A Wine Lover’s Diary, Part 393: Ontario Wine Awards

Monday, April 30: A tasting for www.winerytohome.com with Doug Towers and David Lawrason. In the evening, to the Metropolitan Hotel for a Vintages event – a dinner at Lai Wah Heen paired with the wines of Château Lynch Bages and Les Ormes de Pez, introduced by Jean-Charles Cazes, a fourth generation winemaker of the Cazes family. I must admit I didn’t think that red Bordeaux was the ideal match for Chinese cuisine but I was pleasantly surprised by the combinations. We started with a reception wine – Joseph Cattin Brut Rosé Crémant d’Alsace with a variety of hors d’oeuvres before sitting down.

  • Beijing duck, barbequed and served on warm rice crepe, Hoisin sauce, with Château Lynch Bages 2006
  • Wok-cooked sea cucumber, shiitake mushroom with garlic, scallion and leek, with Château Lynch Bages 2005
  • “Dong Po” pork belly, braised in sweet rice wine sauce, with Château Les Ormes de Pez 2005
  • Seared fillet of chicken and assorted mushrooms with Maggi sauce served in a clay casserole, with Château Lynch Bages 2000
  • Wok-seared diced beef tenderloin and Chinese broccoli with light garlic sauce, with Château Les Ormes de Pez 2000
  • Stir-fried shredded Berkshire pork, zucchini and cucumber in honey pepper sauce, with Château Lynch Bages 1990
  • Double-boiled duo flavour cream custard for dessert

A really delicious meal, small portions, prepared by Lai Wah Heen’s Head Chef Ronny Lam. The 2005 Lynch Bages is drinking beautifully at the moment, as is the 2000 vintage. My favourite though was the 1990 but then I like mature claret.

Tuesday, May 1: En route for Niagara I dropped in to the Berkeley Church for a portfolio tasting of wines imported by Hobbs and Co. My top wines at this tasting were Tantalus Vineyards Old Vines Riesling 2008 from BC (91), Stroppiana Barolo Gabutti Bussia 2005 (90), Salcheto Salco Vino Nobile 2006 (90), Alpha Zeta Amarone 2008 (90). Best value: Herdade Sao Miguel Montinho Reserve 2010 (89).

Then to the Sheraton on the Falls for the official opening of Windows by Jamie Kennedy. A group of journalists had been bussed in from Toronto to join local media. Jamie and Ross Midgely prepared the following menu from local ingredients:

  • Spring salad of Soiled Reputation greens with Easter radishes and sorrel vinaigrette, served with Niagara College Unoaked Chardonnay 2010.
  • Spring minestrone with braised rabbit and herb pesto, with Malivoire Lay Bug Rosé 2010.
  • Confit and roast duck with Schmaltz roasted potatoes and sour cherry glaze, with Cattail Pinot Noir 2009.
  • Camomile panna cotta with rhubarb gelée and julienne, with JK Tea (camomile tea spiked with amaretto).

Wednesday, May 2: Overnight at the Sheraton as Jamie Kennedy and I have a live TV interview with WKBW Buffalo about the restaurant. The program host Linda Pellegrino wanted to taste a couple of wines on camera. The restaurant manager had taken the keys to the wine cellar home so I had to grab the bottles from the display table as you enter the restaurant.

The white had to be chilled so we stuck it in an ice bucket quickly. The producer told me that there was no time to pour the wines on camera so I should bring the wines to the table where Linda Pellegrino sat during the commercial break. I wanted to chill the white, a Château des Charmes Old Vines Riesling 2008 (which was the White Wine of the Year at the 2011 Ontario Wine Awards) for as long as possible so I left it to one minute before I had to go on.

When I opened it to pour I noticed the colour was extraordinarily pale. Then I realised it was a display bottle filled with water! No time to change it, so I warned Linda and I had to bluff my way through the tasting. Ah, the delights of live TV.

Drove back to Toronto in time for the annual Lifford Wine Agency tasting at Wychwood Barns. Steve Campbell has impeccable taste in wines and his portfolio is one of the best in Canada. Many of the winery principals were behind the tables pouring. In spite of the heat it was a magnificent affair.

