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Thursday, March 20, 2008


The Time and Date: Tuesday, March 18, 2008 5PM to 8 PM.

The Event: California Wine Fair Toronto Media Preview Tasting.

The Venue: Far Niente Board Room

The Target Audience: wine media

The Availability/Catalogue: all of the wines were to be shown at the Fair in
Toronto, but not all of the wines would be available for sale through the
LCBO systems of General, Consignment, Vintages, Classics, or Private. Some
were just plain "n/a" - except at the Fair.

The Quote: "The night time meeting seemed to bring out twice as many media
as in previous years. I only hope their palates had remained as good as when
the tasting used to be at 11AM."

The Wines: there were flights of Sauvignon Blanc (6 wines), Chardonnay (19),
Pinot Noir (9), Zinfandel (8), Cabernet Sauvignon (14), Blends, mostly
Meritage type (7), and six others, which included only TWO Merlot. This was
the "Sideways effect"...

**** Four Stars (91+ in Quality/Price Rating terms):

-Wente Morning Fog Chardonnay 2006 Livermore $16.05 General List (PMA

-Arrowood Chardonnay 2005 Sonoma $35 Consignment (Grape Expectations)

-La Crema Chardonnay 2006 Russian River $36.95 Vintages (Diamond Estates)

-Tandem Winery Van de Kamp Pinot Noir 2005 $54.95 Private (Kylix)

-Michael-David 7 Deadly Zins Old Vine Zinfandel 2006 Lodi $24.95 Vintages

-Peju Estate Cabernet Sauvignon Napa 2004 $59.95 Consignment (Le Sommelier)

-Rodney Strong Symmetry 2004 $66.95 Vintages (Mark Anthony)

***1/2 Three and a Half Stars (88 - 90 in Quality/Price Rating terms):

-Vina Robles Sauvignon Blanc 2007 Jardine $19.75 Consignment (Glen-Ward

-Cuvaison Chardonnay Carneros 2006 $29.95 Vintages (Prevedello & Mathews)

-Clos du Val Chardonnay 2006 Carneros N/A

-Testarossa Palazzio Pinot Noir 2006 $54.35 May Vintages (B & W)

-Alexander Valley Vineyards Sin Zinfandel 2006 $20US Private (Small
Winemakers Collection)

-Nichols Silver Fox Black Label Cabernet Sauvignon 2005 California $22.95
Private (Le Sommelier)

-Merryvale Starmont Cabernet Sauvignon 2005 Napa $36.95 Consignment

-Ridgeline Cabernet Sauvignon 2004 Alexander Valley $39.95 Private (Kylix)

-Miner Family Oracle 2003 Napa $77.95 Consignment (Barrique)

-Terlato Family Syrah Dry Creek 2004 $42.25 N/A

-Duckhorn Merlot 2005 Napa N/A

*** Three Stars (85 - 87 in Quality/Price Rating terms):

-J. Lohr Estates Riverstone Chardonnay 2006 Arroyo Seco $16.80 General List
(Barrique Wine Imports)

-Schug Carneros Pinot Noir 2006 Sonoma $31.95 Consignment (Lifford)

-Lucus & Lewellen Valley View Cabernet Sauvignon 2004 Santa Barbara County
$18.65 N/A

-Artesa Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon 2004 Napa $41.95 August Vintages

-Robert Mondavi Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon 2004 Napa $139.95 Sept Vintages
(Churchill Cellars)

The Food: scrumptious appetizers and tapas, including lamb lollipops,
grilled shrimp, seared tuna and shrimp chips, short rib tarts, goat cheese
tarts. But alas, no cheese.

The Downside: I find that I am not as sharply focused at night, particularly
for a tasting with no food until the end.

The Upside: a great opportunity to taste 70 California wines - 70 out of 400
at the show that I will NOT have to re-taste.

The Contact Person:

The Effectiveness (numerical grade): 90.

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