Deacon Dr. Fresh Wine Newsletter

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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!

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Those Amazing Szabos...and more!

Rejoice! Your Deacon has returned!

And on such an auspicious occasion (being yet another brilliant update) it is incumbent upon Yours Truly to begin this posting with a more traditional greeting aimed at the "usual shower" of gainsayers who complain about the use of argot:

Toss my caber!

...and so the wonderful madness begins...

As I write this, I'm listening to Emerson Lake and Palmer's Tarkus. How many of you are old enough to remember that one? I was looking through my enormous music collection for something appropriate and in lieu of Bela Bartok settled upon the current excellent choice. And in the usual celebration of AC/DC, which fills my every waking thought, I've added a picture of another celebrant, entirely appropriate for this posting.

How about those frickin' Szabos? Now I know I should have gotten this posting out sooner, but unlike most people in the wine industry, I actually have a job and life outside of wine, and it keeps me away from time to time. But "better nate than leather", right?

A few weeks back, your humble Deacon attended an absolutely amazing Hungarian Wine event, The Tokaj Renaissance at Chez Victor at the Hotel Le Germain. Now if you never get out of Keswick, you'll never get to highly lurch events at places as cool as this. (And if you are in Keswick, put the frickin' snowmobile away for 10 minutes and pay attention!) About 40 of us were lounging around and as the rain poured hypnotically outside, John and Zoltan, the brilliant (but unrelated) Szabo brothers taught us all about the wonderful whites of Hungary. It was really cool, as we hung out with some homeys from the Hungarian Consulate and sampled some excellent wine, including a Dry Furmint, that I really liked. John was entirely up to scratch of course, expounding effortlessly on all the nuances of Hungarian wine, with Zoltan throwing in his comments and translating everything into "Transylvanian". Think of Jim Morrison channelling Bela Lugosi, and you'll get the idea. One of the Powerpoint slides said the wine was bottled in March, although they'd used the French word. Naturally I jumped all over this and asked the mock serious question:
Don't you think the winery could save a lot of money by bottling it on earth instead of shipping it to Mars?
This resulted in the usual gales of hilariously appreciative laughter that always results when someone actually gets my comic genius.

The wines were all excellent and I learned interesting facts, for instance: Tokaj is the place and Tokaji is the wine made there. I took all my usual notes in my peculiar but useful combination of Koine Greek and Japanese to stop the peckers from reading over my shoulder and getting the jump on my thoughts. The only problem is, although I write both of those languages quite well, I can't actually read either of them, so all my notes are essentially useless after the fact.

As John and Zoltan continued their brilliant and often comedic tag team explication, I noticed a motion in my peripheral vision. It was my ace homeboy, Michael Pinkus, without whose presence, wine events are essentially devoid of hilariously obscene jokes. He had been attempting to get my attention by gesturing toward me in a fairly vulgar and vaguely Italian fashion, and with the pump thus primed, he was off and running...
Then the tables were cleared and moved aside and we began sloshing around in gorgeous whites, while the extremely attentive staff prepared to serve us lunch. Dean Tudor was there too, and we hooked up with Pinkus for lunch and the frivolity continued as we raved over the Szabos' presentation and the wines they'd selected for us. Naturally, chef David Chrystian's food was unbelievable! Berkshire Pork Terrine with Apricot Gel, Braised Lamb Shank "Paprikash" served with bell peppers, glazed pearl onions, stewed tomatoes and gnocchi....etc., etc., etc. The Deaconess feeds me well, but this was a meal fit for Vlad the Impaler! We ended with a 1999 Aszuesszencia, Pajzos (try and say that 3 times fast after a couple of 8 balls of crack!) This wine actually sells for 500 Euros for a 200 ml. bottle at the winery. I'm not making this up. It was the best sweet wine I've ever had. And at that price, it damn well better be! I ordered a couple of cases...I also want to mention the phenomenal work of Chez Victor's GM/Sommelier Mark Moffatt who's yet another frickin' star! Madame Germaine ought to give him and David Chrystian a raise, based on their sterling skills.

Kudos to the amazing Szabos for another entertaining and enlightening event. If you EVER get a chance to check out one of their wine seminars, DO IT! I'm serious when I say that nobody does it better. You'll have a blast and you'll learn a lot. Thanks John and Zoli. Your Deacon lubs you.

Now let's talk Christmas gifts...We've already had some of the white stuff, and it's snowed too! Hahaha I CRACK me up...

Here's the recommended 3 gifts for this year, and you can get them all at Chapters or

Billy's Best Bottles Wines for 2008

If you haven't bought this yet, you're either an idiot or a complete bastard or both! Billy does a great job of making wine simple, approachable and a helluva lot of fun. You can shove this book in your back pocket and take it to the LCBO with you like I do. This year, all the photos are in colour too, making it real easy to find exactly what you're lookin' for. Food and wine pairings, touring the County, great Niagara wineries, it's all here. At the end of 2008 you throw it in the trash and get the newest volume. It's inexpensive and pays for itself on your first visit to the liquor store. I read it cover to cover in one sitting, it's that interesting. Buy it! You'll love it. You can get it directly from Billy and Kato at Billy's Best Bottles. There's a discount too, if you buy in bulk like I do. These books make great corporate gifts and stocking stuffers, but most of all, remember to buy one for yourself! You heard me...

Another excellent book that you'll love is The Definitive Canadian Wine and Cheese Cookbook. This is by Tony Aspler and Gurth Pretty. As the publishers say:

Distinctive cheeses, their sources and matchings. When a cheese connoisseur and an authority on wine pair up, beautiful things can happen. This is certainly the case in The Definitive Canadian Wine and Cheese Cookbook. Gurth Pretty is the author of The Definitive Guide to Canadian Artisanal and Fine Cheese, and Tony Aspler is an international wine consultant and the author of numerous books on wine. Together, these authorities have produced the essential guide to Canadian cheese uses.

Another thing that is screaming to be on your Christmas gift list is Chotzi Rosen's amazing wine game: Cork Jester's Wine Teasers. It's a great game for any size group and is easy to play. It'll teach you about wine too, if you're not against edjukashun. Chotzi's only gonna give you the real deal, so you can be sure this game rox! Build your own cellar while raiding the other player's bottles! It's designed so anyone can play it with a chance of winning, whether you're a brilliant wine genius like me, or just Robert Parker. Click on the link to get more info. I've already ordered it, because I want it in time for Christmas.

Tune in soon for my Australian Wine Update!

OK. I gots to split for a Fosters Wine Event in the Distillery District with the Deaconess.

Y'all stay lurch!

Deacon Dr. Fresh

Smarter than plants


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