A Wine Lover’s Diary, part 444: Ontario Wine Awards

Monday, May 6: Wrote my Post City magazine column and then went down to Modus Restaurant on King Street to taste the 2011 Burgundies of Marchand-Tawse. Both Pascal Marchand and Moray Tawse were there to discuss the wines.

  • Marchand-Tawse Avalon Blanc 2011: straw coloured with a grassy, green apple flavour; fresh and lively and well balanced (88)
  • Marchand-Tawse Village Meursault 2011: crisp, green apple and green nut flavours with a mineral thread (89)
  • Marchand-Tawse Puligny-Montrachet Champ Gain 2011: smoky, minerally nose, green apple flavour, lots of energy here and length (90)
  • Marchand-Tawse Beaune Les Tuvilains 2011: light ruby colour; floral, cherry nose; dry, good concentration of fruit with a firm finish (89)
  • Marchand-Tawse Volnay 2011: leather and cherry nose; richly extracted and well structured, a very masculine Volnay (90)
  • Marchand-Tawse Corton Rouge 2011: earthy, cherry nose, firmly structured and muscular; more extract than your usual Corton (90)
  • Marchand-Tawse Clos de Vougeot 2011: deeply coloured with a nose of violets and black raspberries; well extracted fruit, firm structure. A solid wine that will develop well. (92)

There were also a couple of Tawse’s Ontario wines for tasting, with winemaker Paul Pender in attendance.

  • Tawse Quarry Road Chardonnay 2010: straw coloured with a toasty, citrus and apple nose; full-bodied, minerally with ripe melon and toast flavours (90+)
  • Tawse Robyn’s Block Chardonnay 2010: full on the palate, broader than the Quarry road, the mineral and apple flavours (90).

Dinner at home: tilapia with a bottle of Back 10 Cellars The Big Reach Riesling 2012 (a new Ontario winery – very pale in colour with a lime tint; minerally, grapefruit, lemon and honey nose; light on the palate, a good balance of sweetness and acidity with a racy finish (89)).

Tuesday, May 7: Wrote my 680News wine reviews and spent the rest of the day on Grapes for Humanity’s fund-raiser coming up on Thursday at the Gardiner Museum. Getting the auction wines in order. For dinner, grilled trout with a bottle of Strewn Barrel-Aged Chardonnay 2011 (deep straw colour; leesy, apple, minerally nose; dry, minerally, pear, pineapple and apple flavours with a toasty oak finish (89)).

Wednesday, May 8: A tasting and lunch at Grano. New Zealander Jamie Marfel, the winemaker from Stoneleigh, is in town to the annual New Zealand wine show tomorrow. He showed the following wines:

  • Stoneleigh Sauvignon Blanc 2012: very pale colour with a hint of lime; grassy, grapefruit, minerally nose; crisply dry with mouth-watering acidity and a gooseberry flavour (88)
  • Stoneleigh Latitude Sauvignon Blanc 2012: pale straw colour with a hint of lime; grassy, guava, green pepper nose; ripe grapefruit and lychee flavours with a floral note; very fresh and round on the palate with an elderberry note (89)
  • Stoneleigh Rapaura Sauvignon Blanc 2012: pale straw with a lime tint; minerally, smoky, green plum and tobacco leaf nose; round on the palate with elderberry and grapefruit flavours. Very Pouilly-Fumé in style, beautifully balanced with a lovely mouth feel. (91)
  • Stoneleigh Pinot Noir 2012: ruby colour; white pepper and cherry nose with a suggestion of oak; dry, fruity, cherry flavour; medium-bodied with refreshing acidity; quite elegant (88)
  • Stoneleigh Latitude Pinot Noir 2011: ruby colour; beetroot, violets, cherry and smoky oak nose; richly extracted black cherry flavour with a firmly structured finish (89)
  • Stoneleigh Rapaura Pinot Noir 2011: ruby colour; earthy, raspberry nose with a light floral note; full on the palate, richly extracted raspberry and cherry fruit flavours; beautifully balanced with ripe, sculpted tannins (90)

In the evening Deborah and I went to Edulis, which had been voted as the Best New Restaurant in Canada by En Route magazine. We booked about six weeks ago, It’s a tiny place with 44 seats on Niagara Street. We ordered the five-dish menu accompanied by a bottle of Zahel Grüner Veltliner “Goldberg” 2012 and a glass of Bodegas Diaz Bayo “Nuestro” Tempranillo 2010 from Ribera del Duero. The food was very good but we found five dishes were too many and could have done without the roasted rolled veal.

