Dec 30, 2011

International Showdown: South Africa vs. Rest of the World

On January 17, TVC and the South African Wine Society enthusiastically join forces for an exciting showdown of premium red wines with four of South Africa’s finest in comparison to four international high-end reds from the rest of the world.  South Africa’s wine growing regions benefit from a Mediterranean-like climate with cold winters and dry summers. Winemaking in South Africa focuses on quality wine production and is characterized as a hybrid of both new and old world wine making. The SA reds include a blend from Vilafonté and a 2006 Vilafonté Series M blend of Merlot-Melbec-Cab Sauvignon-Cab Franc.

We will compare and contrast these South African gems with 4 flagship international, highly regarded and limited, red wines. These will feature Australian, French, Chilean and Californian reds: including a Moritz Premier Cru Syrah from Clarendon Hills, Australia, as well as a a 2006 Syrah from Ferraton Pere & Fils des Dionnieres

Our guest speaker for the night will be none other than well known wine writer and TV/radio personality: The Wine Doctor, Edward Finstein

This international show-down is a great way to kick off 2012 and is not to be missed! 

Date: Tues. January 17, 2012
Time: 6:00 PM
Price: Members: $75         Guests/Non-Members:  $85
Venue: Faculty Club, Univ. of Toronto, 41 Willcocks Street
Toronto, Ontario M5S 1C7
Mailed Reservations - Thurs. Jan. 13/12
Online Payments - Sun. Jan. 15/112

Also,  If you haven't had a chance, check out the new look of our website:

Nov 19, 2011

Dessert Wines - Results

It's fitting that we ended the 2011 tasting calendar with dessert wines.  It was a sweet way to end a year of great tastings and turnouts and welcome in the holiday season.

The tasting was a little more difficult than usual, as there was a wide array of different styles on display.  There were ice wines, where the grapes are left on the vines to freeze, which concentrates the juice.  We also tasted wines affected by Noble rot, in which a fungus (Botrytis cinerea) attacks ripe grapes and causes an increase in their sugar content and produces deeper and richer golden colour in the wines than usual.  Finally, we also tasted a fortified wine in which an alcohol is added to the wine to halt fermentation, which leaves more residual sugar in the wine.

Our speaker on the night was our own Larry  Goldstein, who has not only been a member since the founding of the club in 1977, but is also wine of the wine buyers for the club.

The number of different styles of wine present at the tasting made for an interesting time ranking them.  The group was able to come together and pick a top wine, which was the 2004 Dr. Loosen Wehlener Sonnenuhr Riesling Beerenausles.  Larry said that he found this wine to have a slightly closed and underdeveloped nose, but had a rich concentrated long taste and had one of the best balances between sweetness and acidity.  He went on to say that this wine could (and should) be cellered for another 10 years, and ranked it as his #3 wine.  Larry's top wine of the night was the 1996 Château Guiraud, 1er Cru, which he said was an absolute classic, that was unmistakable in character and was drinking at it's absolute peak right now.  The group didn't quite agree and ranked it as their #6 wine.

The sole Canadian wine if the group, the 2007 Inniskillin Vidal Icewine, had a great showing and proved that it could easily compete with much more expensive dessert wines from around the world.  The group ranked it the #3 wine of the night

Name of Wine (in order poured)
Group Ranking
Guest Ranking
2008 Hafner Old Vienna Composition Cuvée Beerenauslese $15
1989 Schloss Schöonborn Riesling Hochheimer Kirchenstuck Auslese $38
2004 Dr. Loosen Wehlener Sonnenuhr Riesling Beerenauslese $80
2007 Inniskillin Vidal Icewine $39.85
Kourtaki Muscat Samos (NV) $14.75
2001 Gewurztraminer SGN, Trimbach $169
2007 De Bortoli Noble One Botrytis Semillon $30
1996 Château Guiraud, 1er Cru $100

Oct 24, 2011

Dessert Wines - Pure Indulgence

Next month we explore the world of Dessert Wines, just in time for the festive holiday season.  Click on the link below for details on the wines.

