Thousands of wines at your fingertips

Search database of wine reviews
Read about wines BEFORE they hit the stores
Match wines with foods



A gift for the literate wine-lover in your life – who may be you. Tony's murder mystery novels, set in the world of wine, are now available at a discount – autographed.

Find out more...

Listen to Tony

Listen to Tony talk about wine on 680 NEWS radio on Fridays at 10:48 am, on Saturdays at 2:48 am and 9:48 am, and on Sundays at 12:48 am and 1:48 pm.
Tony Aspler
Wine Reviews
Food & Wine Match
Personal Wine Cellar
Pocket Wine Cellar
Gourmet Recipes
Wine Primer
More Tony Aspler
Tony's Books Tony's Books
Ontario Wine Awards
About Us About Us

E-mail Address or
Forget Password?


All about sparkling wine Port wine 101 Pairing food and wine Pairing wine and cheese What wine to serve with chocolate Why we like to visit wine country A wine tour of Italy Germany and German wines Wine touring France: Cognac and Bordeaux Wine touring France: Burgundy A tour of California wine country











More Tony's Blog  

Wine for Breakfast (April 25, 2003)

Champagne, historically, is the only alcoholic beverage you can drink for breakfast and people won't look sideways at you.

Does this mean that all other wines – and spirits, for that matter – are verboten before lunch?

Why should we not be able to enjoy a refreshing glass of Beaujolais to complement the bacon and eggs? Or a little Banyuls with the croissant and strawberry jam?

I am not suggesting that you need a belt of Bourbon to kick-start the heart in the morning, but a little alcohol with breakfast can be a restoring and invigorating experience. In the Cognac region, home of France's longest-lived citizens, a farmer's breakfast will start with a glass of orange juice mixed with cognac. And the Italians, whose zest for life is the envy of other nations, correct their morning espresso with grappa.

The champagne breakfast is an established gastronomic tradition, although a restaurateur friend of mine believes that champagne by itself is breakfast enough. But, then, he's a Montrealer and probably subscribes to the sentiments of Alain de Vogüé, a former director of Veuve Clicquot. I once asked him when was the best time to drink champagne. His reply: "Before, during and after."

Only the British understand breakfast, even if they have not thought it through to its logical conclusion. Breakfast, first of all, has to be cooked. It has to be substantial to set you up for the rigours of the day. But it must also be digested (all that porridge, all those sausages, scrambled eggs, bacon, kidneys, kippers, kedgeree...) Now, the pH of wine, its measure of acidity, is about the same as the pH of our stomach acid, which means that wine aids in your digesting process. So if you believe in a hearty breakfast, think about serving some wine to help ward off indigestion.

In my younger days I courted a lady friend with breakfasts of kippers and champagne, and heaven knows those smoked herrings are hard to digest. (You need the driest undosed champagne you can find, a Blanc de Blancs preferably, and if you really want to impress your partner make it Salon or vintage Ployez-Jacquemart.)

Personally, I think it is a sin to mix champagne with orange juice or anything else – a blasphemy for which perpetrators will have to face the wrath of Dionysus on the day of judgement. However, if you are foolhardy enough to transgress in this direction you might try grapefruit juice instead or orange juice (more refreshing) or mango or peach juice (more exotic). But a warning: don't brush your teeth before you have champagne for breakfast. Colgate does nothing for Krug.

I asked Robin Mines, my wine writer colleague from Vancouver, what alcoholic beverage she enjoys for breakfast. "If it's a hair-of-the-dog type morning," she offered, "Asti Spumante with the one I love, clothes optional."

Another wine writer friend, David Lawrason, is a fan of Moscato d'Asti for breakfast, because, he says, it goes well with grapefruit and is also low in alcohol. For those who are concerned about alcohol in the a.m. I have this advice: go for German Riesling from the Mosel. These wines can be as low as 7.5 per cent alcohol and they'll wake up your taste buds like nothing else. Or you can use wine in preparing your breakfast. Heating wine or spirits drives off the alcohol and you're left with the flavour.

The Burgundians make a dish I once tasted in Beaune – eggs poached in Beaujolais. Once you got past the colour they were delicious. I have also made French toast using egg nog instead of eggs and milk. Amazing.

Other possibilities: Silvaner with ham quiche, dry Muscat with fresh fruit, Gewurztraminer with bagels and lox, Pinot Blanc with a cheese omelet.

Leave your options open. You never know what might work.

Just remember, when it comes to lifting a glass of wine at 9 a.m., as Confucius says: "Somewhere in the world, the sun is over the yardarm."




More Tony's Blog