Let us introduce you to Tony Aspler, Canada's foremost wine expert. He's been writing about wine for 30 years and we're so glad he's written the first and only Wine Atlas of Canada, an exceptional overview of Canadian wine.

He's done so much for the Canadian wine industry that we can't list everything here, but notably he's the man behind the
Ontario Wine Awards and Ontario Wine Week. We were pleased to have him at our 'I Heart Canadian Wine' Social recently (see slideshow below). and iYellow members sure learned a great deal about Canadian wine and enjoyed drinking it too!

So if you're trying to find a book to buy this season for that special someone...Pick up 'The Wine Atlas of Canada', or Tony's newest book 'The Definitive Canadian Wine & Cheese Cookbook' by Gurth Pretty and Tony Aspler - Both Available at Chapters/Indigo. Find out more about 'The Grape Guy' at

2 Qu

1. After traveling from sea to sea exploring and researching Canada's wine country, what surprised you and/or impressed you the most?

I think what impressed me most was the commitment and passion with which the Winemakers approach the business of making and marketing their wine. Even under the most difficult circumstances in regions such as Quebec and Nova Scotia there is a confidence and pride in the wines they produce. What surprised me is the number of people who want to get into the wine business across the country - entrepreneurs who have made their careers (and, in some cases, fortunes) in other fields now want to experience the wine lifestyle. This has created a whole new phenomenon – great winery architecture. Witness Mission Hill and Burrowing Owl in BC, Tawse, Flat Rock, Fielding, Stratus, Hidden Bench and Huff in Ontario.

As Canada's foremost wine expert, is there any advice you could give to iYellow Wine Club members who are just starting their journey exploring the world of wine?

Taste, taste, taste and if possible taste blind so that your personal prejudices don't interfere with what you palate tells you. Trust your first impression of the wine. You will understand what your personal preferenes are if you taste comparatively, that is, line up several bottles with the labels covered and make your notes. Put on a party, invite your friends to bring a bottle. And spit. After all, wine is the most social of beverages - in spite of what the beer ads tell you.

2 Bottles

Bottle One
Plantatree Merlot 2005
$14.95 (LCBO #65151)
This Merlot produced by Ironstone Vineyards in California is bulk-shipped to Ontario and bottled in PET plastic bottles to lessen the carbon footprint. It's the brainchild of Steven Campbell of Lifford Wine Agency. From each bottle sold $2.50 will be donated to plant a tree in the province. Plantatree Merlot is one of three line-priced wines that will benefit the environment. As with the Chardonnay and Cabernet Sauvignon, $2.50 from the sale of each bottle of Merlot will be donated to plant a tree in Ontario. The Merlot is more successful than the Cabernet Sauvignon. It has a sweet blueberry and blackcurrant flavour, medium-bodied with soft tannins. Try it with beef stew or cheddar cheese.

Bottle Two
Jackson-Triggs Delaine Vineyard Pinot Noir 2005
$25.30 (Available at Wine Rack stores)
The Delaine Vineyard was formerly owned by Elaine and Don Triggs before Vincor was sold to Constellation. Wines from this 90-acre site on the Niagara Parkway are the best that J-T produces in Ontario. This Pinot Noir is light ruby in colour with a minerally, cherry nose. The wine gives a nod to Burgundy with its lightness and harmonious balance. Flavours of ripe cherries and raspberries fill the mouth sustained on the palate by lively acidity. The tannic lift on the finish gives the wine a structural flourish. Match it with rack of lamb or duck breast.