I had the honour and privilege to be invited to an exclusive complimentary wine tasting care of Resource Media this past Tuesday evening on December 1 at Archive 909 Wine Bar. Resource Media is an online and television media production company and they were doing a promotional project with Vinho Verde wines of Portugal. It is a great region in the north of Portugal that produces some great wines!
In addition, the CEO, Executive Producer of CNBC’s Wine Portfolio, Kevin Fox, was going to be co-hosting a very small tasting/food matching with Joshua Corea, the co-owner of Archive 909 Winebar, where the wine tasting and food pairing was going to take place.
I don’t know much about wine but I really appreciate having some good wine to go with food and I was very excited for the wine tasting and the evening! 🙂 With that said, please forgive me if I make any mistakes about the wine or wine knowledge while writing up this review. Everything is written from my perspective and what I remember (and some of my notes, which may or may not be transcribed 100% correctly).
It started promptly at 7 p.m. at 909 Dundas Street West in downtown Toronto. I arrived slightly after the dot and everybody was already there. It was nice that I was able to bring a guest to this event as well! It was definitely a small group which provided a very intimate and relaxing experience for all the food bloggers to be able to taste the wines and share feedback in a small setting. We learned a little bit about both Kevin Fox and Joshua Corea and also did a small introduction around the table. I love being able to meet new people, especially fellow foodies and bloggers! Social media is simply amazing! 🙂
Archive 909 Wine Bar is a small restaurant that hosts wines and tapas. It was quite dim inside the restaurant so most of my pictures aren’t very clear, but the lack of bright light added to the mood and atmosphere of the night.
We started off with the Castal Ventozela which was like a breakfast wine and a little sweet; a spritz. It was really nice because as we were tasting the wines for the entire evening, Kevin did an amazing job providing the commentary for us and keeping the discussion and conversations alive. He had a wealth of knowledge and Joshua was also able to provide a lot of insight into the wines as well. He even showed us the region where the wines were produced from a picture on his laptop.
I liked it because it was a little sweet. All the wines we had for the night were white wines.
This wine was paired with a cod fish cake made with potato and cod fish. I liked this cod fish and I found that the fish inside of the fish cake was very flakey and firm. It was really nice!
The second wine was the Aphros Loureiro 2013. Joshua mentioned that this was a 100% grape wine and everything is natural. The materials are made out of granite so that there are no pesticides. Since it is all natural, the bugs counteract other bugs and it is a biodynamic culture. (Again, forgive me if I’ve made some mistakes here and feel free to comment below to educate me about wines! 🙂 ).
I really liked this second wine because after you tasted it, it was a sweetness in your mouth. It was quite unique. Kevin called it a “residual sweetness”.
This was paired with an amazing tapa, a salt soaked cod ceviche with pepper sauce, lemon, olive oil. The dish itself didn’t look that spectacular with bread on the side, but this was an unbelievable ceviche dish! I love ceviches and this one might be the best I’ve had. Usually, ceviche rests in liquid in a cup, but this one was not. Taking a slice of bread, you put the ceviche and black olives on the bread and eat the whole thing with your hands. Wow. It was spectacular! The soaked cod was so juicy and flavourful. I ate at least two more of these because it was just so amazing! It also paired really well with the wine too.
In between this, Joshua taught us that at Vinho Verde, they call themselves wine growers and not wine makers. The reason is that it is all based on natural elements and biodynamics and growing the grapes. It’s also tying in influences from the Atlantic Ocean.
The third wine was the Muralhas de Moncao. Maybe one day I’ll be a big wine connasieur when I learn more about wines but I found that this one was a bit bland and I didn’t really like it that much. Apparently, it’s an off dry white wine and it pairs perfectly with the tapa that was provided. We had a triple cream restyle cheese from Quebec that was so smooth and milky. It pairs well because it’s like pairing honey with cheese; the fattiness is cut by the acidity in the wine. The board also included a fig compote with apple slices, bread, and pickles.
I really adored this triple cream cheese from Quebec. It was exceedingly milky. Delicious! 🙂 The fig compote was very fresh and dense; delicious as well. The pickles gave a nice touch to the wine pairing.
The fourth wine was the CDV Brazao and it contained apple and floral tones. For this wine, a fennel salad accompanied it. It was crisp and green to go with the wine.
Even though the presentation doesn’t look that great on camera (and especially due to the dim lighting), this was actually an amazing fennel salad. It was so crispy, crunchy, fresh, juicy, a tad spicy and paired really well with the wine! I liked the heavy aioli dressing and it rounded out the wine.
By this point, I had four wines in me and there wasn’t very much heavy food to counterbalance the alcohol content. I was feeling a little tipsy from the wine, haha. I wasn’t drunk and I’m not a crazy drunk anyway, but I definitely felt the buzz. It was fun. 😛
Following this, we had the San Joanne Escolha and it was paired with chicken liver and red onion jam on bread. Wow, this chicken liver was absolutely fantastic! The texture of the chicken liver was phenomenal and the slight sweetness of the red onion jam was so tasty. Amazing! I realized that chicken liver goes amazingly well with white wine. This was my favourite appetizer so far along with the cod ceviche.
Lastly, the final tapa of the night was a charcuterie board (awesome!) paired with any wine that we wanted to revisit. I really enjoyed the third wine of the night but since I still had some wine left in my glasses, I decided to finish those off instead (plus, aside from not wanting to waste any wine, I didn’t want to indulge in too much more anyway). The charcuterie board contained some bread, pickles, rabbit rillette (similar to pâté ), and two meats (I don’t remember what they were called XD). One of the meats was so thinly sliced and smooth. The other round one was a little bit salty but I still enjoyed it. Everyone absolutely loved the rabbit rillette. I think this was my first time having it. It was so delicious; I loved the taste and texture!
After that, an hour and a half of wonderful wine tasting and food pairing, we were done for the night. We were free to stay for more wine talk and hanging out.
I really enjoyed my night at Archive 909 Wine Bar and experiencing the wine tasting night that Resource Media put together for us. It was very well organized and put together. I loved the tapas and enjoyed the Vinho Verde wines! I appreciate white wine so much more than before now and will not ever hesitate to order a glass of Vinho Verde wine! In fact, I’ll tell more friends about this wine from Portugal too! 🙂 Thank you again, Resource Media, Ellen, Kevin, and Joshua! It was wonderful to meet all the food bloggers that night as well. 🙂
FTC Disclaimer: Although Resource Media reached out and invited me to a complimentary tasting at Archive 909 Wine Bar, the opinions expressed here represent my own and not those of the company or restaurant.