Mar 23, 2009

Spain's 'New World' Wines

In April, TVC will explore newer, up-and-coming regions of Spain that are at the forefront of the qualitative push to rival the best of Rioja, Penedes, etc. We feature 4 wines from Priorat, 2 from Toro, and one each from Yecla and Ribera del Duero. As you can see below, these wines fetch quite high prices but promise to evolve for many years to come. This will provide our attendees with an opportunity to sample these winemakers’ products and then buy and cellar wines from more recent vintages. These wines promise to deliver pleasure for many years to come at a fraction of the cost of wines from Bordeaux.

Event Details

Date: Wed. April 22, 2009
Time: 6 PM
Price: TVC Members: $65; Guests: $80 (includes appetizers)
Venue: Faculty Club, Univ. of Toronto, 41 Willcocks St. Toronto, Ontario M5S 1C7
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To Register / Buy Tickets Please note that ALL ticket sales are final!
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The Wines

2004 Bodegas Castano, Casa Cisca Monastrell (Yecla) $65
the estate’s flagship wine, is 100% old-vine Monastrell (70+ years of age) aged for 14 months in American oak. Dark ruby/purple-colored, it emits an attractive array of Asian spice, tobacco, cedar, and blueberry pie aromas. On the palate additional flavors of cherry and chocolate emerge. The wine has a firm structure, excellent balance, and a long finish. It should evolve for several years and drink well through 2022. Jay Miller: 92.

2004 Alion (Ribera del Duero) $93
Bodegas Alion was started by the renowned estate of Vega Sicilia in 1991. Grapes are sourced from vineyards next to the winery and from Vega Sicilia’s own vineyards at Valbuena. Eighteen hectares of Tinto Fino (Tempranillo) form the actual Alion estate. The 2004 Alion is inky purple-colored with an alluring perfume of toasty oak, lavender, violets, mineral, blackberry, and blueberry compote. This is followed by a full-bodied, rich, opulent, wine with incipient complexity, and notes of licorice, mocha, and espresso emerging on the palate. The lengthy finish is pure and persistent. Give it 3-5 years in the cellar and drink it through 2025. Jay Miller: 96.

2004, Bodegas Maurodos, San Roman Tinto (Toro) $55
100% Tinta de Toro, was aged for 22 months in French and American oak, mostly new, prior to bottling without filtration. It is purple-colored with a lovely perfume of toasty oak, mineral, spice box, violet, lavender, and blackberry. Sweet, layered, and structured, this muscular effort will evolve for 5-7 years in the cellar and drink well through 2025. Jay Miller (Wine Advocate): 92/100.

2004 Tardencuba Valnuevo Seleccion (Toro) $52
Fermented with native yeasts and bottled without fining or filtration. The 2004 spent 16 months in new French oak. Aromatics include wood smoke, toast, saddle leather, scorched earth, and blackberry. Opulent, spicy, rich, and structured, it will become more complex with 6-8 years of additional cellaring and drink well through 2030. Jay Miller: 93+/100.

2004 Cesca Vicent Abat Domenech (Priorat) $59
Family owned since the 13th century. 50% Garnacha and 50% Cabernet Sauvignon grown in slate and gravel soils. Aged for 12 months in French oak. Saturated purple in color, the nose offers an array of elements including violets, mineral, spice box, vanilla, black cherry and black currants that is quite bewitching (beautiful perfume is a trademark of the top 2004 Priorats). On the palate the wine is full-bodied, opulent, and beautifully delineated. It has enough structure to evolve for 4-6 years (or more) and provide pleasure through 2020. Jay Miller: 93+.

2004 Costers del Siurana Clos de L'Obac (Priorat) $85
The purple-colored 2004 Clos de l’Obac exhibits a beautiful perfume of spice box, mineral, kirsch, red and black currants, and black cherry. Intensely fruity on the palate, it is already complex, sweet, and layered. The oak, tannin, and acidity are nicely integrated and the finish is long and pure. Give this stylish wine 3-5 years of cellaring and drink it through 2022. Jay Miller: 95.

