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About this Episode

Michaela Quinlan, certified sommelier, and Robert Tas cross the border into Canada where they review the wine list at Stratus, a fine-dining restaurant that serves inspired Canadian cuisine that is a mix of new-world flavors and old-world classics, and their wine list is curated to pair well with their menu. Michaela reviews wines from both sides of the Atlantic, including Canada.

Wines reviewed include:

  • 2018 Misty Cove Estate Pinot Noir, Marlborough, New Zealand

  • 2017 Cave Spring, Indian Summer, Late Harvest Riesling, Niagara, Canada

  • 2019 Claudia Ferrero “Pepita” from Tuscany, Italy

Transcript: Stratus


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


RT: Today we are talking about Stratus. Located in Toronto on the 36th floor of the TD South Tower, Stratus defines Canadian cuisine as a mix of new world flavors and old-world classics.


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

MQ: The incredible view and all-day dining options are just as impressive as their wine list. Arranged by grape varietal, Stratus maintains old world meets new world from their menu to their wine list.

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

MQ: Let’s begin with the 2019 Vasse Felix Chardonnay form the Margaret River in Western Australia. This highly rated, organic chardonnay is the best of all worlds with bright acidity, melon, and peach, with a hint of salinity, as these grapes absorb the ocean breeze. The creamy, nuttiness on the finish comes from the brief time spent in oak. Truly the best of everything when you are looking to pair with seafood and rich fish.

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

MQ: Another favorite New World stop would be the 2018 Misty Cove Estate Pinot Noir from Marlborough, New Zealand. This medium bodied Pinot Noir features ripe red fruit, such as cranberries, and ripe raspberries, along with notes of sage, earth, and cola. The bright acidity ads to this wine’s incredible ability to pair with lightly sauced proteins and rich, root vegetable dishes.

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 love when wine lists feature local wine. A standout, must try wine is the 2017 Cave Spring, Indian Summer, Late Harvest Riesling, from Niagara, Canada. We love to mention the versatility of the Riesling grape, often discussing wines that are dry to semi sweet. Now is our chance to feature the truly sweet, dessert style, or Late Harvest, Riesling. Late harvest is just that, where the grapes continue to hang on the vine following standard harvest collection. During this time, the grapes begin to raisin and the natural sugars in the grape increase, resulting in aromas and flavors of rich honey, dried apricot, with notes of lemon rind and beautiful acidity. This is a wine to pair with berries with cream and hard cheese.

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: Returning to the Old World, consider the 2019 Claudia Ferrero “Pepita” from Tuscany, Italy. This rich, full bodied Super Tuscan consists of Alicante, Montepulciano, Cabernet Sauvignon, and Merlot and showcases ripe, red cherries, blackberries, notes of black pepper, and firm, round tannins. This is your go-to to pair with richly sauced pasta and proteins.

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: This is by far my favorite category; finding that exceptional quality and value wine. One to consider would be the 2020 La Guardiense Janare, Falanghina, from Campania, Italy. The Falanghina grape is a crowd pleaser for our fans of Chardonnay and Sauvignon Blanc. This medium bodied, white wine features ripe peach, lemon zest, and bright acidity, with notes of green apple on the mineral finish. This is an excellent companion to shellfish, rich fish, and spicy dishes.

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

MQ: We know I can’t pass by a cabernet franc. So, while you are glancing over the wine list at Stratus contemplating the Cave Spring Late Harvest Riesling, don’t miss the 2019 Cave Spring “Dolomite” Cabernet Franc. This medium to full bodied red wine features ripe black berries, black cherries, and white pepper, with notes of mushroom and earth. Pair this cabernet franc with all savory dishes, all for an excellent price.

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

MQ: With the variety of classic flavors on Stratus’ menu, a classic bottle to consider would be the 2018 Le Domaine d’Henri 1er Cru “Troesmes” from Chablis. This family run winery produces a stellar Chardonnay showcasing aromas and flavors of ripe peach, cantaloupe, ripe green apple, with bright acidity, minerality, and a soft, toasty finish, due to the minimal oak aging. Top Chablis is always a winner, especially when pairing with rich fish, light proteins, and any special occasion.

RT: Michaela Thank you so much for all your great suggestions and helping us navigate Stratus’ 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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