Deacon Dr. Fresh Wine Newsletter

A Wine Newsletter With An Edge - Definitely NOT your typical white bread, mofo, cracker, peckerwood, jank, peckercracker wine newsletter! If this info is too advanced for you, check out my other newsletter: Wine for Dix at

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Location: Toronto, Ontario, Canada

World's Lurchest Wine Writer - The Gangsta of the Grape - The Sultan of Shiraz - The Buccaneer of Burgundy - The Prince of Pinot Noir - Yellow Tail's Bane - Locus of the Ladies' Focus - Wielder of the trousered Hammer of Thor - I have arrived to rescue the wine world from overly-serious, rigid, deconstructionist, rooster juice peckerwoods who'd never dream of gettin' a tattoo or crackin' a smile. I am without a doubt, the smartest, funniest and toughest sumbitch in the entire wine industry. And I aint goin' away. All disputes will be settled bare-knuckled in the Octagon. You heard me. Oh, and by the way...Bite me crank!

Monday, January 30, 2006

The Deacon Interviews Uber-Lurch John Szabo!

Yo Wassup Homeys and Crackers?

Your humble Deacon just arrived back at Fresh Manor after a fascinating visit with Uber-lurch Master Sommelier, John "The Hitman" Szabo.
It was 4:30 on the nose when your Deacon of the Grape climbed the stairs of Crush Wine Bar on King Street, just west of Spadina Avenue, for my meeting with one half of "The Hungarian Wine Mafia" (the other half being his business partner, Zoltan Szabo the subject of a previous article). I had beaten John to Crush by about 20 seconds and he greeted me with the same handshake I gave him: not Masonic, but the grip had Martial Arts written all over it...Let it be said from the start that John Szabo is one of the coolest, most lurch dudes the Deacon's met to date! He's taller in person than he seems in his photgraphs, and he smiles with ready humour during the course of our interview.
We sidled up to the bar like two gunslingers and John ordered us each a glass of some Portuguese red wine that I'd never heard of. We were only 5 minutes into the conversation, when your humble Deacon began to feel like he was the Champion of the Scarlem Chess Club who'd been dropped into a tournament against Garry Kasparov. John Szabo has forgotten more about wine than most people will ever know, and he comes by his knowledge honestly too. In the words of Peninsula Ridge's Jonathon Kuhling: "John Szabo is a freakin' encyclopedia!" I axed him how he got where he was in the wine-world, and John began a tale as bizarre and captivating as any novel...
When he escaped from York Mills Collegiate (coincidentally, the very place the Deacon and the Deaconess met) he went right into the restaurant industry. I won't give you all the details, but suffice to say there was a German involved, an axe, a barn, some ducks, and Gershwin's Rhapsody in Blue; a song that will never remain the same for me now. Having duly dispatched the ducks that were meant for dinner, John took a wrong way home and passed three enormous and vicious dogs that were attracted by the avian blood on his glove. Surviving this hideous attack, John fled to Vineland Estates, under the aegis of winemaker, Kelowna's Brian Schmidt. John continued to absorb the fine details of the restaurant industry and was a veritable sponge when it came to wine information.
Then he wound-up in Paris for 6 months, living in the 5th Arrondissement, where he attended wine-tastings; sometimes up to five a day. Here he studied with the CIDD. (CIDD stands for "Centre d'Information , de Documentation et de Degustation" and was founded by A. Segelle in 1982). Somehow his girlfriend arrived in Languedoc in the south, and John left Paris at the conclusion of his studies and arrived in Languedoc by train with about a dozen cases from his "personal wine cellar" in his luggage. They got a job together, working for a chef who'd lost his sense of smell by severing the nerve in his nose running to the gustatory centre of his brain. The chef had somehow managed to learn to fake it and was still cooking reasonable foods, even though he couldn't taste them at all. After absorbing more culinary knowledge, John and his homegirl loaded a small barge with wine and headed along the Canal du Midi, running between the Atlantic Ocean and the Mediterranean Sea. Onroute, they visited beautiful rustic French villages and phoned ahead to restaurants seeking work. One chef had a weekend wedding and hired them both, putting them up in a flat across the road. This is where John got to do such exotic pursuits as de-veining 40 lbs of foie gras every day, and shelling lobsters in record time, which is great for the calluses. (Your Deacon never deveined nothin'! I never like food that resembles the original animal, which is why I ate so many Big Macs in my youth...) Back in Canada, John earned the title: "Master Sommelier" from the internationally recognized Court of Sommeliers. He worked for 4 years with a friend as a wine merchant, a postition which included "lots of trips to France". He must have felt he'd accomplished D.A. at that time though, because he began studying with the Wine and Spirits Educational Trust, based in London England, and in 2 years graduated with honours on his first attempt. He's currently working on his Master of Wine certification. When he passes, he'll be one of only about 4 people in the world with both Master Sommelier and Master of Wine designations.
We got on to more esoteric matters...John's a black belt in Goju Ryu karate, which greatly interested your neck-crankin' Deacon. We discussed my recent and brilliant victory in the Octagon by triangle-choke over Robert Parker. I asked John who he'd fight if he could fight anyone at all. I expected one of the typical answers: Bono, Bill Shatner or Mother Theresa. Instead he surprised me. "Winewriter Jancis Robinson" he said. "I think I could beat her." We went on to talk about Chuck Waggon and the winery he's opened in Kirkland Lake. "Chuck's a great guy" said John. "We expect interesting things from Kirkland Lake in the next 40 to 50 years..."
John ordered us each a second glass; this time something French and unpronouncable. It was amazing, of course. I questioned him on his choice of a desert island wine. "I know Champagne's taken, so I won't choose that..." he reflected. "I'd have to say Barolo. I'm in love with the Nebbiolo grape."
The conversation continued, touching upon the world's most difficult language (Hungarian), martial arts, food, and business partner Zoltan Szabo's brilliant ability to make connexions and total inability to cook. We ended the meeting with a promise to meet for dinner sometime soon, along with John's wife and the Deaconess. John said he'd like to drop in on my Jiu Jitsu classes, and I told him he's welcome any Wednesday night.
As I walked back to my car a light rain began to fall, and my mind turned to the friendly and fascinating people I've had the privilege of meeting and hangin' out with in the last few months...Billy Munnelly and Kato... Jonathon Kuhling...Daniel Speck...Doug Beatty...John Maxwell...Tony Aspler...Peter Boyd...Sadie Darby...Zoltan and John Szabo...Is it something about the wine industry, or is it Canada itself that produces people of such quality? I really don't know.
But I do know that our wine industry is in the best possible hands.
Here's the URL for Crush Wine Bar:
It's a very cool place.
Here's John and Zoltan Szabo's website:
Check them out too...
You heard me.
Deacon Dr. Fresh
Bringin' you the lurchest wine news and info

