A Wine Lover’s Diary, part 401: Toronto Sizzles

Monday, July 2: A holiday Monday since Canada Day fell on a Sunday; but I had deadlines. Polished the article on Canada’s Top Chef Carl Heinrich and wrote my Post City Magazines column. For dinner, steak on the BBQ with a bottle of Tawse Pinot Noir 2007.

Tuesday, July 3: A day of meetings – but first a visit to my doctor for my annual check-up, which included a blood and urine test. I’m not good about giving blood and the technician in finding a vein obviously caused some internal bleeding because the puncture point bruised and I looked like I’d been shooting up.

A meeting with Chef Massimo Capra at Mistura to discuss the menu for a white truffle dinner as a fund-raiser for Grapes for Humanity on November 7th, with fine wines to match a five-course dinner. Then Sandy Ward picked me up to go to a meeting with Paul Kostoff at Mediresource to discuss updating my website. Finally a dinner meeting with the board of IWEG to discuss the move into the new offices on Shuter Street, overlooking the Eaton Centre. I still can’t believe that the Eaton Centre is the second largest tourist attraction in Ontario after Niagara Falls.

Wednesday, July 4: Spent the day working on Nightmare in Napa which means it was a good day. About half way through the first draft. Deborah and I were invited to dinner by Jerome Cauchard, the French Consul in Toronto, to say farewell to Patrick Imbert, the French Trade Commissioner. Patrick has been posted to Dusseldorf and Jerome is leaving to for a posting in Beirut. I put him in touch with Serge Hochar of Château Musar in the Bekaa Valley.

Thursday, July 5: A blisteringly hot day (a record hot day for Toronto at 38° Celsisus) so I decided to do some tasting. I had received four wines from Lacey Estates in Prince Edward County and two Constellation Brands wines they label Vintage Ink:

  • Lacey Estates Pinot Noir 2010: ruby-plum colour; spicy, minty. Red cherry nose; light-bodied, dry, earthy, lean and sinewy with an acidic finish. (86)
  • Lacey Estates Pinot Gris 2011: gold with a pink tinge; peach pie nose; crisply dry, green peach flavour; light on the palate with a lemony finish. (87)
  • Lacey Estate Chardonnay 2010: straw with a greenish tint; vanilla, cashew nut, popcorn nose; medium-bodied, dry, cidery with a sharp acidic finish. (85)
  • Lacey Estate Gewurztraminer Reserve 2011 : straw colour; spicy, earthy, lychee, cinnamon nose; dry, rose petal, lychee nut with a lemony finish. (88)
  • Vintage Ink Chardonnay 2011: light straw colour with a lime tint; leesy, pear nose; medium-bodied, perfumed, vanilla, floral, pear flavour with a nutty finish. (88)
  • Vintage Ink Merlot-Cabernet 2010 (Niagara Peninsula): deep ruby-purple colour; cedar, redcurrant nose; soft on the palate, sweet berry fruit, firmly structured, finishes dry. (87)

For dinner with pasta and meat sauce, Hegarty Chamans Minervois No. 2 2009, a blend of Grenache, Mourvèdre and Cinsault (deep purple colour with a floral, sweet raspberry nose; Amarone like in texture, full-bodied, thick and chunky on the palate, almost porty with a pencil lead finish and cocoa powder tannins (90)).

Friday, July 6: Another sizzling day. Had a Vintages release tasting. Did a video tribute to Chris Layton, who is retiring from the LCBO communications department after thirty years. His father was Lord Athol Layton, so I said he now had time to take up wrestling.

For dinner with grilled chicken, Ponzi Vineyards Chardonnay Reserve 2007 from the Willamette Valley (deep straw colour with a rich bouquet of pineapple and oak spicy; generous and full in the mouth, a beautifully balanced wine (91)). This is one of the wines that will be poured at the International Cool Climate Chardonnay Celebration in Niagara the weekend of July 20–22.

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