A Wine Lover’s Diary, Part 449: sip&Savour Ontario

Monday, June 17: Lunch with Laurel Keenan of Wines of South Africa to discuss what fine South African wines we could put together for a Grapes for Humanity event on October 17, in conjunction with a South African organization.

Making final revisions to the Nightmare in Napa manuscript. For dinner, BBQ steak with Robert Oatley Signature Series McLaren Vale Shiraz 2010 (dense purple-ruby colour; blackberry and pencil shavings on the nose; medium to full-bodied, spicy, chocolate and blackberry flavours, soft on the palate, easy drinking (89)).

Tuesday, June 18: Wrote my Post City Magazines column, then to the dentist for gum surgery in two places. Not the most pleasant experience. In one spot, the bleeding would not stop so I had to return to the dentist in the evening to have it staunched with packing.

For dinner, Moroccan meatballs (which I had to chew at the front of my mouth – felt like a rabbit). The accompanying wine: Lavau Gigondas 2010 (deep ruby; black olive, herbal, black fruits on the nose; full-bodied, firmly structured with savoury, blackberry and herbal flavours (89)).

Wednesday, June 19: Wrote my Tidings column on Canadian sparkling wine. Down to the Fermentation Cellar in the Distillery District for sip&Savour Ontario. My role was to introduce the three food and wine performances featuring a chef, an award winning wine and a speaker from sip&Savour’s sponsor, Houselink.

7:45–8:15 pm
Chef Brad Livergant – The Fifth
Food: The Fifth Steak Tartar
Wine Pairing: Sandbanks Estate 2012 Baco Noir
Houselink Speaker: Brian Davis, Executive Director, Houselink

8:30–9:00 pm
Debbie Levy – Dairy Farmers of Canada
Food: Grilled Guernsey Girl with Watermelon
Grilled Queso Puro Mexicano with Pico de Gallo
Wine Pairing: Burning Kiln 2011 Riesling
* 2013 Ontario Wine Awards Silver Medal
Houselink Speaker: Luke Bowden, Board President, Houselink
Doug Beatty from Burning Kiln, to talk about wine.

9:15–9:45 pm
Chef Charles Kerr – Distillery Events
Food: Grilled Lamb Loin, Refried White Bean Ragout with Double Smoked Bacon
Heirloom Tomato Chutney
Wine pairing: Rockway Vineyards 2010 Small Lot Reserve Syrah
* 2013 Ontario Wine Awards Silver Medal
Houselink Speaker: Joan Thompson, Board Member, Houselink
Dave Stasiuk from Rockway Vineyards, to talk about wine.

Thursday, June 20: A meeting with Mike Koff, Mark Finkelstein and Jackie Davies at Mike’s office in Markham, to discuss the Grapes for Humanity event on October 17.

At 6:30 pm, down to the Shangri-La for a tasting of Macallan‘s new 1824 series of single malt scotches. We started the evening with a Whisky Mac: Macallan Gold with ginger beer and a slice of lime. The company has abandoned its age designations for four styles of single malts based on the wood ageing, all in sherry-infused casks but from either European or American oak in different proportions and different ages. The single malts are named for their colour. Marc Laverdier, the travelling ambassador for Macallan, made the point that “up to 60% of the character of the whisky has to do with the oak the whisky was aged in.” He went on to say that the company will spend $24 million sourcing barrels in 2013/2014. In their warehouse they have 186,000 casks maturing with Macallan whiskies.

  • Gold: the lightest of the four and presumably the youngest, aged in American oak refills. Flavours of pear and orange peel.
  • Amber: aged in a larger proportion of first-fill casks, American and European. Citrus and vanilla notes with a sweetish, spicy flavour.
  • Sienna: 100% sherry-seasoned, first-fill American oak. Citrus, floral, spicy nose, ginger and orange flavours.
  • Ruby: 100% first-fill Spanish oak – the deepest in colour. Ginger, nutmeg and dried fruit flaovurs. Rich and mouth-filling.

Then we tasted the whiskies with Reblochon cheese (Gold), smoked gouda with cracked pepper (Amber), vanilla white chocolate (Sienna) and chocolate orange (Ruby).

Friday, June 21: Finally finished the rewrites for Nightmare in Napa and sent it off to my agent. What a relief to have finished this book that I have been working on, on and off, for some eight years.

Drove Guy to the airport. He’s flying to see his mother in Vancouver to celebrate her 75th birthday. Deborah and I will be joining them tomorrow. For dinner, barbecued hamburger with Moris Farms Avvolore Maremma 2009 (dense purple-black in colour; cherry and leather on the nose with a floral note; dry and savoury, dark chocolate and licorice flavours (90)).

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