Friday, January 27, 2006

The Deacon and the Canadian Dean of Wine Finally Meet!

Greetings Homeys, Homettes and Crackerwaters! Your humble Deacon is sittin' here on a Friday night with a glass of white chocolate liqueur, bringin' y'all up to speed on my latest ramblin's and interestin' news, and in this case it's another interview with a wine heavyweight.
Tony Aspler has tasted about 150,000 different wines, and that's probably a conservative estimate. If that figure seems impossible, realize it's based on about 5,000 wines per year for 30 years! I know what you're thinkin': How do I get that mofo's job?!?! Well the fact that he's still up and around means his liver should be on display at the Smithsonian between Einstein's brain and Dillinger's penis !
Tonight your humble Deacon made the trip uptown from Scarlem to the beautiful home of Tony Aspler and his wife, Deborah. The street being full, I parked on his lawn, which probably wouldn't have been a problem if I'd found the correct house. Once my ride was properly situated, I was met at the door by the man himself, who ushered me in where I was immediately accosted by his beautiful Wheaten Terrier, Pinot. As a former Bull Terrier owner, dogs hold no terror for the Deacon. Pinot sensed a kindred spirit, and leaped, danced and gently bit me for several minutes as Tony shouted while progressively dropping his voice several octaves which eventually calmed her down. We headed immediately to a pleasant sitting-room, already prepped with glasses, bread and cheeses. Within a minute, Tony was already opening a bottle of wine; or at least attempting to, as the screw-cap spun around without efffect. Your humble Deacon possesses the "hands of death" however, and was able to crack the code and open the muh-fuh in about 2 seconds flat. We sat down to discuss life and enjoy the spread. The wine was a Pinot Noir, as was immediately discernable from the colour and nose. It was truly exceptional, and turned out to be an Ontario wine by Norman Hardie of Prince Edward County, made entirely from Niagara grapes. (The 2005 will be entirely local grapes) This is an amazing wine! It's both gentle and assertive at the same time, if such a thing is possible, and the finish is quite long for a Pinot. This was liquid velvet! You gotta watch out for this winemaker. It was extremely hard for your Deacon to accept that this was an Ontario wine. I kept thinkin' that Mr. Aspler was settin' me up for some elaborate joke. The label's discreet and simple, with Mr. Hardie's signature on a classic Burgundian bottle. It was great with the cheese and bread and I found myself wondering what it would be like with a roast turkey dinner...Fantastic, I'm sure.
Tony was a gracious host. For a man who's done it all in the wine industry, I found him to be very friendly and approachable. We discussed his varied and stellar career in broadcasting, writing, evaluating wines, travel, etc., etc. Then his stylish wife Deborah arrived, and we talked about everything from the Enneagram system of personality, (your Deacon's type 8) to hypnosis and warts, to what's the best sparkling wine for the dollar. It turns out that like the Deacon and Deaconess, Tony's desert island wine is Champagne - provided there's a good fridge. Then Deborah and the Deacon got into literature and found they had a favourite book in common: The Shadow of the Wind. (If you don't know why we like it so much, then turn off the TV and read it.) Tony capped the evening off by giving the Deacon specially autographed copies of two of his books, which I'll be tellin' y'all about in a future issue.
We said goodbye at the door, and I headed out to Starbucks to pick up a couple of lbs. of the dark stuff. As I switched on the usual AC/DC for the ride back to Scarlem, I passed Tony and Deborah, walking Pinot who was wrapped in her doggy-coat for her evening walk, and they smiled and waved.
Thanks a lot to Tony and Deborah for allowing the Deacon into their personal space!
Lookin' forward to hangin' with you again...
Check out Tony Aspler's excellent and informative website at:
You heard me.
Deacon Dr. Fresh
Opener of Locked-Bottles and Friend of Wheaten Terriers Everywhere

Thursday, January 26, 2006

Deacon Dr. McFresh Celebrates Robbie Burns Day!

