Wine is a really big deal to us. The perfect pairing can transform a meal into an experience and idle chitchat into deep, delicious conversation. Wine makes meals magical. That’s why we hired Shahyn Kamali, a globetrotting Sommelier with a penchant for romance, adventure, and history, too.

Shahyn’s wanderlust—and nose for wine—has taken him around the world and to the bottom of barrels and bottles with scents of aromatic cherry, oaky undertones, hints of chocolate, delicate notes of lemon rind, pomegranate, and passion fruit. The man has savoured many, many sips. And now he’s bringing his favourites to Ricarda’s.

Shahyn’s passion for life, travel, food, and wine is instantly contagious and wonderfully curious. His approach to wine selection is rooted in two simple and important things: 1) knowing the story of every bottle, and 2) remembering that wine is an individual and subjective indulgence. Each wine taster experiences wine differently. No one wine is loved by all people. “Wine can be intimidating,” Shahyn says, “and it’s my job to win the trust of our guests to make it less so.”

Born in the Netherlands, Shahyn’s love affair with the culinary arts began in a kitchen. As his love for food flourished, so did his fascination with wine. Being the consummate explorer, Shahyn moved to the Big Apple where he attended the Court of Master Sommeliers program. Soon after, he was the Sommelier at beach club in Spain.

 “I love Spanish wines for their diversity,” says Shahyn. “Spain has a very diverse climate—green and wet in the northwest, dry and almost desert-like in the south, and Mediterranean on the east coast and the islands. I’m excited to introduce some lesser known varieties, like Telmo Rodríguez and Alvara Palacios to our guests at Ricarda’s.”

Next time you’re dining at Ricarda’s and looking for a great pairing or conversation, ask for Shahyn and say hello. Or Merlot. Or Gewurztraminer.

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134 Peter St, Toronto

open 11am to 2am daily