Best Wine Bars and Stores in Toronto

Toronto Life
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Delicious Recipe by LCBO

Winemakers will soon be picking their grapes and filling fermentation tanks when the harvest comes. Later, they'll pick icewine grapes as well, and then the whole industry will relax a little. In the meantime, we can expect the release of 2010?2011 wines that are now bottled and are ready to be tasted and distributed to shops, wine bars, and private wine cellars.What's the most convenient way to get near a good bottle of ?just-released? wine?

Visiting wineries is often the best but also the most time-consuming way to taste a good wine. Those of you who are looking for wines that don't appear on LCBO shelves are welcome at the wine bars, restaurants, and taverns around Toronto that serve good wines and positive vibes.

Wine Bars

Nowadays, when every restaurant has its own wine cellar, it has become increasingly difficult to decide where to go for a quality wine experience. While many venues serve casual, "easy" wines that are widely available at the LCBO, there are some places (true gems, I say) that treat wine differently. They don't want to present you an ordinary bottle of wine. They prefer to pick wines with care. Usually, sommeliers know the winemakers or have visited the wineries themselves and understand where the wine comes from and whom it's for. Later, in the restaurant, they help you choose the right wine ? which you might never have heard of, but which will surely blow your mind.

Caf? Boulud

Mr. Boulud needs no introduction. He has built and maintained one of the food world?s most respected luxury brands. Since October 2012, he has been running a restaurant in Yorkville?s Four Seasons Hotel named simply Caf? Boulud.

From the very beginning of his career, he has brought innovation to the table and mixed the known with the unknown. The dishes he creates are simple but ingenious and would definitely delight your tastebuds. Here in Toronto, his restaurant is luxurious and youthful (some call it rebellious) at the same time. But its table linens and overt ceremony don't quite fit the concept.

 

Caf Boulud Toronto
Caf? Boulud

Caf? Boulud?s wine list is perfect, though. No matter what your preferences or meal, there's a wine waiting for you in the cellar. Jordan Alessi, the caf?s sommelier, is ready to chat about their wine selection and recommend you something really special. 

If I had to sum it up in one word, I think I would say our wine list is 'accessible.' We cover the world and in the least pretentious way possible. I think we have hit all the classic examples of great wine regions and producers. We have (I think) a great representation of the best Canadian stuff on our list and I am really proud of that,

 he says.

Aielli Ristorante

One thing that sets Aielli Ristorante apart is that it's family-owned, far away from mainstream restaurants that seem to be opening up at every corner. The family pays special attention to every guest and party to make sure they receive world-class service.

The role of wine with food, despite all of the arrogance and elitism it seems surrounded by, is to enhance the enjoyment of the dining experience for individuals with different senses of personal taste,

explains Luigi Macerolla, proprietor of Aielli Ristorante.

Aielli Ontario
Aielli Ontario

Aielli Ristorante is a place that can accommodate a small, romantic dinner, a big dinner party, or a business meeting equally well. The restaurant is divided into three parts: the main restaurant, the dining room (with a cozy atmosphere, a real fireplace, and hand-painted frescos), the enoteca (a private dining room for up to 45 guests), and the wine cellar (hosting the restaurants many fine wines).

Aielli?s wine cellar is probably the most stunning place you'll see. It's home to more that 10,000 bottles of wine. There's a small dining room for family gatherings or wine tasting parties with private waiters and sommeliers. Aielli has been awarded the Award of Excellence by the respected New York Wine Spectator eight years in a row.

Midfield Wine Bar and Tavern

Midfield Wine Bar
Midfield Wine Bar

 

Midfield Wine Bar and Tavern is, without exaggeration, the greatest wine bar in Toronto. There are very few places around that embrace the true spirit of the wine bar. Midfield, which opens for its drinkers and diners at the northwest corner of Dundas and Gladstone, is very much a bar focused on wine. You can come over for a glass of Nebbiolo on your way home from the office or extend your one glass over the course of the night. In either case, if hunger hits you, you don?t need to go to neighbouring restaurants to appease it. Midfield chefs make delicious tapas, assemble the best cheese boards, and deliver tasty nibbles. Christopher Sealy, co-owner and sommelier, assures all customers,To maintain the tavern vibe, the plan is to offer the menu all the way to last call.

Here you choose your wine first and then pair a meal. Midfield is a proud seller of Canadian wines.

I think many are fantastic. I?m a big fan of Ontario Riesling and Cabernet Franc,

says Chris.

Wine Stores

There's nothing more frustrating than not being able to find a bottle of your favourite wine. Supermarket wine racks usually have contracts with only the big agencies and wineries, and so the wine you can find there might not be to your tastes.

LCBO

LCBO is the starting point for most purchases, both domestic and foreign. It's the largest single purchaser of beverage alcohol in the world. There are more than 4,000 products available in its thirty stores across Toronto. The wines are split into two groups, General Listing or Vintage.

If you buy a wine from the first group, it's primarily designed to be consumed within a year or two from the time of purchase. On the other hand, wine labelled as vintage can happily sit on a (cold, dark) shelf for a decade and get better and better over time. The major vintage wine stores in Toronto are 10 Scrivener Square at Yonge and Summerhill, Bayview Village Mall (Sheppard and Bayview), and Crossroads at 2625D Weston Road (Weston and 401). If you wish to start a cellar, vintage wine is your starting point. As your collection broadens, you can add some generally listed wine acquired in wineries or LCBO stores. A good relationship with an LCBO consultant can be very beneficial for your new hobby. They are extremely professional and love to help.

LCBO Magazine
Check LCBO's Food & Drink Magazine!

The LCBO has a nice and organized website where you can find all its products together with descriptions. Wines are split into groups, and headlines at the top of each group will help you navigate easily.

Wine Agency

Another option is to buy wine directly from agencies. Agencies serve as mediators between the LCBO and wineries. If you know what specific wine you like or if there's one winery you prefer, it may be worthwhile to build a relationship with an agency. You can then easily get hold of exclusive wines from a specific winemaker.

The majority of agencies will deliver your selection directly to your doorstep, but note that you need to buy a minimum of one case.

If you're considering contacting an agency and don?t know where to start, have a look at Drinks Ontario. You can find detailed information about winemakers and wineries as well as the agencies that represent them.

Wine Align

Wine Align is a great website that all wine lovers should keep in their bookmarks bar. If you need a helping hand selecting a wine or if you found an extremely appealing bottle and you want to know if it tastes as good as it looks, have a look at the guides and reviews on the site. You can find detailed descriptions of wines, critics' reviews, and public opinion there easily.

Wine Align
Wine Align

Do you remember our mentioning the 2010?2011 wine release at the beginning of this article? Check Wine Align for more information and dates. You can download a smartphone app so that you never feel lost again in the wine world.

One thought on “Best Wine Bars and Stores in Toronto

September 24, 2013 at 2:44 pm

Toronto restaurants are great, but the best way to get great food and top wines is to hit the suburbs- a dinner for two costing over $200.00 in Toronto can be had for under $100 with wine in many top restaurants in the area surrounding Toronto, and the drive in the country is beautiful- especially as the fall colours come on, and usually there is great accommodation nearby if you want to spend the night.
A few I would recommend-
Orangeville, Hockley Vally resort,, The White Truffle, 199 Broadway, Black Birch
Belfountain – Belfountain Inn,
Alton-The Millcroft Inn, Rays Bakery
Caledon East- Royal Ambassador
Alliston- Bistro 77
King City- Hogans Inn
Schomberg- Port Soiree

Enjoy
Hugh

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