Wine lists are funny things. They can be daunting to the non-wine connoisseur to read and understand if they are long and not well laid out. My top 5 spots to enjoy wine don’t include the longest, most prestigious lists in town. My criteria for choosing the restaurants below focus on the restaurants’ thoughtfulness, diversity, and how well the wine matches their menu. And, while my article might be focused on wine, the food at every one of these spots is amazing too!
Wine lists can be incredibly boring and only focus on one region in the entire world. This can especially be true in the Hamilton-Burlington area- with an extreme focus on wine from the Niagara Region. I am a happy supporter of the fruits of labour from local winemakers, and enjoy drinking their wines- don’t get me wrong (in fact, I post a lot about them). But nothing disappoints me more, when I get no choice in the matter. Not every dish on a menu can be paired solely with Niagara wine. It’s like showing up to get your hair cut somewhere and being told there is only one style available that day. All of my choices here, integrate local wines in their lists with great finesse. Suffice to say, I couldn’t in good conscience choose restaurants that strictly focus on one wine region- no matter how great the food is!
So here are my choices...in no particular order....
Aberdeen Tavern- Hamilton, ON
Aberdeen Tavern’s wine list is interesting and really gives the guest some diverse choices, I am not sure there is another restaurant in Hamilton that serves Chateau Musar, but if you get a chance to order a bottle- do it! It is an interesting wine, from one of the oldest wine making countries in the world- Lebanon and a great price. If you are into Sparkling- they serve some of the best Prosecco you can find- in fact, I order it by the case: Belstar Prosecco is light, refreshing, with a hint of peach, lemon and almonds. It is an amazing aperitif before you order your dinner. They also make some amazing cocktails that change with the season!
Son of a Peach, Burlington, ON
This restaurant may also be my absolute favourite for pizza in the GTA; in fact, I would argue it rivals some of the pizza I have eaten in Italy (shhh! don't tell my Nonna). But what I love about their wine list is that they have chosen some really great options to pair with their pies! Plus, they usually have sparkling wine on tap- yes, you heard correctly! Their wine list isn’t long- it's short and sweet and matches the food menu so well. The Tuscany Maremma and the Spicy Salami and Honey Pizza is a match made in heaven. They also have craft beers from local breweries that change all the time.
Lake Road Restaurant, Hamilton, ON
Lake Road has the longest wine list that I have chosen on this list. Yet, it is not a book they shove at you when you arrive. Patrick, the Sommelier has done an excellent job describing and telling the story of many of the wines available. There is a wine for everyone here, at many different price points- none that are too crazy. Whether you consider yourself an aficionado, or a beginner, check it out. And, make sure you choose what you are drinking with the food you order here. If you need help- just ask, the staff are very helpful!
Cavallo Nero, Ancaster, ON
The wine list by the glass at Cavallo Nero doesn’t simply include a “house Pinot Grigio” and a “house Merlot”, there really is something for everyone, even if you are simply having a glass (or prefer to switch between white and red depending on your first and second course- yes I do that all the time). Their focus includes wine from Niagara, Italy and California, and I would argue this is well thought out for the food options on their menu. They even have wine specials on Wednesday and Thursdays! Specials include: Wednesday Nights- $20.00 Select Bottles and Thursday Nights $5.00 Glasses
Brux House, Hamilton, ON
Brux House actually prides itself as a craft brewhouse, but also has a diverse wine list- you can travel anywhere from Niagara to Australia. The wine list has some interesting red options including a red wine from Mt. Etna, Sicily and a Priorat from Spain. Their whites follow suit with some great options from Portugal, Italy and Niagara. A nice balance of red and white wines that suit their food options, including vegetarian, seafood and meat! And, if you are feeling adventurous, their cocktail menu is always seasonal and delicious as well!
Have a wine list in the GTA that you love? Tell me about it, I would love to visit. I hope you get to visit these spots in the GTA and try out their wine lists. Remember these wine lists aren’t daunting, long text books you need to study before you order. And when in doubt, ask your server. Just be sure to give them some idea of what food you are looking to order to make sure it’s a perfect match!
Want to learn more about wine? Why not host a wine event with your friends, co-workers or family? For more information about wine, food and the good life, follow me on Instagram @NewAgeNonna or subscribe to my Blog.
#topwinelistsinhamilton #topwinelistsinburlington #burlington #hamilton #restaurantrecommendations #winelists #hamiltonrestaurants #burlingtonrestaurants #wine #foodandwinepairing #wineblogger #winepairing #AberdeenTavern #CavalloNeroRestaurant #BruxHouseRestaurant #SonofaPeachRestaurant #LakeRoadRestaurant