Dec 26, 2013

2005 Burgundy - Greatest Vintage of a Generation!

Season's Greetings!!
". . . the 2005 vintage . . . is as outstanding in Burgundy as everywhere else in France.This is the most uniformly successful vintage I have seen in my career" (Jasper Morris MW - Jan 2006)  The 2005 vintage is described as one of the greatest red wine vintage for a generation so please don't miss this tasting!  We have been fortunate to procure 8 Premier cru wines for your enjoyment so we hope to see you at this premier event of 2014.
Our lineup of wines for the evening:

2005 Aloxe-Corton 1er Cru Chaillots, Domaine Louis Latour 
2005 Beaune 1er Cru, Clos de Couchereaux, Domaine Louis Jadot
2005 Chambolle-Musigny 1er Cru Les Sentiers, Domaine Louis Jadot
2005 Gevrey-Chambertin Les Evocelles, Domaine de la Vourgeraie
2005 Nuits St. Georges 1er Cru Clos des Porrets St. Georges, Domaine Henri Gouges
2005 Nuits St. Georges 1er Cru, Les St. Georges, Domaine Thibault Liger-Belair
2005 Monthélie 1er Cru Les Duresses, Domaine Paul Garaudet
2005 Vosne-Romanee, Vieilles Vignes, Domaine Nicholas Potel

Theme2005 Red Burgundy - Greatest Vintage of a Generation
Date: Tuesday, January 21, 2014
Time: 6 pm Reception Wine; 6:20 Formal Tasting
Where: U of T Faculty Club, 41 Willcocks Street., Toronto ON
Cost:  TVC Members:  $87;  Non-members / Guests:  $107
Register / Buy Tickets  - Please note that all ticket sales are final.

Remember to Renew your Membership!!  2014 Memberships must be renewed before attending any events in 2014.   Thanks to those who have already done so!

Thank you for your support last year and we hope to see you again in 2014 starting with the spectacular Burgundies in January!!

All the best to everyone in 2014!

Dec 18, 2013

Membership Drive Contest

Toronto Vintners is hosting a Membership Drive Contest for 2014!  Here are the contest rules (for members only!):
  • Refer a friend to TVC, get them to buy a NEW membership and make sure they provide your name on the application form when they register. The member who gets the most new people to join will win a lovely bottle of wine from our cellar. If there is a tie, each person will get a bottle - up to a maximum of 3 bottles. If we have more than a 3-way tie, we will do a name draw for the three bottles.
  • To be eligible, you must sign up a minimum of 2 new members (only brand new members please; former members who have previously not renewed but rejoin in 2014 do not qualify as new).  The contest ends midnight February 15, 2014.  We will announce the winner(s) and present the bottle(s) at our February 18th Rhone wine event. (You will have to attend one of our events to claim your bottle since we won’t ship it.)

Oct 17, 2013

Sparkling Wines - Great Alternatives to Champagne!

There is no better way to celebrate the start of the holiday season than with a glass of bubbly. This November, the Toronto Vintners Club presents an extraordinary tasting of affordable options to Champagne. Our tasting will feature sparkling wines from California, France, Spain, Italy, Ontario, and New Zealand. Each region offers a unique variation that gives the Champagne region a run for its money when it comes to exceptional wine quality.

Theme:  Sparking Wines - Great Alternatives to Champagne
Date:  Tuesday, November 19, 2013
Time:  6 PM Reception wine; 6:20 PM Main Event
Place:  Faculty Club, Univ of Toronto, 41 Willcocks Street, Toronto
Fee:    TVC Member: $60; Guests/Non-Members: $85
Buy Tickets   Please note, all ticket sales are final.

This is a great opportunity to sample a number of sparklers that should still be available from the LCBO/Vintages, just in time for the holiday season.


Ferrari Rosé Metodo Classico (Italy) $37
“Distinct and very refined, with the fresh fragrance of hawthorne flowers, red currants and wild strawberries. Taste: Dry, clean and elegant, with a delicate finish of sweet almonds.” Winemaker’s website. 

Beaumont Des Crayeres Grand Prestige Brut Champagne (France) $45
“Classy wine with a harmonious balance between Christmas pudding and perfumed aromas, toasty autolysis and an overall energetic freshness.” Score - 4 Stars (out of 5). Decanter World Wine Awards, 2012.

Quartz Reef Method Traditionelle (New Zealand) $30
“The non-vintage Methode Traditionelle Sparkling is sourced from Gibbston and Bendigo, displays a captivating nose of oyster shell, orange-blossom and granite; the palate very well-balanced with good acidity and touches of lemon zest, green apple and just a faint hint of elderflower on the bone-dry finish. I doubt you will find a better non-vintage New Zealand sparkler.” 90 pts. N. Martin,, Apr. 2008.

Schramsberg Mirabelle Brut Rosé Methode Traditionnelle (California) $39
"This sparkling wine is a heck of a value. A blend of 52% Pinot Noir and 48% Chardonnay aged two years on its lees prior to being bottled, it offers tiny, well-defined bubbles, persistent effervescence, and fresh brioche and lemon custard notes intertwined with hints of apple skins and tangerines. Fresh, medium-bodied and crisp, this delightful sparkler sells at a realistic price. It should last for several years." 90 pts., Oct. 2012.

2001 Gloria Ferrer Carneros Cuvée (California) $63
“A rich and complex nose offers ripe apples and Asian pears that lead to bright berry fruit aromas interlaced with a hint of yeast and toasted brioche. On the palate, this wine is creamy and vibrant with complex layers of baked apple and citrus with perfectly balanced acidity intermingling in a very elegant, vibrant and enduring finish.” 94 pts. Wine Enthusiast Magazine’s Advance Buying Guide, Nov. 2013.

2009 Cava Rose 'De Nit', Raventos I Blanc, Spain $26
"The outstanding 2009 De Nit (rosé) has an almost hypnotic, perfect pale hue that is worth the price alone! A blend of classic Cava varieties with 5% Monastrell, it is sourced from 30- to 40-year-old vines from the estate. The nose is very subtle and very pretty with traces of rosewater, fish scale and Morello cherries, all beautifully defined and drawing you in. The palate is crisp and tense on the entry: a minimalist rose cave that is based on freshness and poise rather than delivering fruit intensity. It is a delicate, very pretty, harmonious Cava rosé that is sensual and alluring. Who needs Champagne when Cava can be as good as this? Drink now  - 2015+ " 93 points Robert Parker's WA.

2011 Hinterland Blanc des Blancs Method Traditional (Ontario) $35 
“After a year of aging, the blanc de blanc has the aromatics and flavour profile of a rich and aged champagne.  We are very proud of this wine, balancing good fruit, creaminess and bracing acidity. This wine feels like it will age gracefully for 10 to 12 years.” Winemaker’s website.

2008 Huff Cuvée (Ontario) $40
“Our all-county sparkling is fashioned in the Methode Traditionnelle manner. Vibrantly structured and embued with Asian pear, nutmeg and tarte tatin aromas. Blessed with a delicate mousse, it is augmented with a complex melding of coconut, pineapple, marzipan, orange peel and spiced ripe apple; all within a distinctive County minerality.” Winemaker’s website.

Sep 17, 2013

Malbecs of Mendoza

In October, TVC presents Malbec wines from Mendoza Argentina. Argentine Malbec is recognized for its velvety texture and fruity flavours. "Malbec is now a seriously thrilling rising star in the red wine firmament". Oz Clarke (British wine writer). TVC will feature 6 wines with 100% Malbec and 2 wines that are blended with Malbec and other grape varieties from some of the country's best bodegas.

