The wine glass in my right hand, camera in my left, drinking partner in front of me, and the blended aroma of wine, cheese and summer air provided the ideal introduction to a wine tasting event at Café Taste.
It was their Ontario Wine Fair, and eighteen of Ontario’s fine wineries showed up to give Torontonians a few sips of some good wine. We met representatives from Lailey, Tawse, Calamus, Grange, Peller, Sandbanks, Flatrock Cellars, Norm Hardie, Twenty-Twenty-Seven, Huff Estates and more. There were several good whites, a few unoaked Chardonnays (my preference) and some clean, dry Reislings. Of the reds, I found myself liking the ones that turned out to be half oaked, half steel aged.
Event tickets were $50 for checking out eighteen wineries with at least four wines each to choose from, and over a dozen Ontario and Quebec cheeses to pair with, and never ending baskets filled with fresh homemade bread. Our drinking window was 2-6pm, but we didn’t need four hours to schmooze our way through the café.
It took about half an hour to get to know everyone, including the Café Taste staff. The rest of the time was spent thinking sober thoughts between drinks so we could parse complete sentences to put towards the wine representatives. Funny how fast wine goes to your head when you’re having a good time on a warm day.
Red, red wine
Go to my head
Make me forget that I
Still need her so
The Ontario Wine Fair filled up the front of the house as well as the back patio. It’s a charming space, both inside and out. And soon it’ll be even more irresistible; they’re building a wine cellar in the basement. There were some good finds – a Malbec at one table, a sole ice wine at another, a crisp vidal-riesling called ‘Dunes’ at Sandbanks – these were highlights among an already lofty experience.
Café Taste is a diamond in the rough in its support of local wine and cheese production. Its wine menu is entirely Ontario centric and the cheeses are selected to pair well with the wines. (The house beers are also local – these are a selection of artisan microbrews from Ontario Craft Brewers.)
It’s up to you
All I can do, I’ve done
But mem`ries won`t go
No, mem`ries won`t go
They also serve brunch in the summer – it’s a limited offer though. And if you’re stopping for take out coffee at Café Taste, bring your own reusable mug – this establishment promotes a ‘non-throwaway customer culture.’
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Written by Suresh Doss
Suresh Doss is the publisher of SpotlightToronto.com and Rickshawmag.com. Founder of the Food Truck Eats festival, Suresh has been a pioneer for the Street food movement in Toronto. In 2011, He was awarded the VQA Promoter’s Award for outstanding achievement in the Media category in the promotion of Ontario VQA Wines. Suresh is also the Global Editor for Whitecap’s StreetEats series of travel guides, which focuses on the best street food across North America.