Chef Awards



  • Chef: Amanda Ray
  • Restaurant: Canteen Restaurant
  • Pairing: Cave Spring Cellars

Best of Show

Hidden Bench Vineyards and Winery 2014 Nuit Blanche


  • Chef: Albert Ponzo
  • Restaurant: Le Sélect Bistro
  • Pairing: Hidden Bench Vineyards

Best of Show

Tawse 2012 Laundry Vineyard Cabernet Franc


  • Chef: Ross Midgley
  • Restaurant: Ravine Estates Winery Restaurant
  • Pairing: Ravine Vineyard

Best of Show

Cave Spring 2014 The Adam Step Reisling

James-Chatto-by-George-Whiteside-high-resCulinary Report
by James Chatto by National Culinary Advisor

Hurry, hurry home from Calgary – just in time to change our shirts and make it down to the Convention Centre for Toronto’s own Gold Medal Plates event. Could it possibly equal the energy and excitement of our other city galas? The answer was a resounding “Yes!” Here was emcee Scott Russell introducing a regiment of Olympic athletes glittering with precious metals from Rio. There was Anne Lindsay beating the devil on her violin and bringing the audience to its feet, together with the rest of the dream-team band of Jim Cuddy, Alan Doyle, Ed Robertson, Colin Cripps, Sam Polley and Devin Cuddy. And then there was also Patrick McMurray of The Ceili Cottage giving an oyster presentation that had the longest line-up of the night, especially when he was shucking great big Galway flats from Ireland and rinsing out each empty shell with a dram of Irish whiskey, so that not a drop of goodness was lost.

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david-new-2014Wine Report
by David Lawrason, National Wine Advisor

When I first saw the line-up of chef wines being poured in Toronto – not long before the big night – I said to myself “this is the who’s who” among quality-driven Ontario winemakers. The crème de la crème coming forward: Tawse, Hidden Bench, Stratus, Southbrook, Rosehall Run, Cave Spring, Hinterland and Ravine.  Picking a Best of Show was going to be tough.

Indeed, it was a grand wine and culinary night for the sell-out crowd of over 700.  And three great wines rose to the top – separated by very few points – in the Best of Show competition when tasted by seven leading Toronto wine critics and sommeliers.

Before announcing them, a nod to a new element presented to the Toronto guests this night – the debut of a tasting and demonstration station featuring three new Ontario-based craft whiskies.  The concept belonged to Geoff Kanhert, a retired LCBO product consultant whose heart has always been in whisky, and has founded a whisky education/consultancy.  He assembled the new Wayne Gretzky Red Cask, Collingwood Toasted Maple Finished Canadian Whisky and Toronto Distiller’s First Barrels Straight Canadian Whisky.  And business was brisk all evening.

The Best of Show Award went to the delicious and profound Hidden Bench 2014 Nuits Blanche, a structured, deep, barrel-aged sauvignon blanc-semillon blend channeling white Graves from Bordeaux. It’s not a style widely made in Ontario but Hidden Bench purchased the maturing Rosomel Vineyard with these rare component whites in the early 2000s and has been making show-stopping white ever since.

The runner-up was Tawse 2012 Laundry Vineyard Cabernet Franc, a single vineyard Lincoln Lakeshore edition from the best red wine vintage Ontario has yet seen. I have tasted this wine several times, and now at four years of age its quality is unfolding very nicely.  The first runner-up was the impeccable Cave Spring 2014 The Adam Step Riesling from a small, mature block on the winery’s original Beamsville Bench vineyard.

The Best of Show judging exits to recognize and thank the wineries for their donations to Gold Medal Plates chefs.  But several wineries also donated to the VIP Reception and Celebration portions of the evening.

I want to thank Andrew Peller in particular for donating to Toronto and many other cities on our tour. Canada’s largest family-owned wine company owns familiar brands like Wayne Gretzky and Trius .Toronto guests also enjoyed  Chateau des Charmes powerful 2012 St David’s Vineyard Merlot and Malivoire’s elegant 2014 Chardonnay.

I was joined by six leading Toronto wine authorities to taste and talk through the wines, and rank our favourites.   In seniority order: Tony Aspler, writer, author and founder of the Ontario Wine Awards. Michael Vaughan, publisher of Vintages Assessments, Geoff Kahnert of Kahnert Wine and Whisky Specialists;  Master Sommelier John Szabo,  WineAlign National Wines Awards of Canada judge and author of just published Volcanic Wines’ Michael Godel, National Wine Awards judge and writer; and  Sara d’Amato, sommelier and National judge.