McWassup? McCrackers and McMofos!

It's your humble Deacon here, bringin' you up to speed on my latest and greatest ramblin's. Yesterday was Robbie Burns Day, and if you're so much of a crackerpecker that you think he was the guy on The Simpsons who owned the nuclear power plant, then go to my other website, Wine for Dix:
Anyway, your humble Deacon bein' 1/8th lowland sheep-stealing Scot, I headed out to Allen's at 143 Danforth Avenue for a lunchtime meeting with the ultra-polite, highly-literate and very lurch, Jonathon Kuhling, the salesmeister of Peninsula Ridge Estates Winery. Allen's was Jono's choice, and to be honest with my readers, your humble Deacon of the Grape had passed Allen's on many occasions, but never actually darkened the door. Well I left the Candy Apple Caddy at the curb next to a hydrant with Adam "The Sadist" Sutherland doin' vehicle security duty. Upon entry I was met by both Jono Kuhling and John Maxwell, the highly lurch proprietor of said establishment. John is a very personable and engaging man, and has modelled Allen's on the sort of traditional Irish bar that he grew up with in his native New York. Allen's boasts what is probably the largest collection of whiskies in any North American establishment. How many ya reckon? 12? 63? How about 202? Not even close! This muh-fuh keeps 335 whiskies onhand! In fact his whisky list is bigger than most restaurant's menus!
Now since your Deacon's taste runs to grapes alone, Jonathon ordered a Penninsula Ridge 2004 Syrah (or Shiraz to you Australian addicts). It was pretty damn lurch too. I've not been real impressed with the Syrah or Cabernet Sauvignon out of Ontario yet. I've said many times, the only thing that's gonna give it any real punch is to move the earth about 5 million miles closer to the sun. Nevertheless, this Syrah was soft and quite nice; nowhere near the tannic hit you'd get with a French version, but it wasn't green or bland either. It went great with the Scottish meat pies with HP sauce, and warm salads we ordered. It's hard to believe the winery's only been around since 2000! I'm gonna have to check out their 2001 Cabernet Franc VQA. As you know if you've been readin' regular-like, the Cab Franc grape does spectacularly well in Ontario, and based on this Syrah which needs way more sunny days, the Peninsula Ridge Cab Franc should be amazing!
Jono Kuhling and I tied on the feedbags and chowed-down while John Maxwell stood over our table, making sure all was well and then he disappeared for awhile. He was actually gone for about 20 minutes. It turned out he'd gone up to his office and was reading the Deacon's articles online and catchin' up on the latest grape and neck-crankin' news! Jonathon Kuhling is originally from Moose Jaw Saskatchewan and he and I had a fascinating discussion about Peninsula Ridge wine, hypnosis, pain and literature, in the warm, comforting environment of Allen's cozy pub. He put me onto a book, One River, that I gotta read soon.
So here's the Deacon's point: If you haven't checked out Peninsula Ridge Estate Wines at your LCBO, or visited Allen's pub on Danforth Avenue, you just gotta do it! Better yet, why not go to Allen's for lunch or dinner and try some of their food with a Pen Ridge Wine and a couple dozen glasses of John Maxwell's whisky?
Here are the websites:
Tell them the Deacon sent you and you'll be treated real well!
Thanks John and Jonathon, it was a lurch lunch.
You heard me.
Deacon Dr. Fresh
Supportin' Ontario's Best

Monday, January 23, 2006

Canada's Newest Winery Opens!!!

Greetings All and Sundry!
Deacon Dr. Fresh here.