Theme:  Dessert Wines - Pure Indulgence
Date: Tues. Nov. 15, 2011
Time: 6:15 PM (NOTE THE TIME!!)
Price: Members: $65         Guests/Non-Members:  $75
Venue: Faculty Club, Univ. of Toronto, 41 Willcocks Street
Toronto, Ontario M5S 1C7
Mailed Reservations - Thurs. Nov. 10/11
Online Payments - Sun. Nov. 13/11

For November, TVC has assembled fine examples of sweet wine from various regions around the world.  We will start close to home with a Niagara ice wine from the Vidal grape.  We can contrast this with a selection of European wines such as the prized Kourtaki Muscat Samos from Greece, Hafner Old Vienna Composition Curvée from Austria, a 1er Cru Sauternes from Château Guiraud and Gewurztraminer SGN from France, and two Rieslings from Germany not to be missed, including Dr. Loosen Wehlener Sonnenuhr Riesling Beerenauslese and Schloss Schönborn. Finally our tasting will take us down under for some delicious and award-winning Noble One Botrytis Semillon from Australia. (See over for more details on the wines).   And to round out your wine tasting experience, we will be serving various food combinations to compliment these wines.

Oct 22, 2011

Chateau de Beaucastel Vertical Results

On Tuesday October 18, 2011, Toronto Vintners Club had the exciting and rare opportunity to taste a vertical of Chateu de Beaucastel, with samples ranging as far back as 1995.  Everyone in attendance agreed that all the wines were amazing

Our speaker for the evening was Howard Cayman, from Charton Hobbs, who are the importers of the wines were were tasting and all of Perrin & Fils wines, to Canada.  Howard has worked in the wine industy for many years.  He has spent some time in Harrods wine department as well as working as an assistant wine maker in many wineries in both Canada and France.

Cheateau de Beaucastle are the only producers in Southern Rhone to produce their wine using all 13 grape varieties allowed in the production of Châteauneuf-du-Pape and they have been strictly organic since 1964.

 The wines were tasted in chronological order, starting with the young '07 through to the '95.  Howard spoke about how when tasting a vertical like, it is extremely difficult to rate and compare these wines against each other as they are all in different stages of evolution.  Luckily the group was able to work through these difficulties and come up with a ranking.

The groups favourite wine of the night, turned out to be the '98, which had a beautiful sweet aroma and great flavours of juicy blackberry, licorice and truffles.  Our second favourite wine was the baby of the group, the '07.  It had great acidity and Howard spoke about how it has a great life ahead of it and could last for 25 or 30 years.  Howard's, the speaker of the night, favourite wine was the 2000.  For anyone out there holding bottles of the '95 vintage, even though it scored well (3rd for the group and 6th for the speaker), it showed signs that it was on the back end of it's life.  Howard said that it had reached it peak and would notget any better.

Name of Wine (in order poured)
Group Ranking
Guest Ranking
2007 vintage
2004 vintage
2003 vintage
2001 vintage
2000 vintage
1999 vintage
1998 vintage
1995 vintage

Oct 17, 2011

Sweet wines in November

Our November event will feature sweet wines, just in time for the holiday season! This will be a good opportunity to try a variety of sweet wines to see what will work best when paired with your festive fare! Hope to see you at this event.  Stay tuned for more details to come.

Sep 28, 2011

InterVin's Top-Scoring Value Wines - 2011

Looking for a good quality wine at an economical price?  Why not check out these wines that made the InterVin's Top list for Value Wines.

2011 InterVin International Wine Awards
Judges’ Selections for Best Value


Red Wines
Cabernet Sauvignon/Cabernet Blends
Barefoot Winery Cabernet Sauvignon United States
Two Oceans Cabernet Sauvignon Merlot 2010 South Africa
McWilliams Winery Hanwood Estate Cabernet Sauvignon 2009 Australia
Rosemount Diamond Cellars Cabernet Merlot 2009 Australia
Southbrook Vineyards Connect Organic Red 2008 Canada
Wineinc Pty Ltd. Wine Men of Gotham Cabernet 2008 Australia
Other Red Blends

Aya Charming 2008 Portugal
Marchesi de' Frescobaldi Rèmole 2009 Italy
Ogier Heritages Côtes du Rhône 2009 France
Tormaresca Paiara Rosso 2009 Italy
Other Reds

Castillo de Monseran Old Vines Garnacha 2007 Spain
Henry's Drive Vignerons Morse Code Shiraz 2009 Australia
Nicosia SpA Fondo Filara Nerello Mascalese 2008 Italy
Rigal The Original Malbec 2009 France
Stoney Ridge Estate Winery Warren Classic Pinot Noir 2010 Canada

