This past weekend, I spent a most relaxing weekend of wine up in Edmonton, Canada.

It all began with a wonderful horizontal of 1994 Vintage Ports, a tasting which I led for Edmonton's excellent wine retailer: deVine Wines & Spirits. There was a nice group of about 18 participants there to share in the fabulous lineup which included these flights:


  • n/v Croft Pink
  • Port-tonic
  • 1994 Churchill

Flight 1

  • 1994 Gould Campbell
  • 1994 Dow's
  • 1994 Warre's
  • 1994 Graham's

Flight 2

  • 1994 Quinta do Vesuvio
  • 1994 Niepoort
  • 1994 Fonseca
  • 1994 Taylor Fladgate

We had a very educational experience and a fun time was had by all. Lots of questions were asked and great discussions ensued. I look forward to my visit to deVine's every year as about half the crowd has become "regulars" and I've had the chance to get to know several of these folks at other events in Canada and elsewhere.

If you ever find yourself in Edmonton, you really owe it to yourself to check out deVine's one of the most impressively stocked shops I have ever seen and it is filled with gems from around the world and many from Portugal!

After the Port tasting we headed over to Royal Pizza, for the after-party which portrayed pizza of course and some fabulous Italian wines. FTLOP'ers, Todd Pettinger and Richard Beeken were in attendance along with Conrad Bodnar from our 2007 Port Harvest tour. It was great to see this gang again.

Richard is a very good friend and when visiting Alberta, I stay with his family, which is reciprocated during his annual visit to Seattle. On Saturday we began with lunch at our mutual friend (from the Squires' website) Hank Gillespie who I have known from my early days on the old AOL wine message boards. He invited us to his home and we not only had a great lunch but he popped two incredibly old Spanish wines.

The 1962 Catillo d'Ygay Reserva Especial was a gorgeous 46 year old white wine from the Viura grape, which was showing remarkably well for a white of this age, especially knowing it had spent over a dozen years in cask before being bottled. Afterall, how often do you get to drink white Rioja's with this much bottle age? But the winner of the afternoon was the awe inspiring bottle of the 1968 Catillo d'Ygay Reserva Especial which was a great red Rioja (mostly Tempranillo … aka Tinta Roriz in Portugal) with plenty of gas left in the tank. This one had spent between 15-20 years in cask, believe it or not. It could have been a beautiful Burgundy with a silky texture and lots of fruit and acidity left. Wow! Thanks Hank.

After last week's Clos Erasmus vertical, I have been extremely fortunate with Spanish wines as of late … and I was bringing one to dinner that night, coincidentally. Speaking of that dinner, it was at Richard's private club, where we were celebrating his birthday with a great wine savvy group of his friends. We had a stupendous lineup of wines from all over the world:

  1. 1990 Bollinger Grande Annee Champagne - Mag
  2. n/v Edouard Brun, Blanc de Blanc Champagne
  3. 2001 Siro Pacenti, Brunello di Montalcino, Italy
  4. 1990 Chateau de Pibarnon, Bandol, France
  5. 1985 R. Lopez de Heredia's Vinha Tondonia, Rioja Spain
  6. 2006 Palladius "The Sadie Family" from So. Africa
  7. 2005 Dom. Weinbach, Cuvee Ste. Catherine Pinot Gris - from Alsace, France in Mag
  8. 1998 Yves Boyer-Martenot, "Les Tillets" Meursault, France
  9. 1985 Solaia by Antinori , Italy
  10. 1999 Grantom Reserva - Tras-os-Montes, Portugal
  11. 2004 Ornellaia, Bolgheri Tenuta dell'Ornellaia, Italy
  12. 1999 Argiano Solengo, Italy
  13. 1990 Chateau de Rayne Vigneau, Sauternes
  14. 1997 Niepoort Vintage Port
  15. 1980 Dow's Vintage Port

I am probably missing some, but this was one stellar wine dinner with more food than wine if that can be believed! Richard, you surely know how to throw a party. What a great group of friends. So how does one recover from a Saturday lunch and dinner like that? Get up and do it again.

On Sunday this couch potato watched a couple of football games while sipping two fine bottles of Madeira: Broadbent's Terrantez Old Reserva, which was only the second time I had consumed this wine and I was very happy to get to try it again. As good as it was … and I liked it quite a bit, the second bottle was mind blowing. 1954 Leacock's Verdelho which was bottled in 1986. It was superb with a pure essence of espresso bean which reminded me almost exactly (aromatically) of the great 1907 Blandy's Boal. The Leacock's just kept getting better and was a nice counterpoint to the drier Terrantez.

That night with dinner I just had a couple of glasses of 2001 Rochioli "West Block" Pinot Noir. It was served to compliment the tenderloin of moose, which Richard had shot earlier in the month. There is a first time for everything. The Rochioli was a smooth operator and delivered big time.

Later that night we went to see the new James Bond movie. A bit of a disappointment after the last one, but still fun nonetheless. What a weekend. Thank you Richard and family for the great hospitality and again showing me such a wonderful time. I look forward to seeing Rich at our Seattle offline at the end of January.

Since my return I have had several Douro reds and tonight another pair, along with a mystery Vintage Port for Stewart Todd to try to unravel and tomorrow night another wine dinner with Pinot Noir. The torture never stops. ; )