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Thursday, May 29, 2008

Empson Canada Portfolio Tasting, May 6, 2008

 The Time and Date: Tuesday, May 6, 2008  Noon to 5 PM

The Event: Empson Canada portfolio tasting (agent: Woodman Wines and Spirits)

The Venue: Royal Canadian Yacht Club, City Clubhouse

The Target Audience: wine press, private clients and restaurants.

The Availability/Catalogue: everything is available in an assortment of ordering mechanisms.

The Quote: "A great assortment of Barolo 2004 wines". Eight Italian wine producers were in attendance.

The Wines: The wines were mostly Italian, but there were some Oz and Kiwi wines, as well as Ojai from California.


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

-Bongiovanni Barolo 2004 ($69.95)

-Einaudi Barolo "Nei Cannubi" 2004 ($105)


***1/2 Three and a Half Stars (8890 in Quality/Price Rating terms):

-Bongiovanni Barolo "Pernanno" 2004 ($81.95)

-Conterno Fantino Barolo "Sori Ginestra" 2004 ($117.95)

-Einaudi Barolo "Costa Grimaldi" 2004 ($99.95)

-Marcarini Barbera d'Alba "Ciabot Camerano" 2006 ($21.95)

-Marcarini Barolo "La Serra" 2004 ($64.95)

-Capannelle Chicanti Classico Riserva 2003 ($54.95)

-Boscarelli Vino Nobile di Montepulciano 2005 Riserva ($69.95)


*** Three Stars (8587 in Quality/Price Rating terms):

-Conterno Fantino Barolo "Vigna del Gris" 2004 ($107.95)

-Toscolo Chianti 2006 ($13.95)

-Monte Antico Rosso 2004 ($14.95)

-Boscarelli Vino Nobile di Montepulciano 2005 ($44.95)


The Food: cheeses, breads and fruits.

The Downside: it conflicted with the German wine show.

The Upside: a good quantity of red wines were available for tasting.

The Contact Person:

The Effectiveness (numerical grade): 88.



Monday, May 26, 2008


ICEWINE; extreme winemaking (Key Porter Books, 2007, 192 pages, ISBN
978-1-55263-926-9, $50 CDN hard covers) is mainly by Donald Ziraldo,
who, with winemaker Karl Kaiser, founded Inniskillin Wines in 1974. It
was the first small and new winery in Ontario since 1929. There's a
foreword from Hugh Johnson, an icewine flavour wheel from Shari
Darling, some notes from John Schreiner's book on Icewine, scientific
notes from Karl Kaiser, and recipes from the late Izabela Kalabis-Sacco
pulled together by Lyn Ogryzlo. The promotion bumpf says, "A gorgeous
collection, with full-colour photography and delicious recipes that
explains the art behind Canada's wine delicacy". They forgot to include
that the book also contains a big whack of scientific and technical
data, with copious charts, graphs, and tables, compiled for the most
part by Kaiser. He has all the figures for the history of Inniskillin
icewine, including - on a year by year basis -- harvest brix, harvest
temperatures, acid levels, ABV, residual sugars, all from 1983 through
2006 (the latter was harvested in January 2007). In addition, there are
figures for all of BC, all Ontario productions, Germany and Austria.
Icewine made in other locations, such as New Zealand or New York, are
cryogenic extractions (wines from the freezer). The book is very
detailed with maps and photos, discussing the effects of terroir, grape
varieties, pressing techniques, cork quality. There's a discussion of
VQA and the new sub-appellations in Niagara. Ziraldo has material on
how to properly appreciate and taste Icewine, using Riedal glasses
which he had helped to create. There are cocktail recipes, and 20 food
recipes using icewine or accompanying icewine, using both avoirdupois
and metric measurements for the ingredients.
Audience and level of use: lovers of icewine.
Some interesting or unusual recipes/facts: foie gras with Granny Smith
apples; seared foie gras with icewine-soaked apricots; grilled fig
salad with gorgonzola; truffled cream of cauliflower soup; leg of lamb
with fig compote.
The downside to this book: there's a suggestion of a gift book here,
but no matter.
The upside to this book: there's a separate index for the recipes.
Quality/Price Rating: 89.

