A Wine Lover’s Diary, Part 527: Myanmar Revelation


Red Mountain Estate wines

Monday, December 29: Got the news last night that our friend Michael Carlevale had died. We will miss his acerbic wit and delightful company. Wrote my Quench column on Vermentino. Dinner with Deborah at Michael and Rosie Vaughan’s. Nicolas Feuillatte Brut followed by Cave Spring Sparkling with appetizers. BBQ lamb rack with Henry of Pelham Cabernet Merlot 1998, Gallo Frei Ranch Zinfandel  2010, Paul Jaboulet Hermitage La Chapelle 1998 and the star of the evening, Cos d’Estournel 1982. Then Hine Homage Cognac, Dupeyron Hors d’Age Armagnac du Collectionneur, El Dorado 25 Years Old 1980 Distillation Rum. Used Uber for the first time. Very successful and cheaper than taking a taxi from High Park to Mount Pleasant. Couldn’t remember much about the journey.

Cos d'Estournel 1982

Tuesday, December 30: Started thinking about a new wine murder mystery since there is not much going on. Put the wines for the Blind Tasting Award together. Nine intrepid contestants so far.

Wednesday, December 31: Another lost day. At 9 pm we took the (free) TTC to Bloor for a party at my literary agent, Bev Slopen’s apartment. Ran into several old acquaintances, including Peter Rehak, who was at McGill with me and edited the McGill Daily and went on to join CBC News. We reminisced about our mutual friend Gordon Wasserman, who married the late Labour politician Hugh Gaitskill’s daughter and is now Lord Wasserman. Deborah and I finished off the evening over a bottle of Wolf Blass Yellow Label Brut.

Thursday, January 1: Pinot T. Wonderdog’s birthday. She turned ten today and got lots of greetings on her Facebook page. She posted: “I turn 70 years old. But I look fantastic because I see the world through 25 year old eyes.” Wise dog. She had a long walk in Sherwood Park and enjoyed meeting other dogs.

Heard today the sad news that Serge Hochar of Chateau Musar in Lebanon died in a swimming accident in Mexico. I remember him at the London Wine Fair four years ago asking me if I’d sit on a panel with him at a seminar he was giving on his wines. I didn’t realise that he wanted me to give the tasting notes on the wines for an audience of MWs and sommeliers.

Friday, January 2: Lunch with Irvin Wolkoff and Barry Chaim, at Barry’s Edoko restaurant in Spadina Village. Barry’s son Josh, who lives in Beijing, had given him two bottles of wine from Myanmar (formerly Burma) and Barry asked us to taste them blind. They turned out to be Red Mountain Estate Sauvignon Blanc 2010 and Red Montain Estate Shiraz Tempranillo 2010. The Sauvignon tasted like a cross between a Sancerre and a New Zealand Sauvignon. The red I pegged as a South African Pinotage – because of its smoky, tarry, herbal flavours. We drank the wines with seared tuna, yellow tail salmon sashimi, lobster roll and frilled beef. The wines were a revelation. So much so that I emailed the winemaker, François Raynal, to see if he had an Ontario importer.


Edoko’s lobster rolls

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