Monday, August 15: Yesterday I tasted a batch of wines that have been accumulating from before my fishing trip.
- Peninsula Ridge Fumé Blanc 2008 (Niagara): straw colour; oak muting the nose; better on the palate with crisply dry green glum and lemon flavours. (87)
- Peninsula Ridge Sauvignon Blanc Vintner’s Private Reserve 2009 (Niagara): straw colour; grassy, green fig nose; medium-bodied, dry, good middle fruit with a lingering citrus and white peach flavour. (88)
- Montes NapaAngel Cabernet Sauvignon 2007: dense purple colour; cedar, black fruits on the nose; dry, well-balanced and firmly structured; unlike any Napa Cab I’ve tasted, more restrained, savoury and elegant. (89)
- Montes NapaAngel Cabernet Sauvignon Aurelio’s Selection 2007: dense purple colour; spicy, savoury nose more reminiscent of Syrah than Cabernet; dry, well extracted flavours of blackberry and blackcurrant with a bitter chocolate note; ripe tannins with nicely integrated oak. Full in the mouth. (91)
- Montes StarAngel Syrah 2007 (Paso Robles)” deep ruby colour; blackberry, black olive and oak nose; dry, savoury with a roasted, smoky note and a hint of orange peel on the finish. (89)
- Montes StarAngel Red Wine Aurelio’s Selection 2007 (Paso Robles – Syrah-based): dense ruby colour; tobacco, cedar and blackberry nose with a smoky, herby note; lovely mouth feel; rich, dark and brooding with bitter chocolate and black fruit flavours; full-bodied, fleshy but elegant with a floral note in the back taste. (92)
- Wolf Blass Shiraz Grenache 2010 (South-eastern Australia – $15.00, LCBO #494336): deep ruby colour; minty, blackberry nose; soft and fruit on the palate with a touch of sweetness and a lavender note. Medium-bodied. Easy drinking. (87)
- Fielding Estate Meritage 2007 (Niagara): deep ruby colour; cedar, toasty-smoky oak, blackcurrant nose; juicy, elegant flavours; quite restrained for 2007, well balanced and firm with ripe tannins. (88)
- Fielding Estate Chosen Few Red 2007 (Niagara – Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Syrah): deep ruby colour; smoky, tarry, vanilla oak nose; dry on the palate with savoury flavours of blackcurrant and blackberry; fine balancing acidity, firmly structured with ripe tannins that suggest ageability. (88)
- Cono Sur Reserva Cabernet Sauvignon 2009 (Maipo Valley – LCBO #218883, $12.95): deep ruby colour; cedar, currants; expressive red berry and redcurrant flavour, firm on the palate, medium weight with a tannic lift on the finish. (86+)
- Cono Sur Reserva Syrah 2008 (Colchagua Valley – LCBO #221820, $12.95): Deep purple colour; earthy blackcurrant with vanilla oak nose and a floral grace note; expressive blackcurrant flavours on the palate riding on lively acidity with a firm finish. Great value. (88)
- Château des Charmes Cabernet Franc St. David’s Bench Vineyard 2007 (Niagara – Vintages #453415, $25.95): deep ruby colour; cedar, blueberry and currant nose; dry, briary flavour; finishes a little short and tannic. Worth holding for a couple of years to let the tannins soften. (87+)
- SKN Cabernet Sauvignon 2007 (“Screw Kappa Napa” – LCBO #218834, $16.95) deep ruby colour; tobacco and currant nose; sweet, spicy fruit on the palate offering flavours of cherry and redcurrant; supple tannins that finish firmly to give the wine structure, easy drinking. (87)
- E & J Gallo Apothic Red Winemaker’s Blend 2009 (Syrah, Zinfandel and Merlot from California – coming to LCBO in October, $14.95): deep ruby in colour with a nose of leather, plum and chocolate; sweetish, creamy mocha and cola flavours; soft and yielding on the palate with unexpected, clashing tannin on the finish. (86)
Wrote my monthly column for Post City Magazines. For dinner, finished off the remains of pate de foie gras with the end of a bottle of Domaine St. Arnoul Coteaux du Layon 1995 that Tony Hirons brought round last week.
Tuesday, August 16: Drove down to Peller Estates in Niagara-on-the-Lake to shoot a video to promote the new restaurant, Jamie Kennedy on the Falls, that opens in November. A very hot day in the vineyard. Afterwards I dropped by a new winery called Between the Lines and tasted their range. They make an interesting 2009 Cabernet Franc and a well-priced 2009 Vidal Icewine. Had to get back by 4:30 pm for an appointment with my chiropractor. I punished my knee on the fishing trip and it was acting up.
6 pm down to Crush for a tasting of Prince Edward County wines with Geddy Lee and Doris Miculan Bradley to select the wines for the Grapes for Humanity lunch on September 17th at Huff Estate. Geddy and Alex Lifeson are taking a train-load of wine lovers by VIA Rail to Huff for the day as a fund-raiser. The 75 tickets at $1,000 are almost sold out. (Call Annette at 416-445-9920.)
Wednesday, August 17: Our anniversary. Recorded my 680News reviews to cover the period when I’m travelling next week (Halifax for the Canadian Wine Awards judging). Then Deborah and I were picked up by Bessie and Rod Seyffert to drive to our mutual friends Frank and Patti Ann Daley’s. We all share the same anniversary and have celebrated it together over dinner or the past 8 years.
Thursday, August 18: Worked on reviews for my website and re-tasted a couple of wines:
- Niagara College Savant Icewine 2010: tawny ruby colour; strawberry jam with an earthy note; sweet, strawberry flavour with a lifted note. Fruit carried on lively acidity. (90)
- Niagara College Prodigy Icewine 2010 (Vidal/Chardonnay/Riesling blend): old gold colour; struck flint, honey, Botrytis note on the nose; soft mouth feel, honeyed peach flavour. Rich and concentrated and nicely balanced with acidity. (91)
Dinner this evening with Joe and Laurissa Canavan at their new house. I brought along Joie Rosé 2010 and Tinhorn Creek Gewurztraminer 2009. Joe ordered in Indian food. A delicious meal. He added a bottle of Angels Gate Gewurztraminer 2009.
Friday, August 19: A meeting with Proud FM, the gay and lesbian radio station in Toronto. Gave Pinot the Wonder Dog a long walk in the park. Checked the long-range forecast for Halifax. Much cooler than Toronto. For dinner, pork loin with a bottle of Yvon Mau Shiraz 2009 from the Pays de l’Aude. Not bursting with varietal character but for $8.85 a pretty decent glass of wine.