A Wine Lover’s Diary, Part 555: LG Awards


Emma Garner of Thirty Bench receives her award from the Lieutenant Governor

Monday, July 27th: Wrote my monthly column for Quench (on Syrah and Shiraz) and worked on a piece for the Toronto Symphony Wine Auction catalogue – about how it came about, the first charity auction in Ontario.

Tuesday, July 28th: Deborah and I went to the memorial service for my friend Jeff Lyons, a long-time director of Grapes for Humanity. His family spoke very eloquently and movingly about him – how he called everyone “Brother,” a habit he picked up after his curiosity took him to sit in on a Baptist church service. Then Deborah and I went to the Centre Street Deli for lunch.

Wednesday, July 29th: The hottest day in Toronto so far – 33°C. Went to the Argentinian tasting at Snell Hall, St. James Cathedral on Church Street. 23 wineries showing 94 wines. I concentrated mainly on the Malbecs and I found a sameness in a lot of the wines. Best wines: Zuccardi Finca Piedra Inifinita Malbec 2012 (and so it should be at $120 a bottle), Zuccardi Q Malbec 2012 (a bargain at $16.95), Agostino Finca Malbec 2012 (the most elegant and restrained Malbec), Luigi Bosca Malbec 2012. Best value at the event: Argento Esquinas de Argento Cabernet Sauvignon 2013 ($11.95). Then on to Queen’s Park for the Lieutenant Governor’s Award for Excellence in Ontario Wines presented by the LG, Elizabeth Dowdeswell:

  • Creekside Estate Riesling 2014
  • Flat Rock Cellars Riddled Sparkling 2009
  • Flat Rock Cellars Gravity Pinot Noir 2012
  • Hernder Estates Riesling 2010
  • Jackson-Triggs Riesling Reserve Icewine 2010
  • Peller Estates Vintage Gamay Private Reserve 2015
  • Peller Estate Sauvignon Blanc Signature Series 2015
  • Ravine Vineyard Chardonnay 2013
  • Rockway Vineyards Small Lot Block 12-140 Syrah 2012
  • Thirty Bench Winemakers Small Lot Riesling “Wild Cask” 2013

After the presentations the winemakers and guests attended a reception at which all the wines were served. At dinner, made hamburgers on the BBQ and opened a bottle of Masi Tupungato Paso Doble Malbec/Corvina 2012 from Argentina (dense purple colour; curranty nose with an earthy note; dry, medium-bodied, black plum flavour with lively acidity and a firm finish. (88)).

Thursday, July 30th: Regan Kapach, the winemaker for 16 Mile Cellar, around the corner from Creekside and 13th Street, brought her wines to the condo for me to taste. Interesting minimalist labels.

  • 16 Mile Cellar Rebel Chardonnay 2012 ($19.95): deep straw with a green tint; apple with spicy oak; medium to full-bodied, dry, minerally, apple, orange and peach flavours; beautifully balanced with lively acidity. (90)
  • 16 Mile Cellar Civility Chardonnay 2012 ($24.95): deep straw with a green tint; spicy, licorice, and forest floor bouquet; dry, medium to full-bodied, rich on the palate, focussed and precise flavours of apple and citrus with well integrated oak with racy acidity. A wine to age. (92)
  • 16 Mile Cellar Rebel Pinot Noir 2011 ($22.95): light ruby colour with brick-coloured rim; raspberry, violets with a hint of vanilla oak; medium-bodied, dry, raspberry with grainy tannins. Well balanced with good presence in the mouth. Hold for two years at least. (89–90)
  • 16 Mile Cellar Incivility Pinot Noir 2011 ($29.95): ruby colour; minerally, red berry, vanilla oak with a smoky note; dry, medium-bodied, taut and firm, well balanced with a fine spine of acidity. Volnay style. (91)
  • 16 Mile Cellar Rebel Pinot Noir 2012 ($22.95): ruby with a tawny hue; earthy, floral, strawberry nose; firmly structured, cherry and strawberry flavours with pleasing dry extract, More masculine and structured than the 2011; powerful but with elegance. (90)
  • 16 Mile Cellar Incivility Pinot Noir 2012 ($29.95): ruby with a tawny note; very Burgundian nose – minerally, raspberry with a light floral note and a touch of oak; medium-bodied, firmly structured with evident tannins; beautifully balanced but needs a couple of years to make it more harmonious. (92)

Regan stayed to lunch. I made a pasta salad with prosciutto, salami, figs, capers and basil.

Friday, July 31st: A tasting at the LCBO of new wines, then lunch at Pastizza on Market Street with Mike Richards of TSN and Scott Sutherland, a partner in Karlo Estates winery in Price Edward County. They are launching a line of Doug Gilmour wines under the Gilmour label. Picked up some mussels in the market and made moules marinière for dinner. Opened a bottle of Acrobat Pinot Gris 2013 from Oregon (light straw colour; a nose of peaches with a leesy note; medium-bodied, dry, peach flavour with a touch of sweetness on the mid-palate (89)).

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