Thursday, May 9: Recorded my 680News reviews and then went to the New Zealand Wine Fair in the Bluma Appel Room at the Reference Library. One room was devoted to 16 Sauvignon Blanc from all the regions on both islands with a map.

New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc regions
New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc regions

My favourites were both from the Marlborough region – Craggy Range Te Muna Road Sauvignon Blanc 2011 and Saint Clair Pioneer Block 1 Foundation Sauvignon Blanc 2012. In the larger room were 33 producers. I couldn’t spend too much time tasting, as I had to be down at the Gardiner museum to set up the silent auction for Grapes for Humanity’s fund-raiser. Top wines for me, of those I tasted were, Elephant Hill Pinot Noir Central Otago 2011 and their Hawke’s Bay Syrah 2012.

Taxied over to the Gardiner for “Australia Uncorked.” The following wines had been donated for the event, including a double magnum of Peter Lehmann The Mentor Cabernet Sauvignon 2006, hand carried from Australia by Doug Lehmann. Doug was on hand to pour his wines.

  • Tahbilk Shiraz
  • Tahbilk Cabernet Sauvignon
  • Small Gully – Mr. Black’s concoction Shiraz
  • Torbreck – Old Vine GSM
  • Grant Burge Summers Chardonnay
  • Grant Burge Miamba Shiraz
  • Robert Oatley Signature Series Margaret River Cabernet Sauvignon
  • Robert Oatley Signature Series McLaren Vale Shiraz
  • Lucky Penny Red – new blend
  • Lucky Penny White – new blend
  • Peter Lehmann Futures Shiraz/Muscadelle
  • Peter Lehmann Barossa Shiraz
  • Stone Dwellers Cabernet Sauvignon 2009
  • Ladies Who Shoot Their Lunch Shiraz 2010
  • Kilikanoon Killerman’s Run Shiraz, South Australia
  • Ringbolt Cabernet Sauvignon, Margaret River

The event was attended by 180 people, catered by Jamie Kennedy. A great success.

Friday, May 10: This morning a tasting of grower champagnes brought in by the Steven Cohen agency.

  • Jacquesson Cuvée 736 Extra Brut: good active mousse; a nose of ginger bread, lemons with a touch of oak; soft on the palate with apple and citrus flavours; light and delicate, beautifully balanced and long on the finish (92)
  • Laherte Blanc de Blanc Brut Natur NV: apple and honey nose; crisply dry, tart green apple flavour with a touch of fennel; fresh and lively, mouth-tingling acidity; great length with a lemony finish (91)
  • Marie Courtin Resonance Blanc de Noir: straw with a faint pink tint; licorice, yellow cherry pit, yeasty nose; dry, earthy, chalky flavours of red apple; firm finish, rustic and restrained (89)
  • Pascal Agrapart Terroir Blanc de Blanc Extra Brut: straw coloured; honey, toast, yeasty nose; quite broad on the palate. Green peach and toasty flavours; fresh and lively with a citrus finish (90)
  • André Clouet 2002: old gold colour; mature apple, dried peach nose; spicy, slight oxidation, nicely balanced and full in the mouth; le gout Anglais

Grower champagnes
Grower champagnes

All the wines were served in Zalto glasses brought along by Joel Thompson, whose wine agency company, Chalk, Slate, Gravel, imports them.

After the tasting Deborah and I drove down to Niagara-on-the-Lake for the 19th annual Ontario Wine Awards Gala dinner at Queens Landing. The MC was Christine Cushing, who did a great job introducing the winners of this year’s competition.

The Team: Sandy Kurbis, Deborah Aspler, Christine Cushing, Tony, David Rose

Ontario Wine Awards 2013

2013 Ontario Wine Awards – Final Results

Q water Sparkling Wine Award
Gold: 13th Street 2008 Premier Cuvée
Gold: Huff Estates 2007 Cuvée Peter F Huff
Silver: Angels Gate 2010 Archangel Chardonnay
Bronze: Hernder Estates 2007 Sparkling Riesling

NOW Magazine Dry Riesling Award
Gold: Flat Rock Cellars 2010 Nadja’s Vineyard Riesling
Gold: Daniel Lenko Estate 2009 Reserve Riesling
Silver: John Howard Cellars of Distinction 2011 Traveller’s Series Riesling
Bronze: Hinterbrook Estate 2011 Riesling

Cornerstone Insurance Brokers Ltd. Semi-Dry Riesling Award
Gold: Tawse 2010 Carly’s Block Riesling
Silver: Burning Kiln 2011 Riesling
Bronze: Tawse 2010 Sketches Riesling

Luxor Realty Inc. Dry White Varietal Award
Gold: Inniskillin 2012 Reserve Viognier
Silver: Château des Charmes 2011 Aligote St. David’s Bench Vineyard
Bronze: Nyarai Cellars 2012 Viognier

Gewurztraminer Award
Gold: No Gold Awarded
Silver: Tawse 2012 Quarry Road Gewurztraminer
Silver: Konzelmann Estate 2011 Gewurztraminer Late Harvest
Bronze: Riverview Cellars 2011 Gewurztraminer

Niagara Airbus Blanc/Pinot Gris Award
Gold: Stoney Ridge Cellars 2011 Pinot Gris Excellence
Silver: Angels Gate 2011 Pinot Gris
Bronze: Harwood Estate 2011 Pinot Gris

680News Sauvignon Blanc/Semillon Award
Gold: Angels Gate 2010 Sauvignon Blanc Semillon
Silver: Sandbanks Estate 2011 Sauvignon Blanc
Bronze: Hillebrand Estates 2012 Trius Sauvignon Blanc
Bronze: Jackson-Triggs 2011 Grand Reserve Sauvignon Blanc

Rosehill Wine Cellars Inc. Oaked Chardonnay Award ~ Under $20
Gold: Rockway Glen Estate 2011 Small Lot Reserve Chardonnay
Silver: Malivoire Wine Company 2011 Chardonnay
Bronze: Burning Kiln 2011 Cureman’s Chard

Steven Elphick & Associates Oaked Chardonnay Award ~ Over $20
Gold: Exultet Estates 2011 Chardonnay – “the Blessed”
Gold: Stoney Ridge Cellars 2010 Chardonnay Excellence
Silver: Tawse 2010 Quarry Road Chardonnay
Bronze: Huff Estates 2010 South Bay Chardonnay
Bronze: Tawse 2010 Estate Chardonnay

Bullfrog Power Unoaked Chardonnay Award
Gold: Malivoire Wine Company 2012 Musqué Spritz
Silver: Vineland Estates 2010 Chardonnay Musqué
Bronze: Vineland Estates 2011 O’Leary Chardonnay

Dairy Farmers of Canada Rosé/Blanc de Noir Award
Gold: Southbrook Vineyards 2011 Triomphe Cabernet Franc Rosé
Silver: Cooper’s Hawk Vineyards 2011 Rosé
Bronze: Château des Charmes 2012 Rosé, Cuvée d’Andrée, Estate Bottled
Bronze: Tawse 2012 Rosé

Crush Wine Bar Gamay Award
Gold: Malivoire Wine Company 2012 Gamay
Silver: Château des Charmes 2010 Gamay Noir “Droit,” St. David’s Bench Vineyard
Bronze: Malivoire Wine Company 2012 Small Lot Gamay

Grape Growers of Ontario Pinot Noir Award
Gold: Willow Springs 2010 Pinot Noir
Silver: Angels Gate 2010 Mountainview Pinot Noir
Bronze: Flat Rock Cellars 2010 Pinot Noir

Red Hybrid Award
Gold: No Gold Awarded
Silver: Malivoire Wine Company 2011 Old Vines Foch
Silver: Sandbanks Estate 2011 Baco Noir
Bronze: Coffin Ridge 2011 Back From The Dead Red

Post City Magazines Cabernet Sauvignon Award
Gold: Tawse 2010 Redstone Cabernet Sauvignon
Silver: Pondview Estate 2010 Cabernet Sauvignon
Bronze: Calamus Estate 2010 Cabernet Sauvignon

