I had a couple of days free in Toronto recently and I wanted to visit a number of restaurants and bars with a good selection of local Canadian wines to try by the glass. I quickly generated a shortlist and one of the places that came out near the top was Enoteca Sociale. While they have a focus on Italian wine, they also offered 8 Canadian wines by the glass (currently 9) and the food sounded fantastic.

I arrived around 6pm and although there were already a large number of tables occupied, I was made to feel welcome and this friendly service continued throughout the meal. With the assistance of the waiter, I selected 3 “taste” sized pours of both white and red wines.

After complimentary house baked bread, the first dish served with my white wines was a Grilled Ontario yellow perch with wild leeks and romesco. This dish was superb, there was an amazing balance between richness and acid, with a complex nutty character coming from the romesco underneath. This was a star dish, right at the top of the dishes I tried in Toronto.

Grilled Ontario yellow perch with wild leeks and romesco

Grilled Ontario yellow perch with wild leeks and romesco

The white wines that I had were;

2010 Norman Hardie “County” Chardonnay (Canada, Ontario, Prince Edward County VQA)12% alc, 85 cases produced

The initial impression is that of aromas of smoke and flint, with peach and lemon notes coming through as well. The palate is light, vibrant and balanced with good length, structure and some depth to it. 90/100

2010 The Organized Crime Winery Fumé Blanc (Canada, Ontario, Niagara Peninsula, Beamsville Bench VQA)

Barrel fermented and aged. Melon, pineapple, ginger and a whiff of smoke. The palate is fresh and driven with good acid but also shows texture and character. Interesting wine that isn’t worked into oblivion like some other barrel fermented SBs that I’ve tried. 90/100

2010 Tawse Riesling (Canada, Ontario, Niagara Peninsula, Twenty Mile Bench VQA)10.3% alc, 1000 produced

Nose of graphite, apricot, wax and a slightly odd blue cheese aroma. The palate is noticeably sweet, probably in the region of 20-30 grams per litre, but there are spikes of acid out of sync throughout. This is a well regarded wine so this may have been an off sample but I did not like the bottle I tried. 80/100

The next dish was Lobster spaghetti with tomato, chili and basil. Another excellent dish, great flavour impact and perfectly al dente pasta for my taste. The chili is just a background note, which is important as any more and it would be difficult to balance with many wines.

Lobster spaghetti with tomato, chili and basil

Lobster spaghetti with tomaro, chili and basil

The red wines tasted were;

2010 Norman Hardie Cabernet Franc (Canada, Ontario, Prince Edward County VQA)11.5% alc

Cherry, tobacco, pencil shavings and light violet floral notes. Teeters on the edge of ripeness on the palate, I thought it was fine in a restrained style, but others with less tolerance for under-ripe character may not enjoy it so much. There is a certain something to the wine that kept me coming back, I did enjoy it more than the note sounds like. 88/100

2009 Norman Hardie “County” Pinot Noir (Canada, Ontario, Prince Edward County VQA) - 11.5% alc

Visually it is obvious that it is unfined and unfiltered with that cloudy cherry colour like the Pinot from Bass Phillip and Pyramid Valley. The nose is earth driven with black cherry and stalks supporting. The palate is restrained with some sour cherry and more stalk character, with decent length and acidity. Still youthful, I think it will improve over the next 5 years. 90/100

2008 The Foreign Affair The Conspiracy (Canada, Ontario, Niagara Peninsula, Niagara Peninsula VQA)Cabernet Sauvignon and Cabernet Franc in a Ripasso style

Blackberry, graphite and sour cherry on the nose, with a light palate that leans into green territory. There isn’t a great deal of depth here but the wine does improve when consumed with food. 86/100

I did expect Enoteca Sociale to be good as I had done my research and the feedback online is very positive, but it exceeded my expectations and I left extremely impressed.

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