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A Wine Lover's Diary, part 128 (March 12, 2007)

Monday, March 5: My computer got fried in the electrical storm. I lost two hard drives, and all my files – except those I put on my DataTraveller and on my laptop – are gone. What I miss most are the photos of Pinot the Wonder Dog. I can reconstruct files by begging people to send me back stuff. It's a bore but curiously liberating to lose all the baggage. My contact list is the worst calamity. At least I have most of the information on my palm. The smell of burnt out chips from the computer is horrible. Now I have to get a new computer. Drove down to Henry of Pelham for a meeting of the advisory board for the Ontario Wine Awards. Spend the rest of the day inputting wine entries. The winemakers, as usual, leave it to the last moment. The entry deadline is March 13. For dinner, Essence de Dourthe 2000, a blend of four Bordeaux appellations, an interesting wine, chocolate and spice and currant flavours. With lamb chops.

Tuesday, March 6: Wrote my Commentary for Tidings magazine on Quebec Ice Cider, a product that will do for that province internationally what Icewine has done for Ontario. A meeting with Charmain Emerson of Building Blocks, a PR company, to discuss Grapes for Humanity. For dinner, Long Flat Cabernet Merlot 2004 in 1 litre tetrapak with Chinese ravioli. Dean Tudor has arranged for the wine writers to taste all the wines that come in tetrpaks and alternative packaging – 80-odd products, with the emphasis on the odd.

Wednesday, March 7: Drop my files of receipts off to the accountant for my income tax return. Then headed to Prego for a tasting of Alain Brumont's Montus and Bouscasse wines. The man has an ego as big as all outdoors but he makes very rich and expressive wines in Madiran, Gascony and Pacherenc. The best wines were Montus Prestige 2002 (dense purple-black colour; gamey-truffle nose; spicy, spicy black cherry with a firm tannic finish) and Les Menhirs 2003 (50% Tannat, 50% Merlot) – a Côte de Gascogne wine (meaty, full-bodied, a monster wine with black fruits and dark chocolate flavours). The most expensive wine,La Tyre 2001 Montus Vineyard Old Vines at $120 a bottle, was very closed and tight with an earthy, gamey nose with floral notes. Will be terrific in ten to fifteen years. For dinner, a bottle of Gallo's Turning Leaf Cabernet Sauvignon 2004. (I heard to day that Ernest Gallo had died. He and Robert Mondavi have had the greatest influence on the global wine scene – okay, add Robert Parker Jr. to that list. No other critic in any era, in any discipline, has had as much power as Robert Parker to move and shape a global industry.)

Thursday, March 8: Wrote an article on Champagne for the Chinese magazine Fine Wine & Liquor. Then down to the Fine Wine Reserve for a tasting of San Felice wines with the winemaker Leonardo Bellacini. Deborah and I spent a few days in a farmhouse on the property during our honeymoon in 1997. The tasting started with three vintages of Poggio Rosso, 1997, 1999 and 2001.

  • 1997: cedar, minerally, cherry nose; dry, firmly structured, still tight with a leather note.
  • 1999: lighter in colour than the '97; elegant, yellow cherry, high tined with a tannic finish. Leaner and more restrained that '97.
  • 2001: dense ruby colour; concentrated, meaty, cherry nose' dry plum flavour with a hint of oxidation in the fruit; young and tannic.
  • Vigorello 1997 (Sangiovese with 40% Cabernet Sauvignon): deep ruby, mature rim; earthy, tobacco nose; dry cherry flavour, elegant, well balanced with fresh acidity; firm structure.
  • Vigorello 1999: ruby, minerally, iodine note; lean, sour cherry taste, firm with lively acidity.
  • Vigorello 2001 (Sangiovese with Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot): deep ruby, floral, cherry, minerally nose; sweet fruit, lots of extract; firm structure with a real sense of terroir.

We finished with a flight of four Pugnitello – an ancient thick-skinned Tuscan variety that was discovered in a vineyard in Maremma and brought to the vitiarium at San Felice to be propagated. The name translates as "little fist" – the shape of the bunches.

  • Pugnitello 1997 turned out to be my favourite wine of the tasting: ruby colour; lovely floral cherry and raspberry nose (reminiscent of Grenache from the southern Rhone), beautifully balanced, elegant, medium-bodied with good length. A mouth-watering wine.
  • Pugnitello 2000: ruby, minerally, struck flint nose; sweet black cherry flavour; soft mid palate, sweet tannins.
  • Pugnitello 2001: plum and cherry nose, a real charmer, soft tannins but finishes firmly.
  • Pugnitello 2003: oaky, creamy, cooked cherry nose; full-bodied, Acidity kicks in on mid-palate.

After the tasting, a meeting at Sam Sarick's to discuss auction items for the Grapes for Humanity dinner. Sam is donating a dinner featuring clarets from the 1982 vintage. Deborah and I didn't feel like cooking so we ordered in Chinese food from C'est Bon just around the corner. A great match for Daniel Lenko Viognier 2005. This is a wonderful wine that smells of peach blossom and honey. The best Viognier I've tasted from Ontario.

Friday, March 9: A Vintages tasting for the April release – huge. There must have been over 100 wines out. Zoltan Szabo took half, mercifully. For dinner I cooked pasta with a veal chop and served it with Concha y Toro Trio 2004 (Cabernet Sauvignon, Shiraz, Cabernet Franc).

Saturday, March 10: This evening is a Saintsbury Society dinner at Carol and Irvin Wolkoff's. The guests are Alex and Judy Eberspaecher. Alex is The Wine Cop, a retired policeman who writes about wine in Oakville. Here are the wines we opened to go with the Rhone themed dinner:

  • Grandes Serres La Rose d'Aimee Tavel 2005
  • Cave de Tain Crozes-Hermitage Blanc 2004
  • Chateau La Nerte Chateauneuf du Pape Cuvee de Cadet 1989 (drying out)
  • Chapoutier Chateauneuf du Pape Barberac 1989
  • Domaine du Grapillon d'Or Gigondas 2003
  • Chateau de Beaucastel 1996 (from my cellar)
  • Pierre Amadieu Gigondas Romane Machotte 2004
  • Dr. Loosen Wehlener Sonnenuhr Riesling Auslese 2003

Alex brought along a Lemberger, which I failed to note.

The highlight of the evening was Irvin modelling his Borat swimsuit.

 

 

 

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