A Wine Lover’s Diary, Part 502: Barry’s Gong

Tony in the pink (see Wednesday)

Sunday, June 29: Deborah and I attended the ceremonial presentation to my pal Barry Brown of Spain’s highest civilian decoration – the Officer’s Cross of the Order of Civil Merit – for his support of Spanish wine and tourism over 20 years.

Barry Brown and his gong

The event was held at Mideastro in Yorkville. The wines:

  • Gonzalez Byass, Fino Tio Pepe NV
  • Codorniu Seleccion Raventos Pinot Noir NV
  • Bodegas Castaño Macabeo & Chardonnay 2012
  • Bodegas Sierra Salinas Mo Salinas Monastrell 2011
  • Bodegas Beronia (Gonzalez Byass) Beronia Reserva 2009
  • Lustau Solera Reserva,Rare Cream Solera Superior NV
  • Sandeman Imperial Corregidor Rich Old Oloroso

The menu:

Gazpacho—Poached Shrimp Escabeche, Feta, Cucumber and Pepper Brunoise

Appetizers (served family style)

Nicoise Salad with Cured Smelt

Baladi Eggplant – Grilled Eggplant, Cherry Tomato Bruschetta, Herb Tahini, Bulgarian Feta, Candied Garlic, Basil and Za’atar

Black Truffle Carpaccio – Grass-Fed AAA Beef, Arugula, Parmigiano Reggiano shaving, Balsamic Pomegranate Reduction and Dwarf Peaches

Mains (choice of…)

Tilapia Spanish Style, with Jerusalem Artichokes, Leeks, Spanish Olives, Smoked Spanish Paprika in Tomato Saffron Broth
Kufta – Lamb, Beef, Moroccan Ras El Hanout, Grilled Tomatoes, Kalamata Olives, Labane and Tabouleh
Homemade Spaghetti Aglio a Olio – Grilled Chicken, Mushroom Medley, Heirloom Tomatoes, Olives, Arugula, and Parmigiano Reggiano
Summer Risotto – Edamame, Asparagus, Fresh Peas, Spinach, Leeks, Green Onions with Goat Cheese.


Frozen Nutella Cream, Caramelized Bananas, Rich Crème Anglais, with Salted Pecan Brittle and Tuile Cookie

Monday, June 30: Wrote up my 680News wine reviews and finished off my proposal for a book on the history of winemaking in Canada. Then did some wine tasting:

