Mar 23, 2017

Meritage Reds - Ontario vs British Columbia

Meritage (from Merit & Heritage) is the name coined in 1988 in Napa Valley for red and white Bordeaux-style wines. Meritage is pronounced like ‘heritage’; don’t say it like it’s a French word - the Americans coined it after all!

In April, we'll be sampling 8 Canadian Meritage wines: four from Ontario and four from BC, the two regions that produce the best red Meritage wines in the country. The winemaker at Stratus (ON), J-L (Jean-Laurent) Groux, is a native of France’s Loire Valley who learned his craft in the vineyards of Burgundy and Bordeaux. Tawse, voted Canada’s Winery of the Year in 2010, 2011, 2012 and 2016, is dedicated to producing terroir-driven wines of exceptional elegance, depth and character. Hidden Bench’s (ON) Terroir series is produced in very limited quantities and represents the very best premium
wines that the Beamsville Bench and Hidden Bench can produce; their winemaker studies viticulture in Stellenbosch, S. Africa. Marc Bradshaw joined the team at Strewn Winery (ON); originally from Australia, Marc has a wine-related PhD and hands-on experience in South Africa, France, Germany, Australia and Canada. Le Grand Vin of Osoyoos Larose (BC) is the pride of their winery and made by winemaker, Mathieu Mercier, who grew up in the vineyard at his family’s estate in Cognac. Culmina, a family-owned wine estate in BC, works with exceptionally talented Viticulture and Oenology professionals all hailing from France. Dirty Laundry in Summerland BC has produced many award-winning wines. Laughing Stock’s (BC) Portfolio Meritage is a stunning, spectacular wine of incredible depth and length combining Old World structure and New World power.

Our guest speaker will be Marlize Beyers, Winemaker at Hidden Bench Winery.

Date: Tuesday, April 18th, 2017
Time: 6 PM
Formal Tasting: 6.20 PM
Price: Members: $61; Guests / Non-Member: $76  (includes reception wine, appetizers, bread and our 8 wines)
VenueFaculty Club, Univ. of Toronto, 41 Willcocks Street, Toronto, Ontario, M5S 1C7  - Map 
NOTE: ALL ticket sales/reservations are final. 

Mar 22, 2017

Review of Sauvignon Blanc tasting

Here's a recap of our Sauvignon Blanc Judgement tasting which took place Tuesday March 21.

Great tasting last night. 
Britnie Bazylewski and Josh Kelly of Creekside Winery brought along a fruity sipper from Creekside. The 2016 Creekside Sauvignon Blanc set the stage for an evening of grapefruit and gooseberry.

We experienced a lot of similarity between the wines with familiar gooseberry, grassiness, tropical fruit showing up all over. There was also a lot of variation in the amount of oak influence, juicy fruitiness, and acidity across the range of wines. There was definitely a wine for every taste in this high-calibre collection of white wines.

Possibly the most active group discussion about wines we’ve ever had at the end of the tasting. This was probably mostly due to how effectively Britnie coaxed comments from members as she gave her impressions of the wines. It was a really fun and active discussion at the end of the evening.  One of our members commented that Britnie was the best speaker TVC has ever had.  Thank you!

Group results:

2013 Henri Bourgeois La Bourgeoise Sancerre (Loire) $44
Group #1
Guest #8 and #1

2013 Clouds Rest Forbidden Sauvignon Blanc (California) $50
Group #2

2013 Creekside Reserve Sauvignon Blanc (Ontario) $27
Group #3

 2016 Cloudy Bay Sauvignon Blanc (New Zealand) $35
Group #4

2014 Spottswoode Sauvignon Blanc (California) $47
Group #5

2013 Schiopetto Sauvignon Blanc (Italy) $33
Group #6

2013 Château Olivier Blanc (Bordeaux) $59
Group #7

2013 Henri Bourgeois d'Antan Sancerre (Loire) $59
Group #8

Feb 26, 2017

Sauvignon Blanc "Judgement"

Oh no! Another 'judgement"?  YES!

