Saturday, January 31, 2009

This is IT!


Wow. What power, what cool, what fearlessness...

Ever since I've started working, I've been wanting to buy more business formal clothing. Walking into a meeting, you really want to set the right tone, and create a good first impression. This man has got IT.

The confident pose, the walk. He knows exactly where he's going, and is going to take things at his pace.

The wide spread collar - this is a trend. The collar that is almost horizontal? I like it, but only if its in proportion. What are you going to do with all your wide spread shirts, when the trend inevitably ends? Again, the unbuttoned shirt cuffs. I never button my shirt cuff, and it works only if the shirt and suit you're wearing is well-tailored. If it fits well, why button?

The snug jacket. It's not tight, it just fits well, creating a great, trim silhouette. Men are scared of looking rotund too, you know. The perfect length of the jacket sleeves, and pants. Shorter than some people like, but it's what I try to do with my clothing. Shows more of your shirt cuff, as well as your shoes. Creates a cleaner, sharper profile.

And, the double monk-strap shoes. I want monk-strap shoes, but a single strap will do. Notice that they're brown as well. And notice that the pants and the jacket aren't the same colour. More interesting to mix colours, which is a clue to spot a man with style. A suit isn't a formulaic uniform - there's endless things you can do, and this man demonstrates it perfectly.

In Love


I am in love. Don't know anything about her, but I'm in love.

How do you do it so well? To look cute, but grown up, stylish but still sensible? Again, the haircut. The colour, the styling - just perfect. Proves that you really need to know what kind of hairstyle fits your face. Of course a fauxhawk looks good on Beckham, doesn't mean it'll look good on you.

I am in love.

Asian cool


How great does this girl look? I'd like to think that she's Shanghai as well. Use your imagination.

I am disgusted at fobby girl style. Because it's all this emulation, that somehow by clashing colours and wearing weird clothing, it's unique and new. No, it just looks like you dressed in the dark. I say that it's an emulation because its a viscious circle of copying, in Asia. Tokyo copies Europe, who is then copied by Hong Kong, who is then copied by Korea. Taiwan copies HK and Korea. Mainland China copies a combination of Tokyo, HK, Korea, and Taiwan, but doesn't do any of it well. Then you have the SouthEast Asian countries following. This trickling down isn't style, it's just mindless copying.

This girl is so refreshing because she's done up, and everything looks so clean. Interesting pairing of different materials. Relaxed, but exquisite. And the haircut fits her face perfectly. Very well-proportioned face, how rare is it to come across a girl with a chin like that?

German cool


This girl just has something. Maybe its the loose, semi-tucked shirt, maybe its the perfectly fitted skinny jeans, mabye its the touch of colour in the shoes. I just really, really like her. Then again, maybe it's the posture. The relaxed, casual slouch. People instinctively fold their arms when they stand straight for a photo. That's a sign of insecurity. This girl, she just puts her hands by her sides. Nothing to hide, because there shouldn't be any reason to.

No, it's the messy hair. A real beauty.

Wise Old Men



The top photo reminds me of my grandfather. That's how he dressed. Someone who's seen everything, who has wisdom and character. A person who still retains a wicked sense of humour, that life hasn't taken away.

I really like this overcoat draped over the shoulders. Again, something you can't do until you reach a certain age. You need to earn the right to dress like this.

Silver Fox


The Silver Fox. This man exudes power and influence. The details don't hurt either. The yellow framed glasses tucked in behind the handkerchief, the unbuttoned shirt cuff, the cigarette. I'm seriously considering smoking again. And notice the softly rolled lapel of his jacket. Just a really well-made, well-fitted suit, in a beautiful colour and material.

This isn't flashy at all, but a true man of style. It's the details that count, and the people that don't appreciate these details, well - don't have the sense. It's easy to overlook this kind of man as just being a drab dresser, but look beyond and into the details, and you'll understand the brilliance of his subtlety. Clothing, as in wine, and as in life, is all about the subtle nuances.

The Photo


Just a great photo, no need for words. The Moment. Caught by a photographer who just understands how to observe people, and catch them brilliantly. Bravo.

Young ones





The young guns. The inspiration here comes not so much from the clothes, but how they wear them. How relaxed they look in them. Maybe its the cigarettes, maybe the wine glass. But the confidence! I should definitely take up smoking again.

Top photo: So relaxed, so chilled out. Who cares that the shirt isn't tucked in. Everything's unstructured, loose, but still fits perfectly.

Second photo: Nothing special, just perfect colour combination, excellent fit, and that popped collar. See, this is what popping your collar should look like. But seriously, don't be a douche, it just looks like your collar has an erection.

Bottom two photos: The scarves are great. No one wears silk scarves. It's not reserved for women, you know. It's a traditional item of clothing, and if you wear it nonchalantly like these men, it completes the look. I like having something around my neck to keep warm, maybe my phobia of catching a cold.

Shoe colour

Ahh, the shoe colours. I don't understand why men only wear black shoes. I hate black shoes. How monotous can you get? Brown shoes go with every suit colour, with the exception of black suits. But then, if you only buy black suits, you really have no style.

Look at this man. Look how bright the shoes are. You can only wear something like that when you get to a certain age, but this is really inspiring. Girls can tell a lot about you from your shoes right? Well, this will certainly get their attention.


Blogger's note, October 17, 2010:

Removed the photos. Not worth the aggravation. This space is about wine and cuisine, not clothing.

The Jap



There's something about old Japanese men. I don't hide my disdain for these characters - they're all imperialists who won't own up to their war crimes against the Chinese. It burns me everytime they deny wartime aggressions so callously - right, in the 1940's, when you slap a Shanghai man in Shanghai for not bowing to you when he crosses a bridge in his own city, that's just the way of war right? But I'm generalizing. Still...

Sorry about the detour. Get hot under the collar whenever I talk about that period.

Look at this man - the epitome of high style. The posture, the cigarette, how he buttons the double-breasted coat - so unique. Conventionally, you button only the top button in a DB coat, but clearly, this man doesn't care. And why should you, when you look like you're Yakuza? It's definitely the cigarette that pulls it all together. And the glasses!

Detail on wrist



This is a grand old man. High quality wools, not afraid of colour. And the little details. Watch worn on top of the shirt cuff, which you can only do if the shirt cuff is meticulously tailored and stitched. The colour of his suede monkstraps matching perfectly with the glasses. Just fascinating.



