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Discover diversity at this year’s Chilean Wine Festival – Oct 28th

Wines of Chile and the Trade Commission of Chile (ProChile) are pleased to present their annual celebration of wine, food, music and culture – the Chilean Wine Festival in Toronto at the Royal Ontario Museum this coming October 28th.

Wines of Chile banner

Chilean Wine Festival Exclusive Offer

WineAlign readers are invited to discover the diversity of Chilean wines with an exclusive offer. Purchase your tickets using the promotional code WINEALIGN and you will get $10 off the regular admission price of $75. (details below)

Explore new wines

Approximately 120 wines will be available for tasting from more than 23 wineries travelling from Chile for this exciting event. Many of the wines will be featured in Canada for the first time. Guests will be treated to a truly rare cultural experience as they discover, taste and learn about the world of Chilean wine.

In a casual relaxed setting, guests will enjoy Chilean fusion cuisine prepared by Daniel and Daniel catering and different styles of red and white wines from the many regions of Chile. A collection of Latin American music will be performed live by Farrucas Latin Duo.

Themed tables will feature Trophy Winners from the 11th Annual Wines of Chile Awards, Top Wines for Licensees (Trade Tasting below) and Cool Climate wines.

Chilean Wine Festival Chilean Wine Festival

Participating wineries include: Calcu, Carmen, Cono Sur, Cousiño Macul, Concha y Toro, Emiliana, Errazuriz, Indómita, Leyda, Maquis, Montes, MontGras, Morandé, Pérez Cruz, Reqinqua, San Esteban, San Pedro, Santa Alicia, Santa Carolina, Santa Rita, Tarapacá, Siegel, Undurraga, Ventisquero, VIA, Volcanes de Chile.

Event Details

WineAlign readers are invited to discover the wines of Chile with an exclusive offer. Purchase your tickets using the promotional code WINEALIGN and you will get $10 off the regular admission price of $75.

Date & Time:

Tuesday October 28th, 2014
Walk-About Tasting – 7:00 pm – 9:30 pm

Venue:

Royal Ontario Museum, Peter F Bronfman Hall, 2nd level
100 Queens Park, Toronto, Ontario

Price: $75 regular, $65 with the promotional code WINEALIGN

Click here to purchase tickets

Wines of Chile - Purchase Tickets


Attention Trade & Media

Qualified members of the food and beverage industry and journalists are invited to register for 2 special events earlier in the day:

Trade & Media Seminar, 11:30 – 1:00 pm. Topic: Cool Climate Wines. Special Guest: Hector Vergara, Master sommelier and president of the sommelier association in Chile

Trade Walk About Tasting, 1:00 – 5:00 pm: 11th AWoCA Trophy and Gold medal winners, Cool Climate Wines & Top Wine Picks for Licensees.

Trade and Media are asked to register online at www.winesofchile.ca or RSVP to Lisa Ulrich at lisa@androscom.com


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Chilean Wine Festival

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Rarer Than Unicorn – A Tasting of Rare Australian Wines

WineAlign presents an exclusive tasting of highly acclaimed and rare wines on October 8, 2014. 

This exclusive tasting will showcase highly acclaimed (including 10 wines rated over 95 pts!) and rare wines from Australia. Alto Vino is the importer of some of Australia and New Zealand’s best wines. They are from numerous producers and all punch above their weight in terms of quality versus price. With the small production of many of the wines, some are rarely ever opened for public tasting. Dumangin Champagne will also be showcased with four cuvee’s available.

There will be approximately 25 wines being poured, most of them retail for over $50 AUD down under. You have the opportunity to try all of them for $50 CDN, all in.

We’re excited about the collection.  Here are comments about just one of the wine being poured, the Clonakilla Shiraz Viognier:

- “Some argue this is Australia’s greatest red wine, it is certainly one of the greatest Shirazs” – The Wall Street Journal

- “An icon wine, one of the best in Australia” – James Halliday

- “One of the most important advances in the development of Australian Shiraz since the release of 1952 Penfolds Grange Hermitage” – Andrew Caillard, MW

All wines tasted will be available for private ordering at great prices. This is a walk-around tasting event at Crush Wine Bar on King St in Toronto. A selection of hors d’oeuvres, including cheese and charcuterie platters will be served.  WineAlign’s David Lawrason will also be in attendance.

