As this year’s RAW Wine week ramps up, restaurants and bars all over town will be hosting visiting winemakers for off-RAW tastings, dinners and natural-wine-fuelled parties. Here’s what we know is going on this week.
Monday, Oct. 21
Casa Raia and Jason Ligas at Taverne on the Square / 5 p.m.
You already know and love Taverne on the Square, but now imagine eating dinner with some of the most exciting winemakers at RAW this year. The details on the event are a little hush-hush but expect great food and wines from both winemakers available by the bottle and the glass.
Tuesday, Oct. 22
Dinner with Elios at Un Po Di Piu / 5 p.m.
Cult Sicilian winemakers Guido Grillo and Nicola Adamo from Elios will be popping up for one night only and the gorgeous Caffé Un Po Di Piu in the Old Port. If you read my review of the place, you know I’m a big fan, and I’m also a big fan of the energetic and wildly aromatic wine of Elios. If you’re fortunate enough to have tasted their wines, then you probably already have a reservation, but if not, book one now. Their wines are transformative, and as we slowly descend into winter’s icy grip, why not take a trip to Sicily?
Révolution Cidre! at Darling / 5:30 p.m.
Swedish cider makers Fruktstereo have been revolutionising the cider and natural wine world since 2016 when their fruit pét-nats and wild ferment ciders burst onto the scene redefining our understanding of wine, cider and all that lies between. Join them at Darling on Tuesday for their wild ciders being poured alongside beloved Quebec cideries la Somnambule, les Chemins des Sept, Cidres Pollison and Cidre Choinière.
Wednesday, Oct. 23
Rosato Italo Disco at VinVinVin / 3 p.m.
Join the Rennersistas, two sisters in Austria making incredibly fresh and vibrant wines, who will be pouring their wares alongside the ultra-elegant sparkling wines from Lombardian winemaker Alessandra Divella Imbibe, and channel the intoxicating (you see what I did there?) energy from these beautiful wines as you get down to Italo-disco. Groovy, but in Italian.
Tasting with Il Torchio, Ottomani and Domaine Ligas at Vol De Nuit / 5 p.m.
If you haven’t checked out Vol de Nuit’s new reno, now’s a great opportunity to see how the bar has evolved. Go taste the salty and silky Ligurian wine of Il Torchio, and the incredible joy that is natural chianti from Ottomani. Oh, and if you don’t know about Domaine Ligas, just go taste. You’re welcome.
Sous le Soleil Grec avec les Kamara at Boxermans / 7-10 p.m.
More Mediterranean sun! Boxermans is hosting an intimate evening of savoury, passionately made wines from Thessaloniki, a region famous for its wines since antiquity. Many cuvées will be available by the glass and the winemakers will be present should you feel the need to gush about how good these wines are.
Thursday, Oct. 24
Party with Valentina Passalacqua at around back at C.S.P.S. / 6 p.m.
You may not know a whole lot about the wines of Puglia, but even if you do, you’re unlikely to have tasted an expression of Puglian terroir as pure as the wines of Valentina Passalacqua. Her ethereal, boldly coloured wines are her expression of admiration toward the rocky, sandy, coastline of the Puglian peninsula. She’ll be present pouring her wines downstairs and around back from Elena at their coffee shop/event space P.S. Expect good wine, good food, and good vibes.
Les Pervenches, Meinklang, Weingut Schmitt at Henrietta / 6 p.m.
A night of ultra-fresh juice. You’d be hard pressed to name three producers better known for producing powerfully electric wines than these three. The Meinklang has become the SAQ’s poster child for natural wine, and the wines of Bianca and Daniel Schmitt have been a crown jewel of exciting wine lists across town for years. Oh, and don’t forget about the local heroes at les Pervenches who are (nearly) singlehandedly proving that Quebec wines are world class.
Friday, Oct. 25
Hip hop & Beaujolais at Boxermans / 5 p.m.
Don’t overthink it. Fresh juicy wines by the glass from David Large set to a killer soundtrack. Crunchy wine, crunchy beats — a guaranteed good time.
An evening with Alex Craighead at Henrietta / 5 p.m.
New Zealand is about way more than Hobbiton and fruity Sauvignon Blanc. It’s about wild and varied terroir, it’s about fresh and energetic wines. It’s about Alex Craighead, and his winery Kindeli, one of the few truly natural producers in the country. His wines are fragrant, boldly coloured yet nuanced, unlike anything you’re likely to have tasted.
Saturday, Oct. 26
Apéro with Marc Pesnot at Henrietta / 5–7 p.m.
Come share a glass of Melon de Bourgogne from the undisputed master vintner of the grape. Marc Pesnot will be at the bar serving his wines Saturday evening, but if you can’t make it — don’t worry — they’ll be serving la Bohême by the glass all weekend.
Oct. 24 & 25
Speakers Corner at Candide
This is part of Raw so you’ll actually need a ticket to attend these events but Candide (conveniently located next to the Raw event space) is hosting a series of moderated discussions with winemakers on a variety of topics ranging from permaculture, biodynamics in Champagne, to a tasting of unpasteurized Sake. Check the Raw website for a detailed run-down of all the speakers and events.