The Tipplers convened for the March tasting at Keith’s house. Regrets were received from Sal (conflicting engagement), Bob (location currently unknown) and Allan (e-mail from Hawaii complaining about heat and humidity). The remaining luminaries made short work of a bottle of Spanish fizz (Can Vendrell de la Codina Brut Reserva $15.95). Advertised as “low in free sulphur” which is more than can be said for the Tipplers who proceeded to verbally assault treasurer Tom when he imprudently suggested, with the support of President Gus, that consideration be given to increasing the annual dues. In the spirit of Canadian compromise it was agreed that the matter would be revisited in the Fall or else when the cellar ran dry. So on to the reds, a collection from the recent extensive Spanish release from Vintages.

The Tipplers were asked to identify the country of origin (2 correct answers), pick the most expensive wine (1 correct answer), pick a favourite (everyone got this one) and match each of the 6 wines with the description in the Vintages catalogue (not really fair as it requires elementary reading skills). However the following wines were consumed with gusto:

 Torres Celeste Tempranillo 2003 $19.95

(N & Central Spain - Ribera del Duero)

 Seleccion Oro 2002 $15.95

(N & Central Spain - Toro)

 Gran Toc Hill Reserva 2000 $18.95

(Catalonia - Penedes)

 Valle de Salinas Crianza 2001 $16.95

(Levante & Meseta - Yecla)

 Herencia Remondo La Montesa 2003 $21.95

(N & Central Spain - Rioja)

 Alvaro Palacios Les Terrasses 2003 $41.95

(Catalonia - Priorat)

 The votes for favourite wine were divided between the Valle de Salinas and the La Montesa with the former considered best value for the buck and also a runaway winner in the most egregiously fanciful description (scents of blackberry liqueur, cassis, cherries, scorched earth, hot rocks and asphalt!). The wines were recognized as being in the “new” style -  fruity, steel fermentation, restrained oak and all were extremely drinkable and generally well received. None was considered worthy of a cellar purchase. The evening concluded with lemon tart and berries for dessert, washed down with a half bottle of Tokaji Aszu 2000 $25.95 (sadly, only 4 puttonyos but still quite delectable). Flan having departed slightly prematurely, the remaining Tipplers were ejected shortly after 11 of the clock.

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