Riserva: Our less-traveled path will take us directly West of Alto Adige, through Switzerland to a tiny wine region in France. The Jura is better known for their white wines but producers are learning that Pinot Noir also does very well there. In this case, we have the same Alto Adige producer as the white wine we will be enjoying. The tasting notes for this wine indicate that it leans towards being full-bodied, with dried-strawberry and sliced-plum character. Duck confit anyone?

2001 Constance et Terrassous Rivesaltes Hors d’Age 6 Ans: To finish our journey, the less worn path takes out far south in France, very close to the Spanish border. Rivesaltes is in the Languedoc-Roussillon, where they make lush and balance dessert wines from Grenache Blanc. Tasting notes indicate “sweet notes of golden raisins, bitter orange, almond, and subtle browned sugar.” Sounds like a wonderful match for cheesecake.

Our Chef

Jon has both local and global culinary experience, including some of Toronto’s greatest restaurants.  He was part of the opening team as the Sous Chef at Richmond Station for 3 years, run by Top Chef Canada’s Carl Heinrich.   He then traveled to London, England, to work in numerous restaurants including The Clove Club, Dinner By Heston Blumenthal, and finally Hedone, as the Chef de Cuisine.  All of these have been awarded Michelin Stars and are rated on San Pellegrino’s “Worlds 50 Best Restaurants”.

Upon returning to Toronto he has undergone formal wine training at the Sommelier Factory and worked as the Executive Chef of Mascot Brewery, LBS and Cru before returning to Richmond Station as the Head Pastry Chef.


2019 Winetasters Holiday Party at Osgoode Hall

(Wednesday, December 4, 2019) — Santa Baby, slip a 1989 Château Lafite-Rothschild under the tree – for me”.  Ok, maybe it isn’t quite what Eartha Kitt sang, but I’m sure she would have been happy with that little gift from Santa nonetheless.

Register now

We know that you’ve all been good this year and deserve a little holiday cheer, so you are invited to our not-to-be-missed annual holiday wine tasting extravaganza!  Once again, we’ll be at The Law Society of Upper Canada’s Osgoode Hall restaurant –   one of Toronto’s best kept secrets and the perfect setting for our annual party.

As we have done for many years, members and guests get to be amazed by a carefully chosen array of perfectly-aged vinous treasures from the extensive Winetasters cellar. Matched with them will be a mouth-watering selection of meats, cheeses, breads, veggies, and sweets – enough to make a meal and to perfectly complement the wines.

How The Event Works

It’s a walk around party, so you’ll have plenty of opportunities to socialize.  The wines are set out at six serving tables. Each will have a selection of wines at the start of the evening, both red and white as well as “others” (Armagnac, whiskey, port, etc). When you arrive you will be given a list of the initial set of wines and where to find them.   And then, as the first wines run out, look for top-quality replacement surprises throughout the evening. These will be prominently identified at the various stations as the wines appear, so look out for the “pink” signs, or just listen for the buzz in the room.

Note that some of the wines mentioned will be in the initial flight and some will come out later. You may have to be patient for your favorite wine to appear! Note also that for some wines we have only a single bottle available.

On arrival, you will be given an initial allocation of 40 tickets to buy tasting samples.  The price of each taste is 3 tickets and upward.  If you find yourself in need of additional tickets they can be purchased at the desk at the event for $1 each.  Cash is preferred.

The Wines

We’ll be posting more info closer to the event, but you’ll have a chance to sample some rare finds, like:

  • 2006 Chablis 1er Cru Montmains – Chanson
  • 1996 Vouvray Moelleux, Ch Chevrier – Domaine Bourillon
  • 1989 Vosne-Romanée, 1er Cru Les Suchots – Remoissenet Père & Fils
  • 1999 Gevrey-Chambertin, Clos Saint Jacques – Jadot
  • 1999 Châteauneuf-du-Pape – Château de Beaucastel
  • 1997 Cabernet Sauvignon – Rutherford Hill (23rd Anniv)
  • And of course the above noted 1989 Chateau Lafite Rothschild


Featured Wine

Toronto Winetasters is known for its Feature Wine at the Christmas party: a very old Port or Madeira.  This year we are pleased to offer the 1934 Verdelho Madeira – Justino’s.   The wine is in limited supply, so it’s first come first served!  You will reserve your sample when you register.


And, as you are all judged to be good, you’ll get a taste of a bubbly or two from Santa who will be appearing during the evening.

