Gourmet Food and Wine Expo – the drinks!

The second of two posts covering the 2009 Gourmet Food and Wine Expo as a Foodbuzz Foodie Correspondent (you can check out the first one here).

On Saturday November 21st, I attended the Gourmet Food and Wine Expo as part of the Foodbuzz Foodie Correspondent program for Featured Publishers. In exchange for a Media Pass, I am writing a couple of posts about my experience – it was a lot of fun, so thanks, Foodbuzz!

As I said in my first post about the GFWE, it did seem that there was much more emphasis on drinks than eats, evident by the sheer number of countries and wine growing regions represented:

Portugal was the Expo’s “host country” this year.

In the Fine Wine Tasting Lounge, I started the day with this:

An old favourite – Nicolas Feuillatte. Perfect for any occasion!

And then we happened upon these eye-catching cards:

All part of a promo for Sommelier Service (and in fact all those URLs point to the Sommelier Service website), a wine club where Jamie D. hand selects the best private order wines from around the world. Our custom designed software matches these wines with your individual taste preference and delivers them to your door every 1, 2 or 3 months. Sommelier Service is not a club for people who drink a lot of wine. It’s for people who want to drink great wines, at a great price, whenever they open a bottle.

Hmmm, now if we weren’t already Opimian members, we might just consider this. Our cellar, however, cannot cope with much more wine…

The Vintages stand made me laugh a little – alongside very fine wines (some of which were $19 a tasting glass!), was a very Canadian sign of the times:

Yup, the Purell was out in force this year.

Some standout moments (for me – I can’t speak for Mr “I am working my way through the sommelier program in the George Brown Hospitality programme” Neil who was very studious and serious in his tastings unlike Edie and myself as we knocked back full tasting glasses whilst Neil was tasting and spitting…) included:

A Château de LaFaurie-Monbadon Côtes de Castillon. The guys at this booth were smooth operators (one of them was the vineyard owner and I chatted with him in French. He was very charming…). As we were chatting, before we even knew it, they had washed and filled our glasses… The Vintages tasting notes say: Côtes de Castillon is an appellation to watch for hidden gems. Ruby red in colour, it displays classic aromas of blackcurrant, black cherry, pencil lead and oak. It’s dry, medium bodied with good concentration of sweet black fruit flavours supported by mild chalky tannins and refreshing acidity, all culminating in a lengthy finish. This food-friendly wine is a winner with roast beef, lamb, or even turkey dinner and at $15 a bottle, I would say an EXCELLENT wine for the coming festive season. (we also liked the slogan – above).

I am a sucker for pretty labels and rosé so couldn’t go past this:

A Chilean rosé with a cool label? I’m in! According to the Monte’s Premium Wines website, Montes’ Cherub is a seductive, elegant, dry wine, with an intense cherry-pink color. It is a well-made expression of the grape variety and terroir. On the nose and the palate, it demonstrates a distinctive Syrah character with spiciness and hints of strawberries, rose and orange peel. With good fruit concentration, it shows richness in texture across the palate that leads to a delightfully long finish. It has a strong backbone of acidity and a slight amount of tannin that gives the wine a defined structure. I could have had a number of glasses of this….

Look at the colour of that!!! An Arboleda Carmenère 2007. Wine and Spirits Magazine says of this wine: hidden beneath the aromas of toast and vanilla is a dense layer of ripe black fruit and robust tannins. It’s a generous red for shepherd’s pie. (Mmmmmm!)

Errrr… PINK PORT? Sounds intriguing (and you know I am always up for a good glass of port – even white port), looks purty but blech. Sorry Croft. Despite your claims that Croft Pink is the first ever port with a beautiful light ruby colour, achieved from light contact with the skins of traditional port grapes – lighter in style with a unique crisp and fruity flavour, I won’t be buying this. And in fact, we will be returning the bottle we bought pre-tasting this.

Curiosity couldn’t let us pass this stand:


Looks “right”…

Cheers! Or….not. I don’t remember the exact wines the three of us tasted but perhaps that’s because I have tried to block the experience out of my mind. Not. Good. Sorry.