  • EastDell Soaring White Riesling Moscato 2013 (Ontario): almost water white; aromatic, pear nose with a spicy note; mouth-filling, orange and white flower blossoms, off-dry and tasty but a touch brittle on the finish. (87)
  • 20 Bees Pinot Grigio 2013 (Ontario): water white in colour; citrus and peach pit nose; dry, earthy, peach skin flavour; short and hard on the finish. (86)
  • 20 Bees Unoaked Chardonnay 2013 (Ontario): very pale lime colour; discreet apple core nose; more expressive on the palate with apple and pear flavours, a touch of residual sugar here. (86+)
  • Colio Bricklayer’s Predicament Chardonnay-Pinot Grigio 2013 (Lake Erie North Shore): pale straw colour; ripe apricot on the nose; medium-bodied, dry, Asian pear flavour, nicely balanced, clean flavours with a touch of bitterness on the finish. (87)
  • Monkey Bay Pinot Grigio 2013 (New Zealand): very pale colour; peach pit nose; minerally, sweetish, white peach and pear flavour, slightly gummy finish. (86)
  • EastDell Black Cab Cabernet Baco Noir 2013 (Ontario): deep ruby colour; smoky, plummy nose with a soapy perfume; dry, medium-bodied, blackberry and plum flavours with a rose petal note. (86+)
  • Colio Bricklayer’s Predicament Cabernet-Merlot 2015 (Lake Erie North Shore): deep ruby colour; cedar, redcurrant and red berry fruit nose with a floral note; medium-bodied, dry, good mouth feel, with ripe red berry flavours finishing firmly. (88)
  • Huff Estates South Bay Vineyards Chardonnay 2011 (Prince Edward County): pale lemon colour; spicy, citrus, apple blossom and forest floor notes on the nose; dry, elegant but rich in the mouth with peach, apricot and orange flavours finishing on a toasty, nutty note. The fine spine of acidity gives it great length. (91)
  • Cape Barren Adelaide Hills Native Goose Chardonnay 2013: pale straw with a lime tint; minerally, apple nose with a grassy note; medium-bodied, dry, green apple and green pineapple flavours riding on racy citrus acidity. A touch hard on the finish. (88)
  • Huff Estates Pinot Noir 2012 (Prince Edward County): light ruby-garnet colour; lifted, raspberry and wood bark nose; high-toned red berry, balsamic and soy flavours, dry and gamey. (86+)
  • Huff Estates Gamay 2012 (Prince Edward County): medium ruby colour; evident oak on the nose competing with spicy cherry notes; dry, medium-bodied, silky mouth-feel with lively acidity on the finish. (87+)
  • Cape Barren McLaren Vale Cabernet Sauvignon Merlot Cabernet Franc 2012 (45% Cabernet Sauvignon 32% Merlot, 23% Cabernet Franc): solid ruby colour; minty, cedary, blackcurrant nose with a wisp of vanilla oak; surprisingly lean for its 14.5% alcohol; sinewy red and blackcurrant flavours with evident tannins and an exhilarating thrust of acidity. More Bordeaux claret in style; the elements not quite together yet but with bottle age (2 -3 years) this will be a lovely drop of wine. (89–90)
  • Cape Barren McLaren Vale Native Goose Shiraz 2013: dense purple colour; lifted, mulberry nose with chocolate and oak spice; creamy texture, full-bodied and full in the mouth, richly extracted black fruit flavours carried on racy acidity with elements of smoke and spice and bitter chocolate. (89)
  • Cape Barren McLaren Vale Native Goose GSM 2012 (57% Grenache, 37% Shiraz, 6% Mourvèdre): deep purple colour; spicy, floral, blackberry nose with a cedary and vanilla oak note; full-bodied and richly extracted, dry and savoury, nicely balanced; dark chocolate flavour, fleshy with a floral flourish on the finish. (90)

Tuesday, July 1: Spend much of the day putting my tax stuff together for my bookkeeper, a role that Deborah will take on from today. Dinner, pork ribs with a bottle of Wolf Blass Gold Label Cabernet Sauvignon 2012 (dense purple colour with a cedary, minty blackcurrant nose overlaid with vanilla oak; medium to full-bodied, well extracted sweet, jammy blackcurrant fruit, nicely balanced (90)).

Wednesday, July 2: Wrote my Post City Magazines column and then headed down to Allen’s on the Danforth for John Maxwell and Billy Munnelly’s annual Men In Pink lunch. This is a celebration of Ontario rosé, attended by winemakers and friends. It’s males only and we all have to wear pink and bring along a bottle of old red wine (I found a Burrowing Owl Meritage 2000 in my cellar).

Men in Pink: John Maxwell and Billy Munnelly

Men in pink at table

Andre Lipinski was there and was telling me about his Big Head Sauvignon Blanc 2012. He brought it from the car when I asked if I could taste it, The fruit came from the Wismer vineyard and spent 15 months in oak. Very white Bordeaux in style, richly extracted with peach and guava flavours, beautifully balanced (90). The lunch menu: white gazpacho, curried crab salad on wedges of water melon, double-cut striploin with grilled vegetables and for dessert, grilled peaches with Campari cream. A fun day.

Rosés galore

Dessert: grilled peaches with Campari cream

Thursday, July 3: Recorded my 680News wine reviews before going to the dentist for a cleaning and check-up. He insists in going into great detail about how he makes his grape juice every year, what ratio of bushels of Concord to Alicante and Grenache to get the right sweetness levels. I wish he’d allow the stuff to ferment at least!

Friday, July 4: A tasting at Doug Towers’s for winerytohome.com with David Lawrason followed by dinner in the garden with Deborah and Doug’s wife Judy.

Saturday, July 5: Deborah and I went to see the movie Chef – a feel-good summer movie which left us ravenous when we got out at 8 pm.


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