I'm being so unoriginal in these next few posts. But, I think I make a strong argument. Here we go. All the following posts are from The Sartorialist. I'm secure enough in my masculinity to talk about this stuff. Don't worry, this is still a wine blog, will get to the Vinsobres, and the 2005 Medoc Cru Bourgeois soon enough.

This photo shows the confidence, the power, and the style that all men should have. I look up to older gentlemen, in matters of style. They don't need to impress anyone, they're set in their ways, and they have this subtlety that's inspiring. Look at him. Just the way everything's put together that's so relaxed, yet well-fitted. The Ray Bans just warn your to not f*ck around this guy.


I don't like fashion. I think it's frivolous, and if you really need to study magazines and all that, you have no style to begin with. Style (and taste) isn't, and can't be taught. Inherited, definitely. Style is intertwined with taste. Not exactly the same thing, but you can't do with one and not the other.

Taste is internal. Style is an outward manifestation of your taste.

When you see something, when you smell something, when you taste something, when you hear something - your taste is what tells you the value of such sensations. When you mentally process a sensation, you differentiate whether it's appealing or not.

Style is just an expression of your taste, one that everyone can see. People recognize your style when you wear a well-tailored suit, but only because your taste has dictated the specific cut, material, details when you purchased it.

So you see why these things can never be taught. What you see in print media is someone else's style, deriving from someone else's taste. What's considered trendy is only so because certain influential people have designated it so. Trends are worthless, in all things. Clothing, wine, music - what matters is your own cultivated taste, and whether your style corresponds to it. You think buying everything with a TNA logo, or a Polo logo makes you fashionable/trendy/classy? Let's be honest - you're only proving the genius of North American marketing, and the naivete of an eternally teenage mindset.

I'll never be a trendy person. Don't have the money for it, and well.........not gay. I'm a classicist. I believe in the old way, when the male figures in your life taught you how to dress. How to have your clothing fit you, how to value good materials and workmanship. And the quiet confidence of wearing understated, well-tailored, timeless pieces. It's a show of insecurity, for men to want to be trendy. This narcissistic need for people to recognize that you're wearing designer labels, and that you're able to afford it. No, this is not style, it's the ultimate in gauche, uncouth, yuppy culture.

Let me share a website with you. The Sartorialist. I admire him, because I think he's one of the most dynamic portrait photographers I've ever seen. And his eye for detail is amazing. You won't see overt designer logos, because he knows better than that. This is a man of taste and style.


Fugu is pufferfish, a relatively new delicacy, even in Japan. The trend to eating fugu really started in Tokyo only 7-10 years ago. Fugu, is an extremely poisonous fish. The toxin is called tetrodotoxin, found in the liver, ovaries, and skin. It causes paralysis, leading to death by asphyxiation. There is no antidote.

Knowing this, I had to taste it. Restaurants need licenses to prepare this, for obvious reasons. I found it lacking. It's served several ways - the sashimi was dry and rubbery, the meat used for hotpot was too oily. The skin, however, was delicious. A firm texture, much like snakeskin. Overall, the experience was more of a novelty than fine dining. And I didn't get poisoned! I think there's too many of these restaurants in Tokyo. Quality is going down - it's no longer a special ingredient. The vast majority of the fish comes from farms, and although I don't question their farming techniques, cheapening a delicacy by oversupplying reduces it to something much less.

Anyways - these guys weren't so lucky. That's what happens when you go to cheap places. The restaurant wasn't even licensed.

Blowfish poisoning sends 7 to hospital
Delicacy makes diners seriously ill

Dangerously bored

It's snowing outside again. I'm so bored right now, I'm turning into that loser in high school that eats lunch by himself in the cafetoria. Sigh......what happened?

Third trip to LCBO, STILL havn't seen the Couly-Dutheil on shelves yet. Come on, what's going on? I see the bottles in your inventory, where are they??

What else to do when it's this frigid than write. And drink, of course. More on a somewhat uninspired Vinsobres, later.

Friday, January 30, 2009


Thursday night, I attended a Chinese New Year dinner hosted by the Canada Shanghai Business Association. It's an association of businesspeople, mostly from Shanghai, that maintains ties with the Chinese consulate here, with members both in Toronto and Shanghai. We were kindly invited by a family friend, to whom we owe a thanks.

Let me be honest - straight up and down, I didn't want to be there. What the hell do I have to do with any kind of business association? And these types of get-togethers are so fake. Come on man, everyone knows you go to hand out your business card and hope to attract some business. People on commission have to go get that money, especially in this kind of market.

The dinner was hosted by the new restaurant at Highway 7 and Warden, same ownership as Casa Imperial on Steeles and Warden. I've been to Casa before - very impressive. Kind of tacky decor inside. Come on, faux Roman columns inside? Please.

Not in a good frame of mind when I went in. Snowing like it's Alaska outside, room less than half full, dinner looked to be several hours away. I got dressed for this shit? And look at this character standing up front:


Kind of a slap in the face. We really shouldn't be stereotyping ourselves. A big WTF.

Anyways. Some local Chinese press going around, doing interviews. I guess we're supposed to be impressed with some of the guests? Madame Deputy Consul-General of the People's Republic of China to Canada was here. Mayor of Markham was here as well. There's such thing as a mayor of Markham? If they can have one, we want Mayor Mel back.



By the way, in the top photo, the man on the left? He's apparently one (of the many) directors of the CSBA. Just a good old Shanghai playboy. Burberry scarf, camel overcoat, lapel pin. A pity he carries himself with such pompousness. You're not that well-dressed, just dressed like what the average lowbrow crowd considers to be well-dressed.

Sorry, getting well off track. The food, in a word, was delicious. Absolutely delicious, very creative flavour combinations, excellent presentation, exceptional service. Traditional Cantonese food, which is absolutely my favourite region of Chinese cuisine, but always with some creative aspect that I've never seen before. Take the sweet and sour roasted fish. Everyone's seen that before right? But the sauce was put together with canteloupes, for the sweetness. Perfect amount, the high acidity really balances the dish out. Beautiful.

What upset me was the wine they served, if you can call it that. This f*cking nonsense was a disgrace. Some home-made shit. I testify, I'd rather drink f*cking paint thinner. How many bottles did this f*cking fraud have to donate, for them to allow him to advertise like that? I am so pissed. Pissed because a quick look around the dining room showed that a bit more than half of every table was drinking it. Look at this shit. If you ever come across a bottle like this, don't touch it.


