Thursday, February 12: Back to freezing cold weather in Toronto. Busy day catching up on emails and writing my Post City Magazines column.
Friday, February 13: My son Guy’s 40th birthday. He’s celebrating in Las Vegas while we’re freezing here at minus 33 Celsius with the wind chill. In the morning went down to Maple Leaf Gardens to participate in a photo to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the Canadian flag. 2015 people all dressed in red tops stood on the red parts of the flag at centre ice. I was standing at the extreme left of the maple leaf, one in from a bald guy who said that he was in the original photo taken at Beaverton in 1969 outdoors in winter. It was a very moving experience.
Filling in the Maple Leaf at the Gardens
Wrote my On the Go column and then got down to some tasting:
- White House Wine Co. Riesling Pinot Grigio 2013 (Niagara Peninsula – $12.95): old gold colour; peach and citrus nose; dry, unctuous mouth-feel, white peach and lemon flavour. Touch of bitterness on the finish. (86)
- Sue Ann Staff Fancy Farm Girl Frivolous White 2012 (Riesling – Niagara Peninsula – $14.95): pale straw colour; minerally, grapefruit nose already developing petrol notes; ripe and full on the palate with pear and lime flavours and a touch of honey. Good tension between sweetness and citrus acidity. (87)
- Miguel Torres Las Mulas Sauvignon Blanc Reserva 2014 (Chile – $12.95): light straw colour; struck flint, minerally, green bean, leafy nose; crisply dry, tart gooseberry flavour; more in Loire style than Chile, brisk lime flavour. Good length. Good value (87)
- Henry of Pelham Chardonnay 2013 (Niagara Peninsula – $14.95): straw colour; minerally-yeasty nose of apples; dry, light to medium-bodied, dry, apple and citrus flavours; moderate length. (87)
- Villa Maria Sauvignon Blanc Cellar Selection 2014 (Marlborough, New Zealand – $19.95): pale straw colour; grassy, gooseberry nose; medium-bodied, crisply dry with flavours of gooseberry, passion fruit and lemon. Beautifully balanced with great length. (90)
- Kim Crawford Pansy Rosé 2014 (Merlot – Hawke’s Bay, $17): deep salmon colour; raspberry and cherry nose; dry, medium-bodied, well extracted fruit, well balanced with acidity with a lively citrus-laced raspberry candy finish. (88)
- Sue Ann Staff Fancy Farm Girl Flamboyant Red 2012 (Cabernet/Merlot – Niagara Peninsula – $14.95): light ruby colour; minerally, Cabernet Franc nose or leafy, redcurrant and tobacco leaf; light-bodied, easy drinking with surprisingly high alcohol and a lovely floral note in mid palate. (88)
- Silver Bay Pinot Noir 2013 (Niagara Peninsula – $14.95): ruby colour; earth, cherry pit nose; dry, light-bodied, lean and rather short on fruit. (86)
- Pedra Cancela Winemaker’s Selection 2010 (Touriga Nacional, Alfrocheiro, Tinta Roriz – Dao, Portugal: $13.95): deep ruby colour; smoky, earthy, minty nose; dry, medium-bodied, mouth-filling, minty red berry and plum flavours; firmly structured, lively acidity with ripe tannins. Good value. (88)
Had the opened bottle of Villa Maria Sauvignon Blanc with mushroom and ricotta cheese ravioli. Delicious.
Saturday, February 14: Wrote a 300-word piece on what makes a great sommelier for Jacob Richler’s new book, 100 Best Restaurants in Canada. Steak for dinner with Lailey Cabernet Franc 2010.
Sunday, February 15: Deborah’s sister Suzanne was meant to come to dinner but cancelled at the last minute. We had prepared Moroccan chicken soup and grilled salmon. I opened a bottle of Domdechant Werner Domdechaney Riesling Trocken 2009 – a sensational bottle of wine, very rich with tropical fruit flavours, mango and lime, just a delight. Suzanne missed a great wine.
A great bottle of wine
Monday, February 16: Family Day. Wrote my 680News wine reviews and walked Pinot in the park. It’s still brutally cold. Got notification of a traffic violation in Verona. Apparently when I was there in November I drove on a restricted street. 42 euro fine which was applied to the credit card I used to rent an Avis car. Bummer.
Tuesday, February 17: Went down to the Toronto Reference Library for a press conference held by Xavier de Eizaguirre, Chairman of the Board of Vinexpo. I’ve known Xavier for many years, since he was the Chairman of Mouton-Rothschild. He delivered a lot of data about wine consumption around the world. The US is now the top wine-consuming nation in volume terms, followed by France, Italy, Germany and China. Spain is the top producer followed by Italy and France. Canada has seen a 23.7% growth in consumption in the last ten years. We drink 13.6 litres a head, 60% of which is red wine. By 2018 they are projecting 15.3 litres.
At 2:30 a film crew came to the condo to film me giving a tribute to Geddy Lee and Rush for their charity work. The group is receiving the Allan Waters Humanitarian award at this year’s Junos. Geddy is a director of grapes for Humanity and he and Alex Lifeson have conducted three VIA tours to wine country, which have raised over half a million dollars for the foundation. Pasta for dinner with Château des Charmes Gamay Noir 2012.
Wednesday, February 18: Dropped off Deborah and Pinot at the groomer’s on Bathurst and then drove to the Rogers to record my 680News wine reviews. Arrived late because of the construction along Eglinton. Meeting with Forefront Communications to discuss the Ontario Wine Awards.
Thursday, February 19: Getting bored with the continuous cold weather. A tasting for winerytohome.com at Doug Towers’s with David Lawrason. Received a cheque for Grapes for Humanity for $60,000 from the eBay auction sale of Rush memorabilia. Those guys are sterling and really do deserve the Allan Waters Humanitarian award. The money will go to a project in Cambodia for children’s education.
Friday, February 20: A tasting to the first March release of Vintages products, 128 wines and spirits. Not an easy job. Got through 58 of them and then went home and promptly lost my gloves on the bus (I was engrossed in a book and missed my stop. Got up suddenly and they must have dropped on the floor.)
Saturday, February 21: Fresh snow in Sherwood Park. Deborah and I walked Pinot there after the bank (for some reason she likes going to the bank). In the evening, to Rodney’s Oyster House for my son Guy’s 40th birthday dinner. Ordered a bottle of Hirsch Grüner Veltliner 2013 with a dozen oysters and pasta with scallops.
My son Guy and his girlfriend Sasha