TNs -- TWEC (TM) Dines at Core Restaurant in Toronto

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Tran Bronstein
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TNs -- TWEC (TM) Dines at Core Restaurant in Toronto

#1 Post by Tran Bronstein » March 14th, 2019, 9:28 pm

Berserkers,

The Toronto Wine Elitist Cabal (TM) got together for its first major 2019 gathering in the brand new Core Restaurant in the Leslieville area of Toronto. Mike, Jay and I along with friends Deb and Jeffrey ventured over to Core which opened in 2018 to rave social media reviews and has been going strong since. Chef Owner H (Hyun Jung) Kim and General Manager Alexandria Anthony have put up an upscale but affordable bistro in this formerly industrial and now gentrified area that has completely redone itself over the last couple of decades. The restaurant specializes in tasting menus and so of course that's what we had to go along with our wines which we happily shared with the staff and others. Onto the wines, then:

VILMART & CIE. NV CUVEE RUBIS 1ER CRU CHAMPAGNE -- Generous bring by Jay. This alleged Rosé champagne is so pristine and rich that it actually looks deep burnished gold colored in the glass. A non-vintage assembly of 90% Pinot Noir and 10% Chardonnay. 15% of that Pinot Noir is actually finished red wine that goes into the blend. This was assembled in 2016 from a 2015 manual harvest and 2014 reserve wine and tastes like it's got 20 years of age on it. Rich baked apple, chalk and brioche flavors get lifted by secondary flavors of watermelon, strawberry and cranberry. Superb champagne.
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Vilmart Cuvée Rubis Champagne
NIEPOORT 2015 CONCISO BRANCO DAO -- Jay also brought this. I've argued it's all but impossible for Derek Niepoort to make a bad wine and further proof is this intriguing Portuguese white. Light gold in the glass, light bodied, I get floral aromas from the Malvasia but everbody else at the table were saying they were getting nothing in the nose. Given that I drink both Portuguese Madeira and Italian Vin Santo which often use Malvasia that has been concentrated in their respective winemaking processes, it was probably easier for me to detect that tell-tale floral aroma.
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Niepoort 2015 Conciso
On the palate, a steely Chablis like body holds refreshing flavors of saltwater, cream, white grapefruit, and grass. Alex said without knowing she would have guessed this was Sauvignon Blanc. I said I would have guessed it was Chablis. In truth, this drinks like it was a blend of Chablis and Sauvignon Blanc. Good stuff, might have taken WOTN but for the presence ofthe Vilmart.

DOMAINE SCHLUMBERGER 2011 SAERING RIESLING GRAND CRU -- My contrib. This Alsacian Riesling had a lot of funk on it. Tastes of riper preserved lemon with a chalkiness to it. Unfortunately, it was not to the group's liking very much and nobody went for either a second serving or even a glass top up. It lacked the dry crystalline texture of a Bott-Geyl or a Trimbach but also didn't go full-blown off-dry like a Rolly Gassman or Michel Fonné. It was basically somewhere in between. It had a bigger medium-full body but this actually worked a little against it as the wine wasn't as refreshing as it could be. Hopefully my 14 Kessler body from the same producer will be better. A bit disappointing.
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Schlumberger 2011 Riesling Grand Cru Saering and Cazes 1990 Rivesaltes Tuilé
JACQUES PRIEURE 2015 BEAUNE 1ER CRU GREVES BLANC -- Mike had decanted and aired this out for a full day beforehand. Super creamy on the nose and palate, high phenolic bitterness, lots of baked apple, and a mouthwatering high acidity. Jeffre commented that it was rustic but feminine. I enjoyed it but not enough to pull me away from my Chablis, Montrachets and Meursaults. I likely won't be exploring this avenue of wine and it didn't sound like anyone was interested, either.

JEAN-MARC VINCENT 2015 SANTENAY 1ER CRU LE PASSERTEMPS -- Jeffrey brought this, I believe. I could be wrong on that. Crimson rub in the glass, light smooth tannins adding some spice, light bodied, sour cherries. Jeffrey notes it's disjointed in a good way. Jay says it was good but not life changing. Mike chimed in that it's not meant to be life changing, just an easy drinking affordable Burgundy. I'll vouch for that, every Santenay I've ever had fits that description but that's precisely why I like them. He also stated that the wine tasted of sherried cherries. Good description.
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Jean-Marc Vincent 2015 Santenay 1er Cru
DOMAINE CAZES 1990 RIVESALTES TUILE -- My contrib. A rare near 30 year old vintage Rivesaltes Vin Doux Naturel done in the equivalent of a Tawny Port style. This was my last bottle, sadly, but well worth sharing. Strong and sweet roasted coffee, cocoa and rancio flavors dominate until some sweet stewed dried plums come in on the end. The lighter 16% ABV body makes a definitive texture difference compared to Tawny Port but it's probably individual preference whether that's to your liking or not as its quite a contrast with those strong rich flavors matched to such a comparatively light body. Great sweet wine that we ended up sharing not only with the staff as per our custom but also the neighboring table to us who were also finishing their meal and judging from the red wine bottles on the table were also wine aficionados. I thought they'd like that. They thanked us as we were leaving.
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Domaine Cazes 1990 Rivesaltes Tuilé
This was started with a housemade bread and cultured butter. The sharp grain flavor and tang from the butter was perfect with the champagne and Conciso.
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House Bread and Cultured Butter
Our starter was a parsnip purée soup with brown butter, chili, and a duck fat and potato perogi.
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Parsnip Purée and Perogi
Second course was a foie gras torchon with fresh green apple slices, brown butter, apple chutney and toasted almond crumble. Jay got a Tuna Tataki course instead.
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Foie Gras Torchon
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Tuna Tataki
Our next course was a Grilled Spanish Mackerel.
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Grilled Spanish Mackerel
This was followed by a seared scallop with black garlic and brussel sprouts. Mike go the spring bass fillet instead.
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Seared Scallop
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Spring Bass Fillet
This led to our main of Beef ribeye with wine jus and spinach. Jay had a striped bass.
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Striped Bass
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Beef Ribeye
For dessert, we had a flourless chocolate ganache cake with poached apricot. Fabulous match with the Rivesaltes Tuilé.
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Flourless Chocolate Cake
This was a fabulous first evening and it was great to meet GM Alex and our server Jasmine who took great care of us. Alex openly discussed her desire to learn more about wine with us and we shared freely with both she and Jasmine over the course of the evening.

