Shorter Reviews and Notes

Individual Wine Reviews

Explore Ontario!

A great source for information about Ontario wine is the Wine Country Ontario website, with a listing of events at This website also has great downloads: a Wine Route Map and the Wine Country Ontario Guide.

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Individual Wine Reviews

  • February and March 2014 Reviews
    • Paolo Bea 2006 Pagliaro Sagrantino di Montefalco Secco
    • Mountadam Vineyards 2009 Estate Chardonnay
    • McWilliams Mount Pleasant 2006 Elizabeth Semillon
    • Dandelion Vineyards 2011 Lioness of McLaren Vale Shiraz
    • Schild Estate, 2011 Barossa Old Vine Grenache Mourvèdre Shiraz
    • Katnook Estate, 2010 Cabernet Sauvignon
  • January 2014 Reviews
  • December 2013 Reviews

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)

25th Annual Cuvée Festival: Grand Tasting Gala and Experts Tasting


This year's Grand Tasting Gala featured an interesting change in format. The goals remain the same: to promote Ontario VQA wine and food, and to support a local charity, the Niagara Community Foundation. But this year the traditional VQA wine competition was dropped. Instead of pouring their competition entries, each participating winery poured just one wine, ostensibly the current favourite of the winemaker. (Continue)


Some Good Value Wines from California

The California Wine Institute is a very active promoter of California wines, and it has established a significant presence in Canada generally and specifically in Ontario. In addition to the annual California wine fair usually held in April (see my post for the 2012 version), it is preparing a massive Ontario promotion in March of 2013 that will feature more than 100 wines in the LCBO and Vintages. The promotion ... (Continue)


Wines of BC Tasting

The BC Wine Institute presented a selection of 19 BC wines at a recent promotion related to a mini-release by the LCBO here in Ontario. The event was a small walk-around tasting, follwed by a lunch. The BC Wine Institute has evolved from its roots ... (Continue)

Rosewood Estates Winery Portfolio Tasting


I believe that I first visited Rosewood in early October of 2009, as I accepted an invitation to help pick a small block of estate Pinot Noir. Since then I've enjoyed watching the growth and development of the winery. Today's portfolio tasting in Toronto, at the Chef's House at George Brown College, was a fine opportunity to taste across the current offerings, and I'd like to briefly share some of the highlights. (Continue)


Argento Wines present a new Bonarda

Over an excellent and convivial dinner I caught up with winemaker Silvia Corti and members of the global marketing team of Argento Wines. I was particularly interested because I had heard a rumour that there might just be a new Bonarda to try, and I'm always up for the chance to taste varieties with which I'm less familiar. (Continue)


Taste Ontario September 2012

The annual Taste Ontario event is the most comprehensive showcase of Ontario wines held under one roof. This year trade and media were treated to an afternoon tasting, with public access in the evening. 182 wines from 49 wineries were poured, representing most of the varieties, styles, and price–quality levels produced in Ontario. (Continue)