This month we'd like to present to you a good friend of ours Zoltan Szabo, an award-winning Sommelier based in Toronto. He's not only one of the most well known Sommelier's around town, his reputation extends across the globe.

Zoltan's buzzworthy tasting notes, wine consulting, education programs and writing is garnering him plenty of respect; Having friends and colleagues like Jancis Robinson, Tony Aspler (Recipient of the Order of Canada- See article below), Robert Parker and many more doesn't hurt either!

We've know Zoltan quite awhile now and as long as we've know him, he's always been up to something interesting. Whether he's traveling the world doing wine judging or consulting, or leading a government sponsored tasting, he makes sure to enjoy himself along the way. After wine formalities are complete, Zoltan's known to be the life of the party!

Zoltan also runs Szabo & Szabo Drinks Trade Consultants with his partner John Szabo (not related), Canada's First Master Sommelier.

John Szabo has this to say about him: "[Zoltan] has done more to raise the profile of the sommelier profession than busloads of stiff, tastevin-toating wine stewards, bringing a fresh, appealing, wholly inclusive approach to sharing his enthusiasm for wine."

We're very lucky to have Zoltan here in Toronto. He's not only doing a great job for the Sommelier profession, he's raising the profile of Ontario & Canadian wine. He was honoured with the "promoter of the year 2006" for the Ontario Wine Industry this past year.

Zoltan is also opening restaurants in Asia ( and consults for a series of international clients. He has also recently signed a contract with Skyline Boutique Hotels Inc. and will be opening EIGHT WINE BAR at 8 Colborne St. on Jan. 8, 2008!

Zoltan's been a great supporter of the iYellow Wine Club and we're pleased to show him off in this month's 2 Bottles & 2 Questions. Enjoy!

2 Questions

1. Having tasted thousands of different wines over your career, what is the oldest and/or most expensive bottle of wine you have tried?

I have drank 2 bottles of 1970 Chateau Mouton Rothschild for my b-day 3 or so years ago with John Szabo at George Manner's house in Woodbridge!

Also drank a bottle of Chateau Cheval Blanc 2000 not too long ago and heard the chorus of the angels sing!

Drank a bottle of 1929 Daudet-Naudin Clos de Vougeot 1929 - (Grand Cru Burgundy) with Marchesi di Frescobaldi at Tony Aspler's house last was in "mint" condition and Tony, The Marchesi and I were amazed! Tony Aspler's Blog said this after the dinner: "The 1929 Burgundy was a revelation – 76 years old and still deeply coloured, high fill and still showing great fruit and structure."

...And the list goes on! I do no know the price of these sites may have them...but there's no doubt that with such good company the experiences were priceless!

2. There is no doubt that Icewine is a very unique type of wine and also very Canadian. Does Icewine have the ability to capture a larger world market? And if so, what will it take for it to do so?

In fact, Icewine has already captured the world market...Canadian Icewine is the 3rd largest selling ITEM throughout international duty free shops! And I am not referring to 3rd largest selling wine and/or alcoholic product, but 3rd largest selling overall item!!!!!!!

This popularity has a lot to do with Donald Ziraldo, who is the champion of Canadian Icewine and the Canadian wine industry! He is an international ambassador and "commissar", the "face" of Canadian wine!

Also, The Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Trade of Canada has an international wine co-ordination office, lead by my dear friend, Janet Dorozynki...they are working very hard to strengthen the marketing strategy for Icewine and making it even more visible internationally! ...It's just that wineries, embassies, consulates etc. abroad should work TOGETHER to accomplish this common goal...

2 Bottles

Bottle One
2006 Chardonnay, Old Vines, Lailey, Niagara River
"This is harvested from our vineyard also- these vines were planted in 1973. We have lost a lot of these old vines from the poor winters of 2003/5 but we are picking the older vines from within this block now and fermenting separately, This wine was just bottled in early December- only 80 cases produced" as winemaker Derek Barnett expains. Light golden and bright with mustard green tinge. Tropical fruit, cedar, fresh fennel, vanilla cream and fresh jarred raw honeycomb beeswax aroma combo. Medium to full bodied, viscous and flavoursome with a buttery texture and oak spice finish. Best to drink it 5-6 months from now when all elements will integrate and the wine will round out nicely. It will also age short to med term. 4 stars out of 5.

Bottle Two
2005 Pinot Noir, Village Reserve, Le Clos Jordanne
Made from (most) grapes coming from the Talon Vineyard. Brilliant, light violet purple colour. Aromas of red berries, blueberry, floral, exotic spice with underlying earth and musk tones. Light to medium bodied with integrated oak, acid, alcohol. Tannins are "pocking out" adding structure; and a herbal spicy finish. The "deal of the vintage", according to winemaker Thomas Bachelder. It is indeed! So grab some till you can! 4 stars out of 5.

For more information on Zoltan please visit his website: