A Wine Lover’s Diary, Part 509: Italy Bound

Monday, August 25: This going to be a short week because on Thursday Deborah and I and Guy fly to Florence by way of Frankfurt for a week in a Tuscan farmhouse in Castellina in Chianti. Annabel, her husband Ian and our new grandchild Declan will be joining us there – as will Deborah’s sister Suzanne and her husband Richard (they’ll be coming from Paris). Then a week in an apartment in Verona and a chance to revisit my favourite wine bar in the world – Bottega del Vino… A tasting for winerytohome.comtoday.

Tuesday, August 26: Recorded my 680News wine reviews and worked on the BC, Nova Scotia and Ontario wine entries for Historica Canada, the Canadian encyclopedia. In 1996 there were 17 wineries in BC. Today there are 273.

In the late afternoon I did some tasting:

  • Château des Charmes Merlot 2012 (Ontario): deep ruby-plum colour; smoky, dark chocolate and blueberry nose; dry, medium-bodied, claret-like; well extracted fruit, firmly structured; hold for a year or two. (88)
  • Graffina Malbec Grand Reserve 2011 (Argentina): deep ruby-purple colour; evident spicy oak on the nose masking cherry and plum notes; richly extracted, fruity palate, dry and full-bodied, nicely balanced with fresh acidity. (88)
  • Columbia Winery Red Blend 2011 (Washington) (a blend of Cabernet Sauvignon, Syrah and Merlot): deep purple-ruby colour; spicy-savoury black fruit nose with vanilla oak; mouth-filling, sweet fruit with a mocha note, soft and velvety on the palate with just a suggestion of tannins. (89)

In the evening, I got wines together for the September 27th auction (Grapes for Humanity’s VIA Rail trip down to Stratus with Geddy Lee and Alex Lifeson).

Wednesday, August 27: Began clearing my desk, cancelling newspapers and outing a new message on my phone. A tasting today at the LCBO’s Scrivener Square of Ontario VQA wines served at this year’s Cuvée. Each participating winery at Cuvée was invited to serve a single wine – the wine they thought was their best. Interesting selection as a result. The best wines of the 37 presented were: Bachelder Wismer Vineyard Chardonnay 2011, Cave Spring Riesling 2010, Hillebrand Clean Slate Sauvignon Blanc Wild Ferment 2012, Domaine Queylus Pinot Noir Reserve 2011, Magnotta Limited Edition Cabernet Franc 2010 and the port-like Rennie Estate Assemblage “G” 2011.

Thursday, August 28: Finished packing, picked up euros from the bank, paid Visa bills and generally got ready to leave. The car to the airport is coming at 3:30 pm. Can’t wait to get to Italy.


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