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WineAlign + DemoCamp20

Wine Lovers love to get together to talk & share. When we do, we want to share that bottle from an up & coming winery, we love to talk to and talk about winemaker(s), we like to educate ourselves and learn more about wine from other smart, talented people in the room. The Toronto Tech. community is no different.

One of the coolest Toronto events to bring social media, marketing, PR, developer, designer, founder & funder types together to discover that up & coming online company, game or iPhone app is DemoCamp.  In fact, Democamp has been so successful that they just hosted their 20th! DemoCamp event on May 25th, 2009, at the Imperial Pub and Library.

WineAlign’s founder, Bryan McCaw had the privilege of participating in an “Ignite” session (20 slides/15 sec. per slide/GO!).  Bryan spoke to the successes and challenges of launching Canada’s preeminent wine site.

It wouldn’t be a Toronto tech event without blog posts recapping every single detail.  TechVibes and Toronto web developer Mike Conley have done a great job of covering off some of the awesome companies that took part.

The next Democamp21 is going to be held July 27 or 28 (tbd).  Now, if only I can get it to be held at a wine bar…


If you attended DemoCamp20 don’t forget to use your exclusive WineAlign Promo Code: DEMOCAMP.

Filed under: News, , , , ,

May 23rd Vintages Release

“Hot on the heels of the New Zealand wine fair, NZ reds are the major theme of this release. The pinots and merlots, plus two syrahs, are fair quality and value in general, having a certain softness of spirit that will make them appealing as summer reds. Highligts include the Palliser 2006 Pinot Noir ($28.95, 91 points), Ngatarara Stables 2007 Merlot ($20.95, 90 points) and Elephant Hill 2008 Syrah ($23.95, 90 points).

Going up market into the $70 range – in case your stocks are rallying this week – you might also consider some of the excellent 2005 Bordeaux scoring 90 points or better, notably Grand Mayne, Rauzan-Gassies, Lafon-Rochet and Clos Les Lunelles from Cotes de Castillon. Likewise California chips in a few excellent, expensive reds like Shafer Merlot, Ridgeline Cabernet Sauvignon and Clos Lachance. The best white buys are scattered among several categories.”

– David Lawrason, VP of Wine at WineAlign

Click here to see ranked lists and reviews of over 100 wines in this release.

Top Pick Red
Domain Grand Veneur 2006 Chateauneuf-du-Pape, France
Domain Grand Veneur 2006 Chateauneuf-du-Pape, France,   $47.95

Top Value Red
Concha Y Toro 2006 Marques de Casa Concha Merlot

Concha Y Toro 2006 Marques de Casa Concha Merlot, Chile,   $19.95

Top Pick White
Arrowood 2005 Chardonnay
Arrowood 2005 Chardonnay, Sonoma County, California, $34.95

Top Value White
Duca di Castelmonte 2007 Tripudium
Duca di Castelmonte 2007 Tripudium, Sicily,  $19.95

Filed under: News

What’s Your Favourite Wine on the Cheap?

With the continuing recession and patio weather upon us, our friends at blogTO have done us a favour and posted  15 places in Toronto to drink wine on the cheap.  Included in the list are hot spots like The Black Hoof, Terroni, Pizza Libretto and many more.  Of course, to avoid restaurant mark-ups the best place to get wine on the cheap they’ve also included the LCBO.

WineAlign’s Wine Finder is the simplest way to find wine on the cheap at your local LCBO by varietal, country and price.  We want to know what your favourite ‘on the cheap’ LCBO wine is.  Post your favourite(s) in the comments below.

Filed under: Wine

Notes from Dinner with Wolf Blass

Recently, WineAlign’s Director if Wine Vice-President of Wine, David Lawrason attended a dinner with Australian wine icon Wolf Blass. Here is his review:

Australia’s Wolf Blass is on a cross-Canada 75th Birthday tour promoting an upcoming biography (not yet read). Here are some interesting items from a small media tasting and dinner held at Toronto’s Turf Lounge, which as part of Woodbine Entertainment is also an off-track betting facility frequented by Bay Streeters looking for a different way to make and lose a fast buck. On Canada AM next day Wolf Blass laid out his five rules of business success, one being “if you try to make a fast buck, you’ll lose it just as quickly”. He was betting lightly this night and didn’t win. He loves horses and is involved in the business in Australia. He is also an avid skier, by the way.

Some interesting stats and comments. Wolf Blass sells eight million bottles in Canada, his 3rd largest market after Australia and Ireland (of all places). He sells 65 million bottles around the world. He is deeply concerned about the world’s oversupply of wine, especially in Australia, and says there must be a correction and streamlining of the business. He partially blames the explosion of over 1,500 new, small Aussie wineries, and says they will also be the main casualties. He also said wine quality has never been better.

There was not a corkscrew to be found at this tasting. Wolf Blass is now 100% screwcap from the least expensive white to the $100 Platinum Shiraz. Wolf himself was not always in favour, but came around when a batch of cheap screwcapped wine, originally destined for Europe years ago, was found sitting in their warehouse. The condition of the wine was remarkably good, and he decided there and then it was the way to go. He said that 70 to 80% of the Australian industry is now using screwcaps. But he did not say it was the final answer. “In ten years there could easily be another technology come along”

Riesling remains a particular passion, given his German heritage. He is the founder of an international riesling competition, at which the judges are now particularly adept at picking out riesling’s still bottled under cork. (Tip: Fill a sanitized wine bottle with distilled water; put a new cork in it, and come back after a couple of weeks to smell the water). Wolf Blass Gold Label 2007 Riesling ($20.95, 90pts, Vintages) is showing beautifully wit classic Aussie petrol, lemon, peach and jasmine aromas and very elegant palate, more elegant than most from Oz in fact.

Other notable wines included the Black Label 2004 ($75.00, 94 pts) whose price has been dropped from commemorate the 75th birthday. It’s beautifully harmonious, silky red with outstanding length (preferable in my opinion at the moment that the Platinum Shiraz ($115, 92 points). Also very impressed with the Gold Label 2006 Pinot Noir from Adelaide Hills ($28.95, 89 pts), and the Grey Label Cabernet Sauvignon from Langhorne Creek ($31.90, 90 points). The new 2007 vintage of the ubiquitous Yellow Label Cabernet Sauvignon ($14.95, 87 pts) seem a bit lighter, more tidy and bright than previous years. The 2008 Yellow Label Chardonnay ($14.95, 84pts) lacked character but was clean and balanced, while the Yellow Label 2008 Sauvignon Blanc ($14.95, 88 pts) was vibrant and citric with lime, lemon and mandarin.

WineAlign has full reviews on many Wolf Blass wines.  Tell us what you think of Wolf Blass wines.


Filed under: Featured Articles, Wine

WineAlign launches Wine Forums

We are excited to announce the launch of wine forums for WineAlign members. For wine lovers like you, Winealign is the Canadian wine community for reviewing, sharing and discovering new wine. A community doesn’t exist without members, you. We want to hear your thoughts, opinions, suggestions, questions on all things wine. We’ve launched forums covering a full range of topics: Wineries, the VQA program, wine basics, food pairings and a host of other topics. If there is a topic you’d like to talk about let me know by commenting below.

In addition to the forums, you’ll also find this updated blog with news, articles, critic reviews (including our Director of Wine, David Lawrason), Vintages release notes, WineAlign updates and much much more.

Now, go open that bottle of wine.


Filed under: News


WineAlign Reviews

Coldstream Hills Pinot Noir 2008