Annabel and Declan
Monday, November 10: A big tasting of Ontario wines at Doug Towers’s house with David Lawrason. Good take-out pizza between the whites and the reds.
Tuesday, November 11: Wrote my “On The Go” column on sparkling wines for the holidays, then down to the Trump Hotel to taste the ne plus ultra of sparkling wines – Dom Pérignon P2 with chef de Cave Richard Geoffroy. P2 stands for Plénitude Deuxième. Geoffroy explained the concept in terms of “windows” in the life of the champagne “when the wine stands up and speaks out.” The first Plénitude was the 1998 vintage of Dom Pérignon, which was released in 2005. The second Plénitude is the same vintage held for 15 years on its lees. The third Plénitude, he says, will be “35 to 40 years.” 1998 was a warm year, “which shows in aromatics beyond the silver character of iodine and smoke, the sheer ripeness of the fruit. The richness comes from the ripeness of the fruit.” Richard Geoffroy started with Moët Chandon in 1990 and has made 16 vintages of Dom Pérignon.
Richard Geoffroy and P2
We tasted the P2 together – not out of flutes but served in wine glasses. He gave up flutes 15 years ago because, he says, “they don’t do justice to the wine.” P2 is magnificent, pure and precise with a creaminess in mid-palate and a life-giving spine of lemony acidity. The wine is amazingly young, or as Geoffroy put it, “bafflingly youthful, rather lamb chops with insolent in a way.”
For dinner, lamb chops with Sterling Vineyards Napa Valley Merlot 2011: ruby colour offering a nose of cherries with a light oak note; medium to full-bodied with sweet cherry and redcurrant flavours; easy drinking. (88+)
Wednesday, November 12: Lunched at Freshii with Liz Gallery and Cathy Martin, co-chairs of Grapes For Humanity’s fund-raiser, “Italy Uncorked,”‘ in May. The venue will be St. James’s Cathedral event space. The proceeds to go to Amani Children’s Homes. Then on to GFH’s accountant to go through the expenses for Geddy Lee and Alex Lifeson’s Grapes Under Pressure tour to Stratus vineyards in September. Sent out promotional copies of The Five Minute Wine Book to members of the wine press. Dinner, opened a bottle of Zantho Grüner Veltliner 2013 from Burgenland: pale straw colour with a sweaty, white pepper, white peach and parsley nose; light on the palate, dry and easy drinking. (87+).
Thursday, November 13: Wrote my Lexpert column on Marsala, then down to Far Niente to have lunch with Joel Rose to discuss Grapes for Humanity’s AGM in December. In the afternoon did some tasting.
- Chloe Sonoma County Chardonnay 2012 ($17.95): straw colour with a greenish tint; pineapple, apple caramel and melon nose with a touch of oak; medium-bodied, soft on the palate with melon and citrus flavours. Sustains nicely. (88+)
- Chloe Sonoma Coast Red No. 249 2012 ($17.95): dense purple-black colour; cedar, vanilla, blackberry nose; dry, medium to full-bodied, sweet fruit, chunky mouth-feel, plummy, creamy flavour. (87)
Friday, November 14: Deborah left for a week in the Dominican Republic early this morning. She’s travelling with her fried Sally, who lives in our building. Escaping the cold and threat of snow. Spent much of the day chasing donations of Italian wine for Grapes for Humanity’s May event and doing promos for my new e-book. Dinner with the family at Richmond Station. Annabel, Ian and baby Declan came in from Vancouver last night and we all met with Guy and Sasha at the restaurant. I brought along Tawse Chardonnay 2010 and Two Hands Coach House Block Shiraz 2006.
Matched beautifully with smoked trout
Amazing with Richmond Station’s hamburger
Saturday, November 15: Did a tasting in the evening before watching the hockey game.
- Château des Charmes Sauvignon Blanc 2013 (St. David’s Bench, Niagara – $14.95): pale straw; minerally, green plum with a sulphur note; dry, medium-bodied, touch of sweetness here, herbaceous, yellow plum flavour. (86+)
- Sprucewood Shores Unoaked Chardonnay Hawk’s Flight Reserve 2013 (Lake Erie North Shore, Ontario – $16.95): pale straw colour; minerally, apple nose; medium-bodied, crab apple flavour, round on the palate with defining acidity and moderate length. (87)
- Mission Hill Reserve Chardonnay 2013 (Okanagan Valley -$21.95): straw colour; spicy, apple nose with an oak backing; exotic tropical fruit flavours tempered by lively acidity and corseted with oak; well balanced with good length and a cinnamon finish. (90)
- Beringer Founders’ Estate Chardonnay 2013 (California – $16.95): bright, straw colour; toasty, apple nose; full-bodied, dry, mouth-filling, apple and green pineapple flavours with a spicy oak note. (88+)
- Sprucewood Shores Riesling 2013 (Lake Erie North Shore – $13.95): very pale straw colour; minerally, Granny Smith apple peel nose; off-dry with nectarine and grapefruit flavours with a suggestion of spritz. Nicely balanced. (87+)
- Flat Rock Pinot Noir 2012 (Twenty Mile Bench, Niagara – $19.95): ruby colour; raspberry with an earthy note and a light florality; medium-bodied, dry, raspberry and cherry flavours; nicely balanced. (88)
- Flat Rock Gravity Pinot Noir 2012 (Twenty mile Bench, Niagara – $29.95): ruby colour; a more intense nose than the simple FR Pinot 2012, minerally, cherry bouquet; rich on the palate, generous raspberry and cherry flavours backed by subtle hints of oak with a minty note. (89)
- Sprucewood Shores Lady in Red Cabernet Merlot 2011 (Lake Erie North Shore – $14.95): deep ruby colour; blackcurrant nose with a note of cedar; dry, light on the palate with red and blackcurrant flavours and a hint of vanilla oak; easy drinking; just the right sensation of tannin to give the wine structure. (87)
- Sprucewood Shores Warm ‘N Cozy Mulled Wine ($11.95): ruby coloured with a nose of cinnamon and clove; sweet and spicy, perhaps a bit too spicy but when heated to the desired temperature it will make a winter warmer. Don’t look for wine flavours here. It’s all in the spicing. (Not rated)
- Château des Charmes ‘Old Vines’ Cabernet-Merlot 2012 (Niagara-on-the-Lake -$19.95): deep ruby colour; a nose of cedar, currants and wood spice; dry, medium-bodied, firmly structured with a fine spine of acidity. (87+)
- Mission Hill Cabernet Sauvignon Reserve 2012 (Okanagan Valley – $24.95): deep purple ruby colour; cedar, spicy vanilla oak, lovely rose petal and blackcurrant bouquet; dry, medium-bodied, claret-style, elegant and well balanced, good mouth-feel with a firm finish. (89+)
- Petites Folies Merlot-Cabernet 2012 (Pays d’Oc – $15.95): deep ruby-purple colour; geranium leaf, cherry stone nose; mouth-filling chocolate and grainy tannins. Chunky mouth-feel. A manipulated wine. (86)