Theme:   Malbecs of Mendoza
Date:       Tuesday, October 15, 2013 (the day after Cdn Thanksgiving)
Time:      6 PM
Where:   41 Wilcocks St., Toronto, ON (U of T Faculty Club)
Cost:       TVC Members:  $73;  Non-members: $93
Register / Buy Tickets  (Note that all ticket sales are final!) 

We encourage new members or guests to sign up for our Newcomers' Table when you register for the event.

A reception wine will be served prior to the main tasting event which will be accompanied by light appetizers.  Please avoid wearing scented perfume, aftershave or hand lotion.  Thank you!

Aug 26, 2013

Tasting schedule for 2013 - 2014

Toronto Vintners Club is proud to present our tasting schedule for the upcoming season.  We have some stunning wines lined up and we're looking forward to have another great year of tasting, and we hope to see you all there.

  • October: Argentine Malbec
  • November: Sparkling Wines

  • January: 2005 Burgundy
  • February: 2004 Chateauneuf du Pape
  • March: Bin End Mixer
  • April: California Cabernet
  • May: Spanish White
  • June: Clos Jordanne Vertical – Pinot Noir
  • September: 2004 Bordeaux
  • October: TBD
  • November: TBD 

Our Next Event - '03 Red Bordeaux

On Tuesday, Sept. 17, we present 2003 Red Bordeaux. Click on this link to see a full list of wines we are sampling.

Our wines have benefited from a full decade of bottle and cellar aging and by all accounts, this vintage is one that is ready to drink NOW.  We will be joined by guest speaker, Tom Wilson, former chief buyer for Vintages. Tom spent two weeks in Bordeaux barrel tasting the 2003 vintage so it will be very interesting to hear what he says of our wines and the results of this hot vintage.  Please register early as tickets are very limited.  Once we drink these wines up, there will be no more 2003’s left in our cellar!!

Theme:   Red Bordeaux, 2003 Vintage

Date:      Tuesday, Sept. 17, 2013
Time:      6 PM for Reception Wine; 6:20 PM Formal Tasting
Where:   41 Wilcocks St., Toronto, ON (U of T Faculty Club)
Cost:      TVC Members:  $80;  Non-members: $100
Register / Buy Tickets When you register, we encourage New Members to sign up for our Newcomer's Table as many times as desired to be introduced to other members and/or to learn more about tasting wines.

Note:  Tickets for this event are limited to 54 spots. Appetizers will be served along with our 8 wines. Please refrain from wearing cologne or aftershave to a wine tasting.  Thank you!

May 26, 2013

2004 Brunello di Montalcino results

This past Tuesday, at our largest tasting of the year, the members and guests of the Toronto Vintners club were treated with the opportunity to taste some fantastic Brunello's.  All but one of wines poured were rated 90 points or higher.

Our speaker for the evening was Ben Hodson from Trialto.  He was kind enough to provide us with our reception wine for the evening, a delicious 2010 Argiano Rosso di Montalcino.  Before jumping into the tasting, Ben gave us a quick rundown of the region.  Brunello di Montalcino is the youngest, hottest, and dryest of the famous wine regions of Italy.  The wines that it produces are made up by 100% sangiovese and can produce wines that can age for 20-30 years.

The groups favourite wine of the night was the 2004 La Serena Brunello di Montalcino - $69.  Ben described this wine as having a very youthful nose with lots of great fruit.  It had strong notes of dark fruit and strong minerality .  It possessed good tannins that were in perfect balance with the wines acidity.  Ben ranked this as his second favourite wine of the night.

Our guest speakers top wine of the tasting was the 2004 Argiano Brunello di Montalcino - $63.  This wine had a classic Brunello nose and a classic Brunello palate. It had lots of cherry up front and a great herbal/earthy note.

