Category Archives: City Cellars

A Wine Bar Worth Wowing About

A Wall of Wine Picks
A Wall of Wine Picks

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.

Guess which daughter didn't pick from the Wine List
Guess which daughter didn’t pick from the Wine List

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.

skin and bones


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 Favourite
My Favourite


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.

Mia's Favourite
Mia’s Favourite

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

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



Best Bubbly For Your Buck

Since we don’t profess to be experts just wine enthusiasts, sometimes when it comes to recommendations we look for a little help from our friends.  And because our main love is big bold reds we figured if we wanted to add some cheer to your New Year we’d better get some advice.


Ange-about-usThis summer we met Ange Aiello the founder of iYellow Wine Club, a social wine club based in Toronto with monthly wine events, wine tours and newsletters.  With over 4000 members, they count on Ange to know her stuff and she definitely does, especially when it comes to local. And we say what better way to boost the economy than by buying local.

Ange is fun, charming and bubbly so who better to suggest the perfect bottle to pop on New Year’s Eve.  From the budget basics to the luxurious here’s her list:

Affordable and fun bubbly
1- Mionetto Prosecco – Italian and delicious $11.95
2- Moscato Spumante – sweeter and sparkly $12.95
3 – Wolf Blass – traditional method, dryer and a great with lots of appetizers $17.95
4- Trapiche Sparkling Brut – $11.95

Local Bubbly
1- Peller Estates Ice Cuvee Rose $32.95 – Sparkling wine made like champagne with cabernet Franc Icewine
2 – Chateau Des Charmes Brut $23.95 – dry and delicious
3 – Jackson Triggs Entourage Brut – perfect for the holidays
3 – Casa Dea Brut – $18.95 – A great local bubble from Prince Edward County
4 – Henry of Pelham Rose Catherine – declious and perfect and pink!
5 – Sparkling Icewine – $79.95 – a delight to share and spoil with, start or end a meal with!

Luxurious Bubbly – Champagne (From France and over $40.00)
1- Veuve Clicquot Brut Champagne $67.85
2- Taittinger Brut Reserve Champagne $59.95
3- Nicholas Feuillatte Brut Champagne $44.55

Ange also shared her suggestions on Canada AM recently and if you want to watch the video here’s the link

She’s also got a couple of upcoming ice wine tours to Niagara in January that should be a blast so check out the wine club if you’re interested in tagging along.

imagesEven though sparkling wines and champagne are what we know best the one thing we do know is they go with everything. So whether you’re just popping the cork to cheer in the New Year or pairing it up with dinner nothing makes you smile like tiny bubbles tickling your taste buds.

So raise a glass and celebrate the New Year with us as we will be thinking of all of you.  May  2013 be an outstanding year not just for the vintages you choose to drink but also for you, your family and all your friends.