I didn’t taste all the 300-odd wines on show but my highlights were the single vineyards wines of Finca Decero, especially the Mini Ediciones Petit Verdot 2010 (91 – apparently this was the first showing of the wine in the world). Loved the Maison Joseph Burrier Pouilly-Fuissé Vers Cras (91) and his Fleurie “Colonies de Rochegrès” 2010 (90). Other top wines:

  • Domaines des Sénéchaux Châteauneuf Blanc 2009 (91)
  • Bernard Defaix Chablis Côtes de Lechet 2010 (90) and Rully Mont Palais Blanc 2009 (90)
  • Staete Landt Map Maker Sauvignon Blanc 2011 (90)
  • Il Poggione Brunello di Montalcino 2007 (91)
  • Heitz Martha’s Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon 2006 (92)

For dinner spaghetti bolognaise with La Stella Fortissimo 2009 from BC (deep ruby with a savoury, black cherry nose; full on the palate Italianate style, tannic finish with some greenness – 86).

Thursday, May 3: Wrote my column for Lexpert magazine on sommeliers, referencing my night of wine waiting at Parkes Restaurant in the mid-1980s. For dinner, BBQ’d salmon with a bottle of Quails’ Gate Riesling 2011 (pale straw with a greenish tint; fresh lime and minerals on the nose; medium-bodied, green plum and green apple flavours with lively, mouth-freshening acidity – 89).

Friday, May 4: A Vintages tasting this morning (119 wines out on the desks). Had a quick lunch of pasta at the Star canteen, then Deborah picked up John and Zoltan Szabo and me to drive down to Queens Landing in Niagara for the 18th annual Ontario Wine Awards gala dinner. John and Zoltan were the MC s for the event and they had hired formal tuxedoes.

2011 Ontario Wine Awards – Final Results

Q Water Sparkling Wine Award
Gold: The Grange of Prince Edward 2008 Grange Brut
Silver: Henry of Pelham Family Estate NV Cuvée Catharine Brut
Bronze: Château des Charmes NV Brut Sparkling Wine

NOW Magazine Dry Riesling Award
Gold: Vineland Estates 2009 Riesling
Silver: Thirteenth Street Winery 2009 Old Vines Riesling
Bronze: Henry of Pelham Family Estate 2009 Speck Family Reserve Riesling

680News Semi-Dry Riesling Award
Gold: Vineland Estates 2009 Riesling St. Urban Vineyard
Silver: Tawse 2010 Sketches of Niagara Riesling
Bronze: Tawse 2010 Carly’s Block Riesling

Luxor Realty Inc. Dry White Varietal Award
Gold: Creekside Estate 2010 Reserve Viognier
Silver: Colaneri Estate 2011 Allegria
Bronze: Stoney Ridge Cellars 2010 Simply White
Bronze: Cornerstone Estate 2009 Chenin Blanc

Niagara Airbus Gewurztraminer Award
Gold: Konzelmann Estate 2010 Gewurztraminer Late Harvest
Silver: Rosewood Estates 2011 Gewurztraminer
Bronze: Malivoire Wine Company 2011 Gewurztraminer

Houselink Pinot Blanc/Pinot Gris Award
Gold: Henry of Pelham Family Estate 2011 Pinot Grigio
Silver: Stoney Ridge Cellars 2010 Excellence Pinot Gris
Bronze: Pelee Island 2011 Pinot Grigio

The Wine Establishment Sauvignon Blanc/Semillon Award
Gold: Creekside Estate 2010 Sauvignon Blanc Reserve
Silver: Colaneri Estate 2010 Fumoso Bianco
Bronze: Mike Weir Estate 2010 Sauvignon Blanc

680News Oaked Chardonnay Award ~ Under $20
Gold: Inniskillin 2010 Winemaker`s Series Montague Vineyard Chardonnay
Silver: Stoney Ridge Cellars 2010 Warren Classic Chardonnay
Bronze: Niagara College Teaching Winery 2009 Barrel-Fermented Chardonnay

NOW Magazine Oaked Chardonnay Award ~ Over $20
Gold: Niagara College Teaching Winery 2009 Dean`s List Chardonnay
Gold: Exultet Estates 2010 `The Blessed` Chardonnay
Silver: Malivoire Wine Company 2010 Forgotten Row Chardonnay
Silver: Angels Gate 2010 Rennie Estate Chardonnay
Bronze: Peller Estates 2009 Signature Series Chardonnay Sur Lie

Bullfrog Power Unoaked Chardonnay Award
Gold: Château des Charmes 2010 Chardonnay Musqué
Silver: Cornerstone Estate 2009 Chardonnay Musqué
Bronze: Vineland Estates 2011 Chardonnay Unoaked

Post City Magazines Rosé/Blanc de Noir Award
Gold: Sue-Ann Staff Estate 2011 Rosé
Silver: Inniskillin 2011 Pinot Noir Rosé
Bronze: Southbrook Vineyards 2011 Triomphe Rosé
Bronze: Malivoire Wine Company 2011 Ladybug Rosé

