Dec 22, 2012

January 2013 is red Burgundies!

On January 13, 2013 we celebrate the new year with a tasting of 2006 Burgundies!

Our selection of wines from our cellar includes all Grand Cru and Premier Cru Burgundies: two Cortons, two Gevrey Chambertins, and one each of Morey-St-Denis, Clos de la Merechale, Volnay and Vosne-Romanée, all from well-known producers – a fantastic selection indeed! 




According to wine critic and Mast of Wine, Clive Oates, “These 2006s are medium bodied, plump, fresh, fruity and pleasant. The very best are in addition ripe and stylish. Acidities are not aggressive; indeed some of the less-successful bottles already show signs of astringency because there is a lack of grip. They will evolve in the medium term. There are plenty of attractive bottles for the mid-2010s.”   “The best 2006s will be found in Nuits-Saint-Georges, Vosne-Romanée and Gevrey-Chambertin. There are also some good Cortons.”   Clive indicates that much of the Cote de Beaune will be ready by 2013 and 2014, with some of them drinking at their best already.


Theme2006 Red Burgundy
Date:      Tuesday, January 15/13
Time:      6 PM
Where:   41 Willcocks St., Toronto, ON (U of T Faculty Club)
Cost:      TVC Members:  $85;  Non-Members/Guests:  $100  (includes reception wine plus light appetizers with the wines)
Buy tickets  Note:  All ticket sales are final. No refunds will be offered unless we sell out and have a wait list.

Nov 24, 2012

Champagne Results

What a way to end another great season of Toronto Vintners Club tastings.  On November 20th a packed house got to taste a fantastic line up of Champagnes (and hopefully help narrow some peoples decision on what to serve this holiday season).


This tasting was a little different from our normal tastings.  To ensure that the champagne stayed cold and fizzy, two separate flights of champagnes were served.  Each flight was rated separately, which gave us two top wines for the night.


For the first flight, we tasted the following 4 wines: Lanson Black Label,Veuve Clicquot Brut, Piper Heidsieck Brut, and Mumm Cordon Rouge Brut.  When it came time to rate these, the club and guest speaker for the night were at odds.  The Club's favourite was the Mumm Cordon Rouge Brut Champagne where as Marc Donaldson, our guest speaker for the evening, gave top billing to the Veuve Clicquot Brut Champagne NV, which the club had rated last.


The second flight saw TVC serving: a Bollinger Brut Special Cuvée, a Pol Roger Brut, a Charles Heidsieck Brut Réserve and , a Huff Estate Cuvée (a sparkling wine from Price Edward county).  The results from this flight were much more consistent, with both the group and our guest speaker picking Bollinger as the top wine.


We would like to thank everyone that came out to our events in 2012.  And we hope to see you all back for our events in the coming year, to join us in tasting some great wines at some great events.

January 15th – 2006 Burgundy
February 19th - N. Rhone Reds
March 19th - Hitching Post wines
April 16th - Wines of Portugal
May 21st - 2004 Brunello
June 18th - Chablis
September 17th - '03 Bordeaux
October 15th - TBD
November 19th - TBD







Oct 17, 2012

Pop a cork for Champagnes in November!


When you imbibe Champagne, you'’re drinking "the stars" and lots of history. Many Champagne houses go back centuries and their founders/wines often played roles in political, royal, literary and wine making history. We taste Champagnes from: Pol Roger, Mumm, Bollinger, Veuve Clicquot, Lanson, Piper-Hiedseck, Charles Hiedseck with a tremendous amount of history, and one from an award-winning Ontario winery, Huff Estates in Prince Edward County, made by a transplanted winemaker from Burgundy.   We will be joined in the evening by two individuals from Huff Estates who will be our guest speakers: Frédéric Picard, winemaker and Jason Sharpe, General Manager as they compare their award-winning cuvee against some notable champagnes from France.

So whether you’re a fan of Ian Fleming/James Bond (Bollinger), a racing car enthusiast (Mumm) an ardent support of royalty (Charles Heidsieck ), or just a wine lover, drinking champagne is one of those ‘must do’ activities in life and hopefully, more than just at New Year’s, birthdays and anniversaries.  Come celebrate the upcoming holiday season with TVC and make your Champagne choices for 2012. 