Moving right along…

Look what I found:

Cooper’s Sparkling Ale! A fave from back home! My school was just a couple of blocks away from the Coopers Brewery and so I grew up with the smell of this beer brewing. Yum. It truly is the ale by which all others should be measured. With its famous cloudy sediment and its distinctive balance of malt, hops and fruity characters, the old ‘Red Label’ is a tasty slice of Coopers history.

There were, in fact, quite a number of breweries represented:

We tasted some good Belgian and English beers 🙂

And Estrella – a new to Ontario beer from Spain.

Not one to pass by a pretty display, I was sidetracked by this:

and this:

And of course, had to taste one of these:

Actually we had to try one of each!

In the background, a Courvoisier Sidecar:

¾ part Courvoisier® EXCLUSIF™ Cognac
¾ part DeKuyper® Signature Triple Sec
Splash of lemon juice
Serve shaken in a tall glass, garnish with a lemon peel.

And in the foreground, the Courvoisier Bordino Berry:

1 ½ parts Courvoisier® EXCLUSIF™ Cognac
½ part Chambord® Liqueur
4 blackberries
Dash of lemon juice
Dash of soda
Vanilla sugar

Muddle the blackberries, lemon juice and sugar in
a mixing glass before adding the Chambord®
Liqueur and Courvoisier® EXCLUSIF™ Cognac.
Shake well and strain into an ice-filled tall glass.

Delicious and festive!

The GFWE featured a number of mini events also that you could sign up for. The Connoisseur’s Corner Stage offered what they called a number of informative and exciting wine seminars led by Independent Wine Education Guild instructors at their tasting stage. Classes were every hour, first come, first served. Classes were $5 payable in sampling tickets and include all wine samples and a 45 minute exciting, educational seminar.

Sadly, the “tasting stage” was really tucked away in a corner and did not look too inviting at all.

There were also Tutored Tastings which were pricier but also a lot more professional looking (they were held in separate rooms away from the craziness of the main hall). One of Neil’s tutors from his sommelier program was leading this one:

But sadly, our timing was off for that one. Next year maybe…

Overall, a very fun afternoon but to cover this in as much depth as it perhaps deserves, I would have needed to attend every day and work through one aisle at a time. Not sure my stomach could have dealt with that though!!!

Thanks Foodbuzz for letting me cover this for you!

8 Responses to Gourmet Food and Wine Expo – the drinks!

  1. traveleatlove November 27, 2009 at 15:53 #

    Ahhhh that looks like so much fun! I love Portugese wine. We have a wine shop nearby, and the owner is Cape Verdean so he stocks tons of wine from Portugal. Its becoming one of my favorites. I love wine labels too. My cousin is an artist. He has published comics and some books, and he is looking to get into wine label design.
    Loved your review of the event!

  2. Unplanned Cooking November 27, 2009 at 16:34 #

    That looks so fabulous! I would love to attend a serious wine tasting event. And thanks for posting about the foodbuzz publisher program — I didn't realize you could get media passes through them. I'll have to try that!

  3. Carolyn Jung November 27, 2009 at 20:26 #

    Sparkling ale! How fun is that. I wonder if I can find that in any stores in California. Sounds very intriguing to try.

  4. Lorraine @ Not Quite Nigella November 28, 2009 at 06:58 #

    What an amazing looking event and with wines from all over the globe! :O

  5. Simply Life November 28, 2009 at 13:26 #

    Seriously, I need to know how you find out about all these events – this looks amazing!!!

  6. Mardi @eatlivetravelwrite November 29, 2009 at 16:13 #

    traveleatlove – yup, some Portuguese wine can be hidden gems, for sure!

    Unplanned cooking – they can't always guarantee they can get the passes but they will try.

    Carolyn – not sure if they export it to the States but worth asking for!

    Lorraine – yup!

    Simply Life – we have been to this event in the past – plus we keep our eyes peeled for any food and wine related event!!!

  7. Oni @ This Little Green Book June 30, 2010 at 09:26 #

    Wow, what an amazing looking event – great infomative post, the wines all looked good enought to drink!

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