Ciao Belle Liberty Village

Our wine nights in Liberty Village keep getting better and keep getting bigger, which only means one thing- MORE WINE!

WL Ext3Last night, we had our third night at a local hot spot in Liberty Village, Williams Landing. A trendy, up-sale casual restaurant with an extensive menu of great food, caters to the residents of Liberty year round. It was the perfect choice to bring together our club members for this wine night.

Our group was set up in the back and we had a lot of space to mingle, sit and eat, and enjoy the ambience.

The theme this month was Italy, so naturally, each guest ventured out to their local LCBO (as we did have newcomers from the Fort
York, City Place and King Street areas join us) and chose a bottle of their favourite vino to bring.

I brbt Chianti Serristori by MA-CD- 750mLought a Chianti. The 2012 Serristori, is a predominately based Sangiovese with a very deep and bright ruby red colour. On the nose, it has an intense and complex bouquet, strong notes of ripe fruit (cherries and raspberries) and elegant floral hints. On the palate, this wine was full-bodied, soft and fruity, very savoury and well balanced. It paired well with many of the meats offered and the pasta and pizza! This Chianti is not available in Ontario, so I was fortunate enough to get it from one of our suppliers! It was great to share something you cant easily get here with the group!

It was really refreshing and exciting to see that 90% of guests were new faces! The change of venue and day of the week (Sunday) might have appealed to a different demographic which created an original guest list. The talented Chefs at William’s Landing prepared a special Italian style menu for our event, consisting of cheeses, meats, pastas and pizzas. The food was delicious and completely enjoyed by all of our attendees. As a backdrop, we had their glass encased wine racks that reached up to the ceiling. It was the perfect prop added to the evening.

I received outstanding feedback and today, I am happy to see many new members who joined The Liberty Village Wine Club!

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Another successful event for the books and hopefully this led our guests to have a happy Monday (or not, depending on how much they drank!)

Ciao for now!

 

Old World vs New World

Another great wine class in the books! This past weekend, I led a group from my wine club through a Old World vs New World wine series and it was fabulous!

I decided to change up the layout of how the class was run and set it up as a blind tasting in 3 rounds; tasting a wine from a old world region beside a wine from a new world region. Some of them were tricky, but by guiding the guests through characteristics of wine that is produced by which regions, they were great at guessing which was which! I was very impressed!

Wine made in “Old Word Regions” are European and follow more traditional styles of wine making, grape growing, and production that represents the total terroir of the region.

Wine made in “New World Regions” generally come from North and South American regions as well as Australia, New Zealand and South Africa and they tend to be more consumer friendly, manipulated, fruit froward and higher in alcohol.

The class loved seeing the real differences in the wines side by side!

This was the line up for what we tried

Lamberti Pinot Grigio vs Flat Roof Manor Pinot Grigio

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The Lamberti has a straw colour with pearly tints, bouquet of exotic fruits and wild flowers,
pure pleasure. While the Flat Roof Manor showed more intense fruit flavours with an emphasis on peach, apricot and some lychee with a pale yellow colour.

We paired these wines with Boursin goat cheese and sea salt chocolate.

 

 

Norton Barrel Select Malbec vs Gariottin Malbec Cahors AOC

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The Barrel Select Malbec is deep red in colour and has sweet tannins with ripe red fruit on the palate. In comparison, the Gariottin from France very earthy in style with notes of plum and blackberry fruit; followed by gripping tannins in the finish.

We paired these wines with Gouda cheese, fig jam, and sea salt chocolate.

 

 

Chateau Timberlay Cabernet/Merlot vs Nugan Uprising Cabernet Sauvignon

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The Cabernet/Merlot blend tricked a lot of people because of the wonderful components the two varietals brought to each other. This French wine is a bright deep ruby colour and has aromas of candied red fruit, vanilla, spice, leather and is slightly oaked. However, when tasted next to the Nugan, it was clear, this overpowering cab with deep crimson and purple hues, complex palate of blackcurrant, chocolate and cassis with smooth velvety tannins was the wine from a New World region.

We paired these wines with old fort Cheddar cheese, salami and mild chorizo.

Again, it was a great evening and my guests left well fed, no longer thirsty and a little more educated!

I am planning on holding off classes until the new year as it is quite busy with the holidays! So once January hits, we will be back in the full swing!

Cheers!

Oh Canada

Liberty Village Wine Club wine night number 2 finally came and it was a wonderful affair! The theme focused on Canadian vineyards; wines from Ontario, BC and everywhere in between. Again, each guest was to bring a dish and wine to match the theme, but this time really try and pair the two together! There were some amazing pairings and by the end of the night members left STUFFED! (I don’t even think anyone was very drunk because of the amount of food eaten!)

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As a special treat and a new twist, we had PMA Canada Sales Representative, Katherine Lewis in to talk about Peninsula Ridge, a winery located in Beamsville Ontario, footsteps to Niagara Wine Country. As she led us through a tasting of the Semi-dry Riesling and Cabernet-Merlot blend, Katherine did and amazing job of getting the group excited and interested!

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The Riesling is a “cornucopia of pineapple and pear on the nose continue to the palate with fresh acidity and a touch of lemon lime on the finish; a perfect example of balanced acidity and sweetness” It paired really well with a lot of the desserts and pastries that were served!

The Cabernet-Merlot red blend, a “rich yet approachable wine full of blackberry and blueberry flavours had soft, silky tannins. Wonderfully scented and full bodied with a beautiful balance” was one of the favourites of the evening.

My favourite part about our wine nights is how well everyone gets along! Most people do not know each other, but we are all neighbours so it is really nice and pleasing to watch everyone socialize and enjoy each others company.