But you know what, I'll put myself through any injustice for great food. And this restaurant serves fantastic food. You're looking at a dining room of around 200 people, and ALL the dishes coming out piping hot. Just think about how hard that is to pull. On top of that, the service was immaculate. The type of service that if I was a restauranteur, I'd have put in place. Because if you havn't realized by now, I have lofty dreams of becoming a winemaking restauranteur. So all in all, it wasn't a lost night. Bravo to the kitchen, and to the wait staff. Just lose the gay pseudo-tuxedo shirts, with the frills going down the front.

If only they condensed all the speechmaking. Come on, it started sounding like a Comintern address. A not-so-subtle reminder that while it's cold and white outside, our hearts fervently beat Communist red.


If I drink myself to shit and into a stupor, you'll all still respect me right? Because I don't know how else to deal with him. Short of assault.

Thursday, January 29, 2009

Try, try, try again

Went to Bayview Village tonight, they still havn't loaded up the wines on release yet. You know, isn't that their job? To get the wine on the shelves ASAP? I mean, if they need help, I'll do it. Really don't need much education or training for it. Maybe just a kick in the ass?

Subsequent pieces will improve, I promise. Listening to Kanye. How good is this album?

Wednesday, January 28, 2009


Lots and lots of new Vintages purchases! Excitement in the air, elaboration will follow.


So - VintagesOnline springs a new "Bin Ends" feature on us. It's basically an online sales rack. Kind of bitter because the Nicolas Feuillate Grand Cru Champagne I bought last month, for $65 now goes for $49. In order to recoup my losses, I bought some more of the Ambonnay.

Also, very excited to see some 2005 Couly-Dutheil Clos de L'Echo go on sale, as well as 2005 Chateau Pibarnon, AC Bandol. Really, really great to see some excellent South France wines available. Now...who wants to drink them with me?

Big release this weekend, lots of excitement. Budget? What the hell is a budget?

Association Banquet

Just came back from a dinner hosted by the Shanghai Business Association. Or something to that effect, I can't recall the exact name. Recap later on.


Blogger's note:

It's called the Canada Shanghai Business Association. More on it later, it's quite complicated, I took some photos, and I want to talk about the restaurant that hosted the event.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009



Kazu's birthday is coming up, and he want the above pictured Bottega Veneta wallet. Doesn't want a black one, doesn't want a brown one - wants some kind of dark, olive shade. I'm not too sure about this.

I'm from the belief that a man's wallet should above all be discreet, and be of excellent material and workmanship. The ultimate vulgarity is using a wallet because of the implied and false classiness of a brand name or fashion trend.

This is an unmanly wallet. Men don't need such frivolous wallets. Besides, he has some wonderful, and more meaningful, wallets left to him from his father. This, unfortunately, satisfies only a vanity and image.

Lucy DaWei, this is your area of expertise. Let me know what you think.


I'm kind of having self-confidence issues.

It's bitterly cold outside. Really, really getting sick of the cold, and the salty roads. Only 2 more months until spring. Only 2 more months.

Bought some more wines today, from the 2005 Bordeaux offer. A single lot of 2005 Chateau Poujeaux. Some more wines that should be coming in soon, on various orders. I do what I can to stave off boredom.

Going to some kind of dinner tomorrow hosted by some sort of Chinese diplomat in Toronto. Don't know what to expect, or whether I should even be there.

Sigh......that's it. But at least there will be some excitement on Thursday.

Monday, January 26, 2009


Take away the cursing, the insulting, and the sniping - what do we have left? A couple of pictures and useless garbage about my purchasing habits. Maybe I should look into video?

French coverage!

I'm getting coverage in the French blogging world!

Here, here, and here:,-Les-Roquets-and-La-Cave-de-Fang-in-Ontario.html&serendipity%5Bcview%5D=threaded

I guess they're really desperate to find literature on Cahors. In any case, Cahors is a beautiful wine, and I wish I'd have written more eloquently in those posts.

They singled out that post. Why do I feel so undeserving? I feel a bit undressed, when the occasion calls for something more. Just like you should not have worn a sweatshirt and jeans when you're looking to impress a girl. Even though cooking gets your clothing a bit greasy, wearing sweats just sends the wrong message. Anyways. I'll know better next time. Oops, I was just giving a general example.........................

Food for dogs

There's a fairly new restaurant on Sheppard and Birchmount thats been receiving some attention from the local Chinese papers. It's a Xinjiang restaurant, specializing in traditional lamb and beef dishes. Seeing how its winter, it was worth a try, for some lamb.

What a pathetic excuse for cuisine. F*cking dog food. This is a disgrace, especially if this donkey is trying to pass himself off as a purveyor of authentic Xinjiang food.

We ordered two bowls of their specialty, fresh made noodles in a beef broth, and one in a lamb broth. It says $4.99 on the menu, but we were informed by the waitress that on weekends, its $6.99. Ok. Doesn't say on the menu, but what choice do you have. I also ordered their bbq lamb skewers. Something safe right?

The soup was thin, lukewarm. Noodles were stuck together. While it claims to be a meat broth, I found a total of 3 thin slices of beef. Half a mouthful. The other one, a lamb broth, featured 1/4 inch long pieces of fat - the fat that you cut off and throw away. It was so pungent, it was the kind of stink that you keep tasting in your mouth.

Next, lamb skewers. This is usually street food, so they should be able to dress it up a little in a restaurant, right? Especially since they charge $1.99 per skewer. Anyways. It came out black, no unlike charcoal. The first bite was oily grease, the second bite was oily grease, and the third bite? What's the point? The pieces of "meat" were nothing more than gobs of fat, tendon, and grease - pieces that normally go into the organic waste bin. They tried to hide this garbage by loading it up with cumin, and some sort of curry because my mouth was burning. It was so spicy, so aromatic with the cumin that you couldn't taste anything else. That's the point, right? You perfume it, so it doesn't smell and taste like shit.

For two people, lunch cost $32. For 2 bowls of shit noodles and 6 skewers of even shittier lamb. Un-f*cking-believable. Watch out for this place. I want to know who's been writing these glowing reviews for this place, and how much it cost for the thumbs up. You think if I skewered them up, bathed them in oily cumin and spice, and sat them on an open fire, they'd taste as bad?

On the eve of the Ox

New Year's Eve dinner at a friend's last night. Many thanks for the great variety of dishes, most notably the sea cucumber.

