A Wine Lover’s Diary, part 441: Ontario Wine Awards, Part II

Sweet wines tasting for Ontario Wine Awards
Sweet wines tasting for Ontario Wine Awards

Monday, April 15: Spent the morning going over the electronic galleys of the Canadian wine book. At 1 pm down to the Arcadian Loft for a portfolio tasting of Family Wine Merchants. Twenty-nine wineries pouring their products, about 135 in all. Didn’t get around to them all but my top scoring wines were Joseph Drouhin Chassagne-Montrachet Morgeot Marquis de Laguiche 2010 (93), Marimar Estate Mas Cavalls Pinot Noir 2009 (92), Bests’ Great Western Bin 0 Shiraz 2010 (91), Greywacke Pinot Noir 2011 (90), Avontuur Estate Dominion Royale Shiraz 2009 (90), Château Mont-Redon Châteauneuf du Pape 2000 in magnum (90) and Te Pa Sauvignon Blanc 2012 (90).

Tuesday, April 16: Had a make-up tasting for a Vintages release that I missed because I was in Rochester, New York (finally got the summons for my speeding ticket in Tonawanda – $235!). Dinner with Joe and Laurissa Canavan at The Grove, 1214 Dundas West. A terrific meal almost spoiled by a waiter who was abrupt and unhelpful. The food is first class but the wines are over-priced.

Wednesday, April 17: This morning a tasting at National Club, three vintages of Opus One, hosted by the CEO of Opus, David Pearson – 2005, 2007 and 2009.

  • Opus 2005: dense ruby colour; cedar, cigar box, spicy black cherry nose; richly extracted, sweet tobacco, chocolate, licorice and vanilla oak flavours. Full-bodied fleshy and firm (93). Price: $420
  • Opus 2007: dense ruby colour; cedar, chocolate, oak nose, more claret-like in style, leaner than the 2005 (92). Price: $399
  • Opus 2009: dense ruby colour; cedar, savoury, black fruit nose with a note of violets; firm structure, lovely mouth feel, balanced and elegant with powdery tannins (91).

The reason these wines are expensive in Ontario, compared with the US, is that they are distributed by brokers in Bordeaux rather than sales direct from the winery.

The wines were poured with the lunch:

Cannelloni Crepe Filled with Portobello Mushroms with a Sage Butter Sauce

Grilled Grandview Farms Bison Tenderloin with Cabernet Sauvignon Reduction

Individual Artisanal Cheese Presentation with Epoisse, Sainte Maure de Touraine and Port-Infused Stilton

For dinner, grilled trout with Mission Hill 5 Vineyard Pinot Blanc 2010 (light straw colour; peach and citrus nose; well-balanced peach and pineapple flavours with lively acidity (89)).

Thursday, April 18: A winerytohome.com tasting with David Lawrason and Doug Towers at Doug’s house. Dinner at Grano with Irv Wolkoff and Barry Brown. I brought along a bottle of Bouchard Père & Fils Pommard Combes 1999, which was delicious. Barry brought Equipo Navazos La Bota de Fino No. 5, a rich fino sherry, and Perelada Finca Garbet 2004. Irv brought Trimbach Gewurztraminer Sélection de Grains Nobles 1989. We ordered a glass of Anselmi San Vincenzo 2012 with the deep-fried calamari, salami and prosciutto. A plate of pasta, then braised beef and lamb chops. Finished off with a grappa and walked home to clear my head.

Friday, April 19: A Vintages release tasting this morning. For dinner, pasta with a bottle of Valle Reale Montepulciano d’Abruzzo 2008 (dense purple-black colour; tobacco and cherry on the nose; medium-bodied, dry, cherry and plum flavours with a tannic lift on the finish (88)). Had an email from my ex telling me that there were pornographic ads on my website pages. Google ads. She was right! Having my webmaster look into it. Is nothing sacred.

Saturday, April 20: The second day of judging for the Ontario Wine Awards at Crush. One panel – Chris Waters, Rick VanSickle, Edward Finstein and Evan Saviolidis – had to taste 46 Ontario Meritage.

Judging the first half of a flight of 46 Meritage at the Ontario Wine Awards
Judging the first half of a flight of 46 Meritage at the Ontario Wine Awards

It looks like winter is back again. There were snow flurries and cold winds. For dinner, BBQ steak and a bottle of Silverback Vineyards Sangiovese 2010 (dense purple colour; vanilla oak, sour cherry and pencil lead nose; medium-bodied, dry, acidic and a little hard on the finish. (87)).

Sunday, April 21: Had a difficult time driving down to the Fine Wine Reserve for Ontario Wine Awards’ sweet wine judging. There was a 10K run which blocked off Spadina. After the judging Deborah and I walked Pinot and then drove to The Toronto Hunt Club for a memorial event for Ann and Barbara Ritchie. The wine community turned out in force. The twins’ sisters Margot and Heather gave moving tributes.

In the evening my son Guy and Deborah’s sister Suzanne came to dinner. I had made hummus to start with Joie Farm Pinot Blanc 2012 (pale straw colour; minerally, white peach and pear nose; medium-bodied, well extracted peachy flavour, well balanced with a lemony finish (89)). Barbecued Cornish hen with Silverback Vineyards Wallula Vineyard Reference 2010 (a Bordeaux-style blend with all five varieties – deep ruby colour; oaky, tasty, licorice nose; medium-bodied, dry, black fruit flavours. (87)).

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