The Toronto Wine Elitist Cabal ™ had its second In Honor of Hizzoner dinner in Toronto at Tanto, a new Argentinian restaurant on the scene that has earned raves in its short existence. Jay Shampur, the honorable Judge Bernard Schwartz and yours truly headed out for a great meal and a trio of nice wines:
HIDDEN BENCH 2012 TETE DU CUVEE CHARDONNAY – A small hit of flint on the nose, but huge hit on the palate. Very smooth texture. A bit light on the apple fruit but very high acidity, rivaling that of a fresh young Burgundy. Easily matches a quality 1er Cru white Burgundy.
VINELAND ESTATES 2009 SOPRANO RIESLING – The Schmidt brothers hail originally from Germany and in fact brought their Riesling vines over
directly from Germany. 2009 was the only year they made German Spatlese style wines from their Ontario Riesling. This wine is showing
signs of maderization and ripeness as it is a slightly darker burnished gold and there is burnt sugar on the nose. Lemon gumdrop flavors
give way to a refreshingly high acidity on the finish that saves the wine.
BEVAN CELLARS 2016 PETALUMA GAP SONOMA COAST PINOT NOIR – While I have been enjoying much lighter Burgundy and New Zealand Pinot Noir lately, Cali Pinot always wins me over for its incredible texture and this is yet another winner. This rich and exceptionally smooth Pinot is dark purple in color, medium-full bodied, and slides like glycerin down the palate with flavors of ripe Bing cherries and blackberries accented by some pencil lead and slight herbaciousness. It is a very good but very big Pinot, though, so Burghounds have been warned. This is also likely to age and stand the test of time very well. Added to my list of personal faves along with Kutch, Siduri and Littorai.
Tanto is a very new restaurant focused on Argentinian cuisine co-owned and headed by Chef Julian Ilioplus. He has earned raves for the high quality approach to this rarely seen in Toronto cuisine. We had the pleasure of sitting at the chef’s table and seeing the entire open kitchen at work.
We began with some potato churros. As Hizzoner Judge Bernie described it, “they’re like eating a pillow.” A very tasty potatoey pillow. Extremely light and airy with a nice crunchy texture on the outside. This was followed by some smoked ricotta empanadas that were just fantastic.
Our last main was the awesome Bavette, an Argentinian grilled skirt steak dressed with chimichurri and grilled lettuce. This was just awesome.
The evening was ended with a dulce de leche sandwich cookie mignardise.
Our thanks to chef Julian and the rest of the floor and kitchen staff at Tanto. We will return with the rest of TWEC ™ en masse to this great venue.
But wait, the evening wasn’t finished yet. To round out the night, we then took off to Montecito downtown to bother fellow TWEC ™ member and friend Heather MacDougall and ran into Mike Grammer who had the same idea! So we shared some more wine off the secret list:
DUEMANI 2013 CiFRA CABERNET FRANC – an upscale Italian single varietal Cabernet Franc. This one was interesting in that at times it seemed to veer off and try to be a Pinot. It acts more like a cool climate than a hot climate wine with typical strawberry cab flavors and gritty tannins but then some sour cherry flavor kicks in and the body lightens up a little. A little short on the finish, though.
QUERCIABELLA 2010 TURPINO – An Italian Super Tuscan blend of Cabernet Franc, Syrah and Merlot. With the added softening from age plus the lighter and the addition of to my mind softer but more complex Syrah and Merlot, we had a much superior wine. Lighter body, more varied red berries flavors, a touch ripe. I enjoyed this a lot more than the CiFRA.
YQUEM(?) 2010 SAUTERNES – Hizzoner Judge Bernie had acquired THIS through a source of his a single bottle of the legendary and mythical
“second wine” from Yquem that everyone denies exists. We’ve even had our own thread on this. Is this really declassified Yquem? Is it a second wine intended for family, friends and staff only? Is it an Asian knockoff? Who knows? All I can tell you is we have a bottle of Sauternes so we Coravined it.
A light honey nose. Bright golden yellow color. On the palate, the first thing that immediately stands out is the very light body. Much less unctuous than other Sauternes I’ve had, it has more of a late harvest body than an Yqeum body. Within that, however, pleasant if not particularly strong flavors of roasted pineapple, mangos and vanilla. Well, our mystery wine is most definitely Sauternes, the flavor profile is unmistakeable. Whether or not it’s legitimately Yquem is another matter. This is actually very good, it just comes off as more of a late harvest than a full Sauternes. This being the case, I agree it would never have sold as Grand Cru classified Sauternes. Still very good for what it is.
That’s it for this second of what is now upgraded to be FOUR dinners in Judge Bernard Schwartz’s honor. Stay tuned for notes and a report on tonight’s tasting menu birthday extravaganza as the American and Canadian TWEC ™ contingents reunite to honor both Bernie and American TWEC ™ member Tim who celebrates his milestone 40th up here in Canada this weekend.
Who called that “2nd label of Yquem”?
Looks more like Philippe de ROthschild Sauternes
Why are your images so blurry Trans?
If he is Hizzoner, do you call him Yawner when you speak to him?