The pizza oven at Two Sisters Winery
Monday, December 8: Began researching Barolo for my Lexpert column and wrote up my 680News wine reviews. For dinner, flank steak with a bottle of Csanyi Winery Teleki Villànyi Kékfrankos (dense purple, plum and leather nose; medium-bodied, dry and savoury (87)).
Tuesday, December 9: We were meant to take Pinot the Wonderdog in for groom today but she had a cyst on her back that had burst and she was in obvious discomfort. The vet cleaned it out and told us she should wear the “cone of shame” so she wouldn’t lick the wound. But Deborah put an old T-shirt on her instead.
A meeting over lunch with Doris Miculan Bradley at Beerbistro on King Street (amazing number of beers!). Doris is taking over from me as President and CEO of Grapes for Humanity. We’ll share the position for the coming year. I intend to remain on the board of directors.
For dinner, grilled salmon with Robert Mondavi Napa Valley Fumé Blanc 2013 (pale lemon colour with grassy, grapefruit nose; medium-bodied, guava, passion fruit and melon flavours; full in the mouth (89)).
Wednesday, December 10: After recoding my 680News wine reviews at the Rogers studio I was picked up to drive down to Two Sisters Winery in Niagara-on-the-Lake. The lawyer for the winery was the successful bidder at the auction during the gala dinner for Access Education Guatemala. I brought along the following wines from my cellar:
- Mike Weir Riesling 2012
- Jackson-Triggs White Meritage 2007
- Exultet The Blessed Chardonnay 2012
- Peller Estates Signature Series Merlot 2010
- Vineland Estates Elevation Cabernet 2009
- Osoyoos Larose Le Grand Vin 2007
Two Sisters Winery, Niagara on the Lake
Two Sisters Winery, next door to Peller Estates, is a magnificent building set in 70 hectares of red Bordeaux varietals that looks like a baronial hall. It had only been open for two weeks. The sisters are Angela and Melissa of the Marotta construction family. They had their logo designed by a tattoo artist.
Two Sisters’ Angela and Melissa
Their winemaker is Adam Pearce, who graduated from Niagara College and worked at Fielding before doing vintages in Australia and Pentages in BC (where he was responsible for 22 varieties!). He told me he has a degree in underwater welding, which could come in handy come the flood. We did the tasting in the barrel cellar and Adam threw in his own wines:
- Two Sisters Sauvignon Blanc 2013 (brought in Beamsville Bench fruit): pale straw; elegant, fresh, floral nose of green fruits; medium-bodied, green apple and kiwi flavours. (90)
- Two Sisters Merlot 2010: dense purple colour, spicy, vanilla nose with a lifted blackberry and currant bouquet; rich and concentrated with a creamy mouth feel and a firm finish. A very distinguished Merlot. (91)
- Two Sisters Cabernet Franc 2010: deep ruby-purple colour; spicy, vanilla oak nose with ripe fruit – bramble berry, red pepper and chocolate; medium-bodied, soft on the palate with ripe tannins. Needs a year or two in bottle to integrate the oak. (89–90).
Two Sisters Merlot 2010
We lunched in the winery’s restaurant (rustic Italian menu with antipasti, grilled octopus, and an amazing pizza selection) and the following Two Sisters wines:
- Two Sisters Riesling 2013: pale straw colour; grapefruit and lime on the nose; well-balanced lime flavour with a touch of honeyed sweetness i n mid palate. (89)
- Two Sisters Eleventh Post 2011 (52% Cabernet Franc, 24% Merlot, 24% Cabernet Sauvignon): dense purple colour; creamy nose of vanilla oak, cedar, red pepper and currants; richly extracted fruit, full-bodied with a ripe blackcurrant flavour and velvety mouth-feel; evident but ripe tannins give the wine a final structure. (90)
- Two Sisters Riesling Icewine 2013: straw colour; spicy, honey and peach nose with a botrytis note; nicely balanced peachy sweetness with citrus acidity. (90)
Thursday, December 11: A meeting with a neighbour to discuss the Association of Image Consultants and how to incorporate wine into their activities. In the mid-afternoon down to the Sheraton Hotel to conduct a wine tasting for an insurance company’s Christmas party. There were four wine stations with the following wines:
- Vineland Estates Elevation St. Urban Vineyard Riesling 2012
- Mountadam Estate Chardonnay 2009
- Kim Crawford Sauvignon Blanc
- Kim Crawford Pinot Noir C
- Vineland Estates Pinot Meunier 2012
- Cave Spring Cabernet Franc 2012
Friday, December 12: Went to get my passport renewed. A mercifully short wait. The corner of my old passport got burned a few years ago on a visit to Errazuriz in Chile. Inadvertently, I had put my bag over a heat vent during dinner which burned a hole through the bottom and scorched the corner of the passport. Immigration officers quizzed me about it every time I travelled, especially in China.