After the recent and terrifying post by our Roving Reporter Rozeen Diego, I have a real lurch interview for y'all! Today we're rappin' with the man in the picture: Charlie C. "Chuck" Waggon from his winery in Kirkland Lake. Chuck has taken up the challenge, and has just opened up against all odds, the World's Northernmost Winery in the usually frozen wasteland of Northern Ontario.
We pick up our conversation...
D.D.F. - So Chuck...they said it couldn't be done and shouldn't be done, but you've done it! You've created a whole new wine appellation that only needs VQA recognition to start to boom.
Chuck - That's true, that's true. I fought the friggin bastards on the Town Council who wouldn't let me build a winery on their property. Then I fought the idiots in France who wouldn't supply my vines and now I'm fightin for recognition with the VQA. I hope they'll prove to be a little more sensible and get behind my product.
D.D.F - Where did y'all settle on as the location for your winery, Chuck?
Chuck - Well I tried to put it right smack on the bastard parking lot of the Comfort Inn, but the sumbitches wouldn't let me. I wound up building the winery in my garage. Naturally it aint real big, but we're aiming at a limited quantity anyway - say 2 cases the first couple of years, so we have to charge a premium price. Then again it's gonna be a premium product, so who gives a bastard?
D.D.F. - What do you consider a premium price?
Chuck - I figure for something that's been as much of a royal pain in the ass as this venture, 2 grand a bottle ought to be a fair price. The problem is we got a really short sonofabitch growing season here. That creates certain difficulties for our winemaker.
D.D.F. - How long is your season?
Chuck - We're looking at about 6 days on a good year; 7 for the icewine. The rest of the time the ground's frozen and everyone has SAD and is depressed and pissed off, expecially my brother Roy, our wine maker. If he goes off his meds we're screwed with a capital F.
D.D.F. - What kind of training does Roy have?
Chuck - Well the bastard's been drunk most of his adult life. I reckon that gives him a certain credibility and cache.
D.D.F. - So tell me about your winery itself. What's it called?
Chuck - Well I wanted to call it "F.U. Winery", because that's what I've wound-up saying to almost everyone connected with the venture. Roy wanted to call it "You Sonofabitch!" Winery cause that's what you can hear him yelling at the vat when the whoreson leaks grape juice over his snow-mobile tarpaulin. We compromised for commercial reasons and gave 25,000 bucks to a company that specializes in corporate branding. They came up with the final name: "Kirkland Lake Estate Winery". My brother thinks it's crap, but I think it's friggin' brilliant!
D.D.F. - What wines will you specialize in?
Chuck - We're only going with 2 grapes right now. Pinot Noir and Concord. We buy the Pinot Grapes directly from France cause there's no friggin way they'll grow up here. By the time they arrive and clear customs they're in pretty rough shape, so we boil the bastards down and make Ma Waggon's Heartbreak Grape Preserves.
D.D.F - So your mother's involved in this too?
Chuck - Hell no! She's been dead for years! We just use her mason jars for the jam.
For the Concord, we buy cases of Welch's grape juice at the IGA. Then we open the jars and leave them in the garage near the husky kennel until a nice yeast infection forms a crust on the surface. Then we boil it down and let it freeze and bingo! By June, we got ice-wine!
D.D.F. - So if I got this right, you're not actually growin' any of your own grapes?
Chuck - Hell no! You can't even get a backhoe to break through this ground until the second week of the August thaw. By then winter's on the way again and the ground starts to freeze up pretty quick.
D.D.F. - Well Chuck, at least it's very picturesque and beautiful up there! There must be a lot to do.
Chuck - Do you work for the tourism board or something? Lots to do? Where the hell did you ever get an idea like that? There's dick-all to do up here! We ride snow-mobiles, hunt, drink and freeze. Don't make it sound like Honolulu or friggin Paris!
D.D.F. - Are you going to be gettin' your wine into any fine restaurants?
Chuck - Yes we are. I've been working alongside the top sommelier in Timmins; Jake Blacksnake. Jake works for Swiss Chalet and has been giving me some good info. He's helped me get my wines into Hai Fat Gardens here in Kirkland Lake. They cook the rice and chicken-balls just right! I don't care where you go, you can travel all the way to friggin Tokyo but you won't get better Chinese food than at Hai Fat Gardens. They got a branch in Minden now too.
D.D.F. - Well thanks Chuck for the update. We hope you get full blown appellation status real soon.
Chuck - Full blown? Yeah, I wouldn't mind that either!
Stay tuned for more info on the World's Northernmost Winery...
Deacon Dr. Fresh
Supportin' the small-players

Sunday, January 22, 2006

Roving Reporter Rozeen Spooked at the Glendale Hilton Wine Expo!

Yo Again, Boyz and Hos!

Roving Reporter Rozeen Diego here...