680News Cabernet Franc Award
Gold: Pillitteri Estates 2010 Exclamation Cabernet Franc
Gold: Hillebrand Estates 2010 Showcase Red Shale Cabernet Franc “Clark Vineyard”
Silver: Lailey Vineyards 2010 Cabernet Franc
Bronze: Magnotta Winery 2011 Cabernet Franc Special Reserve
Bronze: Inniskillin 2010 Winemaker’s Series Three Vineyards Cabernet Franc

The Stonemill Bakehouse Ltd. Merlot Award
Gold: Malivoire Wine Company 2010 Stouck Merlot
Gold: Peller Estates 2010 Signature Series Merlot
Silver: Rosewood Estates 2010 Merlot Reserve – Wild Ferment
Bronze: Kacaba Vineyards 2010 Reserve Merlot

Syrah/Shiraz Award
Gold: No Gold Awarded
Silver: Rockway Glen Estate 2010 Small Lot Reserve Syrah
Silver: Tawse 2010 Syrah
Bronze: Lailey Vineyards 2011 Syrah

The Ontario Wine Society Meritage and Cabernet/Merlot Blends Award
Gold: Jackson-Triggs 2010 Delaine Cabernet Merlot
Silver: The Foreign Affair 2011 Dream
Silver: Vineland Estates 2007 Cabernet Merlot Reserve
Bronze: Pondview Estate 2010 Meritage

VIA Rail Canada Late Harvest Award
Gold: Konzelmann Estate 2011 Special Select Late Harvest Vidal
Silver: Crooked Pine Vineyards by Diamond Estates The Winery 2012 Cabernet Franc Late Harvest
Bronze: Sandbanks Estate 2011 Winter Harvest

Ottawa Wine and Food Festival Vidal Icewine Award
Gold: Jackson-Triggs 2008 Proprietors’ Reserve Vidal Icewine
Silver: Inniskillin 2011 Gold Oak-Aged Vidal Icewine
Bronze: Inniskillin 2008 Gold Oak-Aged Vidal Icewine

LCBO Vinifera Icewine Award
Gold: Château des Charmes 2009 Riesling Icewine, Paul Bosc Estate Vineyard
Silver: Reif Estate 2011 Riesling Icewine
Bronze: Jackson-Triggs 2008 Grand Reserve Riesling Icewine

Blended White Award
Gold: No Gold Awarded
Silver: Small Talk Vineyards 2011 Faux Pas
Bronze: Fresh Wines 2012 Moscato

Allen’s Blended Red Award
Gold: Creekside Estate 2007 Lost Barrel Red
Silver: Inniskillin 2010 Legacy Shiraz Merlot
Bronze: Creekside Estate 2010 Undercurrent Merazier

ASL Print FX Best Label Design Award
Gold: Cooper’s Hawk Vineyards 2010 Cabernet Franc Reserve
Silver: Cattail Creek Estate 2011 Serendipity Rosé Estate Series
Bronze: Hillebrand Estate 2010 Showcase Red Shale Cabernet Franc

Tidings Wine Journalism Award
Steven Elphick

Vintage Hotels Red Wine of the Year Award
Pillitteri Estates 2010 Exclamation Cabernet Franc
(Average of 90.75 points)

Vintage Hotels White Wine of the Year Award
Exultet Estates 2011 Chardonnay – “the Blessed”
(Average of 91.25 points)

Vintage Hotels Winemaker of the Year Award
Marlize Beyers, Hidden Bench Vineyards and Winery

David Rose, the president of Forefront Communications and my partner in the Ontario Wine Awards, surprised me with a birthday cake. Drove home in the rain.

Saturday, May 11: Invited to dinner by Lucy Waverman and Bonnie Stern to celebrate my birthday, which is tomorrow. The dinner was at Lucy’s house with her husband Bruce. Bonnie, accompanied by her husband Ray, brought the appetizers – guacamole and tuna tartar – and the dessert, chocolate cake. Lucy prepared a delicious meal of wild garlic and potato soup, Ontario asparagus salad and roast lamb. I brought along a bottle of Prevedello Asolo Prosecco Extra Dry 2010 and Drouhim Clos de Vougeot 2011. Bruce opened bottles of Domaine Laflaive Maçon Verzé 2007, Château Malartic Lagravière 1999 and Château Chasse Spleen 1995. A splendid evening all round.

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