Three great Pinots
Monday, January 12: Deborah’s birthday. A tasting for winerytohome.com at Doug Towers’s house with David Lawrason. Suffering from back spasms. Think it’s because I shifted the king-size mattress. Agony. Made an appointment with my chiropractor for tomorrow. Took Deborah to dinner at Buca. We were seated next to a couple who were also celebrating a birthday today. We shared our dessert with them – an amazing chocolate zuccotto bomb.
Tuesday, January 13: Trying to convince Gaia Gaja to spend another evening in Toronto in October so Grapes for Humanity can have another fund-raiser dinner with her. Got all my tax papers together for my accountant and then went off to the chiropractor to have my back fixed. Then did a tasting:
- Kir Yanni Paranga White 2013 (Naoussa, Greece; 80% Roditis, 20% Malagouzia – $13.95): bright, pale straw colour; minerally, citrus nose; medium-bodied, dry, grassy, lemon and pear flavours with a stoney finish. (88)
- Rosewood Select Series Semillon 2013 (Beamsville, Ontario – $18): earthy, pear nose; medium-bodied, mouth-filling dry, lemon and pear flavours with a lanolin note. (88)
- Rosewood Origin Series La Fumée 2013 (Niagara Escarpment; 95% Sauvignon Blanc, 5% Semillon – $21.80): straw colour; oaky, kiwi nose with an herbaceous note; rich and spicy on the palate with a custard apple and citrus flavour; full-bodied. (88+)
- Rosewood Origin Series Eighty-Six’d Chardonnay 2013 (Niagara Lakeshore): A wine made for Krys Roman by her brother William to mark her birth year – from a vineyard planted the same year. Vibrant straw colour; apple nose with a light oak note; full-bodied, dry with tangerine, melon and apple flavours. Rich and voluptuous on the palate, beautifully balanced, New World style with good length. (90)
- Rosewood Select Series Merlot 2012 (Niagara Escarpment – $22): deep ruby colour; smoky, blackberry nose with vanilla oak; dry, medium-bodied, well-extracted fruit, plum flavour with a lively acidic spine and ripe tannins. (88)
- Rosewood Origin Series Merlot 2012 (Beamsville Bench – $36.20): deep ruby colour; cedar, blueberry, oak spice on the nose; velvety-creamy mouth-feel, dry, good fruit concentration with a pencil lead note and a warm alcoholic finish. (89+)
- Rosewood Lock, Stock and Barrel 2012 (Niagara Peninsula; 32% Merlot, 25% Cabernet Franc, 23% Cabernet Sauvignon, 11% Petit Verdot, 9% Malbec): deep ruby colour; cedar, plum, tobacco, red and blackcurrants on the nose; medium to full-bodied, dry, well integrated oak with dusty tannins. A substantial wine. (89)
- Boutari Naoussa 2010 (Greece; Xynomavro 2010 – $13.95): ruby colour; cherry , tobacco and tea leaf with an earthy note on the nose; dry, ripe but evident tannins, black cherry flavour. Will cellar well. Good value. (88)
- Boutari Grande Reserve Naoussa 2008 (Xynomavro – $17.95): ruby colour with a mature rim; cigar box, soy, dried red berries on the nose; dry, medium-bodied, elegant, Barolo-like, firmly structured, lively acidity. Drinking well now but will age for another five years. (90)
- Tsantali Rapsani Reserve 2010 (Xynomavro, Krassato, Stavroto – $18.95): ruby colour; earthy, cherry nose; dry, medium-bodied, sour cherry flavour, leather flavours with lively acidity. Worthy of cellaring. (88–90)
Tuesday, January 13: A day of answering emails and working on a corporate tasting, one of the Executive Wine Experience seminars. My back still bothering me. Will have to take it to the chiropractor. Dinner, barbecued ribs with Bellingham Big Oak Red 2013 from South Africa’s Western Cape (a blend of Cabernet Sauvignon and Shiraz): deep ruby-purple colour; smoky, charred oak, black fruit nose; full-bodied, dry, savoury with an iodine note.(87)
Wednesday, January 14: Went down to the LCBO to select wines for a corporate tasting. They wanted Australia and New Zealand wines. Spent a boring afternoon going over my stuff for the accountant. For dinner, grilled salmon with Douglas Green Sauvignon Blanc 2014 from South Africa. Light golden colour with a gassy, kiwi nose; richly extracted passion fruit, pear and grapefruit flavours; touch of sweetness in mid-palate but finishes with fresh acidity. Great value at $10.80. (88+)
Thursday, January 15: Down to Patria at noon for a lunch tasting of Ontañón wines from Rioja and Ribero del Duero, led by Conrado Herrero. The company, he told us, produces 1 million bottles.
