A Wine Lover’s Diary, Part 528: Tasting Blind

Monday, January 5: My first full day’s work of the year – spent following up on emails and phone calls of stuff left over from last year. Dug out an old children’s story I had written about Pinot the Wonderdog with the thought of getting it published. Wrote my 680News wine reviews and did a bit of tasting:

  • Silver Bay Cellars Riesling Gewurztraminer 2013 (Ontario – $13.95): pale straw colour; aromatic, grapefruit nose; medium-bodied, rosewater, grapefruit and lime flavours with a touch of residual sweetness; off-dry lychee, honey and grapefruit flavours, nicely balanced. Good mouth-feel. Good value. (88)
  • Tenuta Le Velette Rasenna Orvieto Classico Amabile 2012 (Umbria): light straw colour; honey, pear nose; off-dry, with sweet pear and peach flavours, round and full in the mouth with balancing acidity. (88+)
  • Gabbiano Chianti 2013 ($13.95): ruby colour; cherry and cherry pit nose; light-bodied, dry, sour cherry flavour with lively acidity. Somewhat tart on the finish. (86)
  • Gabbiano Chianti Classico 2012 ($16.95): ruby colour; earthy, cherry nose; medium-bodied, dry, well extracted flavours or cherry and red currant; medium-bodied and nicely balanced. (88)
  • Paso Creek Zinfandel 2012 (Paso Robles – $19.95): deep ruby colour; smoky, charred oak, vanilla oak and blueberry compote nose; full-bodied, fruity and mouth-filling with sweet, jammy blueberry flavour with a smoky oak finish. (88+)
  • Southbrook Framboise (Ontario – $14.95, half bottle): ruby colour; intense raspberry jam nose; rich and unctuous on the palate with concentrated raspberry flavour, sweet but held in check with lively citrus acidity. (87)

Tuesday, January 6: A make-up tasting at the LCBO for one of the Vintages release tastings I missed. Then a meeting downtown at the Sheraton Hotel with Stephen Pauwels to discuss our group wine trip to Portugal and Spain in May.

Wednesday, January 7: Recorded my 680News wine reviews, then on to dental appointment, semi-annual check-up and cleaning. Then a lunch meeting with Liz Gallery and Cathy Martin to discuss their next Grapes for Humanity event on May 7th – “Italy Uncorked.” They have some great fund-raising ideas.

Thursday, January 8: Prepared for my Blind Tasting Award held this evening at The Fine Wine Reserve. Twelve members of Drinks Ontario (the association of wine, spirits and beer importers) have entered but only ten showed up. They had to blind taste six wines and record the grape variety, the vintage, the region and, if possible, the producer. The wines in order of serving were:

  • Burning Kiln Riesling 2011 (Ontario)
  • Vineland Estates Chenin Blanc 2012 (Ontario)
  • Cono Sur Bicicleta Chardonnay 2014 (Chile)
  • Farnese Fantini Montepulciano d’Abruzzo 2013 (Abruzzo)
  • Jackson-Triggs Delaine Syrah 2011 (Ontario)
  • Argento Malbec 2014 (Argentina)

Blind Tasting Award line-up

The ultimate winner was Greg Dunlop of Noble Estates (formerly an LCBO wine buyer). He will receive an engraved decanter and a framed certificate at the Drinks Ontario annual dinner on February 6th at the National Club. But I won’t be there to present him with the trophy as I’ll be in Guatemala with Deborah for the opening of a school that Grapes for Humanity funded.

Friday, January 9: Another Vintages release tasting today, after which I dropped into Tiffany’s to pick up a birthday present for Deborah (silver love knot earrings) and birthday cards from Pinot and from me. Then a coffee at Balzac’s in the Reference Library with Hugh Brewster, a Titanic scholar who wrote a book entitled, Gilded Lives, Fatal Voyage. He gave me a copy and I gave him a copy of my murder mystery set on the Titanic, called Titanic, A Novel.

Saturday, January 10: Last February I donated a home wine tasting to an auction that Bob Rae conducted for the Avenue Road Art School. The winning bidder finally claimed the tasting and wanted to do it blind with four other couples. It turned out to be a great evening with a magnificent catered dinner. Each couple brought a wine and the host supplied more to augment those that I had donated. Mine were all Ontario award-wining wines and it was interesting to see how well they were appreciated when served side by side with some really heavy hitters.

Proposed 6 Course Tasting Menu Wine Tasting

Hors D’Oeuvres
Roasted Parsnip & Carrot Risotto
Blinis w/ Chive “Crème Fraîche” and Salmon Roe
Roasted Eggplant and Tomato Jam Tarts

Champagne Tarlant La Vigne d’Antan 2000
Konzelmann Gewürztraminer 2011

1st Course
Poached Boca Negra** w/ Sauteed Leek
Baby Arugula, Honey-Spiced Pumpkin Seeds and Green Apple Vinaigrette

Creekside Sauvignon Blanc 2010
Château Pape Clement 2006
Vineland Estates St. Urban Riesling 2009

2nd Course
Bucatini in Winter Squash “Cream” w/ Sauteed Mushrooms, Garlic Confit and White Truffle Oil

Clos Jordanne Pinot Noir Le Clos Jordanne Vineyard 2006
Joseph Drouhin Clos des Mouches 2005

3rd Course
Single Chop of Ontario Lamb w/ Merguez Braised Neck
Roasted Sweet Turnip, Mustard Greens and Shiraz Gastrique

D’Arenberg Dead Arm Shiraz 2002
Southbrook Triomphe Syrah 2008
Elderton Command Shiraz 1999

4th Course
AAA Dry Aged Rib Eye Steak
Hand Thrown Gnocchi in White Truffled Potato Nage, Fire Roasted Beets & Sunchokes in Fresh Lemon & Sicilian Olive Oil

Ravine Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon 2010
Trius Red 2012
Pahlmeyer 2009

Sweet Endings
Baked Lady Apple Pie “Lollipop,” Balsamic Macerated Fig Trifle in Strawberry Syrup
Lemon Mousse in Tuile Cup

Inniskillin Sparkling Vidal Icewine 2012
Kiralyudvar Tokaji Aszu 6-Puttonyos 2000

The wine line-up

Altogether a spectacular night of wine and food!

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