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Wine at the University Club

Earlier this month, I was happy to accept rock-it promotion‘s invitation to attend one of the University Club of Toronto‘s wine society’s dinners. We worked through a five-course menu of dishes paired with wines from Italy, Spain, and Portugal.

With Reception: Pieropan Soave Classico White 2009

1st course: Pieropan Calvarino White 2008 with giant grilled prawns in a garlic sauce with sautéed red pequillos

2nd course: Pieropan Ruberpan Red 2006 with homemade Parisienne style gnocchi with Pomodoro sauce and Pecorino Toscano Cheese

3rd course: Resalte Vendimia Seleccionada Red 2009 and Resalte Pena Roble Reserva Red 2000 with veal scallopini Marsala with rosemary potato puffs, grilled zucchini and asparagus cake

Dessert: Favaito Moscatel with brandied plum ice cream and Spanish churros

I especially liked the matches made for the two courses that book-ended our meal. The first course of crisp, slightly sweet prawns accented by a touch of fennel with the Pieropan 2008 Calvarino White and the dessert of brandied plum ice cream and Spanish churros matched with Favaito Moscatel.

Bodegas Resalte de Peñafiel was established in 2000 and for such a young winery is receiving a remarkable amount of praise. For instance, Wine Spectator named the Resalte Crianza 2005 as the 26th best wine of 2010 in the world. All of its wines are made from Tempranillo grapes grow in Spain.

The wine programme’s monthly events that particularly drew my attention were the upcoming gourmet dinner with James Chatto in April, the Jewels of the Cellar night when the dust will be blown off some of the Club’s nearly forgotten bottles, and the apparently epic Fortified Wine Lunch just before Christmas.

Compared to food I think the preferences that combine to define good service are rather subjective. How friendly is too friendly? How quickly should food arrive and dishes be cleared? Efficient, unobtrusive, and polite to a fault are the private club’s answer to this debate. These ideals were met very ably throughout our meal.

On a pre-dinner tour of the clubhouse and its classical styling (made even more impressive by the original Canadian artwork) we saw some of the spaces available to be booked for business and social events. They specialise in providing a venue and catering for weddings and also have facilities to accommodate overnight guests.

Many of the current members are prominent in Toronto’s academic, legal, artistic, political and business communities.

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