Posted in Ontario wine, Wine

Coffin Ridge winery in cottage country rises into the light with these impressive whites

Into The Light White (Born 2012)

Light golden yellow, generous nose of pear, plum and lychee which are also pleasantly dominant in the flavours along with cloves and spice. Excellent balance with just-right acidity and a hint of spice in a unique and elegant overall package. Lingering finish.

A blend of Geisenheim, Prairie Star, Frontenac Gris, and one or two other varieties all chosen for their winter-hardiness. $20.00.

Riesling Bone Dry (Born 2013)

Silvery light golden hues dance in the glass as you pour this elegant and delicate riesling. Grown in bone-chilling cool climate, the grapes have clearly risen to the challenge. A bouquet and flavours of bartlett pear and lemon with minerality feel fresh and crisp. Aromatic and rich with flavour. $17.00.

Posted in Greek wine, Wine

Can you get a good white wine for less than $10? Yup. Check out Thalia Sauvignon Blanc – Vilana, from Kolonaki Group Wine Agency


Thalia Sauvignon Blanc – Vilana 2012, from Greece (Crete)

Rating: 89 points – tasting panel

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Don’t you just love it when you discover a delightfully enjoyable wine for under ten bucks. This one’s easy on the purse and yet it really delivers. For the wine aficionado, it’s a discovery. Very pleasant and full of character for even the most discerning palate. And for those folks who don’t know much about wine and just want a friendly and refreshing white, this one works out well for them too.

Tasting Notes

Light silvery gold with a slight greenish hue. A bouquet of tree fruit with a whisper of toasty caramel and gooseberry. Flavours follow through and continue with rich textures of apricot and refreshing citrus. A remarkable wine at 9.95.

Pairs nicely with seafood, Greek dishes and Asian. Try also with white meats with rich creamy sauce.

Bronze medal winner at intervin 2011 and 2012. LCBO # 273490

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Posted in Beer

Railway City Iron Spike & Dead Elephant are two cool beers

I had occasion to visit Railway City Brewing in St. Thomas a couple of days ago. The brewhouse is state-of-the-art and the brewmaster really knows his stuff. Following are two of my favourites. Both available in LCBO.

St. Thomas was once the railway capital of Canada, having six railway lines (compared to four in Toronto). The city was the transfer point for Chicago to New York travel and quite the hub in its day. Thus the moniker “Railway City.” This brewery honours that tradition with gorgeous beers…

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Railway City Iron Spike Blonde Ale

Pours from the 473 ml can with a light golden amber colour and a frothy cap. Enjoyable and balanced notes of mild hops, citrus, blackcurrants, flower petals, sweet grains and pine. A crisp brew with a long, slightly bitter and refreshing finish. Light carbonation. 4.3 %. $2.60. An excellent beer for those who aren’t afraid of a bit of flavour!


Railway City Dead Elephant IPA

A tribute to Jumbo the Elephant, who was tragically killed in a railroad accident in the late 1800’s in St.Thomas, at the time Canada’s railway capital.

Jumbo is featured throughout St.Thomas from the life size statue at the city’s west entrance, to the large wall murals on downtown buildings.

Jumbo was the prize attraction of the P.T. Barnum Circus that performed throughout North America. What a lot of people don’t realize is that during the early days, many circuses travelled by train, and thus many travelled to St.Thomas as part of their route.

Pours out of the 473 ml can with a rich golden colour and good froth. Apricot, candy and grassy notes combine with grapefruit briskness in a full bodied ale. Very nice lingering hop finish. Light carbonation. 6.8 % alcohol. $2.85. A super cool concept beer whose flavours live up to the hype.


Posted in Greek wine, Wine, Wine Regions

Is Greek wine the next big thing? Yes indeed. Here’s why.


Greek wines


are experiencing a significant renaissance. That’s a very good thing. It’s possibly the oldest wine producing region of the world, going back at least 6,500 years. It was the Greeks who introduced wine to Italy. Greek wine had especially high prestige among the Romans. And Greek wines were transported to the ancients all over the Mediterranean from the earliest of times.

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Fast forward to the modern age. I set out to find out about the Greek wine renaissance from Steve Kriaris of Kolonaki Group, the premier importer of Greek wines in Ontario. Steve explained that just a couple of years ago, LCBO’s Vintages would buy around 200 cases of a Greek wine for one of their promotions, and for a similar promo now, they buy over 500 cases just to keep up with exploding demand. I will begin to explain some of the likely reasons for the surge in popularity, and invite you to comment below with your own observations.

It’s certainly clear that the LCBO, top restaurants, sommeliers and wine reviewers are discovering that Greek wines have history and culture, and that their affordability belies their high quality. Experts and laymen alike are learning that there are some spectacular new wine varietals to discover.

I spent the weekend tasting a number of Greek wines in order to share my findings here. Following are some highlights. I invite you to take the plunge and try these for yourself. You’ll be very pleased. And you’ll still be one of the early participants in this wine renaissance:

Moschofilero Boutari 2012 White Wine —– $11.95 LCBO # 172387

Region: Mantinia (Southwestern Greece)
Varietal: Moschofilero
Producer: Boutari. One of Greece’s oldest wine companies, founded in 1879.
Alcohol: 12%

Notes: This is a classic Moschofileo with a charming floral bouquet amidst lemon rind, tangerine and peach. These characteristics follow through in flavour with crispness and a whisper of spice. I’m going to make this my Pinot Grigio alternative for quite some time, it’s so delightfully full of personality and character. Pairs very well with Mediterranean home cooked cuisine or try it with spicy Asian or Indian dishes.

Grande Reserve Naoussa 2007 Red Wine —– coming soon to Vintages

Region: Naoussa (North Western Macedonia, Greece)
Varietal: Xinomavro
Producer: Boutari.
Alcohol: 13%

Notes: Deep and dark red blockbuster aged 24 months in barrels. The richness already comes out in the nose, with aromas of olives, spice cabinet, figs and red and black berries. The flavours are complex, robust and full-bodied with firm tannins. Long finish.

Estate Argyros Santorini 2011 White Wine —– coming soon to Vintages

Region: Santorini
Varietal: Assyrtiko
Producer: Estate Argyros
Alcohol: 13.2%

Notes: From that wonderful Greek island of Santorini, this outstanding white wine caressed the senses with aristocratic intensity. Produced from 150 year old+ vines, this blockbuster is made from 100% Assyrtiko grapes in an intense yet fine presentation of complex aromas and flavours that speak of minerality and citrus blossoms. Full body. Crisp and lingering finish.

The Argyros family have operated the winery since 1903. Under the guidance of 4th generation Mattheos Argyros, the winery is moving towards 100% organic farming. “We believe good wine is produced in the vineyard,” he says. “We invest a lot of time and effort in our vines to ensure they produce high quality grapes.”

The team includes an older generation of growers who have years of experience with Santorini’s traditional viticultural techniques. They share their years of experience and expertise with Mattheos, who took over the management of the winery recently following his father’s passing. To compliment the experience of the older growers, they also work with a young new breed of people well educated in viticulture and modern winemaking techniques who also share the family’s vision of producing the purest expression of Santorini’s indigenous varieties, especially Assyrtiko.

Conclusion: Break out of your own little wine rut and try some wines that will take you into the deeply fascinating annals of viticulture. You’ll enjoy terrific new character and personality in the wines of Greece.

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