Sunday, July 14, 2013

Field Trip: Vintages BBQ, Toronto, Ontario

Last week I had the pleasure of attending the Vintages BBQ in Toronto courtesy of She Does The City.  Held inside the Corus building at the Queen’s Quay in Toronto, the sold-out event was full of people excited to enjoy an evening of wine tasting and delicious BBQ!

We braved two hours of traffic coming in from Hamilton to Toronto (which, as a reference, should not have taken more than 1 hour) for the event and we were not disappointed. I had never been to the Corus building and thought the space was incredible and perfect for this kind of event. With high ceilings and a modern-industrial feel, the room was set up with various tasting stations and big open doors that lead to the patio and outdoor grills. The room was buzzing with people drinking and mingling while the DJ played upbeat versions of classic hits.

With so many wines to choose from, I was grateful for the taster’s notebook – a small booklet listing all of the offerings as well as space to make notes – which was provided to each attendee.  Here are some of my favorites from the evening:
  • France, Rhône: M. Chapoutier Belleruche, Rouge, 2011 – a full-bodied deep red wine, that was both fresh and very fruity, exactly what I look for in a summer red.
  • USA, California: Buena Vista Vinicultural Society, Sauvignon Blanc, 2011: I was naturally drawn to this wine because of the name and I will definitely go back to this wine because I continue to find the name very amusing (also, it was tasty).  This was a very fresh tasting Sauv-Blanc with an herby nose to it. I think it would be amazing with roast chicken or pork tenderloin (or a Buena Vista Social Club playlist).
  • Italy, Toscana: Casamatta, Sangiovese 2011: I am not often a big fan of Sangiovese, but found this one quite nice. While there was still a bit of an “earthy” flavor, which I don’t generally enjoy, the fruity nose and taste made the wine seem bright and flavourful.  

Now, you may recall my mentioning that this event was both a wine-tasting and BBQ and I would be remiss if I didn’t also discuss the delicious food! For starters, I have been craving ribs since Thursday. I am really not much of a rib person and typically avoid eating them in public (I’m a messy enough eater without the addition of super-saucy finger food) but decided to just go for it and was not disappointed. Picture meaty, succulent ribs, covered in a tangy sauce with meat that fell right off the bone and melted in your mouth! (I’m sorry because now you probably want ribs, too!) Needless to say I went back a few times to get more because they were so good. There was also a steak station with little pieces of steak cooked perfectly to medium-rare. While enjoyable, they weren’t seasoned at all and in this case, the flavor of the meat itself just wasn’t enough to not require seasoning. The third station was a seafood station and I definitely made my way over more than once. They had whole salmon fillets that had been grilled over cedar planks as well as tiny little lobster sliders that were topped with a generous dollop of tangy aioli. 

In addition to the BBQ stations outside, they set up a few tables indoors with an equally delectable selection of salads and veggies. Besides the cute little cornbread squares and tasty guacomole, my favorite item here was the potato salad. I know, potato salad typically isn’t anything special or memorable, but that is precisely why this one was so good. Perfectly cooked potatoes (firm yet tender), just the right balance of creaminess and tangyness in the dressing and sweet peas! It seems so obvious to me to put peas in potato salad now but it was pretty exciting at the time (it’s the little things in life, right?) Everything was very good and perfect for cleansing your palate in between wines.  

Overall, the event was very well done and I only have one suggestion for next year’s: to see more wines from Canada since there were only 2! We have some pretty incredible wine regions and I would have loved to see them represented at this event. None-the-less, the Vintages BBQ was a great opportunity to try new wines, listen to fun music and, of course, eat ribs! Thanks She Does The City!

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