Given that this is our most important holiday, w
hat would be more appropriate than a Chinese liquor? An eau de vie made from sorghum, the most famous drink that the Chinese make.

Clear, but with a thick texture in the glass. Fr
agrant aroma of sweet mulberries, fermented tofu, and the subtle scent of steamed rice. In the mouth, it's thick, but breaks up with a texture not unlike red bean paste. Long finish of the aforementioned stinky tofu.

Not much in way of intensity and concentration of fl
avour, as you would find in other fine eau de vie, single malt scotch or cognac. This 53% drink of death never makes you forget its potency - a line of fire straight down your throat. This is almost like pure alcohol, with a stinky, bretty nose. Unappealing, to say the least. Burns and burns. I've had Chinese eau de vie that was so rich and oily in the mouth - I don't get why this one breaks up so dramatically on the palate. Completely falls apart.

There was a gentleman, older, sitting across from me. Was b
oasting about his money, his houses, how big his business was in Shanghai. And was telling me that I didn't know what I was talking, that I just didn't understand Chinese liquor. Perhaps. But it'd be much easier for him to be believable if he wasn't wearing clothing he made himself from FabricLand cloth. Just saying. And let's be clear, yes? Associating tasting ability with a propensity for alcohol indulgence is not the sign of a connoisseur. It's a sign of an alcoholic with a palate of a donkey. Don't be an ass.

It was very kind of our host to open the bottle. Not my kind of dr
ink, but certainly no harm in the experience.

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Catching up

Taking some time off from writing has been good, to reflect, and regroup a bit. A lot of things I'd like to write about, things I hope you'll enjoy reading. What's encouraging is that people are still visiting the blog, even though I havn't been writing for 2 weeks.

Going out for dinner soon, to a friend's place. Its our New Year's Eve, so we shouldn't eat alone. Then, back to business tomorrow.

Liquid gold

Read the whole thing first.

I've heard about this wine. The most expensive in the world, by far, on release. 100% pinot noir Champagne, from a legendary vineyard.

This is absolutely ridiculous. Ludicrous. Are you kidding me? $4529 for a bottle of Champagne? I don't care how good this wine is, there is no way, NO WAY, that anyone can justify this kind of pricing. Unless you pick, ferment, age, re-ferment, riddle, disgorge, GRAPE BY GRAPE. F*cking ridiculous.

They're offering 12 bottles this release. I'd really, really like to know who could be a big enough of a dumb shit to buy this wine. Really like to know.

Did you notice the tasting note for this wine? Asimov is one of the very, very few people who've tasted this wine. Do you see a note from Parker? Wine Spectator? Decanter? Robinson? IWC? No way. Because no one, not even the great critics, are able to taste this wine. How is it possible for Krug to open these bottles for critics to taste, if they're charging this price? This wine goes completely by reputation, and reputation alone.

How do quantify and analyze the taste of a wine this expensive? The last bottle of Champagne I drank was about $40. Does this mean that this bottle tastes 100 times as good?

Liquid gold, literally
. How can you possibly even dream of making this kind of purchase, in this economic market?

Ohh, Monsieur Parker!

The great Robert M. Parker Jr. has spoken about a wine that I bought!!!!

Look back at this post:

The Grand Chancellor of American taste has reviewed the 2005 Potensac, as follows:

"A superb value for Jean-Hubert Delon, the 2005 Potensac has a deep ruby/purple color, a classic bouquet of sweet red and black fruits, as well as gorgeous texture and purity. Medium-bodied and concentrated, this wine behaves like a Medoc cru classe. Moreover, it will age very well for 10-15 years. Very impressive!"

The Man has spoken!!

New Year

It's that time of year again. The Year of Ox is coming, and with it, renewed hope for a better year.

Chinese New Year to everyone. I don't like the greeting the Cantonese use. It's not about prosperity and making lots of money. It's about having health and family and happiness. So I wish you all that instead, and may the New Year be filled with family, friends, food, and of course, lots of wine...

Dinner on McNicoll

Had dinner at a family friend's yesterday, for Chinese New Year. As you can see, I hope they understand that I wasn't exactly in high spirits.

The food, as our host always prepares, was delicious. They spend 5 hours or so grocery shopping on Friday, and all of Saturday to prepare. This family is always so generous and it makes everyone so guilty when they slave away in the kitchen all night, not coming out to eat until we're almost done.

Of the three wines, we only
drank one. 2005 Chateau Larroque, AC Bordeaux. Everyone's mood was a bit muted - one of our friend's father is very sick. He came to dinner, but left early yesterday.

Thank you to our hosts
for such an extravagant dinner. Lets hope we can put the past year behind us and look forward to better times.

Saturday, January 24, 2009

Terrors and tremors

I need to vent.

I wished for a regular schedule, a routine when I was in school. I always felt tired, irregular. Happens when you sleep at all hours of the night, and wake up anywhere from 8am to 2pm.

But now? I mean, is this it? Bed at 9, up at 6, everyday? I don't even see sunlight anymore. I'm not going out, meeting people. I'm turning into a hermit, an anti-social no-lifer. Help!

My mother won't be back until early February. If you've been reading my pieces for a while, you'll know my relationship with my father. Like the English and French, we often, and regularly, have our skirmishes. Like now.

You know, it's not a sign of disrespect if I refuse to eat the breakfast he got. It's a sign of disgust that he'd try to make me eat this dog food. I know the man has no palate, but this is going too far. F*cking curried minced pork pastries? So he can go sulk all he wants. I'm f*cking done trying. For my mother's sake, I've tried to keep the peace. Not working. You know what his idea of an intellectual conversation is? Last night, I was commenting on the vinho verde we were drinking. His contribution was to tell me to stop holding the wine in my mouth for so long because it'd do hell to my gums.

I'm f*cking done with this shit.

2007 Vinho Verde

Drank an interesting wine, the first time I've ever had a red vinho verde. 2007 Adega Coop Ponte de Barca, DOC Vinho Verde.

People most commonly associate vinho verde with white wines, so it was very interesting to see this red come up. Just look at the colour! Inky, but not black - it's the most beautiful purple colour, especially at the rim.

Quite a complex aroma. Lots of grape aromas, which is interesting. How often do you come across a wine that smells purely and wholly of grapes? A touch of cedar, which is surprising - do they use oak? And of course, a brambly earthiness that gives it its verde namesake.

Nice, elegant wine on the palate, in fact. Just a touch of effervescence on the tongue. No edges, for such a young wine. But this sour finish! Almost makes you pucker, I've never tasted such a sour wine. This is beyond being acidic.