I'm back from Glendale and man do I have a weird story to tell. If you mofos read my last report, you know I was plannin' on attendin' a New World Wine Expo at the Hilton, and attend I did!
I did my camp-out on the 3rd floor where I found a draped table with a jug of water and about 3 dozen sandwiches from earlier in the evening. Thus fortified, I slipped under the table and crashed out early, listenin' to my I-Pod and awoke at about 3:30 in the afternoon. I didn't bother on the shower, 'cause I already had one a few days ago. I grabbed the leather briefcase that I snagged from a BMW last night and found the convention level.
The event was in full-swing and the frickin' room was full of muh-fuhs and dix! The silverware and carpets said class, but the attendees were pure peckerwood. They were rappin' 'bout "tannins" and "malolactic fermentation" and a whole lot of other jive-pecker jank stuff. I thought I was gonna do the big Exorcist projectile vomit thing, but stayed for the "seminar speakers". The first one was this big muh-fuh with an oily smile who kept goin' on about "micro-oxygenation" and "chlorination versus ozone disinfection of the Portugese cork" and whether or not we were going to see "asset reduction vines" or would have to live with "market bi-saturation through protectionist loopholes" and other crap like that. I hated his guts immediately and wished I had a lawn-dart to fling into his chest and puncture the mofo's lung. Then this woman who's the president of some ancient cracker wine organization that nobody cares about, gets up and sings a song she's written. She's about 200 years old and has had about 50,000 face lifts, and everyone pretends it's as funny as hell because she's so frickin' old, and everyone keeps joining in for the chorus "Drink wine it's so's so drink wine..." The song went on for about 6 hours and I got really antsy and was wishin' I had a box of frag grenades with me to lob into the crowd. Then to make it even worse, this walking California skin cancer advertisement gets up and makes this really sincere speech about "The Marriage of Merlot and Golf" and "Saving the Gorillas" and "buying eco-time for the Pacific seaboard". My Rolex showed it was only just after 5 o'clock but I couldn't take anymore. I grabbed a free glass of chardonnay off of a tray and downed it, but it was so loaded with oak and tar, it tasted like a railroad tie. Turns out some dix there were selling these stupid drops called "Oakey Dokes" that you add to any wine to save the cost and trouble of actually letting the wine sit in some barrels for a while. The whole event was like that; just commercial and fake and jank. There was an instant wine powder by Koolade that you just add to water and make "Wine for Kidz", and right next to that booth, there was this other mofo slicing the necks off Burgundy bottles with a Ginsu and turning them into "beautiful wine-themed candle holder gifts". I hate to admit it, but I split before dinner. It just made me wanna puke to be in the same industry as those mofos.
I went down to the lobby bar to drown my rage and pulled up a bar-stool. This enormous black dude bartender who looked like Barry White asked me what I wanted. I said "Bring me a double shot of bourbon with a draft Budweiser on the side". He stopped and looked me in the eye and said he wouldn't do that. I told him I was 22 and he said it weren't nothin' to do with my age. He said that bourbon wrecks your liver and beer is just bread in a bottle. I said that might be true, but the mofo peckercrackers upstairs had put me off wine and oak and frickin' Koolade for life. The bartender glanced around the nearly empty bar for a moment and grinning said
"I'm gonna hook you up with the mojo, Son". He reached under the edge of the bar and pulled a plain bottle from a small refrigerator. He jacked the cork expertly with his regulation Screw Pull and poured about 4 ounces into a goblet. I know I'm gonna sound like a peckercracker deconstructionist here, but right away I caught the clean aroma of fruit and hints of honey and toast. "This is the real deal, my man" he said, pressin' the cork into my palm. I took a swig of the nectar and looked up into those deep black eyes that glinted with red in the neon light above the bar. A swish of rain began to blow against the windows, and I felt a bit of a chill that made me shiver.
"Who are you?" I asked cautiously.
"Just another homey like you, holdin' the vineyard against the crackers and mofos" he answered, refilling my now empty glass. I stared into the goblet and swirled this near-perfect mystery white, and felt like I was falling into a spiral. My eyes started to close and I started and looked up with a jolt. The bartender was standin' at the exit to the lobby, his huge bulk framin' the doorway. "Don't be discouraged" he said. "The Deacon's Underground extends to some unlikely places..." A wave of shock went through me as he paused for effect, grinning in the subdued light, his eyes glinting red sparks again. "By the way...Taco sends his regards... Stay lurch, Rozeen!" And he was gone. I gulped down the rest of my wine in a state of frickin' shock. He must have got my name from the dogtags I always wear, but that bit about my dead homey Taco, was too weird... I sat there for what must have been a few silent minutes. The lights flickered over the bar and after a couple of seconds, I heard a rumble of thunder in the distance.
"Can I get you anything...Sir?" asked a thin blond dude with a British accent from behind the bar.
"No, nothin'. The other bartender already gave me the mojo wine" I answered the cracker.
"Mojo wine? I'm sorry, but I don't understand what you mean...and I'm the only bartender sir..." he answered, lookin' concerned. I dropped a twenty on the bar and sprinted out to the lobby, totally forgetting my briefcase, which was gone when I eventually went back for it.
"Where'd that Barry White dude go?" I shouted at the car-jockey, who looked like he thought I was gonna shoot him or something. He pointed to the circular driveway, where an ancient, black hearse fitted with a boom-box and red running lights was pulling away from the curb, glistening in the evening rain. There was a sudden flash of lightning and the blast of the music from the car stereo hit me like a living thing as I pushed through the revolving door. It was AC/DC's Highway to Hell. I stood in the downpour, and as the black death-wagon gained speed and roared toward the Glen Oaks Boulevard Crossroads, I noticed I was gripping somethin' tightly in my fist.
It was a cork.
I turned it around in my hand in the wet gleam under the streetlight and I could just make out the markings...
Ontario VQA
Rozeen Diego
Totally freaked-out but still alive
Special Correspondent for Deacon Dr. Fresh

Friday, January 20, 2006

First Report From Our Kalifornia Konnexion!

Yo Yo Yo Kanadian Krackahs!

His Excellency the Lurchman Deacon Dr. Fresh has condescended to grant Rozeen Diego an OK-shun-ell column in the Lurchest online Winofest of all time!

So today I gots to first of all letchall know that Taco's funeral went real lurch. Here's the link to the story regarding his untimely death:


The Deacon was right. Once we got into the Shiraz, we stopped missin' him and by bottle 18 we started dissin' him for the dumb, peckerjacker crackerwoodpile dirtbag he really was. Even his frickin parents said he was a mofo and deserved to die! So thanks Dr. Fresh for making the funeral more fun than a Greek wedding! (I'll get Shasta and Bevalante to take care o' ya next time you's in L.A.)

So here we are in Kalifornia - the land of Napa, Sonoma and frickin' Sideways. Man I hated that jank film! I was trashin Mer-effin-low before those wannabees ever even heard of it! I just moved to South Central from San Diego and am writin' this update from the computer at Jefferson Street Public Library, while Dazz and Wrecker keep an eye on my borrowed 4 x 4. You gotta frickin' nail your ride to the damn parkin' lot if you're gonna be more than 5 minutes. And here's the thing I don't understand about this state: How come it costs about 3 bucks for a bottle of Chardonnay, but 20 bucks for a sandwich with a bag of tortillas? I don't get it.

Now for my first issue, I wanna report on an event that will take place at the Glendale Hilton tomorrow. It's called the Explosion of New World Wine. I'm gonna go and and check in the hotel tonight before the event in preparation for my attendance. Did you know you can stay in a major hotel for free? I do it all the time. You just walk in with a briefcase you just jacked and act like you own the place. Then you head to the convention level where they always have coffee and food left over on those long draped tables. You slip under the security cameras and slide under a table when no-one's around. Then you have a nice little tent and you set up camp with some desserts and grab some pillows and stuff off of one of the housekeeping carts. In the morning you shower in the fitness club and tour the halls lookin' for breakfast croissants and toast, laid out for the peckerwoods attendin' various seminars!

