Friday, March 27, 2009

Toronto Wine & Cheese Show

On Sunday, Jim & I went to the Toronto Wine & Cheese Show. Oooo-eeee did we have some good stuff. our first stop was the LCBO fine wine area. This is where they showcase a lot of the high-end stuff. We tasted quite a few and there were some surprises.

This one was no surprise. I love me some Champage and this one was really nice. (LCBO #933060 - priced at $159) The French know how to do sparkling right. There are a lot of great sprakling wines out there and many are reasonably priced, and terrific for everyday celebrations, but when you have a really good Champagne, the others pale in comparisson. This particular vintage is 75% Pinot Noir and 25% Chardonnay. The final bottling process (disgorgement) was in March 2008, so it was in the cellars for quite some time. Yum!

The Chateau Pavie Macquin we tried was the 1995 vintage. It was quite full-bodied and very fruity. The tannins have mellowed almost completely and the wine has taken on a nice silky feel. This one is priced in Ontario at $149.00 (LCBO #37663), and is ready to drink now. This one kind of surprised me. As far as price and quality go, this one is a bit of a steal.

Dominus from the Napa Valley in California is owned by renowned French winemaker, Christian Moueix, who is best known for his own line of wines and his association with Chateau Petrus. The 2005 vintage (LCBO# 105890, price $127.95) is a big, bold red that is sure to impress. It is still young and quite tight with gripping tannins. It needs some serious aging - perhaps 6-10 years. When it's softened and starts to show it's stuff, it's going to be amazing.

Who doesn't love a nice Brunello? This 10 years old bottle is superb - smooth & silky with a wonderful finish. (LCBO# 105049) Priced at $84, it would be perfect for a celebratory meal of classic Italian fare. Delicious! I do love Italian wine.

Back to Napa Valley for this baby. In the past I've always been partial to Sonoma wines, but this Napa Valley red really impressed me. This is one of my favorites from the whole day. Rich fruit & a bit of spice.....This wine really had it goin' on. (LCBO# 733329, price $109.00) The vintage we tasted was 2004, so it does need some more cellaring time. I can only imagine how spectacular this will be in a few years. A winner for sure!

This was my other favorite of the day. The bottle available for tasting was from the blockbuster 2005 vintage. (LCBO# 567693, price $309.00) This one had the classic Bordeaux aromas, was full-bodied with loads of fruit and a velvety mouthfeel. What a gorgeous wine! This will age wonderfully and is good to sit and do it's thing for another 5-10 years. This one gets Best In Show.

Have you ever had a wine from Hungary? Ever heard of Tokaji? It's a region in Hungary that produces some of the most delicious dessert wines in the world. Grapes are infected with what is called Botrytis or Noble Rot. As gross as it may sound, it can be a very good thing. Careful control is needed in the vineyard and the end result is a sweet nectar of a wine that rich, complex and unlike anything else you have ever tasted.

The one we tried was 2002 Királyudvar Tokaji Aszú Lapis 6 Puttonyos. (LCBO# 82875, price $149.00) The wine was a wonderful golden colour and an absolute delight.

Then there were a couple of disappointments. One was this:

Chateau Haut-Brion is one of the 5 chateaus awarded Premiers (or 1er) Crus in the Classification of 1855. In good years, this wine can command very large prices. Unfortunately, 2004 wasn't a terrific year in France. Some chateaus have turned out very nice wines and as they have had a chance to age a bit, 2004 is turning out to be not as bad as originally thought. There have been a lot of pleasant surprises. Sadly, this one wasn't all that it could be. (LCBO#669762, price $329.00). The wines from these Premier Crus are meant to be aged for a number of years to reach their peak, so maybe in a few years this one will turn out to be one of those surprises. Don't get me wrong, the wine is still good, but I have had better.

Perhaps the biggest disappointment of the day was Opus One.

This wine started as a joint venture between Robert Mondavi and Baron Philippe De Rothschild (of Mouton Rothschild, other another premiere cru). It is a classic Bordeaux blend and commands a large price (LCBO#583203, price $359.95). I was anticipating something spectacular, but, meh, nothing super special. The vintage we tried was 2005, which was a excellent year in California wine country. I was hoping for another Leoville Barton or Duckhorn, but this one failed to deliver. The flavour was OK, not really complex like I'd expect from something of this caliber and it had a very short finish which was quite disappointing. A case of you don't get what you pay for. But the name alone will keep these bottles selling.

We also got to try some interesting tidbits of food but nothing that really knocked my socks off. I did have a horrible mango salad. It looked good, but tasted gross. I ended up pitching it in the garbage can. This upcoming weekend is Hamilton's Food & Drink Fest. Here's hoping for some more good stuff (and better food.)


LizNoVeggieGirl said...

So fun!!

Enjoy the food & drink fest this weekend too!!

Lisa -- Cravin' Veggies said...

Sounds awesome!

Tami said...

Looks like you had some incredible wines! We love sauternes but have never tried the Bordeaux!

Crystal said...

So, why do all the wines that I said "ooh, I have to try that one" have such a high price tag?!? Oh well, that's life, right? I really want to try the Tokaji one!

Vegan_Noodle said...

I love me some champagne too!! Looks like a fun festival!

aTxVegn said...

I love all the deep dark red wines and the ones you described, quite nicely I might add, sound fabulous. Another food & wine event this weekend - lucky you!