Malcolm Jolley does his best to taste the room at the Nicholas Pearce Portfolio Tasting.
We’re heading into the thirsty season when more wine will be sold, especially in restaurants, than at any time of the year. The sommeliers and restaurateurs who plan to sell that wine need to get it from somewhere, and many of the more discriminating ones will be getting it from Nicholas Pearce Wines, who had their portfolio tasting this week in downtown Toronto. There was a lot of delicious wine to be sampled from near and afar, and amazingly, Jamie and I managed to sneak in and get a few pours. Here are some pictures and notes from the event.
Nicholas Pearce is more than a (growing) wine agency, it’s also the name of a very busy man who, in addition to importing wines from all over the world, also makes them. He makes wine with his ‘Crew Sauvage’ at home in Prince Edward County and with Will Predhomme in Oregon and South Africa, and recently with Predhomme and Tawse Winery’s winemaker Paul Pender in Niagara. The last wine is called 3XP and the 2015 vintage showed particularly well at the tasting, not least because it was poured by one of the P’s, Will, who is pictured above behind Jamie, who is apparently in agreement about something (the 3XP?) with sommelier and entrepreneur Adrian Marquez.
Next to Will Predhomme and the Pearce Family wines was Bryan Will from Keint-He on the west end of Prince Edward County. Particularly charming, I thought, were the Greer Road Vineyard Chardonnay (2106) and Pinot Noir (2014).
On the other side of Will Predhomme, with his own table to accommodate the truck-full of his wine that he’d brought up to Toronto, I found Ilya Senchuk from Niagara’s Leaning Post on the Lincoln Lakeshore. Senchuk brought so much of his wines (I am particularly a fan of the Pinot’s) that I lost track of all of what I tasted, but it impossible to forget neither his 2016 ‘The Geek’, which spends 18 months on lees, nor his 2017 ‘The Freak’ and unfiltered, no sulphur added, wild fermented Pinot Noir.
The wine trade is, of course a very serious business, but big tastings like the Nicholas Pearce Wines Portfolio are also a chance for wine people to catch-up and socialize. Here, the man himself joins Jamie and sommelier Courtney Stebbing, who of course knows a thing or two about a Genuwine party.
It’s not just sommeliers who sniff out a room full of good wine. Here wine marketer Anne Popoff gets her glass and tasting sheet, while in the background Vintage Assessments‘ Michael Vaughn shares a laugh with another taster.
NP Wines’ Operations Manager and Sommelier Michelle Ratzlaff hold down the fort at the white wines table beside Mr. Pearce. There were so many wines, and so many guests, that it was self serve. Out of the shot, Marketing Manager and Sommelier Taryn Zaharchuk was on hand to answer questions, as well. The red table worked the same way with Account Managers and Sommeliers Ian Thresher and Lachlan Dennis doing their best to keep the bottles in line. There was a lot of wine, so I’m not sure where to even begin on either table, let alone the Champagnes, sparklings and rosés. I will say that one thing that struck me as a consumer, was that most of the wines, however boutique, artisanal, exotic or interesting (which can be a euphemism for weird), were value priced. There were a lot of wines under $20, more under $30 and many not much more than that. Of course there were outliers, but this bodes well for those of us who can’t always order our bottles from the bottom of the list. Should be a good season.
Nicholas Pearce Wines keeps a website at npwines.com.