White Wines
Calona Vineyards Artist Series Chardonnay 2010 Canada
Coyote's Run Estate Winery Unoaked Chardonnay 2010 Canada
Les Vins Georges Duboeuf Hob Nob Chardonnay 2009 France
Stoney Ridge Estate Winery Charlotte's Chardonnay 2010 Canada

Angels Gate Winery Sussreserve Riesling 2009 Canada
Henry of Pelham Family Estate Riesling 2008 Canada
Pinot Grigio/Pinot Gris

Barefoot Winery Pinot Grigio United States
Calona Vineyards Artist Series Pinot Gris 2010 Canada
Henry of Pelham Family Estate Pinot Grigio 2010 Canada
Montevina Winery Pinot Grigio 2010 United States
Peller Estates Okanagan Family Series Pinot Gris 2010 Canada
Sauvignon Blanc

Legends Estates Winery Diva Sauvignon Blanc Semillon 2010 Canada
Rossendale Wines Cottesbrook Sauvignon Blanc 2011 New Zealand
Viña Misiones de Rengo Reserva Sauvignon Blanc 2011 Chile

Other Whites
Azienda Agricola Torre Varano Falanghina 2009 Italy
Limnos Wines Muscat of Alexandria 2010 Greece
Mission Hill Family Estate Five Vineyards Pinot Blanc 2010 Canada
Southbrook Vineyards Connect White 2010 Canada


Sep 27, 2011

Beaucastel Vertical is coming!

On October 18, TVC will be tasting a flight of 8 wines from Chateau de Beaucastel ranging in age from 1995 to 2007.  TVC members have been given an exclusive opportunity to register and buy tickets for the event before it's opened up to the general public.  These wines are very expensive and very exclusive so it will be a rare opportunity to sample them in a single sitting.  The price for members is $95 and $115 for non-members and guests.   For an interesting article and 10-year comparison on the rise in prices for Beaucastel, click here.

Now is a good time to join Toronto Vintners because if you join now, your membership will be paid up until the end of 2012 and by joining now, you'll receive a notice for this event with all the registration information.  For more details about our membership, please click here.

Sep 26, 2011

Our Bordeaux Speaker

A big thanks to Tammy Cheung, our speaker for our 2003 Bordeaux.  Tammy is a pharmacist by trade and currently in the advance level of the Wines and Spirit Education Trust diploma program. She also completed the Bordeaux Master-Level Certificate with the French Wine Society this past summer.
Bordeaux and Rhone are her two favourite wine regions of the world.

Sep 25, 2011

2003 Bordeaux, Left Bank - Results

This past Tuesday, the club was lucky enough to have the opportunity to taste some 2003 Left Bank Bordeaux's.  Those of us that were able to make it out to the even, were not disappointed by some of the outstanding wines available this evening.

2003 was an atypical season, marked by heatwaves throughout Europe but with late rainfall that helped to save a lot of the harvest, especially the cabernet sauvignon.  This lead to the wines having higher than normal tannin levels and much more of a new world flavour.

The highest ranked wine for the night, with a unanimous decision, was the Leoville Barton, 2e, St. Julien (which was also the most expensive, coming in at $109 a bottle at the time of purchase).  It was described a having a very spicy and smokey aroma, a nice inky purple colour, and perfectly balanced tannins and acid levels. 

Name of Wine (in order poured)
Group Ranking
Guest Ranking
2003 Pavillon Rouge, Chateau Margaux $89
2003 Grand Puy Lacoste, 5e, Pauillac $86
2003 Lafon Rochet, 4e, St Estephe $49
2003 Duhart Milon, 4e, Pauillac $59
2003 Branaire Ducru, 4e, St Julien $65
2003 Malescot St. Exupéry, 3e, Margaux $69
2003 Langoa Barton, 3e, St Julien $66
2003 Leoville Barton, 2e, St Julien $109

Sep 15, 2011

Reminder for 2003 Bordeaux

This is a last reminder that (SHOCK!), we still have tickets available for our 2003 Red Bordeaux tasting on Tuesday, September 20, 2011.  For links and other info, please click here.

Sep 1, 2011

Red Bordeaux in September!