2005 Mas Doix, Salanques (Priorat) $88
Blend of 65% Garnacha, 20% Carinena, and the balance Syrah, Merlot, and Cabernet Sauvignon, is aged in French oak for 14 months. It has a glass-coating purple-hue with an alluring bouquet of cedar, smoke, slate, blueberry, and black cherry. Youthful and structured on the palate, this potentially complex effort will profit from 5-7 years of additional cellaring. It will be at its best from 2015 to 2030. J. Miller: 93.

2006 Alvaro Palacios, Les Terrasses (Priorat) $40
[Alvaro] Palacios who comes from a famous Rioja winemaking family (owners of the Bodegas Palacios Remondo), apprenticed with Christian Moueix at Château Pétrus and Château Trotanoy. The wine has ripe fresh flavors of black cherries, blackberries and plums with coffee accents. Smooth and graceful with a long and fruity finish. Collectors know that Les Terrasses is highly scored and highly sought-after year after year.

Mar 18, 2009

Beautiful Chardonnay, very good Pinot

"Beautiful whites", "very good Pinots" were a few of the comments made about Le Clos Jordanne wines at our March 17th wine tasting event. Most of these wines were made in a very wet summer and so accolades to the wine makers who had a difficult harvest to contend with. The Pinots were light in colour but had, in most cases, considerable mouth feel, body, flavour and complexity. The bouquets varied considerably.

Overall, the group was particularly impressed with the Chardonnays. One person commented that he didn't think Ontario could produce Chardonnays as good as these. It was very interesting and also surprising to taste the differences in vineyards separated in distance by only 50 metres with variances in nose, flavours, and minerality! Clearly, terroir is a major factor in Niagara.

Our guest speaker, Sebastien Jacquey, still a newcomer to Canada and to Le Clos, explained the challenges that the winery faces in being an organic winery, especially having to deal with additional diseases and pests from all the orchards in the Niagara peninsula. With all of Sebastien's training and experience in Burgundy, France's loss is clearly Canada's gain. Selastien also brought along an experimental Riesling for the group to taste, one that will never hit the public. Our attendees were very appreciative of the wines and the chance to question the winemaker. Fortunately, Clos Jordanne's production is increasing so there is more product on the market. It's possible to buy some the 2006's as well as the 2007's and lay them down for several years.

So, here is how the Group and guest speaker, Sebastien Jacquey rated these wines. Sebastien did taste them blind. There was total agreement on the Chardonnays because there were only 3 of them but there was also some agreement between Sebastien and the group on the Pinot Noirs. Both had Le Clos Pinot Noir as their top 1 or 2 wines and the Petite Village - a very nice wine on its own - ranked fifth of the five Pinots.

We are very grateful to Thomas Bachelder for providing our reception wine and arranging for Sebastien as our speaker and to Sebastien for being our guest speaker. Once again, another informative and enjoyable evening for the TVC group! Here are the rankings.

Guest Speaker Rankings - Pinot Noirs:
1. Pinot Noir 2006, Le Clos Jordanne Vineyard $40 (wine D as poured)
2. Pinot Noir 2006, Le Grand Clos $70 (wine E)
3. Pinot Noir 2006, La Petite Vineyard $40 (B)
4. Pinot Noir 2006, Village Reserve $40 (A)
5. Pinot Noir 2005, La Petite Vineyard $35 (C)

Group Rankings - Pinot Noir:
1. Pinot Noir 2006, Le Grand Clos $70 (wine E)
2. Pinot Noir 2005, La Petite Vineyard $35 (C)
3. Pinot Noir 2006, Le Clos Jordanne Vineyard $40 (D)
4. Pinot Noir 2006, La Petite Vineyard $40 (B)
5. Pinot Noir 2006, Village Reserve $40 (A)

Group and Speaker Rankings - Chardonnay
1. Chardonnay 2006, Le Clos Jordanne Vineyard $40 (wine G)
2. Chardonnay 2006, Le Grand Clos $65 (H)
3. Chardonnay 2006, Village Reserve $40 (F)

Mar 12, 2009

Rankings - 2000 Chat du Pape tasting, Feb 17, 2009

At last, here are the rankings from our February 17th tasting of 2000 Chateauneuf du Pape wines. The group and our guest speaker, Jacques Marie, agreed on two of the wines: the Font de Michelle as their 3rd and the Chapoutier as their 7th. Overall, comments were it was a great tasting.

Overall Group Ranking (#1 is the favourite; #8 the least favoured wine)

1. 2000 Cabrieres Chateauneuf du Pape, Cuvee Prestige Tete de Cru $55
2. 2000 Clos des Papes $47
3. 2000 Font de Michelle $37
4. 2000 Domaine du Grand Tinel $34
5. 2000 Domaine du Galet des Papes $36
6. 2000 Roger Perrin $33
7. 2000 Chapoutier, la Bernardine $35
8. 2000 Domaine des Relagnes $44

Guest Speaker's Ranking (Jacques Marie)

1. 2000 Domaine du Galet des Papes $36
2. 2000 Domaine du Grand Tinel $34
3. 2000 Font de Michelle $37
4. 2000 Domaine des Relagnes $44
5. 2000 Cabrieres Chateauneuf du Pape, Cuvee Prestige Tete de Cru $55
6. 2000 Clos des Papes $47
7. 2000 Chapoutier, la Bernardine $35
8. 2000 Roger Perrin $33

Mar 11, 2009

Tickets still available for Le Clos Jordanne

There are still plenty of spaces available for next week's tasting of the Wines from Le Clos Jordanne. But remember to sign up soon because we need to confirm numbers with our venue manager. Thanks.

Website is now accessible

We resolved the issue of our domaine name registration and our website is now accessible. Sorry for any inconvenience this caused.

Mar 8, 2009

TVC website is unavailable

Our website will be unavailable for a few days while we deal with some administrator issues to renew it. In the meantime, you can still register for our upcoming Le Clos Jordanne tasting using the link in the post below or on the side panel. To access the wine tasting notes for the wines we're featuring, please click on this posting link:

Event: Wines of Le Clos Jordanne
Date: Tuesday, March 17, 2009
Time: 6:00 PM (Reception Wine); 6:20 PM (Formal tasting)
Where: Toronto Board of Trade, 1st Cdn Place (Entrance off Adelaide St. between Bay & York)
Directions: How to Find the TO Board of Trade
Costs: TVC Members: $52; Guests $65
Register: Register/Buy Ticket

Guest speaker for March 2009 event

We are excited to announce that Sébastien Jacquey will be our speaker for the Wines of Le Clos Jordanne tasting on March 17. Sébastien, a native of Burgundy, is currently assistant winemaker at Le Clos, as well as assistant vineyard manager. Sébastien enjoyed his first internship at the Pascal Jolivet-Les grands vins du Val de Loire, Sancerre and in 2003, was a trainee at Baron Philippe de Rothschild, Pauillac, making wine with one of the most prestigious Bordeaux wineries. In addition to his real-life production experience and expertise, Sébastien holds several certificates and degrees relating to oenology and viticulture. In addition, attendees are our March event will be in for a surprise from Le Clos. We're not at liberty to say what that will be, otherwise, it won't be a surprise! You'll have to attend to find out.

Tasting notes, Wines of Le Clos Jordanne

Since our website is currently unavailable, below are the wine tasting notes for the wines we'll be tasting at our March 17th tasting event of Le Clos Jordanne.

Chardonnay 2006, Le Clos Jordanne Vineyard $40
Single vineyard. Bright yellow straw colour; toasty, vanilla, orange and apple notes with a marked minerality; well structured and firm, full on the palate, well balanced with good length. “Likened to a Peregrine Falcon it seems to have more finesse and style with a floral bouquet with a touch of vanilla and butter on the nose and light fruit flavours of pear, apple and lemon peel on the palate with an acidity and minerality on the finish.” Chuck Byers, David Lawrason: "vivacious and vibrant". 91 pts. Oct. 7, 2008). Tony Aspler: 4.5/5 stars., A Wine Lover's Diary.

