A Wine Lover’s Diary, part 402: Hillebrand Jazz

Monday, July 9: A tasting at Doug Towers’s house for winerytohome.com. Deborah joined us and we had dinner in the garden prepared by Doug’s wife Judy.

Tuesday, July 10: After a day of working on the novel I took time off to do some tasting.

  • Jackson-Triggs Crisp & Lively Reserve White (Riesling & Gewurztraminer) 2011: medium straw colour; spicy, minerally, melon nose; with a light floral note; off-dry, spicy melon and apple flavours. (87)
  • Jackson-Triggs Sauvignon Blanc Reserve 2011: medium straw colour; grassy, green pepper bouquet; lean, tart, green plum and peapod flavour, with a crisp acidic finish. (86)
  • Jackson-Triggs Chardonnay Reserve 2011: medium straw colour; spicy apple nose with a hint of vanilla oak; medium-bodied, soft and creamy on the palate with sweetness in mid palate and peachy flavour. Good value at $11.95. (88)
  • Jackson-Triggs Rich & Robust Red Reserve (Shiraz Cabernet) 2010: deep purple-ruby colour; earthy, herbal, pepper and black fruits on the nose; medium-bodied, sweet and savoury flavours of vanilla, blackberry and herbal notes. (87)
  • Jackson-Triggs Merlot 2010: deep ruby colour; cedar, redcurrant, vanilla oak nose; lean, redcurrant with evident tannins and a dry finish. (86)
  • G. Marquis The Silver Line Pinot Noir 2011: ruby colour; menthol, cherry nose; light on the palate, minty cherry and raspberry flavours with a firm tannic finish. (88)
  • Stoney Ridge Excellence Meritage 2009: deep ruby colour; cedar, red berry nose; sour cherry flavour and redcurrant flavours with a tannic bite on the finish. (86)
  • Liberty School Zinfandel 2009: deep ruby colour; leather, plum, fresh mushrooms on the nose; sweet spicy plum flavour; full-bodied, evident alcohol. (87)

For dinner, grilled tilapia with a bottle of Bancroft Estate “B” Sauvignon Blanc 2011 (very pale colour with green plum and lemon grass nose; rich and full-bodied passion fruit and grapefruit flavours (89)).

Wednesday, July 11: Wrote my Wines of the Week reviews and had lunch with Lindsay Groves at Grano. Daria Garofoli, the owner of Antica Casa Garofoli in Marche, came in and Robero Martella treated to her Garofoli Verdicchio V 2010 (light straw colour; minerally, white peach bouquet; medium-bodied, crisply, stoney, peach flavour with a lemony finish (88)).

Met Paul Lokash at Camerini over a glass of Israel Cabernet Sauvignon. For dinner, roast chicken with a bottle of Fromm La Strada Pinot Noir 2009 (light ruby colour; earthy, raspberry nose with a sweet raspberry flavour tinged with violets; medium-bodied, elegant Burgundian style. An exceptionally fine Pinot (92)).

Thursday, July 12: Wrote my On the Go column on summer rosés. Lunch at Biff’s with Steve and Jacques Pauwels to discuss next year’s wine tour to Provence. Toulouse, Carcassone, Sète, Avignon, Châteauneuf-du-Pape, Tavel, Lirac, Bandol, Aix-en-Provence, Cassis. Going to be a great trip. We sat outside on a hot day over a bottle of Domaine du Roncée Cuvée Marie Justine Rosé 2010. Impressed by the Summerlicious menu. I had marinated salmon, grilled calamari salad and a lemon tart.

Worked some more on the novel. For dinner, chicken salad with Inniskillin East West Series Chardonnay 2010 (straw colour; spicy apple and pear flavours, medium-bodied with good acidity (88)).

Stock's sommelier Zoltan Szabo and Tony

Stock’s sommelier Zoltan Szabo and Tony

Friday, July 13: Received an email inviting me to a tasting of a product recently purchased by the LCBO – Bakon, a bacon-flavoured vodka. Just the thing to match breakfast, I imagine. I gave it a miss.

