Jan 22, 2011

Free My Grapes

Did you know that:

  • Rules dating to the 1928 Importation of Intoxicating Liquors Act make it illegal in Canada for alcohol to be shipped across provincial lines unless given explicit permission from the province's liquor board. 
  • The simple act of bringing a bottle of Canadian wine home from an out-of-province vacation or taking a bottle to a friend’s cottage in another province is illegal.  Heaven forbid you should try to order a bottle from a winery in another province!
  • This is an outdated and patronizing law that needs to change. Canadians should be able to buy, order and ship Canadian wines across provincial borders for personal use without getting a fine or jail time and a criminal record.

Change is needed and will only happen if we tell politicians what we want!!  A website called FreeMyGrapes has been started by Sharon Marks, director of marketing and promotions for Nyarai Cellars in Jordan, ON.   Become a supporter of the Alliance of Canadian Wine Consumers by taking action to get our archaic liquor laws changed!! Go to her website and take action.

Jan 19, 2011

2002 Cote de Nuit Rankings

We had a great turnout for our 2002 Côte de Nuits tasting on January 18, 2011 and we were proud to welcome Konrad Ejbich as our guest speaker for the evening.  Konrad is well known in the world of wine and has a long list of accolades, including writing for such magazines as Wine Spectator and Decanter and making  many appearances on both radio and television.  He is also currently the Interim VP of the Wine Writers Circle of Canada.  One interesting fact that we learned about Konrad is that he is the inventor of Sparkling Ice Wine, which he accidentally created in 1988 in his home cellar.

Our reception wine was a 2008 Yealands Estate Pinot Noir.  This wine is currently available through the LCBO.

Konrad began the evening by telling the group that the most common descriptor used to depict the 2002 vintage was "Exciting", and after we had a chance to taste them, he said that these wines definitly lived up to that the hype.  All of the Côte de Nuits wines showed very strongly, with only one bottle that showed a few signs of being corked.   

The big surprise of the evening was the 2002 Gevrey Chambertin, Les Cazetiers 1er Cru – Jadot.  The group ranked it as their top wine, while Konrad ranked 8th, saying it tasted a little tight, and that it would probably be great in another 3-5 years.  He did also say that this wine was still better than 90% of Ontario Pinot Noirs he has tasted.   Konrad’s favourite wine of the night was the 2002 Nuits-St.-Georges, Clos de Vougeot, Jadot, Grand Cru (which the group ranked as their fourth).  He said that this wine had strong black fruit flavours along with good hard oak notes that gave this wine “excellent scaffolding” for all the complex flavours to be balanced on.  He commented that this wine was “crazy good”.

Name of Wine (in order poured)
Group Ranking
Guest Ranking
A. 2002 Chambolle Musigny, Les Gruencheres, 1er Cru, Domaine Armelle & Bernard Rion; 6 2
B. 2002 Vosne-Romanée, Les Suchots, 1er Cru, Alain Hudelot-Noellat $89 7 7
C. 2002 Nuits-St.-Georges, Les Proces, 1er Cru, Robert Arnoux 5 5
D. 2002 Vosne-Romanee, Les Beaumonts, 1er Cru, Bruno Clavelier 8 3
E. 2002 Nuits St. Georges, Clos des Argillieres, 1er Cru, Domaine Michelle & Patrice Rion 2 6
F. 2002 Gevrey Chambertin, Les Cazetiers 1er Cru – Jadot 1 8
G. 2002 Latricieres-Chambertin, Rossignol-Trapet, Grand Cru 3 4
H. 2002 Nuits-St.-Georges, Clos de Vougeot, Jadot, Grand Cru 4 1

Jan 18, 2011

2001 Brunello event details

Theme: 2001 Brunello di Montalcino
Date: Tuesday, February 15
Time: 6 PM
Where: Faculty Club, 41 Willcocks St., Toronto
Cost: Members $63; Non-Members: $83 (includes appetizers)
Register / Buy Tickets:

Brunello is a red Italian wine produced in the vineyards surrounding the town of Montalcino located about 110 km southwest of Florence in the Tuscany wine region. Brunello, roughly translated as "nice dark one" in the local dialect, is the unofficial name of the clone of Sangiovese (also known as Sangioverosso grown in the Montalcino region. In 1980, the Brunello di Montalcino was awarded the first Denominazione di Origine Controllata e Garantita (DOCG) designation and today is one of Italy's best-known and most expensive wines.  Our next event in February is the 2001 vintage of Brunello di Montalcino and as you will read in the attached notice, the 2001 vintage was a huge success producing delicious traditional Brunello that is rich and full with gripping tannins.

