Monday, April 25: Fixed on a name for the Grapes for Humanity event at Rodney’s on June 6th: Sip, Boom, Baa. It speaks to oysters and lamb and New Zealand wine. Here’s the invitation that David Rose designed.
Wrote my wine reviews for 680 News. Began writing my report on the Decanter World Wine Awards judging for the magazine. For dinner, sautéed tilapia with a bottle of Le Vieux Pin Viognier-Roussanne 2009. The back label of this Okanagan wine says it has “a light seasoning of acacia barrel.” A richly extracted wine, very northern Rhône in style.
Tuesday, March 26: A meeting this morning at KoolR Products in Mississauga to discuss the cellar design for a new restaurant on Niagara Falls. At 4:30, down to The Four Seasons to decant and nose the Château Margaux wines that Corinne Mentzelopoulos will be speaking about for a tasting and dinner. Pavillon Blanc 2009, Pavillon Rouge 2006 and 2003, Château Margaux 1996 and 1983 for the tasting and Pavillon Blanc 1995, Pavillon Rouge 1990 and Château Margaux 1989 for the dinner.
Then hurried over to the Donalda Club with Deborah for dinner with our friends Gordon and Shirley Pape. To start, Val d’Oca Valdebiaddene Prosecco, then Huet Le Haut Lieu Vouvray 2007, Perez Cruz Raymond Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon 2008 (with my veal and scallops).
Wednesday, April 27: Lunch with Jean-Charles Boisset at Brassaii. He had brought along wines from the two California properties the family owns – DeLoach in Sonoma and Raymond in Napa. He told me that his wife, Gina Gallo, is expecting twins in late May and that he had just purchased California’s oldest winery, Buena Vista Carneros.
- DeLoach Vineyard Pinot Noir 2009: ruby colour; cherry and cranberry nose with a mineral note; dry, full on the palate, firmly structured with a velvety mouth feel (88)
- DeLoach Russian River Pinot Noir 2008: ruby colour; minerally, raspberry with a hint of new oak; Burgundian style, smoky beetroot and raspberry flavours; great balance (91)
- DeLoach OFS Pinot Noir 2008: ruby colour; minerally, spicy, raspberry; dry, elegant, Burgundian style, still tight but showing great balance and structure. Hold for 2–3 years (92). (Jean-Charles says OFS stands for Out Fucking Standing. I thought it was Only For Sadists.)
- DeLoach California Cabernet Sauvignon 2009: deep ruby colour; cedar and black cherry nose, jammy note; sweet fruit, mouth-filling blackcurrant and black cherry flavours with a cinnamon note; firm finish (87)
- DeLoach OFS Zinfandel 2008: deep ruby; spicy, plum and leather nose with a smoky note; sweet blackcurrant flavour, fruity but firm (90)
- Raymond Vineyard Family Classic Cabernet Sauvignon 2008: deep ruby; spicy, vanilla, cherry and cedar nose; medium-bodied, ripe fruit, firm with a tannic lift on the finish; evident alcohol on the end (88)
- Raymond Vineyard Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon Reserve 2008: deep ruby; cedar, vanilla oak, spicy, cocoa, Rutherford dust on the nose; sweet blackberry and black cherry flavours; full-bodied, fleshy and firm (90)
- Raymond Vineyard Rutherford Cabernet Sauvignon 2006: dense ruby; cedar, woody, lean sinewy and tight; dry and dusty with a tannic finish (89)
- With lunch, DeLoach OFS Chardonnay 2008: straw colour; spicy citrus and pear nose; full on the palate with a sweet pear core and lively acidic finish (89)
Picked up wines from Geddy Lee for the Grapes for Humanity auction on June 6th at Rodney’s. For dinner with roast lamb the remains of the Raymond Vineyard Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon Reserve 2008.
Thursday, April 28: Recorded my 680 News reviews in spite of an incipient cold. A quick lunch meeting at Mercato with Stephen Pauwels to discuss the final itinerary for our group trip to Sicily on May 18th. Home to meet Richard Johnston, proprietor of By Chadsey’s Cairns in Prince Edward County, to taste his new wines.
