Monday, October 31: A tasting this morning for winerytohome.com with David Lawrason and Doug Towers. Then I took TTC to Roy Thomson Hall for the annual Italian tasting.
Tuesday, November 1: Have decided to grow a mustache for Movember. The last time I had one was in 1972. I usually don’t shave during my annual fishing trip for about a week and am pleased to get rid of the whiskers on my return home. So this will be an experience.
Wednesday, November 2: A dental appointment this morning to replace two fillings. I had injections in both sides of my gums. My mouth went to sleep and I was worried I might not be in good shape to taste Marchand & Tawse wines at Le Select in the afternoon. Winemaker Pascal Marchand and Moray Tawse, who owns Tawse Winery in Ontario as well as vineyards in Burgundy and Argentina, have teamed up to produce a range of Burgundies.
- Marchand & Tawse Musigny Feusselottes 2009: great depth of colour – ruby with a violet rim; tightly wound, earthy, cherry flavour. (89)
- Marchand & Tawse Morey St. Denis Les Faconnières 2009: cherry flavour, nicely balanced, firm and muscular. (90)
- Marchand & Tawse Nuits St. Georges Les Vaucrains 2009: deeply coloured; sour cherry flavour with green tannins. Needs bottle age. (88+)
- Marchand & Tawse Pommard Les Epenots 2009: high toned nose with a note of violets; earthy, dry, cherry pit flavour; tight with green tannins. (89)
- Marchand & Tawse Corton 2009: smoky, sweet succulent fruit; great balance and a deft use of oak. (92)
- Marchand & Tawse Echezeaux 2009: lighter ruby colour than Corton; a wine of great charm, forward and powerful and drinking well now. (92)
- Marchand & Tawse Mazis Chambertin 2009: the wine of the tasting; spicy, elegant; belies it light ruby colour; powerful. (93)
In addition Tawse Estate Chardonnay 2009 and Tawse Robyn’s Block Chardonnay 2009 were available for tasting, as was Tawse Spark Pinot Noir 2009 (Paul Pender’s first sparkling rosé: pale pink with a blue tint; tiny bubbles, crisp green apple and wild strawberry flavour; elegant, good length (90)).
Thursday, November 3: Wrote my On The Go column on sparkling wines. Tried to make inroads on the amount of wine samples that have arrived for reviewing.
- Badische Winzerkeller Baden Pinot Noir Dry (Germany – $9.95): light ruby with a watery rim; minerally, smoky, red berry nose; soft mouth feel, full on the palate with a candied raspberry flavour sustained by acidity to a warm alcoholic finish. (86)
- Lulu B. Pinot Noir 2010 (Pays d’Oc – $11.10): medium ruby colour; candied strawberry nose with a note of herbs; fruity and slightly sweet in them id palate but finishes dry with soft tannins. (86+)
- Casal Thaulero Merlot Cabernet Sauvignon 2010 (Terre di Chieti – $6.95) (85% Merlot/15% Cabernet Sauvignon): deep ruby colour; smoky, chocolate, red berries on the nose; medium-bodied, dry, chalky mouth feel, rustic, earthy flavour. (86)
- Rigal Les Terrasses Malbec 2009 (Cahors – $12.95) (20% Merlot): deep ruby colour; earthy, black raspberry nose with a woody note; well extracted fruit, medium-bodied, dry with supple tannins. No great length but enough fruit to carry the alcohol. (87)
- Kacaba Single Vineyard Cabernet Franc 2008 (Niagara Escarpment): ruby with a violet rim; grilled red pepper nose; dry, firmly structured redcurrant and coffee bean flavours with lively acidity and soft tannins. (88)
- Georges Vigouroux Pigmentum Malbec 2009 (Cahors – $13.95): deep ruby colour; minerally rhubarb, chocolate nose; sweet blackberry fruit, firm and full on the palate with a dry finish. (87)
- Cupcake Vineyards Red Velvet 2009 (California – $14.95): deep ruby colour; fruity, menthol nose; soft, sweet vanilla-tinged red berry fruit with round tannins. Commercial and crowd-pleasing with a sweet goodbye. (86)
- Creekside Undercurrent Malbec + “Dripper” Cabernet Sauvignon 2007 (60/40 blend, Ontario – $32.95 at the winery): dense ruby colour; coffee, chocolate, cedar and black fruit nose; medium-bodied, good energy to the wine, lively acidity carries the red berry and blackberry flavours. Firm tannic finish. (89)
Went over to Guy’s to watch the hockey game. Ordered in Chinese food (General Tsao’s chicken, beef & broccoli, rice and spare ribs), which we ate with Quails’ Gate Pinot Noir 2009 (ruby colour with a high toned nose of cherries and violets; medium-bodied, lovely mouth feel, dry and well extracted plum and cherry fruit flavours. (89)). The Leafs won 4–1 over Columbus. A good evening all round.
