The Guardian’s wine columnist Fiona Beckett is in Toronto next week as a guest speaker at the 2017 Terroir Symposium.
We caught up with her ahead of her Toronto appearance to have a chat about what she’s expecting to taste by way of Ontario wines.
For more details and tickets for this year’s event, click here.
Good Food Revolution: Hello Fiona. We are so happy to have you joining us at this year’s Terroir Symposium.
Now seeing as we are talking about Our Home And Native Land, what do you first think about when it comes to Canada and its food?
Fiona Beckett: Maple syrup would be the cliché answer but in general great raw ingredients. And an incredibly varied and vibrant food scene.
GFR: And what about Canadian wine? What have your experiences been of wines from Ontario, BC, and elsewhere?
FB: Well, I haven’t visited Ontario for a while – one of the reasons I’m most looking forward to this trip – but I went to the Okanagan Valley last summer and thought it was one of the wine world’s great undiscovered secrets. Like Napa and Sonoma a decade or so ago. And the wines I have tasted in the UK have been really impressive, especially the pinots.
GFR:How often are you exposed to Canadian wine in the UK? How would you describe the general impression of Canadian wine within the UK? Do you think that the Guardian-reading populace are ready for a piece outlining your favourite Canadian bottlings? (I see that you did a travel piece on BC previously in the Guardian)
FB: It’s early days still for Canadian wine so I imagine most people would say ‘Canada makes wine?’ I’d certainly like to see more in our top restaurants. Enterprisingly the discounter Lidl has stocked Canadian ice wine in the run-up to Christmas this past two years and that at least opens the door for Canadian wine though it’s always a question of price in the UK and for my readers at the Guardian. But I have a fair number of visitors from Canada too on my website matchingfoodandwine.com so I’ll be writing about them there too.
GFR: At this year’s Terroir you are participating in a panel discussion regarding the emergence of a movement championing the age-old practice of utilising varying amounts of skin contact during the white winemaking process AKA “Orange Wines”. In my mind this practice, when carefully managed, can add astonishing texture to the wine, as well as some rather fascinating aromatics. I’d love to hear your thoughts.
FB: I too find them fascinating. Just an entirely different category of wines and a new way of perceiving certain grape varieties. I think they have a great deal to offer, especially with food.
GFR: And whence have you tasted the most impressive examples thus far? What makes them so special for you?
FB: I tasted some great ones at the RAW wine fair – and even a spectacular one when I was in Australia. They’re still a minority interest but you come across them everywhere these days.
GFR: Well, I’m looking forward to having you taste some of our examples from Ontario, Fiona. Thank you for your time.
FB: Not at all. Can’t wait!
PostScript: Apologies for the unedited version of this that was mistakenly posted earlier on the 27th of May. Bloody Gremlins.
Edinburgh-born/Toronto-based Sommelier, consultant, writer, judge, and educator Jamie Drummond is the Director of Programs/Editor of Good Food Revolution… And he’ll be at Terroir as a guest this year!