What the Anglophone world calls after-work drinks or happy hour, Quebec calls the “5 à 7”. It has a nice ring to it, doesn’t it? It acknowledges the necessary transition time between our stressful workaday lives and the downtime we need in the evening. Plus, it implies that a good tipple should take at least two hours. Glad to oblige…
5 à 7 seekers who are staying at the Sheraton will be very well served indeed these days thanks to the launch of the Sheraton Social Hour, in Sheraton hotels worldwide. One of the defining features of the chain is their club lounge, where guests who pay a premium of $30 a day get to hang out on comfortable leather seats, get brunch, see the best view in the city (the Centre Sheraton Montreal’s Salon Sheraton Club is on the 37th floor) and now, participate in the festively delicious Sheraton Social Hour. The hotel was awarded the prestigious Québécor Média Gold prize in the 2013 Grands Prix du Tourisme Québécois for the innovation and sustainability of its recent $40 million renovation.
Between 5 and 7 pm three times a week, for a mere $5, guests with lounge access can socialize and meet new people while getting four two-once taster glasses of the most amazing wines. Many of the vintages are private imports – owning a world-class hotel does have its perks – and among the eight wines on offer, four are graded over 90 by Wine Spectator, while the other four are graded over 85. All are paired with delightfully appropriate bouchées conceived by Centre Sheraton Montreal’s lauded chefs.
When we were there we tasted some amazing wines form Washington State’s Columbia Valley, including a Château Ste-Michelle riesling from 2010 that was beautifully subtle and surprisingly unsweet, with full of green-fruit snap that made it the perfect accompaniment to the foie gras and balsamic syrup canapés it was served with. A 2009 Villa Antinori red from Toscana also knocked our socks off – and the best thing about the evening was how much we learned from the personable sommeliers on site. Now that’s something worth toasting!
Sheraton Social Hour, 5-7 pm on Sundays, Tuesdays and Wednesdays
Centre Sheraton Montreal, 1201 René-Lévesque West, (514) 878-2000