ThemeChampagnes
Date:      Tuesday, November 20/12
Time:      6 PM
Where:   41 Willcocks St., Toronto, ON (U of T Faculty Club)
Cost:      TVC Members:  $61;  Non-Members/Guests:  $76  (includes reception wine plus light appetizers with the wines)
Buy tickets  Note:  All ticket sales are final. No refunds will be offered unless we sell out and have a wait list.

Sep 11, 2012

Shiraz from Down Under

Brokenwood Graveyard Shiraz


Shiraz is made for Down Under - its hot climate is perfect for bringing out the best traits in this popular grape varietal. Australian Shiraz is seductively delicious, with startlingly rich, ripe aromas that deliver right through to the full zesty finish. We sample 8 elite wines such as the 2001 Rockfort Basket Press Shiraz, 2002 Mitchell McNicol Shiraz, 2007 Brokenwood Graveyard Shiraz and others, from various areas (Margaret River, Frankland River, Mclaren Vale, Barossa, etc.) to show you interesting regional differences in Shiraz.  We will be joined by guest speaker Malcolm Cocks, chair of the Australian Wine Society. Please join us for what will likely be an unforgettable  evening!  As always, we will be serving appetizers with the wines.

ThemeAussie Shiraz
Date:      Tuesday, October 16/12
Time:      6 PM
Where:   41 Wilcocks St., Toronto, ON (U of T Faculty Club)
Cost:      TVC Members:  $68;  Non-Members/Guests:  $88  (includes reception wine plus light appetizers with the wines)
Buy tickets  Note:  All ticket sales are final. No refunds will be offered unless we sell out and have a wait list.

Henschke Mount Edelstone Shiraz

Aug 17, 2012

2001 Bordeaux, REVISED DATE!

PLEASE NOTE!!  THE DATE OF THIS EVENT HAS BEEN CHANGED TO TUESDAY SEPT. 11 DUE TO THE JEWISH HOLIDAY OF ROSH HASHAHAH.

September usually means our annual Bordeaux tasting and this year we focus on the 2001 vintage which is considered to have been a very good vintage by experts.  Jancis Robinson wrote that " for the most part they are beautifully balanced with an appetising kick on the finish".  Many of the 2001s are drinking quite well by now and we hope you'll come out to enjoy them!!


Theme2001 Bordeax
Date:      Tuesday, September 11/12
Time:      6 PM
Where:   41 Wilcocks St., Toronto, ON (U of T Faculty Club)
Cost:      TVC Members:  $72;  Non-Members/Guests:  $98  (includes reception wine plus light appetizers with the wines)
Buy tickets  Note:  All ticket sales are final. No refunds will be offered unless we sell out and have a wait list.

May 17, 2012

Spring Dinner at Mistura


   


It’s that time again. Time for Toronto Vintners Club to clear out the surplus collection of premium vintage wines from our extensive cellar and drink them at Mistura Restaurant.  Chef Massimo Capra of Mistura Restaurant has prepared a menu of several signature dishes to compliment the fine quality of wines from our cellar and essentially, the wines are on us.

Mistura offers patrons “contemporary Italian cuisine reflective of a simplified, yet refined approach to taste.” The restaurant focuses on seasonal ingredients and June’s menu should not disappoint. Since opening in 1997, Mistura has been accumulating rave reviews from fellow chefs and food critics, including Joanne Kates of the Globe and Mail. Kates ranked Mistura No. 18 on her Top 100 restaurants in Toronto for 2012 and No. 13 in 2011.

Reservations are restricted to 60 people only.  Price includes all taxes and gratuities.

Where: 265 Davenport Road, Toronto, ON
When: Tuesday, June 19, 2012
Time: 6:30pm – Reception, 7:00 PM - Dinner
Cost: TVC Members $115; Guests’/Non-Members $140 (all inclusive)
Buy Tickets

Apr 21, 2012

California Chardonnay - Results

On Tuesday April 17, 2012, California Chardonnays took center stage at the latest tasting hosted by the Toronto Vintners Club.  All in attendance that night were treated with the opportunity to taste some truly remarkable wines made by expert Californian winemakers.  All the wines tasted were deliberately crafted to distance themselves from the typical oaky and tropical fruit filled California Chardonnays of old and tried to return to their Burgundian roots with a more crisp style with lots of mineral and steely overtones.