Refunds net of Eventbrite fee up to 7 days before the event. Inquiries, cancellations — (Cindy Taylor, 416.458.3147 evenings only). No reservations by phone, please.  First, come basis with a priority for members.

No mail confirmations will be issued—you will be contacted only if we are sold out. The Supplies of the 1934 Madeira are limited and will be allocated to the earlier responders.

As always with tastings, please ask your guests not to wear aftershave, cologne or perfume. We do get many first-timers at our event who may not be familiar with our etiquette. A scent-free environment ensures we all get to fully experience this exceptional assembly of wines.

Date: Wednesday, December, 4th, 2019
Time: 6:45 p.m.
Limit: 150 people
Members: $135 including HST of $15.53*
Guests: $155 including HST of $17.83*

Madeira:  $35 per serving including HST of $4.02*

*In addition price includes and Eventbrite processing fee of 2% + C$0.59 per ticket


Osgoode Hall, 130 Queen Street West Toronto, Ontario M5H 2N6
Osgoode Hall is located on the northeast corner of Queen Street West and University Avenue, just steps from the Osgoode subway station.
Do Not Drink and Drive

GST/HST account: 844742619 RT0001

Business Name: Winetasters Society of Toronto


Starting Wines

  1. 2009 Chardonnay, Ridge
  2. 2009 Riesling – Rolly Gassmann
  3. 2009 Jadot Moulin-a-Vent de Rochegres Chateau des Jacques
  4. 1989 Château Lafite-Rothschild
  5. 2009 Rioja Gran Reserva Imperial – CVNE
  6. NV Fonseca 20 year Tawny
  7. 2009 Chardonnay, Santa Cruz Mountains – Mount Eden
  8. 2009 Riesling, Kappelweg – Rolly Gassmann
  9. 2006 Moulin-a-Vent Champ do Cour Jadot
  10. 1995 Chateau Trotanoy
  11. 2001 Cabernet Sauvignon Private Reserve – Beringer
  12. 2002 Escudo Rojo Maipo – Baron Phillipe Rothschild
  13. 2009 Chateau de Cruzeau blanc
  14. 2009 Bourgogne – Henri Boillot
  15. 1992 Cabernet Sauvignon – Thelema
  16. 1989 Chateau Cantemerle
  17. 1994 Ornellaia – Tenuta dell’ Ornellaia
  18. 1989 Vosne-Romanée, 1er Cru Les Suchots – Remoissenet Père & Fils
  19. 2004 Chateau Laville Haut-Brion
  20. 2009 Clos Marsalette blanc
  21. 1990 Pommard, Les Chaponnières 1er Cru – Dom Parent
  22. 1989 Chateau Liversan
  23. 2007 Pinot Noir – Foxtrot
  24. 1997 Chianti Classico Riserva – Fontodi
  25. 2013 Sauvignon Blanc, Colles – Gross
  26. 2009 Chateau Fombrauge blanc
  27. 1997 Chateau Trotanoy
  28. 1999 Shiraz, Ares – Two Hands
  29. 2004 Merlot, Cuvée Alexandre, Apalta Vineyard – Casa Lapostolle
  30. 2003 Vintage Port – Warre’s
  31. 2007 Riesling, Pflaenzerreben – Rolly Gassmann
  32. 2013 Sancerre, d’Antan – Henri Bourgeois
  33. 1999 Chateau Trotanoy
  34. 2004 Cain Five – Cain Cellars
  35. 2004 Rioja Reserva Tondonia – Lopez Heredia
  36. 1999 Châteauneuf-du-Pape – Château de Beaucastel

Many others to follow.


Winter Dinner – Revere on the Danforth

(Monday, February 26, 2018) — For our Winter Dinner we go to Revere, a culinary bright spot on the Danforth, East of Pape. Revere was opened on September 16, 2016 by Chef James Harrison and General Manager Sean Clarke. Revere is a restaurant that is not only an expression of what these two admire and respect about the food and wine business but also their family, friends and community. They met working together at F’Amelia in Cabbagetown. Prior to F’Amelia, James honed his skills as a chef at the eponymous Splendido, rising to become its sous chef. Sean worked at Allens under the tutelage of John Maxwell for a number of years prior to meeting up with James. Sean has a great love of wine and has completed his Sommelier Certificate at George Brown and joined the Canadian Association of Professional Sommeliers.

We are offering a four course menu that captures the best of what their Italian themed menu offers and includes scallops with fennel, mushroom risotto, steak with braised red cabbage and red wine sauce, and a mini chocolate budino. (See the full menu/wine pairings below)

Register online. Register by mail.