A wine with more complexity than I expected. But given the sourness, a one-time experiment. Nonetheless, a much better value than Beaujolais Nouveau.

Year closing

The Year of the Rat has been quite a year, hasn't it? Not that the next one will improve dramatically, but change always brings new energy, and new optimism.

Going out to eat at a family friend's tonight, as we always do for New Years. Just don't call this a celebration. There's nothing to celebrate.

Up to my usual distractions. Been buying some wines. Maybe I'll talk about them in detail, later. Maybe I won't.

Obama finally becomes President. Now, can we stop all the sappy puppy love? He hasn't accomplished a single thing, with the exception of a two year long string of rhetoric on how he'll fix the feces that Bush has been scattering for the past 8 years. Let's be clear, yes? Obama is a first term Senator, and he didn't even complete the term. No experience. Let's see his policies, and how he runs his administration before we anoint him. Yes? I like what this professor said about him - he's a black face in a high place, but he needs to be held accountable.

Loss and heartbreak

It's been a long 2 weeks. Felt it'd be inappropriate to be writing here, given the circumstances. But my grandfather was always a practical man. He'd be upset with me if he knew I was losing focus, if I was just giving up on something. So I'd like to honour and acknowledge him here - once - and then back to normal, just like what grandfather would want.

My grandfather was a simple, unassuming man. Small in stature, but what he lacked in physical proportions, he more than made up with his intellect, and moral rigidness. He instilled in me, from an early age, the values of education, as well as the importance of defending your values. These are the lessons I'll never forget.

Books and calligraphy were two of my grandfather's life-long scholarly pursuits. He had a fine writing hand, and his pedigree in Chinese calligraphy was apparent, even when his hand became unsteady in his latter years. And he loved to learn. Always reading something. I'd like to think that I inherited that trait from him.

I definitely inherited his high sense of taste, in many things. He was always dressed in appropriately cut and fitted clothing. My grandfather was by no means interested in the frivolity and folly of fashion - he dressed to fit the occasion, always. He placed an importance in grooming. Having clean hair, fingernails, well-polished shoes. Always presenting an image of care and attention to detail.

My grandfather loved savoury foods, served piping hot. Especially soups and broths. If it wasn't served to the correct temperature, it wasn't worth eating. He loved seafood of all kind, but above all, he adored his shrimps and prawns, crabs, and other shellfish. He had an outstanding palate, and never looked down on simple, rustic, country dishes. Just never serve him anything of inferior quality, or something out of season. I've heard stories - he could pick the shell off of a prawn in his mouth, depositing the remains still in its original shape.

I'll always treasure the time we spent together, in Toronto, Tokyo, and of course, my numerous trips to Shanghai. The 6 weeks or so we spent in Tokyo, back in 2000, gave us a wonderful appreciation and understanding of one another. I was glad I could go back fairly often to Shanghai. I'm still regretting not going back this final time to say goodbye.

The funeral was held on Sunday. It was a beautiful, sunny day. Mild for a Shanghai winter. And then, he was gone.

I'll always have my grandfather in my thoughts. The heart hurts, but that is life. My grandfather was a practical, pragmatic man. He knew his own mortality. I remember one conversation we had. He stated quite bluntly that he had lived a good life, and now was waiting, patiently, for death.

I learned so much from him, and I'll always miss him. So much of what I am has been because of this grand old man.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009


My grandfather died early this morning, after a long illness. While we are grateful that he is no longer suffering, it doesn't make the pain any more bearable. My mother is flying to Shanghai on the first flight tomorrow.

Blogging is the last thing on my mind now. Staying strong, and focused, because that's what my grandfather would want from me.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

On a lighter note

...this week is yet another release week. Going in to pick up some Cotes du Rhone, some vinho verde, some Rioja. Perfect cold weather wines, yes?

Thinking of Les Cornuds, havn't tasted wines from there in so long, I'm longing for its bold tannins, its weighty texture, its presence. A masculine wine, in every sense.

The great freeze is coming. Going downtown might be a problem in -20 weather. It just might. Also, in two weeks - Chinese New Year. How time flies...

Sunday, January 11, 2009

Just another Sunday

Rendezvous with my cousin today, back from Shanghai. Never noticed this arrow motif in the ceiling at Terminal 1. Interesting effect, but Pearson still feels a bit dinky. Getting real cold outside. Will there be snow tonight? Can I get to bed early? Just yet another boring, non-event Sunday.

Wake up

Had some friends over last night that I havn't seen in a long time. Good to see you again, Hoolio.

I remember when I had my wisdom teeth removed. Late August, 2006. About 2 weeks before I started 2nd year. It was rough - all 4 wisdom teeth removed at once, and I refused to take painkillers. What can I say, I'm somewhat of a masochist, with regards to painkillers.

Anyways, I was in bed for 5 days. Straight. Could not find the energy to even go to the bathroom. I was like a newborn, could only eat liquid foods.

What got me out of it was an article in GQ, about Chateau Musar, of all things. A wonderful article, giving a bit of Musar's history and more interestingly, going through a tasting.

Anyways, it was this article that kind of cleared my head a little. And what do you know - after I read it, I found the energy to jump into the shower, and head downstairs for some solid food. The power of wine.........

1989 Porto

1989 Cruz Vintage Port.

I don't drink a lot of vintage port. Can be a bit too heavy for me, especially since I only drink it after dinner. But then this wine - went as well as digestif as well as with my dinner.

Deep brick red, but impressive saturation up to the rim. A heady nose of mocha, ground espresso beans, dark chocolate, ripe cherries, and an encompassing smokiness.

On the palate, spicy quality from the brandy, lovely elegance. Finished with dark chocolate. Supple texture, but never cloying. Perfect balance of sweetness and high acidity.

What a wonderful, balanced, youthful, elegant, and complex port.

Wine reading

I bought a few books early December, and I'm ashamed to say I'm very behind in my reading. Leisure reading, that is.

I have a few books on wine that I need to read. Professor Emile Peynaud's Le Goût du Vin. A collection of philosophical essays on wine. I don't want to skim through these books, because skimming is reserved for Time Magazine and economics textbooks. And this topic deserves my full attention.

I also bought several books on Kissinger and his politics. A book that he wrote himself, on the history of 18th of 19th century European politics. A book on the momentous 1972 summit with China. And another book on the previously secret transcripts of the talks he conducted, leading to the meeting with China. Fascinating subject. The more I read about Kissinger, the more I'm disillusioned with the state of politics we have now in this country.