Our speaker for the evening was Steve Elphick.  Steve has been a professional photographer for the past 36 years with a focus on wine and beer.  He is the sole photographer for the Wine Atlas of Canada and has had his work published and exhibited in museums and art galleries all over the world.  He has also professionally judged wine since 1988 including judging Chardonnay at the California State fair for the past 12 years.  He is also the past VP of the Wine Writers Circle of Canada.

According to Steve, there is one main reason why these wines don't taste like the typical California Chardonnay.  Like Burgundy Chardonnays, all of the wines that we tasted  follow the french model and do not add any yeast during fermentation, only wild yeast from the air is used to start the process.  This results in the wines having a "plushness" and a big rich mouth-feel.  It is also interesting to note that all but one of these wines have undergone malolactic fermentation and this one wine is considered by many to be the best non-malo wine in America. (keep reading to find out which one it is). 


After the tasting was finished and all the rankings were compiled, the groups favourite wine on the night turned out to be the only non-malo wine being tasted tonight, the  2009 Shafer Red Shoulder Ranch Chardonnay.  Steve ranked this tied for fourth and praised it for it's open acidity.  Steves favourite wine of the night was the 2008 Signorello Vieilles Vignes Chardonnay, the group had this ranked as their 5th favourite. 



Name of Wine (in order poured) Group Ranking Guest Ranking
A -
2008 Evening Land La Source Seven Springs Vineyard Chardonnay, Eola-Amity Hills $79
8 7
B -
2009 Ridge Santa Cruz Mountains Estate Chardonnay $49
3 4.5
C -
2009 Shafer Red Shoulder Ranch Chardonnay $59.95
1 4.5
D -
2009 Pahlmeyer Chardonnay $79.95
2 3
E -
2008 Signorello Vieilles Vignes Chardonnay $51.95
5 1
F -
2009 Kistler Les Noisetiers Sonoma Coast Chardonnay $64.95
6 2
G -
2009 Kistler Sonoma Mountain Chardonnay $72.95
4 6
H -
2008 Arrowood Vineyards Réserve
Spéciale Chardonnay $49.95
7 8

Mar 26, 2012

Revisiting Chianti Classico Results

This past Tuesday, the Toronto Vintners Club presented the rare opportunity, to go back and re-visit our tasting from back in March of 2010.  It was a unique opportunity to revisit these wines and to see what effect 2 additional years of cellering had on these wines.  Our Guest returning gust speaker for the evening was Julian Hitner, who last joined Toronto Vintners Club for our Brunello di Montalcino tasting in Feb. 2011.



Over all, pretty much everyone was in agreement on their wine rankings, with the older of the wines tasted coming out on top.  Julian ranked the 2005 Castello di Ama Chianti Classico as his top wine of the evening, saying that it had great notes of salami and roasted meat with also just a very faint port like element hiding in the background.  This wine had firm tannins that were balanced with perfect acidity.  The group's top pick was the same wine, but the older of the two vintages present that night, the 2003 Castello di Ama Chianti Classico.  According to Julian, this wine was very refined and had a great red cherry/garnet colour.  It was a very complex wine, with notes of pipe tobacco, roasted meats and cigar boxes.

Here are how the wines were ranked:
Name of Wine (in order poured) Group Ranking Guest Ranking
A -
2007 Badia a Coltibuono Chianti Classico $35
8 8
B -
2007 Isole E Olena Chianti Classico $35
3 7
C -
2006 Isole E Olena Chianti Classico $36
7 4
D -
2006 Badia a Coltibuono Chianti Classico Reserva $62
6 5
E -
2006 Antinori Peppoli Chianti Classico $23
2 6
F -
2005 Antinori Badia A Passignano Riserva $51
5 3
G -
2005 Castello di Ama Chianti Classico $45
4 1
H -
2003 Castello di Ama Chianti Classico $55
1 2

Comparing this years tasting to that of 2010, we can see that there has been quite a bit of movement of the wine that are in the middle of the pack.  The biggest jump in rankings was the for the 2006 Antinori Peppoli Chianti Classico, which moved from 5th place overall to second.


Here are how we ranked the wines in 2010:
Name of Wine (in order poured) Group Ranking Guest Ranking
A -
2007 Badia a Coltibuono Chianti Classico $35
8 7
B -
2007 Isole E Olena Chianti Classico $35
4 3
C -
2006 Isole E Olena Chianti Classico $36
7 6
D -
2006 Badia a Coltibuono Chianti Classico Reserva $62
3 5
E -
2006 Antinori Peppoli Chianti Classico $23
5 8
F -
2005 Antinori Badia A Passignano Riserva $51
1 2
G -
2005 Castello di Ama Chianti Classico $45
6 4
H -
2003 Castello di Ama Chianti Classico $55
2 1

Mar 24, 2012

Chardonnays



French wine-making techniques and the end results are still held as the gold standards for most winemakers in other countries. For New World winemakers, there is often no better compliment than for their wine to be judged as good (or better) than a French wine.  And if it's a New World Chardonnay, to be assessed as "Burgundian in style" is the biggest accolade. Burgundy- and California-style Chardonnays have characteristically been very different.  A typical California-style wine usually has a lot of oak, butter and tropical fruit flavors to it while a Burgundian Chardonnay will be more crisp, fresh, with mineral and steely overtones. These days, however, the best producers in the US are pulling back and focusing on a more restrained style for their Chardonnays, producing what many refer to as a more Burgundian-style wine.

Next month, TVC presents a line-up of top-rated Chardonnays from California winemakers (Kistler, Arrowood, Shafer, Pahlmeyer, Ridge, Signorello Estates and one from Oregon (Eola Hills) made to taste more like wines from Burgundy than from the US. Close your eyes while you imbibe and you just may think you’ve been transported to France. 


Date:     Tuesday, April 17, 2012
Time:     6 PM
Cost:      Members $65; Non-Members: $80 (Includes light appetizers. Please note that all ticket sales are final.)

Feb 27, 2012

Chianti Classico in March

Once associated with bottles wrapped in straw baskets, Chianti has come a long way on its evolution to the great wine it is today. Chianti is one of the most attractive territories of Italy.

In March, TVC will re-taste wines from the Chianti Classico region.  Our inventory has received two additional years of aging in excellent cellaring conditions so it will be interesting to see how these wines have developed in the bottle.We will taste 8 wines (along with light appetizers).  The 2006 and 2007 vintages of Isole e Olena Classico are the standard bearers for this winery, produced by rigorous selection of Sangiovese grapes from the most outstanding vineyard parcels. The wine-makers of Antinori have been innovators in the development of Super-Tuscan blends, keen experimenters in the vineyard, and their considerable success has led to expansion in ownership of real estate and vineyards. From the eastern edge of the Classico region, in what was originally an 11th Century monastery, we’ll compare the 2006 Badia a Coltibuono Riserva against their 2007 non-Riserva. The wines are made from entirely estate-grown fruit with the classic Chianti recipe of predominantly Sangiovese with Canaiolo. The 2003 versus the 2005 vintage Castello di Ama, the truest expression of Chianti Classico, is a blend of 80% Sangiovese grown in chalky clay soils, 8% Canaiolo and 12% Malvasia. Finally, from one of the oldest wineries in the region, Antinori, dating back to the 12th century, with 26 generations producing Chianti, we can compare their Riserva with the 2005 Badia a Passignano to their non-riserva Peppoli.

Date: Tuesday, March 20, 2012
Time: 6 PM
Price: Members: $58
          Guests:     $73
          (includes appetizers)
Venue: Faculty Club, Univ. of Toronto,  41 Willcocks Street, Toronto, ON  M5S 1C7  - Map
Deadlines: Mailed Reservations - Friday, Mar. 16, 2011
               Online Payments - 5pm Sunday, Mar. 18, 2011

Feb 25, 2012

2003 Red Burgundy - Results

A wise wine merchant once made the comment - "The first duty of every wine is to be red.  The second is to be from Burgundy."  One of the great charms of Burgundy is that it is so different year to year.  This past Tuesday, we got the opportunity to taste some great Burgundy's from a very different Burgundy and from one of the most unusual years in recorded history. 

Our speaker for the evening was Peter Wearing, who co-founded The Small Winemakers Collection, a wine agency, in 1991. Today he is managing director of the company that employs 15 people and is one of the largest agencies in the province.

Peter started off the evening by speaking about why the 2003 vintage was so unique.  2003 was plagued by heat waves all over Europe.  Temperatures were on average, 6 degrees higher than normal.  A 4 degree difference is very unusual, but 6 degrees was previously unheard of.  This increase in temperature lead to the earliest harvest on record, which started on August 20th, which was a full 4-6 weeks earlier than the earliest ever recorded harvest date (depending on the location in burgundy).  This high heat caused the grapes to contain high amounts of sugar.

Many producers thought that the 2003 vintage would be a write-off, but at some point during the fermentation, magic happened.  The acids increased, and the tannins from the thicker grape skins helped to round everything out.



All the wines that we tasted, were great examples of what skilled winemakers were able to produce in much less than ideal conditions.  All the wines were great with not a bad one in the bunch.

Peter's number one wine of the evening was the 2003 Rossignol-Trapet - Latricieres-Chambertin $109. He said that this was an elegant Burgundy, with a great woody nose.  The acids and tannins were beautifully integrated along with great fruit and woody flavours.  The group agreed with Peter as they ranked this as their second favourite.

The groups favourite wine, which was ranked first by one of the largest margins we have ever seen in a tasting, was the 2003 V Lignier - Morey St Denis, Les Faconnieres, 1er cru $84.  It had great dried fruit flavours of plum and cherry, along with subtle hints of leather and tobacco.  Peter didn't quite agree with the rest of us, and ranked this wine 6th, mainly due to what he said was a lack of that typical Burgundy complexity.




Name of Wine (in order poured) Group Ranking Guest Ranking
A -
2003 Domaine du Prince Florent de Merode Corton Les Marechaudes $67
3 5
B -
2003 Taupenot-Merme - Mayzeres-Chambertin $100
4 2
C -
2003 Rossignol-Trapet - Latricieres-Chambertin $109
2 1
D -
2003 V Lignier - Morey St Denis, Les Faconnieres, 1er cru $84
1 6
E -
2003 Albert Morot Beaune, Bressandes, 1er cru $57
5 8
F -
2003 de Montille - Beaune, Perrieres, 1er cru $79
6 4
G -
2003 Domaine Jean-Marc & Hugues Pavelot Savigny-lès-Beaune aux Guettes, 1er cru $49
7 7
H -
2003 Alain Hudelot-Noellat - Nuits St Georges, Les Murgers, 1er cru $99
8 3

Feb 13, 2012

Burgundy

One of the wines we'll be tasting on February 21

Unfortunately for most of us, Burgundy is not our everyday drinking wine.  So why come out & taste something that you maybe can't afford to buy for your home cellar?  Well, most of the special things in life we don't do or can't afford every day such as eating out at fine restaurants or traveling to exotic places.  But does that stop us from enjoying the finer things in life?  Absolutely NOT.  And it's the same with fine wines.  Attending a tasting of fine Burgundies hosted by Toronto Vintners is the closest many of get to enjoy these wonderful wines.  Burgundy is recognized as one of the top wine producing regions in the world so consider this a reminder to register for our event next week.  After all, time and space are both running out!

To register for this event, click on the link on the Right sidebar under Our Next Event.

Jan 21, 2012

International Showdown Results

In the words of Bruce Buffer, "Lets get ready to ruuuumble!"  On Tuesday Jan 17th, Toronto Vintners Club squared off with the South African wine Society in an epic showdown.  Pitting some of the best wines that SA has to offer against similar wines from some of the most famed wine regions elsewhere in the world.  At the end of a slightly rowdy night, it was clear that every wine that was tasted, made an excellent showing and did its country proud.


Our guest speaker for the evening was Edward Finstein, otherwise known as "The Wine Doctor".  He is the award winning author of "Ask the Wine Doctor". He writes regular columns for many newspapers and magazines and is also the co-host of the Vine & Dine TV show.  As the night got underway, Mr. Finestein quickly spoke about how, once he say the wine list, knew that we were all in for a real interesting treat, as there were some amazing, high end wines ahead of us.


