A Wine Lover’s Diary, part 332: Rush Train to Belleville (February 28, 2011)

Monday, February 21: A meeting with Jamie Kennedy at his Gilead Café to discuss a restaurant project. In the afternoon, down to the Toronto Lawn Tennis Club for a tasting of Bodegas Mauro, Maurodos, Beberide and Paixar. Arrived late because I mistakenly went to the Racquet Club on St. Clair first. Hate being late.

  • Bodegas Luna Beberide La Cuesta Mencia 2008 (Bierzo): dense ruby-purple colour; spicy, vanilla oak, black cherry with a floral note; fruity and full on the palate with lively acidity. (88)
  • Bodegas Luna Beberide “Art” Mencia 2007 (Bierzo): deeply coloured with a medicinal-minerally cherry nose; dry, lean and sinewy. (88)
  • Bodegas Paixar Mencia 2007 (Bierzo): dense purple colour; creamy oak, black cherry nose; lively acidic spine with firm tannins. (90)
  • Bodegas Mauro 2008 (Castilla y Leon – 85% Tempranillo, 15% Syrah): deep ruby colour; floral, red berry and leather; elegant, rounded tannins with well extracted red berry flavours and fresh acidity. (90)
  • Bodegas Mauro Vendimia Seleccionada (VS) 2006 (Castilla y Leon – 100% Tempranillo): dense ruby; plum, earthy floral notes; concentrated fruit, firm and tannic but showing some oxidation on the finish. (88)
  • Bodegas Mauro Terreus 2005 (Castilla y Leon – 100% Tempranillo): dense ruby colour; black cherry nose; richly extracted, full on the palate and expressive; firmly structured with great balance. (92)
  • Bodegas Maurodos Prima 2008 (Toro – 95% Tinta de Toro [Tempranillo], 5% Grenache): dark ruby colour; black raspberry nose, earthy and tannic. Needs time. (88)
  • Bodegas Maurodos San Roman 2007 (Toro – 100% Tinta de Toro): lifted nose of lavender and berry fruit; concentrated flavours of creamy black fruits; lovely mouth feel, rich and satisfying. (92)

In the evening, tried out the Wine Breather on a bottle of Boutari Grande Reserve Naoussa 2004 to see if it would make it table-ready in the hurry. The device is a squat decanter and you insert a nozzle in the stopper into the opened bottle, invert both and the wine flows through, aerating it. You can either serve the wine in the decanter or invert it again to pour the wine back into the bottle. It did the job. The wine was more open than the test glass I poured from the bottle when I uncorked it.

Tuesday, February 22: A make-up tasting for Vintages’ March 5th release. I couldn’t face 106 wines at the usual Friday press tasting and came back today to taste forty-odd wines. Lunch at Earth with Harald Thiel of Hidden Bench, who is the Chair of the International Cool Climate Chardonnay Conference (I4C) in July. I interviewed him for the County magazine about the event. Picked up 240 ISO glasses for Annabel’s pre-wedding party to be held on Sunday at Ruby Watch Co. In the evening, a meeting of the directors of IWEG. I brought along a bottle of Meyer Family Pinot Noir 2009 from BC, which was enjoyed by the group.

Wednesday, February 23: A meeting with Eric MacRae and the website team to discuss iWineandDine.com. At 2:45 pm a tasting at Doug Towers’s for http://www.winerytohome.com. Dinner at Splendido with Geddy Lee, Joe Canavan and Rick Claydon. A glass of Champalou Vouvray 2009 at the bar and then the tasting menu with wines Geddy had brought along: Guigal Ex Voto Hermitage Blanc 2007, Robert Arnoux Vosne Romanée Les Suchots 2000 and a Barolo Cannubi 1997 whose producer I forgot to note. Must have been the wine.

Thursday, February 24: Took the train to Belleville with Geddy Lee, Doris Miculan Bradley, Tenzin Shomar and Andy from Geddy’s office to research the feasibility of repeating the Grapes for Humanity train trip to wine country as a fund-raiser. We were met at the station by Jason Sharpe from Huff Estate. Had lunch and then dropped in on Michael Otters in Bloomfield at Angeline’s. Michael has graciously agreed to be the chef for the event. Then toured Huff and finally Hinterland, where Jonas Newman opened Hinterland Rosé Brut 2007 and a delightful, fruity sparkling Gamay called Ancestrale 2010 (bubbles from primary fermentation) which has been dubbed “The Baby Maker.” All systems are go for the Grapes for Humanity event in the fall. Probably September 17th – “Geddy and Alex’s Excellent County Adventure.”

Friday, February 25: A Vintages tasting this morning for the April 2nd release. Delivered wine to Ruby Watch Co. for Annabel’s party. Picked up Rabbi David Goldberg and his wife Carole from the airport. David will be giving a blessing for Annabel and Ian on Sunday. We all had dinner at Grano with my ex-wife Brenda. I brought along a bottle of Inniskillin Legacy Pinot Gris 2009 (the best of this variety I’ve tasted in Ontario) and Mission Hill Oculus 2007 (very rich and concentrated).

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