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Wines less travelled worth the walk

October 25th, 2014 · 1 Comment

New Gleaner wine expert shares some local secrets

By Jason Nykor

This week I had the opportunity to sit with Pierre LeBoudec, assistant general manager at the University of Toronto’s Faculty Club. He is a Breton now living in Canada who never misses the chance to extol the virtues of French wines.

The club, at 41 Wilcox Street in the centre of St. George campus, was originally a social centre for faculty, but it is now trying to broaden its audience by offering a $30 “community membership.”

The yearly fee allows access to the Oak and Beaver Pub and to the newly renovated patio with a retractable roof.

Besides the great location, the club’s wine mark-ups are “lower than most restaurants,” says LeBoudec.

More importantly, he has also changed most of the wine list to feature more consignment wines, which are wines not available at the LCBO and which must be purchased from the local agent. Usually wines from the consignment program are from more unique, hand-crafted smaller wineries.

TIP: If you have a wine at any restaurant in the city that is not available at the LCBO, ask the sommelier or your waiter and they will gladly get you the information on how to contact the agent. Don’t be scared: wine agents are happy to have your business, and will usually deliver the wine free of charge in the GTA, right to your front door! Most have websites that make purchasing easy as well.

The Oak and Beaver has a robust wine list featuring imported wines from around the world, as well as Ontario VQA “Faculty Club Selections” and wine features that LeBoudec changes roughly every three months.

This month, the club is featuring two wines from Lodi California — a Chardonnay and a Cabernet Sauvignon — as well as a Pinot Noir from the Central Coast AVA of California. Lodi, known as the Zinfandel capital of the world, is just south of the famous Napa wine region. The Central Coast AVA runs from Santa Barbara in the south all the way up to the San Francisco Bay to the north.

The first featured Lodi wine is 99 Vines Chardonnay. If you are looking for an oaky Chardonnay, stop reading now. This Chardonnay is a crisp, clean wine. Aromas of citrus, melon, and a little butterscotch on the nose. The taste is crisp with good acidity. This wine would pair perfectly with the Oak and Beaver’s warm Ahi Tuna Taco or the Cobb salad. At home it will also go well with pasta and cream sauces, chicken either roasted or barbecued, and popcorn. Serve cold!

The second feature wine is the 99 Vines Cabernet Sauvignon. It has aromas of dark fruits, plum and cherry, and it tastes a little sweet at the beginning and the end tannins are quite tame. This wine would pair well with the Oak and Beaver homemade Black Angus burger, as well as the veal parmesan sandwich. At home, this wine works great with roasted and barbecued meats and sausages, pastas with tomato sauces, or on its own with as many friends as possible.

And last but not least, my favourite grape, Pinot Noir. The 2011 Ballard Lane Pinot Noir is an elegant wine. As with other Pinot Noirs, this wine is medium bodied and goes well with food or on its own. The 2011 Ballard Lane has aromas of plum and is very fragrant. The tannins are elegant and light. Enjoy this wine at the club with the Australian rack of lamb. At home, pair this wine with meats, cheeses, anything, even your husband or wife. It is as versatile as you will find.

All of these wines are available at the U of T Faculty Club for the next three-month feature or you can purchase them for yourself from grape.


Tags: General

1 response so far ↓

  • 1 page // Oct 29, 2014 at 8:02 pm

    But does the pinot noir pair with the “other” man or woman?!
    This is a mouth watering article.