A Wine Lover’s Diary, part 387: A Week of Disaster & Triumph

Monday, March 19: To the RCYC at 10:30 for a tasting of Alvaro Palacios wines from three regions. Alvaro chose regions with “a religious background. The middle Ages with the monks are very important,” he told the audience of wine writers and sommeliers.

  • Palacios Remondo Placet 2009 (Rioja): Viura grape – very pale colour; minerally, pear skin nose; dry, fresh, pear flavour, clean and lingering with a lively citrus acidity. Quite full with 13.8% alcohol. (88)
  • Palacios Remondo La Montesa 2009 (Rioja): Garnacha, Mazuela, Tempranillo – ruby colour; cherry, pomegranate and citrus peel nose; round on the palate, dry, earthy cherry flavour with a licorice note; medium-bodied with a bitter note on the finish. (89)
  • Palacios Remondo Propiedad 2008 (Rioja): Garnacha 70%, Tempranillo 30% – deep ruby colour; floral, spicy, red berry and plum nose; dry, savoury, elegant with a herbal note; ripe tannins and well integrated oak. (90)
  • Descendientes de J. Palacios Petalos del Bierzo 2010 (Bierzo): Mencia grape – deep ruby-purple; herbal, floral blackberry and blueberry nose with a pencid lead note; rich and fleshy with a soft mouth feel but finishes firmly with an orange peel note and a tannic lift. Very elegant. (90)
  • Descendientes de J. Palacios Villa de Corullon 2008 (Bierzo): Mencia – deep ruby; vanilla oak, minerally, floral, blackberry with a herbal note; dry, savoury, firmly structured, chunky tannins with an orange peel finish. Needs time. (90–91)
  • Descendientes de J. Palacios Las Lamas 2009 (Bierzo): Mencia – deep ruby colour; floral, spicy, warm, blackberry nose; dry and savoury with a lovely mouth feel; full on the palate with ripe tannins. (91)
  • Alvaro Palacios Camins del Priorat 2010 (Priorat): deep ruby colour; earthy, blackberry and licorice nose, fragrant but persistent; full-bodied, herbal, pencil lead flavours with drying tannins. (89)
  • Alvaro Palacios Les Terrasses 2010 (Priorat): dense ruby colour; earthy, plum and black cherry nose with a floral note; full-bodied, elegant, dry, beautifully balanced and firm. (90)
  • Alvaro Palacios Gratallops 2010 (Priorat): Garnacha, Carinena, Cabernet Sauvignon and Syrah – deep ruby colour; pencil lead, blackberry nose with a mineral note; vanilla oak and black fruit flavours, elegant and light on the palate, lacy and delicate but firmly structured. (91)
  • Alvaro Palacios Finca Dofi 2009 (Priorat): Garnacha with Cabernet Sauvignon and Syrah – deep ruby colour; inky, minerally, black cherry nose with floral and vanilla notes; lovely mouth feel, well extracted sweet fruit that lingers on the palate. Just a delight. (92)
Alvaro Palacios

Alvaro Palacios

Tuesday, March 20: Disaster struck. I was researching Icewine on the net and from an Austrian website I picked up a virus that completely wiped my C drive of files. Got on to Dell right away and they made arrangements to have the laptop picked up and serviced, as I leave for Hungary on Thursday. Luckily I had the files backed up from about two weeks ago but I had worked on the Napa novel and unless they can rescue the files I’ve lost that. There is special place on Hell for those who introduce viruses into the system.

Wednesday, March 21: Got the following email this morning that made my day and made me forget about viruses.



Dear Tony:

Congratulations! We are writing to tell you that you have been elected to the Wine Media Guild of New York Wine Writers’ Hall of Fame. The Wine Media Guild is a professional association of 50 leading US wine writers, authors and journalists. It was founded in 1976. Membership in the Guild is based on sponsorship and election by the members. [See our website for a list of members: www.winemediaguild.org and click on “Members.” ]

In 2007, we established the Wine Writers’ Hall of Fame to recognize and honor, by induction, individuals who have made significant contributions to the body of wine writing and education. Each year, individuals who have had exceptional careers and significant achievements as wine authors, journalists or educators are nominated and elected by a committee of their peers. Consideration is on a global basis. Previous Inductees include, among others: Michael Broadbent, Robert Parker, Kevin Zraly, Steven Spurrier, Matt Kramer, Hugh Johnson, Jancis Robinson, James Halladay, Peter Sichel, Gerald Boyd, Dan Berger, Ed McCarthy and Karen MacNeil. [Go to www.winemediaguild.org and click on “Hall of Fame” for photos and bios of previous Inductees]

You are one of three writers to be elected in 2012, along with one writer, Maynard Amerine, elected posthumously. Your photo and short biography will be posted in the Hall of Fame section on the Wine Media Guild Website. We will tell you names of the other two Inductees once they have acknowledged notification.

