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Tag Archives: Chardonnay

Easter and DDTC

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Easter means spring! And even though the weather has warmed up and most of the snow is gone, on the long walk we took with the dogs today I could have happily worn earmuffs thanks to a strong, cold wind.

Easter also means that we are at our off-site storage location, aka my parents, so though the selection is plenty, it is heavily red and riesling. @WineGuyTO dug around and found a 2007 Flat Rock Twenty Mile Bench Chardonnay that complemented both the fish for Good Friday and the ham for Easter dinner.


The colour was light straw but very buttery, somewhat lighter than what @WineGuyTO was expecting.  The nose showed some butter and the evidence of oak barrels.  The flavours definitely balanced nicely with some acidity to complement the fruits and alcohol.  I found a note of toasted wood on the palate, with a medium finish that was pleasant.

**I have decided to amalgamate all DDTC posts in a monthly post going forward.  So stay tuned for the rest of April at the end of the month!


WineAlign and Beringer Winemaker

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WineGuyTo and I had the pleasure of meeting the man behind Wine Align at last year’s Wine Camp.  We were excited to find out that he was hosting a taste and learn with Beringer Wines winemaker Laurie Hook at Sassafraz May 24th.  We were both familiar with Beringer, myself mostly with their whites.  Got to admit, the price made going attractive, $45 for 6 wines and tapas.  So away we went!

Being served were the following:

  • Beringer Founders’ Estate Chardonnay 2009
  • Beringer Napa Valley Chardonnay 2009
  • Beringer Private Reserve Chardonnay 2008
  • Beringer Napa Valley Pinot Noir 2008
  • Beringer Napa Valley Merlot 2009
  • Beringer Knights Valley Cabernet Sauvignon 2008
  • Private Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon 2007
  • Private Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon 1997

Luckily, our late arrival coincided with Air Canada’s late arrival of the Laurie, so we were treated with an extra glass of Founder’s Chardonnay while we waited.  A cool climate version, as Beringer’s vineyards are very spread out, I enjoyed it immensely.

Two Chardonnays side by side

We then started early with the Napa Valley  second chardonnay, which would be our first of the tasting.  Very typical chardonnay butteryness.  We moved quickly through the wines as Laurie explained the wine’s background in relation to where they were grown and their differences to other wines within the same vineyard.  A personable and approachable speaker, she let us ask questions during her presentation.  Only the 7th winemaker in the Winery’s history, she has been with them since 1986.  Beringer is no longer family owned (since 1970s) but owned by Nestlé.  This has allowed them to expand.  My personal faves were the Knight Valley (on sale at LCBO) and the 1997 Private Reserve Cab.

The ‘tapas’ plates were large enough to be considered full servings!  There actually was almost too much food.  My only critique was that the wines and the food were not presented as pairs, but rather as two separate entities.

Spice rubbed lamb chops with olive jus

Buffalo mozzarella and aged asiago ravioli

Charcuterie and cheeses


Overall, we enjoyed the food and the wine and look forward to more events from WineAlign.

LLL Secret: Lailey Winemaker

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Joel and Trish’s second installment of Living Loving Local happened on Sunday, May  15th at Swirl Wine bar.  WineGuyTo and I love Lailey Vineyard, so we were definitely attending!  The event was listed as  “an intimate evening with a winemaker. The first of the series will feature the wines of Lailey Vineyards, and we will spend some time with winemaker Derek Barnett, and our hostess for the evening Jeanan Currie. Derek will take us through a tasting of 6 of his wines, and we will learn and snack while taking in the beautiful space that is Swirl Winebar in Leslieville. Food pairings will be provided, courtesy of Swirls chef Joan Olsen.” Well weren’t we surprised when Derek laughed and said he had brought 10 wines!

Some of the wines we sampled, on the bar.

But first, Swirl Winebar.  Tucked away on the second floor in the Queen East and Carlaw part of Leslieville, Swirl is almost missable.  But once inside, the antique and quirky decoration, along with the family style tables make it homey and appealing.  They have themed nights for the whole week, with drink specials.  A copy of their events can be found here, I think we might be down for some game nights or Mad Men Wednesdays this summer.  The owner explained the concept of the bar to us and then introduced their Chef Joan.  All the food is ‘container food’, meaning that without a full kitchen, everything can be assembled/made from brought in containers.  Items are sourced from area shops, such as the Leslieville Cheese market, so very local! We had 3 plates presented to us and they were great! The Saint Honore triple cream cheese was almost liquid, we dipped our fingers in!  It was presented with Niagara Gold, rhubarb and ginger chutney, cherry chutney with mustard seeds and chicken liver pâté.

Charcuterie plate

Charcuterie plate

Cheese, bread and chutney plate

Bread plate







Derek, Lailey’s Winemaker, took us through the history of the vineyard and its owners as we sipped on some lovely whites.  It was a very relaxed evening with him taking questions throughout.


2010 Riesling


2008 and 2009 Chardonnay







So about these whites: I found the Vidal to be not overly sweet, much less than an icewine.  It was smooth with a silky taste, with tart acidity at the end with crisp flavours. The 2010 Riesling had (to me) a wet laundry smell.  Someone else at the table said stinky feet.  It wasn’t sweet at all, but art, floral and light. The Sauvignon Blanc (not pictured) had intense sweet fruit on the nose, was sharp in the mouth and crisp but not that sweet.  The 2 chardonnays were very different.  The 2008 was barrel fermented with the 2009 is from old vines (1978).  We were told to warm it in our hands and not serve it too cold.  Both were more aromatic when warmed.  The first was more mineral on the nose and acidic in the mouth.  The second smelled more mature, much more refined.  It had a smoother taster with a sharp middle.

Pinots: Brickyard and Old Vines

On to the reds!  Two Pinot Noirs: Brickyard 2008 and Old Vines 2009.  The 08 had a candy smell faintly on the nose, with earthy, typical pinot nose.  Gorgeous raspberry colour with a sharp, (almost vinegar sharp) taste, with big acidity right off the start, but drops off in the mouth.  It was much softer that the 09 which had a smoky nose and was much sharper and tarter. I found it much cleaner and dry taste.  The Syrah 2008 had an immediate campfire smoky smell, topped with lots of pepper.  An almost smoked meat flavour in the mouth, also spice, ripeness and somewhat sharp on the finish.  Best quote of the night came from this wine “This is just sexy!”.  Next was the 07 Meritage, a Bordeaux blend.  It had a clean smell, like after the rain.  Much shaper when drank after the chocolate disks.  I found it tart but light.  Our last wine of the evening was the 2008 Cabernet Sauvignon.  It too was light yet sharp, but in a different way.  It also matched well with the chocolate (what red wine doesn’t? 🙂 )


Thanks to Joel and Trish for organizing the event, Swirl for hosting and Derek for the wonderful tasting.  A great evening!

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