A Wine Lover’s Diary, part 376: The Blind Tasting Award

Monday, January 2: Wrote my 680News wine reviews and answered a slew of emails. My ankle is still bothering me but tomorrow I go for an MRI and an X-ray. In afternoon worked on the setup for the Ontario Wine awards, drafting the letter of invitation to the wineries with the conditions of entry and the wine categories. The judging is April 14 and April 21 for the dry wines and April 22 for the sweet wines.

Breast of chicken for dinner with a bottle of Inniskillin Winemaker’s Series Three Vineyards Chardonnay 2009, a lovely drop of wine and well worth $17.95. Got criticized on Twitter for calling it “Burgundian” style. That’s a compliment in my book. I gave it 89 points.

Tuesday, January 3: A brutally cold day with a wind factor that brought the temperature to minus 25°C. Spent virtually all morning in a clinic having an MRI (disconcerting when the technician puts a blanket lined with lead over your genitals and then dashes behind a door to take the photos) and then X-rays. Won’t know for three days what the results are.

Drove down to the Fairmont Royal York with Deborah for a meeting with Doris Miclun Bradley, Zoltan Szabo and Malcolm Jolley with their F&B Manager Jimson Bienenstock for a 5 pm meeting to discuss a Grapes for Humanity fund-raiser at the hotel for March 29th. It’s called “RAW! The Great Toronto Tartare-Off” – a friendly competition among chefs to see who makes the best tartare using meat, fish, seafood or vegetables. There will be matching wines and other food. The event will be in The Imperial Room at the Fairmont Royal York.

Deborah prepared pasta in black pepper sauce and I opened a bottle of Tenuta Poggio
Verano Dr
òmos 2006 from Maremma. I loved the 2004 vintage of this wine I tasted last year and this one is even better: it’s a blend of Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Alicante, Sangiovese and Cabernet Franc – deep ruby colour with a rich nose of blackcurrant and black licorice and mouth-filling flavour of blackcurrant, black cherry and chocolate; soft, velvety mouth feel with ripe supple tannins (91).

Wednesday, January 3: Spent most of the day inside resting my ankle. Wrote my monthly article for Lexpert magazine on the legacy of Robert Mondavi. In the afternoon worked on the invitation to chefs to participate in “RAW! The Great Toronto Tartare-Off.” Called Gordon Pape to congratulate him on the write-up of his new book, Sleep Easy Investing, in the National Post this morning. Suddenly a rush of entries for my Blind Tasting Competition for members of the wine importing agencies, happening tomorrow. Got an email from the Sheraton on the Falls that the website for the Jamie Kennedy restaurant opening in February is now live: windowsbyjamiekennedy.com.

Cooked Toad in the Hole with chorizo sausages. A favourite comfort food of mine from my days in England. Deborah took one look at it and said, “Don’t do that again.” But she ate it all. Washed down with Wente Southern Hills Cabernet Sauvignon 2009. It went beautifully.

Thursday, January 5: Recorded my 680News wine reviews and then drove to Costco to pick up supplies for my annual blind tasting award this evening. Arranged the consolidation points for the Ontario Wine Awards entries. In the evening Deborah and I drove down to The Wine Establishment to set up my annual Blind Tasting Award for members of the Ontario wine importing agencies. This is the 13th year of the competition and, coincidentally, there were 13 contestants. The wines they had to taste blind and determine the grape variety, region, vintage and producer were:

  1. Ghost Pines Chardonnay 2010 (Sonoma, Monterey, Napa County)
  2. Stoney Ridge Warren Classic Chardonnay 2010 (Niagara)
  3. Ostler Caroline’s Pinot Noir 2009 (Waitaki Valley, New Zealand)
  4. Louis Martini Cabernet Sauvignon 2009 (Sonoma County)
  5. Mullineux Syrah 2008 (Swartland, South Africa)
  6. Peller Estates Ice Cuvée Rosé (Niagara)

Not easy. The winner was Andrew von Teichman (he won last year too and recently became a new Dad). Andrew will receive the traditional engraved decanter and a framed certificate at the Drinks Ontario annual dinner on February 10th.

Picked up Chinese food on the way home and accompanied it with a bottle of Calliope Figure Eight 2010, a Syrah/Merlot blend.

Friday, January 6: A Vintages release tasting this morning. Got a call from my doctor this morning telling me that the MRI and X-ray of my ankle showed no break, but it’s still painful as hell. Apparently, it takes weeks to get better. Rats. Made a cheese soufflé for dinner, with a bottle of Montecillo Crianza 2007. Great match.

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