 Purchase Your Tickets Here

Wines being sampled include:

AltoVinoLongLogo

Clonakilla Shiraz Viognier 2012 (97 points James Halliday)
Clonakilla Hilltops Shiraz 2012 (95 points James Halliday)
Clonakilla O’riada Shiraz 2012 (95 points James Halliday)

Rob Dolan True Colours Chardonnay 2012 (89 points James Halliday)
Rob Dolan White Label Pinot 2012 (94 points James Halliday)

By Farr Chardonnay 2012 (96 points James Halliday)
By Farr Tout Pres Pinot 2010 (96 points James Halliday)
By Farr Farrside Pinot 2011 (97 points James Halliday)

Farr Rising Chardonnay 2009 (95 points James Halliday)
Farr Rising Geelong Pinot 2010 (96 points James Halliday)
Farr Rising Saignee(Pinot Rose) 2013 (93 points Winefront)

Philip Shaw Idiot Shiraz 2012 (new release)
Philip Shaw No 17 Merlot Cabernet 2011 (new release)

Jasper Hill Georgia’s Paddock 2010 (96 points Jeremy Oliver)
Kalleske Pirathon Shiraz 2012 (95 points James Halliday)

Dumangin La Cuvée 17 (93 points Tyson Stelzer, 91 points Wine Enthusiast)
Dumangin Le Rosé 1er Cru (94 points Tyson Stelzer)
Dumangin Le Vintage 2004 (92 points Wine Enthusiast)
Dumangin L’Extra-Brut 1er Cru (93 points Tyson Stelzer, 90 pts Wine Enthusiast)

12,000 Miles Sauvignon Blanc 2013
12,000 Miles Pinot Gris 2014
12,000 Miles Pinot Noir 2013


 

Event Details:

Wednesday, October 8, 2014
Location: Crush Wine Bar (455 King St W, Toronto)
Time:  5:30 to 9:30 pm
Tickets: $50 (includes all taxes and fees)

 Purchase Your Tickets Here

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About Crush Wine Bar:

Located in Toronto’s trendy King West entertainment district, CRUSH Wine Bar offers a blend of casual fine food and winning wines in a vibrant atmosphere. From organic meat, fresh fruits and vegetables from surrounding local farms, Executive Chef Trista Sheen constructs a menu rooted in the French style but highlighted with continental flair. Sommelier Tiffany Jamieson-Horne is on hand to guide guests through the extensive wine collection to enhance the flavours of Chef Sheens’ simple yet stunning dishes.

crush wine bar

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Gourmet Games – October 2

Special Offer for WineAlign Members:  $15 Off the Ticket Price (Promo Code: WineAlign)

Join Azureau Wine Agency on Thursday, October 2, at the 2nd Gourmet Games to sample over 60 wines from 14 award-winning wineries from around the world.  Guest chefs from some of Toronto’s best restaurants will also conduct high concept cooking demonstrations as top sommeliers engage in a food/wine pairing competition designed to educate consumers on how wine professionals recommend enjoying wine.2014-09-11_14-00-50

“We invented the Gourmet Games as a fun way for consumers to get into the minds of top chefs and sommeliers and learn to think as they do,” says Dan Rabinovitch, President of Azureau Wine Agency. “No one is going to tell you a pairing is wrong, but our guests may learn something new about the magic that can occur when two sets of flavours and textures are combined. Of course, simply walking around and discovering new wines is also welcome at the Games.”

The Gourmet Games features world-class food & wine talent including Master of Ceremonies Bob Blumer of the Food Network, WineAlign’s Sara d’Amato (who will be moderating the Premium Experiences), Sommelier Zoltan Szabo, and chefs from perennial top Toronto restaurants Cava, George on Queen, and newcomer Cluny Bistro. Wineries from Spain, Italy, Argentina, California, Australia, South Africa, and Chile will be pouring wines that are available for order at the show or purchase at the LCBO.

