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Everything posted by jmcnally

  1. If you do go to Volo tonight, I'd appreciate a report, since I won't be able to make it. Volo is absolutely amazing, and the owner Ralph is a gem, but it is fairly tiny and you'll want to head down early-ish, I think...
  2. In fact, Volo is hosting an event tonight with cask ale from Black Oak. More info here: http://www.bartowel.com/board/viewtopic.php?t=3201
  3. Your best bet is Volo (Yonge and Dundonald, just north of Wellesley). Beerbistro is also good. If you're a beer fan, get on over to Bartowel (www.bartowel.com) where this stuff is discussed obsessively! Hope that helps!
  4. Best of luck to him. It's kind of a shame since I have only been able to get to Beckta once. I hope they can find someone just as talented to fill his, er, hat.
  5. jmcnally


    You'd still get "whacked" taking it across the border. And not declaring it is a no-no. That's called smuggling.
  6. jmcnally


    Vic Harradine of WineCurrent.com wasn't that thrilled with the Zind Humbrecht: "Parker fairly gushes over every release and the wines are usually massive. However, this is a medium weight offering with a lifted nose of toast and nectarine while the flavours are peaches and honey. Bracing acidity flows through this, providing a finish that is clean and refreshing. Drink now to 2010." He gave it 3.5 stars out of a possible 5.
  7. jmcnally


    I'm also happy to see the thread and hope to contribute. I work for Lifford, a wine agent and so may have a different perspective on some things.
  8. jmcnally