Best regards,
Patricia Savoie and Charles Scicolone

Ann Sperling, Southbrook’s winemaker, came over to the condo with a series of wines to taste.

  • Sperling Vineyards Old Vines Riesling 2010 (BC – $32): Vines planted in 1978. First vintage 2008. Light straw colour; minerally, light petrol note, apricot; rich and spicy with lovely lime and peach flavour; full on the palate with good length. (89)
  • Southbook Connect Organic White 2011 (Ontario – $14.95): Vidal grapes. Straw coloured; pear with a light floral note; well extracted, light-bodied, off-dry apple and pear flavours, touch of sweetness in mid palate, clean fruit flavours, fresh acidic finish. (87)
  • Southbrook Triomphe Cabernet Franc Rosé 2011 (Ontario – $19.95): Salmon pink colour; candied raspberry; soft mouth feel, touch of sweetness, lively raspberry flavour. (87)
  • Sout hbrook Whimsy Cabernet Franc 2008 (Ontario – $35): Deep ruby; cedar, spicy, savoury, black fruit nose; ripe currant fruit with vanilla oak. Elegant, well made, dry with ripe tannins. (90)
  • Southbrook Whimsy Winemakers’ Red 2008 (Ontario – $35; 37% Cabernet Sauvignon; 37% Merlot, 26% Cabernet Franc): Deep ruby; cedar, meaty, oak nuance, graphite; well extracted blackcurrant flavour, juicy, lively acidity. Great expression for the vintage. (89)
  • Southbrook Whimsy Chardonnay 2010 (Ontario – $35): Deep straw; spicy, toasty, melon with oak spice; mouth-filling, rich, full-bodied, toasty, nutty, caramel flavours with balancing acidity. Long finish. (91)
  • Southbrook Poetica Chardonnay 2009 (Ontario – $50): Deep straw colour; spicy, Burgundian nose, touch of barnyard, apple; ripe and full on the palate, generous, toasty, spicy, orange, pineapple and melon flavours. Great balance and length. (92)
  • Southbrook Whimsy Uncloaked 2010 (Ontario; Merlot – $35): Deep ruby; cedar, blueberries, vanilla oak; medium-bodied, savoury, lean, sinewy with lively acidity and a licorice note in the finish. (89)
  • Southbrook Whimsy Who You Calling Petit? 2010 (Ontario; Petit Verdot – $35): Dense purple colour; floral, earthy, spicy, red berry nose; fragrant, rich, sage and currant flavours with lively acidity; firmly structured with a tannic lift on the finish. (89+)

At 5 pm to Kevin Johnson, Consul General of the US, who held a wine tasting in his back garden featuring California and French wines. It was a hot day and many of the red wines were in the sun unfortunately, especially so for the Beaujolais. Notwithstanding, I enjoyed Louis Jadot Meursault 2008 (91), Gary Farrell Chardonnay Russian River 2006 (90), J. Lohr Cabernet Sauvignon Paso Robles 2009 (90) and Ridge Three valleys Zinfandel Sonoma County 2009 (89).

Dropped by my old friend Bernie Gluckstein’s to pick up wine he had donated for Grapes for Humanity’s wine auction on May 10th at The Gardiner Museum. He opened a bottle of Mayacamas Cabernet Sauvignon 1984, which still had its power and some delicious fruit. Amazing how those mountain Cabs from Napa last. Dinner, grilled salmon with a bottle of Tyrrell’s Hunter Valley Brookdale Semillon 2011 (a beautifully balanced with crisp lime and pear flavours – 88).

Thursday, March 22: Spent the day writing my seminar address or a Master Class on Icewine in Budapest on Sunday. The wines we’ll be tasting are:

  • Casa Peiso Blaufränkisch Eiswein 2009 (Austria)
  • Pillitteri Cabernet Franc Icewine (Niagara Peninsula, Ontario)
  • Weingut Alfred Fischer Grüner Veltliner Eiswein 2005 (Neusidlersee, Burgenland)
  • Ice Wine Myskhako 2009 (Black Sea Coast, Russia)
  • Borbely Family Wine Cellar Badacsonyi Olasz Riesling Icewine 2009 (Hungary)
  • Esterhazy Cuvee Eiswein 2009 (Austria)
  • Pillitteri Vidal Icewine 2006 (Ontario).

Catching a flight to Munich tonight and then onto Budapest.

This entry was posted in Uncategorized, Wine Lover's Diary. Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply