Monday, February 6: Wrote my 680News wine reviews and then got into a suit and tie to attend the presentation ceremony of the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee Medal by the Lieutenant Governor at Queen’s Park. I was one of 37 Order of Canada recipients. Star struck by the company – Gordon Lightfoot, Stephen Lewis, Molly Johnson, Karen Kain, to drop a few names. For the official photo I stood next to Lloyd Robertson (short guys in the front). At the reception I had Deborah take a photo of me with the Grey Cup. She must have been as excited as I was because it’s a bit shaky. Jamie Kennedy and Paul Bosc Sr. were there too.
For dinner, spicy Moroccan meat balls with Santa Rita Medalla Real Gran Reserva Cabernet Sauvignon 2008 (cedar, coconut and sweet tobacco on the nose; dry, savoury flavours of blackcurrant and dark chocolate; full-bodied and soft on the palate with ripe tannins – 89).
Tuesday, February 7: Recorded my 680News reviews, then drove with Deborah to Grano for lunch with Liz Gallery and Cathy Martin, who are co-chairs of a Grapes for Humanity fund-raiser on May 10th at the Gardiner Museum. Over a bottle of Tawse Sketches Rosé 2010 and a plate of seafood risotto I listened to their hilarious account of their trip to Guatemala for the opening of a school built by funds donated by Grapes for Humanity last year.
A 5:30 pm appointment with the chiropractor, who insists my ankle and knee are getting better although I’m still in pain. For dinner chicken with Tyrrell’s Rufus Stone Shiraz 2009 (dense purple colour with a nose of leather, blackberry and vanilla oak; full bore sweet blackberry and blackcurrant flavours with lively acidity; soft on the palate, easy drinking with a minty finish).
Wednesday, February 8: Wrote up my Wines of the Week and did a phone interview with Shelley White of the Globe & Mail about how to choose bargain-priced wine and which regions offer the best values. In the afternoon, a meeting with Homefront Magazine to discuss the possibility of wine features. Dinner: beef stir fry with a bottle of Bodegas Osborne Shiraz Tempranillo 2009 (simple fruit flavours, easy drinking, soft and fruity – 86).
Thursday, February 9: Wrote my On The Go magazine column about Italian wines and wines for Easter. Lunch with Marie Ens and her son-in-law Blaine Sylvester, who presented a project for Grapes for Humanity. They run an organization called Place of Rescue Orphanage in Cambodia, giving homes to orphans and children with AIDS. GFH will be sponsoring ten students for three years through university and will contribute to the construction of a dormitory in Phnom Penh.
Then on to The Wine Establishment to pick up the engraved decanters for the Blind Tasting Award presentation tomorrow and the Cuvée Award of Excellence in March. Bruce Wallner MS came over this evening to discuss the wine list for Jamie Kennedy restaurant. Bruce will be the sommelier on the floor. Deborah prepared stuffed peppers and I opened a bottle of Closson Case Iconoclast Chardonnay 2007 (the oak has now melded into this wine, which is rich and mouth filling, peach and melon flavours – 90) and a bottle of Inniskillin Legacy Riesling 2010 (off-dry, honey and lime with a minerally, petrol note – 90). Bruce brought a bottle of Torbreck The Steading 1998 (a blend of Grenache, Mataro and Shiraz – expressive blackberry flavour backed by oak, beautifully balanced and fresh with lively acidity – 91).
Friday, February 10: A Vintages tasting this morning.