Loop Line Wine and Food
The polished wine bar that replaces Pimlico Design Gallery has been in the making since before the pandemic. It opened first as a bottle shop focused on estate-grown wines from big and small wineries, with a few beer and cider options, in October 2020.
Wine aficionados can now pay a $30 corkage fee to taste their newfound Canadian or international bottle before taking it home or sip by the glass with a few complementing small plates at the bar.
The bar is custom made by Latitude Countertops while all of the furniture and shelving units over in the bottle shop are courtesy of Stratus' owner and furniture manufacturer Teknion. Plain walls are adorned with artwork from Graham Girard and Alex McLeod.
Partner with CRU Wine Merchants and Loop Line, Charles Baker was previously also the marketing director at Stratus. His self-produced Rieslings (some of the highest regarded in the province) can be found in the bottle shop.
Adrienne Bertrand is the on-site wine expert and Brazilian-born chef Sheyla Thurler da Silva handles the food, which is prepared with nothing more than a bar countertop oven.
WSET-qualified Bertrand first got interested in the world of vino a few years back after spending time dabbling in what she calls her wine gateway drug: private golf clubs.
One of Bertrand's favourites to pour by the glass is the Boulevard Napoleon L'Abeuradou Cinsault wine from London's renowned St. John Restaurant. Made solely from Cinsault grapes, the fruity red (with slight notes of spice) is actually quite rare.
The by-the-glass program that grabs from the bottles over in the retail section rotates often. Most of the wines on the shelf are organic or biodynamic and each one comes with a handwritten tag outlining the tasting notes you can expect to make shopping a bit easier.
Ones from Stratus and Baker are mixed in with names from around the world including cans of Baker's Riesling, which he started making in small batches at Stratus Vineyards back in 2005.
Each of the producers on the shelf comes with a story, which Bertrand will be happy to share with any inquiring shopper. Obsidian grows their cab sav near the Mt. Konocti volcano in California. Black obsidian sits on the counter nearby, picked by Baker during a visit.
They also carry Montrodo from Elsa Peretti's winery in Catalonia, Spain. Originally from Italy, Peretti passed away this past year after a full career as a jewelry designer for Tiffany & Co. and a philanthropist.
You'll also be able to find wines from one of Canada's biggest wine growers, Ann Sperling. Pinot noir from her family winery in B.C. and Malbec produced high up in the Andes in Argentina with her husband and fellow winemaker, Peter Gamble, are available.
The simple menu of small plates is made to accompany the wines and tends to rotate depending on the season and ingredients available. Whatever needs cooking is sous vide or prepared in the small oven.
All of the dishes come out on ceramic plates from Dex(terity) Lab and a few of the specialty food items are also by local suppliers. Find Stubbe chocolates on the menu, as well as cheese from Cheese Boutique.
French comté ($8) and Ontario Camelot ($9) are currently available but this will change every so often. Homemade cherry and fig jam is served on the side of the cheese.
They also serve baguettes from Blackbird Baking and sourdough bread ($6) from Noctua, of which Thurler da Silva puts with an ever-changing compound butter. Sage, honey and toasted pumpkin oil is the butter recipe of the week.
Besides a chicken liver mousse by chef Ryan Crawford of Ruffino's Pasta Bar and Grill in Niagara-on-the-Lake, the tuna pate ($8) is one of the favourite meat spreads on offer. It's far fresher than your regular pate with plenty of lemon and creme fraiche.
The peppers piperade ($7) is a personal top-choice. Sun-dried tomatoes and peppers are pickled and prepared with thyme. This one goes best with some bread to offset the surprisingly strong flavours.
Dessert comes in the delicious form of a canteloupe panna cotta topped with crispy prosciutto ($10). If you're a fan of sweet and salty, you're going to love this treat.
Toward the back end of the bar is a private dining room with booths and cozy chairs, perfect for winemaker events and wine tastings.
Loop Line may come from a high profile Niagara winery, but the localness of everyone on staff combined with a name in honour of the side laneway, make it feel like just another down-to-earth neighbourhood bar.