Monday, April 9: Spent the day writing wine columns for On The Go, Post City Magazines and my 680News wine reviews. And managed to fit in a visit to the dentist for a filling. He had to inject me three times before the freezing happened.
Tuesday, April 10: Lunch with Liz Gallery and Cathy Martin, co-chairs of Grapes For Humanity’s “California Uncorked” event at the Gardiner Museum on May 10th. Had a bowl of onion soup and a sesame crab cake at Patachou.
Then over to the Berkeley Church for “County In The City” – wineries from Prince Edward County pouring their products. Impressed by Sandbanks Cabernet Franc 2010, Karlo Estates Frontenac Gris Rosé 2011, Rosehall Run Unoaked Chardonnay 2010, Norman Hardie County Chardonnay 2010 and Norman Hardie County Pinot Noir 2009.
In the evening Deborah and I grabbed a Japanese meal before going to see War Horse at the Princess of Wales Theatre. An amazing theatrical experience; the giant horse puppets are manoeuvred in such a way that they look real and even express emotions.
Wednesday, April 11: Invited to the launch of Highland Park’s new malt whisky called Thor. Highland Park, my favourite single malt, is Scotland’s most northerly distillery, located in the Orkney Islands. The new malt celebrates the Viking heritage of the islands: it is named after the Norse god of war (and farmers), Thor, the guardian of Valhalla. The single malt in a distinctively-labelled bottle framed by Viking ship prows in a wooden carrying case is, as befits the god of war, 52.1% alcohol and aged 16 years in American and Spanish oak. But before the assembled group at Colborne Lane got to taste it we were treated to a delicious dinner by chef Claudio Aprile, pairing five dishes with Highland Park single malts.
Carmelized carrots, gingerbread, chèvre noir, cumin, wheat berries, paired with Highland Park Single Malt Scotch Aged 12 Years
Peat-smoked squab, creamed barley, charred ramps, grapes, infused and paired with Highland Park Single Malt Scotch Aged 12 Years
Green apple bomb, white chocolate, vanilla, infused and paired with Highland Park Single Malt Scotch Aged 15 Years
Lamb shank, watercress, stuffed onion, rye, malt, paired with Highland Park Single Malt Scotch Aged 18 Years
Chocolate, malted milk, hazelnut, hyssop, infused and paired with Highland Park Single Malt Scotch Aged 18 Years.
At $250 a bottle Thor is a little beyond my means. I think I’ll stick to the 12 Year Old.
Thursday, April 12: Basically ran errands today, picking up wine donated for Grapes for Humanity’s silent auction on May 10th, buying a birthday card for my son-in-law Ian, who turns 40 next week, walking Pinot to the bank (and the local pet store to get her a wheat-free treat). In the evening, a meeting with Caroline Hammond about Winefox. We discussed the Star’s site over a bottle of Quails’ Gate Gewurztraminer. Deborah cooked some salmon and we ate it with Flat Rock The Rusty Shed Chardonnay 2010 (straw coloured with a spicy peach and forest floor nose; full-bodied buttered popcorn flavour with pineapple and lemon notes – 89).
Friday, April 13: Down to the LCBO to get a Special Occasion Permit for the Grapes for Humanity event on May 10th. Then into a tasting of Vintages wines to be released on May 12th. In the evening, a celebratory dinner for the crew who worked on “RAW! the Great Toronto Tartare-Off” at L’Avenue restaurant on Bayview. We all brought a bottle of wine. Mine was Trimbach Gewurztraminer Vendanges Tardives 2005. I ordered escargot with leeks in a white wine and cream sauce. Followed by New York striploin & frites. Our party of eight managed to go though Joie Chardonnay Unoaked 2011, Gosset Champagne Excellence, P. Ferraud Père &Fils Pouilly-Fuissé 2009, Lailey Syrah Canadian Oak 2006, Rosewood Merlot Reserve 2010 and Tawse Sparkling Blanc de Noirs.
Saturday, April 14: The second day of judging the Ontario Wine Awards. The most exciting flight, according to the judges, was the Oaked Chardonnay over $20.
Sunday, April 15: The judging of the sweet wines for the Ontario Wine Awards down at The Fine Wine Reserve. Dinner: roast beef, cauliflower cheese, roast sweet potatoes with a bottle of Decero Cabernet Sauvignon Remolinos Vineyard 2009 from Argentina (spicy black cherry and currant flavours, rich mouth feel – 89).