Chardonnay 2006, Village Reserve $40.
This 2006 Village Chardonnay, sourced from several of the estate's vineyards, is simply stellar. Deep in colour, this medium full-bodied wine is packed with aromas and flavours of citrus fruit, peach, vanilla, butterscotch and hazelnut, all balanced by fresh acidity and leading to a very long finish. Tony Aspler: 4 /5 stars.

Chardonnay 2006, Le Grand Clos $65.
“If there were to be a Canadian Grand Cru Chablis but better, this would be it! Vanilla, pear, citrus, butter give way to a strong mineral flintiness that can be described as edgy to say the least. This Harpy Eagle of a wine needs time, and if given it, will reward with luscious flavours that at this time can only be imagined.” Chuck Byers,

Pinot Noir 2005, La Petite Vineyard $35.
Medium ruby; sturdy, black raspberry and mineral nose; ripe fruit with apparent oak; firm structure with a chalky finish and evident tannins. “The lightest of the single-vineyard wines from a sandier block east of the main holdings. Moderately deep, ruby-garnet colour. Nose is lifted, very spicy and savoury with ripe sour cherry (not big black cherry) and a touch of earthy beetroot character. Feels lighter to mid-weight, firm, almost tart and sour, with grip on the finish. There is considerable, slightly green tannin. Nice focus, some finesse; very good to excellent length. Score - 88.” (David Lawrason,, Nov. 23, 2007)

Pinot Noir 2006, La Petite Vineyard $40.
Situated on sandy soil, this vineyard is quite small (3.5 acres) but delivers some of the most perfumed wines in Le Clos generally. Ruby colour with a minerally, raspberry and rose petal nose accented with cinnamon; very elegant and feminine with a lovely mouth-feel and good length. A seductive wine. Tony Aspler 4.5/5 stars. “Elegant and stylish with floral and berry bouquet it has rich red fruit on the palate with less minerality than the other vineyards but a good acidity that remains on the finish. The acidity will integrate further with the wine in time to make this wine a lovely piece of art.”, Chuck Byers.

Pinot Noir 2006, Village Reserve $40
The Village Reserve is the best value of the five le Clos Jordanne pinots in 2006. It combines young vine fruit from the large Talon Ridge site atop the Escarpment, and de-selected barrels from other single vineyards. It is the second deepest coloured of the five and may age as well as any. The nose is fairly intense with some piquant, floral cran-raspberry fruit and a cedary, earthy background. It's mid-weight, sinewy and quite tannic but has some mid-palate elegance and good flavour integration on the finish. Very good to excellent length. Score - 88. (David Lawrason,, Dec. 2008)

Pinot Noir 2006, Le Clos Jordanne Vineyard $40
Consistently Le Clos's most expressive and provocative Pinot Noir, the single vineyard Le Clos Jordanne offers more on the nose than the top-of-the-line Le Grand Clos at this early stage. The floral element on the nose (suggestive of dried roses and violets) is characteristic of the vineyard. On the palate, there are layers of earthy mineral and savoury flavours and vibrant red fruit notes. This is a beautiful expression of Pinot Noir, and represents a new level of intensity for the Le Clos wines.
Score - 4 .5/ 5 stars. Christopher Waters,, Nov. 1, 2008.

Pinot Noir 2006, Le Grand Clos $70
The wait for the much-anticipated 2006 vintage of Le Clos Jordanne's wines is now over. A superstar among wine critics and customer favourite since its inaugural vintage, the Le Grand Clos Pinot Noir is bound to generate as much excitement and acclaim with its latest vintage. From its lovely plum, blackcurrant and floral aromas to its alluring fruit to its long, focused, minerally finish, this super-premium Pinot is one of the finest and purest expressions of Niagara terroir.