By Amy Sanderson
When I received the invitation to taste the newest addition to the Veuve-Clicquot champagne family on the Toronto Islands, I thought I was dreaming! Veuve is one of my absolute favourite champagnes. Whenever I have the occasion to splurge on a good bottle, Veuve is my champagne of choice.
On the day of the event, Wednesday, June 10, the sky threatened as my guest and I waited for the tender to take us to the Island Yacht Club on Toronto’s Muggs Island for the launch of Veuve’s newest wine, RICH. As we embarked, we chose a seat near the stern, which gave a lovely view of the islands, but also exposed us to the elements. Just as we were about to dock, we were soaked in a deluge of rain. Luckily I had my tiny in-case-of-emergency umbrella tucked in my purse, so it kept our ears dry. I sympathized with the hostess, Suzanne Mandarino from DDB Public Relations, who quickly ran out with some spare umbrellas for us, the new arrivals.
As soon as we were under the canopy of the newer boathouse, we were shuttled in to a fantastically decorated venue. The entire room was decked out in blankets, pillows, hammocks, bicycles, photos, you name it – all featuring the Veuve-Clicquot brand. Bar staff all had straw boater hats and fancy white shirts and cravats hearkening back to a 1920s island theme. The cheese table was sumptuous with figs, strawberries and grapes amid soft and hard cheeses to accompany the wine.
We partook of the first glass of RICH while we dried off. The premise behind RICH is that it be infused with either fruit, vegetable, or some other aromatic to enjoy as a backdrop to other flavours with a healthy glassful of ice, presumably so as not to get too tipsy. While the aroma is faint, as intended, so that other flavours infused will come through, the mouthfeel of RICH does not disappoint: a frothy million-bubble apple crispness.
The grounds at the Island Yacht Club included some fun games for guests once the rain subsided. A few people tried a game of lawn Jenga. My guest and I played a tic-tac-toe game, which was fun.
We toured the grounds of the club, checking out the boat spits, the huge trees and the pool. As we wandered among some of the beautiful people, we noticed some Toronto celebrities including Galen Weston Jr.
Some of the RICH flavour pairings I tried were:
Grapefruit – Citrusy and bright, tastes like summer.
Cucumber – Fresh as a white tennis skirt.
Red and yellow peppers – Slightly spicy but garden-fresh, like a bubbly crudité.
We weren’t fast enough for some of the hors d’oeuvres; however, we did get a taste of the salmon with strawberry vinaigrette, which accompanied the wine nicely. We also got to try the roasted lamb stuffed with sundried tomato – this was positively decadent.
I was told by one of the bar staff that Veuve-Clicquot RICH is on sale at the LCBO as a general list product for $82.
I want to thank the hostess, Suzanne, for organizing such a fun event – and for helping all the guests have a great time despite the rainy weather.