A Wine Lover’s Diary, part 372: A New Coat of Arms

Monday, December 5: Wrote my 680 News wine reviews. Lunch with David Rose to see his new office on Avenue Road. We both felt like Indian food but both Indian restaurants within walking distance were shut for lunch! So we settled on Italian and I had a pizza. Spent the rest of the day getting the material together for Grapes for Humanity’s AGM next Monday.

Tuesday, December 6: My daughter Annabel is competing in the Iron Man competition next August in Penticton. Deborah and I are going out to cheer her on. Looked into an itinerary that included visiting Vancouver, the Okanagan and Vancouver Island. This evening, a wine and cheese party in the part room of the condo. Everyone asked if I chose the California wines but I didn’t.

Wednesday, December 7: Recorded my 680News wine reviews, eight of them to tide me over the holidays. Sent out the invitation to my annual Blind Tasting Award for members of the Ontario importing agencies. This competition is now in its 13th year. In the evening, down to Queens Park for the presentation to the winners of the first annual Lieutenant Governor’s Award for Excellence in Ontario Wines. Twelve wines were honoured from 277 submissions which I helped judge this past July:

  • Huff Estates Winery PEC Cuvée Peter F. Huff Sparkling 2008
  • Ziraldo Estate Winery Riesling Icewine 2007
  • Southbrook Vineyards Triomphe Chardonnay 2009
  • Henry of Pelham Family Estate Winery Sibling Rivalry Pink 2010
  • Malivoire Wine Company Pinot Noir 2009
  • Charles Baker Riesling 2009
  • Mountain Road Wine Company Mountain Road Vidal Icewine 1999
  • Magnotta Winery Enotrium Gran Riserva 2008
  • Stoney Ridge Cellars Excellence Chardonnay 2009
  • Malivoire Wine Company Courtney Gamay 2009
  • Mike Weir Wine Riesling 2008
  • Thirty Bench Wine Makers’ Riesling 2010

The Chief Herald of Canada has designed a coat of arms for the competition along with a flag and also a crest that the winning wines can stick on their bottles.

Lieutenant Governor's Award for Excellence in Ontario Wines coat of arms

After the presentation we all repaired downstairs to sample the winning wines.

Thursday, December 8: A Vintages tasting day today for the January 7th release, moved from the customary Friday because of the holidays.

Friday, December 9: Another Vintages tasting, this time for the January 21st release. News that the Australian government has approved the addition to wine of sodium carboxymethyl cellulose, a compound which has “has long been prized by the medical world for its anti-bulking and laxative properties.” This cellulose gum apparently prevents crystallization and cloudiness in white and sparkling wines. Enough said.

Saturday, December 10: Went to the LCBO at Summerhill to say hello to Donald Ziraldo, who was promoting his Equifera Vidal Icewine. Picked up three bottles of Cattier Champagne for our AGM on Monday. In the afternoon, an invitation from Julian Hitner to taste Morris of Rutherglen Tokay with Fortnum & Mason chocolate chip cookies. To get us in the mood he opened a half bottle of Château d’Armilhac 2004. The Tokay was amazing, a glossy brown-ruby colour with a nose of figs, raisins, caramel and coffee beans. Extraordinarily rich and complex sweet flavours that lasted forever on the palate.

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