Saturday, May 24, 2008

German Wine Trade Show, Toronto, May 6, 2008

 The Time and Date: Tuesday, May 6, 2008 2PM to 5PM

The Event: Germany Wines with Jazz trade show

The Venue: Roy Thomson Hall

The Target Audience: wine press, sommeliers, LCBO product consultants.

The Availability/Catalogue: most wines were available in the system, but many were private orders only. The catalogue had all of the salient data, but no prices.

The Quote: "Red production of wines in German now is at 36.8% of the total" (63.2% is obviously white wine)

The Wines: There were not many reds, and only one chardonnay. Gewurztraminer appears to be increasing in variety.


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

-Britzingen Gewurztraminer Spatlese 2003 Badenweiler Romerberg

-Deinhard Beerenauslese Rheinhessen 2005

-Dr.Fischer Riesling Spatlese 2006 Ockfener Bockstein ($20)

-Fitz-Ritter Riesling Sekt b.A. Extra Dry ($16)

-Markus Molitor Riesling Auslese 2002 Zeltlinger Sonnenuhr

-Markus Molitor Riesling Spatlese 2005 Feinherb Bernkasteler Badstube

-Markus Molitor Riesling Trockenbeerenauslese 2005 Wehlener Klosterberg ($385)

-Graf von Schonborn Riesling Spatlese 1991 Hochheim Domdechaney


***1/2 Three and a Half Stars (8890 in Quality/Price Rating terms):

-Balthasar Ress Riesling Auslese Hattenheimer Nussbrunnen 2004

-Darting Gewurztraminer Kabinett Durkheimer Nonnengarten 2005

-Gunderloch Gewurztraminer 2006 ($19.95)

-Graf von Schonborn Estate Riesling 1994

-Forstmeister Geltz-Zilliken Riesling Spatlese Saarburger Rausch 1993 ($34.95)

-Schloss Johannisberg Riesling Spatlese 2006 Grunlack


*** Three Stars (8587 in Quality/Price Rating terms):

-Fitz-Ritter Gewurztraminer Spatlese 2007

-Studert-Prum Maximinhof Riesling Spatlese Wehlener Sonnenuhr 2006 ($23.95)

-Blue Nun Winemakers Passion 2006 Riesling ($13)

-Rappenhof Riesling Auslese 2007 Niersteiner Pettenthal

-Ruppertsberger Linsenbusch Riesling Eiswein 2004 ($49.95)


The Food: a continuation of lunch, with more vegetables and cheeses.

The Downside: light attendance, but then that meant more room to navigate.

The Upside: a chance to catch up with non-Riesling.

The Contact Person:

The Effectiveness (numerical grade): 89.




Wednesday, May 21, 2008

New Zealand wines at Vintages, May 24, 2008

 The Time and Date: Thursday, May 1, 2008  Noon to 2 PM

The Event: media May 24th Pre-Release Vintages Tasting of New Zealand Wines.

The Venue: LCBO Summerhill Scrivener Square

The Target Audience: wine press

The Availability/Catalogue: all wines are being released on May 24th at Vintages, about nine days after the New Zealand Wine Fair (see below).

The Quote: "The line tasting is arranged by varietal in the tasting room followed by lunch in the Kitchen Event room." We were to try wines against foods.

The Wines: There were 28 wines, each accompanied by personal tech note sheets.


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

-Sacred Hill Hawkes Bay Chardonnay 2006 ($19.95)

-Lowburn Ferry Central Otago Pinot Noir 2006 ($38.25)

-Nobilo Icon Central Otago Pinot Noir 2006 ($25.95)

-Goldridge Estate Hawkes Bay Syrah 2005 ($19.55)

-Villa Maria Private Bin Hawkes Bay Merlot/Cabernet Sauvignon 2005 ($17.20)


***1/2 Three and a Half Stars (8890 in Quality/Price Rating terms):

-Brancott B Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc 2007 ($35.15)

-Lawsons Dry Hills Marlborough Gewurztraminer 2006 ($19.50)

-Coopers Creek Gisborne Chardonnay 2005 ($26)