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Sara d’Amato

Premium Experiences (moderated by Sommelier and WineAlign critic Sara d’Amato):

World Wine Bubbles, Exploring Non-Traditional Sparkling Wines 7-7:45 pm

The Winemaker Series by Alpha Crucis  8-8:45 pm

Vino & Smoke, Cigar and Wine Pairing with Mombacho Cigars  9-9:45 pm

Event Details:

Thursday, October 2, 2014
Location: Berkeley Church – 315 Queen St. East
Time:  6:30 to 10 pm
Tickets: $80 for General Admission/$25 for each Premium Experience

WineAlign Members receive $15.00 off ticket price – Use Promo Code: WineAlign

 Purchase Your Tickets Here

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Participating wineries include:

Bodegas Salentein/Callia – Argentina
Chalk Hill/Alpha Crucis – McLaren Vale, Australia
Armas de Guerra – Bierzo, Spain
Vega Sindoa – Navarra, Spain
Rioja Vega – Rioja, Spain
Casas del Bosque – Casablanca, Chile
Erste + Neue – Alto Adige, Italy
Antica Fratta – Franciacorta, Italy
Winery Exchange – California, USA
Bodega Rejadorada – Toro, Spain
Paca & Lola – Rias Baixas, Spain
Simonsig – Stellenbosch, South Africa

Click here for more information on the wineries and the wines they will be pouring.

About Berkeley Church:

berkeley-st-church1Built in 1871, The Berkeley Church has been transformed into Toronto’s most original event venue. Nowhere else will you find such a beautiful blend of traditional ambiance and modern decor. Details such as the original 17-foot stained glass windows, hard wood floors and Victorian Inspired bar makes the Berkeley Church a stunning escape from the ordinary. This location is accessible by TTC, taxi and Green P parking is available on all surrounding streets for responsible designated drivers.

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Louis M Martini Winery Dinner with Master Winemaker Michael Martini

WineAlign is pleased to present a gourmet dinner with Master Winemaker Michael Martini on Tuesday, September 23rd, 2014.

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Join third generation winemaker and Napa Valley Icon Michael Martini as he presents a selection of exclusive wines from his family M_Martiniwinery the Louis M Martini Winery, celebrating over 80 years in the Napa Valley. Mike Martini grew up in his father and grandfather’s vineyards, learning first-hand what it takes to make world-class wines. When he wasn’t in school in rural St. Helena, he was working at the winery, in the vineyard, or out riding horses.

Today, St. Helena has grown up, and so has Mike but he still gets up every day to make Cabernet Sauvignon that will make his family proud. This dinner will be all about CABERNET SAUVIGNON!!  We will showcase Napa and Sonoma Cab’s including two wines that are exclusive to this dinner and the very small production Lot 1.

Michael will be joined by WineAlign’s John Szabo.

Event Details:

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Location:  Pangaea Restaurant (1221 Bay Street, Toronto)

Reception and Dinner: 7 pm – 10 pm

Tickets:  $100 including taxes and fees

Please note tickets are limited to 45, so book early to avoid disappointment – our winemaker events sell out quickly.

 

Purchase Your Tickets Here

Menu

Louis M Martini Signature Cocktail

Torchon of Foie Gras with toasted brioche, mushrooms, pearl onion and wild blueberry

Wine pairing:  2012 Louis M Martini Sonoma County Cabernet Sauvignon

Duck roulade with spiced roasted cauliflower, raisins, crispy kale and coriander

Wine pairing: 2011 Louis M Martini Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon

Beef striploin with celeriac-rosemary crust, oven glazed vegetables, roasted king oyster mushroom

Wine pairing: 2011 Louis M Martini Alexander Valley Cabernet Sauvignon

Braised Lamb Neck with crisp parmesan polenta, root vegetable confetti, fine herb salad

Wine pairing: 2010 Louis M Martini Lot 1 Cabernet Sauvignon

Local Artisanal Cheeses with stone fruits and honey

Coffee/Tea and petit fours

*There are no substitutions*

About Pangaea

pangaea (pan-gee-ahhh!) is the acclaimed Yorkville restaurant named after the super continent that existed on earth 250 million years ago before the tectonic plates separated to form the land masses on world maps today. Pangaea Restaurant co-owners Peter Geary and Martin Kouprie chose this tricky to spell name because it evokes what they want their restaurant to be: a place where international inspiration and regional ingredients come together to form a unique and wonderful dining concept.

A success since 1996, Pangaea Restaurant continues to be faithful to this original goal. Today, as on the first day our door swung open on to Bay Street, Peter and Martin ensure that Pangaea Restaurant is a place where people can come to experience the best food and service Toronto has to offer. At Toronto’s Pangaea Restaurant plates do indeed move twice a day; but, instead of continental plates, china plates artfully topped with delectable regional cuisine are the ones traveling.

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Our winemaker events have been consistently and quickly selling out.  If you are interested in attending then we advise you to purchase your tickets as soon as possible to avoid disappointment.

Purchase Your Tickets Here

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Gourmet Dinner & Tutored Tasting Featuring Wines from Graffigna

On August 21st, WineAlign is pleased to present a gourmet dinner & tutored tasting featuring wines from one of Argentina’s oldest wineries – Graffigna.

Graffigna HistoryGraffigna

Join us for an exclusive dinner at Jump restaurant with sommelier and global brand ambassador from Argentina, Federico Lleonart. Federico will guide you through a range of Graffigna wines and speak about the unique terroir of San Juan, Argentina as well as the history of the company that started with one man, Santiago Graffigna, in 1870. You will also have the opportunity to experience the exclusive Malbec glass – created in partnership with Riedel and Graffigna, and take home a box of 2 official Malbec Riedel glasses (valued at $50).

Federico will be joined by WineAlign’s Steve Thurlow.

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Event Details:

Thursday, August 21, 2014

Location:  Jump (18 Wellington St W – Commerce Court East)

Reception: 6:30pm

Dinner: 7:00pm – 9:30pm

Tickets:  $80.00 plus HST and fees

*Please note tickets are limited to 50, so book early to avoid disappointment.

Purchase Your Tickets Here

Menu

Sparkling cocktails and hors d’oeuvres

Lime Cured Manitoulin Island Rainbow Trout
Avocado mousse, lemon jelly vinaigrette, lotus root crisps

Wine pairing: Graffigna Centenario Pinot Grigio

Grandview Farms Grass-fed Angus

Seared Flat Iron, stewed black beans and salt pork, chimmichurri rotolo of oxtail and tongue, braised mushroom forrestiere, escarole

Wine pairing: Graffigna Grand Reserve Malbec 2011

Cheese Course

Wine pairing: Santiago Graffigna (40% Malbec, 30% Cab Sauv, 30% Syrah) 2008

Hazelnut chocolate mousse
Bitter chocolate crunch, fresh raspberry coulis, baby mint

Wine pairing: Graffigna Late Harvest Malbec

*There are no substitutions*

About Jump

In the heart of Toronto’s Financial district, Jump combines classic style with sleek modern eclecticism. The sky high glass atrium, signature New York style bar and courtyard patio provide the perfect backdrop for world-inspired cuisine. Jump is renowned for its locally sourced meat and seafood, and seasonal vegetables, while continually creating fresh and innovative dishes.

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Our winemaker events have been consistently and quickly selling out.  If you are interested in attending then we advise you to purchase your tickets as soon as possible to avoid disappointment.

 

Purchase Your Tickets Here

 

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Behind the scenes at the WineAlign National Wine Awards of Canada 2014

A Quality Affair

Last month WineAlign converged on Penticton, British Columbia for the National Wine Awards of Canada. For five full days the ballrooms of the Penticton Lakeside Resort were transformed into a world class stage to judge the country’s best wines.

While we are busy tabulating the results – which will be announced later this month – we thought you might enjoy this insider’s look at what goes on behind the scenes of one of the best wine competitions in the world.

It’s as good as it gets!


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Campo Viejo Streets of Spain – 5 course Dinner – June 12th (second night added)

The Streets of Spain will transport you right to the heart of Spain.

Ever since two local winemakers – Beristain and Ortigüela – created the first vintage in 1959, Campo Viejo has been synonymous with innovation and a symbol of the expressiveness, colour and vibrancy that Rioja is renowned for.