A Vintages release tasting today. Dinner with Deborah at Stock in the Trump Hotel, where my buddy Zoltan Szabo is the sommelier. He started us off with a glass of Champagne, Agrapart Blanc de Blancs Extra Brut. Then he brought to the table a series of wines he had been tasting the day before: Sandrone Le Vigne Barolo 2001 in magnum, the same wines from 2006 and 2007, Admiral de Beychevelle 2008, Gianni Brunelli Brunello di Montalcino 2006. We began with an amuse-gueule of spicy gazpacho. I ordered ricotta ravioli & wild mushrooms sautéed locally grown varietals, charred leeks, perigord truffle. With this Zoltan recommended Domaine du Closel La Jalousie Savenièrres Chateau des Vaults 2009. My main was New York strip steak with Yukon gold frites and truffle aioli. For dessert, Deborah and I shared a lemon lavender gâteau with a glass of Cave Spring Indian Summer Riesling 2010. A great evening.

Saturday, July 14: I drove down to Niagara for the annual Hillebrand Jazz Festival. Unfortunately Deborah was working and couldn’t accompany me. Winemaker Craig McDonald welcomed his guests – mainly wine writers – with a glass of Hillebrand Showcase Sparkling Sauvignon Blanc 2009 (active mousse; bready, grapefruit nose; green apple flavour with a refreshingly tart finish – 89). This was followed by Trius Rosé Brut (deep salmon colour; minerally, wild strawberry nose; strawberry and raspberry flavour, very dry with a tannic edge (88)).

Hillebrand winemaker Craig McDonald

Hillebrand winemaker Craig McDonald

Then our group proceeded into the tasting room for a series of wines.

  • Trius Riesling 2011: pale straw, minerally, lime nose with a light floral note; tart, grapefruit flavour with a light white honey note. Fresh finish. (87+)
  • Hillebrand Showcase Ghost Creek Riesling 2011: very pale colour; minerally, grapefruit skin nose; flavours of ripe apricot, honey with a floral note; lovely mouth feel and great balance with a lemony finish. (91)
  • Trius Sauvignon Blanc 2011: very pale colour; sweaty, cat’s pee nose; crisply dry, grassy green plum, gooseberry and lime flavours. (87)
  • Hillebrand Showcase Sauvignon Blanc 2010: straw colour with vanilla oak, passion fruit on the nose; Bordeaux style – rich passion fruit and gooseberry flavours; clean, dry finish. (90)
  • Hillebrand Showcase Sauvignon Blanc 2011 (barrel sample): straw colour; grassy, gooseberry and evident oak nose; initial sweetness of the fruit turns tart in the mouth with gooseberry and preen plum flavours. (89+)
  • Hillebrand Showcase Merlot 2010: dense purple-ruby colour; floral, blueberry and currants on the nose; medium-bodied, dry and firmly structured with sweet fruit and good balancing acidity, finishing on a dark chocolate note. (89)
  • Hillebrand Cabernet Franc 2010: dense purple colour; cedar, herbs, currants with a green note; fine mouth feel, dry and firm with lively acidity; full in the mouth with ripe tannins and a warm alcoholic finish. (88)
  • Hillebrand Showcase Cabernet Sauvignon 2010: dense purple colour; vanilla oak, cedar, spicy blackcurrant and lead pencil nose; dry, elegant. Firmly structured with ripe tannins. (89+)
  • Trius Grand Red 2010 (Merlot35%, Cabernet Franc 32%, Cabernet Sauvignon 33%): dense purple colour; cedar, blackcurrant, sweet fruit, elegant claret style, a wine with grip. Blackcurrant and cocoa powder tannins. (91)

Then outside and up to the tower overlooking the stage for dinner. Lobster, cucumber and watermelon soup, foie gras on tomato jam and deep-fried polenta chips.

  • Trius Rosé 2011 (56% Syrah, 31% Merlot 13%, 13% Cabernet Franc): deep pink colour; peppery raspberry character, dry, easy drinking. (88)
  • Hillebrand Showcase Chardonnay Olivera Vineyard 2009: straw colour; barnyard note, lean, green apple, vanilla oak nose; medium-bodied, Burgundian style, fresh and lively on the palate; sustains well with tart green apple acidity. Lots of energy. (89)

Icewine-cured salmon and charcuterie with:

  • Trius Barrel Fermented Chardonnay 2010 (broad, full on the palate, melon and peach flavours backed by vanilla oak with lively acidity. (90)
  • Trius Chardonnay 2011: light straw colour; apple nose with a suggestion of oak; dry, spicy, apple and rhubarb flavours with a fresh finish. (86)

Then the main course came – beef on the bone with deep-fried onion rings, glazed carrots, grilled aubergine and chicken drumsticks and chorizo pot pie. I left before dessert to get to the Prince of Wales, where I stayed the night.

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