    They are reducing the selection all the time, unfortunately. If you're a fan of "non-critter" wine, best to find yourself a good wine agent. I'm the web guy with Lifford, and we have a large portfolio of stuff that we can sell to consumers by the case. The only issue with agents is that since you have to buy a case, it's hard to pull the trigger without being able to taste first. We try to deal with that by hosting a big charity tasting each year (May 3rd this year) where we pour all of our wines for consumers. Our web site has more details, or you could get in touch with me. James McNally, Webmaster/Consumer Marketing Lifford Wine Agency
  9. I also work these tastings regularly and would agree with Dinah Sarah's comments above. It's sometimes difficult to gauge the level of wine knowledge of the person you're pouring for, so it can make it a bit awkward to ask them good questions. But I thoroughly enjoy talking to people I pour for, whether they're educating me or I'm educating them. But, for goodness sake, SPIT! Talking to drunk people is not fun at all.
  10. Uruguayan cuisine is very heavy on meat. In fact, I don't think I saw a vegetable side dish the entire time I was there. Even the potato side-dishes were an afterthought and not that well-prepared (I think I had "tater tots" once!). But the meat... Meat is prepared over a wood-fired grill (never charcoal) and is always grass-fed and extremely fresh. Uruguay, after all, is really just one big cattle ranch with some beaches attached(!). Parrillada (and Asado) are words used to describe this barbecued meat and normally you can have just about any part of the cow, from sausages (chorizo) to organ meats (didn't try any of those). I suspect Argentinean barbecue would be similar, but the Uruguayans are fiercely competitive with their larger neighbours and will always claim to have better meat. There must be some Uruguayans in Toronto because when I was at a soccer match in Montevideo, I was sitting a few feet away from a guy wearing a Leafs baseball cap, if you can believe it!
  11. I didn't go, but thanks for the heads up on this group. They look interesting.
  12. Sorry I don't have anything to contribute, but just wanted to say I'll be following this thread with interest, since my wife and I just got back from a week in Uruguay. Some of the best roasted meat ever. Are there any Uruguayan/Argentinean parilladas in the city?
  13. I can vouch for Celestin's. Very very good. But not as good as the ones in Paris!
  14. I absolutely love Mariachi's, which is on the west side of Yonge between Davisville and Eglinton. I've had Mexican food elsewhere in the city that was entirely forgettable, but Mariachi's is always good.
  15. Realized my link was wonky above. Try this: http://www.liffordwineagency.com/special/2...isle/index.html That's info for the 2005 event...
  16. Self-promoting here, but my company, Lifford Wine Agency, holds a tasting of our entire portfolio each year on the first Wednesday in May. The next event will be held May 3, 2006 at the Eglinton Grand Theatre (Eglinton and Avenue Road). There are usually around 200-250 wines to sample and last year we had more than 30 winemakers and winery representatives in attendance. Tickets are usually around $100. More information closer to the event at http://www.liffordwineagency.com/ (You can see information on last year's event here: http://www.liffordwineagency.com/special/2...sle/index.html) Most of the wines are not available through the LCBO so it's a chance to discover some hidden (in Ontario, at least) treasures.
  17. To add insult to injury, I've never found the staff at Chateau de Charmes very helpful, or even interested in what they're doing. That diminishes the wines for me. As someone who works in the wine business, and pours at wine shows, I think some wineries charge to discourage the sort of person who slurps up all the free wine they can get. Charging even a nominal fee weeds out a surprisingly large number of people. Plus, most of the places that charge will waive the fee if you buy any wine. So, other than at Chateau de Charmes (which also charges the most), the practice doesn't bother me.
  18. I picked up the 2003 Pinot Noir from Flat Rock Cellars ($24), the 2001 Reserve Pinot Noir from Vineland (reduced to $20 from $45), the 2002 Cabernet Franc from Strewn ($28), and the 2002 Cabernet Sauvignon from Lailey ($35). At Tawse, I tried some Riesling and Chardonnay, but didn't find the staff very helpful. This always makes a huge difference for me. At Lailey, I got to taste with Derek Barnett, the winemaker, and at Vineland, spent about twenty minutes with a very knowledgeable staff guy, studying for his sommelier qualification, who tasted with me (not sure he was supposed to do that!). I've always had good experiences at Vineland. The staff at Chateau de Charmes, however, aren't up to scratch, in my opinion.
  19. Good points, Jay. Not to mention the rapidly increasing quality of our own Ontario wines. I just spent the weekend in Niagara and for the first time found myself impressed with some of the reds. (Egad!). I actually bought some, mostly 2002s.
  20. Thanks, everyone for your recommendations. We've made a reservation at Vineland for Friday night and if we stick around for dinner Saturday, maybe we'll try Inn on the Twenty.
  21. Aunties and Uncles is an interesting place, though possibly crowded with hungover hipsters. My neighbourhood place (Yonge and Eglinton) is the Good Bite, greasy spoon that is always packed on the weekends. But the service is efficient (though sometimes surly) and the omelettes and home fries are great. Cheap, too, as breakfast should be. Enjoy your stay regardless...
  22. My wife and I will be staying once again in the village of Jordan in a couple of weeks and I was wondering if anybody has any wine country restaurant recommendations? We ate last time at Vineland Estates, when the chef was Mark Picone, and it was fine, but we noticed that they've changed the name of the restaurant (new chef, I suppose) and just thought we should ask for recommendations. We're staying at Inn on the Twenty, so the restaurant there is a possibility, but I wondered if anyone had a hidden gem? Thanks!
  23. I wonder if it's because Claudius Fehr is in charge of Old World wine selections, and he has a German background. Certainly, I'm happy and I think German wine in general is undervalued.
  24. Well, my report won't be that useful. The steaks were delicious, but I became distracted because my wife insisted on having her steak well-done. Yuk. This is a long-standing area of contention with us, and having to eat my meal in the kitchen while watching her steak turn into a lump of charcoal didn't allow me much time to think of interesting things to say. Pricewise, I'd say there is a slight premium but not too bad. The two steaks came to about $25 and the chicken breasts were $8. That's about 20-25% more than I'd pay at my local supermarket, but worth it, I think.
  25. Just checked them out today, and bought some steaks and chicken breasts. We're cooking the steaks tonight, so I'll try to give a report post-meal. The store was a little smaller than I'd expected but the staff were friendly.
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