The crowd at the Sante wine sampling

Sante to Win Friends and Influence People

This Saturday I went to the Sip, Savour & Preview for Santé: Toronto International Wine Festival . As a son of wine parents I developed a taste and vocabulary for wine early on which was surprisingly impressive at parties: "This is... oaky. And... fleshy." So it's with some trepidation that I would be exposed to actual experts during the course of this sampling, which was was held at the castle of liquor that is the Summerhill LCBO.

Chef Gordon Mackie cooking at a Sante wine tasting


Picking up a narrow wine glass and 4 drink tickets I walked up to the booths of wineries, cheese, and hors d'oeuvres from Far Niente's chef, Gordon Mackie. The most memorable was Gnarly Head's Cabernet which was encouragingly easy to drink but with a bold red flavor that I could have with anything. The cheese station served a gouda called le Calumet, which means "peace pipe"! It had a refreshing light flavour and smoky skin that tasted even sharper with a light red.

The atmosphere was surprisingly casual with a diverse crowd. The winery reps were helpful, either playing wine Mad Libs with the "experts" or just chatting about what foods pair well with their wines. So if you've ever wanted to know more than "red goes with meats" this a great chance to get exposed to wine culture. David Homer, the Bloor-Yorkville BIA chair (a festival sponsor), chatted with me about how there's been a focus on making the festival approachable, for example indicating events that are good to go with friends and others for a date. I like it - shows your date that you're "cultured".

Other interesting events coming up for Santé:
Elevate Your Senses (How to Taste Like a Pro) at the Summerhill LCBO
May 10th from noon - 1:30PM

Red and White Goes Green (Intro to Enviro-Wines) at the Park Hyatt Hotel
May 10 from 2:30 p.m. - 4:00 p.m.

Santé in the City
partners restaurants in Toronto with select wineries to present a unique wine and dine experience. Some highlights include C5 Restaurant at the ROM and Amuse Bouche.


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