One of the things that make wine discovery fun is being able to do it with friends, with no pretense, sitting in a neighbours kitchen perhaps, ready to indulge in the wines that your host has picked for the evening. Well… this is how we felt while sitting on the bar stools at Archive 909, a fantastically quaint wine bar, adorning the Dundas West area of downtown Toronto.

As soon as we entered Archive 909, we were greeted warmly by owners Joshua and Joel Corea, and though the restaurant was dressed in what I am calling ‘chic schoolhouse tables’ (we later deduced the schoolhouse theme was probably infused from Joshua’s past teaching experience), we chose to sit at the bar, giving us great purview into all that was happening in the restaurant. Through bar stool conversation, we learned that the brothers had opened Archive 909 through their love of food and namely wine, and the light, effortless hosting done by the wine bar owners confirmed that their love of the business wasn’t just verbose filled with empty talk, but something that rung through even in their service.

At Archive 909, no menus are given, but massive whiteboards, strewn throughout the restaurant, which are institutionally reminiscent of chalk written information, housed wine, beer, cocktails, and of course tapas lists offered to wine explorers, ur umm patrons. Wasting no time, we started the evening with a sparkling wine from Hinterland Wines called Whitecap ($9/$42) and a plate of their Chicchetti ($12), which came with toppings such as Chestnut Porcini Speck, Gorgonzola Apple Radiccio, and Tostada de Motticella, a dish created with tomatoes that were imported directly from Italy. We then moved on to a fantastic white wine, 2027 Riesling (48/$37) and their mixed artisanal meats ($15) and cheese plate ($12), and ended the evening off with what was our favourite wine for the night, Gaba do Xil Mencia, Valdeorras.

Archive 909 stands out as our pick for a hipster cool, wine bar environment that if you blink may cause you to think you’re at a neighbours house as the air is uncharacteristically homey and comfortable.  You’ll find that the bottles of wines are priced affordably, and with a list as robust as the one that owner Joshua Corea composed, it stands to be a perfect location for easy wine exploration. While it may be true that the restaurant has only been open for six weeks, not a patron in the establishment appeared to be going through the newbie resto faux pas that we’ve seen and been forced to excuse in the past.

If you get a chance to head to Archive 909 for wine schooling/indulgence or just plain old curiosity, be sure to try their Chestnut Porcini Speck, or Gorgonzola Apple Radiccio Chicchetti and don’t hesitate to ask for wine recommendations, as Joshua’s wine knowledge is impeccably astute.

Whether you leave feeling like you just drank wine and broke bread at a friends home or that you were schooled in wines you’ve probably never tried before, one thing is true, you’ll leave thinking about what you’ll try when you undoubtedly return, just as we did.

Archive 909 is located at 909 Dudas st West, Toronto, Ontario, (647) 748-0909