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Wednesday, March 26, 2008

PORTFOLIO TASTING, TORONTO: Hobbs & Co Wines, Airen Imports

The Time and Date: Tuesday, March 25, 2008 2:30 PM to 5 PM

The Event: Portfolio tasting of Hobbs & Co. and Airen Imports, with a side
trip through a few Glen-Ward Wines.

The Venue: Spoke Club

The Target Audience: restaurateurs and wine media, private clients (plus
more in the evening)

The Availability/Catalogue: all wines were available through Consignment,
Vintages, or by Private Order. The catalogue was nicely laid out, with
tasting notes, prices, grapes, etc. The wines were poured in the order of
their catalogue listing. There were signs over the heads of the pourers to
indicate country of origin. And Canada (with Featherstone Estate) was listed
as first up...Kudos to the catalogue producers for putting everything in
that I could possibly want (will scratch and sniff samples be next?) Each
outfit had an expanded list of wines available but not shown today. 59 nines
were shown in all.

The Quote: "There are some winemakers here, in from France and Australia as
well as Niagara, and there are some export managers here as well".

The Wines:

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

-Estampa Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon/Carmenere/Petit Verdot 2006 Chile $14.95
Airen (my fave red of the afternoon)

-Dusted Valley Vintners Stomp! Cabernet Sauvignon 2004 Washington State
(Bordeaux blend) $22.83 Glen-Ward

-Clairault Wines Cabernet/Merlot 2004 Margaret River $21.86 Hobbs

-Warwick Wine Estate Trilogy 2005 Simonsberg-Stellenbosch $39.79 Hobbs

-Domaine Francois Lichtle Gewurztraminer 2006 Alsace $20.99est Hobbs

-Chateau Balestard la Tonnelle Grand Cru Classe 1995 St.Emilion $61.91 Hobbs

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

-Conde de Caralt Brut N/V Spain $16.25 Airen

-Guenoc Cabernet Sauvignon 2005 California $19.45 Airen

-39 Degrees Sauvignon Blanc 2006 California $16.95 Airen

-39 Degrees Cabernet Sauvignon 2005 Lake County $16.95 Airen

-Governors Bay Sauvignon Blanc 2007 Marlborough NZ $20.38 Hobbs

-Chalkers Crossing Hilltops Riesling 2004 New South Wales $19.99 Hobbs

-Landskroon Merlot 2005 Paarl South Africa $17.79 Hobbs

-Bodegas Barreda Torre de Barreda Amigos 2002 Toledo Spain $21.46 Hobbs

-Domaine Thibert Pouilly Fuisse Vieilles Vignes 2006 $34.42 Hobbs

-Chateau Grand Moulin Vieilles Vignes 2004 Corbieres $20.41 Hobbs

-Cantine di Monteforte Ponte Pietra Merlot/Corvina 2006 $11.94 Hobbs

-Alpha Zeta "A" Amarone della Valpolicella 2003 $53.15 (with cabernet
sauvignon, a ripe vintage, and chocolate tones) Hobbs

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

-David Traeger Verdelho 2006 Australia $19.95 Airen

-Featherstone Estate Old Vines Riesling 2007 Niagara $18.70 Hobbs

-Featherstone Estate Sauvignon Blanc 2006 Niagara $18.70 Hobbs

-Domaine Francois Lichtle Pinot Blanc 2005 Alsace $18.25 Hobbs

-Chateau Gaudrelle Methode Traditional Brut 2005 Vouvray $26.28 Hobbs

-Friulvini Pinot Grigio 2006 Friuli-Venezia $11.28 Hobbs

The Food: cheeses (Niagara Gold, Parmigiano Reggiano, and French Comte),
fresh fruit including figs, bread and crackers, bottled water.

The Downside: a terribly blustery day which I hope did not impede people
from attending.

The Upside: a terrific and quiet location, lots of elbow space, some fine

The Contact Person: all information and orders can be placed through

The Effectiveness (numerical grade): 91.

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