This past Monday we attended a dinner at Parts & Labour, put on by WineAlign and WOSA Canada — the local PR arm of the South African wine industry. The focus of the evening was, obviously, South African wine. We were up for that, and for trying a new place, so boom. Done.

The evening certainly did nothing to dull the affection we gained for South African while visiting the country last fall. I agree with host David Lawrason: it may be the best value wine on the market right now. None of the wines we tried blew our minds, but they were very solid for bottles which (mostly) run $15 at the LCBO. The whites got too warm while we waited for our food so I’m not sure I got the full effect there.

Here’s what we drank:

  • Reception wines: Ken Forrester Petit Chenin Blanc 2013; Nederburg Winemasters Reserve Sauvignon Blanc 2013
  • Appetizer wines, served with grilled broccolini: Fleur Du Cap Chardonnay 2013, Ken Forrester Reserve Chenin Blanc 2012, The Wolftrap White 2013
  • Main wines, served with grilled flat iron steak: Fleur Du Cap Shiraz 2010, Nederburg Manor House Cabernet Sauvignon 2012, The Chocolate Block 2011

I’m not sure what the reception wines were paired with, because the seniors who made up 95% of the attendees would swarm any server with a tray before they got ten feet from the kitchen. Some of them were taking 3 or 4 hors d’oeuvres at a time. It was weird. The food was okay…good steak but otherwise nothing special. We felt a little underwhelmed by the evening and, frankly, in need of a proper full glass of wine. This event was okay, but it was no Tawse wine members dinner.

Just before we left I had a chance to meet Will Predhomme for the first time. He’d been sitting behind us at dinner, so I thanked him for co-making the delicious North Shore Project Syrah and talked Nova Scotia sparkling for a bit. After that we jumped on the streetcar, jumping off again at Yonge and hitting Richmond Station for a goddamn full pour. I had Norm Hardie cab franc; she had Tawse Pinot. When in South Africa, drink South African. When in Ontario…

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