-Pisa Range Black Poplar Central Otago Pinot Noir 2005 ($48.85)

-Craggy Range Sophia Hawkes Bay Merlot/Cabernet Sauvignon 2005 ($61.95)


*** Three Stars (8587 in Quality/Price Rating terms):

-Sileni Estate Cellar Select Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc 2007 ($15.95)

-Oyster Bay Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc 2007 ($16.95)

-Craggy Range Te Muna Road Hawkes Bay Pinot Noir 2006 ($46.95)


The Food: Daniel et Daniel did the catering. There was butternut squash linguine, with duck confit and shaved Brussels sprouts (meant for the Sauvignon Blanc and Chardonnay), spring risotto with asparagus and fiddleheads and baby snow peas (meant for the aromatic varieties of Pinot Gris and Gewurztraminer), roasted lamb chops with Israeli couscous and pistachio (meant for the Pinot Noir), and roast venison with a chestnut-celery root puree (meant for the Bordeaux varieties). Of course, we could mix and match – and we did!

The Downside: too many wines to try to assess with food-wine matches in the allotted time. It would have been useful to have had a bucket for spitting out food.

The Upside: it was fun going back and forth between the foods and the wines.

The Contact Person:

The Effectiveness (numerical grade): 96.


Sunday, May 18, 2008

Reviews of Bring Your Own Wines to Restos, Vintages, May 2008

1. Hidden Bench Estate Fume Blanc 2006 Niagara Beamsville Bench
(+68825, $28 retail, on your wine card for $40?) has the smoke and the
long length expected. Great food wine.
2. Jean Chartron Rully Montmorin 2006 (+68981, $26.95 retail, on your
wine card for $40?) has lovely Burgundian flavours and tang on the
finish, and great looking bottle.
3. Rutherford Ranch Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon 2004 Napa (+60525,
$34.95 retail, on your wine card for $49?) has elegance and fruit at a
bargain price.
4. Domaine La Roquete Chateauneuf-du-Pape 2005 (+70862, $38.95 retail,
on your wine card for $53?) is ripe, affordable and ready. 14.5% ABV.
5. Jean Leon Cabernet Sauvignon Reserva 2002 (+401596, $27.95 retail,
on your wine card for $42?) is ready to roll with your beef.
1. Castello di Monna Lisa Chianti Classico Riserva 2003 (+930651,
$34.95 retail, on your wine card for $49?) is ripe plumminess, some
2. Castello Sonnino Saneleone 2001 Tuscany (+66043, $46.95, on your
wine card for $59?) is a lush blend of merlot and sangiovese.
3. Shepherds Ridge Vineyard Pinot Noir 2006 Marlborough (+586099,
$24.95 retail, on your wine card for $39?) is ripe, twist top, and
13.5% ABV.
4. Lowburn Ferry Pinot Noir 2006 Central Otago (+60061, $37.95 retail,
but on your wine card for $52?) is loaded with burgundian tones.
5. House of Nobilo Icon Pinot Noir 2006 Central Otago (+66803, $25.95
retail, but on your wine card for $39?) lush wine but with a finish.
Classy bottle and label comes with a cork!!!
6. Anne Boecklin Riesling Schlossberg 2004 Alsace Grand Cru (+61390,
$22.95 retail and suggested on wine card for $38) is nicely dry, not
too intense.
7. Domaine Cauvard Beaune Clos de la Maladiere 2006 ($39.95 retail on
your wine card for suggested $53?) exceptional white for pork.

