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A Wine Lover's Diary, part 121 (January 22, 2007)

Monday, January 15: Last night I opened a bottle of Kacaba Pinot Noir 2000 when Guy and his girlfriend Laura came over for dinner (steak, Guy's favourite). I was wary of its age but it showed beautifully. We also got through a bottle of Mountain Road Gamay Noir Reserve 2002 with the cheese. Worked on the cheese recipes that Gurth Pretty sent me for the book we're doing together. Searched the web for B&Bs in London for April – spending a week there for the Decanter International Wine Competition. The event is only four days but I have to spend at least one Saturday there or the flight costs three times as much. This evening I'm conducting a dinner tasting for a law firm at the Neubacher Art Gallery on St. Nicholas Street. The meal is being catered by Opulence. Here are the wines I've chosen:

  • Reception wine: Henry of Pelham Cuvée Catharine Rosé Brut (Ontario) $29.95 (LCBO #4051)
  • Sonoma-Cutrer Russian River Ranch Chardonnay 2005 (California) $29.95 (Vintages #608653)
  • Bouchard Père & Fils Monthélie 2003 (Burgundy) $33.95 (Vintages #661314)
  • Masi Brolo di Campofiorin 2003 (Veneto) $24.95 (Vintages #976092)
  • Vina Carmen Cabernet Sauvignon Reserva 2001 (Chile) $49.00 (Vintages #941609)
  • Wolf Blass Gold Label Botrytis Semillon 2004 (Australia) $19.95 (Vintages #4978)

Tuesday, January 16: Received a disturbing email from a woman called Cindy whom I do not know. The title was "Terrible that you promote and glorify alcohol." She then goes on to berate me in 14,940 words for writing about wine. A morning meeting with Andrew Green of Diamond Estates and Ivan Landers to discuss the possibility of a TV series on wine. (That will really get Cindy wound up). For dinner, Finca Flichman Expresiones Reserve 2005 from Argentina (60% Malbec, 40% Cabernet Sauvignon) – richly extracted black cherry and chocolate flavours.

Wednesday, January 17: A meeting with Kacim Kellal, the French Trade Commissioner to discuss the possibility of the Commission being the patron of the Grapes for Humanity dinner on May 10th. Here's a draft of the invitation that will be sent out next week.

Grapes for Humanity's fund-raiser dinner: Thursday, May 10th, 2007
The Four Seasons Hotel, Toronto (6.30 pm reception)
Special guest: Stanislas Henriot, President and Director General of Champagne Henriot.

Please join Tony Aspler, President and CEO of Grapes for Humanity (Canada), for an exclusive Fine Wine Dinner and Fine Wine Auction featuring the premium wines of the Henriot Group. We are honoured to have Stanislas Henriot as our special guest. The funds raised at this event will be directed to the Polus Centre to help landmine victims in Colombia. Coffee workers in Colombia put themselves at daily risk in their efforts to feed their families and build up the local economy. Grapes for Humanity's funds will help support landmine survivors with prosthetic and economic rehabilitation.

Wines to be served with the dinner are :

  • Henriot Souverain Brut Champagne
  • William Fèvre Chablis Bougerots 2004
  • Bouchard Père et Fils Meursault Genevières 2004
  • Bouchard Père et Fils Beaune du Château 2003
  • Bouchard Père et Fils Volnay Caillerets 1999
  • Bouchard Père et Fils Beaune de L'Enfant Jésu 2001
  • Château des Charmes Riesling Icewine 2002

Limited Seating – phone 1-416-922-7776 or email: Tickets $500. Corporate tables (8) $6,000

Downtown again to a law firm to sign 36 copies of the atlas for their corporate clients in Montreal.

Thursday, January 18: A lunch at the Miller Tavern with Jeff Lyons, who has recently joined the Board of Directors of Grapes for Humanity. He had suggested we lunch with Matey Nedkov de Lacamp, whom I knew twenty years ago when he ran the Connoisseur Show. Matey too will join the board. Rick Montgomery has offered the restaurant as a venue for one of our fundraisers. I shall take him up on that for the fall. Then down to the Rosewater Room on Toronto Street for a trade tasting of some 25 Napa Valley producers. The room was too small for the number of people and tasting was very difficult. But even under these conditions I was impressed by many of the wines I tasted. My top wines were Heitz Martha's Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon 2001, Silverado Vineyards Cabernet Sauvignon Solo 2003, Cuvaison Brandlin Cabernet Sauvignon 2003 from Mount Veeder, Cain Five 2003, Pine Ridge Cabernet Sauvignon 2002, Viader DARE Cabernet Franc 2004 and St. Supery Sauvignon Blanc 2005. I have always like this Sauvignon. Best value wine – Freemark Abbey Merlot 2002 at $35.95.

Friday, January 19: A tasting at the LCBO lab of new general list wines and a re-taste of some February Vintages release wines that were found to be corked last Friday. Also out for tasting were the range of 2004 Le Clos Jordanne Chardonnays and Pinot Noirs. These really are remarkable wines and have raised the bar in Canada. The Chardonnays are very complex and richer than white Burgundies. The best wine of the five Pinot Noirs for me was the Claystone Terrace – a steal at $35. I preferred it to Le Grand Clos at $60. Lunch at Jamie Kennedy's with Norman Hardie, who had brought along his 2005 Chardonnay (Beamsville fruit) and his 2005 Pinot Noir – one made from his own vineyard in Prince Edward County, the first crop off this site, the other from Beamsville fruit. The difference between the two was like Côte de Beaune and Côte de Nuits, both very well made and tasty wines. Between Norm Hardie and Thomas Bachelder at Le Clos Jordanne, Ontario is making great Pinot Noir. At 5 pm I dropped into a new gourmet prepared food store at 627 Mount Pleasant called Freshman's Food Boutique. Stew Cohen, the proprietor, used to live in New York and he missed the kind of quality take-home food that is available there. All the dishes at chef Marc Dufour and his team prepare are from organic products. In the basement of the store Stew offered me tastes of various dishes, Mexican lasagne (layered with tacos instead of pasta), grilled salmon, potato croquettes filled with blue cheese, garlic chicken, etc. I took home a bottle of their goulash soup, which was absolutely delicious. A great addition to the neighbourhood. For dinner, a bottle of Hillebrand Trius Grand Red 2002.




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