Check out Core if you're in the Toronto area, they offer corkage free Wednesday evenings and half-price wine bottles Thursday evening. The TWEC (TM) would like to thank Chef H and his small but precise kitchen staff as well as Jasmine and Alex for the great evening. We will return.
Last edited by Tran Bronstein on March 15th, 2019, 4:43 pm, edited 3 times in total.
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Mike Grammer
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Re: TNs -- TWEC (TM) Dines at Core Restaurant in Toronto

#2 Post by Mike Grammer » March 15th, 2019, 5:53 am

This was my second time back here and Jeff and Jay have been more than that. It was a true pleasure to finally meet Deb, who I had heard a great deal about from the guys. The food for me continues to improve (although I did comment that the meat dish, while quite tasty, was also a little too "busy" in terms of tastes----that said, the preparation of eggplant that went with it was excellent). But I have loved the attitude of this place---paced by Alex---which for me clearly centres in on a genuine desire to bond with the diner and build real relationships. It's a place I want to take people to, which is a high compliment I am happy to give.

Vilmart Cuvee Rubis Every time I try this, I seem to just fall in love all over again. Delectable lingonberry and watermelon nose leads into a perfectly weighted palate that is somehow creamy and crisp at the same time. Nips of strawberry to buttress aromatic replays, it is my fairly clear WOTN and I believe it was a unanimous consensus. Thanks Jay!


2015 Niepoort Conciso Branco Dao Was it a 2015, Tran? I thought 2013 but eyesight is failing with each passing day! At any rate, this was a new Dirk Niepoort dry wine for me and a revelation. We had some fun figuring out what we might guess blind, and I piped up with a top-end Seyval Blanc or maybe Sauv Blanc. There was this heady mix of steel and lanolin feel all at the same time and a real stateliness and precision about this. The wine was all about its structure at first and then with air, pear core, some apple and a twinge of grapefruit. As Tran says, it would have likely been WOTN without the Rubis in play. I want to get my hands on some of this.

2011 Domaine Schlumberger Saering Ries I've had very little from this vineyard, so was pleased to try. On this night, this gave little in the glass aromatically to start. With some swirling, you start to get some apple and honeydew combo. Dans la bouche, it remains fairly angular---something that comes at least partially from the vintage, I believe. However for me, this also has a definite ceiling and may have a narrow drinking window for best results---which I'd theorize is about 3-4 years from now. I think the biggest surprise for me is that it didn't really play very well at all with the foie gras dish, where I thought it would.


2015 Jacques Prieure Beaune Greves Blanc This was mine and I had the usual "methode Grammeroise" treatment applied---open for full day beforehand with a little pour-off, then decant the morning of, in this case 4 hours. I wanted to show Alex the value of letting some white wines breathe. Bouquet of white flowers and underlying but shy apple pie. And while it caresses the cheeks and has a certain creamy appley presence, that presence is also rather muted and there's really no finish to speak of. I emphatically don't think this was a result of my treatment of the wine. It just wasn't something that was memorable. Maybe Beaune Blanc isn't my commune for white Burg. In any case, I was a tad disappointed by this bottle.

2015 Jean-Marc Vincent Santenay Passetemps Jeff has been nice enough to share a couple of whites from this producer with me, this is my first try at a red. Pretty and playful with nose and mouth getting straightforward strawberry and cherry and a little light rhubarb weaving in. I liked this fine because it isn't trying to be more than it is.

1990 Domaine Cazes Rivesaltes Tuile I haven't glommed onto a lot of Rivesaltes, but this is far and away for my tastes the best I've ever had. A cocoa and nougat presence wafts up the glass right away with some tropical fruit underneath. What differentiates this from my previous tries is how much better balanced and light on its feet it is in texture. It allows one to enjoy the dried fruit components and mocha. Thanks Tran, much enjoyed.

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