A Wine Lover’s Diary, Part 526: Holiday Doldrums


Pinot T. Wonderdog newly groomed with her Christmas scarf

Monday, December 22: This week leading up to Christmas is traditionally quiet, mainly getting ready for the holiday, shopping for Christmas presents and generally not concentrating on work. Although I did put together the wines for my annual Blind Tasting Award – three whites, three red – to test the palates of intrepid members of the Ontario wine trade. For dinner with lamb chops, Ravenswood Old Vine Zinfandel 2011 (dense purple colour with a nose of vanilla, coconut and spicy blackberry; mouth-filling flavours of plum and blackberry with a lively acidic spine – 88).

Tuesday, December 23: Wait till I get my hands on The Little Drummer Boy, I’ll give him rumpty-tum-tum. God, how I have come to hate that song. While Deborah took Pinot to the groomer I did some tasting since not much was going on.

  • Drouhin Côtes de Beaune-Villages 2011: ruby colour; spicy, cherry bouquet with an earthy note; medium-bodied, dry, fresh and easy drinking. (88+)
  • Torres Infinite 2012 (Catalunya – Tempranillo + 15% Cabernet Sauvignon; $12.95): Deep ruby-purple colour; earthy plum and coconut nose (American oak); medium-bodied, dry, fruity and fresh. (88)
  • Rosa d’Oro Vineyards Barbera 2012 (Lake County, California): purple colour; leather and black cherry nose; full-bodied, dry, black raspberry flavour with a fine spine of acidity. (89)
  • Quails’ Gate Dry Riesling 2013 (BC): pale straw colour; oily-petrol nose of lime and honey; medium-bodied, crisply dry, minerally with a tart, citrus finish. (89+)
  • Moselland Ars Vitis Riesling QBA 2012: pale straw colour with a lime tint; minerally, grapefruit and pear nose; off-dry but enough acidity to give it a crisp finish. (86+)

Wednesday, December 24: Went looking for some new Merrills since mine are worn out after three winters. Couldn’t find any. Guess I’ll have to wait till next fall when they come into the shops again.

Deborah and I went to the Willises’ annual Christmas Eve party and consumed a few glasses of Roederer Champagne. At the end of the evening (carols and the ritual singing of The Twelve Days of Christmas) when most people had left, Michael brought out a bottle of Leroy Chambolle-Musigny 1998. Now that’s the way to welcome in Christmas Day!

Thursday, December 25: Picked up my sister-in-law Suzanne and her friend from Ireland, Patricia, and drove up to Caledon to have Christmas dinner with Deborah’s niece Nadine, her husband Gary and their two boys Aiden and Kieran. Nadine’s father Spiro had flown in from Greece and his older brother Anthony, now a spry 92, drove in from Own Sound. Anthony’s son Stephen and his wife Cindy made up the rest of the party. My job is to carve the turkey.

Friday, December 26: Went to Tom’s Place on Baldwin Street to buy some trousers – walked out with three pairs, a sweater and a pair of flashy socks. Finally finished reading The Goldfinch and started on Stella Gibbons’ Cold Comfort Farm. I read this book in my teens in England and had recommended it to Deborah for her book club. She wants me to lead the discussion. Now I’ll get to see how much wine these ladies consume at their sessions.

For dinner, pasta with Castello di Gabbiano Bellezza Chianti Classico Gran Selezione 2011 (deep ruby-purple colour; plum and black cherry nose with spicy oak notes; good concentration of fruit, dry with a herbal note on the finish. Needs some bottle age (89–90)).

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