And now for the results:

For both the group and The Wine Doctor, the top wine of the night came from the international side, which was surprising, as the members of the South African Wine Society outnumbered our TVC members. 

The groups top wine was the 2006 Clarendon Hills Moritz Syrah. Some of Edwards notes on this wine were that the nose was very interesting with hints of gunpowder and flint.  It reminded him of watching a 100 gun salute.  It also showed signs of coffee, chocolate, and tobacco.  He said that this was much more of an old style wine than some of the big fruity wines Australia has been known for as of late.

Edwards top wine of the night was the 2007 Hewitt Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon.  This was a spectacular vintage with a deep dark black cherry colour.  It had a toasty nose with hints of minerals, dark fruit, violets, toffee, dark chocolate, spice, black currant and mulberry.  It was not a huge firm wine, like some people expect from California Cabs and it didn't have that bell pepper flavour that is often also associated.  This wine has great staying power.  He gave it a ranking of 93 points.

The top South African wine of the night was the 2007 Sadie Family Columella.  Edward ranked this as his second place wine, and the group ranked it as their third.  This wine showed a lot of red/black fruit and had a nice oak treatment.  The tannins had excellent structure and were balanced by great acidity.  This wine has excellent aging potential, and will continue to get better with age.

Name of Wine (in order poured) Group Ranking Guest Ranking
A -
2006 Vilafonte Series M - $40 (S. Africa)
8 6
B -
2006 Clarendon Hills Moritz Syrah - $57 (Australia)
1 3
C -
2006 Hartenberg Estate The Stork Shiraz - $92 (S. Africa)
2 4
D -
2006 Montes Folly Syrah, - $79 (Chile)
4 1
E -
2007 Sadie Family Columella - $95 (S. Africa)
3 2
F -
2006 Ferraton Père & Fils Les Dionnières Ermitage -$95 (France)
5 7
G -
2006 Vilafonte Series M - $40 (S. Africa)
6 5
H -
2007 Hewitt Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon - $69 (US – California)
7 1


Jan 20, 2012

2003 Red Burgundy - "A Very Rum Vintage"


In 2003, Europe experienced a heat wave that was the hottest on record in almost 500 years. France was the hardest hit by the heat wave, with every single day in early August reaching around 100 degrees.  As a result many wine regions were forced to pick their grapes early due to the extreme dry conditions. "So what sort of wines were made from this freak year in which the harvest took place earlier than in any previous recorded year?  The first thing to say is that this truly was and is a quite exceptional vintage – not a 1976, nor a 1947. The wines obey even fewer rules and generalisations than is usual in Burgundy. They have by all accounts changed considerably in barrel since they were made, and to judge from the many wines I tasted several times recently, the majority of which are already in bottle, they take burgundy’s notorious capriciousness to new limits.”  Jancis Robinson  http://www.jancisrobinson.com/articles/winenews050129.html

On February 21, Toronto Vintners will taste 8 red Burgundies from the exceptional 2003 vintage of which five are first growths (1er cru) wines:

2003 Albert Morot Beaune, Bressandes, 1er cru
2003 de Montille - Beaune, Perrieres, 1er cru
2003 Domaine du Prince Florent de Merode Corton Les Marechaudes
2003 Rossignol-Trapet - Latricieres-Chambertin
2003 Taupenot-Merme - Mayzeres-Chambertin
2003 V Lignier - Morey St Denis, Les Faconnieres, 1er cru
2003 Alain Hudelot-Noellat - Nuits St Georges, Les Murgers, 1er cru
2003 Domaine Jean-Marc & Hugues Pavelot Savigny-lès-Beaune aux Guettes, 1er cru 


Please join us for an evening of exceptional wines accompanied by light appetizers.

Details:  2003 Red Burgundy - A Very Rum Vintage
Buy Tickets (Note all ticket sales are final)
Date: Tues. Feb. 21, 2012
Time: 6:00 PM
Price: Members: $75         Guests/Non-Members:  $100
Venue: Faculty Club, Univ. of Toronto, 41 Willcocks Street
Toronto, Ontario M5S 1C7
Map
Deadlines:
Mailed Reservations - Friday Feb. 17/12
Online Payments - Sun. Feb. 19/12