Monday, December 16: Another day of rewrites on Nightmare in Napa. In the afternoon, a little tasting at home.
- EastDell Estates Cabernet Franc 2011 (Ontario): deep ruby colour; cedar, spicy red berry nose; dry, medium-bodied, sweet plum and currant flavours, firmly structured with evident tannins of the finish. (87)
- Lakeview Cellars Cabernet Merlot Reserve 2011 (Ontario): deep ruby colour; cedary, briary, spicy nose with a smoky note; mouth-filling, sweet redcurrant flavour with a chocolate note, ripe tannins, nicely balanced. (88)
- Roche Bastide Côtes du Rhône 2011: ($13.95) ruby colour; charred oak, cherries on the nose; sweet cherry with a floral note, soft mouth feel with enough tannin to shape the wine on the finish. Engaging fruitiness in mid-palate. (87)
- Santa Julia Reserva White Blend 2011 (Mendoza – Chardonnay, Viognier, Sauvignon Blanc: $12.95): bright straw colour; buttery, nutty, peachy nose; medium-bodied, fresh and dry on the palate with white peach and citrus flavours. Good intensity that lingers. (88)
- Blue Mountain Pinot Blanc 2012 (British Columbia – $17.90): light straw colour; peach and citrus nose with a suggestion of oak; medium-bodied, dry, lovely mouth feel with white peach, green apple and lemon flavours. Good length. (89+)
- Brancott Estate Letter Series B Sauvignon Blanc 2011 (New Zealand – $19.95): pale straw with a lime tint; grassy, green fig and elderberry nose; medium-bodied, fig and gooseberry flavours, crisply dry and elegant with great length. (90)
- Clavensana Dolcetto di Dogliani 2011 (Piemonte – $15.95): deep ruby colour; earthy cherry, coffee grounds on the nose with a light floral note; dry, medium-bodied, black cherry flavour, richly extracted with mellow tannins. (89)
- Il Clou di Clavensana Dogliani Superiore 2010 (Piemonte – $16.95): deep ruby colour; floral, white truffle, cherry nose; dry, medium-bodied, velvety mouth feel with flavours of cherry and red apple. Beautifully made. (90)
- Palazzo Brunello di Montalcino 2006 (Tuscany – $59.95): ruby colour; rose petal, cherry, spicy oak on the nose; richly extracted, full-bodied with licorice and cherry flavours, intense and rich. Still youthful. (92)
Tuesday, December 17: Prepared for a client tasting, a company based in Texas who was in Toronto for a sales convention. The CEO wanted an unusual blind tasting for his staff before dinner. They had to guess the grape variety (multiple choice – Gamay, Cabernet Franc, Cabernet Sauvignon, Pinot Noir, Syrah) and put the wines in order of their price. The wines (in their order of expense from least to most costly) were:
- Inniskillin Pinot Noir 2012
- Coyote’s Run Red Paw Vineyard Pinot Noir 2011
- Le Clos Jordanne Village Pinot Noir 2011
- Norman Hardie County Pinot Noir 2011
Nine of 32 got the variety right and 15 noted which of the wines was most expensive.
Two people got the correct answers for both the variety and the price order, so there was a taste-off. They had to guess the grape varieties in Wayne Gretzky Cabernet Merlot 2010 and Château des Charmes Equuleus 2010 and say which is the more expensive. The two winners won copies of Tony Aspler’s Cellar Book.
Wednesday, December 18: Spent the day working on Nightmare in Napa.
Thursday, December 19: As the days wind down to Christmas I find it difficult to concentrate. The only thing accomplished today was to write my 680News wine reviews and take Pinot for a long walk in the park.
Friday, December 20: Spent the day writing an article for Lexpert on wine and the Bible. Was doing some research on the net and wanted to find the average life expectancy of people in Greece at the time of Pericles. I found it! Thirty years old. But Hippocrates, the father of modern Western medicine, lived to eighty-three. He must have been a wine drinker. To toast his memory I did some tasting on a wet and dreary afternoon.
- Fleur de Coucou Touraine Sauvignon 2011 (Loire – $12.75): straw colour; grassy, elderberry nose; medium-bodied, crisply dry, tart gooseberry and crab apple flavour. Good value. (87)
- Flat Rock Cellars Nadja’s Vineyard Riesling 2012 (Ontario – $19.95): pale straw with a green tint; minerally, lime and grapefruit nose; crisply dry, elegant, Mosel style Riesling with a floral note. Well made. (90)
- Flat Rock Cellars Chardonnay 2010 (Ontario) straw colour with a greenish tint; very Burgundian on the nose – nutty, apple with vanilla oak and a barnyard note; soft mouth-feel, full-bodied, baked apple and caramel flavours; good length. (89+)
- Gabriel Mefre La Châsse Merlot 2011 (Vin de France – $12.95): ruby colour; plum and bitter chocolate
- Rosewood Estates Pinot Noir 2011 (Ontario – $21.95): light ruby colour; cedary, cherry nose; medium-bodied, dry, cherry with a light floral note, well structured, and nicely balanced. (87+)
- Buried Hope Cabernet Sauvignon 2010 (North Coast, California – $19.95): deep ruby colour; cedar, blackcurrant nose; full on the palate and flavourful, plum and currant notes, firm structure with a tannic lift on the finish. (88)
- Flat Rock The Rogue Syrah 2011 (Ontario): deep ruby colour; savoury nose of toasted herbs and blackberries; medium-bodied, dry with plum and blackberry flavours nuanced with wild herb notes. Lively acidic finish. (88)
Saturday, December 22: The ice storm has begun. The trees in the park looked beautiful with the ice hanging like frozen tear drops from the pine needles. We had invited Gordon Pape to dinner but he begged off because of the weather. So we asked Sally, a neighbour in our building, to join us. We started with appetizers with Flat Rock Cellars Chardonnay 2010 (the opened bottle from my Friday tasting), then hummus with Flat Rock Cellars Nadja’s Vineyard Riesling 2012. Main course, pork loin with roast potatoes in lemon and black olives, broccoli and mushroom, with Torres Gran Coronas 2005 (in perfect condition, just a gorgeous wine). Dessert, flourless chocolate cake with Château Peyruchet 2005 (Loupiac).