Jan 14, 2011

2001 Brunello

Our February event will feature Brunello!!  Details coming very soon.

Brunello, roughly translated as "nice dark one" in the local dialect, is the unofficial name of the clone of Sangiovese grapes grown in the Montalcino region. In 1980, the Brunello di Montalcino was awarded the firstDenominazione di Origine Controllata e Garantita (DOCG) designation and today is one of Italy's best-known and most expensive wines.

In his book Tuscany and Its Wines, the eminent British writer Hugh Johnson described Brunello di Montalcino as Tuscany's biggest and boldest wine, adding that "In the last years of the 20th century Brunello di Montalcino far outpaced Chianti in esteem; formed, one might say, its own category of Supertuscan."   Johnson's oblique reference to those popular Tuscan blends ignores the fact that in Brunello di Montalcino, Sangiovese stands on its own, without the help of any other variety such as found in other Tuscan reds.  Brunello is the only Tuscan Sangiovese-based red wine that is not blended with another grape.

Brunello di Montalcino is made 100% from Sangiovese. Traditionally, the wine goes through an extended maceration period where color and flavor are extracted from the skins. Following fermentation the wine is then aged in oak. Traditionally, the wines are aged 3 years or more "in botte"-large Slavonian oak casks that impart little oak flavor and generally produce more austere wines. Some winemakers will use small French barrique which impart a more pronounced vanilla oak flavor and add a certain fruitiness to the wine.

Jan 13, 2011

Konrad Ejbich, guest speaker on Jan. 18

We are very excited to announce that our speaker for our Cote de Nuit tasting on January 18 is Konrad Ejbich, one of Canada’s most highly respected wine writers. He is the author of A Pocket Guide to Ontario Wines, Wineries, Vineyards, & Vines and a member and currently Interim VP of the Wine Writers Circle of Canada.

Photo courtesy of WineAssessments

Konrad is also "resident wine expert" on CBC-Radio, with monthly appearances on Ontario Today, and has appeared on CBC-TV, CTV, City-TV, Global, the Discovery Channel, and others. He is a correspondent for the prestigious U.S. wine magazine Wine Spectator and writes a column for Style at Home. He has also contributed to Britain’s best-known wine publication, Decanter.  Konrad maintains a website at http://www.styleathome.com/food-and-entertaining.

Jan 1, 2011

2002 Cote de Nuit tasting


We kick off 2011 with a blockbuster tasting - 8 wines from the Cote de Nuit, vintage 2002 which produced wonderful red wines from most producers. The Red Burgundies of 2002 are the best since the excellent 1999 vintage. In general, the 2002 wines tend to be more delicate and refined than those of 1999 but they are extremely promising on the whole, and the vintage has been talked up to such an extent that growers and merchants reported unprecedented demand for 2002s. These wines were NOT cheap but we are very fortunate to have 2 Grand Cru (the crème de la crème) and 6 Premier Cru (one notch down in quality from the Grand Cru) wines for you to enjoy along with some appetizers.  Jancis Robinson wrote, "overall this is a delightfully well-balanced, accessible vintage that has been a pleasure to taste even so young - yet is obviously far from facile." It’s not everyday that most of us can afford to drink such illustrious wine so I hope you’ll take advantage of this rare opportunity.  A note to TVC Members - to attend this event, your 2011 membership dues must be paid up before the tasting!  And by joining TVC, you will save $30 on this tasting.

Theme:    2002 Côte de Nuits (this page lists all the wines with detailed tasting notes)
Date:    Tuesday, January 18
Time:    6 PM
Where:    Faculty Club, 41 Willcocks St., Toronto
Cost:    Members $80; Non-Members: $110
Register / Buy Tickets

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’.  Appetizers will be served with our wines to round out the evening’s enjoyment.