The Vintages 2005 Bordeaux Tasting

by Joey deVilla on January 24, 2008

My sister and brother-in-law gave the Ginger Ninja and me a pair of tickets to the Vintages wine tasting for 2005 Union des Grands Crus de Bordeaux wines. It took place on Tuesday night, and naturally, I took a few photos…

Here’s Yours Truly having one of his couple-dozen-or-so samples of red. I like to think that I “clean up” nicely…

Joey deVilla with a glass of red wine at the Vintages tasting of 2005 Bordeaux wines

The event took place in the Regency Ballroom on the second floor of the Four Seasons, conveniently located across the street from my office. Here’s a shot from very early in the evening, just after they opened the doors to the tasting salon:

The Regency Ballroom of the Toronto Four Seasons hotel, where the Vintages tasting of 2005 Bordeaux wines took place.

This was one of the more pricey tastings. Normally, Vintages typically charges an admission of about $75 to $100; this particular one cost $175 a person, probably due to the high expectations of 2005 Bordeaux wines and the number of Grand Cru vinyards represented at this particular gathering. This fee included all the wine you can sample and a fair bit of food, which included roast beef, sauteed mushrooms in pastry, two kinds of risotto and a good selection of fruits, breads, spreads and cheeses.

Another shot of the Regency Ballroom of the Toronto Four Seasons hotel, where the Vintages tasting of 2005 Bordeaux wines took place.

Here’s a shot of the event an hour later, once it got into full swing:

Yet another shot of the Regency Ballroom of the Toronto Four Seasons hotel, where the Vintages tasting of 2005 Bordeaux wines took place.

The procedure at these gatherings is pretty simple: walk up to a table, hold out your glass, and they’ll pour a decent-sized sample. Swirl (to oxygenate the wine), smell, taste and dispose of in your preferred fashion. Many people chose to simply take a sip and then dump the rest in the many buckets, conveniently spread throughout the ballroom:

“Spit bucket” for wine
Ooh! Free punch!

I personally follow the Irish philosophy that when you die, you’re held upside-down in a barrel of all the alcohol you’ve wasted. If there’s enough in the barrel to drown you, you can’t get into Heaven. Hence I finished most of my samples.

Favourites

Label for Chateau Cantenac-Brown

Our hands-down favourite red was from Château Cantenac-Brown, which comes from the Margaux appelation in south-west France. I’m not enough of an oeno-weenie to describe it using “proper wine tasting terminology”, so I’ll borrow this description: “Loaded with fruit which was impressive for its age. Sweet and silky with candied cherries and red licorice.”

The flavour of this particular wine jumped out at me. I’m more of a “what food will this go with?” wine, so I sampled it with some of the food provided — it worked well with the beef and mushrooms, and after hitting the cheese table, I came to the conclusion that I could be very happy with a bottle of Cantenac-Brown and a big plate of Roquefort or Stilton.

The manager of the Chateau Cantenac-Brown winery, Jose Sanfins, was there, and he was more than happy to let me take a picture of the bottle more than proud enough of his wine to pose with it.

Wine server Ugo and Chateau Cantenac-Brown’s manager, Jose Sanfins.

Chateau Cantenac-Brown goes for $56 a bottle, and we bought a lot of 3 (the minimum size order that you can place at this event).

Chateau Pichon-Longueville label

We also liked Chateau Pichon-Longueville Baron, which also paired well with Stilton. That stuff will run you about $200 a bottle.

Chateau Suduiraut label

The Sauternes we liked best was from Chateau Suduiraut, which Wendy described as “pear-licious”. A bottle will set you back about $115.


Well, enough wine snobbery for now. I leave you Gentle Readers with a toast!

Joey deVilla with a glass of red wine at the Vintages tasting of 2005 Bordeaux wines

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{ 3 comments… read them below or add one }

Susan January 24, 2008 at 2:08 pm

I LOVE how the pictures get blurry as the event goes on!

Chris Taylor January 24, 2008 at 5:57 pm

A lot of those guys were on sale at the LCBO @ First Cdn Place around Christmastime. I got a few, but in retrospect that would have been the time to really load up. They are a little harder to find now.

DaveP January 25, 2008 at 7:18 am

The Irish thing is “If you’ve been good, you stand in a barrel of all the alcohol you’ve wasted. If you can drink your way out, you go to heaven. If you drown, it’s the fiery place for you. If you’ve been bad, you go into the barrel head-first.”

Still best to not waste, even if it’s apocryphal.

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