Thursday, November 3: Lunch with Jeff Lyons at Barque on Roncesvalles to meet David Neinstein, one of the owners. He’s interested in helping out Grapes for Humanity with an event.
At 5:15 pm to the 68th floor of BMO in First Canadian Place for a cocktail reception by Rotary for Canadian Landmine Foundation. Lloyd Axworthy, who spearheaded the Ottawa Treaty banning landmines, was the keynote speaker after John Ralston Saul.
Deborah picked me up and we drove to Gilead Café for Jamie Kennedy’s “A Niagara Falls Dinner.” The evening began with passed hors d’oeuvres – pingue prosciutto, gaufrette potatoes, roast beef fritters with horseradish, beans with confit Tamworth, selection of warm salted Niagara nuts, with Cave Spring Dolomite Brut. Then we sat at two long tables for the menu:
Niagara Gold with Hillier Potatoes & Pickled Beets,
with Fielding White Conception 2010
Baked Squash Soup with Sunchoke Swirl,
with Charles Baker Riesling Ivan Vineyard 2010
Jamie slipped in a course not on the menu: Pork Belly with beans (from Jamie’s garden)
Pickerel Meunière, with Tawse Chardonnay 2009
Confit Quail, with Pondview “Bella Terra” Cabernet Franc 2009
Chestnut Ice Cream with Vanilla Cone and Chocolate Sauce,
with Stratus Riesling Icewine 2008
Friday, November 4: A Vintages tasting this morning for the December release. I find that after these big tastings I have a craving for sardines on toast! Some kind of regression there because this is what we used to have at my boarding school for tea. Tried to dispel the memory with a small tasting at home.
- Grooner Grüner Veltliner 2009 (Austria – $13.30): pale straw colour; white pepper, peach pit, minerally nose; light spritz on the palate, dry, lemony, white peach; fresh acidic finish. (86+)
- Cupcake Vineyards Chardonnay 2010 (California Central Coast – $14.95): light straw colour; buttery, pineapple nose with a touch of oak; sweet and spicy with peachy-pineapple flavours; full on the palate and easy drinking with a tangerine finish. (87)
- Yellow Tail Chardonnay Reserve 2010 (Australia – $14.95): straw coloured; minerally, tropical fruit, smoky note from the oak; dry, medium to full-bodied pear flavour, nicely balanced with citrus acidity. (87)
- The Little Penguin Merlot 2010 (South Eastern Australia – $10.95): ruby red colour; cocoa, vanilla, cherry nose; spicy, cherry pie flavour with a note of cloves; medium-bodied with soft tannins and a sweet, fruity core. (86+)
- Lindeman’s Bin 40 Merlot 2010 (South Eastern Australia – $11.95): crimson-ruby colour; woody, spicy, cherry nose; dry, sour cherry flavour with a hint of balsamic vinegar. (85)
- Chateau St. Jean Merlot 2008 (California – $19.95): deep ruby colour; minerally, spicy, cherry; fruity, blueberry flavour, full on the palate, firmly structured with ripe tannins. (88)
Saturday, November 5: Deborah and I are invited to the Teddy Bear Affair by our friend Joe Canavan, who is the Chair of the Children’s Aid Society. Felt a bit self-conscious in a tux with a scruffy mustache, especially since I was interviewed by Avery Haines about the dinner wines, which was transmitted on a huge screen for the 1000-strong guests in the room at the Convention Centre.