In preparation for the warmer months (yes, spring will be back soon!), we feature Sauvignon Blanc wines from six regions of the world.  These regions are: Bordeaux, Loire, Italy, Niagara, New Zealand and California so you can hold your own "judgement" as to which region you prefer as they should be quite distinctive because of their terroir.  Our guest speaker is Britnie Bazylewski, Hospitality Manager & Winery Sommelier from Creekside Winery whose wine is also featured in our lineup.  Hope to see you there!

LocationFaculty Club, Univ. of Toronto, 41 Willcocks Street, Toronto ON M5S 1C7 Map 
Date Tuesday, March 21, 2017
Time:  6:00 PM
FeesTVC Members $63; Non-members / guests  $78 (includes reception wine, bread, & light appetizers in addition to our main wines)

Buy Tickets  Please note that all ticket sales are final and we cannot offer refunds unless we are oversold and have a wait list.  

Jan 25, 2017

Aglianico–The Jewel of S. Italy, Feb, 21/17

Aglianico–The Jewel of S. Italy 

Experience Aglianico, a red grape and southern Italy’s answer to Nebbiolo (the famous grape in Barolo and Barbaresco wines)! 

We feature Italian wines produced from the red Aglianico grape (pronounced ah-L’YEE’AH-nee-koh). Never heard of this grape before? You're not alone! Italy grows some 3,000 grape varieties so you are forgiven if you're not familiar with it. It's actually been around for a few thousand years.  Aglianico was the principal grape of the prized Roman Falernian wine and was praised by the Latin poet Horace.  Now it's Southern Italy's answer to the Nebbiolo grape which is used to make Barolo and Barbaresco.

Our guest speaker is Aaron Bick of Wine Online (, the importer of three of the wines we’ll be tasting. He will also be providing a lovely 2012 Barbera d'Alba Superiore DOC wine as our reception wine.  Please refrain from wearing scented products to the tasting. The price of our event includes the reception wine, bread, light appetizes and our main wines. 

Date: Tuesday, February 21, 2017 
Time: Reception Wine: 6:00 PM, Formal Tasting: 6:20 PM 
Where: Faculty Club, Univ. of Toronto, 41 Willcocks Street, Toronto 
Fee: Members’ Fee: $69; Guests’/Non-Members’ Fee: $89 
Buy Tickets
Event Details

NOTE: All ticket sales are final and we are not able to offer any refunds unless we are sold out and have a waiting list.

Jan 18, 2017

Review of 2009 Beaune vs Volnary

The 2009 Burgundys were drinking quite well.  Beaune wines presented noticeably different from the Volnays so it was a very educational comparison.  In general the Beaunes seemed lighter and more floral and the Volnays seemed firmer and more earthy.

The reception wine was Domaine Lucien Jacob Cremant de Bourgogne supplied by our guest speaker Cyndi Grossman from Mellecey Wine Group. The cremant is available as a special order at  $36.95/bt and it comes in a case of 12.  It can ordered directly from Cyndi or online

Here's how our group and guest speaker ranked the wines.  The group and guest speaker were polar opposites for the #1 and #7 ranked wines and ranked two of the wines similarly. Both ranked the most expensive wine, the $75 Latour-Giraud (poured last in the line-up) as their 2nd favourite and the Albert Morot, Beaune 1er Cru Les Teurons as their fourth place wine. 

