Last night I went to a wine and cheese event at The Shrugging Doctor. The event was a joint effort between The Shrugging Doctor and Loaf and Honey cheese. This was the first event I have been out to in about two and a quarter years, with the exception of a couple of events at Church.
I first got notice of the event from the Loaf and Honey Facebook page late last month. I figured I would jump on the opportunity. This turned out to be a good idea, as there were only about 40 people around the two long tables.
The Shrugging Doctor Winery
The winery is located on Brooklyn Street, in St. James. I was able to get a Ness bus that left me with about a block and a half walk from the bus stop. The winery is part of a small business mall on Brooklyn. As you walk in you step up to the retail counter. To the right is the tap room.
Our wine tasting was held out back, in the production/warehouse space. Everything had been pushed to the walls, and two rows of tables had been set up in the middle of the room.
The Shrugging Doctor produces it’s wines using as much local product as possible(I can’t swear to it being 100%). They also are owners of Manitoba’s only vineyard. Only in business for around five years, they are already growing a healthy and sustainable business.
Part of the reason for this success is offering a good variety of product. As we arrived and checked in, each of us was given a taster glass of their Whiteshell Vodka Soda. This is a refreshing drink. Think of it as an alcoholic version of Bubly, but with more flavour and no annoying commercials.
Tasting and Talking
In addition to the soda, as we all got seated, a plate with Golden Prairie cheese, Ricotta, twist bread, and jam. This was shared around between five of us at one of the table. Unfortunately, after writing down the socials of the other four people I left them on the table.
The only name I actually remember is Daniel Fink, who is communications manager for the Manitoba Moose. He also is the grandson of the Right Reverend Patrick Lee, former Bishop of the Diocese of Rupert’s Land, where I am located as an Anglican priest. Daniel’s partner is a retail manager, and the two of them are friends with Willows Christopher one of the owners of The Shrugging Doctor.
Of the other two people in our little corner, there was a pharmacy tech, and, if I remember correctly, a financial analyst. There were also people to my right, who I occasionally engaged in conversation, but no names were gathered.
The first cheese we tried was the “Resilient Red” Paprika Cheese paired with a Strawberry Rhubarb wine. As Willows said when introducing the wine, “it’s about as Manitoba a wine as you can possibly get. It’s also a very delicious wine.
While Willows introduced the wines, Dustin Peltier from Loaf and Honey introduced the cheeses. Along with the cheese there was dehydrated strawberries. These gave a little sweetness to a cheese with a little bit of bite to it.
The second cheese was a Golden Prairie Red Currant Cheese.. So, this combines the strong flavour of Loaf and Honey’s signature cheese, along with red currant to cut through that flavour. It also adds some sweetness and a tiny bit of crunch.
The wine to go along with this one, is a Cranberry wine. This tastes like a deeper and richer version of a cranberry juice. I find that cranberry juice tends to leave my mouth feeling dry afterward. The Shrugging Doctor Cranberry Wine doesn’t cause this dryness.
Donald Commits a Faux Pas
Halfway through the tasting I saw a couple of trays of crackers head up to the far end of the tables. A little while later another couple of trays came out. One was sent toward the middle of our table and one was placed between me and the woman on my right.
I thought: Great! A palate cleanser. I helped myself and offered them around to the people to my left. Turns out, that while I had read the drink side of the Tap Room menu, I had not read the food side. The crackers had in fact been ordered by the woman sitting to my right.
When I discovered this, I apologized profusely. Fortunately, she was very gracious and said not to worry. She even offered the plate around a little later. That’s me though, you can dress me up, but can’t take me anywhere. Which is really difficult because I generally travel alone.
Back to the Tasting
The third wine was the “The Great Vandal” Vandal Cliche. For those uncertain, it’s Vandal Cliche, a grape varietal. Not to be confused with Vandal Cliché, which may or may not be a type of pronouncement by a certain MP.
This is quite a dry white wine, and a bit of a shock after the first two, quite sweet, wines. I have to admit that white wines are generally not my favourites, so this would be the one I am least likely to purchase. However, if you really enjoy a dry white one, give this wine a try.
This was paired with the Golden Novitiate Cheese. A novitiate is someone preparing to become a monk. The cheese is like the Golden Prairie, but it hasn’t been matured as long.
The fourth and final pairing was The Shrugging Doctor Blueberry wine, along with the Loaf and Honey “Yellow Moon” Goat Cheese. The Yellow Moon is a firm goat cheese, with a good rind and fairly mild flavour.
If you’ve read Dining with Donald over the years, you will know blueberries are my favourite berry. This wine really hits the nail on the head with the blueberry flavour. I find that many beverages or cocktails I’ve tasted are blueberry in name. The Shrugging Doctor has produced a wine that is also blueberry in nature.
The evening passed all too quickly. After not being at any kind of food event for almost two and a half years, this one seemed to an end. This was the first time that The Shrugging Doctor has put on an event like this. They did a very good job, as well. I look forward to more such events in the future.
On my way out I stopped to buy a couple of cans of the Whiteshell Vodka Soda, A bottle of The Shrugging Doctor, Apple Cinnamon Mead, and a Goat as well as a Paprika Cheese.
Thanks to everyone involved in putting the wine tasting on. Thanks especially to my table mates for making this such a very enjoyable evening. That’s it for the Wine Tasting. Up next: Brunchfest.