By: Elaine Peters, SavourLife.
The Gala Tasting Event of Cuvee 2017 took place Friday March 24th. There were 46 Ontario Wineries involved and 11 food stations providing samples. Each Winery selected two wines to feature, either their Favorite Red, Favorite White or Favorite Sparkling. Even the food samples were two selections per station.
With that many wines, pacing and balance was the key. So I started off with the Sparkling Wines. My Highlight was Fielding Sparkling Rose (non-vintage). Made in the Traditional Method using Pinot Noir and Chardonnay, spending 18 months on Lees before riddling and disgorging. Nicely balanced with fine bubbles and dry and crisp. Vieni Estates Canada 150 Sparkling is also a wonderful very deep red colour perfect for your upcoming Canada 150 Celebrations.
Artisan Ontario Locally made salumi and cheeses. Chefs J. Mark Hand and Jim Duncan and Mario Pingue shared their traditional Italian inspired products.
Bench Restaurant and the Canadian Wine Institute. Chef Manager Alex White served Butternut Squash and goats cheese ravioli and Ruben sausage strudel with Marie Rose Sauce and arugula salad (Hubby had this and said was delicious)
Bolete Restaurant. Chef Andrew McLeod served Citrus-cured albacore tuna and avocado as well a Pork hock terrine with Jerusalem artichoke relish and black garlic. (This I tried and it was delicious).
Scotiabank Convention Centre. Executive Chef James Price offered two tasting stations. Station 1 had Lady Agnes’s roast duck with cellared vegetables and parsnip puree and a claret cup jus, along with house-cured smoked pork jowl, tomato preserve with house-churned butter and sprouted peas. Station 2 also had two tasting plates; Confit beef chain, forgotten carrots and last year’s asparagus as well as parmesan ice cream, mushroom pate topped with pickled spruce tips
Fallsview Casino Resort. Executive Chef Raymond Taylor tasting plates were; sweet pea gnocchi with Ontario Wild Mushrooms, truffle pecorino, baby kale leafs and red pepper crème as well as pan roasted scallops with seckle pears, brown butter power and lavender honey (the most incredible scallops I’ve ever eaten)
Kitchen 76 at Two Sisters Winery. Chef Justin Lesso presented their Baccala Montecato, whipped salt cod pate with lemon and parsley with puttanesca sauce and basil on a crostini as well as Eggplant Caponata, roasted eggplant and zucchini with sultanas, whipped ricotta, toasted pine nuts and sweet balsamic on crostini. (Went back for seconds the Caponata is so good).
OLiV Restaurant at Strewn Winery. Chef Robert Webster provided tasting plates of: ginger and lime poached shrimp with rum-soaked grilled pineapple, pickled onion and sweet pepper slaw. The second plate was; roasted beet insalata with pineapple goat’s cheese, lemon-scented Greek yogurt, candied cashews, red beet coulis and baby greens. Finished with black walnut balsamic and blood orange olive oil. (The shrimp were divine)
Tide and Vine Oyster House. Chef Justin Duc had East and West coast oysters with several signature sauces. (enhanced with some Fielding Sparkling Rose they were delicious).
Trius Winery Restaurant. Chef Frank Dodd’s tasting plates included; Whisky glazed pork rib and white bean Cassoulet (was also served at Icewine Festival and its sooo good) and Trius Icewine smoked salmon. Salmon rillettes and sea buckthorn curd.
One of the two dessert stations in the middle of the room, provided by Criveller Cakes. Giovanni Del Priore and Leonardo Priore presented ‘Croque en Bouche’, assorted European tortes and Icewine truffles. The other was a selection of delicious Gelato’s from Italian Ice Cream by Andrew Vergalito. (I sampled a little of everything and it was all top notch.)
The 2017 Cuvee Awards were handed out earlier in the evening. Since this event was closed to the public I don’t have any pictures of the ceremony. And the winners were;
Vineyard of Excellence Gerald Klose
Tony Aspler Cuvee Award of Excellence Ian d’Agata
Lifetime Achievement Award Robert Martella, Grano Restaurant
LCBO Melissa McFadden (Customer Service Representative)
Hospitality Mike Fish (Sommelier) Glassroots Restaurant, London
Retail Brian Hanna (Huff Estates)
Media Angela Aiello (Iyellow Wine Club)
Education Barb Tatarnic (Mgr. Continuing Education) Brock University
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