We are offering a four course menu that captures the best of what their Italian themed menu offers.  There will be four courses (details below / overleaf) featuring scallops with fennel, mushroom risotto, steak with braised red cabbage and red wine sauce and ending with a mini chocolate budino.

Our wines include special selections from our cellar as well as some currently available bottles. The evening will begin with the award winning Duran Cava Gran Reserva Brut 2013 by Ramon Canals to accompany the amuse-bouche. Next we have a little bit of a Bachelder theme: pairing the scallops with his Saunders Vineyard 2013 Niagara Chardonnay (rated 94 pts by John Szabo) and the risotto with the excellent and now fully mature Clos Jordanne Claystone Terrace Pinot Noir 2005 from our cellar. These wines show just what Niagara is capable of, particularly in the hands of a wine maker of his ability.

The steak dish cries out for great reds such as Cabernet Sauvignon or Syrah. So we have decided to pour one of each and you can decide what works best! We have reached into our cellar for Chateau Montelena, 2006 from Napa. This highly rated wine (18 pts, in May 2017, by Jancis Robinson) is just hitting its maturity plateau. As Jancis put it last year, “Sweet and round. Polished tannins. Just right for now.” With our other hand we pulled out Chapoutier Cornas Les Arènes 2007, classic northern Rhone Syrah from a leading producer, which is also entering its mature phase. We will wind down with a taste of Port to go with the chocolate budino – Taylor LBV 1994, bottled 1999.

Due to a limited supply of some of the wines this event is limited to 24 people. Note that the price includes dinner, wine, service and tax. A vegetarian menu will also be offered.

As always with our tastings, this event will be strictly non-smoking, and we request your cooperation in not wearing any scented after-shave or perfume. Using public transit is strongly encouraged.

Date: Monday, February 26, 2018
Time: 6:30 for 7:00 p.m.
Limit: 24 people max
Where: Revere – 804 Danforth Ave Toronto ON (at Jones, N side)
Price:  $135 per person for members and $145 per person for guests (including dinner, wine, service and tax)

Cancellations accepted up to noon on Feb 22nd, 2018 — (Jennifer Curran 905-829-4675). No reservations by phone, please. No snail mail confirmations will be issued — you will be contacted only if we are sold out. First come basis.


House Made Ricotta
toast, rosemary & lemon zest
Duran Cava Gran Reserva 2013

Pan Seared Scallop

fennel, endive, pickled radish, preserved lemon & chives
Fig Salad (V)
arugula, frisee, grilled treviso, pistachio & balsamic
Bachelder Chardonnay, Saunders Vineyard, Niagara 2013

Mushroom Risotto
mixed mushroom, Marsala & parmesan
Clos Jordanne Pinot Noir, Claystone Terrace, 2005

AAA Beef Striploin
braised red cabbage, granny smith apple, onion, brussels sprout & red wine sauce
Cavatelli Primavera (V)
arugula pesto, roasted red pepper, zucchini, mushroom, pine nuts, confit garlic & ricotta
Chateau Montelane Estate Cabernet Sauvignon, 2006
Cornas, Les Arènes, Chapoutier, 2007

Mini Chocolate Budino
maldon salt
Taylor LBV Port, 1994, bottled 1999


Dinner at Boland’s Open Kitchen

(Wednesday, March 8, 2017) — Our winter has been a little grey! To get us out of the winter humdrums Winetasters will be hosting a dinner in place of our regular March tasting. We will be at the well-established local restaurant, Boland’s Open Kitchen, located on Mount Pleasant Road. It is owned and operated by Chris Boland who has been involved in the restaurant industry for more than 30 years. He brings an impressive history including ownership in Telfers, Trappers, The Tasting Rooms and now Boland’s Open Kitchen, together with an immense enthusiasm for both food and wine. Boland’s has a comfortable atmosphere that encourages good conversation with the enjoyment of the food and wine.

Register online. Register by mail.

Chris has created a beautiful menu for us. We have arranged a selection of wines to match each course, dipping into the club’s extensive cellar where appropriate.

To start the evening we will be serving a sparkling wine. The Paul Delane Crémant de Bourgogne Reserve will be matched by Chris’s hors d’oeuvres of grilled shrimp in lemon, garlic and olive oil; and double smoked bacon and tomato on baguette.

This will be followed by Ocean Wise Atlantic Salmon Gravlax with dark rye toast points, dill, caper, and chive drizzle. From the cellar we have selected something a little out of the ordinary – a very savoury Hungarian 2009 Oremus Mandolas Dry Furmint (Tokaj).

