by Zoltan Szabo

2007 ‘Emilie’ Cabernet Franc Merlot – Alvento – Niagara Peninsula
It was very cold outside today: bright and sunny day, but the crisp temperature made me not want to go anywhere. So, I decided to work from home and prepare my own lunch. Something simple and comforting.  When it was really cold and snowy back in Transylvania, I remember my grandmother baking potatoes skin on in the ash of the fireplace. She would open them and fill them with good butter (made from raw milk, of course, but what do we know in Transylvania…) and we would eat them along sliced red onion and pickled vegetables. Something so very simple, yet so very tasty. And that’s exactly what I did at Castello di Szabo. Naturally, I opened a bottle of wine, turned on the “fireplace” (electric oven, wide open) and placed aside the warm baked potatoes, butter, pickled vegetables. Then, I sliced up some olive and pimento loaf and a double cream brie. As I sat back and enjoyed the moment I lifted my wine glass to my nose. A rather splendid and well composed wine was bursting with aromas of fleshy black cherries, plums, clove and other warm spices, with floral-exotic-earth notes submerging. Medium to full bodied with expressive black fruit – spice core and velvet tannins, the finish was long and satisfying, immediately making me want another sip, then another, and more. This is a balanced wine with style, structure, and an Italian soul. Just like its makers, Elyane and Bruno Moos. I hear that there’s some turmoil at the winery, investors wanting to pull out, or something. But I tell you what: if I was rich, there’s no other winery I’d invest more eagerly and passionately than Alvento. And on that note, I’d like to wish Elyane and Bruno a Happy New Year and at least 50 more vintages, basta…! ($29.95 – LCBO# 254185 or direct from the winery at
5 apples out of 5

All scores are out of five apples.

Read more of sommelier Zoltan Szabo at and follow him at