September Wine Tasting
Theme: 2003 Bordeaux (Left Bank)
Date: Tuesday, Sept. 20, 2011
Time: 6 PM
Where: Faculty Club, 41 Willcocks St., Toronto
Cost: Members $74; Non-Members: $94
Register /Buy Tickets

TVC presents Red Bordeaux from the Left Bank on September 20th. The 2003 vintage was exceptional and we have wines from such esteemed châteaux as Leoville-Barton and its sister, Langoa-Barton; Duhart-Milon (formerly Duhart-Milon- Rothschild) part of the Domaines Baron de Rothschild (Lafite); Lafon-Rochet owned by the Tesseron family which also owns Château Pontet-Canet; Malescot St. Exupéry which dates back to 1697 and was acquired in 1827 by Count Jean Batiste St-Exupéry, great-great grandfather of the aviator and writer Antoine de St. Exupéry; Grand Puy Lacoste, Branaire Ducru and Pavillon Rouge, the second wine from Chateau Margaux.

Please note that all ticket sales are final, whether paid by credit card or cheque. We can only issue a refund if we are ‘oversold’. A guest speaker and light appetizers will be served with our wines to round out the evening’s enjoyment.

Jun 21, 2011

Bin End Wine Dinner at Cava Restaurant

On June 21, 2011, TVC presented a unique opportunity to enjoy some rare fine wines with an extensive variety of delicious tapas (see menu below) at Cava Restaurant. Cava, a Spanish tapas restaurant in downtown Toronto, was voted Best New Restaurant by Toronto Life magazine in 2007 and most would agree that it has only got better with time. Head chef and co-owner, Chris McDonald, with his years of experience brings a unique twist to Cava's Spanish tapas menu. Chris is one of Canada's most respected chefs, having worked in Italy, Mexico, the United States, and Canada. Some of his past endeavours in Toronto include chef/executive chef at Avalon, Zocalo, Centro, Jump, Stadtländer amongst others.

Since opening in 2006, Cava has continued to generate positive buzz, with Joanne Kates recently including the restaurant as #3 on her Second Annual 100 Best Toronto Restaurants list – up from #6 in 2010. Kates enthuses about the restaurant, stating "Cava is the closest Toronto gets to a tapas bar in Barcelona." Here are a few more rave reviews of Cava:

"Cava is a wine and tapas bar featuring more than two dozen small plates, whose eclectic
flavours reflect the culinary breadth of renowned Chef Chris McDonald's current interests,
ranging from Spanish, Italian and French with occasional Mexican flourishes." – Dine.TO

"This jewel of a dining room is hidden in an alleyway, so the trick is finding it. But the effort is
worth it since Cava offers exquisite tapas like plates and sparkling wines at prices that won't
break your budget." – Frommer's

The event was limited to 56 people and sold out.


Chipotle-Caramel Popcorn
Papas Fritas
Pincho of Gamay-Poached Foie with Pomegranate and Onion
Cava Charcuteria
Bruschetta of Edamame, Green Onion, Black Olives, and Sicilian Tomato
Watercress and Roasted Beet Salad, Valdeon Blue, and Marcona Almonds
Smoked Kingfish Ceviche, Frisée Salad, and Tortilla
Fried Japanese Eggplant, Queso Fresco, Honey, and Tomatillo Sauce
Grilled Squid, Fingerling Potatoes, Hazelnut Romesco, and Green Onion
Line-Caught Albacore Tuna, Jamon Serrano, and Oyster Mushrooms
Asparagus a la Plancha, Lemon-Pepper Aioli
Venison Anticucho, Warm Red Cabbage Salad
Wild Mushroom and Sweet Corn Tamal, Pasilla Chile-Wild Plum Sauce
Roasted Quail, Pozole Rojo
Cauliflower and Kabocha Squash Tagine, Medjool Dates, Spanish Saffron
Grilled Flank Steak, White Vegetable Purée, and Chimichurri
Swiss Chard, Pine Nuts, and Currants
Churros Con Chocolate
(Final menu subject to change.)


Cava (reception wine)
Various bin-end, fine reds from TVC's cellar:
E.g., 2004 Bodegas Castano, Casa Cisca (Spain), 2006 Clos De La Siete (Argentina), 2004 Nicolas
Catena, Alta Cabernet (Argentina), 2004 Poesia - Bodega Poesia (Argentina), 2004 Cesca Vicent -
Abat Domenech (Spain) and more!

Jun 8, 2011

Tapas event is SOLD OUT!

As of today, June 8, our Tapas and Fine Wine event at Cava Restaurant is SOLD OUT.  There may  be some cancellations between now and June 16 (the deadline for accepting cancellations) so if you want to be put on our waiting list, please contact Chris, our Events Director, by email or by telephone at 416-209-1442.

Jun 7, 2011

Tapas and Fine Wines

As of today, only 3 tickets remain for our June 21st Tapas and Fine Wines event at Cava Restaurant.

TVC presents a unique opportunity to enjoy some rare fine wines with an extensive variety of delicious tapas (click to see our menu) at Cava Restaurant. Cava, a Spanish tapas restaurant in downtown Toronto, was voted Best New Restaurant by Toronto Life magazine in 2007 and most would agree that it has only got better with time. Head chef and co-owner, Chris McDonald, with his years of experience brings a unique twist to Cava's Spanish tapas menu. Chris is one of Canada's most respected chefs, having worked in Italy, Mexico, the United States, and Canada. Some of his past endeavours in Toronto include chef/executive chef at Avalon, Zocalo, Centro, Jump, Stadtländer amongst others. To read about a recent interview with Chris Macdonald, check out this link.

Date:  June 21, 2011
Time: 6:30 PM

Price: Members: $108 Guests:   $125 (inclusive of taxes & gratuity)
Register/Buy tickets
Venue: Cava Restaurant, 1560 Yonge St., Toronto M4T 2S9
Deadlines:Mailed  Reservations - Fri. June 14, 2011
               Online Payments - 5pm Sun. June 19, 2011

May 19, 2011

2004 White Burgandy Results

On May 17, we were privileged to taste some excellent example of 2004 White Burgundies, including some excellent examples of Meursaults and Chablis's. 

We were privileged to welcome Sébastien Jacquey as the guest speaker for the evening.  Sébastien comes from the Nevers region of Burgundy. His extensive educational and practical experiences have led him throughout France to many of the most prestigious schools and châteaux including training at Baron Philippe de Rothschild in Pauillac. Sébastien is a Master of Earth and Environment, specializing in Vine Management and Terroir; and an Engineer of Oenology and Viticulture.

Sébastien first spoke to the group about the quality of the 2004 vintage in Burgundy.  Sadly, the 2004 was not one best vintages for the region and started out almost as poorly as the drought filled 2003 season.  Heavy rain in August brought some disease and infection to the vines of the region, but luckily, September was "blessed by the gods" and dried out many of the vineyards.

He also talked about how two very different style would be present in the wines we tasted that night.   Some of the wines, like the Jean Boillot, are very "old school", where as wines like the Domaine LeFlaive and the St. Aubin, were much more of a new generation style.  They use much less oak and try to focus more on letting the terroir come through.

This turned out to be one of more challenging tastings we put on, as the group struggled to come up with a consensus for everything but their top and bottom ranked wines.  The two top wines of the night were the Jean Boillot (Sébastien top pick and the groups 4th) and Marc Colin, St Aubin (The groups top pick and Sébastien's 5th)

When speaking about the Jean Boillot, Sébastien described it as having an intense/complex nose that was full of ripe stone fruit scents.  It was very creamy and fat with flavours of mushroom and limestone minerality.  It showed a fantastic balance between the fruit and minerality with a long, smooth and tight finish.  However he did say that it wasn't a typical Burgundy, and that it tasted almost new world.

The St. Aubin, according to Sébastien, had lots of ripe stone fruit and ripe flower flavours and also some intense citrus notes.  It had good structure with a medium long finish.  He did say that when tasting, that he was searching for a minerality that seemed to be lacking.