Street of SpainThis June, experience Spanish culture, right in downtown Toronto. The Campo Viejo Streets of Spain will bring authentic Spanish street food and wine, music and urban art by Madrid natives, Okuda and Remed.

There is an exclusive once-in-a-lifetime five-course Spanish dinner featuring the wines of Campo Viejo – as introduced by winemaker Roberto Vicente. Co-created by Toronto’s Chef Stuart Cameron of Patria and Chef María José San Román of Michelin star-awarded Monastrell in Alicante, Spain, the dinner will take you on a journey of Spanish flavours and tastes.

WineAlign members can enjoy this dinner at a reduced rate – but tickets are limited!

Wines served at dinner:

Campo Viejo Tempranillo Rose (2013)
Campo Viejo Rioja Tempranillo (2012)
Campo Viejo Reserva (2008)

Details: Thursday, June 12th two seating at 6pm or 9pm (later, just like in Spain)

Venue: 2nd Floor Events (461 King St W, Toronto, ON M5V 1K4)

WineAlign Price: $50/ticket ($25-off the regular price of $75)

Click here to Purchase tickets  (Apply the promotional code: WineAlign to get your discount)

Enter promotional code WineAlign to get $25 discount.

Enter promotional code WineAlign to get $25 discount.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

About 2nd Floor Events:

Welcome to 2nd Floor, Toronto’s perfect location for elevated events. Step up your next function in our fully licensed turnkey space that takes a fresh approach to the event experience through design, service, and an atmosphere that warms the heart. We genuinely love events and we are proud to accommodate all those that host and attend them. When the lights go on and the guests head out, we want to know that your event was the event.

2nd Floor Events

 

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Join Award winning Cape winemakers for an Exclusive Dinner, Tasting and Discussion

WineAlign is delighted to present a three-course, eight-wine pairing dinner on Monday, June 9th with four award winning South African wine makers. 

Join WineAlign host David Lawrason and Cape winemakers from Boekenhoutskloof, Fleur du Cap, Ken Forrester and Nederburg, for an exclusive, up close and personal tasting, dinner and discussion that will explore where South African wine has been and where it is headed.

These four award-winning properties and their purveyors are in Toronto for one night only. They bring exciting news from the Cape – the revival of chenin blanc, the ascent of new regions like Swartland, and the enduring success of wines from Stellenbosch. Each winemaker will have the floor for a few minutes and will rotate seating throughout the night to ensure you get time spent with each throughout the three course meal. An informal reception will kick off the event with passed canapés.

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Marc Kent – Natasha Williams – Ken Forrester – Pieter Badenhorst

The Winemakers:

Marc Kent – Boekenhoutskloof

Natasha Williams – Nederburg

Ken Forrester – Ken Forrester Wines

Pieter Badenhorst – Fleur du Cap

WOSA LOGO 19.06Click here to Purchase tickets

Event Details:

Date: Monday, June 9th, 2014
Location: 
Parts & Labour (1566 Queen West)
Reception: 
6:30 – 7:00pm
Dinner: 
7:00pm – 10:00pm
Tickets: 
$75.00 (includes all fees & taxes)

Please note tickets are limited to 60. Our events sell out quickly so please book early to avoid disappointment.

About Parts & Labour

Established in 2010 to major acclaim as the new cultural hub of Parkdale, this design infused space boasts an haute cuisine restaurant/bar, and a live-music venue on the lower level. The menu is overseen by Executive Chef Matthew (Matty) Matheson, who rose quickly through the culinary ranks in Toronto. He completed chef training and culinary management at Humber College in 2003 and from there took a job at Le Select Bistro. In three short years Matheson made it to junior sous chef, leaving in 2007 to helm La Palette in Kensington Market. Both Le Select and La Palette’s proper French training and Matheson’s own rogue Canadiana cooking skills have garnered an impressive following for Parts & Labour.

Click here to Purchase tickets

 

WOSA_PartsLabour


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Winemaker’s Dinner with Award Winning Inniskillin Wines (Ottawa)

WineAlign is delighted to present a multi-course dinner with each course expertly paired with the award-winning wines of Inniskillin on Thursday, May 1st in Kanata. 

Rod Phillips

Rod Phillips

Join us for an exclusive dinner at Graffiti’s Italian Eatery in Kanata with winemaker Bruce Nicholson, as he guides you through a select offering of Inniskillin wines, each paired with a specially prepared gourmet dish. Bruce will speak about the unique viticulture and terroir of the Niagara region and talk about some of the history behind one of Niagara’s most iconic wineries.

Bruce will be joined by Rod Phillips (WineAlign, Ottawa Citizen).

Event Details:

Date:  Thursday, May 1, 2014
Location: Graffiti’s Italian Eatery, Kanata
Reception: 6:30 – 7pm
Dinner: 7:00pm – 9:30pm
Tickets: $40.00 (plus taxes and fees)

Please note tickets are limited, so book early to avoid disappointment.

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Purchase Your Tickets Here

Menu

Each course is paired with an Inniskillin wine.

Baby Arugula, figs, prosciutto, goat cheese, reduced balsamic vinaigrette.

Crispy Blue crab cake, mango relish, and shaved fennel.

Seared duck breast with roasted parsnip, shallots, potato and heirloom carrots in a tarragon and orange glaze.

Fresh fruit Martini with Chocolate Almond Biscotti

*There are no substitutions*

 

About Bruce Nicholson:

Bruce Nicholson

Bruce Nicholson, Winemaker, Inniskillin Niagara

Bruce Nicholson joined Inniskillin Wines, Niagara-on-the-Lake as Winemaker on January 1, 2007, after an outstanding career in the Okanagan where he was Senior Winemaker for Jackson-Triggs Okanagan Estate in British Columbia.

Born and raised in Ontario’s leading wine region, the Niagara Peninsula, Nicholson was intrigued by the winemaking industry from an early age. After studying Sciences at Ontario’s Ryerson University and University of Windsor, Nicholson apprenticed in winemaking in Niagara before heading out to Western Canada. Ironically he approached Inniskillin Co-Founder Karl Kaiser in his first attempt for a job in the Niagara wine industry. As fate would have it, that job did not materialize, and now Nicholson has come full circle to lead Inniskillin’s winemaking team following Kaiser’s retirement in 2006.

Recognized for his broad skills and talent, Nicholson was selected to lead Jackson-Triggs Okanagan Winery in 1993, and has since been credited for creating its award-winning Okanagan VQA wines. He has gained considerable recognition in the international arena as well as leaving an indelible mark in the history and growth of the British Columbia wine industry.

When the opportunity presented itself, Nicholson was eager to apply his experience and skills in Niagara leading the Inniskillin Winemaking Team which includes Assistant Winemaker Marc Pistor and thirty year veteran Cellar Master J.R. Patterson. Nicholson’s wines are both distinctive and defined. He is dedicated to his career goal of staying true to the individual characteristics of the varietals while ensuring that it reaches its maximum potential. He pays attention to both the Science and the Art of winemaking, commenting, “I enjoy working with the good acidities here in Niagara and I believe the potential is endless.”

About Graffiti’s

SEE and BE SEEN at the newly refreshed Graffiti’s Italian Eatery, conveniently located in the Holiday Inn Kanata. The ideal choice for breakfast or casual fine dining for lunch or dinner, Graffiti’s is perfect for special occasions or meeting friends and colleagues. Featuring modern italian cuisine, Graffiti’s offers a variety of “Venetian inspired” menu selections, including our clay oven fired gourmet pizzas and focaccia flatbreads, tantalizing pastas, plus a full range of entrees including Black Angus beef selections.

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Note: Our winemaker events have been consistently and quickly selling out.  If you are interested in attending then we advise you to purchase your tickets as soon as possible to avoid disappointment.

Purchase Your Tickets Here

 

 

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A WineAlign Event Report: J-T’s Marco Piccoli Shines at EPIC Dinner

An event recap by David Lawrason

A full house of fifty WineAlign guests gave a long ovation after a five-course dinner at EPIC Restaurant in the Fairmont Royal York Hotel in Toronto on Thursday night. They were treated to one of the best wine and food pairing evenings in my recent memory, and in the process got to know the affable Marco Piccoli, the winemaker for Jackson-Triggs Ontario VQA wines.

