Lorie Loves Wine

Everyone wants a pub to call their own and now you can at MyPlace Pub in the Bloor West Village.    And according to owner/chef Brad Long they’ve only been open a week and they already have regulars!  And I can see why with the great selection of beer, wine and upscale pub food.   Were not talking greasy, overbattered fish and chips either.

I had the Black Cod fish-and-chips that literally melted in your mouth.  Of course, I washed it down with a Blanche de Chambly, a Quebec white ale with great acidity and citrus notes.  Other great beers of note including Mill Street, Muskoka, Steam Whistle and Big Rock, but also stouts and dark ales.

But let’s get to the wine list.  It’s very Ontario-focused, including red and white wines from Tawse, Flat Rock, Stratus, Henry of Pelham and Malivore to name a few.   For dessert, they even have a Prince Edward County Ice Cider, which would go great with their Norfolk Empire Apple Pan Dowdy.

I also had the opportunity to taste the Kozlicks Triple Mustard Crusted lamb chops, which I think it would pair well with the Prospect Shiraz from BC, and the pierogies which re hand made in house.  Hands down, these are the best pierogies I have ever tasted and they would be a fun match with the Tawse Echos Chardonnay.

There are too many great dishes to list, so head down one night have a seat at the bar, cozy up in the newly covered banquettes in the dining room or head up to the roof top patio to take in the last few nights of summer!


It really is ‘touch and go’ at CLO Wine Bar.  When I was in NYC this week, I stopped by the bar, located in the Time Warner Center at Columbus Circle.   When you walk in, you are greeted by a friendly host who explains how to locate a wine on their unique menu system.  You hold your hand over the table and a menu screen appears and you use gestures to navigate through over 100 wines available.  The display gives you all the information you need about each wine such as producer, region, grape, vintage, price, tasting notes and bottle location in the bar.  Once you pick your wine, you walk over to the machine, insert your card and voila!  Every wine (except sparking) is hooked up to an Enomatic machine and gives you an exact 4 ounce pour of the wine of your choice…just make sure your glass is underneath the spout.  Then you can go back to your seat and enjoy your wine.   There is a small menu available to enjoy a cheese plate or charcuterie with your wine.


I thought the concept for this place was great, but I was hoping for 1 or 2 oz pours to allow for an opportunity to taste more wines.  Trust me, after a few 4 ounce pours, they will all start to taste the same.  Not only that, but your bill could be well over $100 for wine samples alone.  Now, if you ever wanted to try a glass of Krug champagne or Opus One without splurging on an entire bottle, then here is your opportunity!

Since having recently come back from the Willamette Valley in Oregon, I have had hankering for Oregon Pinot Noir.  But what would I pair with it?   I’ve been craving a really good pulled pork sandwich and decided to try The Stockyards Smokehouse and Larder near my house.  I was also in luck, as the LCBO recently released some great Oregon Pinot Noir to our market here in Ontario.  Much to my delight, I was able to pick up the 2006 Maysara Jamsheed Pinot Noir, with its beautiful cherry and earthy flavours.  What an amazing match in terms of flavours of both the food and wine and the finish was outstanding. Their pulled pork sandwich was one of the best I have had in a long time, the BBQ sauce just having the right amount of sweetness and acidity.  I also liked the coleslaw topping, too. I hear the ribs at The Stockyards are amazing but, alas, only available Sundays, Tuesday and Friday…stay tuned!

One of my weaknesses is the often silly Bachelor/Bachelorette reality show. Don’t ask me why, but every season I’m hooked. Perhaps, I’m fascinated by people looking for love on national TV or perhaps the show is much easier to watch with a glass of wine in hand, which is perhaps the best way to view this show.

If you watched this Monday’s episode, you couldn’t miss the scene in the wine cellar at the Bearfoot Bistro restaurant.  I spent more time figuring out what wines were in the cellar than watching what Jillian (the Bachelorette) and Michael (one of the remaining men) were saying to each other.  As best as ABC tried to cover up what was in the cellar, I spotted verticals of Dominus, Tignanello, Domaine Serene from Oregon and Opus One. I saw lots of great Magnums from some of the same producers, too. And to boot, there was sofa in the wine cellar…hmm…wonder what goes on in here after-hours…  I’m sure there’s a lot of what happens in the wine room stays in the wine room nonsense going on.  This restaurant does have an amazing wine list.

Although much to Jillian’s dismay “none of the bottles, seriously, are from the 1800s.”  The oldest bottle happens to be a dessert wine, a 1907 Blandy, Bual from Madeira, Portugal.   Note to Barefoot Bistro – you spelled Madeira incorrectly on your website and I’m happy to recommend a good sommelier.  But Michael, you were right about the dust on the bottles, I had to pause my PVR to catch it on a few!

