A Wine Lover’s Diary, Part 523: Grapes’ AGM

Monday, December 1: The week coming back from a trip is always a bit of a letdown as there are a myriad emails to deal with and boring bills to pay, etc. Added to which we don’t have a car for the week because we were sideswiped and had to have the rear end painted. The guy didn’t stop. The estimate is $1,600.

Spent the day getting the paperwork together for Grapes for Humanity’s AGM tomorrow evening, printing off reports and writing my President’s review of the past year. Managed to taste a few wines though.

  • Mark West Chardonnay 2012 (California): golden colour with a green tint; vanilla oak and ripe sweet pineapple and peach on the nose; full-bodied, sweet with balancing acidity and a nutty finish. (88)
  • Boeri Barbera d’Asti 2012: dense ruby colour with a lifted nose of dried cherries and a note of Kirsch; medium-bodied, dry, savoury, sour cherry flavour. (87)
  • Rosenblum Zinfandel 2011 (California): deep ruby with a lifted nose of black plum and leather; rich and full-bodied plum flavour with soft tannins and nicely integrated oak. (88)

Tuesday, December 2: Spent most of the day inputting tasting notes for this Saturday’s Vintages release (the most tiresome part of my job). In the evening, the Grapes for Humanity AGM held at the house of the foundation’s treasurer. In my report I told the board that, after seven years as President & CEO, I wanted to step aside. We called for nominees and Doris Miculan Bradley was elected President by acclamation. A very worthy candidate. I shall stay on for a year as a functioning President Emeritus, as Doris is new to the foundation. It’s been a wonderful ride but I plan to continue to serve on the board.

Wednesday, December 3: Wrote my After Taste column for Quench about Dom Pérignon P2 1998 Champagne and some wine reviews. And did a bit of tasting:

  • Sterling Vineyards Napa Chardonnay 2012: straw colour with an oaky, tropical fruit nose leavened with citrus notes; full-bodied, toasty, sweet pineapple and citrus flavours. Rich and full in the mouth. (88)
  • Graffigna Elevation Red Blend 2012 (Argentina): 20% Bonarda, 20% Cabernet Sauvignon, 20% Malbec, 20% Syrah, 20% Tannat; deeply coloured with a nose of plums and dark chocolate; dry, plum and leather flavours with well integrated oak and a firm tannic finish. (88)

Thursday, December 4: Selected the wines for a charity event. Interestingly, the winner of the auctioned item wants to do the tasting blind. Guy and Sasha came to dinner. Tomorrow they leave for three days in New York, Sasha’s first time in the Big Apple. We started with a bottle of Pierre Sparr Crémant d’Alsace Brut Réserve (88) with home-made hummus. Over a roast beef dinner we drank Alpha Estate Axia 2010 (a Syrah-Xynomavro blend from Greece (89)) and Carnivor Cabernet Sauvignon 2013 (California, 89).

Friday, December 5: A Vintages release tasting, the last press tasting of the year. Only did half the wines so I’ll have to go back for the LCBO wine consultants’ tasting to finish the rest.

Saturday, December 6: A party at our friends Steve and Cathy Pauwels at their house in Paris, Ontario. And then home for the annual fancy dress part of Richard Wernham and Julia West. The theme this year was Italy. I wore Italian shoes. Carol-singing led by Albert Schultz of Soulpepper, great fun.


Our party hosts, Richard and Julia, looking suitably Italianate

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