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WTN: Outstanding Toronto Offline


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Got together with some Toronto cork dorks last night and had an outstanding dinner. 11 people came up with the following wines:

NV Gloria Ferrer Blanc de Noirs

Sonoma, California, $29CAD

Aromas of cream, granny smith apple, and a hint of dough. Lots of fine bubbles. Almost a sweet nose. Moderate mouthfeel. Brut sparkler with berries, apple, and pears. Moderate finish, ~25s. Needs to be served a little colder. 85 points (05/08/2004).

1997 Ceretto Barolo Zonchera

Piemonte, Italy, $45CAD

Tasted on opening, and it was very, very tight. Sipped at 1 hour and still tight. Decanted 2 hours total. Medium ruby red colour to a rose rim. Aromas of lead pencil, orange rind, glycerin, violets, tar, roses, licorice, and a hint of acetate. Medium-full bodied, present tannins. Cherries, rose petals, plum, and earth on the palate. Moderate length finish, ~30s, with chocolate and acetate. Still quite tight and needs more time. Hold for another couple years. 87 points (05/08/2004).

1990 Dante Rivetti Barbaresco Riserva Bricco Neueis

Piemonte, Italy, price unknown

Not decanted. Dark garnet colour. Aromas of grilled meat, cherries, earth, plum, sweet red fruits, violets. Medium bodied; fine tannins. Cherries on the palate. Initially a little thin, but fleshes out with time, gaining weight and complexity. Short, dry finish, ~20-25s. Drink now. 88 points (05/08/2004).

1998 Sumac Ridge Pinnacle

Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, Canada, $49CAD

60% Merlot, 20% Cabernet Franc, 20% Cabernet Sauvignon.

Served blind. Aromas of butterscotch, vanilla, cassis, black licorice. Butterscotch dissipates then returns with time in the glass. Full-bodied with figs, cassis, vanilla, tobacco, and just a touch of limoncello on the back. Dry, peppery finish with vanilla notes, ~30s. Second best Canadian wine I've had. 87 points (05/08/2004).

1986 Chateau Pichon-Longueville-Lalande

Pauillac, Bordeaux, France, price unknown, going rate on wine-searcher.com is around $160-200USD

Decanated ~45 minutes. Deep, dark garnet colour; almost opaque. Aromas of lead pencil, garrigue, glycerin, earth, mushroom, old saddle leather, vanilla, and a bit of barnyard that blew off with time. Full-bodied, unreal wine with glycerin, cassis, mushrooms, earth, and cherry. Long, long finish, ~ 60s with leather and earth notes. Improved with more time in the glass. Still seems a little young. Even better with food. Absolutely outstanding. 96 points (05/08/2004).

2002 Malivoire Old Vines Foch

Niagara, Ontario, Canada, $16CAD

Served blind. Dark garnet colour with purple tinges. Sweet red fruits, cedar, barnyard, cola, and raspberry. Medium-full bodied with sweet red fruits, cinnamon, cotton candy, and caramel. Moderate length finish; a little tart, with cherry notes. 86 points (05/08/2004).

1993 Beringer Cabernet Sauvignon Private Reserve

Napa Valley, California, price unknown - ranges $80-110USD on wine-searcher.com

Decanted ~ 1hour. Dark garnet/black colour. Big nose of cassis, black figs, black licorice, oak/vanilla, black crushed fruit, lead pencil, and smoke. Full-bodied, powerful wine with blackcurrant, raspberry, black figs, and banana. Moderate finish, ~30-40s with licorice and cassis. Drinking wonderfully right now. James Laube should re-taste this wine that he recently rated 89. My score - 94 points (05/08/2004).

2000 Joseph Phelps Cabernet Sauvignon

Napa Valley, California, $85CAD

Decanted about 1.5 hours. Dark garnet wine with oak, rosemary, cassis, and brown sugar aromas. Silky wine with resolved tannins. Full-bodied, with cassis and figs. Long finish, ~40-45s. 90 points (05/08/2004).

1992 Shafer Cabernet Sauvignon Stags Leap District Hillside Select

Napa Valley, California, price unknown - ranges $250-300USD on wine-searcher.com

Not decanted, allowed to breathe 1 hour. Big nose of red berry fruit, bramble, hairspray, banana leaf. Hairspray blows off with swirling in the glass. Full-bodied, thick, chewy Cab with pepper, raspberry, and plums. Hints of dark cocoa on the long 50-60s finish. Needs 5+ years of cellar time. Serious wine. 93 points (05/08/2004).