Now....all I need is a few days off, and (several) bottles of wine to get through this literature. I need a reading week of my own..............


Blogger's note:

Can I be even more vague? Writing about a book list without even including the names of the books? Many apologies.

Barry Smith, Jancis Robinson, et al: Questions of Taste: The Philosophy of Wine
Emily Peynaud: Le Goût du Vin
Margaret MacMillan: Nixon in China: The Week that Changed the World
William Burr: The Kissinger Transcripts
Henry Kissinger: Diplomacy

Saturday, January 10, 2009

Weekend taste

Still waiting for my buddies to show up, to taste some wines. What to do in the meantime.........

Drank a vintage port tonight with my steak au poivre. Delicious combination. The smoky, complex port really complements the steak well.

Sleeping in tomorrow, as I did today, because I need to start collecting sleep. Recharging, because the rest of the month will be busy. And did I mention that I still need to do the second exam for my CSC?

Cold tonight! Really starting to feel like winter. The sucky kind. No snow, just grey skies and freezing temps. Hate this weather. Wouldn't mind freezing my ass off if there was at least snow.

Chinese New Year is coming up. We already know where we'll be having dinner to celebrate! We'll be going to a friend's place, another foodie and wine lover. It'll be fantastic, I'll bring over some Rhone and Midi wines. I'm totally planning on getting inebriated.

Post No. 401

Profile - colour

Posts have been coming hard and furious. Maybe it's because writing's an outlet for me, maybe it's just a distraction. I like it though - it's routine to blog now. And I really want to get this thing rolling.

Last 100 posts..........

I've been buying many, many wines, especially 2005 Bordeaux, vintage Champagne, and top Niagara wines. But before I go into the wine - the last 100 posts finished off 2008, and I really wanted to finish the year strong.

We had the epic dinner with the Chu's. Drank a lot of claret and of course, opened my 1981 colheita port. Delicious.

Drank a lot of more mature wines. Drinking some wines that I've held onto for quite some time. A lot of interesting wines.

Went to Niagara again. A transcendent experience with the Thirty Bench rieslings.

Rang in the New Year. Trying to start 2009 with energy and enthusiasm, regardless of how things are externally. Attitude's the only thing we can control right?

Stupid question

I never know how to answer the question, "What's your favourite wine?" When you're so invested in a subject, how do you answer such a simplified, thoughtless question?

The only people that answer these questions with a definite choice are the people that have had little exposure to the subject, and have yet to fully experience all its subtleties and nuances. How can a musician answer what his/her favourite music is? It all depends on context. I've been studying classical piano for 16 years, and I could never give you the name of my favourite composer. I love Bach for its elegant clarity and pure expression of the piano. I love Schubert and Brahms for their classicism. I love Beethoven for the fiery and haunting melodies, especially post-deafness. I love Liszt for his virtuosity and showmanship. And I love Chopin for his romanticism, and emotional richness.

I don't have a favourite wine. I don't.

I love Bordeaux for its elegance and aristocracy. For its clear sense of terroir and regional subtleties. And I love Bordeaux for its history and tradition.

I love Champagne for its spirit, its liveliness. Celebration, encapsulated in each bubble. A wine of intensity and great finesse, a worthy companion to lift any fine cuisine.

I love Rioja for its earthiness, for its subtle, delicate nature. A wine of tradition.

I love riesling, of Germany, Alsace, and Niagara, for its aggressiveness, for its intensity, and for its unbelievable ability to reflect the soil that gives it life.

I love............too many things. I'd go on, but I'd be essaying instead of blogging. My point is, the wine world is too vast, just too varied. Unless you don't think of wine on an intellectual level, it's impossible to definitively say that you have a single favourite wine. Again, it all depends on context. I'm a seasonal drinker, so I stay away from riesling, sauvignon blanc, those kinds of wines in the winter. Right now, for me - Rhone wines, claret, ports, and the odd selection of heavier Italian, Spanish, Portuguese wines.

Please stop asking me what wine is my favourite. Or I'll ask you which of your two children is YOUR favourite and make you give me an answer.

Long hair --> short!

I'm taking the advice that so many of my friends have given - cut the damn hair! Top photo - I've been leaving it long for about 7-8 months now, it's never been this long before. My excuse before was that I didn't have money for a haircut, but now, I guess I don't have that excuse. Not when I'm buying wine like this. So, in an effort to present a more professional look, went in to see Lina today. She did a good job, no? Still don't look like Beckham, but, it's an improvement from the top.

Thursday, January 8, 2009

Release - 01/10

Big day today. First release of the new year, and some interesting things.

On the left: 2006 Chateau Ksara "Reserve du Couvent", Bekaa Valley
Right: 1989 Cruz Vintage Port

Yes, the wine on the left is of Lebanon. I've never had a Lebanese wine, even though I bought Chateau Musar - still waiting on those to come around. Very excited, and even more so because this wine is $12.95. Make no mistake, when this wine takes off, and I'm sure it will, prices will act accordingly.

I'm really beginning to enjoy port, so this was an offer I couldn't refuse. How many times are you going to be able to pick up 20 year old vintage ports? Not many.

Saw something that broke my heart. On the shelves were 2005 Chateau Carbonnieux Blanc, AC Pessac-Leognan. I love dry white Bordeaux wines, and I really wanted this one - the reputation of this estate speaks for itself. I asked the price. Guess how much. Just take a guess.

$85.00. Per bottle. There goes my dream of picking up 2005 white Bordeaux.

Now how is it that I missed this release? I follow these things religiously, and there's no way in hell that I could have missed it. So LCBO just releases these blockbuster wines without any notice? You're selling a wine for $85, you better let people know. Thought about it long and hard, whether to buy or not. Stood there for a solid 5 minutes just staring at this beautiful, glistening bottle of wine that was just screaming, "David, you know you want me!!!!" But alas..........I was neither rich enough, nor rich enough to buy it. Yes, I know.....not rich enough.

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Another slow day

Snow outside today. It wasn't so bad though - at least not as bad as everyone's making it. It was chunky snow this morning, but there wasn't that much wine and it was mainly slush - nothing winter tires can't handle. That is, if you have winter tires. Toronto drivers are so arrogant with respect to having proper tires - after all, they are the world's greatest drivers, so what's difference with having winter tires? Wait......every time we get snowfall, there's hundreds of accidents reported. THAT'S the difference!