Name of Wine (in order poured) Group Ranking Guest Ranking
A -
2004 Rendola Brunello di Montalcino
5 3
B -
2004 Altesino Brunello di Montalcino Montosoli
8 7
C -
2004 La Velona Brunello di Montalcino
2 8
D -
2004 Ciacci Piccolomini D’Aragona Brunello di Montalcino
6 5
E -
2004 La Serena Brunello di Montalcino
1 2
F -
2004 Verbena Brunello di Montalcino
4 6
G -
2004 Argiano Brunello di Montalcino
7 1
H -
2004 Poggio San Polo Brunello di Montalcino
3 4

Next Event is 2009 Chablis on June 18

2009 Chablis

Often described as refreshing with subtle fruit flavors, Chablis is perfect for a warm June evening. 2009 is a standout vintage and the eight wines we will taste are sure to impress.  Located at the northernmost district of Burgundy, the vineyards of Chablis are renowned for their dry white Chardonnay.

Of the eight wines featured in June, we have five Grand Crus and three Premier Crus. Chablis Grand Cru wines are of exceptional quality, made under stringent regulations with a lower maximum yield permitted and the minimum potential alcohol is one degree higher, than for standard Chablis wines.  Chablis Grand Cru wines are characterized by delicately honeyed aromas of lime, complimented by distinctive mineral flavours attributed to the local limestone soils. Chablis Premier Cru is the next level down from Grand Cru and considered wine of very good quality.  The selection of producers we will taste include William Fèvre, Servin, Albert Bichot, Joseph Drouhin, La Chablisienne, and Gerard Duplesis, all of which are renown producers of premium Chablis. 

Our guest speaker will be certified sommelier, Anne Popoff.  "She is principal of Le Savoir-Vivre, her wine consulting firm. Prior to that, Anne spent many years with SOPEXA, a French marketing and communications agency specializing in French wine and food. Anne entered the wine business after an international career in investment banking. She is currently finishing Level 4 (Diploma) of the Wine and Spirits Education Trust offered by the Independent Wine Education Guild and is a member of the Society of Wine Educators."  (Source:

This tasting is going to be a wonderful way to end the season and kick off summer. We hope to see you there!

There:  Burgundy - 2009 Chablis
Date: June 18, 2013
Time: 6 PM
Where:   41 Wilcocks St., Toronto, ON (U of T Faculty Club)
Cost:      TVC Members:  $69;  Non-members: $89
Register / Buy Tickets  (Note that all ticket sales are final!  And we encourage new members to sign up for our Newcomers' Table when you register.)

As always, a reception wine and light appetizers will also accompany the formal tasting. 

Please remember to NOT wear perfume or after shave or smoke cigarettes or cigars prior to the tasting as the smells from these items will impede others' ability to nose their wines.  Thank you!

Apr 19, 2013

2004 Brunello di Montalcino

Brunello di Montalcino is considered to be one of the richest and most prestigious wines produced in Italy, largely due to its exclusivity.  Wines of Brunello have an impressive richness of fruit, great concentration, powerful tannins, and great aging potential. According to James Suckling of Wine Spectator, “Just a few days after they harvested their grapes in 2004, producers of Brunello di Montalcino were speaking of a fantastic vintage.” The vintage is said to have resulted in “wonderfully perfumed and majestically refined Brunellos with an excellent balance of fruit and refined tannins.” Many estates, both well-known and smaller estates produced high-scoring wines, some of which we will be tasting in May.

TVC will present 8 exclusive wines both from classic producers and contemporary producers, all from an exceptional vintage year.   We hope you can join us in May.

Theme:   2004 Brunello di Montalcino
Date:      Tuesday, May 21, 2013 (the day after the Victoria Day weekend)
Time:      6 PM
Where:   41 Wilcocks St., Toronto, ON (U of T Faculty Club)
Cost:      TVC Members:  $72;  Non-members: $95
Register / Buy Tickets  (Note that all ticket sales are final!  And we encourage new members to sign up for our Newcomers' Table when you register.)

As always, a reception wine and light appetizers will also accompany the formal tasting.

Mar 24, 2013

Hitching Post Wines - Results

This past Tuesday, Toronto Vintners Club was proud to present, the exclusive Canadian tasting of Hartley-Ostini Hitching Post wines, lead by the winemaker himself Gray Hartley.

As we were honored to have the wine make present for the evening, we ran the tasting slightly differently than what our members were used to.  Instead of a blind tasting of the wine, Gray lead us on a journey through them, regaling us with stories and anecdote about each in turn.

The tasting started with the 2011 Pinks Dry Rosé.  Some people assume that is wine was named after the colour of the wine, but in fact, the name came from an earlier part of Gray's life.  He spent the first half of his career, not making wine, but fishing for pink salmon in Alaska.  This fishing influence can also be seen in some of the other wises that we tasted: Cork Dancer was named after the lead fish in the salmon run, that would jump and seem to dance along the edge of the fishing nets. The Highliner name was given to best ship in the fishing fleet, so Gray though it was only fair to give that name to what they considered the best of the fleet of Pinot Noirs.

Gray also shared a couple great stories from the filming of Sideways and how almost on a weekly basis, they still see customers come into the restaurant and request to specifically sit in the seat that Miles (Paul Giamatti) sat in in the movie.

During the tasting, the club ranked the six Pinot  Noirs that were poured, here were the results:

Name of Wine (in order poured) Group Ranking
A -
2011 Pinks Dry Rosé $20
B -
2009 Hometown Pinot Noir $27
C -
2009 Cork Dancer Pinot Noir $35
D -
2009 St. Rita’s Earth Pinot Noir $49
E -
2007 Julia’s Vineyard Pinot Noir $42.50
F -
2004 Julia’s Vineyard Pinot Noir $59
G -
2007 Highliner Pinot Noir $ 50
H -
2009 Late Harvest Gewürztraminer

Wines of Portugal

Celebrate spring with Toronto Vintners Club while sipping red wines from three famous regions of Portugal on April 16.  We have four wines from Douro, three from Alentejo and one from Dão, all of which have scored at least 90 points and are drinking at their best today!  If you aren't familiar with Portuguese wines, this will be a great opportunity to try something new but if you know them, then you know you'll be in for a big treat and this will be a chance to taste some new producers.  Portuguese wine styles changed dramatically about 21 years ago when Portugal entered the European Union and began a period of rapid economic expansion that brought it into the ranks of a modern industrialized nation and with that has emerged a significant increase in quality.

Theme:   Portuguese Reds
Date:      Tuesday, April 16, 2013
Time:      6 PM
Where:   41 Wilcocks St., Toronto, ON (U of T Faculty Club)
Cost:      TVC Members:  $60;  Non-members: $80
Register / Buy Tickets

Please note that light appetizers and a reception wine will also accompany the formal tasting.  We hope you'll join us for this tasting!

Fun Facts about Portuguese Wines

* In 1756, the Douro Valley became the world’s first official demarcated wine region.
* Portugal has more indigenous grape varieties than any other country – more than 200.
* The number of microclimates and soil types give specific and unique features to Portuguese wines – a plus for the wine lover, especially in tandem with the number of grape varieties.
*The country is the seventh largest exporter of the product worldwide, by value.

Feb 22, 2013

Hartley-Ostini Hitching Post Winery in March

TVC is very very fortunate to have Gray Hartley, the co-owner and winemaker from Hartley-Ostini Hitching Post Winery located in California, fly to Toronto, Ontario to present an exclusive tasting of its wines to our membership on Tuesday, March 19.  The winery gained some fame and notoriety when its restaurant was featured as a venue in the winepic Sideways (2004) but its fame also derives from its wines which are mainly Pinot Noir but also include several other grapes.  Robert Parker Jr. has given high praise and scores for their Pinots.  We will be tasting the following wines:

2011 Pinks Dry Rosé
2009 Hometown Pinot Noir
2009  Cork Dancer Pinot Noir
2009  St. Rita’s Earth Pinot Noir
2007 Highliner Pinot Noir
2004 Julia’s Vineyard Pinot Noir
2007 Julia’s Vineyard Pinot Noir
2009 Late Harvest Gewürztraminer

A couple of the wines are being brought directly from the winery and you will get to taste others before they are released to the Ontario public. This opportunity to taste Hitching Post wines is exclusive to the Toronto Vintners Club and we hope you will join us for a fun and entertaining evening.  Seating is limited so please register early.

