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Best Wine List/Sommelier?

spades Dec 17, 2006 05:11 PM

I was wondering if anyone has any insight into where the best wine lists and sommeliers are in Toronto - with an eye towards value and originality? I realize that terms "best wine list" and "value" sometimes don't go together, but thought that if anyone would know, it would be you folks. Much appreciated.

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  1. d
    DAB RE: spades Dec 17, 2006 10:04 PM

    I would certainly recommend Jamie Drummond at JKWB. The 3oz pours are great, very original and very muc stuff at you wouldn't be able to find elsewhere.

    Crush would another place that I'd recommend.

    1. thenurse RE: spades Dec 17, 2006 11:24 PM

      For sheer volume, Via Allegro in Etobicoke - $30 - $3000 and the Sommelier's know their stuff.

      1 Reply
      1. re: thenurse
        Kurtz RE: thenurse Dec 19, 2006 03:45 AM

        A second vote for Via Allegro. The list is astonishing (as are the prices, unfortunately) and the sommeliers are the real deal.

      2. h
        hungryabbey RE: spades Dec 17, 2006 11:44 PM

        Tonight I went to Globe Bistro and my guests and I did "flights".. we did two flights , which consisted of 3 different wines per flight each.. They were probably about 3 oz pours and were excellent pairings and gave us an opportunity to try many different wines.

        1. v
          vinojoe RE: spades Dec 18, 2006 12:31 AM

          I don't usually rely on sommeliers, so I can't really speak to that part of your question. As far as the best wine lists go, it depends on what type of wine you are looking for. In the regions that I tend to focus on, Barberians is quite strong in older vintages of California wine. Opus also has a very extensive wine list, and as previously mentioned, so does Via Allegro. I find the list at Boba always has interesting wines from California that are not easily found in Toronto. Spuntini has a excellent cellar for Italian wines.

          1. j
            jcanncuk RE: spades Dec 18, 2006 03:14 AM

            George - I can't remember her name, but the sommelier is very nice, informative and makes great recommendations to fit your desired price range.

            1. Non Doctor RE: spades Dec 18, 2006 03:18 PM


              I'd say that the Sommelier/Owner (Anton Potvin) at Niagara Street Cafe fronts an amazing wine program... and very modestly priced to boot.

              That's where I go...

              2 Replies
              1. re: Non Doctor
                phisherking RE: Non Doctor Dec 18, 2006 03:33 PM

                Kim Cyr used to be at George, she's now at Kultura, haven't been yet but her work at george was stellar. Jamie Drummond at JK is also very knowledgeable and has great selections on his list.

                1. re: phisherking
                  jcanncuk RE: phisherking Dec 20, 2006 12:45 AM

                  Kim Cyr is the one I'm referring too. She was just great. Didn't realize she'd moved.....

              2. spades RE: spades Dec 18, 2006 11:32 PM

                These are all terrific suggestions - thanks!

                1. t
                  tochipotle RE: spades Jun 27, 2007 07:32 AM

                  Le Select Bistro has a pretty extensive list...

                  1. Charles Yu RE: spades Jun 27, 2007 07:17 PM

                    Splendido's wine list, though not as comprehensive as Via Allegro's or Opus' Wine Spectator's Grand Award list, has some rare gems as well as some very interesting wine. Carlo Catallo, their Sommelier, is most knowledgeable and very adventurous and 'inventive' in his food and wine pairing suggestions. Two stand outs which I can still remember vividly was his pairing of a lamb dish with a Quanterelli and a dessert platter using an 'Apple cider ice wine'! Both were masterful. I also enjoyed very much being educated by his use of some uncommon wines in the pairing of the tasting menu eg., Navarra and Muga from Spain...etc

                    5 Replies
                    1. re: Charles Yu
                      Non Doctor RE: Charles Yu Jun 27, 2007 10:05 PM

                      Working in the business myself I would highly recommend Taylor, one of the Sommeliers there, he is young, educated, knowledgable and extremely passionate, a true rarity in the industry.

                      1. re: Non Doctor
                        Non Doctor RE: Non Doctor Jun 28, 2007 05:37 AM

                        Whoops, I forgot to mention that Taylor is at Reds.

                      2. re: Charles Yu
                        Snarf RE: Charles Yu Sep 21, 2009 08:13 PM

                        Which Quintarelli did he recommend? I'm presuming you mean the hand drawn labels. Hard to find, even through Vintages.

                        I recently had lunch at JK Wine Bar, and was impressed with how many wines there which are not even on Vintages' radar screen. Much smaller list, but chosen with heart. What's the dude's name?

                        1. re: Snarf
                          pinstripeprincess RE: Snarf Sep 22, 2009 04:45 AM

                          are you referring to Jamie Drummond?

                          i've found his picks to always be quite unique from what is available to consumers and really a shame that i'm such a lightweight otherwise it'd be easier to sample them all.

                          1. re: Snarf
                            TorontoJo RE: Snarf Sep 22, 2009 04:45 AM

                            Jamie Drummond, who posts on this board, is the sommelier at JKWB that put together the list you enjoyed. But he's leaving JKWB, as noted here:


                        2. Ginsugirl RE: spades Sep 21, 2009 02:00 PM

                          Opus Restaurant was the ultimate wine list - rare gems and good finds but more importantly the right vintages and the right names. Verticals of the best of the best. Can't find the wine or vintage you want? Just ask - they probably have a bottle or two. If a wine is worth drinking they have it. Best sommelier would be Matt at Splendido whose easy manner and astounding knowledge make finding the right wine as easy as choosing your favorite breed of dog.

                          1 Reply
                          1. re: Ginsugirl
                            rshiff RE: Ginsugirl Jan 25, 2010 05:55 AM

                            Does anyone know who the current Opus sommelier is?

                          2. i
                            insideman RE: spades Sep 21, 2009 07:57 PM

                            I would have to vote for Anton Potvin/Niagara Street Cafe. Anton is easily the city's best sommelier. while his cellar doesn't boast a bunch of massively rich vintages he definitely takes the time too seek out and taste some of the most original and curious finds that you probably wouldn't find at most places or ever in your lifetime. His list is thoughtful to his menu and probably has some of the most extensive wine knowledge while skirting all of the snobbery you might find or expect with someone of his skill and passion. I have never had a bad experience there and direct anyone here who is interested in a great meal with fluid service and zero pretension.

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