After 22 years of operations, Toronto’s Gourmet Food and Wine Expo still stands to not disappoint. With over 200 vendors spanning from food, spirits and wines, the show managed to provide something for every attendee. As I do every year, I have rounded up my ‘show wines’ highlights in hopes to encourage you to head out to your local LCBO or wine store to give them a try.
Highlight Wines from the 2016 Gourmet Food and Wine Expo
Helderberg Winery, South Africa
If looking for an affordable, everyday wine, then Helderberg Winery, Cabernet Sauvignon, 2015 is an option. At only $12.99 at the LCBO, you cannot go wrong with this full-bodied, herb filled red. Grapes for this wine come from the Stellenbosch Region and are hand-picked. We see this pairing quite well with a proper Neapolitan pizza!
United Stars Mukuzani Red, Georgia
Oh, Georgia on my mind! I have read quite a bit about Georgian wines, and have bought many over the past year and a half, but what was clear at GFWE is that I was buying the wrong thing. Vendors at the Georgia booth turned me on to United Stars Mukuzani Red, by Koncho & Company. At only and a fraction of the cost ($13.95) of the other Georgian wines I used for discovery over the past 18 months, it is FANTASTIC. Made from the Superavi grape, you’ll find this wine reminiscent of an new age oaked Pinot Noir. This wine has great potential for aging, but can definitely be drunk now. Investing in a few bottles and watching it transform year over year, is by far worth it.
Trail Estate Vintner’s Weiss, 2015, Ontario
The Trail Estate booth is a must attend for me at this show, and every other show they can be found at. They have an incredible knack for producing fantastic cool climate wines such as this Vintner’s Weiss Riesling/Chardonnay Musque blend. This off dry, white blend brings an aromatic, green apple, pear and citrus party right to your glass. I encourage you to pick up a bottle and have it primed to celebrate the first day of spring, summer and every other sun-kissed occasion you can think of.
Casa Dos Vinhos 5 Year Old Madeira, Portugal
Madeira is the kind of libation I just need to travel to Portugal for, to truly get immersed in all it has to offer. If you are looking to experiment outside of the traditional Port track, Casa Dos Vinhos 5 Year Old Madeira, at only $20.20 provides a great exploratory avenue to do so. Amber in colour, burn sugar and balanced acidity makes this a formidable sipper. For those that do not know, Madeira, unlike a Port wine, is something that once opened can sit for quite some time. Open it today and drink it again a year from now and you will still be pleased.
Pelee Island Winery, Lola Sparkling Wine, Ontario
I am a sucker for a label and a story, and even one as simple as “this wine was named after the song ‘Lola’, by the Kinks”. Anyway, I am glad I was sucked in as this sparkling, upon first sip, placed me on a summer patio, with soft cheese, figs and a few deserving friends. Though Lola cannot be found in stores until 2017, it can be ordered from the winery directly.
Hidden Bench Winery, Terroir Cache, Ontario
Though it is hard to pick just one, if I had to, my ultimate show favourite wine goes to Hidden Bench, Terroir Cache. This Bordeaux style wine is fit to age, but ready to drink even now. It is fruit forward, delicate on the palate, while still holding a level of complexity that brings a long finish. This is a fantastic showing of an Ontario Meritage wine and one that you must try!
Needless to say, I for one am looking forward to 2017’s Gourmet Food and Wine Expo. If you did not get a chance to head to the show this year, you would be wise to fit it into your schedule next.