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Recent Short Reviews

Sperling and Versado — wines from Ann Sperling and Peter Gamble

Sperling Brut Reserve

If you are familiar with the Ontario wine scene, you may recognize the names Ann Sperling and Peter Gamble: Ann as the current Director of Winemaking and Viticulture at Southbrook Vineyards, and Peter as the long-time consulting winemaker for Ravine Vineyards. But you may also know that Ann and Peter work at other projects outside of Ontario, and in recent years they have been more active in bringing their wines "from away" into the Ontario market. (Continue)

Osoyoos Larose Vertical: 2001—2010

Osoyoos Larose wines

Tasting a "vertical", a set of historical vintages, of a good quality wine can be revealing and thought-provoking, and the ten vintages of Osoyoos Larose (2001-2010) sampled with the Wine Writers' Circle of Canada were a great example of this. (Continue)

Fourteen Vintages of Kacaba Syrah


In late June, Michael Kacaba, the proprietor of Kacaba Vineyards & Winery, along with his winemaker John Tummon, presented a vertical tasting of his signature Syrah to members of the Wine Writers' Circle of Canada. The tasting spanned fourteen vintages, beginning with 2000, and ending with barrel samples of three potential 2013 Syrah Cuvées. (Continue)

Inniskillin BA Viognier

"Hello" to some new releases from Inniskillin

It's always enjoyable and revealing to taste through new releases with winemakers. One benefit is to get information about some of the obvious vineyard and winemaking decisions that were made. But there is often more insight to be had when a winemaker reveals some of his personal likes and dislikes, interests, and the sense of fun and adventure that enter into the uncertainties of winemaking. (Continue)

Posted July, 2014


Ornellaia Vertical Tasting: 2011, 2006 and 2001

On June 12, I had the pleasure of tasting a mini-vertical of Ornellaia, one of Italy's iconic super Tuscan wines. The most recent release from 2011 was placed beside two exceptional past vintages from 2006 and 2001. (Continue)


June 12, 2014

Chianti Classico Gran Selezione Tasting

black rooster

In 2013, the Consorzio Vino Chianti Classico approved a new premium classification, Gran Selezione, as a step above Chianti Classico Reserva. This new classification is now encoded in the Chianti Classico DOCG regulations that have been approved by the European Commission. The first vintage that qualified for this category was 2010, and the Consortium is now presenting these wines at tastings and seminars around the world ...(Continue)

June 16, 2014

NZ Map

New Zealand in a Glass — focus on Pinot Noir

The highlight of this year's New Zealand in a Glass wine show in Toronto was a tasting of recent-vintage Pinot Noir, with samples representing all of the primary regions in which it is grown. (Continue)

May 8, 2014

Four Southern Rhône Reds from Pierre Amadieu


One of my wine writing colleagues, Sheila Swerling-Puritt, was kind enough to connect me with Charles Jewett of Trilogy Wine Merchants, for a tasting of Gigondas and Vacqueyras wines from Pierre Amadieu. This is a family-run winery based in Gigondas, mostly in the northeast of the appellation on the slopes of the Dentelles of Montmirail. All four are Grenache and Syrah blends, although one also includes some Mourvèdre. (Continue)

April 30, 2014

Wine Thoughts Posts

Three Faces of Sauvignon Blanc


Sauvignon Blanc is such an interesting grape. While there is a very recognizable core character to wines made from it, there are a number of styles of wine that have markedly different personalities. What makes this particularly enjoyable is that you can easily find and taste wines that demonstrate these differences. I'll explain what I mean. (Continue)

Sherry — a Revelation!


I am a Sherry neophyte. To be sure I've engaged in lots of "book learning" over the years: I've read about and studied the grapes that are used, the vineyards, soils and climate, the winemaking techniques, the aging processes, and classification systems, but I have had very little exposure to the wines themselves. I took a step up the learning curve at Sherryfest Toronto, where I had the chance to taste many brilliant Sherries, and began the process of connecting that book learning to the myriad of aromas, tastes and flavours of Sherry. It was a revelation. (Continue)

Pinot Gris

Vineyards, Grapes and Wine at Inniskillin, Jackson-Triggs and Le Clos Jordanne

I spent an enjoyable and informative day in Niagara with a group of wine writers, visiting vineyards and tasting a selection of wines as a guest of Inniskillin, Jackson-Triggs and Le Clos Jordanne. (Continue)



Some thoughts on appassimento wines in Ontario - sparked by a visit to Burning Kiln Winery

I joined a group of wine writers for a visit to Burning Kiln Winery, first, for a tour and tasting of their wines, and then for a tasting featuring wines from neighbouring South Coast Wineries. The idea of this kind of trip is to gain a general exposure to the wine region. But I was particularly happy to be included, because I've been trying to come to terms with the increasing production of appassimento wines in Ontario, and I knew that Burning Kiln was committed to this approach.(Continue)


Blind tasting at the Somm Factory

The Somm Factory is an ongoing blind tasting clinic hosted by Master Sommelier Bruce Wallner. While it is meant to provide training for sommeliers and other wine industry insiders, and I certainly don't qualify on either count, Bruce is kind enough to let me participate. (Continue)


David Gleave on modern Italian winemaking

At the recent Hobbs & Co. portfolio tasting, David Gleave presented a seminar on modern Italian wines. The topic was whether modern winemaking techniques have improved traditional regional Italian wines, or whether they have destroyed a great tradition. (Continue)

Just another ordinary great day in Niagara!


Tasting wine is always a pleasure. But at industry tasting events I am usually serious about making notes, learning and thinking, and of course I may be gathering material for an article. The pleasure remains, but I have to be very focused, and sometimes it is even stressful!

But when we take visitors to wine country, the goal is to introduce our friends to great wine, to chat and gossip, and generally to relax and enjoy the day — the disciplined approach can take a back seat for a while. So on Saturday (which was a glorious day for a drive) we hopped in the car, picked up some friends, and headed out for the highway.(Continue)