This year marks the first year that Ontario-made Vintners Quality Alliance (VQA) wines are available at more than 100 farmers’ markets around the province. It seems fitting that our first wine review on the site should be a VQA wine that we picked up at the St. Lawrence Market on a recent Saturday. Tawse Winery from Vineland, ON won the prestigious award of being Canada’s Winery of the Year in 2010, 2011 and 2012. It was a quiet day at the market so we were able to chat with the vendor. It seems Ontario is crawling towards the idea that you can buy great wine along with your cheese and produce. We’re getting there. Keep it up, province!

Gamay Noir grapes ripen approximately 2 weeks earlier than the ever popular Pinot Noir grape, and they are easier to cultivate. It is a fairly popular grape varietal in the Niagara region as well as the wine region of Prince Edward County.

We paired our bottle ($18.95) with coffee glazed roast beef and stir fried Brussels sprouts.

Appearance: Cherry red colour, similar to a Pinot Noir. Easy to see across the glass. Wine has great legs.
Aroma: Thick aroma of blackberry and black currant with a hint of French oak.
Taste: Subtle cherry flavour with a dry mouth feel. Medium bodied, mature flavour. This is a meal in a glass. Hints of oak. Not heavy on the tannins.

Aftertaste: Very subtle sour liquorice after taste.

Overall: This one is apparently sold out but the vineyard also offers a 2013 vintage. I would definitely pick up another bottle if it crossed my path.

Shawna O'Flaherty

Shawna is a 30-something Montreal native transplanted to Toronto in 2010. Wine loving, beer sniffing and rum swilling come naturally to her, and she is also a certified Irish whiskey taster. She has hosted beer and cheese pairing events in the past.

Shawna has visited vineyards in 6 countries on 3 continents, and has a knack for finding the hoppiest beers around.

She can be found drinking alka-seltzer and coconut water in the morning.

Email: shawna@torontoboozehound.com

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