pouring at drake

Greetings, Tastefuls – Though I’ve been continuing with various private events and projects, I’ve been having an absolute blast since October at the Drake One Fifty bar – the new brainchild of The Drake Hotels’ Jeff Stober!  I’m personally handling the wine specials and always have something to bring-up from the cellar beyond the printed list…DO bend my ear if you’d like some special suggestions of gems from the cellar.

I have to say that the team here is amazing and I find myself honoured to work with such a group of keen professionals who I’ve already learned much from.

with Richard Karlo

The 7th Annual Ontario Wine Fair was another success – greatly received at a new venue: The Drake One Fifty!

Firstly, I’ll talk about the results of the Wine Fair before talking about recent tastings.

After much tallying and breakdown (I wanted to ensure accuracy) the results are in – first some specs:

There were a total of 97 wines poured to 157 people, who ate 17 kilos of cheese and 34 baguettes of bread…

…All of this lead to the cafeTaste Peoples’ Choice Awards – below are our winners!

Favourite Riesling went to Big Head Winery

Favourite Chardonnay went to Flat Rock Cellars

Favourite Pinot Noir went to Norman Hardie Wines

Favourite Merlot went to Rosewood Estates

Favourite Cabernet Franc went to The Grange of Prince Edward

Favourite Cabernet Sauvignon went to Southbrook Estate Winery

Favourite Sparkling went to Megalomaniac

Favourite Rose went to Southbrook Estate Winery

Favourite Single Varietal Red went to Lailey Vineyards Syrah

Favourite Single Varietal White went to Calamus Estates for their Pinot Gris

Favourite White Blend went to Flat Rock Cellars for their ‘Twisted White’

Favourite Red Blend went to Stratus Wines for their 2011 ‘Wildass Red’

…AND…it is my great pleasure to announce…

Best of Show is awarded to Foreign Affairs for ‘Temptress”

Best of Show White is awarded to Rosewood Estate Winery for ‘Mead Blanc’

Come by the Drake One Fifty for a bottle of Temptress, and of course congratulations of course goes out to our medal winners and to Cameron Seaton for being the winner of our VQA Gift Basket draw – thanks to everyone for enjoying the quality of VQA that the Toronto public can now be exposed to!


I was recently at i4c to taste and attend with Master Sommelier John Szabo as he was the MC for a day of ‘cool classes’ and lectures/analysis by two Masters of Wine (the brain power at my lunch table with such credentials left me humbled).  Always a pleasure to reiterate and fortify what those of us ‘in-the-know’ need to continuously remind consumers of: that cool climate chardonnay epitomizes what needs to be looked for in white wine (take THAT, members of the A.B.C. club a.k.a. “Anything But Chardonnay”).

Some exceptional offerings put forth during the tasting portion, specifically of note to me were a Kistler Russian River Chardonnay, Thomas Bachelder as well as Thomas’ previous winery Le Clos Jordanne – all three stood out as being complex, rich and staggeringly integrated between wood and fruit components.

With the 7th Ontario Wine Fair behind me and i4c in Niagara blowing me away with the quality presented, my next trip is to California to check out some boutique California juice!

I’ll be heading to Jarvis winery and enter their dug-out mountain winery to taste some truly rare and deftly crafted wines – tasting notes to follow 😉

Why “Wine Geek“? Jeremy Day believes that wine should be enjoyed and discussed… by everyone!

jeremydrunkOver thousands of years wine was the drink of the people, of the proletariat, of the soldier. Why should wine be put on a pedestal? When opening cafe Taste Jeremy wanted something rustic and unpretentious, a haven for enjoying local wine to be intended to bring wine back to the people. “Opulence for the Common Man” became his mantra as higher-end products were sold at a sliding scale so that people could enjoy higher-end experiences with a drastically lower mark-up. This was highly successful as people could treat themselves to products they may have otherwise not been enticed to try at industry-standard pricing models.

As such, he chose the title “Wine Geek” instead of the sommelier title: He’s passionate about wine, about talking and learning about what wonderful local wines can be had if one but chooses to look. Talk to him about local wine and you’ll meet his geeky side!

Jeremy won the 2011 VQA Promoter of the Year award for his diligence and passion toward promoting local, and his wine list received Gold Standing for 4 years running with the Wine Council of Ontario.

His cocktail program at cafeTaste included aging mixed spirits in wood and the creation of his own bitters and vermouths, and at every turn looked for local spirits and ingredients to be at the core of his cocktails.