Casa Loma: The Whole World’s Watching

(Dec. 11, 2013) — According to the local media, all eyes are on Toronto these days, not just here in Canada but worldwide. Apparently the source of this international fascination is an overweight, rosy-cheeked fellow who acknowledges that he loves to party, and who has been seen from time to time toting a bottle of some alcoholic beverage in one hand.

Finally, we thought, the rest of the world has twigged to the pleasures of the annual Winetasters Christmas Party at Casa Loma. And of course that fellow will be back this year sporting the same red suit, greeting our party-goers with a hearty “Ho, ho, ho!” and pouring a glass of bubbly into every outstretched glass, no matter whether you’ve been naughty or nice.

The magical setting of Casa Loma and the variety and quality of the wines and foods available make this the biggest and most special Winetasters event of the year. The wines may have been cellared for months, years or decades. Be assured we have tried to cater to every discerning palate. Whether you prefer red wine or white, young or old, New World or Old World, bold or subtle, sweet or dry, there’s a memorable wine for you. There’s even a Scottish dram for the single malt lover.

If you choose to drink nothing but French wines all evening, we can offer you Alsace, Burgundy (including a 1961 Gevrey-Chambertin Combe Aux Moines), Bordeaux (interested in the 1978 Ch. Beycheville?), the Rhône, and Armagnac. If you would prefer, you could design your own international mini-tasting of Bordeaux versus California’s Napa Valley. Or you might try sampling wines chronologically, beginning with the oldest, a 1933 Quinta do Cais Colheita Port (bottled in 1988). Actually, it’s not the oldest. Later in the evening, we will serve glasses of this year’s marquee wine, the 1913 Barbeito Malvasia Reserva Velha Madeira. One hundred years young, this wine will be a highlight of your evening; or, if previous Casa Loma Christmases are your precedent, one of many indelible sensory highlights.

As per our tradition, we are attempting to keep a lot of the wines in a 5 or 10 year anniversary cycle. Something special is available for those celebrating significant events or anniversaries. Anybody celebrating an anniversary from any of the years 1933, 1978, 1983, 1988, 1993, 1998, 2003 and 2008 will find something of interest (but there are plenty of other vintages too).

As always, normal tasting-size portions of each wine will be served. Throughout the evening as selections are exhausted, they will be replaced with unadvertised wines. The identity of replacement wines will be prominently displayed at the various serving stations as the wines appear. Toward the end of the evening you can expect delicious dessert-style selections to appear, including Ports. We have also noted that people are definitely moving towards quality (rather than quantity) so we are encouraging you to continue that trend to drink better, not more and be safe getting home. We recommend transportation to Casa Loma be provided by the TTC, a taxi, other exotic livery service; or perhaps you could arrange to have a designated driver collect you.

Again this year, Pegasus Hospitality, Casa Loma’s exclusive caterer, will serve a mouth-watering variety of foods at separate tables strategically scattered among our nine wine stations. There will poached shrimp with cocktail sauces, a smoked turkey carving station, and maple-glazed toupie ham (which, contrary to the opinion of one person last year, is not ham bald people wear on their heads. Google it.). There will again be a selection of Toronto’s finest fresh and artisanal breads, flatbreads and grissinis (thin Italian-style breadsticks). There will be a bevy of domestic and international cheeses, and fresh and dried fruits. Later in the evening, there will be a seasonal selection of miniature desserts and pastries; and there will be coffee and tea toward the end of the evening.

This is also an opportunity to discover treasures that are relatively unknown. Talk to the other attendees – they’ll tell you about some ‘discovery’ they’ve made here. Typically, people split their preferences between ‘old’ and ‘new’ world – but we encourage you to try something new as well as some familiar favourites.

The main reason for coming is to socialize with your fellow Winetasters in the perfect seasonal setting. So, come on out and bring your friends; that way you can share your ‘discoveries’ with them. This is our biggest and best social function of the year, the perfect opportunity to relax with old friends and meet our newer Winetasters. And that jolly old bearded fellow pouring the sparkling wine sincerely, sincerely, sincerely hopes you have a great time.

As always with our tastings, this event will be strictly non-smoking, and we request your cooperation in not wearing any scented after-shave or perfume. We do get many first-timers at Casa Loma who may be not familiar with our etiquette. A scent-free environment ensures we all experience fully this exceptional assembly of wines. Please don’t drink & drive.

Date: Wednesday, December 11, 2013 Casa Loma
Time: 7:00 p.m. 1 Austin Terrace
Members: $110 Guests: $125
1913 Barbeito Malvasia Reserva Velha Madeira: $25

Cancellations accepted up to December 6, 2013. See the event form for cancellation contact details. No reservations by phone, please. No confirmations will be issued — you will be contacted only if we are sold out. First come basis. Non-members may attend at guest rates, but preference will be given to members.

Download the event form if you wish to mail in your reservation cheque.

List of the first wines

Red AUSTRALIA 1998 Shiraz, Patriarch – David Wynn
White BURGUNDY 1993 Mâcon-Pierreclos, En Chavigne – Guffens-Heynen
Dessert GERMANY 2007 Scharzhofberger Kabinett – Egon Müller
Red BORDEAUX 1988 Les Forts de Latour
Red CANADA 2004 Oculus – Mission Hill
Red ITALY 2003 Tignanello
Red CHILE 2003 Finis Terrae – Cousiño-Macul
Dessert PORTUGAL 2000 LBV Port – Ferreira
Red BORDEAUX 1993 Les Forts de Latour
White BURGUNDY 1998 Beaune Grèves, Le Clos Blanc – Jadot
Red PORTUGAL 2003 Douro – Quinta Do Vale Meão
Dessert PORTUGAL 1993 Colheita Port (bottled 1988) – Quinta do Cais
Red PORTUGAL 2005 Douro, Reserva Old Vines – Quinta Do Crasto
Red BURGUNDY 1961 Gevrey-Chambertin, Combe Aux Moins – Beaudot
Dessert PORTUGAL 1994 Vintage Port – Cockburn
White AUSTRALIA 2003 Chardonnay – Yattarna
Red BORDEAUX 1978 Château Beychevelle
Dessert PORTUGAL 1985 Vintage Port – Warre’s
Red BURGUNDY 1998 Savigny-les-Beaune – Jadot
Red BURGUNDY 2003 Clos De La Roche, Grand Cru – Labouré-Roi
Dessert ALSACE 2000 Gewurztraminer, Cuvée Christine – Schlumberger
Red ITALY 1998 Barolo, Ornato – Pio Cesare
Red CALIFORNIA 1975 Cab Sauv, Priv. Res., G. De Latour – Beaulieu
White GREECE 2003 Boutari – Moschofilero
Red AUSTRALIA 2005 Shiraz, Reserve Lloyd – Coriole
Red ITALY 1993 Brunello di Montalcino Ris – Poggio Antico
Dessert! SCOTCH 1984 Single Speyside Malt – Cragganmore
Red RHONE 1993 Châteauneuf-du-Pape – Château Rayas
Red BORDEAUX 1966 Château Ausone
White NEW ZEALAND 2003 Riesling, Old River – Cairnbrae
White AUSTRALIA 2004 Riesling, Polish Hill – Grosset
Red SPAIN 1990 Bierzo Gran Reserva – Señorio de Penalba
Red NEW ZEALAND 2003 Waiheke Island – Stonyridge
Red BURGUNDY 1978 Corton – Domaine Parent
Dessert PORTUGAL NV 40 Year-Old Tawny Port – Taylor, Fladgate
White ALSACE 2005 Pinot Gris, Rotenberg – Dom Zind-Humbrecht
Red BURGUNDY 1999 Morey-Saint-Denis – Remoissenet
Red SPAIN 1996 Rioja Reserva – Viña Tondonia
White CALIFORNIA 2003 Chardonnay – Grgich Hills
Red RHONE 2003 Hermitage – Guigal
Dessert CANADA 2003 Chardonnay Icewine – Peller Estate
White CALIFORNIA 1997 Chardonnay Grand Reserve – Rabbit Ridge
Red BORDEAUX 1978 Château Brane-Cantenac
Red CALIFORNIA 2006 Pinot Noir, McDougall Vyrd – Dutton Goldfield
Dessert PORTUGAL 1980 Vintage Port – Fonseca
Red ITALY 1988 Chianti Classico Riserva – Carpineto
Dessert ARMAGNAC 1978 Armagnac – Baron de Sigognac
White CANADA 2002 Chardonnay, Speck Family Res. – Henry of Pelham
Red ITALY 1997 Chianti Classico Riserva – Badia A Coltibuono
Dessert ALSACE 1988 Riesling, Vendange Tardive – Hugel
Red BURGUNDY 1983 Gevrey-Chambertin – Jaboulet-Vercherre
Red CALIFORNIA 1998 Cabernet Sauvignon, Napa – Silver Oak
Red BORDEAUX 1990 Château Mouton Rothschild

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