Thursday, May 15, 2008

2008 California Wine Fair, Toronto, April 28

 The Time and Date: Monday, April 28, 2008   2PM to 5 PM
The Event: 2008 California Wine Fair
The Venue: Fairmont Royal York
The Target Audience: wine press, wine trade.
The Availability/Catalogue: the catalogue contained good information on
names and addresses, wines served, and the like. Prices would have been
The Quote: "This is the 28th annual tour of the CWF. About 100 wineries
were here, with about 400 wines to pour.
The Wines: I did not try any wines I had had at the media preview or
earlier in the day. Agent's name is after the wine.
**** Four Stars (91+ in Quality/Price Rating terms):
-Artesa Chardonnay Carneros 2006 $22.95 July 19 Vintages
-Artesa Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon Napa 2004 $42 Aug 16 Vintages
-Dolce Estate Bottled Late Harvest Napa 2004 (Trilogy)
-Far Niente Estate Bottled Chardonnay Napa 2006 (Trilogy)
-Far Niente Estate Bottled Cabernet Sauvignon Oakville Napa 2005
-Heitz Cabernet Sauvignon Napa 2003 $62 (Lifford)
-Justin Cabernet Sauvignon Paso Robles 2005 (The Vine)
-Landmark Overlook Chardonnay 2006 (Lorac)
-Miner Family Chardonnay Napa Valley 2006 (Barrique)
***1/2 Three and a Half Stars (88 – 90 in Quality/Price Rating terms):
-Leaping Lizard Chardonnay 2006 Napa $17.95 Vintages July 19
-Arrowood Merlot Sonoma 2004 (Gibson)
-Benziger Family Chardonnay Carneros (Lifford)
-Cartlidge & Browne Chardonnay 2006 (B & W)
-Clos du Bois Chardonnay North Coast 2006 (Diamond Estates)
-Clos LaChance Ruby Throated Cabernet Sauvignon 2005 $17.95 (Maxxium)
-DeLoach Chardonnay Russian River 2006 (Select)
-Freemark Abbey Cabernet Sauvignon Napa 2002 (Kylix)
-Geyser Peak Chardonnay Alexander Valley 2005 (Maxxium)
-Greg Norman California Estates Chardonnay Santa Barbara 2005
-Heitz Trailside Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon 2002 (Lifford)
-Heitz Chardonnay Napa 2006 (Lifford)
-JanKris Estate Cabernet Sauvignon Paso Robles 2005 $16.95 (Merchant
-Marimar Don Miguel Chardonnay Russian River 2006 (Pacific Wine &
-Robert Mondavi Chardonnay Napa 2005 (Churchill Cellars)
-Rodney Strong Chalk Hill Estate Chardonnay 2006 (Mark Anthony)
-Silverado Cabernet Sauvignon Napa 2005  $43.15 (Kylix)
-Silverado Cabernet Sauvignon SOLO Stag's Leap District 2005 $72.45
-St.Francis Chardonnay Sonoma (Rogers)
-Stags' Leap Chardonnay Napa 2006 (Foster's)
*** Three Stars (85 – 87 in Quality/Price Rating terms):
-Concannon Chardonnay 2006 (Mark Anthony)
-JanKris Estate Divinity White Paso Robles 2006 $16.95 (Merchant
-Newton Chardonnay Napa/Sonoma 2005 (Charton-Hobbs)
-Rodney Strong Sonoma Vineyards Chardonnay 2006 (Mark Anthony)
-Rosenthal Chardonnay Malibu-Newton Canyon 2006 (Trilogy)
The Food: breads, cheeses, pates, fruit.
The Downside: the trade show got crowded in a hurry – everybody made a
beeline for Far Niente and Heitz. And why not?
The Upside: a good variety of wines were available for sampling.
The Contact Person:
The Effectiveness (numerical grade): 88.

