Monday, July 7: Wrote an article on Umbria for Grapevine Magazine. Then tasted the following wines:
- Blue Mountain Sauvignon Blanc 2013 (BC): pale straw colour with a grassy, green apple nose and a touch of oak; dry, green apple flavour with citrus notes and a touch of bitterness on the finish. Not in the same league as Blue Mountain’s Chardonnay and Pinot Gris. (87)
- Leyda Pinot Noir Reserva 2012: light ruby colour; minerally nose of cherries and violets; well-structured cherry and cherry pit flavours, firmly structured with a lovely mouth feel. (89)
- D’Alfonso del Sordo Guado San Leo Uva di Troia 2006 (Puglia): mature ruby colour with a high toned nose of dried cherries; full-boded, lean and firm with a plummy flavour. Showing its age. (86)
Tuesday, July 8: Worked on Grapes for Humanity accounts. We have settled our fund-raiser event for the fall. Geddy Lee, one of GFH’s directors, and Alex Lifeson will be leading a VIA Rail trip for Status Vineyards in Niagara on Saturday September 27th. It’s a big-ticket number to raise funds for a children’s healthcare facility in the Philippines – $1,250 a person. The response from fans in the US has been fantastic and we haven’t even begun to advertise the event.
Lunched at The Chase with Jack and Stephen Pauwels to work out an itinerary for next year’s wine tour. It looks like Portugal and Spain – Oporto, the Douro Valley, Ribeira del Duero and Madrid. In the afternoon watched Germany humiliate Brazil in a semi-final match of the World Cup (7–1). In the evening when Deborah went out to dine with her book club ladies at Summerlicious, I tasted wines from Prince Edward County’s newest winery, Trail Estate in Hillier:
- Trail Estate Sauvignon Blanc 2013: pale straw in colour with a green tint; minerally, apple with a wet leaf note; dry, full in the mouth with apple and Asian pear flavours riding on lemony acidity. A solid wine with good length and a warm alcoholic finish. (88+)
- Trail Estate Chardonnay 2013: very pale colour; melon and citrus peel nose with thread of minerality; crisply dry, green apple and lemon flavours. (88)
- Trail Estate White 2013 (90% Riesling, 10% Gewurztraminer): pale straw colour; spicy, grapefruit and pine needle nose; soft mouth feel, dry, apricot and lemon flavours. Sustains well on the palate. (88)
- Trail Estate Rosé 2013 (100% Pinot Noir): salmon pink in colour; strawberry and watermelon nose; medium to full-bodied with a flavour of pureed strawberries and rhubarb. Mouth-freshening acidity on the finish. A good food wine. (88+)
Wednesday, July 9: Went to the chiropractor for my back. In the late afternoon down to Queen’s Park for presentation ceremonies for the Lieutenant Governor’s Award for Excellence in Ontario Wines. The winners were:
- Peller Estates Private Reserve Vintage Gamay Noir 2012
- Domaine Queylus Pinot Noir Tradition 2011
- Tawse Winery Robyn’s Block Chardonnay 2011
- Ravine Vineyards Reserve Chardonnay 2010
- Tawse Winery Carly’s Block Riesling 2012
- Trius Winery Showcase Ghost Creek Riesling 2013
- Big Head Wines Syrah 2012
- Malivoire Wine Company Stouck Meritage 2011
- Trius Winery Trius Brut NV
- Inniskillin Discovery Series Botrytis Affected Viognier 2013
- Burning Kiln Winery Cab Frank 2012 (named for the grower Frank DeLeebeck)
(Outstanding wines for me were the two Tawse and the Ravine.)
Thursday, July 10: Down to the LCBO for a tasting of Ontario wines for the Taste Local release, September 14th–October 11th. Like Pillitteri’s new Canadian Gothic label. My top scores went to Norman Hardie County Pinot Noir 2012 (91), The Foreign Affair The Conspiracy Red 2012 (89) and Charles Baker Picone Vineyard Riesling 2011 (89).
Pillitteri Canadian Gothic label
In the evening Deborah and I went to Casa Loma, where we had been invited by Shinan Govani to the launch of a ultra-premium Tequila called Don Good. Leggy model girls in short black dresses circulated among the guests with iPads telling us about the three tequilas on offer at several bars around the castle: Blanco, Reposado and Añejo, mixed as cocktails or straight. Hand-rolled cigars, oysters, a rock band, the place was fairly jumping. Took a photo of one of the owners of the brand, Lex Duy, with a bottle.
Lex Duy and her Tequila
Friday, July 11: Back to the LCBO for a tasting of wines for Vintages’ August 2nd release. A big discussion among the wine writers as to a preference between two New Zealand Sauvignons: Greywacke Sauvignon Blanc 2013 from Marlborough and Spinyback Sauvignon Blanc 2013 from Nelson. Both very good but I preferred the Greywacke.
Greywacke Sauvignon Blanc, my fav
On the subway home I was seated next to a woman who was eating a bacon sandwich. The aroma was intoxicating. Sitting in an adjacent seat was a man wearing a yarmulke and reading a prayerbook. I could see he was catching the aroma too and wondered what he was thinking. So I came home and wrote a short story. For dinner, with BBQ-ed steak, Raimat Tempranillo 2010 (deep ruby-purple colour; herb-tinged nose of black cherries with a rose petal note; medium-bodied, dry, earthy plum and cherry flavours with an acidic finish (88)).