Drinking for a good cause

Although Short Cellar normally appears on the last Thursday of every month, an event coming up later this week prompted Matthew to file this edition a bit early...
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Although Short Cellar normally appears on the last Thursday of every month, an event coming up later this week prompted Matthew to file this edition a bit early...
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LIFEIf writing a wine column proves anything, it proves that my wasted youth has managed a seamless transition into a wasted middle age. Many of my contemporaries are not so lucky. Several have an alarming bounce in their step. A sickening glimmer in the eye. I believe this is because they all have acquired (a) children, (b) dogs and (c) good causes. Items (a) and (b) annoy me because it is “illegal” to give them alcohol, which is my first instinct when dealing with yippy or demanding company. I am gradually warming to item (c), however, because it seems that it thrives when spiked with a little a little liquor.

As a case in point, there is a promising wine and spirits tasting being held this Thursday (June 23) at the Ontario Bar Association to raise funds for the Lawyer’s International Food Enterprise, or LIFE (click here to register). It is an organization of Canadian lawyers, mainly from the labour and employment bar, whose mission is to light a fire underneath the legal community with respect to the unnecessary tragedy of child poverty.

LIFE was founded by Malcolm MacKillop, a well-known Toronto employment lawyer, and supported by a firmament of judges and top lawyers. As part of LIFE, Malcolm recently travelled to Tanzania with World Vision International. Right now, LIFE’s main task is raising money for World Vision and the Stephen Lewis Foundation.

The cause is noble and the company seems decent (for a bunch of lawyers), but how is the wine? The tasting is being sponsored by two of Ontario’s premier wine agents, Woodman Wines and Spirits and WineOnline. The grand old Cognac house Rémy Martin has also come on board.

Conor McCotter from Woodman gave me a preview of the wines that he’ll be bringing, and each will reward attention. Especially noteworthy is the William Fèvre 2008 Chablis Champs Royaux. William Fèvre is one of the leading lights of the Chablis region of Burgundy, an appellation famous for crisp and elegant Chardonnay. At a recent tasting, the head winemaker of William Fèvre, Didier Séguier, told me that 2008 was a vintage “for purists” because it produced wines with a sabre-edge of acidity. The Champs Royaux will be fresh, fragrant and supple.

Another reason to go to this party is that Rémy Martin told me they will be pouring their X.O. Excellence Cognac. “X.O.” is the top designation for Cognacs, connoting spirits of the highest quality that have been aged for long periods into mellow perfection. The X.O. Excellence is simply superb — complex and intense. Since it retails at over $200, it makes the $100 tickets for this tasting seem trifling. If you’re going to support a good cause, you may as well pick the one with such good taste.


Matthew Sullivan is a civil litigator in Toronto. He blogs once a month here on lawandstyle.ca. The Short Cellar column also appears in the print edition of Precedent. Matthew can be reached at matthew@lawandstyle.beta-site.ca. Follow along on Twitter: @shortcellar.