Monday, May 30: Catch-up day for all the hundreds of emails I missed while in Sicily. Received samples of the 2010 vintage of Haywire wines from the Okanagan. Switchback Vineyard Pinot Gris and Gamay Noir Rosé, sent in glass vials that look like cigar cases, containing just over two ounces of wine. Christine Coletta and Steve Lornie, self-confessed city slickers turned farmers then winery owners, have fashioned some very attractive wines with the help of former Road 13 winemaker Michael Bartier with input from David Scholefield. I can see Chris’s hand in the self-deprecating notes accompanying the samples: “…we sure did learn a lot in the past year! Highlights included making sure the boxes you order are tell enough to fit your bottles, discovering that sales agents are reluctant to part with paperwork (but we love them none-the-less), learning that the promise of reduction of government red tape in BC was just a kiss blown to the wind, and realizing that there is no more effective marketing tool than a puppy. Who new you could replace the word ‘blonde’ with ‘winemaker’ in any joke and make it applicable.”
Dropped in on the Winemakers and Terroir tasting at Hart House, Italian wineries looking for Ontario importing agents. Close to 60 wines available for tasting but in my jet-lagged state I was only able to try about 20. Best wines: Azienda Agricola Provenza Garda “F. Contato” 2007, Azienda Agricola Branko Collio Sauvignon Blanc 2010, Azienda Agricola Perazzeta Montecucco Sangiovese Riserva “Licurgo” 2007 and Azienda Agricola De Luca Montepulciano d’Abruzzo “Conte Genoino” 2004.
Dinner, Palazzo Brunello di Montalcino 2004 with spaghetti Bolognese.
Tuesday, May 31: The annual Bouchard Père et Fils Burgundy tasting at the downtown RCYC. Luc Bouchard was on hand as usual and beaming with pleasure over the quality of the 2009 reds. “I won’t complain if we produce a 2009 every year,” he said. Certainly the wines showed great power and purity of fruit. I was especially taken with Bouchard Père et Fils Beaune Grèves Vigne de l’Enfant Jésus 2009, Le Corton 2009, Gevrey-Chambertin 2009 and the exceptionally fine Echezeaux 2009. And even the lesser wines like Savigny-Les-Beaune Les Lavières 2009 showed very well. The whites were quite forward and rich, scoring 91 and even 92 for Chevalier-Montrachet 2009. Also available were the William Fèvre Chablis. Top scores to William Fèvre Chablis Vaudésir 2009 and Les Clos 2009.
For dinner, Fontanafredda Briccotondo Barbera 2009 with beef.
Wednesday, June 1: Wrote an article for Lexpert Magazine on Sicilian wines. Finally got a host for the Ontario Wine Awards gala on June 10th. A last-minute push to get ticket sales for Grapes For Humanity’s fund-raiser at Rodney’s this evening prior to a Toronto Symphony concert.
Tried to get into Il Fornello on King Street but the place was mobbed. Settled for Dunn’s and a pastrami sandwich. Not a pleasant experience.
Thursday, June 2: A Winerytohome tasting at Doug Tower’s with David Lawrason. Guy and Sacha came over for dinner. We drank Stoney Ridge Warren Classic Chardonnay 2009 with guacamole and Henry of Pelham Baco Noir 2009 with braised flank steak.
Friday, June 3: A Vintages release tasting. Deborah picked me up from the LCBO to drive to the Grapes for Humanity locker. I had to pick up the paraphernalia for the silent auction of fine wines on Monday. For dinner, salmon with a bottle of G. Marquis Chardonnay 2008.