Monday, May 12, 2008

Peninsula Ridge tasting, April 29, 2008

The Time and Date: Tuesday, April 29, 2008  6PM to 8 PM
The Event: Peninsula Ridge new releases
The Venue: Fine Wine Reserve
The Target Audience: wine media, private customers.
The Availability/Catalogue: everything is available, mostly through the
winery, but some are also at the LCBO
The Quote: "Fabulous cheeses that pair well with the wines. First rate
The Wines:
**** Four Stars (91+ in Quality/Price Rating terms):
-Peninsula Ridge Sauvignon Blanc 2007 $14.75 LCBO (better than 2006)
-Peninsula Ridge Riesling 2007 $15.95  400 cases
-Peninsula Ridge Fume Blanc 2006 $26.95
-Peninsula Ridge Reserve Chardonnay 2004 Beal Vineyards $24.95
-Peninsula Ridge Sauvignon Blanc AJ Lepp Vineyards 2007 $18.95
-Peninsula Ridge Cabernet Sauvignon Reserve 2002 $39.95 OWA Gold
-Peninsula Ridge Arcanum 2002 $39.95 Bordeaux blend with syrah.
***1/2 Three and a Half Stars (88 – 90 in Quality/Price Rating terms):
-Peninsula Ridge Sauvignon Blanc 2006 $14.75 LCBO
-Peninsula Ridge Gewurztraminer 2007 $22  100 cases
-Peninsula Ridge Reserve Inox Chardonnay 2006 Dubois Vineyards $19.95
-Peninsula Ridge Reserve Viognier 2006 $39.95
-Peninsula Ridge Syrah Reserve 2006 $29.95
-Peninsula Ridge Vintner's Private Reserve Merlot 2002 $99.95
-Peninsula Ridge Cabernet Franc Reserve 2002 $39.95
-Peninsula Ridge Merlot Reserve 2002 $39.95 Cuvee 2006 Best Merlot
The Food: cheeses from their onsite store – Chevre Noir (PQ goat's
milk, very firm, worth every penny of $80 a kilo), Sainte Maure (PQ
unpasteurized goat), and La Sauvagine (PQ champ of the 2006 Canadian
Cheese Grand Prix). There were notes on what wines to try with what
The Downside: you really cannot taste wines and cheeses together
without swallowing, and given the great choices of wines available, I
had to. No hardship, since I travel by public transit.
The Upside: a chance to chat with owners and JP Colas the winemaker.
The Contact Person:
The Effectiveness (numerical grade): 92.


Saturday, May 10, 2008

Book Reviews: Restaurant Cookbooks for April 2008

...are one of the hottest trends in cookbooks.
Actually, they've been around for many years, but never in such
proliferation. They are automatic sellers, since the book can be
flogged at the restaurant and since the chef ends up being a celebrity
somewhere, doing guest cooking or catering or even turning up on the
Food Network. Most of these books will certainly appeal to fans of the
chef and/or the restaurant. Many of the recipes in these books actually
come off the menus of the restaurants involved. Occasionally, there
will be, in these books, special notes or preps, or recipes for items
no longer on the menu. Stories or anecdotes will be related to the
history of a dish. But because most of these books are American, they
use only US volume measurements for the ingredients; sometimes there is
a table of metric equivalents, but more often there is not. I'll try to
point this out. The usual schtick is "favourite recipes made easy for
everyday cooks". There is also PR copy on "demystifying ethnic
ingredients". PR bumpf also includes much use of the magic phrase
"mouth-watering recipes" as if that is what it takes to sell such a
book. I keep hearing from readers, users, and other food writers that
some restaurant recipes (not necessarily from these books) don't seem
to work, but how could that be? They all claim to be kitchen tested for
the home, and many books identify the food researcher by name. Most
books are loaded with tips, techniques, and advice, as well as
gregarious stories about life in the restaurant world. Photos abound,
usually of the chef bounding about. But of course there are a lot of
food shots, verging on gastroporn. The endorsements are from other
celebrities in a magnificent case of logrolling. If resources are
cited, they are usually American mail order firms, with websites. Some
companies, though, will ship around the world, so don't ignore them
altogether. Here's a rundown on the latest crop of such books –

15. SIMPLY DELICIOSO; a collection of everyday recipes with a Latin
twist (Clarkson Potter, 2008, 256 pages, ISBN 978-0-307-34734-3,
$32.50US hard covers) is by Food Network star Ingrid Hoffmann, who once
owned a resto and catering firm. The book is named after her TV series.
She's also got a cooking show on Spanish TV as well, and writes a
monthly cooking feature for Buen Hogar magazine (Good Housekeeping).
This is a modern take on classic Latin food, emphasizing bright bold
new flavours. And, of course, you'll need a pantry (as she explains it
all). The 125 recipes include her take on mole, adobo, sofrito, homey
changua, eggs benedict with chipotle hollandaise, avocado and arugula
salad, chipotle and black-eyed pea soup, Cuban burgers, rancheros, and
many meats. The whole book is bright and tries to be sexy ("carne
knowledge"? "pillow talk"? personal life?). She's the leading candidate
for hot kitchen babe of the year... US measurements are employed, but
there is no table of metric equivalents. Quality/Price rating: 84.

