With wine consumption in Canada growing faster than anywhere in the world, it’s not surprising that wine bars are popping up on main streets and neighbourhoods right across the country. And happily one of those neighbourhoods is mine. Over the past few years, Toronto’s Leslieville neighbourhood has become a favourite of foodies – for brunch, dinner or a glass of wine.
From Pic Nic Wine Bar at 747 Queen St. East with its fabulous charcuterie platters and 25 wines by the glass, to Enoteca Ascari at 1111 Queen Street East which has a menu of interesting wines three times longer than the food selections. Both places have a great atmosphere with staff who love talking about interesting wine finds.
But a new wine bar came to town just before Christmas and it could very well become a regular stop after I took my daughters there a couple of weeks ago.
We stopped into Skin and Bones Wine Bar for a drink and settled in for a lot more. There are some 40 wines available by the glass, most if not all, are only available on consignment. And there are some great choices.
I picked a Merlot Seven Hills 2009 from Walla Walla, Washington. This one was deep red, and deeply delicious. Fruity with silky tannins – it was my first choice and I committed with a 6 oz glass.
My second was my favourite – Paolo Bea Sanvalentino 2007 is a blend of Sangiovese, Sagrantino and Montepulciano grapes. This lovely wine from Umbria has structure and elegance.
While my eldest daughter was lured in by the sexy cocktails, my younger daughter took up the wine list challenge. She picked two: the Ribolla Gialla La Tunnella, 2011 from Friuli -Venezia region in north- eastern Italy. Light bodied with and interesting flavour from a grape that I had never tasted.
But it was the Marc Bredif Vouvray 2011 that won her taste buds, hands down. The pale gold wine from France’s Loire region is made from the Chenin Blanc grape. She found it fresh and fruity and wants me to add it to her list of faves that I serve with Sunday night dinner.
NB: If you are looking for a white and want to try something beyond the world of Chardonnay – Vouvray has been getting some great buzz and is worth a try. The bonus is it reasonably priced.
There are all kinds of interesting wines to taste. Niagara wines are represented with a Cuvee Catherine Estate Blanc de Blanc Carte Blanche 2007 sparkling from Henry of Pelham, a Riesling Stellalucha 2009 from Colaneri and a Cabernet Franc Dolomite Cave Spring Cellars 2008. There is a wine from Greece, others from the lesser travelled regions or wines from grapes that are not the typical headliners. I could have sampled all night.
The atmosphere at Skin and Bones is pleasant and spacious. The bar goes on for ever. The service couldn’t have been better. Our waiter was extremely knowledgeable and didn’t twitch when I asked if he could bring the bottles to the table for a little photo op. Oh and the other headline from Skin and Bones – the food also worth the visit. It is not an extensive menu, but what we sampled was simple and delicious. Check out the menu at www.skinandbonesto.com.
While I have heard complaints about an influx of wine bars in the area – I say bring ’em on!
Skin and Bones: 980 Queen Street East, Toronto