Then we got to see Jillian try and open the Champagne with a saber. (no, it was not a “light saber” for all you Star Wars geeks out there.) Kudos to Jillian for doing it quite well although it seemed like half the bottle squirted out on the floor. I like the idea of sabering, but there seems to be a lot of wasted Champagne. Unless the sommelier is a trained professional and promises not to spill an ounce, then I would go for the more traditional method of opening champagne. If I’m ordering a bottle of Vintage Dom Perignon or Krug Champagne there is no way I’d want to lose a drop! But hey, something cheap and cheerful – go for it!

But the best line of the night came from the Wine Director/Manager who said “You know what they say about Champagne?  Burgundy makes you think of silly thoughts, Bordeaux makes you talk about them and Champagne makes you do them.”  Like who makes up this sh!t?    My guess it was the producers, but man, there are way better quotes about Champagne than that one.

If you are a fan of the Bachelor/ Bachelorette show, you need to check out my fellow Facebook friend’s website www.realitysteve.com for his slant on the show. He has a great sense of humour and really tells it like it is.

The annual dilemma if you have the Dad or Father-In-Law that has everything (like most of do).   Beside from taking your Dad to the movies to see The Hangover for great Father and Son bonding, here are some wine suggestions that will have your Dad or Father-In-Law running back to the store for more!

For the Strong, Silent Dad:  I think a great Malbec would be perfect.  The 2007 Domino Del Plata Susana Balbo Signature Malbec ($27.95) is no exception.  Think baking spices and mocha here with a long, generous finish.

For the Dad who drinks white wine:  2007 Stags Leap Chardonnay is a great choice.   It’s a classic Burgundian style Chardonnay but from Napa Valley with pear and green apple notes, great acidity with a fantastic finish.  Yes, I know it’s $29.95 but hey, your Dad is worth it! 

For the cheap and cheerful Dad:  I have the perfect Portuguese wine, it’s the 2006 Duque De Viseau Red from the Dao region.  Very approachable with red berry fruit characteristics this little gem pairs well from any on the BBQ to just drinking on it’s own and it’s only $13.95. 

For the Sports Dad:  I know beer is perhaps an obvious choice, but I think the 2006 Kaiken Ultra Malbec would make an excellent selection.   Lots of ripe black fruit and it’s a great price at $19.95. 

For the wine aficionado Dad:  What dad would not be totally blown away getting a bottle of the 2004 Ségla from Bordeaux?   This is the second wine from Château Rauzan-Ségla located in Margaux.  This wine. when I tasted it, is coming along nicely. but it is highly complex and needs time.  Why not pick up a bottle for your own cellar, too!   Definitely not for the drink-it-now type.  

And saving the best for last, for the Dad who appreciates a good wine: Try the 2006 Fattoria dei Barbi Morellino Di Scansano.  It is mostly Sangiovese (85%) and really reminds me of a lighter Brunello and it won’t break the bank at $17.95 a bottle.  Very approachable and great with steak or lamb kebobs.   This is the hit of the Father’s Day release at LCBO Vintages this month. 

Happy Father’s Day!

I cannot remember the last time I had or ever made Hamburger Helper. Since moving, I am in an area that gets all kinds of free samples from cereal to tuna. So you can imagine my surprise when a box of Lasagna Hamburger Helper arrived at my doorstep.

Considering the economic times I thought I would get in the spirit and whip up this dish. Of course, I did use organic extra lean ground beef from Beretta Farms which cost me triple the price of normal lean ground beef purchased from a discount grocery store. I followed the recipe and made the creamy version by adding a bit of milk to mixture.

While it was cooking and tasting the flavours in the dish, I was trying to think of wine to pair with it. For white, I was thinking Chardonnay with some barrel aging to as it would have a more creamier texture than an unoaked Chardonnay. It would also have to have good acidity, too. So I was thinking a Sonoma or even Ontario Chardonnay would work here. For a red, a Valpolicella or Chianti would work as both have nice red fruit flavours and great acidity. I decided on a 2007  Barbera D’Alba ‘Torriglione’ from Renato Ratti which is currently available for $19.95 in Vintages. This wine hails from the Piedmont region in Italy but most people know this area for Barolo. What is so great about the Barbera grape variety is that it is very approachable when young and pairs well with many foods because of its high acidity.

What a wine! Very floral on the nose, lots of violets here but also had nice red berry characteristics both on the nose and in the mouth. Very nice finish too. Although the alcohol on the label said 14%, it was well integrated in the wine and did not over power the dish. It was so good it had my husband and I going back for seconds not only for the wine, but the food too.

