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I'm so lucky to have friends who are wine agents. Yes, it's one of the perks of the friendship I must admit. The people at Profile Wine Group are not only super nice guys but they also know their wines and have a contagious passion for them. I was invited to their annual Profile Portfolio Tasting held at the Liberty Grand. Very fancy. There was no way that I was going to pass this generous invitation up!

Liberty Grand
ballroom
The annual portfolio tasting is a way for the agency showcase the various labels that they represent. You've most likely purchased some of their wine at the LCBO. They represent many wines in both General List and Vintages (in the LCBO system), including:

J. Lohr
Argento
Stag's Leap
Bodegas LAN
Farnese
Maison Pierre Sparr Successeurs

For the full list by country, visit:
www.profilewinegroup.com/our-wines.htm

Many of the Profile Wine Group agents also speak other languages such as French and Italian. It probably helps them with their travels around the world in search of wine to put into their shopping cart!

Bernard Sparr and myself
Minor Wild Yeast Chardonnay
California
There were so many wines to try and I didn't get through even half of them.  I spent a lot of time at the Miner table. When I was in Napa, I drove past Miner and didn't have time to stop for a visit. Good thing they now came to me! One of my favourites was their 2007 Wild Yeast Chardonnay. Another favourite table was Maison Pierre Sparr. The wines were tasty and Bernard Sparr was just so much fun to talk to. The 2007 Charisma Pinot Gris, Alsace was delicious. Hopefully after our conversation, he's now on Twitter. :)

Peter Franus wine
California
I always enjoy the wines from Peter Franus. The wines are great and the labels are pretty cool.  I tasted a wide selection of his wines including the popular 2007 Merlot and Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon. I also had a chance to meet John Howard from Megalomaniac (Ontario). He makes a popular Riesling called "Homegrown". John Howard is also responsible for getting those 100% Grown in Ontario stickers that you may see on the bottles of Ontario wine.

Megalomaniac Wine
Ontario 
Other highlights of the night were the Stag's Leap 2008 Fay Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon, Napa Valley and a discovery of a wonderful white wine from Italy made from the Vermentino grape. This wine was the 2010 Solosole Vermentino, Tuscany.

Vincent Renais from Profile
John Howard and myself
Fanitel NV Rose Brut Collio, Italy 
A sparkling wine from Italy made with Pinot Nero and Chardonnay. It's a fun bubbly.

2007 Col Solare, Columbia Valley 
This wine was fantastic. It's a blend of Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and Cabernet Franc. Col Solare is a partnership between Marchesi Antinori from Tuscany and Washington State's Chateau Ste. Michelle. 
2008 Cryomalus Ice Cider
Quebec


What does a wine agency do?
A wine agency is an importer of wines (as well as spirits) from all over the globe. It acts as a representative for the producers and wineries. The agency submits the wine to the LCBO for review and if all goes well, the LCBO will purchase the wine directly from the winery or producer. The agency will receive a commission depending on how much wine is purchased. So, the agency acts kind of like a talent agent!

Yummy food!
The baked breads and meats
were delicious
Can anyone order from a wine agent?
Sure! Most likely you will have to purchase a case of wine. Sometimes you'll be able to order a six-bottle pack. If that's too much wine for you, go in together with some friends. Purchasing directly from the wine agency will get you access to wines you won't be able to find anywhere else. Well, unless you actually go to the winery which would be fun too! Purchasing from the agency might be more economical.

What is the LCBO?
Here in Ontario, we purchase alcohol mainly from the Liquor Control Board of Ontario. With stores set up all over the province, the LCBO is one of the largest single buyers of alcohol in the world. This includes wine, beer and sprits. There are over 60 stores in Toronto alone.

You can also sign up for their bi-weekly newsletter to receive updates on their events, listings at the LCBO and for private order: www.profilewinegroup.com