Co-hosted by WineAlign, the evening showcased five top-of-the-line Grand Reserve wines by Jackson-Triggs, each paired with a course by EPIC’s chef Joshua Dyer.

Marco Piccoli, Jackson-Triggs

Marco Piccoli, Jackson-Triggs

The Royal York’s EPIC was a fitting locale for the event as it was the first downtown, fine dining restaurant in the city to embrace Ontario VQA as its core wine list, back in 2001. That was the year, by the way, that the Canadian Wine Awards (now the WineAlign National Wine Awards) were launched, at The Royal York Hotel.

Marco Piccoli, who was raised and schooled in Italy, talked constantly about the quality, diversity and potential of Ontario’s best wines, and at the end of the dinner, he encouraged the guests to continue to bring VQA wine to their tables on all occasions. “It absolutely works with food as well as any wine in the world” he said.

At this point a guest asked if any of the wines contained off-shore fruit, a good question, I thought, from a consumer perhaps more familiar with Jackson-Triggs “International Canadian Blends”. Marco Piccoli replied simply that these were all VQA wines, and that means they are 100% Ontario grown.

Over a flute of Jackson Triggs 2010 Entourage Grand Reserve Sparkling Sauvignon Blanc Marco spoke of his childhood fascination with wine thanks to his father’s home winemaking efforts in his home in Udine in Friuli, an important white region in northeastern Italy. He also recalled reading about Canadian wine in school texts during his college program – which covered the subject in less than two pages. A chance meeting with Donald Ziraldo, then of Inniskillin who also was raised in Udine, encouraged him to come to Niagara for a season in 2005, and he has never left.

The first course of the evening carried on with the sauvignon blanc, as the Jackson Triggs Grand Reserve Sauvignon Blanc 2012 was niftily paired with a sweet pea and crab soup. Cool as a cucumber. Piccoli, who admitted being a fan of sauvignons in his native Friuli and makes a similarly restrained but fresh style in Ontario, considers it one of the best white varietals for Niagara.  Production at J-T has jumped to 40,000 cases a year.

Course number two matched an excellent truffle-scented mushroom and ricotta ravioli with Jackson Triggs Niagara Estate 2011 Grand Reserve Shiraz – an elegant, lighter weight shiraz with well tuned pepper, fruit and earthy notes. Piccoli recalled having no expectation for the syrah grape in Ontario when he arrived, but with subsequent experience since Jackson-Triggs first bottled syrah in 2004, he now thinks it is one of the best red grapes for Ontario.

The third course was the greatest surprise and perhaps best match of the evening: butter poached lobster claw in a chili spiked broth served with a brilliant, pure and exacting Jackson Triggs 2012 Grand Reserve Gewurztraminer. The lychee/mandarin fruit played beautifully against the chili broth, and rich texture of the wine was ideal with the lobster. Piccoli explained how the difficult gewurz grape is ideal in Niagara, but that it requires determination to grow and make it well.

The main course presented a tender cornish hen served à la coq au vin, matched with Jackson Triggs Niagara Estate Grand Reserve Merlot 2011. Again, a refined melding of flavours and textures as the wine presented classic Niagara lightness and freshness.  Piccoli explained how merlot – despite its sensitivity to winter cold – has become a mainstay in Niagara’s ‘Bordeaux’ reds, both solo and blended with cabernet varieties.

The dessert course showcased a lemon lime curd with the 2008 Jackson Triggs Proprietor’s Grand Reserve Riesling Icewine – again a brilliant pairing picking up on the maturing almost marmalade citrus notes in the wine. Here Piccoli’s passion for ice wine clearly showed through, calling it Ontario’s greatest wine and explaining that his original curiosity about Niagara was piqued by the fact that Ontario – which makes a drop of the world’s wine bucket – had become globally famous thanks to this one style.

It was a great finale to an evening that surpassed all expectations.

EPIC Restaurant - Fairmont Royal York

EPIC Restaurant – Fairmont Royal York

Note: Our winemaker events do tend to sell out quickly. If you are interested in attending a future event then we advise that you to purchase your tickets as soon as possible to avoid disappointment.


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Coldstream Hills Pinot Noir 2008