Swirling, sniffing, and delicate spitting – me in a room with Toronto’s top tier wine crowd… 

It may have been just another night of professional development for the company I was in, but seeing this many wine glasses in front of me is daunting.

However; I was very excited at the prospect of meeting Ian Hongell, Peter Lehman’s master wine maker, gathering among Toronto’s best noses for wine, whilst learning about the grapes, and snacking at the delicious Edulis (formerly the Niagara Street Cafe).

Host Jamie Drummond of Good Food Revolution  introduced the crowd and we were off… swirling, sniffing, spitting… Well, I only learned about the spitting part. So it was a hazier night for me then some, but lovely all the same.  

Ian’s main objective of the evening was to change current perceptions of Australian wine, and of course introduce us to some amazing ones from Peter Lehmann Wines all the way from the Barossa Valley.

We learned about rain falling on clay soil, and how the Barossa climate is a “treasure box of opportunity” leading to exciting variety among the Lehmann wines. This is not a one-note winery folks.

I experienced true dynamics in tasting the different varietals of wine and learned that wine can have such subtle, lovely, and strange notes that descriptions alone are worth repeating… my favorite being “after birthday candles have been blown out.”

So, before I get too poetic talking about wine – here were my top three picks from the evening.

Barossa Shiraz 2002 – with notes of eucalyptus and mint, this herbaceous wine is one I could sip all the way through dinner. 

Wigan Riesling – Buttery and delicious, a fan of white wine I am not, but this riesling won me over.

My favorite had to be the Mentor Cabernet – a nice big red that tasted delicious, with chalky structural palette to boot.

I know I’m no wine snob, but I’ll never turn my nose up at Australian wines again.  

~ Louisa Cohen