Some of the most popular wines tasted were the following:

  • Peninsula Ridge Riesling $13.95
  • Peninsula Ridge Cab-Merlot $14.95
  • Inniskillin Riesling
  • Rockway Meritage
  • Chateau des Charmes Chardonnay
  • Chateau des Charmes Gamay

All of these are available at the LCBO!

Some of the great dishes we had included:

  • French Toast Casserole with Maple Syrup
  • A veggie platter shaped like the Canadian Flag! (Very cool!)
  • Cheese Biscuits (with Canadian Cheese of course)
  • Timbits (what is more Canadian than that!)
  • Butter Tarts
  • Chicken Pot Pie

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Amazing turn out for the Second Liberty Village Wine Club wine night! Cannot wait for the third wine night already!

 

A Whole New Ball Game

My vision for the Liberty Village Wine Club was to bring neighbours together to socialize, eat and enjoy wine, informally. After the first official wine night, I was approached by one of my new friends and club members who mentioned how interested they were to really LEARN about wine. Since the wine club rapidly grew and we are now reaching over 250 members, it is hard to really get into the nitty gritty of wine fundamentals when we all get together. This sparked an interesting idea in my head, and that is how Liberty Village wine classes began!

IMG_2795I decided I would start with an Introduction class. Although I have obtained a great deal of knowledge in wine, I have never really given a full lesson on the topic so this would be the easiest thing to start off with. As well, I thought this was a good direction for my members to kick off in if they were seriously interested in learning.

The response was remarkable so I expanded the class to two nights with 10 students on the first night and 12 on the second!

I was a little nervous as this would be my first class I have taught. I prepared for the evening and chose 6 wonderful wines that I knew both groups would really enjoy. They were from countries around the world and noble varieties, which are grape varieties that are widely planted in most of the major wine producing regions.

The wines poured for both evenings were:

Lamberti Pinot Grigio

Family Estate Saint Clair Sauvignon Blanc

Distell Fleur Du Cap Chardonnay

Emiliana Adobe Merlot

Emiliana Novas Cabernet Sauvignon/Merlot

Nugan Alfredo Second Pass Shiraz

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Both nights were a huge success! Everyone showed up right one time and were eager to learn (I think they were more excited to start drinking) They were all so focused and interested in everything I said and were great participants. We had some great discussions and the 6 wines went over very well!

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The biggest hits were the Saint Clair Sauvignon Blanc, Nugan Alfredo Second Pass Shiraz and Novas Cab/Merlot blend.

Some interesting facts that were shared with the class included that both the Adobe Merlot and Novas blend are 100 percent organic wines. There is no use of pesticides, herbicides, etc. during grape growing or the wine making process. As well, Currently the Novas is not available in LCBO but will be released again in November of this year.

As well, The Nugan Shiraz is processed like an Italian Ripasso. So the grapes are dried and fermented twice so the water within the fruit can evaporate resulting in a wine that is dry, rich, exuberantly fruity and complex.

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Two really great first classes and an inspiration to start something new!

 

Meet and Greet- Around the World in Liberty Village

The first official wine night happened this past Friday and it was a CRAZY success! It completely exceeded my expectations by far. Although I woke up with a bit of a headache, I couldn’t have been happier with the turnout.

The event was located in my own building party room and there were 47 guests who each brought a bottle of wine and a delicious dish to pair alongside. Since it was our clubs first get together, it was only appropriate that the theme focused on wines from around the world and each guest brough their favourite wine or a wine from a country they wanted to explore. I was highly impressed with the wine that came through the door! We had an array of different varietals from a number of different countries. Included were the Adobe Merlot, Montecillo Crianza Tempranillo, Saint Claire Family Estate Chardonnay and Two Oceans Sparkling, which was the welcome bubble of the evening. Many of the guests had excellent wine knowledge while others came excited to learn!

IMG_2435IMG_2437The dishes brought to pair with each bottle were OUTSTANDING and DELICIOUS! Guests really went all out, bringing full meals, crockpots full of warm foods, whole cheese platters and unique snacks. Some of my favourites consisted of a Candy Apple Dip, Brie Phyllo Pockets with Boysenberry sauce and of course, many of the cheeses that paired excellently with the wines.

IMG_2442What surprised me the most was how amazing the night flowed. Most people were strangers to each other and it was amazing to see how well everyone got along and meshed together! I had some very interesting and engaging conversations with almost everyone and I found out how incredible my neighbours in Liberty Village really are!

The night ended up lasting longer than expected and guests left with happy faces and asking the only question of when the next wine night would be!

All in all, it was a wonderful night and I cannot wait to host the 2nd Liberty Village wine night for my club members! Anyone have a creative theme in mind!?

Cheers!

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Wine Club

I live in downtown Toronto in a neighbourhood called Liberty Village. It is not just any normal neighbourhood, we are a COMMUNITY! I am very new and I have never been so welcomed by a PACK of random strangers in my life! Everyone is awesome, friendly and completely up to doing just about anything! There are a LARGE number of clubs, events and associations within the village that a huge percent LV tenants take part in. I am happily one of those outgoing souls!

This is just the kind of atmosphere that I was looking for and it gave me an idea!

I started my own club- LIBERTY VILLAGE WINE CLUB!

It is a club where once a month (maybe more) informal wine nights take place within the village. Guests bring a bottle of wine and dish, according to the picked theme, and we get together to enjoy the wine, food and socializing amongst each other. There will also be some informal education going on 😉

The reaction to the Wine Club Facebook Group was HUGE- 10 times bigger than expected! There are over 170 members and the first wine night is scheduled for the forth week of September, 2015.

If you are interested and live in and around Liberty Village, click the link below and come join!

https://www.facebook.com/groups/399071806965521/

Email: libertyvillagewineclub@hotmail.com

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