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A Wine Lover's Diary, part 159 (October 22, 2007)

Monday, October 15: Charles Jewett of Trilogy Wine Merchants has invited me to Le Select for a tasting and lunch with my old friend Yves-Dominic Ferraud. I have long been a fan of Pierre Ferraud et Fils Beaujolais and I now have the opportunity to taste all ten Ferraud crus together.

I recall visiting the Ferraud winery in 1991 on a cycling trip. The Côte de Brouilly was a bitch of a hill. Yves Dominic arranged the wines in the order below.

  • Régnié Cuvée Antoine Ferraud 2005: cherry nose with a floral note; simple and fruity with an elderberry taste
  • Chiroubles Domaine des Marrans 2006: minerally, cherry and white pepper nose; light and lively with a licorice finish
  • Brouilly Domaine Rolland 2006: very elegant with a touch of oak, inky and dry. Well made (this with the Côte de Brouilly from the same estate were my favourites of the wines we tasted at lunch before the food was served.)
  • Juliénas Domaine Ferraud "Les Ravinets" 2006: dry, lean, austere and acidic with a firm structure.
  • Côte de Brouilly Domaine Rolland 2006: charming, fragrant and very flattering

The five Beaujolais crus that followed were served with the lunch – rustic dishes from the region (direct translations from the menu provided):

  • Crispy sow's ear strips served with lentils du Puy
  • Neanderthalesque bone marrow with a parsley salad and vanilla dressing (an eight inch bone sawed in half)
  • Beef cheek braised in red with pork lardons and button mushrooms on a parsnip purée with sweet potato chips
  • Flourless chocolate cake with fruit salad and passion fruit sorbet

The wines with the meal:

  • Fleurie Le Reposoir 2006: light, elegant, floral with an inky cherry and redcurrant flavour
  • St. Amour Cuvée Ensorceleuse 2006: firm, cherry flavour, round on the palate, great structure
  • Morgon Domaine Ferraud "Les Charmes" 2006: a big wine, dry and minerally with good grip
  • Chénas Cuvée Jean-Michel 2005: light, peppery, dry fruit with good acidity
  • Moulin-à-Vent L'Eolienne 2006: dry, cherry and bitter chocolate flavours; still tight with a tannic lift on the finish

(I loved the St. Amour and the Morgon; the Moulin-à-Vent needs a year or two in bottle).

A Grand Cru Meeting at 5 pm.

Tuesday, October 16: Wrote my 680News wine reviews for tomorrow's recording and worked on this year's Wine Report from Canada material for Tom Stevenson's annual book. Tasted a red and a white wine from Georgia that a Toronto agent is interested in bringing to the market here:

Badagoni Red 2005: Deep ruby colour with a smoky blackberry nose. Very Syrah-like; plum and blackberry flavours, cleanly extracted and pure. Medium-bodied, well balanced with soft tannins.

Badagoni White 2005: Deeply coloured with a sappy, oxidative nose; dry resiny flavour.

(The white, apparently, had been sitting around for months in an office and I'll retaste it when a new one arrives).

Our house guest, Pooch, has invited Deborah and me to dinner with importer Rob Groh of The Vine, his wife and Maya who works with Rob and Marilena Cocci Grifoni of Tenuta Cocci Grifoni. We're dining at Matahari, a Malaysian restaurant on Baldwin Street. I am brining along Westrey Pinot Gris 2002 from Oregon and St. Innocent Seven Hills Pinot Noir 2001. Rob has brought along some of the Cocci Grifoni wines, beginning with Offida Passerina sparkling wine. I didn't realize that Passerina was a fruit; I thought it was a type of cardinal. The wine was delicious. Then we had Vigneti San Basso Falerino 2006 (made from Pecorino, Passerina, Verdicchio, Trebbiano) – white peach, minerally. Very refreshing with the spicy prawns. Next, St. Innocent Pinot Noir, delicious black raspberry flavours, very full on the palate. Then Cocci Grifoni Vigna Messieri Rosso Piceno Surperiore 2003 – ripe plum flavour, dense with good balancing acidity. Zenn Soo, the owner of Matahari, brought out a bottle of Boeger Zinfandel 1998 that Pooch had sold him years ago. Still going strong. And then a glass of Bagatelle Muscat de St. Jean de Minervois 2005 with dessert. Matahari is a wonderful restaurant. The dishes are spicy but beautifully prepared with an impressive, well-chosen wine list to match the cuisine.

Wednesday, October 17: A phone call this morning from Sarah Kemp, the publisher of Decanter magazine in London, asking if I would be interested in being the regional chair of a judging panel for Canadian wines at next April's Decanter International Wine Competition. This will be the fourth year of the competition. For the past three years Canadian wines have been lumped together with American wines and tasting on the last day of the competition. Good to see our wines are getting the recognition they deserve. Recorded my 680News reviews. This evening Larry Brenzell has invited me to dinner to meet Savannah Sampson, the porn star. He is importing her new line of Italian wines. Deborah gave a tight-lipped smile when I told her whom I was meeting, but I added hastily that there would be a lot of people there. I was seated next to Savannah with Shinan Govani from the National Post opposite me. I noticed that she is left-handed. I told her that I am left-handed and that a good thirty per cent of the Wine Writers Circle is left-handed. Savannah replied that there is a disproportionate number of left-handed people in the porn industry. Maybe we wine writers are in the wrong business. I never did get to taste Savannah's wine but Larry had provided Fattoria Nittardi Ad Astra 2004, a Maremma wine which is a blend of Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Syrah and Sangiovese.

Savannah Sampson. Somewhere in this picture there are also two bottles of wine.

Thursday, October 18: A tasting this morning of the Vintages Essentials wines, wines that are meant to be always available on Vintages' shelves. We tasted 78 altogether. I now break for lunch halfway through and walk over to the Toronto Star canteen. This evening, Deborah and I are invited to the 14th annual fund-raiser for Multiple Sclerosis put on by Garrett Herman, CEO of Lowen, Ondaatje, & McCutcheon at The Four Seasons. I donated a home wine tasting with wines from my cellar. The item raised $2500 in the live auction.

Friday, October 19: As if yesterday's tasting wasn't enough, the wine press has another Vintages tasting, the second release for November. Seventy-three wines. The conversation in the tasting room got round to a problem that we all have. If you taste a lot of red wines in sequence, as careful as you are, you cannot help getting wine-stained fingers from holding the glass. There is no descriptive term for this effect. Konrad Ejbich came up with "the purple pinch," which is as good an expression as any that were offered. For dinner, spaghetti with meat sauce with Salice Salentino Riserva 2003 and the rest of Lindemans Cabernet Sauvignon Coonawarra Reserve 2005 that Pooch and I had started yesterday.




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