We continue with Roasted Duck Breast in an apple cider, red onion, and orange red current glaze (I’m getting hungry as I write this!). For duck, you definitely need Pinot Noir and so we have retrieved Tawse’s 2007 Pinot Noir 17th Street Vineyard from the cellar. This is now a fully mature top Niagara Pinot that tips a nod to the Cote de Nuits while remaining true to its roots.
To match the main course of slow-cooked veal cheek in a red wine veal stock reduction, with roasted vegetables and mash we’ve picked two flavourful and complex wines from the cellar: 1997 Lagrazette from Cahors, and 2001 Chateau de Nages Cuvée Joseph Torres, Costieres de Nimes, a premium wine from Michel Gassier.

To finish the evening in style we have selected 1986 Colheita Port – Quinta do Noval, also from the cellar. That will be exquisite with a dessert of two blue cheeses and a lemon curd with brown sugar shortbread.
As usual, a bottle of each wine will be placed on tables of eight guests. The exception is the 1986 Quinta do Noval Colheita Port which will be pre-poured and served.

A vegetarian meal is available. Please note that you may not mix and match dishes from each menu.

As always with our tastings, this event will be strictly non-smoking, and we request your cooperation in not wearing any scented after-shave or perfume. Using public transit is strongly encouraged.

  • Date: Wednesday, March 8, 2017
  • Where: Boland’s Open Kitchen, 575 Mt. Pleasant Rd.
  • Time: 6:30 pm.
  • Limit: 48 people
  • Transit Options:
    – across the road from a bus stop for the southbound 74-Mt Pleasant bus to St Clair subway station
    – a 10 minute walk from the Davisville subway station on the east side of Mt. Pleasant Rd.
    – two and a half blocks from a (11-Bayview or 28-Davisville) Westbound Mt Pleasant at Davisville bus stop that takes you into Davisville subway station

Cancellations accepted up to March 3rd — Jennifer Curran 905-829-4675. No bookings by phone, please.

No mail confirmations will be issued — you will be contacted only if we are sold out. Strictly ‘First Come’ basis.

You can register online using a credit card at, or send in this form with a cheque.
GST/HST account: 844742619RT0001 Business Name: Winetasters Society of Toronto.

Members: $129.00 each (incl. HST)
Guests: $147.00 each (incl. HST)



Hors d’oeuvres – grilled shrimp, lemon, garlic and olive oil & double smoked bacon and tomato on baguette
Paul Delane Crémant de Bourgogne Reserve

Ocean Wise Atlantic Salmon Gravlax, dark rye toast points – dill, caper,chive drizzle
2009 Mandolas dry white Tokaji – Oremus (Hungary) 

Roasted Duck Breast – apple cider, red onion, orange\red current glaze
2007 Pinot Noir 17th St Vineyard – Tawse (Ontario) 

Slow cooked veal cheek with roasted vegetables and mash – red wine veal stock reduction
1997 Cahors – Lagrazette
2001 Chateau de Nages C
uvée Joseph Torres

Tasting plate of two blue cheeses and a lemon curd with brown sugar shortbread
1986 Colheita Port – Quinta do Noval

Tea or Coffee

Vegetarian Option

Edamame and Mushrooms in Phylo Pastry

Guacamole with Shaved Fennel and Currant Slaw

Smoked Carrot and Spinach

Mixed Jump Fried Vegetables.

Tasting plate of two blue cheeses and a lemon curd with brown sugar shortbread

Tea or Coffee


Quintarelli and Luce – Italian Icons…and Dinner, too…at Angolino

(Monday , May 30, 2016 & Tuesday, May 31, 2016) — Quintarelli, Luce, the historic Frescobaldi-Mondavi partnership – names that bring to mind some of the SoldOutvery best and legendary practitioners of Italian winemaking. And being able to taste some mature vintages of these iconic wines during these lovely days as spring moves into summer, what could be better?

How about matching them with a 5 course, traditional Italian feast prepared by one of the rising stars in the TO Italian restaurant scene? The restaurant is Angolino and, no, there’s no link to Ms Jolie. Angolino is the Italian word for “nook”, which describes this cozy, fairly new, west-end venue quite well.

The chef is Tyson Liebrecht, who has had several stints in top restaurants in town before finally settling in front of his own stove at Angolino, which is already getting rave reviews in local media. He also worked in a Michelin-starred restaurant in Italy, where he honed his skills and developed his passion for Italian cuisine. His specialty area is wild game, such as his signature wild boar meatballs, which we will taste. Other highlights include his Paganelli-supplied salumi, pillow-y gnocchi and ultra-light tiramisu.