So I'm headin' out to Glendale soon and will keep y'all apprised as to my first event I'll be reportin' for the Deacon's newsletter. I'll write a trenchant review of wass happenin' here on the West Coast.

Latah Krakahs!


Special correspondent for His Grapeness Deacon Dr. Fresh

Colio Estate Wines Rock the Deacon's Sox!

Greetings All and Sundry!
I be sittin' here answerin' emails and phonecalls, touchin' base with my homeys and homettes. Everybody lubs the Deacon!

But I gots to bring y'all up to my speed on the winery that's just popped up on the Deacon's extravagant radar. We be talkin' about Colio Estate Wines today, and man, do I got somethin' to rap about!

Yesterday, the weather was reasonably good here in the World's Most Multicultural City, which is pretty frickin' unusual for this time of year. Havin' little else to do, your humble Deacon of the Grape and the lovely Deaconess Fresh hopped into the Candy Apple Caddy and headed West on the Gardiner Expressway, leavin' Scarlem behind and heading to the weird waters of Mississauga. (It's amazin' how fast you can travel if you stick a red flashing light on your dash and keep your hand on the horn!) Well we had a target in mind, namely a 4 PM appointment with Doug Beatty, the marketing wizard for Colio Estate Wines. He kindly invited your humble Deacon to drop in for a drop and teach him how you neck-crank a mofo who wants to take your watch or wallet and give him a life-time membership in the Life-support Lodge. We arrived a little after 4 and headed inside, leaving Adam "The Sadist" Sutherland to handle vehicle security.
Well what a visit this turned out to be. Your humble Deacon was not real familiar with Colio, although in its favour, he couldn't remember a Colio wine he disliked, and had been really happy with their '02 Cab Franc which he served with the Deaconess' amazing veal and mushrooms the week before. Well Dougmeister ushered us into the boardroom and served us olives, Italian bread, figs, cheeses, etc., etc., etc. Then the wines arrived. Nine of them.
We began with the sparkling, and the Deaconess' lovely eyes lit up. Doug served us Colio Estate Vineyards (CEV) Sparkling Lily 2004, chilled just right. This is not methode champagnoise, but was light, fresh, delicious and a perfect starting point. An 85% Chardonnay, 15% Riesling, Methode Cuve Close, it hit the spot and launched the next 3 hours into gear. (If you don't understand any of this arcane terminology, check out one of my other websites, Wine for Dix at:
You heard me.
We went on to sample Colio Estate Vineyards (CEV) Sparkling Lily Blanc de Noirs 2002. This is 100% Pinot Noir and was a very nice sparkling. This would be a great choice at a wedding. And on and on it went...We tried the Pinot Grigio next, which was fresh and light and fairly typical. But hang on...Colio has roots that run deep into the fertile soil of Italy. The white was nice, but as one would expect from an Italian winemaster: The reds were outstanding! Winemaker Carlo Negri is a frickin' genius! The Colio Estate Vineyards (CEV) Carlo Negri Signature Meritage 2002 was as gorgeous a red as I've had in ages. Now my loyal followers in the Legion of Lurch know that the Deacon's a little crazy about Stratus Wines and rightly so...But watch out Stratus! Colio's on the attack! This is the first Ontario wine to blow the Deacon's sox off since the Stratus 2001 Cabernet Franc I been ravin' about for months. This Meritage is (as always) an attempt to duplicate a classic Bordeaux, and man, this is one delicious powerhouse red! It's loaded with fruit with soft tannins and a velvety finish, having spent 22 months in new European oak. Built from essentially equal parts Cab Sauv, Cab Franc and Merlot, this hits the taste-buds like a tactical baton. This is so good that when the Deacon's finally sent to the electric chair, I wanna make sure they drench the head-sponge in this wine first! This is a limited edition of only 2,400 bottles, each individually numbered and is no-doubt the Pride of Lake Erie Northshore.
Doug then poured Colio Estate Vineyards (CEV) Carlo Negri Signature Merlot 2002. Now he warned us up front that this was still very young. He was right, of course. The wine's still green tasting and as tightly wrapped as the electrons in a metallic mollecular bond. I think this needs another 2 years, but there's lots of fruit and when it opens up it's gonna be lurch! I'm gonna decant that muh fuh for 4 hours tonight and run it through the magnetic field and see what happens. This is 100% Merlot, and is going to make the Deacon recant some of his more brash ramblin's bout what's often a bland varietal. Nothin' bland here, cracker! I'm tellin' you mofos: If you buy any red wine with Carlo Negri's signature on it, you're in for a great experience.
Doug moved on to pour Colio Estate Vineyards (CEV) Riesling Icewine 2003. This is 100% Riesling and has the classic petrol aroma of a rampaging Panzer Division drivin' a deep wedge through the continually-surrendering French soil. Good stuff indeed. I didn't realize what a tasty and rich ice-wine can come from the Riesling grape.
And so on and on it went...Colio is no new-comer. Their history on the north shore of Lake Erie goes back to the 1970's and they've definitely proven to the Deacon that Ontario is becoming a force to be reckoned with on the world wine horizon. This is a winery that has a passion for excellence that shows in Doug Beatty as he discusses their products and their future. Thanks Doug for a great introduction to Colio Wines and for makin' the Deacon and Deaconess feel so welcome.
You are one great host, Homeboy!
With Ontario winemakers like Carlo Negri continually raising the bar, we the consumers will continue to find amazing wines on our own doorstep.
The future looks very bright indeed...
You heard me.
Deacon Dr. Fresh
Always supporting VQA wines

Wednesday, January 18, 2006

The Deacon Reviews "Beulah Land" - All Mojo and no Mofo!

