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.