Gourmet Food and Wine Expo 2013

I’m a little late with this review, but since most of these beverages are still available at your local LCBO, winery, brewery or through an agency, I hope you won’t mind.

Every year the Gourmet Food and Wine Expo (GFWE) takes over the Metro Convention Centre for a weekend in November. It’s an interesting mix of education and alcohol sampling that sees the wine and spirits community out in force.  Here are a few of my favourites, discovered over two days of tasting:

At the Noteworthy Wines booth I tried Grady Wines from Lodi, California. These were a fantastic introduction to Lodi wines, which I’ve never tried before. With Shawn and I hoping to head to California in July, it was nice to be able to explore some wines from a lesser known region. My favourite was the 2009 Reserve Cabernet Sauvigon.

I was pleased to see a large selection of wines from Ontario’s Southwest represented, as I haven’t had much experience with them and Shawn and I are hoping to visit the area soon. My favourite of the wines I tried was Burning Kiln’s Riesling. Burning Kiln is also the home of the Zip ‘n’ Sip wine adventure – something I really can’t wait to try!

Also from Ontario, I fell further in love with Hidden Bench’s Riesling and Muskoka Lake’s incredible Red Maple cranberry maple dessert wine. And, of course, I took a moment to stop by the Lighthall Vineyward's booth to indulge in a little of their crisp, lively Progression Sparkling – a longstanding personal favourite (and the perfect compliment for any oyster dinner).

A great treat was getting to sample the Tierra Hermosa Veinte Grados (or 20°), a red blend of Tempranillo, Syrah and Garnacha from Granada. This was a spicy, warm wine full of red fruit with lovely strawberry and anise on the nose. The tannin was medium and there was very nice pepper on the finish – a wonderful discovery!

My favourite non-wine beverage of the event? Pommies Dry Cider, of course. This is a staple for me and I’ll happily go out of my way to find an LCBO that carries it. Pommies is made in a wine style and I love the crisp, refreshing taste. It’s not cloyingly sweet and it doesn’t have the bitter aftertaste I don’t like in some ciders. I was thrilled to see more people discovering it at the show.

And Shawn’s favourites? He really enjoyed trying more craft beer from Oast House and checking out the cocktails at Tag Vodka.

Our favourite foods at the show were easy to pick. Rock Lobster’s amazing lobster rolls (these are truly drool-worthy), Fire in the Kitchen’s grilled cheese sandwiches with chicken (be sure to stock up on FITK spice rubs – you won’t be disappointed) and Le Dolci’s uber-delicious macarons. I truly couldn’t get enough of those cookies – I went back more than once on both days I visited the show.

Shawn and I had a fantastic time at GFWE this year and look forward to our next visit! For more information: http://www.foodandwineexpo.ca