A Wine Lover’s Diary, Part 464: Jet-Lagged

Monday, September 30: Arrived home about 6 pm from Tokyo. Had an omelette and a bottle of The Grange of Prince Edward Gamay 2010 and tried to stay up as late as possible to get back to a normal sleeping pattern.

Tuesday, October 1: Awoke at 4:30 am and got down to the business of answering emails and going through two weeks’ mail. Deborah picked up Pinot the Wonderdog from Innisfil, where she has been staying with our dog sitter. She barked all the way home, which is her wont.

Did some tasting in the afternoon. Before I left for Japan I opened a bottle of Cono Sur Bicicleta Chardonnay 2012. I left one-third in the Savino (a glass column with a stopper and a float that creates a physical barrier between the surface of the wine and air). I left it in the fridge for two weeks and tasted it today. The wine was remarkably fresh and lively – so here’s one wine gadget that works.

  • Hester Creek Chardonnay 2012 (Okanagan Valley – $24.95): old gold colour; buttery, toasty, peach nose; full-bodied, peachy-melon flavours backed by toasty oak, generous on the palate and fleshy with fresh acidity. (89+)
  • Niagara College Teaching Winery Pinot Noir Canadian Oak 2011: tawny ruby colour with a nose of raspberries and underbrush and obvious oak; medium-bodied, dry and sinewy on the palate; very Burgundian in style with a firm tannic finish. Should age for 2–3 years. (89)
  • Niagara College Teaching Winery Cabernet Franc 2011: ruby colour; smoky, toasty red berry bouquet; dry, medium-bodied, creamy mouth feel, elegant. Well-structured flavour of red and blackcurrants, finishing firmly. A fine effort in a difficult vintage. (89+)
  • Niagara College Teaching Winery Meritage 2011: deep ruby colour; cedar and red berry nose; elegant, claret-style with cherry and currant flavours; firm on the palate, restrained with a tannic lift on the finish. Again, a good effort in a difficult vintage. (90)
  • Hester Creek Merlot Block 2 Reserve 2011 (Okanagan Valley – $28.95): deep purple-ruby; tarry, smoky, plum and black cherry nose with pencil lead notes; sweet fruit with plum and mocha chocolate flavours; rich and full on the palate with balancing acidity and a thread of minerality. (91)
  • Hester Creek Cabernet Franc Block 3 Reserve 2011 (Okanagan Valley – $28.95): deep purple colour; spicy, plum and blackcurrant with a floral top note; medium-bodied, elegant, lovely mouth feel with bright acidity. Seamless on the palate. (91)
  • Hester Creek The Judge 2010 (Okanagan Valley – Cabernet Franc, Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot – $45): dense ruby colour; cedar, blackcurrant and pencil shavings on the nose; ripe fruit with a smoky, tarry note, coffee bean and blackcurrant flavours with lively acidity and mellow tannins. An impressive wine. (92)

Wednesday, October 2: Still catching up on emails but not on sleep. They say it takes a day for every time zone crossed to get back your sleep rhythm. Toronto is 13 hours behind Tokyo. Ho hum.

Tried to return an electrical adapter to The Source. Deborah bought it before we left for Japan but when I tried it in Tokyo it didn’t work. The manager said we had to return the box with it. It’s in the garbage in a Tokyo hotel room. What kind of a policy is that! If the gadget doesn’t work, it doesn’t work and they’re not going to try to sell it to someone else.

Deborah and I went to see The Butler. Nearly fell asleep and spilled my popcorn. A late dinner of pasta with chicken and a bottle of Bersano Castalunga Barbera d’Alba 2011 (deep ruby colour; a nose of cherry with an earthy note; dry, medium-bodied with cherry and cherry pit flavours ending on a herbal note. Good acidity. Good value at $11.95 (87+)).

Thursday, October 3: A tasting at Doug Towers’ for www.winerytohome.com. My sleep rhythms are still interrupted. I’m awake at 2 am and find it hard to fall back to sleep.

Friday, October 4: A Vintages release tasting for November 9th. The LCBO are bringing out the good stuff for the Christmas period.

Saturday, October 5: After lunch I went to the opening of Château des Charmes’ new wine store in Delisle Court. They’ve taken over Chris McDonald’s old chocolate shop. Tasted Château des Charmes Savagnin Icewine 2009. Delicious.

In the evening Deborah and I went to tasting in a private house. Each of us brought a bottle. The line-up was:

  • Domaine Servin Chablis Vaillons 2010
  • Bouchard Père & Fils Meursault Les Clous 2010
  • Blue Mountain Pinot Noir 2011
  • Marques de Riscal Riserva 1993
  • Château de Pez 1993
  • Château Ruasan-Gassies 1982

Then to dinner with Gordon Pape and Esther Farlinger at Mistura, where we made a big dent in two bottles of DeLoach Pinot Noir 2010.

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