Location: Whitby, Ontario, Canada

Born in Malta but in Canada since age 5. Has written three books and presently does several columns about wine and food for various magazines.

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

A Gourmet Show Experience and A New Television Series

Food and Wine Expo
I always find large wine shows a bit overwhelming. This is partly due to my having to travel long distances either by car or train to where ever these shows occur. In most cases Toronto is the usual focal point. Whenever I find out that the shows are near Union Station (in this case, the Metro Toronto Conference Centre) I make sure that I take the "Go Transit" since I despise driving for any length of time.
The show was a cornucopia of wine, food, demonstrations. It was a bit too much to take in especially since I specifically went there to try sparkling wines for a Christmas article that I was doing for 'East Of The City' magazine.
I tried several Sparklers. One from Chile, One from Champagne and one from Australia.
Chile was well represented with a nifty Methode Champenoise (Secondary Fermentation occurs within the original bottle the wine was placed in!) The "Blancs de Blancs" Valdivieso ($14.95, Vintages) is excellent value at a sixth the price of some Champagnes. Made from one hundred percent Chardonnay, it is lively, refreshing with citrus aromas and a soft creamy texture. The bubbles are small and last! Certainly a wine to enjoy at any time---especially a festive occasion.
The Petaluma Croser Sparkling Brut ($33, Vintages) from Australia is another winner from classic Pinot Noir and Chardonnay. It has apple, pear, strawberry and currant flavours along with a zesty acidity accentuated by the many bubbles.
Bubbly wasn't overly prevalent but a truly great Champagne at the show was Jacquart Mosaique Brut (Available in a gift tin for $45, Vintages) is a mouthwatering sparkler with a floral citrus lemon and nutty tones on the nose with citrus, apple and pear on the palate. This is World Champion quality in a bottle! New Years couldn't be better.
One of my favourite sparklers was also there showing off! Jackson Triggs Proprietors' Grand Reserve Cuvee Classique was the "Flag Ship"--leading the way to a great showing of wines which included a block buster of a Gewurztraminer! I also stopped by the Inniskillin booth. Inniskillin never fails to disappoint and this occasion was no different.
While at the show, I ran into many of Winedom's celebs. Vasco d'Avillez, President of ViniPortugal was there with a great representation of the Wines of Portugal. Some of my very favourite grape varieties are Portuguese. Portugal is one country that I have picked to use in a new series called "New Wine Frontiers" which will take place in emerging and re-emerging wine regions. The other areas being considered are Santa Barbara, California; Montefalco, Italy; Nova Scotia, B.C., Ontario and Quebec.
The area around Lisbon and Madeira are exciting areas now being discovered by tourists and oenophiles. Much of their success is owed to the great wineries and wine makers. However, ViniPortugal's representatives such as Vasco and his staff (Marcio Ferreira and Anna Sofia Oliveira) as well as William Delgado of ICEP, have done a magnificent job in marketing Portugal's wines. Matter of fact, William was there also representing the Portuguese Trade Commission.
Among the other celebrities that I encountered were Tony Aspler who was doing a demo on food and wine matching, Charles Jewett of Trilogy Wines (and importer of Jacquart Mosaique), Ontario Wine Societies Patricial Dinsmore and Louis Banyard of Signature Wines.
Alex Eberspaecher and his lovely wife Judy chatted with me. One thing about Alex, you must contact him at and get his book "Vino Veritus". Since I'm always on the go, I have very little time to do pleasure reading. However, the book is written is such a relaxing style that reading is not a chore. When ever I need a laugh, I just select a chapter and re-read. I find myself enjoying his adventures again and again. Lately I've been trying to have him redo the book. Hopefully he will! But get his book---at $14.95 it is great therapy.
I didn't stay too long at the show since I find crowds a bit claustrophobic at times. Actually, most times. I left after two hours having found the wines I wanted to taste.