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A Wine Lover's Diary, part 227 (February 9, 2009)

Monday, February 2: Had a phone call from Tony Losciavo, the owner of Paese Restaurant, to tell me that he has changed his mark-up policy on his wines (a very good list, incidentally). He now only marks up his wines $25 irrespective of what he paid for them. The house wines are marked up even less. Good for him. Wrote my monthly column for Lexpert magazine on Pinot Noir. Visited the Vintages store at Summerhill to select wines for a party in a couple of weeks.

Tuesday, February 3: This morning a tasting of Osoyoos Larose wines at the St. Andrews Club. The winemaker, Pascal Madevon, the vineyard consultant, Alain Sutre, and Antoine Merlaut (great name!), the Managing Director of Le Groupe Taillan (the largest winegrower in the Médoc), plus Jay Wright, the CEO of Vincor, were there for the launch. Pascal says he is going over to the basket press because the quality is much better. He now makes a second label called Petales d'Osoyoos – first vintage 2004.

  • 2004 Osoyoos Larose: deep purple-ruby holding its colour well; cedar, bramble and red berry nose with a tobacco note. Intriguing caramel tone balanced with savoury, herbal notes; good acidity. ****½
  • 2005 Osoyoos Larose: dense purple-black colour with a nose of blackberry, blackcurrant and vanilla oak and a floral top note; spicy licorice and red berry flavours; rich and elegant, firmly structured with a long finish. More feminine that the 2006. *****
  • 2006 Osoyoos Larose: dense purple-black; a bouquet of black fruits with a faint medicinal note in the floral and vanilla oak; lovely mouth-feel with a rich chocolate and black fruit flavour and a dry herbal finish. My favourite of the tasting. *****
  • 2007 Osoyoos Larose: dense purple-black colour; mocha and pencil lead, cedar and red fruits on the nose; mouth-filling, smooth and velvety on the palate. Quite forward. *****

Then we taste the five components of the 2008 Osoyoos Larose: Cabernet Franc, Malbec, Petit Verdot, Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon. The Cabernet Franc is very seductive already. The Cabernet Sauvignon I found a little green. At lunch we had the Petales d'Osoyoos 2005, which is delicious at $25 a bottle as opposed to $40 for the Grand Vin.

Lindsay Groves gave me a lift to Oasi (formerly Mildred Pierce) on Sudbury Street for a tasting she had arranged of Château Musar wines.

  • Château Musar 1998: (a blend of Cabernet Sauvignon, Cinsault and Carignan) mature ruby colour; high toned, elegant, well balanced, dry raspberry flavour; lively acidity; great length. *****
  • Château Musar 1997: a firmer wine with lovely raspberry and redcurrant notes; medium-bodied well extracted fruit with a thread of spiciness and good sustaining acidity. *****
  • Château Musar 1991: mature, tawny ruby; high toned, spicy nose; sweet raspberry and blackcurrant flavours, beautifully pitched and elegant; chocolate note with a lively acidic spine with great length. My favourite of the three. *****

We then tasted three whites wines made from the indigenous Merwah and Obaideh.

  • Château Musar White 2001: copper-gold colour; caramel and orange nose; full-bodied, toasty oak, rich baked apple and nutty flavours. ****½
  • Château Musar 1999: copper-gold colour; smoky, barnyard nose; full-bodied, fruity-caramel flavours, creamy apple too. Great length. *****
  • Château Musar 1995: coppery colour; mature, spicy nose of peaches and caramel, beginning to dry out; good length. Ready. ****

Wednesday, February 4: Worked on the final edits for the cellar book. My editor doesn't like the title The Wine Cellar Miscellany – so back to the drawing board. This evening a tasting for Unity for Autism at a private house. The wines:

  • McWilliams Hanwood Estate Chardonnay 2006
  • Sandhill Osprey Ridge Vineyard Viognier 2007
  • Stratus Gewürztraminer 2006
  • Chateau St. Andre Corbin 2006
  • Beringer Stone Cellars Merlot 2006
  • Kilikanoon Killerman's Run Shiraz 2006

Crowd favourite: Kilikanoon.

Thursday, February 5: A tasting at Doug Towers' house with David Lawrason for This evening a tasting for B'Nai Brith Canada's Toronto Freedom Lodge. The wines:

  • Laurenz Singing Grüner Veltliner 2007 (Austria)
  • Anselmi San Vincenzo 2007 (Veneto)
  • Cono Sur Viognier 2008 (Chile)
  • Vina Tarapaca Gran Reserva Carmenère 2007 (Chile)
  • Coto de Haya Garnacha Centenaria 2007 (Campo de Borja, Spain)
  • Sogrape Douro Reserva 2002 (Portugal)

Crowd favourite: Coto de Haya.

Friday, February 6: A Vintages release tasting for March 14th. This evening Deborah and I are meeting our friends Frank and Patti-Ann Daley for a quick dinner at The Salad King on Gould Street before the theatre – Euripides' Medea. I said to Frank I was going to yell out at the end, "Have some Madeira, Medea." He said it was the sixth time he'd heard that today – and I thought I'd made a great pun.




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