Greetings to my Homeys, Hos, Friends, Neighbours and all you Peckerwood Mofo Crackerjank Dix who tune in just to see what the Deacon's gonna say next, and a special "Yo Wassup?" to Rozeen in San Diego who's gonna be joinin' us as our Kalifornia Konnexion, just as soon as his scrotum heals from climbin' that barbed-wire fence around a certain electronics store...
Now over the months that have been largely marked by your humble Deacon's stratispheric rise in the spotlite of the wine industry, you've read my reviews of wines and wineries, restaurants and events, sommeliers and assorted swine. Well today we be reviewin' our first CD! My Legion of Lurch know that the Deacon only brings quality to the table, whether it's a "not to be missed" wine or the latest and greatest way to crank a human neck. Well trust me in this: You gotta check out this music...
I'm referrin' to the CD "Beulah Land". Now to those of you monkey-peckers who need an ed-joo-kayshun, "Beulah" is Hebrew for "Married", but you really gots to be up on your Blake and Milton to truly grasp the concept. (So basically, the Deacon gets it, but you don't.) This CD has a true wine konnexion, being the product of the extremely fertile brain of Ace Sommelier Peter Boyd. Now whether or not you like blues (and if you don't, you might as well wear a sign saying "Hello there! I'm a Peckerwood Bag-Scratch Mofo!"), I predict you'll love this lurch CD!
Many of you know your humble Deacon to be a Johnny Winter/Eric Clapton/Jimmy Page/SRV bluesboy from way back, and I can tell the real-deal. And this is the real-deal, Jack. Boyd may be Toronto born and Upper Canada College stock, but he's got Mississippi River water in his veins! This is a white boy as you can see from his picture, but he's been to the crossroads and sold his soul to the Devil! The record starts strong, with the handclap percussion and classic resonator track "Been to the Well". This has the muddy fingerprints of the Delta all over it and is real swampy:
Well, now, I've been to the well, now
Four times
I got an empty bucket at the end of the
Just looking at the bottom...Lord, I'm dry
So damn dehydrated I can't even cry
Well, I've got a sense that I'm just Love's
A long way back to the cistern
I ought to get me a mule

The second track brings in the George Clinton funk a bit and is not to my taste, but track 4 "If I Even Wake" is truly beautiful with vocals as forward as the fruit in an Oz Shiraz. I especially enjoyed track 5 "Southbound" which is an up-tempo railroad-style blues with classic train-whistle harmonica and a chugging tempo that goes real lurch with the clean guitar stylings.

The bottom line is: there's somethin' for every blues lover on this record, from the plodding deliberation of "The Sun is Going Down Again" with it's powerful anti-racist lyrics, to the blistering Charlie Musslewhite style blues-harp on the raunchy "Separation Blues". This is a record that blues fans will love and those new to the art form will grow to love very quickly. You can easily set it on in the background or take a meditative drive with a bottle of Shiraz.

You can pick up "Beulah Land" at Sam's downtown or Soundscapes on College Street. Get off your butt and buy this record and support a Canadian talent.

Nice work Peter. The Deacon approves. Quit your day job.

This is where you belong...

You heard me.

Deacon Dr. Fresh

More current than Rolling Stone

Tuesday, January 17, 2006

The Deacon Reports on Canada vs. Bordeaux Event!

Greetings All and Sundry!

