A Wine Lover’s Diary, part 368: A Foreign Affair

Tony in 1971Monday, November 7: Can’t wait for December 1st, when I can shave off this moustache. It’s itching like mad. Found a photo of the last time I had one – 1972. Also had big hair (and what was I thinking about that shirt. But that was London in the Carnaby Street days).

Wrote my 680News reviews and then met with Len Crispino at grano to taste his The Foreign Affair appassimento wines.

  • The Foreign Affair Conspiracy Ripasso 2008 (Cabernet Sauvignon and Cabernet franc fermented on the lees of Cabernet Franc): ruby colour; lighted nose of plums and dates; dry, elegant plum flavour with lively acidity. (89)
  • The Foreign Affair Cabernet Sauvignon 2009 (30% of the grapes dried for three months): dense purple colour; cedar, blackcurrant nose supported by vanilla oak; ripe blackcurrant flavour, firmly structured with a tannic note on the finish with lingering acidity. (88)
  • The Foreign Affair Chardonnay 2008 (30% dried fruit): straw colour; high toned nose of caramel and baked apples; creamy and full-bodied, toasty and rich; mouth-filling with a fine spine of acidity. (90)
  •  The Foreign Affair Sauvignon Blanc 2008 (2½ months drying, 28% of the grapes; 6 months in oak): straw colour with a green tint; grapefruit and elderberry nose; gooseberry and green apple flavour, medium-bodied, good length. (88)
  • The Foreign Affair Pinot Noir 2009 (30% dried grapes): deep ruby colour; lifted nose of raspberries and violets; rich and elegant, full-bodied, raspberry and plum flavours. (90)

Tuesday, November 8: Lunch with Liz Tedford and Cathy Pauwels to discuss a possible Grapes for Humanity event next May at the Gardiner Museum. Ordered a bottle of Cusumano Syrah Rosato 2010. This evening I was the MC at Taste Matters, a fund-raising event at Liberty Grand for Eva’s Initiatives. The event raised $123,000.

Wednesday, November 9: Spent the morning inputting wine reviews from Vintages’ November 26th release. Then to the National Club after lunch to see Sandro Bottega, who was conducting a tasting of his proseccos and grappas. Only had time to taste two proseccos, as I had committed to the portfolio tasting of Rogers & Company at George restaurant. I recall fondly knocking back copious quantities’ of Bottega Vino dei Poeti Rosé on board a ship called Moby Dick on the Venetian lagoon in July.

Rogers & Company has a very attractive portfolio, especially the Italian and California selections. The wines were divided up into varietals tables which made for a fascinating tasting. Spent most of the time with the Pinot Noirs. What really surprised me was the quality of Blue Mountain Pinot Noir 2009. I hadn’t tasted this wine in a while. Really like Peay “Ama” Pinot Noir 2009 and Alex Gambal Volnay en Chevret 2009 (also like Alex Gambal Bourgogne Chardonnay 2009. Alex came out with a memorable quote at a symposium in Seattle some years ago talking about Burgundy: “Burgundy is a minefield. You can either be blown to heaven or to hell.”) At the Italian table I enjoyed Vietti Barolo Castiglione 2007, Altesino Brunello di Montalcino 2006 and Fontodi Flaccianello delle Pieve 2008. My top score of the tasting went to Caymus Special Selection Cabernet Sauvignon 2008.

Thursday, November 10: A Vintages tasting this morning, moved from the usual Friday because tomorrow is Remembrance Day. In the evening I conducted a dinner tasting – a corporate event – at the Fairmont Royal York for 60 people.

Course #1: vine ripened yellow and red tomatoes with marinated buffalo mozzarella, cabbage cress, fresh arugula pesto and balsamic reduction, with Oyster Bay Sauvignon Blanc 2010.

Course #2: organic greens with caramelized apples, sun-dried golden raisins, toasted walnuts and icewine vinaigrette,

with Mike Weir Riesling 2008.

Course #3: Macadamia crusted Pacific black cod, sweet potato rösti, garden pea emulsion, with Loron Bourgogne Chardonnay 2009.

Course #4: beef tenderloin tournedos “Rossini”, foie gras butter, white truffle mashed potato, Madeira sauce,

with Cono Sur Reserva Syrah 2008.

Course #5: raspberry white chocolate pave, peach vanilla compote, raspberry coulis, with Strewn Select Late Harvest Vidal 2007.

Friday, November 11: A lunchtime meeting at Lai Wah Heen to discuss a food and wine matching exercise with regional Chinese food. The food there is terrific, the best in town. Then up to see Vladimir Grouzman, who imports Georgian wines. A tasting to select wines that I will serve at a seminar on Georgian wines at the Gourmet Wine & Food Expo on November 19th.

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