We hope you’ve all been enjoying a local wine–laden fall. With Spotlight’s 30 Days of Local Wine and with the LCBO’s Go Local campaign, we’ve been lucky to be part of some exciting events, and of course, have been drinking VQA as the days have become cooler and shorter. With the approaching winter, we’ve decided to take a new approach to our Wine Wednesday concept.
We’ll still be writing about local bottles from the LCBO and from wineries, but we’re also going to start exploring the many restaurants, bars and pubs, in our fair city and afar, where local-focused consumers can sip VQA wines by the glass, either alongside a meal or just on their own. We’ll taste the wine as we always have, but instead of telling you the story of the wineries, many of whom you’ll know from the column already, we’ll tell you a little a bit about the tasting venue. We hope to keep the column fresh and exciting this way, and we hope it will help you find new places to explore our province’s wine offerings. Let us know what you think of the change, via lauren at spotlighttoronto.com or Twitter @laurenlikeswine.
The Ceili Cottage is one our favourite Toronto secrets – with the warm fireplace, the authentic live music, and the lively local crowd, it’s a little bit of Ireland on the Leslieville strip. We’ve enjoyed meals, snacks, and just drinks at Ceili, and the service, void of pretense, has always been affable, efficient, and downright entertaining. The food ranges from comfort staples like Bangers and Mash to Mac n’ Cheese to stunning seafood like oysters, shucked, when possible, by proprietor and World-Champion shucker, Patrick McMurray. We’ve never been disappointed by the quality of the ingredients and the flavours of the dishes, and we’re even happier that we can eat the hearty fare at Ceili alongside a great selection of local wine and beer. Taps rotate frequently, but local brews from Mill Street, ChurchKey and Durham have all made appearances. In addition to local beer, there’s also a great selection of affordable local wine by the glass, but on this particular visit, with the warm-ish days of fall waning, we opted for a local white to go with our smoked salmon.
The Henry of Pelham 09 Riesling shows all the great qualities we loved all summer long from Niagara’s 09 whites – it’s a decidedly refreshing wine that stills has substance and backbone. A sunny pale yellow hue, the nose on the HOP Riesling is aromatic with floral perfumes and stone fruit scents, with just a touch of limestone minerality. In the mouth, the characteristic acidity is balanced by dryness on the palate. We appreciate the lack of cloying sweetness, which allows the fruit characters to emerge with citrus, with a few soft notes of peach and flinty hints of minerality. There’s a good length to this wine, one that makes it perfect for sipping long into the night. Sharing a glass of Henry of Pelham Riesling at Ceili Cottage, perhaps over some delicious local-friendly snacks, alongside great company, is the perfect way top enjoy local wine in a comfortable neighbourhood setting. Importantly. at $6.50 for a 5oz glass, it’s also perfectly reasonable to sip more than just one glass, and with the ambiance at Ceili, we think you’ll want to stick around.
Henry of Pelham 2009 Riesling VQA
$6.50/5 oz glass
The Ceili Cottage
1301 Queen St E