A Wine Lover’s Diary, Part 490: Going Greek

Poppy seed crusted tuna with quail egg by The Food Dudes

Monday, March 31: A winerytohome.com tasting at Doug Towers’s. In the evening Deborah and I picked up Guy from the airport after this visit to meet his new nephew in Vancouver. For dinner, opened a bottle of Altair 2004 I found tucked away in my cellar. Just love discovering bottles I’d forgotten about. This 10-year-old Chilean blend of Cabernet Sauvignon with Syrah, Carmenère and Cabernet Franc was magnificent (92 points).

Tuesday, April 1: A lunch meeting at Patachou with David Rose, Liz Gallery and Cathy Martin to discuss Grapes for Humanity’s “Chile Uncorked” event. In the afternoon Sean Rowlands of Gradwell Wine Agency dropped by the condo with some South African wines to taste:

  • Willow Way Shiraz Mourvèdre 2013 (Western Cape – $14.25 Fair Trade): deep ruby colour; savoury, meaty nose of black fruits and leather; full-bodied, dry, spicy, dark chocolate and blackberry with a lively spine of acidity and an iodine note on the finish. (89)
  • Balance Winemaker’s Selection Cabernet Sauvignon Shiraz 2013 (Western Cape – $12.95): deep ruby colour; plum with an earthy-clay nose; medium to full-bodied, dry and fruity with a soft mouth-feel and fresh acidity; firm finish with red and blackcurrant flavours. (88)
  • Mad About South African Wine Cabernet Sauvignon Petit Verdot 2013 (70/30%: Western Cape – $12.95): deep ruby; cedar, spicy oak, Bordeaux-style nose of currants and oak; medium-bodied, velvety mouth-feel, well balanced, firm, redcurrant, cranberry flavours; enough tannin to give structure. (88+)
  • Sumaridge Chardonnay 2011 (Walker Bay – $29.50): deep golden straw with a green tint: spicy, vanilla, caramel, peach and apple nose with a barnyard note; dry, full-bodied, green pineapple and peach flavours, beautifully balanced with well integrated oak and great length. (92)

Great label

Wednesday, April 2: Recorded my 680News wine reviews and wrote up my Wines of the Week for the website. In the afternoon, worked on the Ontario Wine Awards. We have 540 entries this year with a new category for appassimento wines. Emailed the judges with the ballot for voting “The Winemaker of the Year.”

Tasted the following wines in the afternoon:

  • Inniskillin Pinot Noir Rosé 2011: deep orange-pink; watermelon, cherry nose; dry, medium-bodied, soft mouth feel, easy drink, cherry and orange flavours. (87)
  • KWV Cathedral Cellars Shiraz 2009 (South Africa – $15.95): deep purple plum colour; earthy, savoury, herbal nose; dry, full-bodied, dark chocolate and blackberry flavours, rich mouth feel, dry with powdery tannins. (88)
  • Maison Brotte Esprit Barville Côtes du Rhône 2011: deep ruby colour; woody, cherry nose; opens on the palate with sweet Grenache flavours of black raspberry with a licorice note. Soft mouth-feel with just enough tannin to give the wine some structure on the finish. (88)
  • Domaine Barville Châteauneuf du Pape 2010: deep ruby colour; spicy-floral nose, vanilla oak and sweet wild berry nose; full-bodied, dry, herbal, sweet cherry flavour with cocoa powder tannins. (89+)

At 5:30 pm Tom Noitsis picked me up with Alpha Estate’s winemaker Angelo Iatridis to have dinner at Arkadia on Eglinton East. A fabulous Greek meal during which we tasted the following wines:

  • Alpha Axia White Malagouzia 2012 ($15.95): pale straw colour; a light floral nose of peach with a thread of minerality; medium-bodied, spicy, lemony flavour, lovely mouth feel with a mouth-watering finish of citrus acidity. (89)
  • Alpha Sauvignon Blanc 2012 ($17.95): straw coloured with a lime tint; leafy, green fig and gooseberry bouquet; rich mouth feel with floral, gooseberry and lychee flavours; mouth-filling, great texture, elegant with a long, fresh, lingering finish. (91)
  • Alpha Axia Red Blend 2009 ($17.95): 50/50 Syrah and Xynomavro – ruby colour; high-tone, vanilla and black cherry nose; lean and sinewy on the palate, dry, fruity and spicy; firmly structured with a lively acidic spine. (88)
  • Alpha Xinomavro Single Vineyard Hedgehog 2010 ($19.95): from 25 year old vines – deep ruby colour; spicy, cherry nose; medium-bodied, dry, cherry flavour, fruity and fresh with powdery tannins (not a usual descriptor I usually associate with Xynomavro), finishing with cherry and cherry pit flavours. (89)
  • Alpha Estate Proprietary Bend 2008 ($27.95): 60% Syrah, 20% Merlot, 20% Xinomavro – dense ruby purple in colour; cedar, spicy plum and blackberry nose; soft on the palate, well balanced, black cherry, blackberry and plum flavours; richly extracted flavours, full in the mouth with sweet, succulent fruit. (92)

Dinner at Arkadia

Angelo Iatridis

Thursday, April 3: A breakfast meeting at Stock Restaurant in the Trump Hotel to discuss a corporate tasting. Dropped into the Toronto Reference Library to check on magazine articles I wrote in 2012 – to the Access Payback for writers. In the evening a corporate wine tasting (food and wine matching) for Deloitte and their clients. Food prepared by The Food Dudes. The wines we tasted:

  • Giró Ribot Cava Brut Reserva
  • Walter Schug Chardonnay 2012
  • Kung Fu Girl Riesling 2012
  • St. Innocent Pinot Noir Momtazi Vineyard 2011
  • Pine Ridge Merlot 2009
  • Joseph Heitz Cabernet Sauvignon 2008
  • A Selection of Ontario Icewines

Friday, April 4: A Vintages release tasting. Watched the Jays’ home opener. They lost to the Yankees. For dinner, with lamb chops, Graffigna Centenario Malbec Reserve 2011: dense purple colour; spicy, spy, leather, pencil lead and blackberry nose; medium to full-bodied, dry, savoury flavour with a firm tannic finish. (87)

Another great label (Vintages April 26th release)   


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