Oh yes, the wines. After a fascinating rarity for an aperitif, the Pupillo 2010 Moscato (still, not sparkling, and from Sicily), we will accompany our two appetizer courses with a comparison of the Quintarelli 1995 Valpolicella and the Quintarelli 1995 Ca’ del Merlo, a single-vineyard Valpolicella (and not a merlot at all). Both are the best of their styles from the Veneto region and are the epitome of elegance and complexity with notes of plum, black cherry, tobacco, dried herbs and spices to be found. Then we will explore the Frescobaldi-Mondavi enterprises, starting with the 2001 Danzante Sangiovese delle Marche, a venture from south-central Italy (with the Primi) and then the 1997 Luce della Vite, their flagship sangiovese-merlot “super-Tuscan”, which is big, full bodied and loaded with ripe berries, licorice, spice and minerals (with the Secondi). We end with a Tuscan Castellani Vin Santo “Sommavite”, the classic match for tiramisu.

So come and join us for a memorable evening and let yourself be transported to the Tuscan hills or Veneto countryside on a warm spring evening. Sign up early as we are limited to 24 for each night.

As always with our tastings, this event will be strictly non-smoking, and we request your cooperation in not wearing any scented after-shave or perfume.  Please don’t drink & drive.

Date:  Monday, May 30, 2016 | Tuesday May 31, 2016
Time:  6:30 p.m.
Limit:  24 people
Place: Angolino Restaurant, 1595 Dupont (Between Dundas West and Symington), Toronto
Members: $125
Guests:     $135

Cancellations accepted up to May 9, 2016 — Dave Roberts (416-968-2166). No reservations by phone, please. No confirmations will be issued for mail-in reservations — you will be contacted only if we are sold out.  First come basis. Non-members may attend at guest rates, but preference will be given to members.

GST/HST account: 844742619RT0001;  Business name: Winetasters Society of Toronto

[Register now by mail.]


Sold out! Tapas at Embrujo

(May 4, 2015) — Tapas Embrujo, located on the Danforth at Broadview, is a truly authentic tapas restaurant with a long history in Toronto – pre-dating the current local trendiness of tapas. The Directors have had their eye for a little while on a small parcel of high quality Spanish wines & Sherries in our cellar; and the recent revamping of Tapas Embrojo’s menu gives us the perfect opportunity to pair these outstanding wines with great food. The menu is detailed overleaf, but features calamari, duck confit, Iberico ham (named after the black footed pigs, and regarded by many as the finest ham available), beef tenderloin sautéed with mushrooms, and an intriguing dessert of goat cheese, honey & marmalade. A vegetarian menu is also available.

So what about the wines then? The evening will begin with one of a pair of Equipo Navazos finos. This remarkable enterprise has blazed a trail for sourcing unique barrels of very special Sherries. We will be pouring their La Bota de Fino ‘Macharnudo Alto’ No 27 on the Tuesday and their La Bota de Manzanilla ‘Navazos’ No 22 on the Monday night. These wines were rated 18.5 and 18 points respectively (2 levels above distinguished) by Jancis Robinson, who is a tough marker.

Then the evening takes on a bit of a Marqués de Murrieta theme. We begin with their Albarino with the calamari and then move on to two Riojas Blancos, the Capellania 2002 and the Gran Reserva 1998 with duck confit. Next comes their flagship wine, Castillo Ygay Gran Reserva, 2001, which is partnering the Iberico ham & Manchego cheese. This wine should be at its peak. With the tenderloin we are pouring the 1998 Terrasses of Alvaro Palacios from Priorat and 1970 Tinto from Palacio de Arganza in Bierzo. Alvaro Palacios has spearheaded the emergence of Priorat with stunning wines. While the Terrasses is Palacios’ entry level wine, it is made from old vines giving structure to a fruit driven wine. Bierzo is another newly dynamic region.
Dessert should be a real treat. We are pouring Alvear Pedro Ximénez Solera 1927 (Montilla). This intensely sweet sherry is very well balanced with notes of caramelized fig and Coopers Oxford Marmalade; it should be a great foil for the dessert.

So come and join us for a superb evening of Spanish wine & food! Sign up early as numbers are limited.

As always with our tastings, this event will be strictly non-smoking, and we request your cooperation in not wearing any scented after-shave or perfume. Please don’t drink & drive. Broadview Subway Station is very close by.