Your humble Deacon has returned from the prestigious Ontario Club in the heart of downtown Toronto. As my loyal readers know, the Deacon received a special invite to taste Canadian wines vs. Bordeaux. Here's how the evening went:
I arrived fashionably late, having been dropped off at King and Bay streets by the Deaconess, who screeched the Candy Apple Caddy up on the sidewalk to the shock and awe of parked taxis and wild applause of passersby. I quickly found my way across the courtyard and up to the fifth floor Event and was warmly greeted by the Deacon's numero uno sommelier, (and half of the Hungarian Wine Mob) Zoltan Szabo. He was lookin' damn lurch too, and the flashes started poppin' as the papparazzi's tried to frame both us wine heavyweights in their viewfinders. The even more fashionably late arrived, and we all sauntered into the tasting room, which was bright and cheerful, in a Draconian kind of way. Your Deacon opted for a corner seat near the exit doors; somethin' you should always do in case the evening crashes and burns and y'all gotta abort in a hurry. Well I'm pleased to report there were no abortions or crashes, and the evening was a great success! Tony Aspler was in fine form in his meticulous descriptions of esters, tannins, flavinoids and thuja. Sadie Darby, the lovely lady from the Wine Writers Circle who gave your humble narrator an invite was the organizer of the spectacular event and very pleased to meet the Deacon in person. Sadie was celebrating her 25th birthday and the Deacon led a wild round of singin' which shocked and offended some of the more restrained (read "repressed") mofos and peckercrackers in the room. I was joined in my AC/DC volume rendition of "Happy Birthday" by the man sitting next to me, who turned out to be Doug Beatty, the lurch VP of Marketing for Colio Estate Wines. He was certainly no mofo, and your Deacon took a shine to the man. The Deaconess and I had greatly enjoyed a bottle of Colio 2002 Cab Franc the previous week, and Doug and me got to talkin' about Roger Ramjet and Zorro and Clutch Cargo, and almost forgot we were supposed to be samplin' the wares in front of us.
There were 10 wines presented, all of them red and mostly real good. I operated on the principle that my cut man and mentor, Billy Munnelly taught me: If it tastes like a chisle between your teeth and is well-structured and firm, it's gonna be Canadian, because the crackers'll be tryin' to trick us. If it tastes fruit-forward, round and New World, it's gonna be a frickin' Bordeaux! We started wadin' through the flight, the oohs and aahs punctuated by witty and hilarious comments from Doug and myself. I commented that one of the wines (number 6) was "redolent of a poultice". Doug, not to be outdone launched into a brilliant and clearly rehearsed story involving horrible images of geriatric patients in swimming pools, wearing diapers and thongs. He looked at me quite seriously and stated that it was the worst image he could come up with. I told him he had succeeded and not to try to top it. Then a gorgeous, curvy blonde sauntered past, eyeing the Deacon and Doug said "I didn't think we were allowed to bring hookers to the event." I glanced around at the other tables and noted sincerity and seriousness. I went back to wine number 6, which was one of those things that is so incredibly bad, you just gotta keep checkin'. (I remember sprayin' myself with White Musk cologne on a trip to Buffalo with the Deaconess. It smelled so sickening, I couldn't stop sniffin' it for about 5 hours until it faded.) We began to try to get our olfactory/gustatory systems around what this wine smelled and tasted like. Doug went back to diapers and then suddenly and triumphantly yelled "Iodine!". "Yes!" our table shouted in response. "With hint of dolphin's penis!" I yelled, perhaps a little too loudly, leading to nods of startled agreement and much hilarity. We tasted (guessed) and voted (guessed) and then Tony Aspler did a superb job of deconstructing the experience for us. When we listened to his evaluations and re-tasted, we were all forced to agree: "He's right! Damn his eyes!" All in all, the event was a tremendous success and the Deacon appreciates the invite and the new friends he's made.
Kudos Sadie. You done good, Homegirl.
You heard me.
Deacon Dr. Fresh
Not yet barred from the Ontario Club

Monday, January 16, 2006

Deacon to Attend Bordeaux Event!

Yo Crackers! Ssssssup?
Your humble Deacon here with the first update of 2006! My malebag's been full and everyone wants to know what the Deacon's been up to over the last few weeks...
I been knockin' back the good stuff, as well as the occasional bottle of monkeyjank swill.
Anyway, the visitin' and winebibbin' has been an ongoing concern; last night being no eksepshun!
The Deaconess and Yours Truly just spent an excellent evening at the domicile of the ultra-lurch Billy Munnelly and his partner in crime, Kato. The whole thing began at 7 PM at Southern Accent, a red-hot and highly lurch watering-hole and N'Orleans style restaurant on Markham Street. (That's Markham Street, not Markham Road to you crackerwaters that live in Scarlem...I mean Scarborough.) Anyway, we began the visit under the watchful eye of the proprietess Frances, who plied us with sparkling wine, followed by Pinot Grigio; a perfect match for the crisp calamari and raw oysters that followed. Y'all gotta check out this place! It's at 595 Markham Street right near Bloor and Bathurst. We're talkin' atmosphere with a capital "AT"! I aint gonna say nothin' beyond: check it out. It is authentic Loozianna; Frances just back from helpin' out in storm hammered New Orleans. Her restaurant's got everything from authentic decor, attentive staff, romantic and spooky little velvet booths, to great blues and even psychics onhand in case y'all wanna get possessed! It's certainly the best slice of N'Orleans your Deacon's encountered this side of Bourbon Street.
So from there we walked to Billy and Kato's pad where they opened about 15 more bottles of wine, served with delicious chicken with fruit and an amazing pomegranate sprinkled salad. I actually got to slice the pomegranate and show off my skill with a blade! We got into some heavy philosophical stuff; in the end we agreed to disagree. I remember lookin' at my Rolex and seeing 10:20. Then a few minutes later it was quarter to one! It was a great time and we sure appreciate their hospitality. How many other "wine-writers" will take the chance on permitting the Deacon to invade their personal space? None of them, Cracker! Billy and Kato even walked us out to Bloor through the freezing, lamp-lit streets of their hood, where we wisely grabbed a cab home to Fresh Manor. Thanks Billy and Kato. You are wonderful people!
So tonight, your humble Deacon will be attending an invitation only Canada vs. Bordeaux event at the mega-lurch Ontario Club. Sadie Darby of the Wine Writer's Circle was kind enough to give me an invite and I'll be crankin' the candy apple Caddy down to King and Bay for the festivities. I'm hopin' to see some of my homies there, like Zoltan and John Szabo and the Swayin' Sommelier Peter Boyd, who's CD I'll be reviewing in a few days. It should be a blast, and if they have an Octagon set up, I might get to neck-crank some mofos!
You heard me.
Deacon Dr. Fresh
A Growing Concern to the Wine Industry

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