why does everyone drink pinot grigio?
i am new to chowhounds and i must say you all love your food! what i dont see anywhere, however, are any recommendations/comments on wine programs within the GTA. i am curious to see what is being poured where and what its being served with and, also, unique lists or by the glass offerings.. what are some interesting offerings/pairings/lists/etc. i'll go first...
favorite list...oasi so carefully chosen(and deliberate). from portugal to greece and everything in between.
best match...parsi ribs and saint laurent at amaya. my second trip to amaya and that match blew me away. For me, saint laurent is unique in that its colour is so deep and the texture sandy and lush, but it is baby soft. the rib was braised in tomato , red wine and masala(not exactly sure of all the spices). the two were absolutely complimentary to one another.
oh yeah, why does everyone drink pinot grigio? you cant like it. it doesnt have life. (maybe if we start telling 'sommeliers the same they wont sell a $8 bottle for $44 anymore)
we get angry when mcewen sells mozzerella di bufala at double the price of whoever but we gladly dole out 50 bucks for unripe fruit in a bottle.
Just so you know, its not very common (if at all) for the sommelier of any restaurant to decide the mark up on a bottle. That decision is dictated by the owner.
I agree Oasi has a nice list. For others decent lists you could try the following:
Crush Wine Bar (by the glass, and flights available and the staff are knowledgable and professional)
Jamie Kennedy Wine Bar (now called The Wine Bar-specializes in organic/biodynamic wines)
Terroni (great Italian offerings at decent prices)
Le Paradis (not many by the glass but the mark ups on the bottles is RIDICULOUSLY low-especially given how lovely many of the offerings are-some unique stuff there)
Frank at the AGO has an exclusive Ontario wines list
I've heard wonderful things about Niagara Street Cafe although I've never been. Anton Potvin is a very well respected sommelier.
Hope this helps.
Niagara Street Cafe
169 Niagara St, Toronto, ON M5V1C9, CA
9 Church St, Toronto, ON M5E1M2, CA
455 King Street West, Toronto, ON M5V1K4, CA
166 Bedford Road, Toronto, ON M5R 2K9, CA
57 Adelaide St E, Toronto, ON M5C1K6, CA
99 Sudbury Street, Toronto, ON M6J 3S7, CA
FRANK @ The Art Gallery of Ontario
317 Dundas Street West, Toronto, ON M5T I4G, CA
reds bistro & wine bar
77 Adelaide Street West, Toronto, ON M5X 1B1, CA
This one kind of spiralled out of control.
I was very excited about trying Amaya, since my main interest is food and wine (also beer, coffee and tea) pairings. I found the pairings and food at Amaya, dreadful. The only wine pairing I've had which worked well with curry, it was a lamb curry, was port.
I've been to Senderens, in Paris, and he creates his dishes based on the wine he will be serving. Because of this, I found his pairings to be the absolute best I've had. Il Vino, in Paris, does something similar, but they weren't as successful. There is a place in Barcelona called Moo which also creates dishes around the wine, hopefully I'll go there this spring. And there is a chef in Hawaii, some Greek name I'm now forgetting, who pays a lot of attention to finding the best matches. As far as I know there are no restaurants in this city who create dishes based on the suggested wine.
Chef's have full reign with the sommelier trying to keep up. A sommelier will only come so close to finding great matches. An herb, spice or some other minor element on the dish, which the sommelier may not know about, can throw the pairing off. The pairings which stood out as the best in this city was at Splendido, I think the sommelier is now the owner.
Finally, pinot grigio, what was it before this? Pinot noir, before that, merlot, and before that, maybe, white zinfandel. What's the rule, easy to say and easy to drink? It must be killer for a sommelier who loses a wine sale because they don't have what people want.
Via Allegro and Opus probably have the top restaurant wine cellars in Toronto. My issue with ordering wine at restaurants is the high markup, usually 250-300% which I refuse to pay. So I usually BYOB if possible; if not, then I'll usually order the most interesting I can find at the low end to keep from being screwed too much on the markup. Sometimes you do find hidden gems but it's rare in Toronto. The last time was at Celestin when the Vieux Télégraphe CdP Vieux Télégramme was on the list. It was still heavily marked up (around $100, IIRC) but something I wanted to try because it's not normally available from LCBO.
On the Pinot Grigio, it's not usually an expensive wine so shows up on some restaurant wine list as a cheaper white alternative. I have no prejudice against any grape and this one is usually light, acidic and crisp that I find pairs well with lighter spicy Indian or Thai or light pasta seafood dishes or salad.
Although it is true that many Pinot Grigios would fit in the category of cheap plonk, exactly the same can be said for most types of wine, for example, many sauvignon blancs are as flavourless and lifeless as the most pedestrian PG.
I bought a terrific PG this summer, Attems 2008 at $19.95. LCBO still has some around here and there:
If you want “life”, this zesty, bright, somewhat acidic wine has it in spades. Great with herbed chicken skewers right off the grill. Enjoy!
It's a sad state of affairs when almost every restaurant feels that it has to list an insipid Pinot Grigio... it's a given with 99% of establishments.
The majority of Pinot Grigio that we see in the Ontario market is of the mass-produced, over-cropped variety. Alternately vile or wholly innocuous.
There are however some truly marvelous examples of what can be done with that grape in the Ontario marketplace.
As a Sommelier (I'm not shilling here as I left Jamie Kennedy this evening) I have gone out of my way to track down these aforementioned Pinot Grigios.
They tend to have quite focused aromatics and much more weight on the palate.
It's strange though, when a customer orders one of these expecting a "normal" Pinot Grigio it normally takes quite a bit of explaining.
Taylor at Reds carries some of the better ones from time to time, as does Otto at Nota Bene I believe.
My favourites would be Elena Walch's Cru "Castel Ringberg", Valter Scarbolo's Ramato XL and Forchir's Tradizione.
Oddly enough the last two are actually copper in colour... something that one gets from fermenting with the skins (Pinot Grigio's a pink-berried grape folks...).
re: Non Doctor
D'oh! I was hoping to get back to JKWB one more time before you left - my limited experience with your pairings was very fun. Best of luck with your new endeavors, sir.
I don't suppose there's any chance any of those copper-colored ones ever make it to the LCBO, eh? I've been wanting to see what they're like, but it's so frustrating to try something at a restaurant or wine bar and never be able to go out and buy myself a bottle of it.