VintagesOnline release today. Some 2005 Bordeaux offered, the second wine of Chateau Cos D'Estournel. Really wanted it, but then...some interesting single malt scotches as well. I need a wine patron.

I apologize if my last few posts have been pretty dry. New year's slump. I'm sleeping fairly early (or at least trying to) on weekdays. I'll post more interesting things when I have an hour to write, and when I've had the chance to at least drink some wine. Because.......that's the point with wine, correct? To drink it?

Tuesday, January 6, 2009


Things are just trudging along. Looking forward to tomorrow and Friday. Release days, naturally. There's an interesting Lebanese wine I'd very much like to taste. Ksara 2006, I believe.

Read this article please:

I'll write my piece later, but I want you to read Aspler's first. He's one of my favourite writers who I think makes some extremely valid points about Ontario wines and the industry as a whole. When people say "It's only about how the wine tastes", it means they're either ignorant/clueless about wine, or are rather just extremely naive - in any case, wine is about a whole lot more than what it tastes like.

I like this stat counter thing I'm playing around with. There's actually people all around the world who've visited here - no joke. There was someone from Paris, Birmingham, Liberia, Guyana.......

Keep it short and simple. Good night, past my bedtime already. Snow tomorrow.....

Monday, January 5, 2009

It's not fair

Life isn't fair. I know, what with not being jealous of the fortunes of others. But why is it that garbage plonk makers like the myriad of Australian wineries thrive while good people like Marynissen flounder in obscurity? Why, in the wine world, is uniformity and hopeless mediocrity rewarded with financial success, while honest winemakers who make interesting, unique, and expressive wines ignored?

Cheap, callow, uneducated palates who don't bother with intellectually engaging in wine. The type who chug it down their gullets, without any care as to quality. These are the heathens that are ruining the industry. This really upsets me. When you have absolute brainless turkeys who buy mass-produced plonk en masse, that's what's going to drive the market. There's no room for small producers. Who can compete with someone who has the facilities to pump out 3 million cases a year? Push yields up to 3 times what they should be, and make your money through volume.

I'm bothered by this, and still deeply upset. What's going to happen to small producers who place quality and expression of the terroir first, ahead of profits? Is the only way to survive in Niagara going to take after Jackson-Triggs? Sell out like a whimpering dog, willing to beg anyone to stay afloat? Pathetic.

The day multinational holding companies own the wines I love is the day I will give up wine.

John Marynissen

I learned about something very sad today. John Marynissen died, at the age of 84.

I'm so sorry to hear. I really came to admire and love his wines - they just spoke to me. They spoke to me of the hot Niagara clay, of our cold northern climate, and of a dedication to cabernet. Marynissen wines are some of the finest cabernet blends I've ever tasted. Honest, sensible, and unabashedly true to Niagara terroir. Canada has lost an extraordinary steward of the land.

Now what's next? I'll be heading up to Marynissen soon. I sincerely hope the tradition of making exceptional wines continues there - it'd be such a shame to lose this jewel of Niagara winemaking. Thank you to Marynissen, for your wines. You live on through them.

Sunday, January 4, 2009

Wish list

Christmas is over, but how come there's still so many things I want?

VAIO notebook
Nikon D-SLR
Zalto Champagne glasses
Vintage ports, Brunello, Barolo, Champagne
Monk straps

Let's get to it. Money, money, money!


What's more perfect on a cold winter night than a tipple of cognac? Anyone?

Hot wine

My cousin brought over this bottle last night for dinner. Lovely, another bottle of aged Shaoxing wine. Heated in decanter, this is dark amber. Rich, sweet, with some barley characters and spiciness to keep things interesting. There is nothing more impressive than drinking rice wines with Chinese cuisine. I would risk the wrath of Canadian customs to smuggle some bottles in.

Farewell, Kopke

To my pair of Colheita Ports, thank you for opening my eyes and enriching my palate, your sweetness lingers on and on and on........

2000 Saint-Joseph

Yet another (older) Northern Rhone. 2000 Yves Cuilleron "Les Serines", AC St-Joseph.

I've had this bottle for several years as well. Since we're keeping up the theme of drinking Saint-Joseph, I thought it'd be perfect to drink this with dinner. I was cooking rabbit with wild mushrooms and stewed shallots, as well as a curry beef broth. Nice Sino-Franco combination, no?

The label on my wine looks a bit rugged, but no matter. Nice, lustrous, deep red. Impressive saturation from core to rim. Beautiful nose of ripe, red cherries, lilac, and smoke. Unfortunately, this is another lean wine. Graphite notes, but otherwise, not much in the way of varietal character. Unfortunately. The esteemed writer, The Winedoctor, shares my views, albeit for the 2001 vintage:

Anyways, the rabbit turned out well. Simmered in white wine, the shallots and garlic turned translucent, and were absolutely delicious on their own. The mushrooms added such a rustic quality and thickness to the sauce. Do I sound pleased with myself? I am.

Ahh, la mer!

Can't sleep, so back here. I can't believe at all, that it's been a year since Nice. France and the Mediterranean, how perfect. I really, really fell in love with the south of France. Spending 2 weeks there was a dream. The sea - the sea is calling to me. And how can I forget Margot, the beautifully natural girl at La Resto? My heart flutters like a prepubescent boy's. Ahh, la mer!

Saturday, January 3, 2009

Saturday the first

First weekend of 2009, and let's start things off right. I'm typing now with a glass of Remy Martin VSOP Cognac in my left hand, so you know I'm in good spirits.

We had dinner with my cousin today. He's back from a trip East. Brought over a bottle of excellent rice wine, which is always appreciated. Ate and drank myself silly.

Let's start the year strong. It's hard, but I'll try to keep to as regular a schedule during weekdays as possible. Early to bed, early to rise............right?

I have an important announcement to make. A rather morbid announcement, actually. I'm out of wine. No more wine that's ready to drink in the house anymore. Pathetic, considering all the wine I've been buying. Am I hoarding, instead of enjoying? That's it - for the next 6 months, all the wine I buy will be for drinking within the month.

Which leads to something interesting - I posted 83 pieces in the month of December. That's more pieces than the first 7 months of this blog combined. Clearly, I have far too much idle time.

Getting cold outside, isn't it? Such is life in Canada. Next few months will be a good time for hearty reds, and luscious ports. Curvy wines, with body and character. I'd suggest drinking more cognac, but my parents most likely won't tolerate my hobby any longer if it included hard liquor. But then - it's also made out of grapes, right?