Here is the stellar line-up of wines and beers in Toronto, in pouring order as presented by the judges.

The Toronto Wines

Trius Brut
Niagara Peninsula, ON

Hinterland Rosé Method Traditional
Prince Edward County, ON

Cave Spring Cellars 2014 The Adam Step Riesling
Beamsville Bench, ON

Wayne Gretzky 2015 Riesling
Niagara Peninsula, ON

Tawse 2013 South Bay Chardonnay

Cuddy by Tawse 2013 Chardonnay
Niagara Peninsula, ON

Wayne Gretzky 2015 Chardonnay
Niagara Peninsula, ON

Malivoire 2014 Chardonnay
Niagara Peninsula, ON

Hidden Bench 2014 Nuit Blanche
Beamsville Bench, ON

Stratus 2008 Evergreen White
Niagara-on-the-Lake, ON

Trius 2014 Gamay
Niagara Peninsula, ON

Rosehall Run Vineyard 2014 JCR Pinot Noir
Prince Edward County, ON

Wayne Gretzky 2014 Cabernet Merlot
Niagara Peninsula, ON

Cuddy by Tawse 2013 Cabernet-Merlot
Niagara Peninsula, ON

Southbrook 2013 Southbrook Small Lot ‘101’ Cabernet Franc
Four Mile Creek, ON

Tawse Winery 2012 Laundry Cabernet Franc
Lincoln Lakeshore, ON

Chateau des Charmes 2012 Merlot St. Davids Bench Vineyard
St. Davids Bench, ON

Ravine Lowrey Brothers Hard Apple Cider
Niagara-on-the-Lake, ON

Sam Roberts Band Session Ale

Sam Roberts Band Belgian Stout

Toronto Distiller’s First Barrels Straight Canadian Whisky

Wayne Gretzky No 99 Red Cask Whisky

Collingwood Toasted Maple Finished Canadian Whisky


  • Chef: Stuart Cameron
  • Restaurant: Byblos
  • Pairing: Benjamin Bridge 2013 Nova 7, Nova Scotia
  • Chef: Damon Campbell
  • Restaurant: Shangri-La Hotel
  • Pairing: Stratus Vineyards 2012 Cabernet Franc Niagara-on-the-Lake
  • Chef: Victor Barry
  • Restaurant: Splendido Bar & Grill
  • Pairing: Hidden Bench Vineyards & Winery 2013 Estate Riesling Beamsville

James-Chatto-by-George-Whiteside-high-resCulinary Report by James Chatto

Oh my goodness, what a great party that was!! Last night at the Metro Toronto Convention Centre, Gold Medal Plates threw an amazing shindig – as smooth a ride as the new BMW we’re giving to the chef who wins the Championship next February, but with even more energy. Curt Harnett was our MC, the effervescent Marnie McBean interviewed (count ’em) 26 other athletes, while the whole idea of the Rio Olympics was expressed with a riot of feathered dancers, martial artists and drumming. And the band played on, to the delight of the sold-out crowd of 760 guests – Jim Cuddy, Royal Wood, Anne Lindsay, Colin Cripps, Devon Cuddy and Sam Polley totally rocking the house.

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  • Chef: John Horne
  • Restaurant: Canoe
  • Paired Wine: Creekside Estate Winery  2012 Iconoclast Syrah VQA Niagara Escarpment
  • Chef: Damon Campbell
  • Restaurant: Shangri – La Hotel
  • Paired Wine: Southbrook Vineyards 2011 Poetica Chardonnay Niagara-on-the-Lake
  • Chef: Jason Bangerter
  • Restaurant: Langdon Hall
  • Paired Wine: Leaning Post Wines2010 Pinot Noir Niagara Escarpment


  • Chef: Lorenzo Loseto
  • Restaurant: George Restaurant
  • Paired Wine: Kew Vineyards 2010 Old Vine Riesling
  • Chef: Tyler Shedden
  • Restaurant: Café Boulud, Four Seasons Hotel
  • Paired Wine:  Stratus Vineyards, Stratus Red 2010
  • Chef: Victor Barry
  • Restaurant: Splendido
  • Paired Wine: Hidden Bench Vineyards & Winery, Vintage 2010 Estate Pinot Noir


