A Wine Lover’s Diary, part 378: Roaming with Goats

Monday, January, 16: Booked my flight to London in April for the Decanter World Wine Awards judging. Paying twice as much in taxes as the cost of the flight itself. Wrote my 680News wine reviews. At 5 pm down to Cava for a meeting of the committee for “RAW! The Great Toronto Tartare-Off” to be held at the imperial Room on Thursday, March 29th. Great line-up of chefs competing. Polished off a bottle of Torres Gran Coronas 2010 with tapas courtesy of Chris MacDonald.

Tuesday, January 17: Am still without my computer and working on an ancient laptop I’ve had for at least 10 years. It’s soooo slowwww. Lunch at Toula with Charles Back of Fairview Wines and Goats Do Roam. I wanted to suggest to him that he do a Sangiovese and call it Goats Do Rome.

Charles told us about his cheese production. Apparently, he is the world’s first biodynamic cheese producer. In order to get certified he had to carry out a study on how to lower his carbon footprint. The experts came back with a report that stated the single largest cause of global warming from his production is the gas from his farting goats.

Charles also explained how the Goats Do Roam label came about. Twelve years ago his small son inadvertently let the goats out of their pen and they wandered into the vineyard. They began to feast on the grapes but they only dined on the Rhone varietals. Charles had one of his workers follow the goats around and find out which varieties they were eating and in what proportions. Using the goats’ predilections he created Goats Do Roam Red.

Before lunch we tasted the latest vintage of Fairview Goats Do Roam White 2011 (Rhône varieties – crisp, minerally, pear flavour (86)). With the first course of salad with fresh strawberries, pine nuts, baby arugula and pecorino cheese tossed in a honey-champagne dressing, we tasted Six Hats Chenin Blanc 2011 (a Fair Trade label – pale straw, herbaceous nose with a quince flavour – 86) and Ken Forrester Reserve Chenin 2009 (deep straw colour with a rich nose of pear and quince rounded with oak; creamy mouth feel, dry with a citrus finish – 88). With the pan-seared Atlantic salmon over lemon parsley risotto, Fairview Goats Do Roam Red 2011 (deep ruby colour; peppery blackberry, smoky nose; juicy fruit, dry and savoury. Good value – 87), Post House Blueish Black Blend 2010 (deep purple-black colour; spicy, peppery, floral, blackberry with an oaky note; lovely mouth feel, elegant and muscular with a firm finish – 89). I had to leave before dessert and hastily tasted Boekenhoutskloof Porcupine Ridge Syrah Viognier 2010 (Northern Rhône style, smoky blackberry, bitter chocolate. Lively acidity, full-bodied – 89+).

On to my chiropractor, who worked on my leg, which is still painful from the sprained ankle on December 22. The body compensates and has to be realigned. Who knew? Sheila Swerling-Puritt came to dinner. I opened a bottle of Le Vieux Pin Sauvignon Blanc 2010 (bright straw colour; grassy, rhubarb and oak nose; full-bodied, rich grapefruit and passion fruit flavours, full on the palate with driving acidity. Great length. Best I’ve tasted from BC – 91). Deborah made a Moroccan style chicken with harissa. Opened a bottle of Tommasi Il Sestante Ripasso Valpolicella 2009, which stood up to the heat very well.

Wednesday, January 18: Recorded my 680News wine reviews. Deborah accompanied me because she wanted to buy my birthday present for her – a new phone. She chose the Galaxy Infuse. Very sexy. Spent the rest of the day working on the wine list for the new Jamie Kennedy restaurant now to be called Windows. For dinner, some leftover chicken from last night. Tried it with Tio Pepe Palomino Extra Dry Sherry – and it worked nicely.

Thursday, January 19: Another day of working on the wine list before another visit to the chiropractor. His manipulation seems to be working, as there is more mobility in my leg and I’m no longer walking like the war-wounded. My chiropractor has a cure for sore throat – oil of rosemary, olive oil, sea salt and warm water, gargle then swallow. (Then puke.) To dinner at my sister-in-law Suzanne’s. She prepared borscht, oxtail stew and Quebec goat Brie. I brought along Tommasi Vigneto Le Rosse Pinot Grigio 2010 and Santa Julia Reserva Cabernet 2010.

Friday, January 20: A tasting of new products down at the LCBO. The technician from Dell came to the condo to rescue my files from the laptop that would not start. Much relief as he was able to take out the hard drive and transfer the files to me my Vestro 3550. A couple of chapters of Nightmare in Napa were safe (I hadn’t backed up for 10 days – that will teach me). Getting ready to leave for California early Sunday morning. For dinner Deborah prepared trout and tilapia and I opened a bottle of Sigalas Assyrtiko Santorini 2010 – what a magnificent wine it is – minerally, apple and peach flavours, beautifully balanced and fresh (90).

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