Monday, November 26: Wrote my 680News wine reviews in the morning, then worked on the wine book, writing a profile on Garry Oaks winery and on Harry McWatters, the Godfather of BC wines. Then settled down to taste the following wines from Rockway Vineyards in Niagara:
- Rockway Vineyards Patio 9 Vidal Spritz 2011: very pale colour; melon and citrus peel with an oily note on the nose; light petillance, tart, green plum and grapey Muscat note. Reminiscent of a Moscato d’Asti. Light on the palate at 9% alcohol. (86)
- Rockway Vineyards Riesling Small Lot Reserve 2011: very pale, almost water white with a green tint; minerally, lime and grapefruit nose with a hint of petrol; light on the palate, lively acidity controlling the sweet grapefruit and apricot flavours finishing off-dry. (88)
- Rockway Vineyards White Assemblage Small Lot Reserve 2011 (45% Chardonnay, 40% Riesling, 15% Gewurztraminer): pale straw colour; aromatic, apple and citrus notes; soft, unctuous mouth feel, fresh acidity with a peach and lychee flavour. (87)
- Rockway Vineyards Chardonnay Small Lot Reserve 2011: pale straw colour; tropical fruit nose with a oak note; full on the palate with a nutty note on the finish; there’s a thickness on the palate that slows the energy of the wine from mid palate to finish. (87)
- Rockway Vineyards Patio 9 Pink Vidal Cabernet Spritz 2011: pink with a bluish tint; oily, strawberry nose; light petillance, dry, light-bodied with a petrol note. Easy drinking. (87)
- Rockway Vineyards Cabernet Rosé 2011: deep pink with an orange hue; rhubarb, strawberry and leather on the nose; soft on the palate with a strawberry candy flavour and a mineral note; a little less residual sugar would have give the wine more zest in the mouth. (87)
- Rockway Vineyards The Outcast Small Lot Reserve 2010 (90% Syrah, 10% Riesling): ruby colour; peppery, blackberry with a floral note on the nose; milk chocolate and blackberry flavours on the palate, some bitterness on the finish. A bizarre blend that really doesn’t meld. (86)
- Rockway Vineyards Cabernet Franc Small Lot Reserve 2010: ruby colour; redcurrant nose with a cedary note, reminiscent of Loire Cabernet Franc on the nose; dry soft on the palate with ripe tannins; well-structured and firm with just a suggestion of oak. (88)
- Rockway Vineyards Merlot Small Lot Reserve 2010: deep ruby colour; spicy vanilla oak, blueberry and cedar notes on the nose; medium-bodied, dry, dark chocolate and blueberry flavour, grainy tannins on the finish. (87)
- Rockway Vineyards Syrah Small Lot Reserve 2010: deep ruby colour; smoky, peppery, blackberry nose; dry, herbal, black fruits flavours with lively acidity. (87)
- Rockway Vineyards Red Assemblage Small Lot Reserve 2010 (38% Cabernet Franc, 31% Cabernet Sauvignon, 31% Merlot): solid ruby colour; cedar, blackcurrant, coffee bean nose; medium-bodied, dry, well extracted fruit with lively acidity; black and redcurrant flavours with a firm tannic structure. (89)
Tuesday, November 27: Started work on the Ontario winery profiles; completed Inniskillin and Château des Charmes. In the evening to Auberge du Pommier to conduct a wine tasting dinner for the clients of an insurance company. The wines:
- Reception wine: Perrier-Jouët Grand Brut Champagne
- Domaine Roget Luquet Pouilly-Fuissé 2010 (Burgundy)
- Hunter’s Sauvignon Blanc 2010 (New Zealand)
- Marcus Molitor Bernkastler Badstube Riesling 2003 (Mosel)
- Seresin Raupo Creek Pinot Noir 2008 (New Zealand)
- Thomas George Zinfandel 2009 (Dry Creek Valley, California)
- Langmeil Valley Floor Shiraz 2009 (Barossa Valley, Australia)
Wednesday, November 28: A 9 am meeting with Firefly editors to discuss the content and formatting of the wine book and then spent the rest of the day working on it. My deadline to hand in the manuscript is February 1st so I’m concentrating my time on this project. In the evening before dinner I tasted the couple of Brunellos and a Moscato d’Asti.
- Carlo Molinari Le Fonte Brunello di Montalcino 2004: solid ruby colour; cherry, tea leaf and creamy, cedar notes on the nose; dry, medium-bodied, elegant with a caressing mouth-feel; firmly structured with grainy tannins and a fine spine of acidity. Youthful still, needs 2–3 years cellaring. (91)
- Carlo Molinari Le Fonte Brunello di Montalcino 2005: a shade deeper in ruby colour than the 2004; cherry and dried rose petal nose with an earthy tone and evident vanilla oak; well extracted, robust flavours of cooked cherry, licorice; firm tannic finish. Needs at least 3 years. (90)
Thursday, November 29: Recorded my 680News wine reviews and then lunched with Liz Gallery and Cathy Martin to discuss a Grapes for Humanity fund-raiser in May next year. Spent the rest of the day working on Ontario winery profiles. Dinner, grilled tilapia with a bottle of Mount Boucherie Semillon 2008 (straw-lime in colour; minerally, oily nose of white peach and elderberry; dry, medium-bodied, fresh on the palate with mouth-watering acidity (89)).
Friday, November 30: A Vintages tasting this morning for the November release. Wrote my month’s Commentary for Tidings magazine on Clos los Siete – a gated community in the Uco Valley for wealthy Bordeaux vintners.
Saturday, December 1: I had promised Guy that if he gave up smoking I would shave my head. Well, he gave up, and this afternoon Guy took electric clippers to my head. This is the result. Feeling pretty windy around my cranium.