Gamay Award
Gold: No Gold Awarded
Silver: Thirteenth Street Winery 2009 Gamay Noir
Bronze: Malivoire Wine Company 2011 Malivoire Gamay
Bronze: Malivoire Wine Company 2011 M2 Small Lot Gamay

Grape Growers of Ontario Pinot Noir Award
Gold: Coyote`s Run Estate 2009 Red Paw Vineyard Pinot Noir
Silver: Thirteenth Street Winery 2009 Essence Pinot Noir
Bronze: Rosewood Estates 2010 Pinot Noir Reserve

Crush Wine Bar Red Hybrid Award
Gold: Malivoire Wine Company 2010 Old Vines Foch
Silver: Georgian Hills Vineyards 2010 Marechal Foch
Bronze: Henry of Pelham Family Estate 2010 Baco Noir

Cabernet Sauvignon Award
Gold: No Gold Awarded
Silver: Magnotta Winery 2008 Cabernet Sauvignon Special Reserve
Bronze: G. Marquis Vineyards 2009 Red Line Cabernet Sauvignon
Bronze: Southbrook Vineyards 2010 Whimsy Cabernet Sauvignon

680News Cabernet Franc Award
Gold: Lailey Vineyards 2010 Cabernet Franc
Silver: Malivoire Wine Company 2010 Wismer Cabernet Franc
Bronze: Vignoble Rancourt Winery 2007 Cabernet Franc

The Stonemill Bakehouse Ltd. Merlot Award
Gold: Tawse 2009 David`s Block Merlot
Silver: Rosewood Estates 2010 Merlot
Bronze: Jackson-Triggs 2009 Gold Series Merlot

Dairy Farmers of Canada Syrah/Shiraz Award
Gold: Creekside Estate 2008 Broken Press Syrah
Silver: Kacaba Vineyards 2009 Single Vineyard Syrah
Silver: Peninsula Ridge Estates 2010 Syrah Reserve
Bronze: Lailey Vineyards 2010 Syrah

The Ontario Wine Society Meritage and Cabernet/Merlot Blends Award
Gold: Cattail Creek Estate 2007 Reserve Series Cabernet Merlot
Silver: Vineland Estates 2009 Elevation Cabernet
Bronze: Hillebrand Estates 2010 Trius Red

VIA Rail Canada Late Harvest Award
Gold: Konzelmann Estate 2010 Special Select Late Harvest Vidal
Silver: Colaneri Estate 2010 Profondo Mistera
Bronze: Caroline Cellars 2008 Late Harvest Riesling

Ottawa Wine and Food Festival Vidal Icewine Award
Gold: Inniskillin 2007 Oak-Aged Vidal Icewine
Silver: Reif Estate 2010 Vidal Icewine
Bronze: Inniskillin 2010 Sparkling Icewine
Bronze: Konzelmann Estate 2010 Vidal Icewine

LCBO Vinifera Icewine Award
Gold: Inniskillin 2008 Riesling Icewine
Silver: Sue-Ann Staff Estate 2007 Riesling Icewine
Silver: G. Marquis Vineyards 2009 Silver Line Riesling Icewine
Bronze: Jackson-Triggs 2007 Delaine Vineyard Riesling Icewine
Bronze: Inniskillin 2007 Cabernet Franc Icewine

Allen’s Blended White Award
Gold: Henry of Pelham Family Estate 2010 Family Tree White
Silver: Creekside Estate 2010 Laura`s White
Bronze: Hillebrand Estates 2010 Trius White

Allen’s Blended Red Award
Gold: Creekside Estate 2010 Cabernet Shiraz
Silver: Colaneri Estate 2009 Insieme
Bronze: Crush Wines 2010 Crush Red

ASL Print FX Best Label Design Award
Gold: Diamond Estates – The Winery 2010 NHL Alumni Hat Trick Red
Silver: Flat Rock Cellars 2010 The Rogue Pinot Noir
Bronze: Mike Weir The underdog Wine Co. 2009 White

Post City Magazines Wine Journalism Award
Michael Pinkus

Vintage Hotels Red Wine of the Year Award
Cattail Creek Estate 2007 Reserve Series Cabernet Merlot

Vintage Hotels White Wine of the Year Award
Inniskillin 2008 Riesling Icewine

Larry Paterson Innovation in the Vineyard Award
Rob Power, Creekside Estate Winery

Vintage Hotels Winemaker of the Year Award
Andrzej Lipinski, Colaneri Estate Winery

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