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Toronto's Best Wine List  (August 8, 2002)

It took Tony Amaro of Opus restaurant ten years to put together a wine cellar that would win The Wine Spectator's coveted Grand Award this month. The list, 1600 selections in all, is as thick as the phone book for a small city. And not all the wines in the 23,000-bottle cellar are on the list. Given the restrictions of working within the Liquor Board system, the feat of having accumulated the icon wines in various vintages is impressive indeed.

Amaro does not believe in hefty mark-ups; most of the wines are priced at double the amount he paid for them. Not bad when many restaurants use a 200 or even 300 percent mark-up policy.

Opus' list is very strong in Italian wines, red Bordeaux, port and red Burgundies (heavy into such producers as Domaine de la Romanée-Conti, Leroy, Méo Camuzet, Armand Rousseau).

The most expensive bottle on the list is Pétrus 1947 at $17,500 but you can get away with spending under $40 a bottle. Some of the bargains are:

  • Cline Carignane 1996 ($55) California
  • Qupe Syrah 1999 ($49) California
  • Peter Lehmann Shiraz 1998 ($50) Australia
  • Avignonesi Rosso di Toscana 1996 ($47) Tuscany
  • Trenel Fleurie Clos des Moriers 1999 ($45) Beaujolais
  • Jaboulet Vacqueras 1999 ($49) Rhône

Some of the highlights are:

  • 13 vintages of Penfolds Grange from 1992 back to 1976 (ranging in price between $695 and $1295).
  • 39 Brunellos from such starred names as Biondi Santi, Il Poggione and Poggio Antico
  • 17 vintages of Antinori Tignanello from 1997 ($225) back to 1971 ($750)
  • 28 vintages of Sassicaia from a 1997 double magnum ($1750) back to 1978 ($1150)
  • 21 vintages of Ludovico Antinori Ornellaia from a double magnum of 1998 ($1325) to back 1986 ($475)
  • 8 vintages of Quintarelli Amarone Ca Paletta from 1991 ($375) back to 1975 ($695)
  • 14 single vineyard Guigal Côte Rôtie from the northern Rhône from 1995 ($550) back to 1998 ($810)
  • 41 vintages of Château Mouton-Rothschild from 1997($495) to 1975 ($850)

Opus restaurant, 37 Prince Arthur, Toronto, Ontario. Telephone 416-921-3105.

 

 

 

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