  • Chef: Marc St. Jacques
  • Restaurant: Auberge du Pommier
  • Paired Wine: Peller Estate Ice Cuve
  • Chef: Lorenzo Loseto
  • Restaurant: George Restaurant
  • Paired Wine: 2012 Junmai Sake
  • Chef: Martin Kouprie
  • Restaurant: Pangea
  • Paired Wine: 13th Street Winery “Essence” 2009 Pinot Noir


  • Chef: Jonathan Gushue
  • Restaurant: Langdon Hall Country House Hotel & Spa
  • Paired Wine: The Organized Crime Winery 2009 Fumé Blanc
  • Chef: Rob Gentile
  • Restaurant: Buca
  • Paired Wine: 13th Street Winery 2010 Merlot
  • Chef: Michael Steh
  • Restaurant: Reds Bistro & Wine Bar
  • Paired Wine: Château des Charmes 2008 Old Vines Riesling


  • Chef: Frank Dodd
  • Restaurant: Hillebrand Winery Restaurant
  • Paired Wine: Hillebrand Winery
  • Chef: Lorenzo Loseto
  • Restaurant: George
  • Paired Wine: Hidden Bench Vineyards & Winery
  • Chef: Michael Steh
  • Restaurant: Reds Bistro & Wine Bar
  • Paired Wine: Henry of Pelham Family Estate Winery


  • Chef: David Lee
  • Restaurant: Nota Bene
  • Chef: Jonathan Gushue
  • Restaurant: Langdon Hall Country House
  • Chef: Anne Yarymowich
  • Restaurant: FRANK at the AGO


  • Chef: Patrick Lin
  • Restaurant: Sen5es
  • Chef: David Lee
  • Restaurant: Splendido & Nota Bene
  • Chef: John Kwan
  • Restaurant: Lai Toh Heen


  • Chef: Anthony Walsh
  • Restaurant: Canoe
  • Chef: Lorenzo Loseto
  • Restaurant: George Restaurant
  • Chef: Claudio Aprile
  • Restaurant: Colborne Lane


  • Chef: Keith Froggett
  • Restaurant: Scaramouche
  • Chef: Mark McEwan
  • Restaurant: North 44
  • Chef: Mark Thuet
  • Restaurant: Bistro Bakery Thuet

Best Of Show


  • Osoyoos Larose 2010 Le Grand Vin VQA Okanagan Valley
  • Stratus Vineyards 2012 Cabernet Franc Niagara-on-the-Lake


  • Hidden Bench Vineyards & Winery 2013 Estate Riesling Beamsville
  • Norman Hardie 2014 Calcaire Wellington

David Lawrason - Wine Advisor

David Lawrason, National Wine Advisor

A Record Breaking Night For GMP Wine

Not only was the 700-strong crowd one of the largest and most generous of the year, the Toronto event cemented wine records as well.  It boasted the largest number of different wines donated to a Gold Medal Plates (16 – see the list below). It boasted the largest, most illustrious cadre of ten wine judges, and it was the first time that we have served wines from Canada’s five leading wine appellations. From east to west they were:  Nova Scotia’s Annapolis Valley, Ontario’s Prince Edward County, the Niagara Peninsula, Lake Erie North Shore and B.C.’s Okanagan Valley.  As Canada’s largest showcase for Canadian wine, it has always been my mission to have the breadth of the country’s wine on display.

But it was the lone B.C. wine – Osoyoos-Larose 2010 Grand Vin – that carried off the Best of Show Award. This is a wine that has come to define the highest aspiration of Bordeaux-style wine in Canada, a merlot-based blend of estate-grown varieties grown on bench lands above the border town of Osoyoos.  It was established 15 years ago as a joint venture between former Vincor Canada and Groupe Taillan of Bordeaux, but now is wholly owned by the latter, with a young French winemaking team at the helm.  The 2010 showed impressive depth and structure against its peers this night, garnering four first place votes and two seconds. It sells for $40 to $45 in most Canadian provinces.

The strong runner up placed in the top five of seven judges. It was the Stratus 2012 Cabernet Franc, an intense, firm and fragrant red that will continue to age nicely for another ten years of more. And in third position we had a tie between two always popular whites – the intense, dry Hidden Bench 2013 Riesling from Niagara’s Beamsville Bench and the racy, taut Norman Hardie 2014 Calcaire from Prince Edward County.  Other wines that came within a hair’s breadth in the judging included the complex and profound Malivoire 2012 Mottiar Chardonnay and the impeccably balanced Cave Spring 2013 Dolomite Riesling (my personal favourite)

The Best of Show Wine Award was created to gain exposure for the dozens of wines donated to Gold Medal Plates by Canadian wineries.  Not only does the program highlight the wines it gives them exposure to some of the leading wine writers, judges, educators, sommeliers and retailers in the country.