Chose my “Top Ten Wines of the Year” and my “Winery of the Year,” which will be posted next week. Took Pinot for a long walk in the park. She really enjoys the snow and romped with an eighteen-month-old doodle. Pinot is going to be ten on January 1st and still acts like a puppy. In the late afternoon did some tasting:
- Beaulieu Vineyards BV Coastal Estates Sauvignon Blanc 2013 (California): pale straw colour; minerally, green plum and cut grass nose; medium-bodied, mouth-filling, dry, green plum and grapefruit flavours with a fresh finish. Clean, good length. (88)
- Marynissen Estates Riesling 2013 (Four Mile Creek, Niagara Peninsula – $16): very pale colour with a lime tint; spicy, floral-citrus nose; light-bodied, crisp, grapefruit and lime flavours finishing with fresh acidity. (88+)
- Marynissen Estates Unoaked Chardonnay 2013 (Four Mile Creek, Niagara Peninsula – $15): pale straw with a green tint; apple nose with a floral top note; medium-bodied and mouth-filling, dry, apple flavour that lingers cleanly on the palate. (88+)
- Marynissen Estates Chardonnay 2013 (Chardonnay and Chardonnay Musqué, Niagara Peninsula – $17): not showing much evidence of oak-ageing in the colour which is virtually the same hue as the unoaked version; but broader on the nose with a smoky, leesy note of pear and apple; medium-bodied with a charred, toasty, apple puree flavour (87+)
- Marynissen Estates Pinot Gris Kasper Vineyard 2013 (Niagara Lakeshore – $17): light straw colour; a nose of white peach and pear; medium-bodied, well extracted fruit flavours of pear and peach; good heft on the palate; well balanced, versatile food wine. (89)
- Marynissen Estates Sauvignon Kasper Vineyard 2013 (Niagara Lakeshore – $17): pale straw with a lime tint; grassy, green bean and grapefruit zest nose; crisply dry with grapefruit and lime flavours and tart gooseberries. Finishes with mouth-watering acidity. (88)
- Marynissen Estates Gewurztraminer Marynissen Vineyard 2013 (Four Mile Creek – $40): pale straw colour; characteristic nose of lychee and rose petals; dry, perfumed, rose water; elegant and exotic Turkish delight flavours of rosewater and cardamom with a long finish. The best Ontario Gewurz I’ve tried from this vintage. (91+)
- Marynissen Estates Gamay Noir Marynissen Vineyard 2013 (Four Mile Creek – $25): ruby colour; cherry skin nose; well extracted flavours of black cherry and tobacco backed by smoky oak, deceptively rich on the palate and flavourful. (89+)
- Marynissen Estates Cabernet Franc Fox Vineyard 2013 (Twenty Mile Bench – $18): solid ruby colour; currants and red pepper nose; dry, lean, redcurrant flavour with a fine spine of acidity and a floral note on the back taste. Very Loire Cab Franc in style. (89)
- Marynissen Estates Merlot Marynissen Vineyard 2013 (Four Mile Creek – $17): solid ruby colour; earthy, oaky nose masking fruit at the moment; dry, medium-bodied, redcurrant and cranberry flavours with lively acidity and ripe tannins. (88)
- Marynissen Estates Red Blend Marynissen Vineyard 2013 (33% Syrah, 30% Merlot, 20% Gamay Noir, 17% Cabernet Sauvignon; Four Mile Creek – $19): solid ruby colour; cedar, red and blackcurrant nose; dry, medium-bodied, well-balanced red berry flavours with a spicy oak note, elegant with a supple tannic finish. (89)