Monday, February 3: Recorded my 680News wine reviews and cleared up my desk for our trip to Florida tomorrow. Dropped Pinot off at Zoltan and Joanna Szabo’s apartment, where she will be staying in our absence. Tasted a couple of wines before dinner:
- Epitome Malbec 2012 (Argentina – case of six $217): dense purple colour; a nose of cedar, blackcurrant, leather and vanilla oak; full in the mouth with well extracted sweet fruit; well balanced, well-structured with ripe tannins. (90)
- Lakeview Cellars Syrah Reserve 2010 (Ontario – $24.95): deep ruby colour; a bouquet of black cherry, ground pepper and oak spice; medium-bodied, black cherry and dark chocolate flavours with enough oak to give it roundness on the palate. Well made. (89+)
Tuesday, February 4: Up a 6 am to take a car at 6:45 am to the airport. We’re flying to Fort Lauderdale and renting a car to drive to my sister Shirley’s house in Boca West. Rented a Budget Infiniti with GPS. Shirley has a beautiful home on a golf course. We drove to the Publix to pick up lemons. With the roast chicken dinner we had a bottle of Blue Mountain Gamay 2010. Heard that Toronto had a bad snow storm; we escaped just in time.
Wednesday, February 5: Awoke to sunshine and a temperature of 84°F. After breakfast Shirley and I drove Deborah to the gym for a Zumba class. Then to Total, an amazing wine store where I bought six bottles. Lunch at the Boca West Club and then played Scrabble with Shirley while Deborah went shopping the local shopping centre. The clouds rolled in and we got lashings of rain. Before dinner we opened a bottle of Mulderbosch Sauvignon Blanc 2011 that I had picked up at Total. Dined at the Boca West Club with Dr. Richard Margolese, Canada’s leading breast cancer specialist, and his wife Jackie. With horseradish-encrusted salmon I ordered a bottle of MacMurray Ranch Pinot Noir 2010.
Thursday, February 6: A nice lazy day. Deborah and I took a 40-minute walk around the golf course, had lunch, visited the local library and then drove to Boynton Beach to have dinner with Esther Farlinger. Esther prepared a magnificent dinner party with four other guests who were staying at her house. One of whom was Aris Kaplanis, who has purchased 20 hectares of vineyard land in the Upper Douro with Tony and Mario Amaro (who own Opus restaurant in Toronto). He had brought along a bottle of the wine, Quadrus 2010 (a blend of 55% Touriga Nacional, 30% Tinta Roriz and 15% Souzao). The wine is made by Carm. Deep ruby colour with a spicy, blackberry nose etched with vanilla oak and a floral top note; dry, medium-bodied, well balanced with ripe tannins. Not as beefy and more delicate than most Douro reds I’ve tasted (89+).
I opened a bottle of Zind Humbrecht Pinot Gris 2011 I had bought at Total. With the roast chicken, Esther served a magnum of Haut Bages Liberal 2009.
Friday, February 7: Aris had recommended that we eat at a New York-style delicatessen called Ben’s (which has no connection with the late lamented Ben’s in Montreal). Great pastrami and coleslaw. It’s in Boca at Clint Moore and 441. Picked up Shirley’s friend Alta at Fort Lauderdale airport; she flew in from Montreal. Sat around the pool eating shrimp and drinking Brancott Estate Sauvignon Blanc 2011. Pizza from Dominico’s for dinner with a bottle of Qupe Syrah 2010 prior to watching the opening ceremonies of the Sochi games. Does Putin ever smile?
Saturday, February 8: After breakfast Deborah and I packed and left Shirley’s house in Boca West to drive to Bonita Springs on the other coast to stay with our friend Gordon Pape. We put his address into the GPS, which sent us the wrong way – north instead of south to get onto Sawgrass Expressway and connect to the 1-75 that would take us across Alligator Alley. We should have followed Gordon’s impeccable directions. We went to Publix to pick up food for breakfast and to buy wine for friends of Gordon’s who have invited us to dinner and a recital in their home in in Fort Myers. They had asked Gordon to purchase white wines for them for the evening. I chose Gloria Ferrer Brut, Whitehaven Sauvignon Blanc 2012, St. Supery Sauvignon Blanc 2012, Ferrari Carano Chardonnay 2012, Pighin Pinot Grigio 2012, Joel Gott Chardonnay 2012. I also bought a bottle of Cousiño Macul Antiguas Reservas Cabernet Sauvignon 2009 as a house gift. We dined at Angelina’s Ristorante, which has a magnificent wine cellar – a three-storey enclosed tower with 800 wines as you enter the restaurant. To access the bottles there’s a spiral staircase that revolves. I ordered calamari fritto and tagliatelle with lobster and a bottle of Antinori Vermentino 2012.