In Toronto I called on ten of my friends and colleagues – the crème de la crème of Toronto’s wine writing and education community – and all responded.  From WineAlign my close friends and National Wine Awards Judges included John Szabo, Master Sommelier;  Sara d’Amato, President of the Canadian Association of Professional Sommeliers, Michael Godel, wordsmith extraordinaire and Margaret Swaine, one of the most prolific and well-travelled wine and spirits writers in the country.

We were also joined by Tony Aspler, founder of the Ontario Wine Awards, author of many books on Canadian wine, Order of Canada recipient and my friend and mentor of over 30 years.  Michael Vaughan of Vintages Assessments has been writing about wine in Toronto just as long.  Carolyn Evans-Hammond has just recently been named the new wine columnist for the Toronto Star. And we also welcomed the Zoltan Szabo, a palate and gentleman about town extraordinaire.

This night we had a record number of wineries donating to our Celebration.  Guests did not have all the same wines on their tables but this was by design in the spirit of diversity. The line-up included  O’Leary 2013 Unwooded Chardonnay, Malivoire 2012 Mottiar Chardonnay,  Fielding 2013 Viognier, Malivoire 2013 Courtney 2013 Gamay, Kacaba 2012 Cabernet Syrah,  Colio Bricklayer Small Lot 2012 Syrah, Chateau des Charmes 2012 St. David’s Vineyard Merlot and Henry of Pelham 2014 Baco Noir.

The Best of Show Wine Awards program is all about the wines, but other wines rose to the top when it came to the chef pairings. Gold Medal Chef Stuart Cameron of Byblos will be taking Nova Scotia’s Nova 7 to the Canadian Culinary Championships  in Kelowna.  Silver medalist Damon Campbell of Bosk at the Shangri-La choose to match his Cumbrae lamb with Stratus 2012 Cabernet Franc. And Bronze medalist Victor Barry’s very excellent five hour carrot was beautifully paired with Hidden Bench 2013 Riesling.

Here is the portfolio of wines served in Toronto 2015, presented in tasting order as presented to the judges.

The Whites

Benjamin Bridge 2013 Nova 7, Nova Scotia
Norman Hardie 2014 Calcaire, Prince Edward County
Cave Spring 2013 Dolomite Riesling, Niagara Peninsula
Hidden Bench 2013 Riesling. Beamsville Bench
O’Leary 2013 Unwooded Chardonnay, Niagara Peninsula
Grange of Prince Edward County 2012 Chardonnay Select, Prince Edward County
Malivoire 2013 Mottiar Chardonnay. Niagara Peninsula
Pearl Morrisette 2012 Chardonnay Cuvee Dix-Neuvieme, Niagara Peninsula
Fielding 2013 Viognier, Niagara Peninsula

The Reds

Malivoire 2013 Courtney Gamay, Niagara Peninsula
Stratus 2012 Cabernet Franc, Niagara-on-the-Lake
Cave Spring 2013 Dolomite Cabernet Franc, Niagara Peninsula
Kacaba 2012 Cabernet Syrah, Niagara Peninsula
Colio Bricklayers Small Lot 2012 Syrah, Lake Erie North Shore
Chateau des Charmes 2012 St. Davids Vineyard Merlot, St.David’s Bench
Osoyoos-Larose 2010 Le Grand Vin, Okanagan Valley
Henry of Pelham 2014 Baco Noir, Ontario


  • Norman Hardie Winery 2011 Pinot Noir (unfiltered) Prince Edward County
  • Hidden Bench Vineyards & Winery 2012 Nuit Blanche (White Meritage) Niagara Escarpment
  • Creekside Estate Winery 2012 Iconoclast Syrah VQA Niagara Escarpment


  • Stratus Vineyards, Stratus Red 2010, Niagara-on-the-Lake ON
  • Hidden Bench Vineyards & Winery, Vintage 2010 Estate Pinot Noir, Beamsville ON
  •  Kew Vineyards 2010 Old Vine Riesling, Beamsville ON  AND Tawse Winery 2012 Sketches Chardonnay, Niagara ON


  • Château des Charmes 2008 Old Vines Riesling, Niagara-on-the-Lake ON
  • Stratus 2008 White, Niagara-on-the-Lake ON
  • Tawse Winery 2009 Laundry Vineyard Cabernet Franc, Vineland ON