Monday, December 31: Spent the day shopping for food and preparing for tonight’s dinner party to celebrate New Year’s Eve. The guests are Gord Stimmell and his wife Carole, David Lawrason and his partner Carol, and Gord’s neighbours Bob and Sandy McFee. The menu: appetizers (hummus made from the chick peas I brought back from Turkey; and endives with goat’s cheese). First course: lobster tails on Bibb lettuce with beurre blanc. Main course: osso buco with French beans and boiled potatoes. Cheeses (Livarot and 5-year-old Ontario cheddar). Dessert: pumpkin pie and vanilla ice cream. I had ordered the veal shanks from my butcher a week ago and he called at 2 pm to say they were ready to be picked up. Except they were frozen! But it all turned out very well in the end. The wines for the night:
- (with appetizers) Louis Bouillot Crémant de Bourgogne Rosé and Monetto Prosecco Extra Dry
- (with the lobster) Domaine de la Vougeraie Clos Vougeot Blanc de Vougeot 2006 and Peter Michael Ma Belle Fille Chardonnay 2009
- (with osso buco) Bouchard Père et Fils Savigny-les-Beaune Les Lavières 1999 and Remoissenet Père et Fils Chambolle-Musigny Les Echanges 2007
- (with the cheese) Opus One 1997
- (with dessert) Château Theulet Monbazilla 1990 (marginally corked unfortunately) and Balthazar Ress Oestricher Doosberg Riesling Eiswein 1994
To ring in the New Year, a bottle of Perrier-Jouët Grand Brut Champagne. A great evening with much laughter.
Tuesday, January 1: Pinot the Wonder Dog’s birthday. She’s 8 years old today and still behaves like a puppy. She’s enjoying the osso buco bones from last night. My New Year’s resolution is the same as last year’s – to finish my novel, Nightmare In Napa – but I think I can keep it because two-thirds of the story is already on paper (or to be more accurate, in my computer). Otherwise took it easy today, no work. Prepared tilapia for dinner, accompanied by a bottle of Stoney Ridge Excellence Pinot Gris 2010 (deeply coloured, rich peach flavour with well integrated oak; full-bodied. 88).
Wednesday, January 2: Worked on Quebec winery profiles for the wine book. The manuscript is due February 2nd. For dinner, grilled chicken breasts, which Deborah had left under the broiler too long – but I ate them anyway because they were accompanied by a gorgeous bottle of Wynns Coonawarra Estate V & A Lane Shiraz 2009 (deep ruby colour; rich blackberry liqueur nose with vanilla oak; full-bodied yet elegant with a savoury, herbal note contrasting nicely with the sweetness of the fruit – 91).
Thursday, January 3: Heard today that the Toronto Star‘s Winefox website is folding. A pity, as I enjoyed writing for it. Another market gone. Another day of work on Quebec winery profiles. Began work on the Ontario Wine Awards, preparing the letters to go out to the wineries. The Wine Council of Ontario has invited me to host a group of British, Hong Kong and American sommeliers at 13th Street winery on January 20th. I have to choose what I believe to be the best Ontario wines in the following categories – sparkling, Riesling, Chardonnay, Pinot Noir and Cabernet Franc. Should be a lot of fun.
For dinner, sautéed shrimp and rice with a bottle of Blue Mountain Chardonnay 2011 from the Okanagan (straw colour with a hint of green; spicy, vanilla, pineapple and peach nose; richly extracted and beautifully balanced pineapple and citrus flavours; medium to full-bodied with a lively acidic spine – 90).
Friday, January 4: A Vintages release tasting today. On the subway down, began reading the Leonard Cohen biography. For dinner, we ordered in Chinese food and I opened a bottle of Tinhorn Creek Gewurztraminer 2009 from the Okanagan (straw colour with a good varietal nose of lychee and rose petal; firm and full on the palate finishing dry – 88). (Deborah and I had the left-over Chinese food for dinner on Saturday with a bottle of Mission Hill Viognier 2010 (which was an even better match – aromatic with an elegant peach and pineapple flavour – 89).)