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A Wine Lover's Diary, part 136 (May 8, 2007)

Monday, April 30: Spent the day plowing through accumulated emails. It's amazing the amount of stuff I'm getting that has no relevance to anything I'm doing. About one in ten emails requires action. With the Grapes for Humanity dinner coming up on May 10th there is still a lot of detail work to do, especially around the silent auction and the final printing of the dinner program. Scrambled to get my tax forms off to the government to meet today's deadline. Hope the Auditor General keeps her eye on what they do with my money. For dinner, with pork loin, Bodegas Navarro Correas Grand Reserva Cabernet Sauvignon 2003, a dense, powerful wine with plum and black cherry flavour with a note of black olives. It's coming to Vintages on May 12 at a great price, $17.95.

Tuesday, May 1: Today is the test dinner for the Grapes for Humanity event at the Four Seasons. I am trying the meal with the wines along with Jackie Davies, who is the event planner for the fund-raiser, Sheila Swerling-Puritt and Marc Dorfman from the hotel. Here's the planned menu.

Smoked Wild King Salmon
Citrus Crab Salad, Chive and Shallot Vinaigrette

William Fèvre Chablis Bougros Côte Bouguerots 2004

Maple Roast Quail
Date & Foie Gras Stuffing, Sweet & Sour Puy Lentils

Bouchard Père et Fils Meursault Genevrières Domaine 2004

Slow Roasted Veal Tenderloin
Fennel Choucroute, Cherry Espresso Jus

Bouchard Père et Fils Beaune du Château Rouge Domaine 2003
Volnay Caillerets Ancienne Cuvée Carnot Domaine 1999

Artisan Canadian Farmhouse Cheeses
Rhubarb Chutney, Country Baguette

Bouchard Père et Fils Beaune Grèves Vigne de l'Enfant Jesus Domaine 2001

Smoked Honey Custard
Blackberry Preserve, Almond Tuille

Château des Charmes Riesling Icewine 2002

We tinker with the dishes a little to make sure they match the wines. It's going to be a great meal. For dinner, after this feast, a BBQ hamburger and salad with a bottle of Grant Burge Barossa Vines Cabernet Sauvignon Merlot 2005 (peppery blackcurrant with spicy oak, full-bodied and sweet and juicy on the mid palate).

Wednesday, May 2: Spent the day inputting the wine reviews for the May Vintages release. I hand-write my reviews on the catalogue in the tasting lab and then transcribe them. Deborah says she can't read my writing at the best of times, and towards the end of the day's tasting neither can I. It is a long and tedious process. Tonight there is a briefing session at the house for the volunteers who will be helping at the May 10th dinner – setting up the silent auction, manning the tables, etc. I am having dinner with Wendy Cheropita, an old friend from the wine trade. We walk around to Shatzy's Trattoria with a bottle of Deborah Paskus' Closson Chase Chardonnay 2005 and Jadot Morgon 2003. The Chardonnay is amazing – rich and spicy with clove and pineapple flavours.

Thursday, May 3: The Henriot champagne for the dinner on May 10 arrived this morning. The front door bell rang four different times between 8 am and 9 am. Pinot the Wonder Dog goes berserk every time she hears the bell. She wants to French kiss everyone. The mailman is not amused, nor is the guy who comes to fix the air conditioning. Trying to find small French flags for the tables for the Grapes for Humanity dinner. The flag shop on Spadina has eight. I need twice that number. Dinner tonight, with Deborah, at Grano for Tedeschi with the winemaker Riccardo Tedeschi there to talk about his wines. We start off with 2006 Monte Tenda Soave, followed by 2004 Capitel dei Nicalo Valpolicella, 2004 Capitel San Rocco Rosso del Veronese Ripasso, then on to the Amarone2003 and the 2003 Capitel Monte Olmi. For dessert the 1997 Capitel Monte Fontana Recioto della Valpolicella. The highlight of the dinner are the sausages made by LCBO Consultant Angelo Bean. He calls them Salsiccie Ubriache (drunken sausages) since he cryo-extracts wines to add to the Berkshire pork meat. He does this by freezing the wines and removing the ice. We had four different wine-flavoured sausages, which were presented on wood skewers set into vine cuttings like a small ladder. The first sausage was made with Vino dei Poeti by Bottega (the hyper-active Sandro Bottega will, no doubt, be tickled pink when he learns about this). The others were made with Tedeschi Amarone della Valpolicella, Recioto della Valpolicella Capitel Fontana 2004 and Recioto della Valpolicella Capitel Fontana 2004 with gorgonzola and truffle oil. Delicious.

Friday, May 4: The June Vintages release tasting. There must have been over 100 wines out for tasting. Shared the chore with Zoltan Szabo. Went through a whack of rosés. For dinner, with hamburgers, Errazuriz Dom Max Shiraz 2005. Perfect combo.




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