Name of Wine (in order poured)
Group Ranking
Guest Ranking
A. Jean-Marc Brocard, Chablis Les Clos
B. Marc Colin, St Aubin, En Remilly, 1er Cru
C. Theirry et Pascal Matrot, Meursault, Charmes, 1er Cru 
D. Michel Coutoux, Meursault, Charmes, 1er Cru
E. Latour-Giraud, Meursault, Charmes, 1er Cru
F. Henri Boillot, Meursault, Charmes, 1er Cru
G. Domaine LeFlaive, Puligny-Montrachet, Clavoillon, 1er Cru
H. Jean Boillot, Puligny-Montrachet, Perrieres, 1er Cru

May 12, 2011

Reminder - White Burgundies on May 17

Meursault, Puligny-Montrachet, Chablis and St. Aubin
 Just a few days left to register for our fabulous white Burgundy tasting on May 17! We'll be drinking wines from Meursault, Puligny-Montrachet, Chablis and St. Aubin communes and from some of the greatest producers in the region. Price includes appetizers and a reception wine.
Register/Buy Tickets

May 1, 2011


1932 - 2010
In Memoriam
Edward Giles Turner

A memorial service in honour of TVC’s founder and long-time president, Ted Turner's life will be held at St. Mark's Anglican Church, 41 Byron Street Niagara-on-the-Lake ON, L0S 1J0 on Saturday, May 14 at 11:00 AM.  Reception to follow at Addison Hall (located on the grounds of St. Mark's Church).

"May he drink with the gods and dance with the angels. May he shine through the universe like he shone through life. His spirit burns bright with magnificent colours.  He lived. He loved. He made a difference."  Thank-you Ted.

From Toronto and destinations E/W via QEW:

Follow the QEW towards Niagara.  After crossing the Garden City Skyway at St. Catharines - exit the QEW at exit 38B, follow the Niagara-on-the-Lake signage onto Highway 55. Take Hw 55 12km (7mi) northeast until it ends at Queen Street. Turn R onto Queen St. (main street of NOTL).  Turn L just after the clock tower & proceed to the first Right (St. Mark's will be on your right).

Apr 17, 2011

And now for White Burgundy!

Next month (May), we get to taste Burgundy - always wine lover's dream! - and this time it will be white Burgundy.  Unlike buttery and oaky New World Chardonnays, white Burgundy is generally crisp and acidic, and those wines aged in oak show only a subtle touch of the wood. White Burgundies produced in 2004 are considered a not-to-be-missed vintage as it was an excellent year across Burgundy for whites.  In 2004 many producers opted not to produce any reds; however the same producers are raving about their whites.

We'll be drinking 8 rare 2004 white Burgundies from the Meursault, Puligny-Montrachet, Chablis and St. Aubin communes and from some of the greatest producers in the region.  Some highlights include: Domaine Latour-Giraud, with its rich history dating back centuries, using a lot of bâtonnage (stirring the lees in the barrels) for body, texture and a rich, nutty taste; Domaine Henri Boillot, which produces mainly premier crus on its 13 acres estate and is considered one of the best sources of fine wine in the Cote D’Or; and Domaine Leflaive, run by Anne-Claude Laflaive, a visionary character, renowned in Puligny and considered among the best in the regions.

Hope you can join us!

Theme: 2004 White Burgundy (for more info about Burgundy & a list of the wines we'll be tasting)
Date: Tuesday, May 17, 2011
Time: 6 PM
Where: U of T Faculty Club, 41 Willcocks St., Toronto
Cost: TVC Members $76; Non-Members: $91 (NOTE: the price includes appetizers)
Register / Buy Tickets:
Join TVC or Renew Your Membership

Apr 16, 2011

Spanish Reds - Modern Developements Ratings

We had a strong turnout for our Spanish Reds tasting this past Tuesday April 12, 2011, when we tasted some truly remarkable wines from all four corners of Spain.

Our guest speaker for the evening was Charles Jewett.  Charles has been involved in the Ontario wine scene for many years and played a big role in spearheading an effort to provide Wine and Spirit Education Trust (WSET) courses in Canada.

Charles briefly spoke about how Spanish wine makers are moving away from the old style of wine making in favor of much more modern and innovative techniques, and that these wines tonight would be some excellent examples of this new breed of wines.

With that, the group go on to tasting the wines, and overall, we seemed to agree with Charles when it came time to rank them, both scoring the  2004 Bodegas San Román, San Román, Tinto (Toro) as the top wine of the night.  Charles comments on this particular wine were that it had a lovely black cherry nose that made you sit up and say ``Hello!!``, it had elegant fruit and a full flavour with a long finish. 

Some of his other comments on the top wines of the night:

2000 Resalte de Peñafiel's Gran Resalte, Ribera del Duero - ranked 2nd
This wine was the most interesting and represented a classic style Spanish red that we don`t often see anymore. It had classic barnyard and leather notes on the nose. It has been aged in large wood barrels for 2 or 3 years, but that the oak didn`t over power the natural grape tannins.

2003 Baigorri Vino De Garage DOC, Rioja - ranked 3rd
This wine had great coffe and mocha aromas in the glass, but tasted more of just mocha and the sweetness that one would expect to accompany with it. Was full of strong and long flavours that lasted right to the end.

2004 Valdrinal Reserva - Ribera Del Duero
This wine had notes of coffee, chocolate and truffle on the nose and that continued on through the tasting.  It presented with some beautiful berry tannins, but finished slightly weak.  This wine would greatly benefit from another couple years in the cellar to really reach it`s true potential.

 The rest of the ranking are as follows:
Name of Wine (in order poured)
Group Ranking
Guest Ranking
A. 2005 Vall Llach Idus De Vall Llach DOC, Priorat 7 5
B. 2001 Cellers Fuentes, Gran Clos De J.M. Fuentes DOC 5 4
C. 2004 Bodegas Tardencuba, Valnuevo Seleccion (Toro) 8 7
D. 2004 Bodegas San Román, San Román, Tinto (Toro) 1 1
E. 2003 Baigorri Vino De Garage DOC, Rioja 3 6
F. 2006 Balbás Gran Reserva - Ribera del Duero 6 8
G. 2004 Valdrinal Reserva - Ribera Del Duero 4 2
H. 2000 Resalte de Peñafiel's Gran Resalte, Ribera del Duero 2 3

Mar 26, 2011

2004 German Riesling Ratings

On March 22, 2011 we had a small but dedicated group come out to taste our 2004 German Rieslings.  It was a fitting wine to help us say goodbye to winter and welcome in spring (even if the weather outside didn't play along).

Our guest speaker for the evening was Anne Martin. Anne is an expert on German wines and revealed to us that out of all the wines out there, German Rieslings were her favourite.  Currently, German Rieslings are under-appreciated wines but are also under-priced, partially in thanks to global warming making them more accessible.  Anne explained the often difficult and confusing classification system that the Germans use to identify their wines.  According to Anne, the 2004 vintage was much better than the 2003's (which suffered from too much heat).  2004 saw cooler temperatures during a rainy summer followed up by an Indian summer in the fall, which were perfect conditions to make truly great Rieslings.

Awaiting each person at their table the night of the tasting were some great wine tools that were provided by German Wine.  Everyone received a new corkscrew, a DropStop pouring assist disc, a red and white aroma wheel, and some great literature on German wine regions and wine classification.

The final results were, all in all, pretty even right across the board. There was never more than a once place difference between the groups rankings and Anne's for any of the wines that we tasted.  The groups' pick of the night was the 2004 Scharzhofberger, Egon Muller (Saar).  Anne said that wine had a slightly higher acidity then the others, but that it was perfectly balanced by the level of sweetness.  It had hints of star anise and ripe apple on the nose and had, what she describes as, a "salivating finish, which left us thirsting for more".

Name of Wine (in order poured)
Group Ranking
Guest Ranking
A. 2004 Durkheimer Michelsberg, Kurt Darting (Pfalz) 7 8
B. 2004 Winkeler Dachsberg, Prinz von Hessen (Rheingau) 8 7
C. 2004 Hattenheimer Schutzenhaus, Balthasar Ress (Rheingau) 6 5
D. 2004 Urziger Wurzgarten, Dr Loosen 5 6
E. 2004 Ockfener Bockstein, von Othegraven (Saar) 4 3
F. 2004 Scharzhofberger, Egon Muller (Saar) 1 2
G. 2004 Berncasteler Doctor, Dr H Thanisch Erben Thanisch (Mosel) 2 1
H. 2004 Bacharacher Hahn Riesling Spatlese Kabinett, Toni Jost (Mittel Rhein) 3 4

Mar 24, 2011

Spanish Reds - Modern Developments

Spain is such a fascinating, colourful and beautiful country with its history, geography, food, music, art, artists, and wine.  It simply has everything!  "When phylloxera destroyed the French vineyards in the 1860s and ’70s, many Bordeaux winemakers moved south. They brought with them their vines, their winemaking skills and the Bordeaux bottle. A century later, in the 1970s and ’80s, Spain decided to join the contemporary viniculture world, and Spanish wines began to improve."   NY Times, Frank Prial, Jan. 3, 2008.  Today, many Spanish wineries are very highly prized by oenophiles throughout the world.  Next month - April 12 - the Toronto Vintners Club continues its exploration and education of  Spanish modernist wines and focuses on red wines from several new and innovative winemakers.  Click on the links below for details about our event as well as to register and to join TVC if you are not already a member.

Theme: Spanish Reds - Modern Developments
Date:  Tuesday, April 12, 2011
Time: 6 PM
Where: Faculty Club, 41 Willcocks St., Toronto
Cost: TVC Members $69; Non-Members: $85  (NOTE: the price includes appetizers)
Register / Buy Tickets:
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Mar 16, 2011

German Riesling Kabinett with Anne Martin

Our tasting of 2004 German Riesling Kabinett is just around the corner on March 22, as is Spring!

Theme: 2004 German Riesling Kabinett
Date: Tuesday, March 22, 2011
Time: 6 PM
Where: Faculty Club, 41 Willcocks St., Toronto
Cost: Members $37; Non-Members: $47 (NOTE: there will be NO appetizers offered at this tasting.)
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We are fortunate to be joined by Anne Martin as our guest speaker.  Anne is a certified sommelier with over 15 years’ experience. She became one of the first female sommeliers in Toronto, at Prego della Piazza, and went on to serve as head sommelier at the highly regarded Canoe Restaurant.  Next month, she is participating in a symposium: Taking Charge: Women Leaders in Business, sponsored by the Certified Management Accountants of Ontario so we are very fortunate indeed to have her impart her expertise and knowledge to Toronto Vintners. 

Anne Martin, Sommelier

Feb 18, 2011

2001 Brunello di Montalcino Ratings

We had another large turnout for our Brunello tasting on February 15, 2011.  Brunellos are known as one of the most exquisite types of wine that Italy has to offer. 

Our guest speaker for the night was Julian Hitner.  Julian is currently the youngest member of the Wine Writers Circle of Canada, as well as a member  of the Canadian Association of Professional Sommeliers.  A big focus for Julian is sharing his wine knowledge with others, he is currently writing a new book on Champagne (to be released in late 2011) and he's developing a new wine instruction course at Liaison College (beginning in February 2011).
   Julian spoke of how these wines would fall into one of two categories, some would have vanilla or chocolate aromas, as opposed to some of the other wines that had been aged in Slavonian oak and would have a much more earthy or savory flavour.

The wines of the night showed a good uniformity with a few noticeable exceptions.  The group and Julian were in agreement with both the best and the worst wine of the night.  The overall winner of the night was the  2001 Tenuta Vitanza Brunello di Montalcino.  Julian described the wine as having notes of "Chinese gun flint" as well as hints of mature fruit.  It was a very complex wine with many layers to enjoy.

Final Rankings:

Name of Wine
Group Ranking
Guest Ranking
A. 2001 Poggio Antico  2  7
 B. 2001 Tenuta Vitanza Brunello di Montalcino  1  1
 C. 2001 Altesino Brunello di Montalcino Montosoli  8  8
 D. 2001 Costanti Brunello di Montalcino  5  3
 E. 2001 Mastrojanni Brunello di Montalcino  6  6
 F. 2001 Lisini Brunello di Montalcino  3  5
G.  2001 Poggio Salvi  7  4
H. 2001 Mastrojanni, Schiena d'Asino  4  2

The reception wine for the night was a 2006 Nottola Vina Nobile di Montepulciano, which is currently available at the LCBO.

March 22 - German Riesling Kabinett

Rieslings are most often consumed when young and can be characterized by aromas of apples, peaches, grapefruit, honey and rose blossoms. However, due to the higher level of acidity, they are ideal for aging. Over time, the wine tends to gain a petrol note, which may be off-putting to some drinkers, but is actually a key characteristic of high quality Rieslings. Riesling wines are usually pure and are seldom oaked and require careful handling during harvesting due to their delicate nature.  The racy 2004 vintage is a marked contrast with the fat, opulent wines of 2003 and the vintage is on a par with the excellent vintages of the previous three years and in many cases, surpassed expectations.

Theme: 2004 German Riesling Kabinett
Date:  Tuesday, March 22, 2011
Time: 6 PM
Where: Faculty Club, 41 Willcocks St., Toronto
Cost: Members $37; Non-Members: $47
Register / Buy Tickets: