Nov 3, 2014

N. Rhone Reds - Fresh Starts & Rising Stars

On November 18, Toronto Vintners Club features wine producers who are rising stars, new owners or innovate/fresh ventures that have all established enduring or recent reputations for producing quality wine in N. Rhone. From Côte-Rôtie, we feature Maison Michel Chapoutier and Patrick Jasmin. Chapoutier has produced wine for over 200 years but during the 1980s after son Michel took over, quality really improved and by the late 1980s, Chapoutier had started to receive considerable international attention for its wines. Their labels are distinctive because they include Braille. Jasmin Cote Rotie's first vintages date back to 1910 and current owner, Patrick who took over in 1999, is a fourth generation winemaker in his family. Jasmin deliberately produces very low yields to maintain high quality; as a result, the winery produces a mere 2,400 cases/yr. and only 1,200 cases of Côte-Rôtie of outstanding wines. The three AOC's of St. Joseph, Hermitage and Crozes Hermitage are represented by Ferraton Père et Fils, a small family-owned business with its roots in a tiny vineyard holding in Hermitage. A friendship between Michel Ferraton and Michel Chapoutier led to a joint venture in 1998. Ferraton operates independently but under the Chapoutier expertise and finance with resulting increases in wine quality. From Cornas, we have wines from 3 producers. Johann Michel is a rising star whose family includes renowned winemaker Robert Michel. Johann Michel is one of the smallest AOCs in France, comprised of only 288 hectares. Johann started his winery in 1997 and produces only about 20,000 bottles/year. Delas Frères was founded 160 years ago and in 1993, was acquired by the Champagne house of Louis Roederer where today, Delas wines are crafted by an expert panel managed by renowned winemaker Jacques Grange. Delas wines have been lauded for their intensity of flavour and excellent value. Courbis is the most southern domaine from the border of AOC Cornas. Brothers Laurent and Dominique Courbis now operate the family estate which dates back to the 16th century.

Toronto Vintners has acquired 8 wines from 5 appellations d'origine contrôlée (AOC) in Northern
Rhône : Cote Rôtie, St. Joseph, Hermitage, Croze Hermitage and Cornas.

Date: November 18, 2014
Time:  6 PM
Location:  Faculty Club, Univ. of Toronto, 41 Willcocks Street Toronto, Ontario
Fees:  TVC Members:  $67; Non-Members & Guests:  $87
Register/Buy Tickets  Please note that ALL ticket sales are final and we are unable to issue any refunds unless we are sold out and have a waiting list.

Our guest speaker will be Zoltan Fekete of Kylix Wines.

Oct 28, 2014

Review of S. Italian Red tasting on Oct. 21

As attendees arrived, they were treated to a wonderful reception wine, Tatone Montepulciano from Abruzzo, Italy, provided by Vinaio Wines of Toronto.  It’s a medal winning wine carried by Vintages and labelled a Vintages Essential which means it’s available all-year round from Ontario’s Vintages stores and for the modest price of $15.95.  Everyone who sampled it was very impressed with its full body, great depth of flavour and were stunned to learn the price. A few people even preferred this wine to those we tasted the rest of the evening! It’s from central Italy and so growing conditions are a bit different from the hot south from where our 8 wines originated. Thanks to Vinaio Wines for supplying such a fantastic wine to Toronto Vintners Club!

Over the course of the evening, TVC members and guests discovered how generally well-made all the wines were that we tasted from different grapes and a variety of areas throughout S. Italy. Summer heat is a big factor and so wine makers have now taken to making their wines in climate controlled conditions which has resulted in a vast improvement in quality. Our guest speaker, Vince Liberatore of Vinaio wines informed us that a lot of juice used in making the more famous and more expensive Northern Italian wines actually comes from S. Italy!

We started our pouring order with wines from the islands of Sardinia and Sicily, the latter which ranked #3 over all by the group! Our guest speaker, Vince Liberatore of Vinaio wines found wine A, the 2010 Argiolas Perdera, Monica di Sardegna DOC from Sardinia to be an easy drinking wine and ranked it 5th.  The group agreed also ranking it 5th; my table ranked it 8th but still found it to be a good wine with medium weight and finish, and smoky tarry flavours.

Wine B was the ’06 Ceuso for $35. I found there was a hint of oak and smokey tones on the nose; the wine itself was big, intense and had a long finish. Our table ranked it 4th, the group overall had it in 7th and our guest speaker ranked it 3rd.

Wine C, was distinctly different from all the rest in the lineup. The nose was a bit floral and it was on the lighter side both in colour and in style.  Vince thought it unbalanced and not well made. It was the 2009 Leone de Castris from Puglia and the 2009 vintage was awarded Silver from the International Wine & Spirit Competition.  Interestingly, Vince told us that this wine is rated [one of] the best price points for quality. Both Vince and I ranked it 8, our table ranked it 7th and the group had it in the middle at 4th.

The fourth wine poured, D, was another from Puglia - the ‘07 Appolonio Terragnolo, made from the Primitove grape which is related to the Zinfandel grape. The nose was very floral; there was lots of vanilla and it had gobs of fruit and a touch of sweetness on the palate; the legs were long. After a while, it got to be too much to drink because of its being somewhat unbalanced.  While I, our table and the guest speaker all had this wine ranked 5th or 6th, the rest of the crowd really liked it and ranked it their Number 1! Perhaps this wine was the closest in familiarity to what we’re used to drinking in N. America (being related to Zinfandel) and maybe that’s why people like it.  Anyway, if you loved it, it’s a bargain at $19!

Wine E’s nose was initially closed but I started to get a hint of dark plums which carried through on the palate.  The flavour was complex and intense; legs were very long and it was a very well made wine. Here’s where the group and I differed; I ranked it 3rd and the group had it 8th – last place. Vince put it in the middle at 4th.  It was the 2007 Azienda Vincola Rivera, Puer Apuliae, Apulia for $37.

The colour on the sixth wine, wine F, was almost black. It was very dry, intense and concentrated.  Vince found it very elegant, with great depth, oak and dark chocolate on the palate.  In fact, he loved this wine and ranked it his #1 as did my table. I really liked it too but found the dryness to be a little much to handle without food so I ranked it 4th. The group had it in 6th place. It was a wine that really cried out for food. It was the most expensive of the lot at $49 and was the 2008 Elena Fucci, Aglianico del Vulture Titolo, Basilicata.

Wine G had people all over the map. I loved this wine; it was complex with lots of flavours of dark fruits, inky dark colour. Vince on the other had found it unbalanced and he didn’t enjoy it that much.  My table and our attendees overall ranked this as their 3rd favourite wine. It was the 2008 Villa Raiano Taurasi,  DOCG from Campania for $24.

With Wine H, the last wine poured, we finally had some agreement on a wine!  I, my table, our guest speaker and the group ALL ranked this as their second favourite wine. It was the oldest wine in the line-up – the 2004 Odoardi Vigna Garrone from Calabria for $37. While the nose had a slight stinkiness to it, the palate had plums, figs, leather, some stewed fruit and meat. It was intense and gorgeous!

Overall, this was a great tasting as it exposed many of us to wines and grapes that we would probably not have experienced otherwise. Some of these wines could be called the poor man's Barolo or Amarone because of their more modest prices. So it was great to find a couple of real bargains in the line-up.  With thousands of grapes now being cultivated in Italy and an obscure labelling system, it can be very difficult to wade through Italian wines and decide which one to buy.  This tasting certainly gave us all a better understanding of what to look for.

Thanks to all who came out for the evening. It was 2 short of a sell-out!! And a big thanks to Vince Liberatore and Vinaio Wines for helping to make our evening very successful!

And below is a summary of the wine rankings.  If you want tasting notes from our notice, please visit

Sylvia Dorosh

Name of Wine (in order poured)
Group Ranking
Guest Ranking
A - 2010 Argiolas Perdera, Monica di Sardegna DOC, Sardinia $18
B - 2006 Ceuso, Scurati Rosso, Sicily  $35
C - 2009 Leone de Castris, Salice Salentino DOC, Riserva, Puglia $19
D - 2007 Appolonio Terragnolo, Primitivo, Puglia, $19
E - 2007 Azienda Vincola Rivera, Puer Apuliae, Apulia  $37
F - 2008 Elena Fucci, Aglianico del Vulture Titolo, Basilicata $49
G - 2008 Villa Raiano Taurasi,  DOCG, Campania  $24

H - 2004 Odoardi Vigna Garrone, Calabria  $37


Sep 16, 2014

Exploring Southern Italy in October

Next month in October, we explore various wine regions and different grape varieties of Southern Italy. Toronto Vintners Club has 8 highly rated red wines from the islands of Sicily and Sardinia, Puglia, Calbria, Basilcata and Campania.

To view a map of the wine production areas, visit  and to learn more about wines of Southern Italy, visit

Italy uses an esoteric wine labeling system like France which can be baffling to understand, but more challenging is learning all the official grape varieties which number about 350!  Many of the grapes such as Nero d'Avola, Primitivo, Aglianico, Negroamaro and Malvasia Nera  are unfamiliar to most N. American oenophiles.  Although the grapes and wines may not be household names like their Piedmont or Tuscan cousins, the wines of Italy's southern districts are bold, full-bodied, satisfying AND generally, good value for money.  This event is a great opportunity to learn about and taste good quality Italian wines made from various grape varieties.  Many of these wines can be cellared for many years, if desired.

Seating is limited at this event so please register early. Note - all ticket sales are final.

Theme:  Red Wines of Southern Italy
Date: Tuesday, October 21, 2014
Time: 6 PM - Reception Wine; 6:20 PM - Formal Tasting
Location:  U of Toronto Faculty Club, 41 Willcocks, St., Toronto ON
Price:  TVC Members:  $64; Guests / Non-members:  $84
Register / Buy Tickets
Note: All ticket sales are final!!!

Jun 24, 2014

Wine, food & MORE WINE!

TVC members and guest enjoyed a fantastic evening of great good, good fun and spectacular wines at our Cellar Clear Out / Bin End Dinner at Trevor Kitchen and Bar on June 17th. In addition, we gave away from door prizes - memberships and a couple bottles of wine.  All in all, a fabulous evening! Thanks to all those who came out.  Let's do it again in a few more years!

May 28, 2014

Dinner & Cellar Clear Out at Trevor Kitchen & Bar!

Well here it is! The event you've all been waiting for & to which we all look forward to every few years - our cellar clear out and fine dining on Tuesday June 17! Those who've attended one of these events in the past know that the wine is copious!! And when you see the list of wines we'll be bringing from our cellar, you know that to order just one bottle of just about any of these wines in a restaurant would cost an arm and a leg because a) they are pretty expensive to begin with and b) they are even more expensive in a restaurant because of heavy markups. But you get to enjoy not just 1, but several different pricey wines at each table along with a 5-course meal. What a great deal!!! And we usually have a couple of door prizes to make the evening more fun.

Seating is limited to 80 so don't delay making your reservation.Tickets have already started to sell quickly.

Event Theme: Dinner and Cellar Clear Out at Trevor Kitchen & Bar
Date: Tuesday, June 17th Time: Reception; 6:30 PM; Dinner: 7 PM
Place: Trevor Kitchen & Bar
Address: 38 Wellington Street East, Toronto M5E 1C7
Price: TVC Members: $112 / Guests/Non-Members: $137 (all inclusive)
Register / Buy Tickets

You are welcome to join TVC to get a reduced event fee at this and the remaining events in 2014.

Our menu.

menu dégustation - june 17th, 2014

shrimp & bacon potsticker with peppered tamari
watermelon & spearment gazpacho
cognac steak tartar tacos
sparkling wines

sweet pea & lettuce with feta & mint in champagne vinaigrette

roast pork loin with jalapeno & cheddar polenta, bacon, pickled peppers & honey mushrooms

pepper seared sirloin & braised beef cheeks with horseradish, crispy shallots & sunchoke purée

thunder oak gouda with fig & thyme flower honey
dessert wines

chef de cuisine: sean vodden
executive chef: trevor wilkinson

Some of our wines

2004 Louis Michel Chablis 1er Cru Montee de Tonnerre
2004 Jean-Marc Brocard Chablis Grand Cru Les Clos
2009 William Fevre Chablis 1er Cru Montee de Tonnerre
2009 Domaine Servin Chablis 1er Cru Montee de Tonnerre
2009 Gerard Duplesis Chablis 1er Cru Montmain
2009 William Fevre Chablis Grand Cru Bougros
2009 William Fevre Chablis Grand Cru Les Clos
2009 LA CHABLISIENNE Chablis Grand Cru Les Preuses
2009 Drouhin Chablis Grand Cru Vaudesir
2009 Albert Bichot Chablis Grand Cru Vaudesir

Red Bordeaux
1995 Malescot St. Exupery Margaux 3e
1997 La Croix du Gay Pomerol
2000 D'Angludet Margaux
2000 D'Issan Margaux 3e
2000 Malescot St. Exupery Margaux 3e
2000 D'Armailhac Pauillac 5e
2000 Grand Puy Lacoste Pauillac 5e
2000 Pontet Canet Pauillac 5e
2000 Grand Pontet St. Emilion GCC
2000 Talbot St. Julien 4e

2002 McNicol
2005 Henschke Mount Edelstone
2007 Clarendon Hills Moritz
2006 Montes Folly
1995 Chateau de Beaucastel CdP
1998 Chateau de Beaucastel CdP
1999 Chateau de Beaucastel CdP
2000 Chateau de Beaucastel CdP
2001 Chateau de Beaucastel CdP
2003 Chateau de Beaucastel CdP
2006 Ferraton Pere et Fils Les Dionnieres Ermitage

Plus Champagne, sparkling wines, ports and sweet wines for the appetizers and desserts. Tickets have already started to sell quickly!!

May 20, 2014

California Dreaming - SOLD OUT

Our May 20th tasting of premium California Cabernet Sauvignon wines is . . .

Sorry you couldn't get in.  Hope to see you at a future event hosted by Toronto Vintners Club.

May 14, 2014

California Dreaming - only 6 spots left!

There are only 6 tickets left for our May 20th California Dreaming  - Premium Cabernets!   Don't be disappointed because you missed it!

Details of the Wines
Register / Buy Tickets
Join Toronto Vintners (you'll get a discount on your event tickets if you're a member).

Hope to see you there!

Apr 12, 2014

Spain's White Gems - RESULTS

Thanks to all the members and guests that came out last Tuesday to taste some fantastic white wines.  We had a great turnout and everyone in attendance had the chance to taste some of the more unique wines that Spain has to offer.  The wines showed quite well, many full of bright citrus fruit, while others were more rustic and full.

Our guest speaker for the evening was Paul Giroux of Family Wine Merchants.  Two of the wines that we were tasting this evening are from his portfolio (the 2009 Celler Cal Pla, SL - Mas d'en Compte and the 2012 Torres - Vina Esmeralda Catalunya,).  Paul was also kind enough to provide the reception wine for the evening, a 2011 Henry of Pelham Chardonnay, which went over quite well with everyone at the tasting.

All the wines that were in the tasting were quite well received, but the unanimous winner of the evening was the 2012 Torres - Vina Esmeralda Catalunya, scoring 1's across the board. This was one of Paul's wines and he was also able to correctly identify it during the blind tasting.  It was describes as having bright citrus fruit, with a medium long finish, and that it was a perfect wine for this time of year.

And here are the final rankings:
Name of Wine (in order poured) Group Ranking Guest Ranking
A -
2012 Jean Leon Chardonnay $18.95
6 6
B -
2010 Bodega Del Abad - Abad dom Bueno Godello $15.75
5 5
C -
2011 Martin Codax - Burgans Albarino $17.95
4 4
D -
2012 Torres - Vina Esmeralda Catalunya, Spain $14.95
1 1
E -
2011 Bodegas La Emperatriz Sl - Finca La Emperatriz Viura $15.95
7 7
F -
2012 Beronia - Viura, Rioja $14.95
8 8
G -
2011 Fuente Elvira Verdijo Rueda Spain Verdijo $15.75
3 3
H -
2009 Celler Cal Pla, SL - Mas d'en Compte $27
2 2

Apr 10, 2014

California Premium Reds

For several centuries, the top Cabernet-based wines of Bordeaux have defined greatness in red wine.  So
it’s no accident that when Napa Valley winemakers first wanted to make exceptional wines in the 1800s, they imported Cabernet Sauvignon cuttings from Bordeaux.  Therefore, the rarest, most prestigious and priciest wines made in the US—and many would say the greatest—now happen to be California Cabernets. Whereas Bordeaux cooler climate produces more austere and less approachable wines unless cellared for at least a decade or longer, California's warmer climate naturally leads to fleshier, fruitier, more generous wines that can be readily enjoyed within a few years of their vintage.   At an average price of $4,750 for one ton of Napa Valley Cabernet grapes, $47 is the industry’s rule-of-thumb price for a bottle of wine made from these grapes. Thus Napa Valley and California Cabernets have become a category for the well-heeled wine lover.

“Napa Valley is the heart of Cabernet Sauvignon production and is clearly an ideal region for creating world-class wines. If any Cabernet-based wine is capable of giving Bordeaux a run for its money, it's Napa Valley's examples. However, due to the extremely high cost of purchasing and developing vineyards in California, and the cachet of Napa Valley on the label, this has largely become a category for the well-heeled wine lover.”

TVC presents a total of 8 premium reds from California.  7 are from Napa Valley (Caymus, Chateau Montelena, Clos du Val, Cain, Terra Valentine, Trinchero, Corison) and 1 is from Alexander Valley (Kendall Jackson).  All are Cabernet Sauvignon with the exception of Cain Five (Cain Winery) which is a Bordeaux-style blend of five grapes. The vintages are 2005, 2006 and 2007 which are all rated as outstanding for northern California. This will be a fantastic tasting of premium Californian reds.  Don't miss it!!

Theme:  California Premium Reds
Date: Tuesday, May 20, 2014
Time: 6 PM - Reception Wine; 6:20 PM - Formal Tasting
Location:  U of Toronto Faculty Club, 41 Willcocks, St., Toronto ON
Price:  TVC Members:  $92; Guests / Non-members:  $112
Register / Buy Tickets
Note: All ticket sales are final!!!

Mar 24, 2014

Spain's Overlooked Gems - White Wines - in April

Next month, Toronto Vintners' Club investigates Spain's Overlooked Gems - White WinesRecently, winemakers in Spain have revolutionized the white wine industry. The past few years have been paramount in qualitative terms and the character of the better-known white varieties has increased enormously. The result? Wonderful whites of international stature. On April 8, TVC will taste 8 wines that represent the diversity that is Spain.  Our guest speaker will be Paul Giroux from Family Wine Merchants which imports two wineries from which we'll be tasting: Torres and Jean Leon.

Theme: Spain's Overlooked Gems
Date:  Tuesday, April 8, 2014
Time: 6:00 PM Reception Wine; 6:20 PM Main Event
Place: U of T Faculty Club, 41 Willcocks Street, Toronto ON
Cost:  TVC Members: $52;  Guests/Non-Members:  $52
Buy Tickets (Please note that all ticket sales are FINAL!)

Feb 26, 2014

Seductively Delicious Shiraz, March 18

You say Shiraz and I say Syrah.  In France this grape is known and grown as Syrah, and responsible for some of the Northern Rhone's big, bold red wines. Down Under in Australia and South Africa it goes by name "Shiraz and is responsible for producing outstanding, delicious red wines.

The success and recognition of Australian Shiraz started long ago with a Shiraz from Victoria competing in the 1878 Paris Exhibition being likened to Château Margaux and "its taste completed its trinity of perfection." And the vintage of 1971 won first prize in Syrah/Shiraz at the Wine Olympics in Paris. Shiraz or Syrah?  It's actually the same grape.  We sample 8 wines from the 2001 to 2008 vintages from some very notable wineries including Brokenwood, Leeuwin Estate, Alkoomi, Rockfort Wines and others from most of the major wine producing regions in that great continent known as OZ.  Our vintages range from 2001 to 2008.

ThemeSeductively Delicious Shiraz
Date: Tuesday, March 18, 2014
Time: 6:00 PM to 7:30 PM EST
Where: University of Toronto Faculty Club, 41 Wi
llcocks Street, Toronto, ON M5S 1C7
Cost: TVC Members:  $69;  Non-members & guests:  $89
Register & Buy Tickets  - NOTE: ALL ticket sales are FINAL!

Jan 25, 2014

2004 Chateauneuf du Pape

James Lawther, MW, wrote on that “The 2004 vintage in Châteauneuf-du-Pape is the best since 2001 … with a minerally balance and freshness, and long ageing potential.”  Jancis Robinson wrote, "... in general the 2004 reds of the southern Rhône, including many relatively inexpensive Côtes du Rhône and Côtes du Rhône Villages are very attractive wines."  We taste 8 CNP wines from this vintage from very reputable producers and we are looking forward to a very exciting tasting.

Theme:  2004 Chateauneuf du Pape
Date: Tuesday February 18, 2014
Time: 6:00 PM to 7:30 PM EST
Where: University of Toronto Faculty Club, 41 Wi
llcocks Street, Toronto, ON M5S 1C7
Cost: TVC Members:  $76;  Non-members & guests:  $96
Register & Buy Tickets  - NOTE: ALL ticket sales are FINAL!