A Wine Lover’s Diary, part 363: My Tasting Week

Monday, October 3: A Winerytohome tasting with Doug Towers and David Lawrason.

It’s wine book season. Received two in the mail – Kevin Zraly’s Complete Wine Course (the jacket says, “More than 3 million copies sold”) and Ben Howkin’s Real Men Drink Port. Ben wrote The International Wine & Food Society’s guide to port, Rich, Rare and Red, the first book I ever read on port. An excellent introduction to the subject.

Tuesday, October 4: Lunch downtown with Stephen Pauwels to discuss winery visits for our May wine tour to Piedmont and Emilia Romagna. The trip is already sold out with 95% returning guests.

In the evening I conducted a tasting as a fund-raiser for the Simon Wiesenthal Centre at a private house in Forest Hill. All the wines were kosher from Israel. I met Simon Wiesenthal in the early 1970s in Vienna – at his office. He showed me photos of Nazi soldiers posing with their boots on the necks Jewish prisoners like trophy shots. “This is what I’m fighting,” he told me. He had just published his book, Murderers Amongst Us.

Wednesday, October 5: A conference call with Right to Play to discuss a potential donation from Grapes for Humanity. In the afternoon Wendy Midgley, Cattail Creek’s sommelier, came to the condo to let me taste some of their wines.

  • Cattail Creek Riesling 2009: pale straw with a lime tint; minerally, grapefruit nose with a hint of sulphur; sweet and tart flavours, nicely balanced, earthy note on the finish. (87)
  • Cattail Creek Gewurztraminer 2009: pale straw colour; minerally, light varietal character; crisply dry, with grapefruit, crab apple and lychee notes; delicate and light on the palate. (86)
  • Cattail Creek Wild Ferment Gewurztraminer 2009: straw colour; aromatic, dry, rose petal and lychee flavours; moderate length. (87)
  • Cattail Creek Riesling Reserve 2008: pale straw, lime tint; petrol note; dry, green apple, citrus flavours with an earthy finish. (87)
  • Cattail Creek Fumé Blanc 2009: straw colour; smoky, struck flint; crisply dry, green plum with smoky, toasty oak; fresh, mouth-watering finish. (88)
  • Cattail Creek Chardonnay Reserve 2009: straw color; high toned, buttery nose; sour cream and green apple flavours; ripe fruit with a leesy finish. (86)
  • Cattail Creek Chardonnay Musqué 2009: straw colour; apple, minerally nose; sweet apple flavour, soft on the palate, easy drinking. (88)
  • Cattail Creek Estate Pinot Noir 2009: pale ruby; raspberry, floral nose; dry, raspberry flavour, savoury finish. (89)
  • Cattail Creek Reserve Pinot Noir 2009: pale ruby colour; raspberry, minerally, violets and a touch of oak; light and elegant, nicely balanced, raspberry flavour, dry finish. (89)
  • Cattail Creek Merlot 2009: deep ruby; cedar, redcurrant nose; dry, lean, sinewy, red berry flavours; firm tannic finish. (87)
  • Cattail Creek Reserve Merlot 2007: dense ruby-purple; high toned, earthy, beetroot and red berry nose; dry, sour cherry flavour with a tannic lift on the finish. (87)
  • Cattail Creek Cabernet Franc 2007: purple-ruby colour; earthy cherry nose; dry, cherry flavour with structuring tannins. (87)
  • Cattail Creek Reserve Cabernet Franc 2007: purple-ruby colour; high toned, red berry; firmly structured, dry, somewhat lean with a tannic finish. (86)
  • Cattail Creek Estate Cabernet Sauvignon 2009: ruby colour; cedar, redcurrant nose; dry, light, elegant, nicely balanced redcurrant and cranberry flavours; good acidity and length. (89)
  • Cattail Creek Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon 2007: deep purple ruby; cedar, redcurrants on the nose; lean, dry, redcurrant flavour with ripe tannins. (87)
  • Cattail Creek Select Late Harvest Riesling 2007: old gold colour; intense, honey dried peach with a light petrol note; unctuous, honeyed peach flavour; rich and full on the palate with a touch of browning apple on the finish. (89)
  • Cattail Creek Select Late Harvest Vidal 2008: straw colour; honey, tropical fruit nose; sweet, soft, beautifully balanced, peach and pineapple flavours. (90)
  • Cattail Creek Select Late Harvest Merlot 2008: tawny orange-amber; high toned, strawberry, honey; semi-sweet, strawberry jam flavour, a little short on balancing acidity. (88)
  • Cattail Creek Cabernet Franc Icewine 2007: orange-amber colour; high toned, burnt sugar strawberry; candy floss flavour carried on lively acidity. Good length. (89)
  • Cattail Creek Barrel-Fermented Vidal Icewine 2006: copper-gold colour; toffee, tropical fruits; intense, concentrated orange, honey and mango flavours; rich and full on the palate; great length. (91)

