Posted in Wine

’10 Family Tree Red by Henry of Pelham – evokes a wine to sip in an English country manor …

Family Tree Red
Family Tree Red
Picture yourself sitting by the fireside on a rainy night in an English country manor sipping a beautiful red wine. “What is this gorgeous wine?” you ask your host, “it’s almost port-like in its rich body and flavours.” With distinctive British pronunciation, the host declares it’s a new discovery from Niagara.


2010 Family Tree Red by Henry of Pelham is dense dark purple in your glass, with a warm, aromatic and classic nose of ripe fruit, blackberries, black cherries, black coffee, and chocolate, with pepper and other spices in a rich, velvety and lingering finish. Nice body and good tannins. This wine will drink well for 5 to 7 years easily.


Blend of 58% Syrah, 17% Cabernet Sauvignon, 15% Cabernet Franc and 10% Merlot. The wine is barrel-aged in French and American oak for 17 months.


The Speck family’s idea for the Family Tree series is to produce wines that reflect the best plantings of grapes from various small family-owned single vineyards, including their own Short Hills Bench, and combine them in a blend.


Available only from the winery (including their online shop or by telephone order).


Posted in dining, event, Leisure

Super @citybites launch event @lozingaros w an enthusiastic group of supporters this past Monday

It’s nice to see the talented group at CityBites are getting back into the launch party tradition to celebrate new-issues. A civilized way to do business and live a little. Good stuff. I went with our editor, Ashley, and painter Chris Bacon. Chef Michael Pataran co-hosted the event with Lo Zingaro, a cozy ristorante that serves up Pizza Roma style.

It was a delightful time and chance to mingle and share the latest with John Szabo, Tony Aspler, Magdalena Kaiser-Smit, Ashley Singer, and Chris Bacon. Photo by Rick O’Brien.


City Bites
John Szabo
Tony Aspler
Wine Council of Ontario
Chris Bacon


Posted in dining, Leisure

The fare moves effortlessly from spetacular to decadent at Plank Restobar, Bronte Village, Oakville.

The baroness and I are lunching at Plank Restobar. The location is beautifully set on Lake Ontario at Fishernan’s Warf. Stephanie serves us efficienty and with a genuine smile. The seafood chowder and smoked turkey sandwich with brie are perfect. The beer choices are not the usual uninaginative stuff found elsewhere (today it’s 2 Stiegl from Austria. Last time it was Belgian Delerium).

And now to the decadent: a pistachio saffron ice cream plate (she says: “best dessert I’ve had in ages”) and mini brownies in a glass of ice cream.

Manager Joe Martineau runs a great establishment. The staff are delightful. Friendly and efficient, every one of them.

PICTURED BELOW (Exterior, view through the giant wall mirror, the desserts, Joe and some of the talented kitchen staff).

Posted in General

3 Mediterranean wines to savor. Blasón del Turra tempranillo, Piccini Chianti, Cedro Chianti Rufina Organic.

Blasón del Turra tempranillo, Piccini Chianti, Cedro Chianti Rufina Organic. One word on each in order: easy-drinking, nice acidity, impressive personality. In fine restaurants.

Not in LCBO. Available also to the public from Wine Lovers Agency, Woodbridge, Ontario.


Posted in dining, Wine

Great visiting Chef Mark @LaPiazzaAllegra Italian restaurant, Hamilton. Authentic cuisine, inspired wine list.

Chef Mark, @LaPiazzaAllegra Italian restaurant, puts thought and passion into his food creations and wine list. I’m also excited about the new wines Mark is bringing in. A tempranillo from western Spain, 2 new chianti (one is organic), a negroamaro that wins everyone’s heart who tries it, and a chilean superstar sauvignon blanc that’s made by a brilliant young New Zealander winemaker.

Posted in Wine

Château Rauzan-Ségla 2007. A worthy Margaux with a rich complexity and good length.

Château Rauzan-Ségla 2007. A worthy Margaux with a rich complexity and good length. Owned by the Wertheimer family of Chanel since 1994, the winery is again producing excellent wines. This one still has lots of room to mature. It displays aristocratic notes of blackberries, currants and spring flowers. Well worth the effort to find one.

Posted in Leisure

Here Comes The Boom, with Kevin James and Salma Hayek, is actually quite a good movie.

Here Comes the Boom, co-written and produced by it’s leading actor Kevin James, is a winner. It’s a story about fighting for a cause, and it tells it with feeling. It’s entertaining, inspiring, and offers feel-good satisfaction. Nicely cast with Salma Hayek and Henry Winkler. Newcomer Bas Rutten provides excellent humour as Niko, a retired Dutch MMA fighter.

We watched it on PPV tonight.
Good review of this movie in Film Journal International -By David Noh at

Posted in General

Viewpointe Cabernet Franc ’08 (Burgundy Label). Outstanding Lake Erie EPIC.

Medium plum red, stunning lively perfume of black cherries, blackberries, and forest floor, with leather, and fresh spring meadow. Medium-bodied, with silky smooth texture and a long finish. A brilliant wine. This ’08 follows the blockbuster “07, which is also still available. Both can be purchased directly from the winery.