Monday, December 19: I’m indebted to Tom Wark and his daily wine blog ‘Fermentation’ for this worst wine gift of all times. It’s called ‘The Wine Rack.’ Tom writes:
This product is apparently sold out in most places. That means one of two things. Either the creators of this product, like me, underestimate the desire of women to carry 25oz of liquid in their bra or many women, upon seeing this incredibly sexy hidden bladder device, just had to have it. I’m not sure which. However, it is clear that the wine rack is design to get alcohol into places where it’s not allowed to be. A worthy goal, I agree and there is no doubt that the Wine Rack would likely get the job done. What I question is the value of having a friend who either needs this item, wants this item or would use this item. From the product description: ‘Take a bottle of wine, a mixed drink or a fifth of your favorite hardstuff to the movies, ball games, EVEN THE PTA MEETING’ (emphasis mine). $30.00.
Think I’ll get one for Deborah for Christmas. Not.
Spent much of the day putting together a wine server’s manual for Jamie Kennedy on the Falls. Then got down to some tasting. The forest of samples has to be depleted.
- Tommasi “Ripasso’ Valpolicella 2009 (Veneto – $19.95): ruby colour; plum and black cherry nose with a touch of oak; dry, raisiny, medium-bodied, with lively acidity (87).
- Trapiche Broquel Malbec 2009 (Mendoza – $14.95): deep ruby colour; a nose of cedar, smoke, blueberry, vanilla oak; dry, dark chocolate and blueberry flavour; medium-bodied, dry, soft, powdery tannins with evident acidity (87)
- Kawin Cabernet Sauvignon Reserva Privada 2009 (Chile – $9.95): deep ruby colour; cedar, dark chocolate nose; rich mouth feel, more expressive on the palate than on the nose; dry, chunky mouth-feel, full-bodied with lots of grip and blackcurrant and bitter chocolate flavours. (86)
- Sledgehammer Zinfandel 2009 (California North Coast – $17.95): deep ruby colour; spicy plum and leather on the nose; sweet plum fruit, full-bodied, with an earthy-leather note finishing with vanilla oak. (88)
- Goats do Roam 2010 (South Africa – $12.95): Shiraz, Grenache, Cinsault, Pinot Noir, Carignan and other varieties – deep ruby colour; smoky, tarry, black fruits on the nose; those flavours replicated on the palate. Sweet fruit that finishes savoury. (87)
- Domaine Pierre Fil Cuvée Elisyces 2007 (Minervois – $19.95): deep ruby colour; truffle-barnyard nose, black raspberry; perfumed raspberry flavour, some sweetness here; full-bodied, fleshy but elegant with a firm tannic finish. (90)
- SeaGlass Riesling 2010 (Monterey County – $13.95): pale straw colour; a nose of orange peel zest, peach, mineral note; off-dry, soft on the palate with grapey flavour. Easy drinking. (87)
- Durbanville Hills Sauvignon Blanc 2010 (South Africa – $11.95): pale straw colour; grassy, white pepper, green plum nose; dry, gooseberry and lemon flavours, Good value. (86)
- Montevina Pinot Grigio 2010 (California – $14.95): light straw colour; peach pit nose with a floral note; peachy and pear flavours with a touch of sweetness; full on the palate. Easy drinking. Well made (88)
- Beaulieu Vineyards BV Coastal Estates Chardonnay 2007 (California – $10.95): straw-coloured; mature, apple and toast on the nose; dry, nutty, toasty, apple and pineapple flavours; high toned, thick on the palate. Full-bodied and voluptuous. Great value. Drink now. (87)
- Voga Moscato 2010 (Pavia, Italy – $13.95): medium straw colour; grapey, browning apple nose; spritzy, orange and honey flavours; off dry, perfumed, brittle finish. (85)
Tuesday, December 20: The hot Christmas gift in US wine circles seems to be the RedNek wine glass which has already reached $5 million in sales.
It’s a Ball mason jar glued to a Libby’s candle holder.
First night of Chanukah and still no snow. Must be because we put snow tires on last week. Went to IKEA to buy a new desk and a bookcase. They didn’t have the bookcase I wanted in stock and the desk wouldn’t fit into the car. I asked if they could hold it and deliver it with the bookcase when it came in. No.
I had to get a refund for the desk I’d purchased and buy it again when I returned for the bookcase. Could I order them by phone and have both items delivered? I could do it online but the order would come from Montreal and I’d have to pay for the transportation charges. If I wanted them delivered and set up could that happen. Well, the delivery people don’t do set up; that’s another person so I’d have to arrange a time. Should have gone to Goodwill.
