Toronto restaurants and bars are throwing open the cellars, making some of their most unusual selections available for takeout or delivery
With restaurants now being allowed to sell alcohol for takeout or delivery, we don’t have to go out to enjoy some hard-to-find drinks that aren’t available through consumer channels like the LCBO. Since the drastic change to Ontario’s liquor laws, wine bars in particular have been opening up their cellars with unique offerings to accompany food orders – often at a nice discount. We asked some local establishments to highlight some of their favourite rare and hard-to-get wines.
2017 Tanuki Bob, 4 Kilos, Mallorca Spain
Labora is currently reducing the prices of their wines by 50 to 60 per cent. Made entirely with Manto Negro grapes, this bright and light Spanish wine is packed with notes of strawberries that will have you welcoming the warmer days in style. Pairing with Labora’s infamous paella is a no-brainer. $49 (from $100), labora.to. Call 416-260-9993 or email firstname.lastname@example.org for orders.
2018 Big Head Wines Chenin Blanc, Niagara-on-the-Lake, Ontario
The quiet little wine bar on Queen East is currently experimenting with delivery and takeout of some delightful wines (with orders of a $2 bag of chips). The Big Head Chenin Blanc has honey notes blended with pineapple and lemon with a dry finish to create a tasty springtime escape. $30, instagram.com/cheznouswinebar
2017 Susucaru from Frank Cornelissen, Terre Siciliane, Italy
Wine lovers are especially loving the selections that are now available from Dundas West hot spot Archive. Owner and sommelier Joshua Corea suggests this excellent entry-level sipper from an iconic natural wine producer. Expect flavours of strawberry, red cherry and various spices. $50, archive909.com.
2018 Two Shepherds Pinot Gris Skin Fermented, Sonoma Valley, California
Straight from Midfield Wine Bar’s cellar and exclusive to the bar itself, this wine is done in the Old World Ramato style with notes of hibiscus, grapefruit, cranberry and papaya. Overall, it’s a gentle wine well worth the price. $95, midfieldwine.com/take-out. Takeout only.
2018 O’Ranch Muscadelle and Ondenc, Barouillet, Bergerac, France
Après Wine Bar’s chef Jeff Kang has teamed up with Omai’s Edward Bang to create KANG BANG Fried Chicken, a kimchi and fried chicken pop-up that features some amazing wines. The O’Ranch 2018 has delicate notes of apricot and orange zest, which should pair marvellously with the fried poultry. $70, instagram.com/kb_furaidochikin. Takeout only (Thursday-Saturday).
Le Grolleau, Marie Thibault, Loire Valley, France
Rasa, the Food Dudes’ snack bar, is now selling curated mix of half-price wine packs in six to 12 bottles for pickup and delivery along with their globally inspired high-end eats. Le Grolleau is sure to warm you up on some of the more chilly spring days, with Christmas cake spices, cinnamon, cloves and nutmeg on the nose, accompanied by flavours of plums, blackberries and black currants. Prices vary. instagram.com/rasarestaurantto. Takeout only.
Winifred Rosé, Gut Oggau, Burgenland, Austria
Krysta Oben of Paris Paris has been finding a lot of pleasure in going through the cellar looking for small batches of unique wines to share during this time. Winifred is a natural rosé from famed winemakers Eduard and Stephanie Tscheppe, who have been operating out of their 17th century winery under the Gut Oggau project, in which each wine is named as a family member. This is a very light and vibrant rosé, with notes of raspberry and cherry. Perfect for these early spring days! $80, parisparis.ca. Takeout only (Tuesdays and Fridays).
Riesling & Gamay, Niagara, Ontario
This beautiful wine and beer bar isn’t about to let a global pandemic stop them from releasing their own brand of natural wines this week. Launching this Thursday will be the first two offerings made in Niagara, a Gamay made at Foxcroft and a Reisling at Lakeview Vineyard, both under $30.
The Gamay is bright and acidic with flavours of raspberry, apricot leathers, apple stems and a touch of sulphur (and pairs well with the black truffle chips they carry at the bar). The Riesling, meanwhile, is a wine practically built for aging: Creamy mouthfeel and mild acidity and tartness. Think fuzzy peach candy or a lime creamsicle. Drink now or age it a few years and enjoy later. $29.95 (Gamay) or $24.95 (Riesling). shop.paradisegrapevine.com. Ontario-wide delivery available.