- Ontañón Vetiver 2013 (Rioja): straw colour with a minerally, spicy nose of Asian pear and a light floral note. Lively acidity. (88)
- Ontañón Clarete Rosé 2014 (Rioja): pale salmon colour with a cherry pit nose; light and elegant, dry, cherry flavour with crisp acidity. (88+)
- Ontañón Ecologico Tempranillo 2013 (Rioja): deep ruby colour; leather and cherry bouquet; well extracted red berry flavours, full in the mouth, earthy with a tannic finish. (87+)
- Ontañón Crianza 2010 (Rioja – 90% Tempranillo, 10% Garnacha): deep purple-ruby colour; floral, black cherry nose; medium-bodied, dry and firmly structured. (89)
- Ontañón Teón Roble 2012 (Ribera del Duero – 100% Tinta del Pais): dense purple-black; creamy, earthy, black olive and black cherry nose with a light floral note; firm structure. (88+)
- Ontañón Teón Crianza 2011 (Ribera del Duero – 100% Tinta del Pais): deep purple colour; vanilla, coconut nose with a floral note; dry, medium-bodied, firmly structured with black cherry flavours. (88+)
- Ontañón Reserva 2005 (Rioja – 95% Tempranillo, 5% Graciano): dense purple, holding colour; floral, dried cherry nose with an earthy note; medium-bodied, dry, elegant and remarkable fresh and lively. (91)
- Ontañón Gran Reserva 2005 (85% Tempranillo, 15% Graciano): dense purple colour; creamy, spicy, pencil lead and black cherry nose; chunky mouthfeel, oak dominant at the moment. Needs time (89–92).
With the lunch we tasted three older wines.
- Ontañón Vetiver Viura 2004: this wine was a revelation. It tasted like an aged Hunter Valley Semillon: tawny colour, with woody, dried apricot flavours. (90)
- Ontañón Reserva 1989: elegant, cherry flavour, very claret-like, still youthful and lively. (91)
- Ontañón Graciano 2014 (Rioja): dense purple black in colour; inky, floral, reminiscent of Petit Verdot; dry, cranberry and redcurrant flavours. (88)
Another session with the chiropractor this afternoon. He gave me a set of exercises to strengthen my core muscles.
Friday, January 16: An LCBO tasting of new general list wines.
Saturday, January 17: Spent most of the day preparing for a dinner party. We had invited Arlene and Michael Willis, Arlene’s Sarasota friend Roberta and Richard Wernham and Julia West for 7 pm, warning them of Pinot the Wonderdog’s exuberant and barky welcome. The menu: appetizers – smoked salmon and cream cheese rolls, hummus dip, olives with Pol Roger Rosé Reserve 1996 and Kirkland Champagne Brut (which I bought at Costco in Florida last year for $19.99US). First course: pear and fennel salad with Louis Latour Corton-Charlemagne 2005 (which Michael brought). Main course: an amazing boeuf bourguignon with boiled heritage potatoes and steamed peapods and green beans with three Pinot Noirs: Roumier Chambolle-Musigny Amoureuses 1995, Etude Pinot Noir 2010 from Carneros, and Church & State Pinot Noir Hollenbach Family Vineyard 2009 from the Okanagan Valley. Dessert: Deborah’s lemon pie with Hillebrand Cabernet Franc Icewine 2008 and ChocoMe White chocolate. Altogether, a very successful evening.