I know, I know - if you wanted to read random thoughts and incoherent statements, you'd turn on CNN right? Just whetting your appetite, I'll start putting up some more interesting pieces soon. As I've demonstrated throughout my University career, I've never let a lack of subject matter understanding stand in the way of making a bold argument. Get ready for it, I'll let you decide which end I'm talking out of, mouth or ass.

Let me give you a taste. I'll make an argument for terroir, presenting a thesis of my understanding of the term. I'll explain why I think (well-integrated) stink makes a wine better. And I'll argue why this New World method of planting a wide variety of grape varietals is a straight road to hell.

Along the way, I'll keep writing about interesting wines I've drank, and that've excited me. I'll be planning a trip back down to Niagara soon. There's a few acclaimed wineries that I have yet to visit, and whose wines have yet to pass my lips. And since I'm one of the first to graduate amongst my friends, I want to do more dinners and more tastings with everyone. What good is wine if you can't share it?

Ok, I swear, I promise, this is my last post about this upcoming year. For the last time, let's toast to the new year, to a fresh start. Here's to a 2009 filled with wine and food and happiness.

Nikon D70

My buddy Rocky's left for San Diego. He was kind enough to lend me his DSLR for the next four months. So guess what - the photos here should be getting better!

Thanks Rocky, leave a reply when you're settled in!

Friday, January 2, 2009


Another slight disappoint. Opened another old wine I've had for quite some time, didn't turn out as expected. Such is wine. Name and reputation and price sometimes have little bearing on what's actually in the bottle.

Snowed a bit today, hope it's not too cold out. Heading out soon. I'll post more on this wine later. Momentous, because it's my last bottle of drinkable wine in the house. Drinkable in the sense that it's ready to drink now, as opposed to wine meant to be put away. So what to drink? Definitely not beer. Find a few more value for money wines? Staying away from Chile, that's for sure. And Australia. And Argentina. Portugal? Perhaps.


You know how I said I got 600 page views? I think I might be mistaken.

Apparently, profile page views are different from actual blog page views. So, hopefully, there have been more than 600 times when people visited. I've put in a hits counter, to catalog page views. Think we can get to 2000 views a year?

Thursday, January 1, 2009

1981 Porto

Ahh, 1981 Kopke Colheita Port.

What more can I say about this wine? So delicious, so complex, so unique. That's what it's all about, isn't it? I don't think I'll ever have the chance to drink something so special again.

Beautiful nose of toffee, flowers, herbs and dried red berries. Such a silky texture on the palate - doesn't have the crunchiness of the 1980, but this is so elegant. A lasting finish, incredible purity and vibrancy. The acidity brings out the brandy a bit more, but this is perfect for after dinner.

Sigh.........all good things must come to an end.

Kabalevsky and Chopin

Thanks for that little performance. Now my mother won't stop nagging me about playing more at home. But you know what......I've still got it. The young studs still have a long way to go. In piano, as in all things, it's the experience that counts. And of course, an ego the size of a 10' concert grand.


...we go again! Just like any other day, right?

Lots going on in January, a lot to keep me distracted. The first wine release in many weeks on January 10. There's a bottle of vintage port that I've been eyeing....

Out and about this month. How I'm going to do the CSC Exam 2 alongside, I have no idea. Hope for the bell curve? Damn, there's no such thing.

Need to balance my wine purchases. No more maniacal buying. Tops, absolutely tops, $100 per release. Rest, into a savings account. Out of sight, out of mind. Remove the temptation, and you're tempted no more.

I know what I want for Christmas next year! Zalto Denk'Art Champagne glasses. Yes, they're pricey, but the people who complain about expensive glassware are the people who don't mind drinking out of a paper cup. So you're willing to spend $75 on a bottle of wine, but drink it out of dipshit $1.99 IKEA glasses?

Which leads to my next point. I promise to curtail the cursing. I'm not a Mormon, I can't promise to be a saintly choirboy. But........I try my best to cut out unnecessary profanity. Because only bad writers need to swear, right? And I'm not a bad writer, just a mediocre one.

Wow, I am lusting after those
Champagne glasses. My mind's a mess of thoughts of music, food, wine, and family, but lately, all I can think about is how great it'd be to have a proper set of Champagne glasses. I've been drinking out of my tulip glasses, which works, but...anyways, at least I'm avoiding flutes. And, and........they can double as Sauternes glasses! Almost the same shape, right?

I got pretty toasted last
night. I'll put up some pictures later, but we ended up going to a family friend's just before midnight. The kids there were putting on this piano rehearsal - a couple of them are preparing to do their ARCT exams. These kids are a lot better than we were at their age. And a lot more spoiled. When I was 15, my Christmas gifts mainly consisted of maybe clothing or books. These kids - one got a cell phone, another got a Wii, another got a pack of video going well into the 3-digits. Wow. My family didn't even exchange gifts this year. We're practical people - we just go out and buy stuff. Stuff that we can all use. See the Wusthot Chef's knife, and the Riedel glasses. Like I said, practical.

Anyways, the kids were playing away
at the piano, and I was dozing off a bit. Technically, they hit each note, but this emotion you need to play Chopin, it only comes with age. One of my uncles handed me a Stella Artois, and I was gone. I don't even remember how many we had - apparently, he was as bored as I was. I remember......clapping violently at all the wrong spots, and generally making an ass of myself. But at least I was dressed nicely.


Still up, still up. Just drank the last of my 1981 Kopke Colheita Port. A wine that whispers into your mouth, of warmth and of sweetness. A wine to remember, forever.

Jan. 1

It's a new year! What to do for this year? I'm not one to set resolutions, and I think people who take that stuff seriously are silly. The whole idea of new year's resolutions is silly, to be frank. But in the spirit of the demise of 2008 and rise of 2009, I'll promise to just live this year. To live my life without being pushed around. To never just go through the motions, to just get through each day.

Havn't tallied it up, but I suspect I've drank my fair share of wine in 2008. Really explored Niagara, meeting some interesting characters. In 2009, I want to set out and explore more of what the wine world has to offer - Central Otago pinot noir, South African cabernet, Rias Baixas, vin jaune, and of course, a lot of cremant and Chinon. Let's watch out for the obscure, the interesting, and of course, the value-driven. To a 2009 filled with exciting possibilities in wine!