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About this Episode

Michaela Quinlan, certified sommelier, and Robert Tas review the wine list at Canoe, a Canadian restaurant that is inspired by the provinces of Canada, and the wine list offers a carefully curated selection of old and new world wines to explore. Michaela explores the list, shares information about sweetness in bubbles, and kicks of the review with a spectacular sauvignon blanc that would pair well with shellfish from the east coast provinces, and follows it up with a red that would pair well with fish and heavily sauced dishes. 

 Wines reviewed include:

  • 2020 Leaning Post Sauvignon Blanc, Niagra

  • 2020 Closson Chase Vineyard Pinot Noir, Ontario

  • 2016 Bodegas San Isidro “Gemina Cuvee Seleccion”, Spain

Transcript: Canoe


RT: Hello and Welcome to CorkRules! 

A podcast where, in each episode, we will review a wine list from your favorite restaurants. I’m your host Robert Tas along with Michaela Quinlan, certified sommelier.

Hello Michaela, it’s great to be back together for another episode.

MQ: Hi Robert!

RT: Before we jump in, let’s talk about CorkRules.

We created CorkRules to demystify wine lists because we know from experience, that sometimes when we get that list handed to us, well… it can be intimidating, and even a little daunting.

Our aim is to help prepare you to navigate that list, find those hidden gems, or value wines or that special bottle that will take your dining experience over the top.

RT: So, sit back and listen as we review your favorite wine list.

RT: Today we are talking about Canoe. Inspired by the distinct provinces of Canada, this Toronto-based restaurant works closely with local farmers and suppliers. Enjoy the spectacular view during your next special celebration, corporate event, or while sampling their 8-course tasting menu.

Michaela, I can’t wait to hear what do you think of their wine list?

MQ: Their tasting menu looks exquisite. Make your reservations now! An exceptional list showcasing a number of local selections, along with standout Old and New World favorites.

RT: That’s really great, as you looked at the list did you see anything jump out at you?

MQ: Let’s begin with a local selection from Niagara. Consider the 2020 Leaning Post Sauvignon Blanc. This white wine features bright acidity from the warm days and cool nights during the growing season. Showcasing aromas of lime, kiwi, passion fruit, lemon zest, and minerality which make this local Sauvignon Blanc an excellent companion for shellfish and sushi.

RT: That is for sure unique. Did you find any others that caught your eye right away?

MQ: Staying local, a red that caught my eye was the savory 2020 Closson Chase Vineyard Pinot Noir from Prince Edward County in Ontario. This medium-bodied red wine balances savory and spice with ripe raspberries and cherries. Pair this pinot noir with roast chicken and other herbed proteins.

RT: So, Michaela, their list seems to have lots of range but was there anything that you would say is a “must-try”?

MQ: I had to add a local sparkler to this list as a must-try. Consider the Hidden Bench Natur Zero Dosage from Beamsville Bench in Ontario. To start, Dosage means the sweetness added to the sparkling wine in the form of sugar or a blend of wine and sugar. This is often used to soften the acidity in sparkling wine. Varying degrees of Dosage are used and noted on the label. I’m sure you are familiar with Demi-Sec, Sec, having some sweetness, to Brut being drier. In this case, our label notes Natur Zero Dosage, meaning this sparkler does not have any added sugar, and features bright acidity and minerality. Notes of white flowers, with ripe pear and green apple allow this sparkling blend of Chardonnay and Pinot Noir to be a perfect complement to sushi, fried seafood, or as an aperitif.

RT: These are some great calls. So, you know I’m getting thirsty and will need to order a bottle with my dinner, where would you guide us?

MQ: If your table has been eyeing the dense fish and richly sauced proteins on the menu, then you must consider the 2016 Bodegas San Isidro ‘Gemina Cuvee Seleccion from Jumilla, Spain. This bold, red wine from Southeastern Spain consists of the Monastrell grape and showcases rich, firm tannins, with aromas and flavors of ripe blackberries, cassis, earth, clove, and mint.  

RT: Ooh, Terrific. Michaela, speaking of price, sometimes people have a budget in mind,  any other great value wines you’d point us to? 

MQ: A unique, crowd-pleasing, quality/value wine from Stellenbosch, South Africa is the 2021 Pearce-Predhomme Chenin Blanc. Stellenbosch is located in the Western Cape province, where Chenin Blanc is most widely planted grape varietal in all of South Africa. The old vines and granite soils allow this white wine to showcase bright acidity, and minerality, with notes of cantaloupe, tangerine, and ripe peach, with a smooth, round finish. Consider this wine when pairing with scallops, salmon, and tuna.

RT: That sounds great. What is your other value selection?

MQ: If you are in search of a lighter-bodied red wine of excellent quality and value, consider the 2020 Stephane-Aviron, Beaujolais Villages from Burgundy. Please remember when you see Beaujolais and the gorgeous Gamay grape from this region, that we are not just talking about the Nouveau that is released just before Thanksgiving. The Nouveau goes through and expediated fermentation process called carbonic maceration that results in the light, tutti frutti flavors. The Gamay grape in this Beaujolais Villages, and there are many cru Beaujolais as well, is grown on 50-year-old vines, ages for several months in French oak, and features rich, ripe blueberries, blackberries, clove, black pepper, and sage. A crowd pleasing red to pair with herbed proteins and cheese.

RT: Now Michaela, what if I have a big client dinner or special occasion where I want to take it up a notch?

MQ: We have enjoyed several, unique wines today. Another to consider as you admire the views and ambiance of Canoe Restaurant, is the 2013 Diznoko, 5 Puttonyos Aszu, from Tokaji Hungary. The grape in this extraordinary dessert wine is the Furmint grape. Furmint, like Riesling, is another versatile grape that can produce stellar wines from dry to sweet. This Furmint is noted as 5 Puttonyos Aszu. Aszu means shriveled grapes, and Puttonyos notes the level of sweetness from 3 to 6. Enjoy the aromas and flavors of honey, ripe peach, mandarin orange, a touch of lime zest. Of course, pair this wine with any dessert, however, like Sauternes, I recommend pairing Tokaji with blue cheese.

RT: Michaela Thank you so much for all your great suggestions and helping us navigate Canoe’s wine list. I can’t wait to go try them myself. 

To our audience, thank you all for joining us here on CorkRules.

If you would like us to review one of your favorite restaurants, please send us email to: Info@CorkRules.Com or visit our web website where we have a request form available and we will do our best to get it in the queue as quickly as possible.

We are looking forward to being with you on another CorkRules episode soon. In the meantime, please check out our website for other episodes of your favorite restaurant wine lists. 

And finally, drink what you love and please make sure you drink responsibly.

Thank you.








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