Gold Medal Plates 2016 Results


  • 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

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Thank you to the Gold Medal Plates sponsors and supporters who provide vital support to the project