- By Chadsey’s Cairns Chardonnay 2010: pale straw colour; spicy apple and pear nose with a vanilla oak note; dry, Chablisesque, seamless and clean with good length (89)
- By Chadsey’s Cairns Chenin 2010: very pale colour with a green tint; fresh, pear and quince nose; crisp, tart green plum flavour with zingy acidity. A good seafood wine. (87)
- By Chadsey’s Cairns Riesling 2009: very pale colour with a green tint; honey, lime and mineral notes with a nutty finish (86)
- By Chadsey’s Cairns Riesling 2010: very pale colour; lifted nose of honey, white flowers and minerals; off-dry, spicy, high-toned; medium-bodied with lemon and white peach flavours; sustains well on the palate (88)
- By Chadsey’s Cairns Rubenesque 2009 (Chardonnay, Muscat with a touch of St. Laurent): pink with as blue tint; aromatic, strawberry flavour – slightly corked
- By Chadsey’s Cairns Muscat 2010: very pale, almost water white; a nose of orange blossom, lavender, rose water; dry, exotic, grapey; delicious and lingering (89)
- By Chadsey’s Cairns Gewurztraminer 2010: very pale; spicy, aromatic, off-dry; tangerine and clove flavours. Needs to develop its bouquet with some bottle age; lively acidic spine (87+)
- By Chadsey’s Cairns Gamay 2010: light ruby purple; forward oak, pepper, cherry pit nose; sour cherry flavour with a fine spine of acidity; refreshing (87+).
John Nadeau dropped over to the condo so we opened a bottle of Château Saint-André Corbin 2008, a St. Georges-St.-Emilion. A delicious claret.
Friday, April 29: A Vintages tasting this morning. Another huge release. Had to take a nap before I went to dinner with Doug Birrell at Toca to discuss the wine cellar in a new Niagara Falls restaurant. Toca is a great new restaurant in the Ritz Carlton Hotel. I thought it was an Italian trattoria but the name is an abbreviation of Toronto Canada. They have a temperature-controlled cheese room which is the size of their glassed-in wine cellar. I ordered a glass of Daniel Lenko Chardonnay 2009 and then a bottle of Malivoire Moira Vineyard Pinot Noir 2008. Started with a crab dish dressed in bone marrow, served in a half marrow bone (first saw this presentation in Le Select Bistro), followed by black cod marinated in Screech and maple syrup.
Saturday, April 30: Dropped into the Summerhill liquor store to see Pascal Madevon, the winemaker at Osoyoos Larose, who is on a promotional tour from the Okanagan. He was showing Osoyoos Larose 2006 and had brought a bottle of the 2007. 2006 is dry and savoury, very much in the style of St. Emilion, where Pascal used to make wine. The 2007 has more concentration of fruit and a sweetness at the core, great body.
This evening is a Saintsbury Society dinner at Irvin and Carole Wolkoff’s. The other guests are Tony and Diane Hirons and David and Laurie Hulley. David tells me that he is back at Vineland Estates as Director of Visitor Experience. The theme of the dinner is red Bordeaux and I brought along a bottle of Château Haut-Batailley 1959 that I picked up at auction a couple of years ago. Very nervous about its condition; the fill was pretty good and the cork was in perfect condition. It proved to be amazing, the star of the evening. We couldn’t believe how it had held its colour. The fruit was vibrant and sweet and the tannins were like cashmere. Just an amazing 52-year-old wine.
We began with André Jacquart Champagne Brut with appetizers and then, before getting into the clarets, sat down to a series of South African Chenin blends: Lammershoek Roulette Blanc 2008, Dornier Donatus White 2009 and Bellingham Fair Maiden 2008 served with endive, smoked trout, apple and walnut salad. For the main course of navarin d’agneau, the following red Bordeaux: Château Flaunys 2005, Château Vieille Curé 2000, Château Clarke 2000, Château Montalbert 1982. For the cheese course Irv brought out a mystery wine which turned out to be Warwick Vilafonté 2006, a magnificent Bordeaux-style blend from South Africa. The dessert was chocolate soufflé with nougat cream sauce. A brilliant evening all round.