It's a tie. Or lets say we have winners in two divisions: city and suburbs.
Downtown it's Tony and Mario Amaro at Opus (37 Prince Arthur, 416-921-3105), whose power-packed 90-page list goes deep into burgundies, Bordeaux, Super Tuscans, Californians and Australians. Opus was Toronto's first Wine Spectator Grand Award winner, in 2002. Its list includes more than 2,500 wines, its cellar more than 40,000 bottles. Tony is taking a particular interest these days in the wines of the Duoro region of Portugal.
In the burbs, it's Phil Sabatino 's Via Allegro (1750 the Queensway 416-622-6677), which pulled in its own Grand Award in 2003. Wendy Votto is Via Allegro's general manager and lead sommelier. With 5,500 different wines, 50,000 bottles, the world's largest list of Amarones and 49 wines by the glass, Votto has made her mark. Her advice is, "Check out regional wines. Don't drink yourself into a rut."
To Opus and Via Allegro, a toast: their cellars are deep and the pockets of their customers have to be, too.
Honourable mentions go to Barberian's (7 Elm, 416-597-0335) for general depth, especially Californians; Le Sélect (432 Wellington West, 416-596-6405) for - you guessed it - French; Jamie Kennedy Wine Bar (9 Church, 416-362-1957) for wine and food pairings; and Il Mulino (1060 Eglinton West, 416-780-1173) for Ontario VQAs.
For the best wine pricing in town, check out Mammina's (6 Wellesley West, 416-967-7199), which charges zero (!) markup on Ontario VQA wines, a flat markup of $10 on the rest of its list and $5 corkage on BYOB.