Order Poured
Group Ranking
Speaker Ranking
2009 Jadot, Beaune 1er Cru Clos Des Couchereaux $50
2009 Albert Morot, Beaune 1er Cru Les Teurons $50
2009 Albert Morot, Beaune 1er Cru Bressandes $59
2009 Prieur, Beaune-Grèves 1er Crus $73
2009 Guyon, Volnay 1er Cru Des Chènes $65
2009 Dublère, Volnay 1er Cru Les Pitures $59
2009 Jadot, Volnay 1er Cru Clos De LaBarre $78
2009 Latour-Giraud, Volnay 1er Cru Clos Des Chênes $75

Dec 19, 2016

2009 Beaune vs Volnay, Jan 17_17

2009 Beaune vs Volnay

Date: Tuesday, January 17, 2017 
Time: Reception Wine: 6:00 PM, Formal Tasting: 6:20 PM 
WhereFaculty Club, Univ. of Toronto, 41 Willcocks Street, Toronto 
Fee: Members’ Fee: $78; Guests’/Non-Members’ Fee: $98 
Buy Tickets
Event Details

NOTE: All ticket sales are final and we are not able to offer any refunds unless we are sold out and have a waiting list.

The wines you will taste come from Beaune and Volnay, which are but a few miles apart, but because of the geology produce wines of different character. You may expect the vineyards bordering Volnay to give the most Volnay-like, fragrant and ethereal wines.  But, the commune boundary marks a soil change, to one which is darker, with more iron, and that makes for an entirely different style – dark, heady and tannic.  The finest and most elegant red wines of the Côte de Beaune are grown in Volnay, a village which might be twinned with Chambolle-Musigny in the Côte de Nuits, for the high active chalk content in the soil and comparatively low clay content.  Whereas in earlier times Volnay was made in a particularly light, early drinking style, these days there are many producers making wines which age extremely well.  

Beaune reds are characterized by a smoother roundness and more “immediate” organoleptic qualities. They convey softness and finesse.  Will you be able to taste the differences?  Which region will you prefer?

Our speaker for the evening is Cyndi Grossman, owner of Mellecey Wine Group which specializes in Burgundy; she has spent a lot of time there while living in Europe. 

Aug 29, 2016

2001 Bordeaux Revisited, Sept. 20/16

2001 is considered a classic Bordeaux vintage, producing aromatic, fresh and well-balanced wines, not as heavy and concentrated as 2000 but significantly better that the vintages of the late 1990s (if you’re fortunate enough to be able to compare). The strong and rustic tannins are also a reminder of the more classic Bordeaux vintages. 

We tasted these wines back in 2012 and had some left over so back into storage they went for another four years of cellaring. According to E. Robert Parker, most of the wines in our line-up should be peaking now. They’re 15 years old now and we’ll be able to see how they have evolved.  If you attended our tasting in 2012, try to find your notes. It will be interesting to compare them to four years later.

Seven of our wines are from the Left Bank of the Gironde River while one is from the Right. What’s the difference? While red Bordeaux wines are blended together from Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Malbec, Cabernet Franc and Petit Verdot grapes, Left Bank vineyards are dominated by Cabernet Sauvignon, while the Right Bank ones focus more on Merlot. This means that the Cabernet-based Left Bank wines tend to be a bit more tannic, while the Merlot-based Right Bank wines tend to have more restrained tannins. From the Left Bank, we have four wines from Pauillac, two from St. Julien and one from Pessac-Leognan. Our one Right Bank wine comes from Pomerol. Pichon Baron from Pauillac earned a score of 94 points for its fruity, superbly concentrated and strong vintage.

For a detailed list and description of the wines we'll be tasting, please click here

Theme:  2001 (Red) Bordeaux, Revisited
Date:  Tuesday September 2, 2016
Time:  6 PM for reception wine; 6:20 PM for formal tasting
Location:  Faculty Club, Univ. of Toronto, 41 Willcocks Street, Toronto, Ontario, M5S 1C7  - Map 
Fees:  TVC Members $82 ; Guests / Non-Members  $107  (includes reception wine, bread & light appetizers)
Note:  All ticket sales are final and cannot be refunded unless we are sold out and have a wait list.

Our guest speaker for the evening is Paul Sturgess of the Institute of Wines and Spirits.

Seating is very limited for this event.