A Wine Lover’s Diary, Part 496: My Birthday

Monday, May 12: My birthday – I’m now a dyslexic 57. Picked up three cases of Segura Viudas Cava from the LCBO for Grapes for Humanity’s fund-raiser on Thursday. In the afternoon dropped into the Sudbury Glass Factory for a tasting of “The New Wines of Greece.” Thirty-seven wineries; over 110 wines. Only had time to taste 20 wines but really enjoyed Tselepos Mantania Classic 2013 (92 points), Domaine Sigalas Santorini Assyrtuko 2013 (91), Domaine Skouras Megas Oenos (Agorgitiko and Cabernet Sauvignon – 91), Domaine Costa Lazaridi Oenodea Red 2010 (Cabernet Sauvignon, Agiorgitiko, Syrah – 90), Kir Yanni Estate Ramnitsa 2010 (Xinomavro – 90) and Papagiannakos Winery Savatiano 2013 (89). I found the whites to be very fresh and lively and reds had more fruit and youthfulness than in previous tastings of Greek wines. In the evening, my friend Gordon and his partner Esther took Deborah and me to dinner at Opus. We stopped at Esther’s for a bottle of Veuve Clicquot before heading to the restaurant. With the meal, I ordered a bottle of Pieropan Soave Classico 2011 (for oysters) and Quadrus 2010 (a Douro blend made at Carm for the owners of Opus, Tony and Mario) for my veal loin.

Tuesday, May 13: Wrote my On the Go magazine column then down to Momofuku to meet South African winemaker David Trafford and taste his exciting De Trafford wines:

  • De Trafford Malgas Sijnn 2012: (a barrel-fermented Chenin Blanc-Viognier blend (straw coloured; minerally, quince and lime nose; full-bodied with rich, spicy pear and melon flavours – 90)
  • De Trafford Malgas Sijnn 2009 : (46% Syrah, 29% Mourvèdre, 13% Touriga Nacional, 6% Trincadeira, 6% Cabernet Sauvignon – dense purple colour; savoury, spicy black fruits on the nose with a note of tobacco, chocolate and evident oak; dry, full-bodied, blackcurrant and meaty, leather flavours backed by lively acidity; firm but supple tannins – 89+)
  • De Trafford Cabernet Sauvignon 2010: dense purple ruby colour; a nose of cedar and blackcurrant; richly extracted, dry and savoury, muscular and mouth-filling with flavours of cassis and dark chocolate. (92)
  • De Trafford Syrah 393 2010: dense purple colour; herbal, meaty nose of black cherries, leather, and tobacco with well integrated oak; sweet and savoury flavours, well balanced with cocoa powder tannins. (90)

Following the tasting, I walked over to the Wine Conservatory on Lombard Street for a meeting with Andrew Smith to discuss upcoming “Executive Wine Experience” tastings. Ran into Will Predhomme and a couple of other sommeliers. They offered me a glass of Domaine du Petit Métris Savennières 2009. Then we tasted a very controversial wine – Pearl Morissette Riesling 2012, a barrel-aged Riesling that had been turned down by the VQA panel as lacking Niagara typicity. I found it high-toned with VA, oaky and cidery. I can understand why the panel turned it down. The Pearl Morissette Chardonnay 2011, on the other hand, was great: spicy, apple blossom nose; rich and creamy on the palate with a thread of minerality (91).

At home, tasted the following wines:

  • Stoneleigh Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc 2013 (New Zealand): very pale in colour; sweaty, grassy, struck flint nose; medium-bodied, crisply dry gooseberry and elderberry flavours with an engagingly tart finish, Good length. (89)
  • Stoneleigh Pinot Noir Rosé 2013 (New Zealand): deep salmon pink; strawberry and rose petal nose; medium-bodied, sweetish strawberry flavour. (88)
  • Castello di Nieve Rosso 2008 (Piemonte): dense purple colour with a nose of rose petals and black cherries; medium-bodied, dry, elegant with a lovely mouth-feel; warm and rich on the palate with a succulent cherry flavour. (91)
  • Santa Digna Cabernet Sauvignon 2012 (Chile): dense purple colour; cedary, savoury, earthy, blackcurrant nose; soft mouth-feel, medium-bodied, well balanced with chalky tannins. Good value at $14.95. (87+)
  • Place in the Sun Shiraz 2012 (South Africa): purple-ruby colour; smoky, herbal, spicy, black cherry nose; medium to full-bodied, smoky, tarry, sour cherry flavour with an earthy note; a little short on finish. (86)

Wednesday, May 14: A tasting for winerytohome.com at Doug Towers, with David Lawrason.

Thursday, May 15: Grapes for Humanity’s Chile Uncorked fund-raiser at The Gardiner Museum. Spend the morning ferrying 50 boxes of wine and paraphernalia down to the museum and setting up the silent auction. The event went very well and we raised close to $45,000 for our projects.

Friday, May 16: A tasting at the LCBO for Vintages’ June 7th release. After the tasting I walked over to Starfish on Adelaide for an oyster and New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc tasting. Some 21 Sauvignons to taste; the best match for my palate was Stoneleigh Latitude Sauvignon Blanc 2011.

Saturday, May 17: I conducted a home tasting in Scarborough, an auction item in support of the Barbra Schlifer Clinic. I brought along the following Ontario wines:

  • 1 bottle Thirty Bench Riesling Wood Post Vineyard 2008
  • 1 bottle Inniskillin Montague Vineyard Chardonnay 2010
  • 1 bottle Malivoire Small Lot M2 Gamay 2010
  • 1 bottle Malivoire Old Vines Foch 2007
  • 1 bottle Peller Estates Cabernet Franc 2007
  • 1 bottle Tawse Merlot 2008
  • 2 bottles Reif Riesling Icewine 2011

Got home by 8:30, in time to have a pasta dinner with Deborah and a bottle of Torres Infinite 2011 (85% Tempranillo, 15% Cabernet Sauvignon – light and easy drinking (87)).


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