16. DOLCE ITALIANO; desserts from the Babbo kitchen (W.W. Norton, 2007,
302 pages, ISBN 978-0-393-06100-0, $35 US hard covers) is by Gina
DePalma, who has worked for Mario Batali at Babbo as his pastry chef
since 1998. It comes endorsed with 9 log rollers, including Bourdain,
De Laurentiis, Bastianich, and Lynne Rossetto Kasper. And a foreword by
Mario himself. She works from an Italian background, and like the
resto, everything is simple and fresh in season. There are wine
pairings that often accompany the recipes, and she lists ten essential
ingredients for making Italian desserts. These are ricotta, mascarpone,
honey, EVOO, lemons (and/or oranges), polenta, nuts, amaretti biscuits,
grappa, and sweet wines. She covers biscotti, cakes, spoon desserts,
tarts, gelati and variations, tutti fritti (fried), and fruit. There
are plenty of cook's notes and advisements. Some preps include honey
clouds, yogurt cheesecake, mocha-cinnamon boney, chocolate and polenta
tart, cassata alla siciliana, lemon ricotta fritters, and pannacotta
with vincotta. First rate job. Quality/Price rating: 90.

17. THE SPLENDID TABLE'S HOW TO EAT SUPPER; recipes, stories, and
opinions from Public Radio's award-winning food show (Clarkson Potter,
2008, 338 pages, ISBN 978-0-307-34671-1, $35US hard covers) is by Lynne
Rossetto Kasper and Sally Swift. Kasper is host and major writer for
"The Splendid Table", a national US food radio show produced by
American Public Media. It has been running for more than 20 years, and
has garnered a James Beard award. Swift is co-creator and managing
producer of that show. Rossetto also writes the syndicated column "Ask
the Splendid Table", read in over 400 newspapers. Her first book "The
Splendid Table" won both a Beard and an IACP award for "Book of the
Year". Here, the team grapples with weeknight dinners and timelines for
the busy home cook. There are more than 100 recipes, with menus listed
on the end pages (a distinctive innovation: thank you!!) – and the
menus have page references to the recipes. The authors attempt to
deconstruct recipes to their simple forms, and then create new ones
quickly. The taste emphasis is on "savoury" and "international
flavours". Like the show itself (which you can hear via the Internet or
on NPR if you are near the US Border) the book contains trivia,
nutrition, advice, culinary bits of fun facts, and the like. There are
multiple larger type fonts and use of bold typefaces and colour in the
recipes. Most of the preps come from the show and her columns, but
there are a few others written – and credited – to additional food
writers. Arrangement is by course progression, and the only major
disappointment is that while US weights and measures are used, there
are NO tables of equivalencies. Try Dressing-in-a-bowl supper salad
(which calls for improvising), Tortilla eggs with avocado and lime,
Chinese noodles with four flavors, Sweet yams in ginger-stick curry,
and Farmhouse panna cotta. Quality/Price rating: 90.
18. FEASTING ON ASPHALT; the river run (Stewart, Chang & Tabori, 2008;
distr. Canadian Manda, 207 pages, ISBN 978-1-58479-681-7, $27.50 hard
covers) is by Alton Brown, a writer-director-host for the Food Network.
Catch him on "Good Eats" (which won a Peabody in 2007) and "Iron Chef
America". He also writes cookbooks ("I'm Just Here for the Food" won a
Beard in 2004). This celebrity cook motorbikes its way through the
Mississippi, beginning on the Gulf of Mexico and ending up near the
headwaters in Minnesota. He tries to get the best roadside food, and to
tell the stories about the people who prepare and serve it. This book
is a companion to the six-part series which aired in fall 2007. His
itinerary is listed, so you too can stay where he stayed, eat where he
ate, and talk to the same people. He did it in 26 days or so, and he
provides pages of road tips. All 41 recipes are sourced as to the
diner/restaurant. Try BBQ pork ribs, bread pudding, head cheese, Cherry
Joe, fried morels. General index and recipe index are both folded in
together. There is also a road map poster. But there are too many pix
of Brown. Quality/Price rating: 86.

