A Wine Lover’s Diary, part 419: Grapes for Humanity Dinner

Chef Massimo Capra displays his truffles

Chef Massimo Capra displays his truffles (see Wednesday and Thursday)

Sunday, November 4: Haven’t had Riesling for a whole week so I opened a bottle of CedarCreek Riesling 2011 from BC. Made by my old mate from down under, Darryl Brooker, who used to make wines at Flat Rock Cellars and Hillebrand. This is one terrific Riesling, off-dry with lime, grapefruit, apple flavours with a honeyed top note. Fairly dances on the palate (90).

My son Guy came over for dinner. We started with Cloudy Bay Sauvignon Blanc 2012, always a very dependable wine. This new vintage is straw coloured with a floral, grassy, passionfruit and green bean nose; lovely mouth feel with tangy gooseberry and passion fruit flavours and lively acidity (91). With the roast chicken we had Joie Farm Pinot Noir Reserve 2010 (ruby colour; spicy cherry nose with an earthy note; dry, medium-bodied with cherry and clove flavours and soft tannins (90)).

Monday, November 5: In the morning I wrote my column for Winefox on how long to keep a wine after it has been opened. (Answer: I don’t understand the question. Once a bottle is opened it’s gone.) In the afternoon, down to Roy Thomson Hall for the annual Italian tasting. Best wines I tasted – Diadema Toscana IGT D’vino 2008, Frescobaldi Castelgiocondo Brunello di Montalcino 2007, Ornellaia 2009.

Dined with Sandro Boscaini at Barberians. We started with a glass of Masi Masianco 2011 (a blend of Pinot Grigio and Verduzzo). With my steak and frites Sandro brought out a bottle of a winery his company had purchased, Bossi Fedrigotti in Trento. The wine is called Fojaneghe 2008, produced from Merlot, Cabernet Franc and a small percentage of Teroldego. Sandro tells me it was the first wine in Italy to be made from Bordeaux grapes back in 1951. At first taste it reminded me of a Rhône Syrah, all smoked meat and roasted herbs but as it opened up the flavours became more Bordelais. A fascinating wine (91).


Tuesday, November 6: My daughter Annabel’s birthday. With the help of Marc Russell at the Fine Wine Reserve I dropped off the wines for the Grapes for Humanity tomorrow at Sopra. Then worked on my On the Go monthly column. Got to do some tasting before dinner.

  • EauVivre Cabernet Franc 2010 (Similkameen Valley): ruby colour; cedar, curranty nose with a spicy oak note; dry, medium-bodied, initial sweetness gives way to tart cranberry flavour; light and fresh on the palate with evident acidity. (87)
  • EauVivre Malbec 2010: ruby colour; tobacco with a floral note on the nose; light-bodied, dry, red berry flavour; firmly structured. (87)
  • EauVivre Buddhafull 2010 (a blend of Cabernet Franc, Cabernet Sauvignon, Malbec with Syrah): ruby colour; smoky, cedary, red berry fruit with a touch of green pepper on the nose; dry, light bodied, savoury red berry flavour with a herbal twist; well balanced with pliant tannins.
  • Lulu Island Meritage 2011 (Okanagan Valley – Merlot, Cabernet Franc, Cabernet Sauvignon, Petit Verdot): deep ruby colour; minerally, blackcurrant nose with toasty oak notes on the nose; lean and sinewy with redcurrant and cinnamon flavours. Light on the palate with chalky tannins. Short on the finish. (86)
  • Woodbridge Cabernet Sauvignon 2011 (California): ruby colour; smoky, tobacco leaf, red berry nose; medium-bodied, red and blackcurrant flavours with soft tannins; easy drinking. Good value at $12.95. (87)
  • Ruffino Modus 2008 (Tuscany – a blend of Sangiovese, Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot): deep ruby colour; minerally, cherry, nose; dry, medium-bodied, sinewy with a form tannic finish. (87)
  • Ruffino Riserva Ducale Oro Chianti Classico 2007: solid ruby with a brick rim; leather, cherry with some oak spice on the nose; medium-bodied, dry, elegant, cherry flavour, firmly structured. I was expecting more extract and substance for the vintage but it’s a good glass of wine. Nice ripe, defining tannins. (89)
  • Santa Rosa Malbec 2011 (magnum, Mendoza): deep ruby colour; high toned, blackberry, earthy nose; thick on the palate with American oak (oak chips? staves?) flavours; fruity but blunt on the finish. (86)
  • Marcus James Malbec 2011 (Mendoza): deep ruby colour; blackberry nose with some oak spice; medium-bodied, dry, fresh and lively on the palate; easy drinking, well balanced with ripe tannins that give structure to the finish. Good value at $10.10. (87+)
  • Santa Helena Vernus Cabernet Sauvignon 2008 (Chile): deep ruby colour; cedar, blackcurrant nose; medium-bodied, sweet blackcurrant fruit, juicy and enticing; firm structure with ripe tannins. Creamy mouth feel. A well-made wine. (90)

My son Guy came over for dinner and I cooked prawns on a bed of rice, with a bottle of Hamacher Chardonnay Cuvée Forêts Diverses 2009, which was a big hit at the International Cool Climate Chardonnay Celebration this summer. We watched the American election returns as we polished off the bottle.

Wednesday, November 7: Recorded my 680News wine reviews. It was “Bring Your Children to Work Day” at Rogers, so I had an audience while I recorded and fluffed my way through the recording.

Left at 2:45 pm to start setting up the fine wine auction for the Grapes for Humanity’s fund-raiser dinner. Here’s the menu:

Grapes for Humanity

Champagne Reception:Henriot Brut Souverain
(kindly donated by Woodman Wines & Spirits)

Amuse: Truffle infused Cauliflower Nuggets,
Lemon Truffle Aioli

First: “Razza Piemontese” Beef Carpaccio with White Truffle
& Castelmagno, Celery Root & Mushroom Salad
Antinori Cervaro della Salla 2009

Mid: Raviolone All’uovo & Ricotta,
Crema Tartufata & Tartufo Bianco
Hospices de Beaune Corton Vergennes 2005

Second: Halibut, White Bean Purée, Leeks Confit,
White Truffle Caviar
Remoissenet Chassagne-Montrachet “Morgeot” 2007

Palate cleanser: Sgroppino Tartufato

Main course: Roasted Truffle Infused Stuffed Goose, Chestnuts, Cipolline, Carrots, & Mushrooms
Ceretto Barbaresco Bernadot 2007
& Château Lafite-Rothschild 1989

Dessert: Hazelnut & Robiola Cheesecake
with Truffled Icewine Ice Cream
Château d’Yquem 1983

Chocolate Truffles & Cookies with Espresso & Grappa.

Thursday, November 8: Last night’s dinner, prepared by Chef Massimo Capra and his kitchen at Sopra, was amazing. Paolo, Massimo’s partner in the restaurant, put out a basket of white truffles that perfumed the room. Adrienne Rosen gave a very moving address on the need for schools in Guatemala and showed a short film. The night was a great success; we raised $60,000 to build a secondary school in La Union. This morning I’m clearing my desk (metaphorically speaking, since it’s piled with papers always) as I leave for Turkey tonight. I’m attending a wine bloggers’ conference in Izmir. The last time I was in Turkey I was 21 and I got the worst case of food poisoning. I thought I was going to die. I also got very drunk on raki in the bar of the Istanbul Hilton.

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