Monday, February 25: A meeting with Doris Maculan Bradley at George Brown to discuss Grapes for Humanity’s fund-raiser event on March 21st, BAAH! The Great Lamby Cook-Off.
Came out to find my car had been ticketed. I’d parked in a metered area but there was a sign that said something about loading vehicles. $40. Rats.
Wrote my Post City Magazine column. For dinner, grilled salmon with a bottle of Tommasi Poggio al Tufo Vermentino 2011 from Maremma (straw coloured with a floral, peach and apple bouquet; medium-bodied with a touch of sweetness in mid-palate (88)).
Tuesday, February 26: A meeting Marc Stone and Gordon Henderson to discuss the possibility of a TV detective series. Worked on the novel before taking the TTC down to Hotel Ocho on Spadina for a dinner tasting with Dennis Martin, director of winemaking for Fetzer Vineyards.
- Fetzer Pinot Grigio 2011 (10–12% Chardonnay, Viognier and Muscat added in): straw coloured with a nose of lemon crystals and white peach’ on the palate, flavours of green pineapple and apple, fresh, spicy and aromatic with lively acidity. (88)
- Fetzer Gewurztraminer 2011 (15% Muscat added in): spicy, rose petal and lychee nose; sweet, spicy soft on the palate with a Turkish delight flavour. (88)
- Jeckel Chardonnay 2010: straw colour; oaky, caramel, apple and orange peel nose with a smoky vanilla note; full on the palate with tropical fruit flavours. Old style California Chardonnay. (89)
- Fetzer Cabernet Sauvignon 2010 (with Ruby Cabernet, Syrah and Petite Sirah): ruby colour; a nose of tobacco, currants with a floral top note; sweet plum and currant flavour, medium-bodied and soft tannins. A cunningly commercial wine. (87)
- Sanctuary Pinot Noir Ben Nacido Vineyard 2009: ruby colour; smoky, charred nose with vanilla, herbal and black cherry notes; medium-bodied, cherry flavour with lively acidity; nicely balanced with a lovely caressing mouth feel. (90) Dennis says: “If I were only to make one wine, it would be Pinot Noir.”
- Sanctuary Cabernet Sauvignon Usibelli Vineyard 2009: deep ruby colour; cedar, blackcurrant, vanilla oak note; soft on the palate, easy drinking, with black fruit flavours and a milk chocolate note on the finish. (88+)
Wednesday, February 27: Worked on the novel after recording my 680 News wine reviews.
Thursday, February 28: Divided the day between work on the novel and answering the editor’s queries on the wine book.
Friday, March 1: Went for a blood test this morning, not my favourite thing to do. In the afternoon Deborah and I drove down to Niagara Falls to take part in Cuvée. A different format this year – instead of winemakers judging the wines that are to be poured at the event, each winery selects one wine. The ballroom of the Fallsview Casino is divided into a white wine section, marked with towers of white balloons, and a red wine section similarly marked with red balloons. I presented my annual Cuvée Award of Excellence to Terence Van Rooyen, winemaker at Niagara Teaching College, “for honing the skills of future cool climate winemakers for Canada and the world.”
Criveller’s sweet table at Cuvée
Tasted some terrific Ontario wines, sampled the amazing sweet table, then finished off the night in the casino. Dropped a quick $20 on the slots and repaired to bed. At 1:15 am the phone woke us. A wrong number – a woman looking for a friend.
Saturday, March 2: The Experts’ Tasting at Brock University’s Pond Inlet. This year the theme was Bordeaux red varieties. April Kilpatrick, the Sommelier at Windows by Jamie Kennedy, was the host. In the four flights served blind the varieties – mostly from the 2010 vintage – were Merlot, Cabernet Franc, Meritage and “Meaty, Beaty, Big and Bouncy.” Got a lift back to town with Harald Thiel.