Chat with Gargoyle Wine Club

by Sherri Telenko

What’s better than arriving home Friday evening and discovering your wine got there first? Well, that’s kind of how it works if you subscribe to Gargoyle Wine Club, which operates out of Toronto and Oakville. Sign up for a curated subscription and two, four or six bottles of wine are sent to your home each month. White, red or a combo – it’s your choice.

Here’s the best part: no more standing in the aisles of the LCBO wondering what’s good. A team of sommeliers do that on your behalf. Each month, subscribers receive a surprise delivery of some the best wines from around the world. Many can’t be found at the LCBO, and some hail from our own local Niagara wine region. The caveat is someone of legal age must be home to sign for the delivery; otherwise it can be picked up at the post office.

If your summer days are spent up north by the lake, Gargoyle has you covered with its dedicated Muskoka region program. Simply register for the subscription service and pre-arrange a delivery time (one less thing to cart to the cottage) or take advantage of Gargoyle’s cellar set up service that stocks your summer home with curated wines suited to your tastes and preferences. Gargoyle has a dedicated sommelier for the Muskoka program.

With the lazy days of summer almost upon us, we spoke to Scott Zebarth and Will Predhomme, curators and sommeliers for Gargoyle Wine Club, to get the scoop on what wines are best for summer sipping.   

What wine is recommended for the cottage?

Surprise, rosé. This wine is super hot right now. Regions such as the French coast and Northern Spain produce fresh and light wines that are easy to pair with lighter fare, such as fish dishes and salads, everything you might eat outside on a warm day. We are starting to see the new vintages of rosés coming out, and don’t yet have a favourite recommendation.

Is there such thing as a summer wine?

The short answer is yes. Light refreshing wines tend to work better outside along the dock in the heat. There’s a reaction that occurs with fuller body wines in the warm weather, so it’s better to select lighter wines like whites or rosé than weightier reds.

Best advice for food and wine pairing?

Drink where it grows. For instance, wines produced along the French coast go well with fresh seafood. Tomato based pastas and pizza are generally from central Italy, so select Italian wines from that area. Pair Spanish dishes with wine produced in Spain or inspired by that region. Greece wines with Greek food, of course, and the lighter dishes associated with summer.

What’s the best strategy for selecting a summer wine?

Go down one of two paths. Start by determining if you prefer a dry wine or one with a slightly higher sugar level. (These tend not to be French). Note the particular region that type of wine, or a wine you like, comes from, such as Spain, then experiment. Try similar wines from the same region. Unlike sommeliers of the past, we don’t judge people based on their dislikes or likes – at the end of the day, you simply need a wine that makes you happy.

In a world producing wines, what country might surprise people?

South Africa used to be a place of questionable quality but that has really changed. Also, Greece produces reds of extremely good value, and Portugal wines are exceptional value – the only issue is the language. They have different names for wine varietals that not everyone is familiar with.

What are some of the best local wines to check out in the Niagara Region?

Tawse Winery in Vineland has a great global perspective. Cave Springs Cellars in Jordon consistently produces quality wines. Ravine Vineyard Estate Winery in St. Davids for reds and Pearl Morissette in Jordon are two favourites. Actually, there are countless world-class wines in Ontario and many appear as Gargoyle subscription selections.

Gargoyle also offers wine curation services to businesses such as caterers, but Wine Club is likely what sparks most West of the City readers’ attention. Joining is easy. Starter wine subscriptions begin at $69 per month. If you prefer only Chardonnay or only Cabernet, specialty packages featuring only those varieties are on offer. Sparkling wine, too, is an option. Additional unique packages include ‘The Baller’ – a bottle of port, red, white and champagne each month. Or, solve your next dinner party headache with a one-time ‘Party Pack’ of six bottles; a selection of white, red and dessert wine should make everyone happy.

Wine not your thing? Gargoyle also has a whisky club starting at $149 per month including shipping.