For dinner with beef casserole: Medeiros 2009, a blend of Aragonez, Syrah, Touriga Nacional and Cabernet Sauvignon from Alentejo. Dense purple-back colour; a rich bouquet of mocha, plum, blackcurrant and vanilla oak; full-bodied, thick and luscious on the palate with jammy flavours of blackberry, blackcurrant and plum, firmly structured with a tannic finish. Great value (90).
Wednesday, December 21: The longest night of the year and so it turned out to be. But first the day – picked up the three bottles of Trimbach Gewurztraminer Vendanges Tradives 2005 from the LCBO. I had ordered it from the Classics Catalogue after tasting it with Pierre Trimbach at Quince restaurant on June 8th. Only took six months to arrive.
Gave a bottle to Geddy Lee whom I had to interview for Decanter magazine. Geddy showed me his two cellars – one for older wines ready to drink and one for ageing wines.
Wrote up the piece when I got home. Deborah cooked crusted shrimp with broccoli and quinoa which we ate with a chilled bottle of Malivoire Small Lot Gamay 2010.
At 12:30 am Pinot the Wonder Dog threw up on the carpet. I took her out for a walk. Impossible to sleep after that. At 3.45 she wanted out again and was running from both ends. She led me across a wet lawn and suddenly turned sharply. I slipped on the grass, twisted my ankle and ended up on the sidewalk.
Hobbled home with what I suspected was a sprained right ankle. Pinot was still restless and throwing up the rest of the night. Eventually fell asleep at 5.30am. It really was the longest night of the year.
Thursday, December 22: My ankle is still painful. Deborah called the vet (for Pinot, not for me) and drove her there for examination. I called my doctor. Started work on the wine murder mystery I have put aside for months (years). It’s called ‘Nightmare in Napa’ and am enjoying getting back to fiction.
My doctor says I’ve got a sprained muscle. The pain is bad. Not a good time of the year to not be able to walk. Pinot spent the day at the vet undergoing tests. She was ravenous when Deborah picked her up in the afternoon. They could find nothing wrong and put it down to something that’s going around for dogs. Oliver, another Wheaten in the building, is also throwing up.
Friday, December 23: Had to cancel out on two parties today – one at Allen’s, the other at former neighbours on Craighurst Avenue. Spent the day working on the novel with my foot up. Enjoying the writing immensely. Takes my mind off the pain in my ankle.
Saturday, December 24: Shopped at Loblaws since Deborah is working. Hobbled along the aisles. Lateral movement of the lower right leg is painful. But wouldn’t miss the annual party at the Willis’s. Carol singing, great food and lashings of Pol Roger. Arrived with a cane and spent the evening seated and been served champagne.
Sunday. December 25: For Christmas dinner, drove up to Caledon to Deborah’s niece Nadine and her husband Gary’s house. Accompanied by my son Guy and sister-in-law Suzanne. My role, apart from bringing wine is to carve the turkey. Suzanne sabres the champagne. Brought the following wines:
- Citra Trebbiano d’Abruzzo 2010: very pale in colour with a minerally citrus peel and herbal nose; medium-bodied, crisply dry but short on the finish. (86)
- Jackson-Triggs White Meritage Gold Series 2010: (80% Sauvignon Blanc, 20% Semillon) pale straw colour with a grassy, citrus and guava nose and a touch of oak. Ripe fruit flavours, beautifully balanced in white Bordeaux style; soft mouth feel with clean flavours of citrus and passion fruit. (89)
- Thierry & Guy Fat Bastard Sauvignon Blanc 2010: pale straw colour with a nose of cut grass and rhubarb; tart, lemon-grass and gooseberry flavour. Good value. (87)
- Curious Fruit Carignan Grenache 2009: ruby-violet colour; tastes like carbonic maceration (used in Beaujolais) – fruity, currant with a touch of sweetness. Chillable (86+)
- Blue Mountain Pinot Noir 2008: deep ruby colour; cherry and sweet earth nose; elegant, well-balanced black cherry flavour with enough oak to give it a soft mouth feel but not to intrude. (89)
- Robert Mondavi Private Selection Pinot Noir 2010: deep ruby colour; earthy, spicy nose of strawberries and raspberries with a smoky note; medium- to full-bodied with sweet fruit and soft tannins. (88)