My Passion For Wine: Geddy Lee

By Tony Aspler, Decanter, March 2012, transcribed by pwrwindows

The lead singer and bass guitarist of Canadian rock group Rush has 7,500 bottles in the two cellars of his Toronto home: one for vintages to age, the other for wines to drink


I was introduced to fine wine while touring in the late 1970s. Alex Lifeson (Rush's lead guitarist) had a big interest in wine so promoters would sometimes give us wine as gifts. It was usually Bordeaux back then, a bottle of Margaux or Latour or something.

In the late '80s I built a cellar because I found I still had so many of these bottles that had been gifted to me and I started reading about them. You can't read about wine without getting very thirsty. I started tasting them and then I became completely fascinated by what I was experiencing.

A friend of mine had a passion for the wines of France. One year he invited me to take a trip with him through the Rhone Valley and Burgundy. On our way to a tasting at Guigal we stopped at a small restaurant and bought a bottle of Comte de Vogüé's Musigny I978. It was among the most wonderful wine experiences I've ever had. Such pure, heady aromas and complexities ... I was pretty much hooked on red Burgundy after that.

I love wines from Dujac, Claude Dugat and Rousseau. Les Suchots from Robert Arnoux is one of my favourite Burgundies, and the wines of Domaine de la Romanée-Conti - when you can get them - are a thrill to drink. Madame Leroy's wines are also terrific. The Burgundy list goes on ...

At home I drink a lot of Beaujolais crus, Moulin-a-Vent, Morgon from (the late) Marcel Lapierre, Jean Foillard's Cote du Py. I also drink generic Bourgogne from good producers. When I'm buying high-end Burgundy, I try also to get these producers' Bourgogne for everyday drinking. It's delicious, simple Pinot Noir.

I collect white Burgundy too, but my passion more recently is for Austrian Riesling and Grüner Veltliner, And I love Rhone whites - La Dorian Condrieu by Guigal is one of my favourites. I also like a lot of the blends and simpler wines they're making in the Languedoc with Grenache Blanc. Domaine de Trévallon makes lovely white. And I like German Riesling.

I'm not usually excited by New World wines. I went through a period of collecting and drinking a lot of Californian Cabernets, but my heart is really in the Old World. A lot of the white Burgundies from the mid-'90s have not aged well. It made me less interested in drinking - and more particularly, ageing -white Burgundy, as it's such a risky business. You can find fantastic 15- or 20-year-old Marquis de Laguiche from Drouhin or Ramonet's Bienvenue-Batard, but there are few other producers who seem to be able to achieve that ageability.

Alex and I always reward ourselves after a show with a good bottle of wine. It's a kind of hobby of mine to find a good bottle in whatever city we're touring in and surprise Alex with that.