Date: Tuesday, March 19th, 2013
Time: Reception Wine: 6:00 PM, Formal Tasting: 6:20 PM
Where41 Willcocks St., Toronto, ON (U of T Faculty Club)
Cost: Members’ Fee: $59; Guests’/Non-Members’ Fee: $75
Register / Buy Tickets (ALL ticket sales are final!)

Jan 17, 2013

Wines of Northern Rhone

Theme:  Wines of Northern Rhone
Date:      Tuesday, February 19/13
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.

On February 19th, Toronto Vintners Club features eight reds from the Northern Rhône region, including three from the northern-most Côte-Rôtie, two from Hermitage and three from Cornas. Our Côte-Rôtie selection includes a 2003 Domaine Yves Gangloff, and a 2004 and 2005 Domaine Jamet. From Cornas we will taste a mini vertical of Franck Balthazar from 2005 and 2006 and a 2006 Arènes Sauvages.  Finally from Hermitage we will taste a 2006 E Guigal and 2007 Ferraton Père & Fils. Given the diversity across the region and the quality of the wines, this tasting is not to be missed.  As always, we will start our evening with a reception wine.  We will first taste the 8 wines blind and then light appetizers will be served once we’ve had a chance to nose and sample the wines.  Non-members and guests are always welcome!

Jan 15, 2013

2006 Burgundy - Guest Speaker

Our Guest speaker for the evening will be Julia Tingarov.

Coming from a Chemical Engineering background, Julia was naturally drawn to the Food and Beverage aspect of the Hospitality Industry. Years of working in fine dining establishments followed, including 11 years at the prestigious King Edward Hotel in Toronto. To satisfy her many varied interests Julia has had a catering business, a radio show and traveled extensively. Her passion for wine and her quest for knowledge finally won over and in 1996 she was accepted and graduated with honors from the coveted Jacques Marie Sommelier Program at George Brown College. Since her appointment to Sommelier Julia has worked in and consulted for a number of the top restaurants in the city. She has taught a wine appreciation course at George Brown College and has done numerous lectures and presentations for both corporate and private clients. For the past eight years Julia has sat on the advisory board and been an integral part of organizing the Grand Cru Culinary Wine Festival, which has raised more than 12 million dollars for the Toronto General and Western Hospital Foundation. Julia is currently employed as a consulting Sommelier and sales associate with Halpern WineEnterprises.

The reception wine that will be served tonight will be a 2011 Remoissenet Pere et Fils, Macon Villages Chardonnay.

The Macon is a small region of Saone-et-Loire sitting on part of the eastern edge of the Massif Central. The limestone subsoil of the Maconnais region is ideal for growing Chardonnay grapes. Remoissenet's  foray into the Macon has been led by former Robert Parker's Wine Advocate Burgundy critic (and Washington, DC native) Pierre Antoine Rovani, who put down his pen in 2006 to take up his dream of making great Burgundy. The results so far have been impressive, starting with Remoissenet's entry-level 2010 Macon-Villages. This 100% Chardonnay is clear and bright, light yellow with greenish tinges. It has a delicate bouquet with floral fruity nuances, suggesting acacia, peach and apricot, woven together nicely in a fabric of minerality, verve, and brisk acidity, the latter being a hallmark of the fine 2010 Burgundy vintage. Well balanced with good length on the finish. Serve as an aperitif or to accompany hors d'oeuvres, mussels, fish or goat's cheese. Best drunk young and fresh within 3 - 4 years of the vintage.