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A Wine Lover's Diary, part 240 (May 19, 2009)

Monday, May 11: Wrote an article for Post City Magazines on Grüner Veltliner – the next big thing. At 1 pm to Edo restaurant for a tasting of three Alsace producers, all of whom were there: Marc Beyer of Domaine Leon Beyer, Etienne Hugel of Hugel & Fils and Hubert Trimbach of Domaine Trimbach. They each showed four wines.

  • Hugel Muscat 2007: light, dry, orange blossom flavour. A charming wine (88)
  • Hugel Riesling 2007: minerally, lime, dry (87)
  • Hugel Pinot Noir 2005: light ruby; good concentration of raspberry and mineral flavours; quite Burgundian in style (88)
  • Hugel Gewürztraminer Sélection de Grains Nobles 2002: very rich, candy apple flavour but with good balancing acidity (92)
  • Leon Beyer Riesling Les Ecaillers 2005: petrol, lime flavours with good mouth-feel (88)
  • Leon Beyer Pinot Gris 2007: medium straw colour; minerally, white peach nose; medium-bodied; fresh and lively with good length (88)
  • Leon Beyer Pinot Gris Comtes d'Eguesheim 2005: rich, peach flavour, succulent, fresh and lively on the palate (90)
  • Leon Beyer Gewürztraminer Sélection de Grains Nobles 1998: drier than other SGNs; still holding varietal character with toffee and burnt orange flavours (91)
  • Trimbach Pinot Blanc 2006: white peach and mineral flavours, dry, nicely balanced (87)
  • Trimbach Riesling Fréderic Emile 2004: petrol, lime and tangerine flavours; still tight, minerally finish (88)
  • Trimbach Pinot Gris Réserve 2003: peachy flavour, well balanced, elegant, minerally finish (89)
  • Trimbach Gewurztraminer 2007: lychee, rose petal nose; intense, floral lychee flavour, great length. A delicious wine (91).

Dinner at Sam & Esther Sarick's to meet Klaus Vogel and his winemaker Claus Burmeister at Weingüter Heitlinger & Burg Ravensburg in Baden. An impressive selection of wines but since it was a dinner party I put away my notebook.

Tuesday, May 12: (My birthday, which I share with Michael Ignatieff, Farley Mowat, and my old friend Ted Turner – not that Ted Turner.) A tasting of Greek wines at the Metropolitan Hotel beginning with a seminar conducted by John Szabo and Tara Thomas. They led us through ten representative wines.

  • Cair Athiri of Rhodes (NV): pale straw; marshmallow and citrus peel nose; light, crisp, minerally with a green apple flavour (86)
  • Papagianakos Savatiano 2008: pale straw; minerally, grassy, floral nose; creamy on the palate yet finishes crisply dry (87)
  • Boutari Moscofilero 2008: medium straw; spicy, tangerine, lemon flavours; very elegant with a rose petal note (90)
  • Gaia Thalassitis Asyrtico 2008: pale straw; smoky, minerally, dry, white pepper and lemon flavours; good length with a tart finish (87)
  • Spiropoulos Meliasto Rosé 2008: (Moscofilero and Agiorgitiko) pink with a blue tint; perfumed, raspberry and dried rose petal flavours; good acidity (87)
  • Skouras Grande Cuvée 2006: (Agioritiko from Nemea) ruby-purple colour; spicy, vanilla, floral, red berry nose; ripe plum flavour, oaky and tannic (88)
  • Kir Yanni Ramnista 2005: light ruby-amber; Nebbiolo-like, dried rose petal and dried cherry flavours, tannic. Needs age (88)
  • Tsantali Rapsani Reserve 2005: deep purple-ruby; vanilla, caramel, blackberry notes; firm structure, medium-bodied; finishes dry and savoury (88)
  • Kourtaki Mavrodaphane Patras NV: (fortified) ruby colour; nutty, plum nose; sweet, syrupy, raisiny flavour (86)
  • Parparoussis Muscat Rio Patras 2005: deep coloured; sweet, perfumed orange and burnt sugar flavours; enough acidity to keep it in balance (88)

Then into taste more Greek wines in an adjacent room. Impressive wines being made by Skouras, Sigalas, Kir Yanni and Boutari.

For dinner Deborah and I went to Zucca on Yonge Street. I brought along a bottle of Burrowing Owl Merlot 2007 which went beautifully with my pasta dish.

Wednesday, May 13: A meeting down at Toronto General Hospital for Grand Cru. Had to battle my way through Tamil protesters who were marching along College Street. At 6 pm down to the Turf Lounge for a dinner tasting with Wolf Blass. At 75 he's still in great form and his wines are getting better and better – less oak treatment.

  • Wolf Blass Yellow Label Sauvignon Blanc 2008: pale straw; grassy, spicy green plum nose; well extracted, tart green fruit and grapefruit flavours; medium-bodied (87)
  • Wolf Blass Yellow Label Chardonnay 2008: medium straw with a green tiny; spicy apple and melon with a kiss of oak; rich palate, full-bodied (88)
  • Wolf Blass Yellow Label Cabernet Sauvignon 2007: ruby, minty red berry nose; light on the palate; not a lot of flavour (86)
  • Wolf Blass Gold Label Riesling 2007: medium straw; petrol, lime, minerally with a floral note; lovely mouthfeel, lemony, dry, crisp finish (89)
  • Wolf Blass Gold Label Pinot Noir 2006: ruby; minerally, cherry and violets on the nose; soft mouth-feel, well balanced, firm with a tannic lift on the finish (90)
  • Wolf Blass Red Label Shiraz-Grenache 2007: ruby; minty, vanilla oak, chocolate; sweet juicy raspberry fruit, firmly structured with soft, pliant tannins (86)
  • Wolf Blass Grey Label Cabernet Sauvignon 2005: bright ruby; spicy, cedar and blackcurrant bouquet; sweet currant flavours with a coffee bean finish; lively acidity (90)
  • Wolf Blass Grey Label Shiraz 2005: dense ruby colour; meaty, blackberry; vanilla oaky, beefy, sweet blackberry flavour, full-bodied with soft tannins (91)
  • Wolf Blass Black Label Cabernet Shiraz Malbec 2004: dense ruby; cedar, vanilla, blackberry with a floral note; sweet fruit with a caramel note; fruity, seamless; medium-bodied, curranty; beautifully blaanced, firm and fresh (92)
  • Wolf Blass Black Label Cabernet Shiraz Malbec 1999: deep ruby; herbal note, dried berries; tick on the palate, like a Bordeaux on steroids (90)
  • Wolf Blass Platinum Label Barossa Shiraz 2005: deep ruby; blackberry and pepper nose; firm structure, very elegant and perfectly balanced. A gorgeous wine (93)

Thursday, May 17: Recorded my 680News wine reviews. In the afternoon over to Warren Porter's Iron Gate wine vault. Tasted six great wines:

  • Louis Trapet Chambertin 1976: tawny ruby; earthy, barnyard nose; still holding its raspberry flavour; opens in the glass with spicy, violet-scented fruit; elegant with great length (92)
  • Conterno Barolo 1982: tawny ruby, soy, chocolate and tar on the nose; still a little tight; licorice note with lively acidity and dusty tannins (90)
  • Château Lynch-Bages 1997: ruby with a tawny rim; cedar and blackcurrant nose; silky mouth-feel, sweet blackcurrant fruit, beautifully balanced and drinking superbly well (93)
  • Arnoldo Caprai Sagrantino di Sagrantino 1996: ruby colour; raspberry nose, thick chunky tannins but well balanced. Needs five years at least (89)
  • Antinori Pian delle Vigne Brunello di Montalcino 2003: deep ruby; dark chocolate and mocha nose; firmly structured with evident oak; full-bodied. Needs time (90+)
  • Antinori Tignanello 2006: solid ruby; cherry, earthy nose; firm structure; not as rich as the 2005 but all the elements are there. Cellar 3–5 years (90)

Friday, May 15: Spent the day checking the galleys for the cellar book. It's great to see it formatted for print. This evening, my birthday party at Biagio's with family and friends. I'm bringing my own wines. Drappier Brut Champagne, Garofoli Macrina Verdicchio 2008 and Felsina Chianti Colli Senesi 2006. The menu:

Antipasto Classico
Ricotta Gnocchi al Pesto
Served on a bed of tomato sauce
Choice of
Provimi Veal T-Bone Chop
With fresh sage sauce
Salmone Affogato

Grilled Atlantic salmon topped with tiger shrimp, lemon butter and caper sauce
Chocolate Mousse




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