- Nelson Abreu on Northern Italy Vines Have Come to Ontario!
- Jim Lloyd on Northern Italy Vines Have Come to Ontario!
- Mat Vaughan on Northern Italy Vines Have Come to Ontario!
- Rick Schofield on Northern Italy Vines Have Come to Ontario!
- Nelson Abreu on Steve Gunning @ Roots Run Deep Winery Educated Guess Chardonnay 2010
Arcadian Loft, Toronto – Tuesday, January 15
Guest Speakers: Christopher Waters and Ann Sperling
It was a beautiful sunny day, the view from the Arcadian Loft was a city draped in sun shine. The tasting room was spacious and inviting. The wine presentation was at its best. The list of wineries in attendance was:
Eau Vivre Winery
Mission Hill Family Estate
Meyer Family Vineyards
Steve Gunning tastes notes:
2011 Gewurztraminer Gray Monk LCBO# 321588 $19.95
A wonderful expression of Varietal character on the nose, citrus and rose peddles. Very full in body, favours of pineapple/citrus, acid/sweet balance, finishes to a bitter spice, Long length.
2010 Chardonnay (reserve) Mission Hill LCBO# 218636 $19.95
New world style, Very floral on the nose, tropical fruits, pear, green apple. Well integrated but substantial toasted Oak, Med body, spicy, long length.
2011 Old Vines Riesling Sperling Vineyards LCBO# 134486 $34.00
An outstanding elegant balance, Seductive nose, pineapple, with hints of petrol, A firm acid but still comes across as lush, a clean finish on the palate, but the umami lingers.
2009 Sangiovese (Small Lots) Sandhill $30.00
Complex tight nose, hints of black berry fruit, lean style which makes for an excellent food wine, nice balance, good length with a very dry tannic finish. I would decant and let breath before serving.
2010 Cabernet/Merlot Sandhill $19.95
Complex tight nose, tarry black fruits, jammy, hints of expresso, cola. Med weight, firmness and structure, Toasted oak show though in the finish, with a long length. This is a sleeper, there is more to this wine than it is showing up front, I would decant and let breath before serving. This wine is cellar worthy, and will get more interesting over the next 3 years. Excellent value!
Here’s a very interesting article about what winery Pilitteri is up to!
by Vic Harradine
Véronique Rivest, from Wakefield, Québec, is the newly crowned winner of the Best Sommelier of the America’s competition in Bento Gonçalves, Brazil. She defeated all competitors from North and South America. Véronique is an Algonquin College Sommelier Certificate Program (Ottawa, Canada) alumnus.
Véronique was Canada’s Best Sommelier in 2006 and this September, she again won the 2012 competition followed by her recent 2012 Best Sommelier of the America’s award. She was nominated as the World Female Wine Person of the Year in 2007 and represented Canada in the World’s Best Sommelier contest in Rhodes, Greece in 2007 and in Santiago, Chile in 2010, finishing in the top twelve finalists in both.
Like a vine, Véronique’s roots go deep in the world of wine. It began to ferment while living and studying, eventually getting married, in the Alsace wine region of France. Upon returning to Canada she fashioned her world and career around one concept — seek out and soak up every piece of knowledge concerning wine then share it in a friendly and unpretentious manner. This led to her quest to become the ‘Best Sommelier’—first it was Canada, then the Americas; with both those conquered, there remains but one more to capture – the Best Sommelier in the World.
“The most difficult aspect of these competitions is that they’re timed. You must make decisions very quickly and be correct,” Rivest commented. “The competitors are well trained, betting better and better. You also must compete in a language other than your mother tongue. Luckily, I have worked extensively in French and English. As much as experience helps to be a bit more in control, the stress is always terribly high.”
Effervescent and enthusiastic, Véronique chose tough rows to hoe. She was server-sommelier, eventually full-time manager and sommelier, at one of the National Capital Region’s premiere dining establishments, Les Fougères in Chelsea, Québec. She worked full time as an LCBO Product Knowledge Consultant in Ottawa and as a part-time Professor at Algonquin, also developing the Sommelier Advanced curriculum, after graduating from the Algonquin College Sommelier Certificate Program. And, if not enough, Véronique’s a wife and a mother.
She continued, “To be successful requires a relentless, unending amount of hard work, lots of perseverance and motivation. The fact that I love what I do allows me to remain so committed. The next 5 months will be completely focused on preparing for the world competition in Japan and will involve extremely intense training. Studying, tasting and doing mock service exams and all kinds of practical tests. Hard work and talent are necessary, but I’m going to need a little luck too.”
Her next challenge will be in Japan, March 2013, where she’ll once again represent Canada in this tri-annual competition, up against the best Sommeliers in the world. While Véronique will spend the next few months training, she’s also seeking sponsors, especially corporate, to assist with her expenses, allowing her to train extensively and hone her skills just as any champion in a world competition would do. We all wish her luck with her quest to be… the Best Sommelier in the World!
By Claire Boulley
This Italian show was represented by 85 wineries. It was impossible to spend time with each producer so my goal was to visit all the tables with Piemonte wines and investigate Barolo’s. Prices varied from $39.95 to $89.95 and are 100% Nebbiolo (DOCG). Vintages ranged from 2004 to 2008. Piemonte wine is the range of Italian Wine made in the province of Piedmont in the northwestern corner of Italy. The best-known wines from the region include Barolo and Barbaresco. The zone of production Nebbiolo extends into the communes of Barolo, Castiglione Falletto, Serralunga d’Alba and parts of the communes of Cherasco, Diano d’Alba , Grinzane Cavour, La Morra, Monforte d’Alba, Novello, Roddi, Verduno, all in the province of Cuneo, south-west of Alba. Only vineyards planted in primarily calcareous-clay soils in the hills with suitable slopes and orientations are considered suitable for Barolo production. Barolo is often described as having the aromas of tar and roses, and the wines are noted for their ability to age and usually take on a rust red tinge as they mature. When subjected to aging of at least five years before release, the wine can be labeled a Riserva. In the past, Barolos often used to be very rich on tannin. It could take more than 10 years for the wine to soften up and become ready for drinking. Fermenting wine sat on the grape skins for at least three weeks extracting huge amounts of tannins and was then aged in large, wooden casks for years. The traditional approach to Nebbiolo involves long maceration periods of 20 to 30 days and the use of older large botti size barrels. The modern approach to Nebbiolo utilizes shorter maceration periods of 7 to 10 days and cooler fermentation temperatures between 82-86°F (28-30°C) that preserve fruit flavors and aromas. Towards the end of the fermentation period, the cellars are often heated to encourage the start of malolactic fermentation which softens some of Nebbiolo’s harsh acidity.
Trade Show Barolo recommendations: Aurello Settimo 2007 Barolo DOCG Rocche Dell’ A nnunziata $59.95; Tenuta Rocca 2007 Barolo $59.95; Bersano Vini 2006 Barolo Riserva $69.95; Ca’Dei Mandorli 2010 Barbera D’Asti Superiore La Bellalda; Gianni Gagliardo 2007 Serre; Monssecco 2006 Ghemme and 2006 Gattinara (not LCBO).
Other unusual grape varieties available with the producers present at this trade show were Caniaiolo, Autres Caepages; Glera; Verdisio; Brachetto; Cannonau; Nero D’Avola; Arneis; Grechetto; Pecorino; Picolit; Refosco Dal Peduncolo Rosso; Molinara; Malvasia Nera; Cococciola; Primitivo; Negroamaro; Favorita; Cepages Complementaires; Colorino; Arneis; Teroldego; Uva Rara; Vespolona; Falanghina; Vernaccia Di San Gimignano; Grecanico; Frappato; Fiano; Garganega (Veneto); Vermentino; Grillo; Tocai Friuliano; Malvasia Istriana; Garganega; Uva Di Troia; Sagrantino; Grechetto; and Lacrima.
In the Vintage November 24, 2012 release, there are two Barolo’s from the Piedmont area, Ascheri Pisapola 2007, 92 points that will age until 2028. Also, Cascina Cucco Cerrati 2007, 92 points, best drank after 2015. This release is also offering from Piedmont, a Socre 2008 Barbaresco, 92 points that will age until 2023. Take a trip in a glass to Piedmont, Italy.
On November 2nd, The Royal Agricultural Winter Fair and WineAlign present an epicurean wine tasting dinner celebrating winning wines from the 2012 Royal Wine Competition.
Emmy nominated Padma Lakshmi is known internationally as an actress, food expert, model and award-winning author. Lakshmi can be seen on the Food Network as the host of “Top Chef”.
Mix & mingle over a glass of wine with guest Padma Lakshmi and other food & wine aficionados in the Royal Vineyard from 8:00-8:30pm. At 8:30 pm, head to the Royal Court Restaurant, where gourmet cuisine will be paired with winning wines from the competition. Master Sommelier John Szabo – Head Judge of the 2012 Royal Wine Competition – will lead the tasting and speak to the elements of the competition and the wines that came out on top. Click here for complete event details.
These exclusive tickets are priced at $100.00 for a three course meal including wine pairings.
Our wine dinner events have been consistently and quickly selling out. If you are interested in attending then we advise you to purchase your tickets as soon as possible to avoid disappointment.
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Shirley-Ann George of ‘Free My Grapes’ fame, was a driving force behind the Private Member’s Bill C-311—sponsored by Dan Albas, MP for Okanagan-Coquihalla—and its successful passage in the House. The bill sought unfettered passage and transport of wine by individuals between Provinces.
WINES OF CHILE – TORONTO 12 – ANNUAL TASTING – ROYAL ONTARIO MUSEUM
OCT 2, 2012 – 2:00 – 5:00 PM - THEME: THE NATURAL CHOICE
REPORTED BY CLAIRE BOULLEY AND SHEILA LAUZON
CLAIRE BOULLEY: Because of the geographic barriers and resulting isolation of Chile, the country is free of pests, a reason why many wineries are producing grapes organically and bio-dynamically. Chile is making progress in the Competitive Canadian wine market with sales growing by +6.5% in 2011, $282 million. In Ontario, Chilean wines grew +11% in volume and +12% value, leading all provinces.
Represented at this show were 30 wineries. The food was prepared by Chef Andres Michel from Santiago, Chile. Upon entering the Trade Show, everyone was handed a booklet containing all the wineries present with ample room adjacent to each winery for notes and scores out of five (5). The Wine Judges of Canada had 10 members present at this event.
Being served at the 9th Annual Wines of Chile Awards Winners table were 10 wines from vintages 2009 – 2011 ranging from $8.00 to $40.00. My favorite two wines were the Best In Category Cono Sur 2009 20 Barrels Limited Edition Syrah from Limari Valley at $26.95 and a Gold Medal Vistamar 2009 Morande Vingo from Maule Valley at $39.95.
At the winery tables, my recommendations are Maipo 2010 Gran Devocion Carmenere Syrah from Maule Valley $16.95 and a 2009 Morande Gran Reserva Carmenere, Maipo Valley $17.95. These wines will age nicely in your cellar.
On the whole, most reds were drinking young with visible tannins but most displayed an excellent future. The whites were drinking well with some stellar Sauvignon Blanc’s. My recommendation would be Dos Andes Llai Llai Sauvignon Blanc from the Bio Bio Valley $13.50.
This event, for me, has created a new found interest in Carmenere. These wines were full bodied, bold and exciting.
Viva la Vida
SHEILA LAUZON: This show was a walk about tasting with 30 wineries and 170 wines to taste. This was well worth the trip from London. I’ll share with you 2 of the wineries I really enjoyed.
The first is Apaltaqua Winery, where the staff and wine maker (Benjamin Mei) were enthusiastic and passionate about their winemaking. Starting with the Sauvignon Blanc, this is a delicate wine with tropical aromas and bright flavours with a clean citrus finish. This wine is elegant from start to finish. Next was the 2011 Apaltaqua Reserva Pinot Noir, a lighter style of Pinot, this wine has fresh Cherry and berry flavours. I found this wine very easy drinking. Their 2008 Apaltaqua Grial Carmenere is a rich and robust full bodied red wine with spice blackberry and cassis followed by coffee. Lovely!
The next winery is Emiliana. Having its start in the 1980’s and in 1996 became a completely organic vineyard with bio-dynamic farming practices. The winemaker and staff were extremely proud of their products, which are excellent! Being released in February of 2013 is their 2010 Carmenere / Cabernet Sauvignon from Colchaqua Valley. This is a huge red with black fruits coffee and hints of Chocolate on the palate. The 2010 Novas Syrah / Morverdre blend. The wine is full of aromas and flavours of black fruits, cassis, pepper, blackberry and anise.
This was the first trade show I’ve attended and certainly will not be the last.
Chapter’s of London met on August 21, 2012 to do a vertical tasting on a cult wine, Nota Bene, from Black Hill’s Estate Winery in Oliver, BC. Below are the results. The wines were purchased as a box set for $320.00, vintages 2007, 2008, 2009 and 2010.
PRESENT: STEVE GUNNING – WJC, CLAIRE BOULLEY – WJC, TIM WHITE – WJC, SHEILA LAUZON – WJC, STEWART WOOD – WJC; LORI EDWARDS – PRODUCT CONSULTANT WITH LCBO; BRANT ALLAIN – AWO, GEORGE PICCIN –AWO
This evening was started with two welcoming wines, 2002 Sandhill, ONE, Small Lots Program and a 2002 Quail’s Gate, Fume Blanc. Both wines are from BC and were sound, bold and alive.
NOTA BENE WINES: The panel was to evaluate the wines and assign which Vintage order the wines were served. Wines were served blind and in this order 2009, 2010, 2007 and 2008. The marking system is out of 100. The scores include Bronze 70-79; Silver 80-89 and Gold is 90-100.
2009 - Over all comments: Rich garnet color, bold fruit flavors with oak characteristics. Full bodied with hints of chocolate, black pepper, coffee, tertiary notes and a velvety smooth lengthy finish. 14.1 % alcohol. Number of Persons with Correct Vintage: 2
SCORES: 85; 80; 88; 90; 91; 89; 92; 90 Average Score for WJC: 87% Over all scores: 88%
2010: Over All Comments: Deep red, purple and inky edges; integrated oak; ripe black fruit, rich cedar notes, full bodied, cassis and raspberry on the palate, smooth mature tannins with a lingering finish. 14.2% alcohol. Number of Persons with Correct Vintage: 1
SCORES: 92; 86; 85; 86; 90; 87; 88; 87 Average Score for WJC: 88% Over all Scores: 88%
2007: Over All Comments: Garnet core to clear ruby rim; fruit forward nose, tight herbs; savory background with mint; big tannic structure; flavors of black tea, soya, burned sugar; persistent fruit on the finish. 14. 7% alcohol. Number of Persons with Correct Vintage: 2
SCORES: 85; 90; 89; 93; 90; 90; 93; 84 Average Score for WJC: 89 Over All Scores: 89%
2008: Over All comments: Red, purple hues in the glass. Sophisticated nose with hints of pepper, coffee and chocolate; Rich full body, elegant, smooth tannins; well structured; long and persistent flavors. 14% alcohol. Number of Persons with Correct Vintage: 2
SCORES: 93; 90; 87; 90; 88; 87; 92; 95 Average Score for WJC: 90 Over All Scores: 90%
It was agreed that these wines should be tested again in five years. These wines were a pleasure.