Then hurried down to the SOPEXA office at 2 St. Clair East for a tasting of Loire wines.

  • Château du Coing de Saint Fiacre Muscadet Sèvre et Main 2009: very pale colour; minerally, green nuts, citrus peel nose; slight spritz, dry, crisp, green apple and citrus peel flavours Clean, good length. (88)
  • Jacques Lurton Sauvignon Blanc 2009: pale straw colour; grassy, chalky, green plum nose; crisp and racy, green gooseberry flavour; firm finish. (88)
  • Fournier Père et Fils ‘Les Maulins Bâles’ Sancerre 2009: pale straw colour; grassy, guava, green plum nose; crisp, tart gooseberry flavor with racy acidity; great length. (90)
  • Domaine de Bel Air Pouilly-Fumé 2009: pale straw colour; minerally, smoky, green fruits on the nose; medium-bodied, crisply dry, green apple. (88)
  • Domaine Trotereau Quincy 2009: light straw colour; chalky grassy, elder flower nose; ripe, minerally, green fig flavour; long finish (89)
  • Bougrier Vouvray V 2009: (LCBO #253229 – $13.50) very pale, almost water white; minerally, quince, citrus peel nose; off-dry, green pear and honey flavours . Versatile food wine (87)
  • Cave des Producteurs de Vouvray Les Fosses d’Hareng Vouvray 2008: pale straw colour; high toned, honey, quince nose; off-dry, honey and green pear flavours with racy acidity. (88)
  • Cave de Saumur Domaine de Peyanne Saumur 2009: (Cabernet Franc; Vintages #197038 – $13.95) deep ruby; cedar, redcurrant nose with a touch of oak; dry, elegant, firmly structured, sour cherry and cranberry flavours. Slightly green on the finish but good value. (88)
  • EARL de la Giraudière Clos des Meuniers 2009: (Cabernet Franc) deep ruby colour; white pepper, cherry, nose with a floral note; lovely mouth feel , firmly structured, dry, savoury, green herb flavours. (89)

Thursday, October 6: Election Day in Ontario.

Tasted three Georgian wines after writing a bunch of thank-you letters regarding the Grapes for Humanity’s event on September 17th at Huff Estates.

  • Chelti Red Dry Wine 2007 (Kvareli region – Saperavi grapes): dense purple-ruby colour; warm, earthy, plum and chocolate nose; full-bodied, richly extracted fruit, dry and minerally with a floral back note; reminiscent of a southern Rhône red. (89)
  • Nikolashvili’s Vineyards Saperavi 2008 (label says “Georgia’s first Organic wine”): deep ruby colour; tobacco leaf, cedar, red berries with a light floral note; dry, somewhat austere like a Nebbiolo; delicate and charming with a long dry finish. (89)
  • Rachuli Wine Ltd Khvanchkara 2008 (Racha region, Western Georgia – Alexandria and Mudzhuretuli grapes): dense purple colour; porty, raisiny, sweet nose; lighter on the palate than the nose suggests; semi-sweet, mulberry and plum flavours with drying tannins that inhibit the length. In the style of a Recioto della Valpolicella. (87)

Wrote up the agenda for a Grapes for humanity meeting next Tuesday.

Friday, October 7: A tasting this morning of 42 sparkling wines, including champagnes, with the Wine Writers Circle. My ex-wife, Brenda, came to dinner with our son, Guy. We cooked tomato, arugula and feta cheese salad with pine nuts, pork loin shish kebabs with grilled peppers and onions, cheeses and then strawberry shortcake. The wines: Chapoutier Belleruche Côtes du Rhône 2009, Joie Farm Reserve Chardonnay 2009 (first rate), Errazuriz Estate Reserva Pinot Noir 2010.

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