1997 Beaulieu Vineyards Tapestry Reserve

Napa Valley, California, $59CAD

75% Cabernet Sauvignon, 17% Merlot, 4% Cabernet Franc, 2% Petite Verdot.

Opaque purple/red ruby colour. Aromas of red fruits and smoke. Full-bodied with very present tannins; almost searing. Softened with more air. Cassis, black fruit, currant, cloves on the palate. Moderate finish, ~30s. Needs a lot more cellar time. 89 points with the potential for more (05/08/2004).

1999 Terrabianca Campaccio

Tuscany, Italy, $39CAD

Decanted 1.5 hours. Medium-ruby red; aromas of cherry, sage, vanilla, sweet red fruit, and violets. Medium-full bodied with vanilla and black fruits; slightly acidic. Moderate finish, ~ 30-40s. A definite food wine. Had difficulty standing up to all the big California wines that preceded it. 90 points (05/08/2004).

No need to rush this.

1996 Freemark Abbey Cabernet Sauvignon Bosche Estate

Napa Valley, California, $73CAD

Deep ruby/garnet colour. Aromas of banana, black fruits, mocha. Full-bodied with black crushed fruits and cinnamon. Moderate finish with blackberries. 90 points (05/08/2004).

1999 Freemark Abbey Cabernet Sauvignon

Napa Valley, California, $45CAD

Deep garnet colour. Aromas of caramel and black fruits. More ready to drink than the '96 Bosche. Black fruits, raspberry, black licorice, and earth on the palate. Moderate finish, ~30-40s with coffee notes. 89 points (05/08/2004).

2001 Ridge Geyserville

Santa Cruz Mountains, California

Dark, almost opaque purple/garnet colour. Raspberry, cola, peas, and black fruit on the nose. Full-bodied with black fruit, raspberry, spice, and pepper on the palate. Moderate-long finish, ~ 40-50s with cassis/blackcurrant. 91 points (05/08/2004).

2001 Cape Mentelle Zinfandel

Margaret River, Australia, $29CAD

Served blind. Aromas of red fruit, coffee, toffee, and tobacco. Full-bodied with red fruit and coffee replays from the nose. Pepper, black crushed fruit and caramel also show on the palate. Moderate-long finish, ~40s. 90 points (05/08/2004).

1993 Schloss Schonborn Riesling Spatlese Erabacher Marcobrunn

Rheingau, Germany

Medium gold colour. Sweet nose of petrol, honey, lychee, and white peach. Full-bodied, medium-sweet wine with good acidity to offset any potential for a cloying wine. Honey, lychee and apricot on the palate. Nice finish, ~ 40s. 92 points (05/08/2004).

2001 d'Arenberg Vintage Fortified Shiraz

McLaren Vale, Australia, $18CAD/375mL

Opaque purple colour. Nose of chocolate, cassis, raspberries. Mocha, cassis, and blackberry on the palate. 30s finish. Very disjointed/flabby. Hopefully this will come together with serious cellar time. 87 points for potential (05/08/2004).

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You are redefining cork dorks with this massive selection of wines and their description.

It looks like you guys spent all night tasting.

Good show!

Andre Suidan

I was taught to finish what I order.

Life taught me to order what I enjoy.

The art of living taught me to take my time and enjoy.

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lol, thanks Andre. It was a great night. We popped the first bottle around 7:30pm. Half the group left around 10:30 because they had kids at home and/or had Mother's Day obligations for the next day. Six of us closed out the restaurant and left around midnight. Everything was consumed over the course of several hours of great conversation. Naturally, the wine was talked about to some extent, but topics were varied.

My wine of the night, hands down, was the 1986 Chateau Pichon-Longueville-Lalande. What an outstanding wine.

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Sounds like a great time. I'm in Toronto, too. I actually work for Lifford Wine Agency, which is the agent for Phelps (and about 60 other producers) in Ontario. I've only been here a year, and still consider myself a wine novice, but my most sublime wine experience (so far!) has been tasting the 1989 Château Pichon-Longueville Baron, from just across the road from Lalande. Where did you gather, and how were you able to bring the wines in? Part of my job is consumer marketing and due to LCBO regulation, I find it hard to organize any sort of tasting without running afoul of the law...though we did host a huge tasting on May 5 that was well-attended.

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Good to see another Toronto wino around. :)

We made arrangements with a local restaurant. Do to the nature of the system in Ontario, I'd rather not disclose the location, and definitely not discuss it publicly on a forum like this.

As an agent, however, my understanding is that you can make arrangements with restaurants to bring wine in as a "tutored tasting" of sorts for guests.

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