Friday, May 9, 2008

Terralsole Brunello wine tasting April 23, 2008

The Time and Date: Wednesday, April 23, 2008

The Event: Wine tasting with Mario Bollag of Terralsole (Brunello)

The Venue: Grange Wine Bar, Bloor West Village.

The Target Audience: restaurants, wine media.

The Availability/Catalogue: wines are available from the agent, Vinoallegro Wine Imports. About a dozen wines were shown, five from Terralsole and the balance from Vinoallegro's growing portfolio.

The Quote: "Terralsole wines are sustainable and mostly organic". Mario Bollag began the winery in 1992. Beginning in 1996 he has planted syrah, cabernet franc (he produces the only cabernet franc in Montalcino), and merlot. The merlot below is his first vintage from that varietal: he waited nine years for the grapes to come along.

The Wines: licensee prices.


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

-Terralsole Rosso di Montalcino 2005 $33

-Terralsole Brunello di Montalcino 2003 $75

-Terralsole Brunello di Montalcino 2001 $75

-Terralsole Coldoro Merlot 2005 $57 - Pomerolish

-Terralsole Solista SDyrah 2005 $71 – Rhonish


***1/2 Three and a Half Stars (8890 in Quality/Price Rating terms):

-Line Shack Cabernet Sauvignon Central Coast $18.95

-Cantina Breganze Prosecco-Marzemino Rosato Veneto $17.95

-Terralsole Brunello di Montalcino 2002 $75

-Terralsole Pasticcio 2005 (55 cab franc/30 merlot/15 sangiovese) $77 supertuscan


*** Three Stars (8587 in Quality/Price Rating terms):

-Prieure de Bebian Bebianito Rouge Languedoc $12.95

-Sobon Zinfandel Special Reserve Amador $14.25

-Cantina Breganze Pinot Nero 2006 Veneto $10

-Cantina Breganze Prosecco Veneto $14.35


The Food: artisanal cheese platter

The Downside: light attendance

The Upside: more time to talk with Mario.

The Contact Person:

The Effectiveness (numerical grade): 90.




Sunday, May 4, 2008

Somewhereness 2008 -- Earth Day

The Time and Date:  Tuesday, April 22, 2008  12PM to 4 PM

The Event: Somewhereness 2008 (old soils and new wines) – terroir in Ontario.

The Venue: Coupe Space Event Gallery, Leslieville

The Target Audience: wine trade in the afternoon, consumers at night.

The Availability/Catalogue: all wines are available, mostly at the winery, sometimes at Vintages. The catalogue had full information on names and addresses, et al, plus a description of the winery and a listing of all the wines.

The Quote: "It's appropriate to be happening on Earth Day"

The Wines:


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

-Flat Rock Seriously Twisted ($22.95 retail)

-Flat Rock Gravity ($24.42 licensee)

-Malivoire Moira Chardonnay 2005 ($30.01 licensee)

-Malivoire Chardonay Musque ($16.14 licensee) – great price

-Stratus White 2005 ($35.88 licensee)

-Stratus Red 2005 ($35.88 licensee)

-Tawse ECHO's White (Chardonnay) ($17.94 licensee)


***1/2 Three and a Half Stars (8890 in Quality/Price Rating terms):

-Flat Rock Twisted ($16.95 Vintages)

-Norman Hardie Melon de Bourgogne 2007 ($15.49 licensee)

-Stratus Gewurztraminer 2006 ($26.09 licensee)

-Tawse Robyn's Block Estate Chardonnay 2005 ($39.15 licensee)


The Food: from a variety of sources. Dairy Farmers of Canada contributed cheeses from Quebec (Magie de Madawaska, Tomme de Grosse Ile, and Le Ciel de Charlevoix bleu). There were nibbles from places such as About Thyme Bistro in Vineland, Stone Road Grille, Treadwell Farm, and the Carriage House.

The Downside: the space was small but it was not crowded. I arrived late since I had to squeeze this event in between the two Wine Guy functions.

The Upside: a great opportunity to taste quality Ontario wines.

The Contact Person:

The Effectiveness (numerical grade): 88.