Monthly Archives: May 2011

How Gord Stimmell wrecked my day

Gord wrecked my day.

Who is Gord? “Gord Stimmell is the Toronto Star’s wine critic”. Says so on their website.  My value-driven, wine snob friend Chris, forwarded me Gord’s column last week … “Then we have my highest-rated general-list wine in four years, Stone Dwellers 2008 Cab Sauv, which is $19.95 but tastes like $60 and rates a solid 92. I am buying this for my cellar, so spare me a few bottles, pretty please.”

Sounds like a good wine. So I went online, found that my local store in Guelph had 60 bottles. I went there to purchase some only to find out that ALL 60 BOTTLES WERE ON HOLD!

“SERIOUSLY?”, I said in capital letters to the sales clerk.  Then I walked away muttering something like “Gord’s a jerk”.

So when Gord recommends a wine  it’s gone off the shelves within 24 hours.    You probably think that I’m envious of Gord’s power – and you’re right.  I’m already planning to recommend a wine that I know isn’t in stock anywhere so that  even 1 person might think that it’s all gone because Travis recommended it.  I hope they call me a jerk.

For now, I have the local wine store on speed dial.  The moment they get some of that Australian gold in I’m putting it on hold. Keep up the good work Gord.

I'll let you know when I get a bottle

Still Drinking Water?

So another study has come out telling us to drink more water.  I hope you know how I feel about this – it’s ridiculous.  Last year I spoke of the dangers of water – encouraging people to drink rosé instead.  Apparently I need to address this annually.

The perils of dihydrogen monoxide, or “water” as the water people call it, are well-known. This chemical can cause a host of unpleasant conditions including excessive sweating and frequent urination.  As if that’s not enough it is also capable of corroding many metals,  is used as a fire-retardant, and in the production of Styrofoam. I think we all agree that anything involved in the production of Styrofoam can’t be good even if none of us really know why.

As I’ve said before, what person in their right mind would drink an odourless, colourless, tasteless liquid. It’s crazy talk. “Stone cold crazy”, according to Freddy Mercury – by all accounts a reliable source of reason.

Oh, by the way, the LCBO just got in a shipment of the 2009 Muga rosé.  It’s delicious. Go get some!

Spain | Bodegas Muga S.A.
VINTAGES 603795 | 750 mL | $ 12.95

Albert “Gooseberry” Einstein and J. Crew


"Search me"

I have been doing some blog analysis recently and  I found that often people  get to my blog by Google searching the words “Einstein” and “Gooseberry”.  Interesting that people ever search for the word gooseberry. That I can’t explain. Maybe I should start using those words more in casual blogversation.


My other observation concerns fashion blogs –  read mostly by women. “J.Crew” is a highly searched word. Probably thanks to America’s obsession with what  Michelle Obama wears (I’m getting a WWMOW bracelet for my wife). What is really interesting about fashion blogs is that readers comment on the blogs all the time. My friend blogs about fashion and her “blog” turns into a virtual internet chat room (I guess they’re all virtual) with all the comments that follow a post.  I’m lucky if I get my two closest relatives and that guy to share anything witty on my blog.

 Understand that I’m not pleading with people to comment on my blog. I don’t really have time for that.  I guess all I want to say is –  Thanks  Uncle  Albert Gooseberry Einstein. You look great in your  J. Crew sweater.

Highclass Beach Bum

 I just got this email from my friend Roger who wrote me from Toronto Island.

Hey Trav.

Just came to the beach to get the last bit of sun on my last night on the island. Check out what was beside my bench. Pretty high-end beach bums over here.

That is high class indeed – a bottle of Veuve Clicquot goes for $65 if it’s a NV (non-vintage) and upwards of $200 if it’s a vintage Champagne.  Those Toronto Island beach bums really know how to live.  By the way, no indication from Roger whether or not he was in fact the beach bum with the Veuve.

Breeding Bulls and making Sherry

Sad news this past month – the passing of Juan Pedro Domecq – a true Spaniard. Juan Pedro comes from the Domecq family that produces world acclaimed Sherry.  He was also known for the breeding of the broad-shouldered bull with the tiny waist that has become synonymous with bull fighting – think Bugs Bunny – and producing fine jamon (the famous Spanish cured leg of pig).

Bugs Bunny dressed as a Mexican slapping a Spanish Bull

Now what Bugs Bunny is doing wearing a sombrero while bull fighting in Spain – due to another wrong turn in Albuquerque  – I don’t know. But that is probably another thing that makes this bullfight funny.

Domecq is one of the great Sherry houses in Spain (Jerez) and if you get a chance to buy a Fino (bone dry served chilled) or an Amontillado (medium dry and nutty) do it!



Juan Pedro Domecq dies in Spain


By HAROLD HECKLE, Associated Press Harold Heckle, Associated Press Mon Apr 18, 5:30 pm ET

MADRID – Juan Pedro Domecq Solis’s fighting bulls helped define the evolution of the bullfight in the late 20th century, adding artistry and then muscle to the ancient breed.

Domecq, who died in a car crash on Monday, was one of Spain’s foremost breeders. He first developed what became known as the “artist bull,” bred to enhance sleek yet muscular lines, and later the “athlete bull,” aimed at giving a more thrilling performance while facing matadors in the bullring.

Known within bullfighting circles simply as Juan Pedro, Domecq had inherited Spain’s oldest breeding estate — Veragua, founded in the 18th century — which his grandfather Juan Pedro Domecq y Nunez de Villavicencio had bought in 1939.

Initially his bulls were criticized for visibly changing an ancient blood sport, but later many other breeders turned to him to buy prize breeding studs and cows.

He had helped develop bulls with broader shoulders and slender waist that came to define the beasts seen on many bullrings.

“He was the creator of the modern fighting bull,” said fellow breeder Victoriano del Rio. “Within bullfighting history he will always retain a foremost position as all of today’s breeding farms contain 30-40 percent of his bloodlines. His death is a tragedy to us.”

Domecq, who was a qualified agronomical engineer and descended from a famous sherry producing family, had in recent years also launched a company selling some of Spain’s finest “jamon” or salt-cured ham.

His company said that Domecq died Monday in Higuera de la Sierra when his vehicle crashed head-on with a truck very close to his Lo Alvaro estate in southwest Spain. He was 69.

His company website still bears a quote from Domecq. “We are a family that began making sherry in the 18th century,” Domecq says. “But we always had a second passion, the breeding and selection of livestock.”

I want to ride my Bicycle

In the words of Freddie Mercury – “I want to ride my bicycle, I want to ride it where I like” and with a bottle of wine to go.

This is a real product – leather and brass.  Fantastic. Purchase it here at Etsy.