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Sunday, February 17, 2008


The Time and Date: Saturday, February 9, 2008. 1 PM to 4 PM

The Event: Return to Terroir organic/biodynamic wine tasting, trade
component. The group was founded by Nicholas Joly, who also presented a
seminar on the urgent need for biodynamics. This was part of a world-wide
tour, which included Vancouver, Montreal, Los Angeles, Oslo, Madrid,
Düsseldorf, Verona, Bordeaux and Tokyo.

The Venue: Fermenting Cellar, Distillery District.

The Target Audience: wine trade, sommeliers, importers, wine press.

The Availability/Catalogue: it was a bit of a curate's egg - some parts of
the show were excellent; others were inconvenient and time-consuming. The
catalogue was extensive, with notes on each winery, with names of
principals, addresses, etc. But no wines were listed (and of course, no
terms of availability, no vintage years, no prices, etc.). It was a drag to
have to write it all down. I may have skipped the vintage years since just
about everything was recent. I certainly skipped recording the ABV since
that figure could be anywhere on the label and I was not about to go
scrounging - lack of time. The other drawbacks on the catalogue: the tables
were numbered, but the number was not the same as the page number in the
book! Also, what passed for page numbers in the book was white on black in
small typeface. The room was darkish, so it was hard to see even at the best
of times. I was not alone with this concern... We had three hours for the
show, but we were not told that we could have stayed longer - and tasted
right through to 8 PM. Consequently, I did not get around to tasting
everything. Kudos to The Merchant Vintner (Zind-Humbrecht) for having the
best walkaway notes: extensive background to the four wines, prices,
availability, vintages, etc. Other well-placed notes came from Frog's Leap,
Benziger, Cascina degli Ulivi, and Albet i Noya (Vinexx). I was disappointed
that no wines from Ontario, PQ or BC were displayed, nor were there any
wines from South Africa and Chile. But I guess these countries' wineries are
not members of the group? This was a group function, not an
organic/biodynamic roundup trade show. You had to be a member of the group
to exhibit.

The Quote: from a consumer in the evening, "Is this wine organic?" Duh...

The Wines (not in any order):

**** Four Stars (90 - 93 in Quality/Price Rating terms):

- Domaine Cazes 2005 Ego Languedoc-Roussillion ($15 Vintages Fall)

- Domaine Cazes 2005 Alter Languedoc-Roussillion (P.O)

- Montirius Vacqueyras Le Clos 2005 ($29.95, Vintages Oct 2008)

- Tres Sabores Porque? No? 2004 Napa ($30)

- Tres Sabores Zinfandel 2004 Rutherford ($39)

- Tres Sabores Cabernet Sauvignon 2004 Napa ($60)

- Descendientes de J. Palacios Villa de Corullon 2005 Bierzo Spain ($63,

- Descendientes de J. Palacios Las Lama 2005 Bierzo Spain ($175, Woodman)

- Alvaro Palacios Finca Dofi 2005 Priorat ($89, Woodman)

- Domaine Josmeyer Riesling 2001 Alsace ($45)

- Champagne Fleury Brut NV ($80)

- Domaine Valentin Zusslin Riesling Grand Cru 2004 ($56.95)

- Albet i Noya Xarel-Lo Classic 2007 Penedes ($15, P.O. Vinexx)

- Compania de Vinos Telmos Rodriguez Altos de Lanzaga 2004 Rioja Alavesa

- Zind-Humbrecht Riesling Gueberschwihr ($39.65, +686246, also in half

- Zind-Humbrecht Gewurztraminer Herrenweg de Turckheim ($43.60, +993352)

- Zind-Humbrecht Pinot Gris Rangen de Thann Clos-Saint-Urbain ($89.25,

- Zind-Humbrecht Pinot Gris Clos Jebsal Vendage Tardive ($57, +70250 the

- Domaine Hauvette Les Baux Rouge 2004 Provence ($45)

*** Three Stars (86 - 89 in Quality/Price Rating terms):

- Albet i Noya La Milana 2005 Penedes ($29, P.O. Vinexx)

- Montirius Gigondas 2005 Terre des Aines ($34.95, Diamond Estates)

- Montirius Garrigues 2005 ($24.95, Diamond Estates)

- Castagna Vineyard Genesis Syrah 2004 ($94.20, +53298)

- Castagna Vineyard Genesis Syrah 2005 ($99)

- Castagna Vineyard Un Segreto Sangiovese/Syrah ($110)

- Domaine Marcel Diess Burg 2004 Alsace ($63)

- Domaine Marcel Diess Altenberg de Bergheim 2004 ($93)

- Domaine Marcel Diess Mambourg 2004 ($109)

- Chateau Romanin La Chapelle Romanin 2004 Provence ($21)

- Domaine du Traginer Cuvee Capates 2004 Languedoc-Roussillion ($70,

- Compania de Vinos Telmos Rodriguez Matallana Tempranillo 2004 Ribera del
Duero ($115)

- Frog's Leap Cabernet Sauvignon 2004 Rutherford ($99)

- Domaine du Coulet Cornas 2006 Billes Roires (?)

- Domaine de Villeneuve Les Vieilles Vignes Chateauneuf-du Pape 2005 ($42.70
licensees, Small Winemakers Collection)

The Food: the food stations were grouped together, except for one. They were
all excellent, with food and service from a variety of organic places about
Toronto: The Healthy Butcher (beef appetizers), Beretta Farms (ham and
chicken open face sandwiches), About Cheese-Provincial Fine Foods (four raw
cow milk cheeses, two of them organic), JK Restaurants (soup), and Czechoski

The Downside: the catalogue had no wines listed.

The Upside: it was a pretty fair turnout for a trade show on a Saturday.
Many people were actually well-dressed in the afternoon.

The Contact Person:

The Effectiveness (numerical grade): 87 (it would have been higher with a
better catalogue - this score is, after all, all about "effectiveness").

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