Would I make this again, for sure but it’s our family’s little secret!

{March 19, 2009}   A Pairing Dilemma

With the Toronto Maple Leafs and Toronto Raptors out of town this week, I totally indulged at the Body Blitz Spa late this afternoon with a total head to toe scrub.   When I got home shortly after 7 p.m.,  I decided to pull out one of my Bertolli dinners from the freezer.  I decided on the Steak, Rigatoni and Portabello Mushroom dish.   The pairing according to the Villa Bertolli website suggests a Pinot Grigio of which I had none.  So,  I looked through my wine cellar looking for an alternative match.  It had to have good acidity but not overly sweet or full bodied.  So I decided on the 2004 Chardonnay Semillon from Hester Creek located in the Okanagan Valley.   At  only 12.9% alcohol, I knew that it would be light bodied enough to not over power the dish.   All I can say is “wow” what a fantastic wine.  It is drinking very well now and has a lot of tropical fruit notes without being too fruity.  The acidity was still there and I thought the match with the food went very well.   Because it had some age, the colour was deep gold and very bright.  I found the Semillon really shone through as I got a bit of oilyness on the finish.   This one would have been tough for me in a blind tasting for sure!

{February 23, 2009}   Shake, shake, shake that Gruner!

We all come across unusual scenarios when it comes to wine.  For example, you might know someone who prefers ice in their fifty-dollar bottle of Chardonnay or–worse yet–in their red wine.  Or you may have that friend that absolutely loves Shiraz with oysters.  But some people prefer their Gruner Veltliner shaken, as was the case a few weeks ago for a fellow Sommelier.

The Sommelier had a request for a bottle of  2007 Gruner Veltliner and brought it over to the table.  He presented the bottle to the guest and then poured a taste.  The guest then told him that it need some “air” because he thought it was still a bit tight.  The Sommelier suggested decanting into one of their beautiful white wine decanters, which he declined.  Then he suggested pouring a few ounces in each guest’s glass because he knew it would also open up quickly that way. 

But that was not a reasonable solution for this guest and he told the Sommelier to put the screw cap back on and pass him the bottle.  As soon as he handed it to him, he immediately stood up and shook that bottle like there was no tomorrow.  The other guests were simply looking on like this was a normal scene in their world.  When he was done, he said, “It’s ready now,” and handed the Sommelier the bottle to pour out to all the guests. 

Then the Sommelier went into the kitchen and burst out laughing… 

Obama sips a 2002 Stratus Red on Parliament Hill….


This is the email that Stratus has sent out to all its subscribers:


Big news…


President Barack Obama enjoyed our 2002 Stratus Red at yesterday’s luncheon with Prime Minister Stephen Harper on Parliament Hill in Ottawa.


Served with the main course of Applewood Smoked Plains Bison, the 2002 Red marks the first of the Stratus Red lineage. It was released in 2005 when we officially opened and immediately received rave reviews. No doubt that time in cellar has made it even better!


We are honoured that this debut vintage of Stratus Red was uncorked in celebration of the President’s visit and thought you might like to know.


With any luck, you may still have some in your cellar.





P.S. – I’m going to check my cellar right away. 






{November 14, 2008}   Lorie Loves Wine–And Beer Too!

I remember during my first sommelier course we had a class on Beer. My experience with beer hadn’t gone much beyond Coors Light from my college days in the nineties and I sincerely hated beer. Each sommelier student had to announce their favourite beer to the class. As I sat there listening to all these exotic beers from my fellow classmates, I dreaded what I would say. I took the safe route and blurted out “Corona” as someone else had also indicated that was their favorite too. I had only sipped Corona on occasion and, to be honest, it didn’t appeal to my personal taste. After taking that class, I really gained an appreciation for beer (thank you, Stephen Beaumont) and decided I preferred ales to lagers and would have a few Schneider Weisse or Chimay beers a year.

That was until I tried the Mill Street Organic beer. Yes, it’s a lager but it’s a lighter style (only 4.2% alcohol) with an amazing floral bouquet and the requisite banana flavour that I love about beer. Perhaps because it’s made in a European style that makes it appeal to my taste buds. It pairs with anything from fish and chips (has that great acidity to cut through the grease), to hot dogs, to salads and fruit. In Ontario it’s available at the LCBO and the Beer Store and on tap some local Toronto pubs and restaurants. Or better yet, head on down to the Mill Street Brew Pub next time you are TO.

This beer rocks!

Click on the image below for this beer’s tasting notes here:


et cetera