Fogo Island crab kina on pappardelle
Monday, August 17th: Today is Deborah’s and my anniversary. We share it with two other couples and every year for the past twelve or so we have celebrated over dinner in one of our homes. This year is our turn to host. After writing my 680 NEWS reviews and another chapter of the novel I got down to preparing the dinner with Deborah. Billecart Salmon Rosé Champagne and Benjamin Bridge Méthode Classique Rosé to start, with grilled asparagus wrapped in prosciutto and hummus and olives (Pinot, we found out, loves olives – she snaffled a few from the coffee table when we weren’t looking), followed by shrimps in a spicy tomato sauce on a bed of arugula with Black Hills Estate Alibi 2014. Main course: barbecued butterflied leg of lamb with fingerling potatoes and salad with Château Lascombes 1982 and Château de Beaucastel Châteauneuf du Pape 1983. Dessert, Deborah’s lemon pie.
Tuesday, August 18th: Spent the day working on the novel. What a pleasure it is to write fiction. The book is set in the Second World War so there is a lot of research required. The internet makes it so easy. I think back to the number of hours in I spent in the Toronto Reference library when I was writing Titanic.
Wednesday, August 19th: Recorded my 680 NEWS wine reviews and talked to Rogers about our data plan. Spending too much money on it. Lunch at Oliver & Bonacini Grill to meet Dave Edmond, chief winemaker for Nobilo in New Zealand. The lunch was prepared by a New Zealand-born chef, Tom Riley.
Smoked tomato soup with miso crème fraiche, served with Nobilo Regional Collection Sauvignon Blanc 2014 (pale straw colour with a green note; green passionfruit and elderberry nose; medium-bodied, crisply dry with green plum and green pineapple flavours (88) and Nobilo Regional Collection Sauvignon Blanc 2015 (tank sample – paler in colour than the 2014; grassy, grapefruit and green melon and green fig nose; soft mouth-feel, crisp lively acidity. I preferred this vintage but will wait till it’s in the bottle to score).
Fogo Island crab kina (sea urchin) with butter, pappardelle and preserved lemon, served with Nobilo Icon Sauvignon Blanc 2014 (very pale colour; grassy, gooseberry nose; medium-bodied, lovely mouth-feel; crisply dry. Beautifully balanced with green plum and fig flavours, lively acidity with a thread of minerality and great length (90)).
Roasted lamb rump with minted Potatoes, peas and saffron labna, with Nobilo Icon Pinot Noir 2010 (deep ruby colour; high-toned black cherry nose; firm and full-bodied and still tight; chunky on the palate with black cherry and plum flavours (89)); Nobilo Icon Pinot Noir 2013 (deep ruby colour; earth, cherry nose with vanilla oak and a hint of violets; elegant and firmly structured with a black raspberry flavour (89)); Nobilo Icon Pinot Noir 2014 (deep ruby colour; high-toned nose of black raspberry and leather; medium to full-bodied, dry, fruity and well balanced. Tight at the moment but should develop well (90-91).
Dessert: Passionfruit and vanilla cheesecake with strewed tamarillo, served with Nobilo Regional Collection Sauvignon Blanc 2014.
Came home to do some more wine tasting; the samples are mounting up.
- Boekenhoutskloof The Wolftrap Viognier Chenin Blanc Grenache Blanc 2014 (South Africa – $13.95): pale lemon colour; pear skin and grapefruit rind nose; dry, medium-bodied, soft mouth-feel with an Asian pear and citrus flavour. (87)
- Wild Oats Mudgee Pinot Grigio 2014 (Australia – $15.95): very pale colour; minerally, peach pit nose; dry white apple and quince flavours with a touch of sweetness in mid palate. A little bitterness on the finish. (86)
- Bellingham Berry Bush Rosé 2014 (South Africa – $10.90): pale salmon colour; minerally, smoky, redcurrant nose; raspberry flavour with enough acidity to balance the residual sweetness; round on the palate. (86+)
- Fuzion Shiraz Rosé 2014 (Argentina – $7.95): deep pink colour; watermelon and white pepper nose; strawberry and pear flavour with a touch of sweetness, finishing with a red cherry note. Easy drinking. Good value. (86+)
- Carpineto Dogajolo Rosso Toscana 2013 (80% Sangiovese, 20% Cabernet Sauvignon – $15.80): ruby colour; tobacco, red berry bouquet; medium-bodied, dry, well extracted redcurrant and plum flavours with cocoa powder-like tannins. (87)
- Marchesi Frescobaldi Nipozzano Rieserva Chianti Rufina 2011: dark ruby colour; cedar, cherry and dark chocolate nose; sour cherry flavour with lively acidity and pillowy tannins. (88+)
- Antonin Rodet Côtes du Rhône 2013 ($13.95): deep ruby colour; herbal, black raspberry nose with an earthy note; medium-bodied, dry, somewhat green fruit flavours with a tannic finish. (86)
- Ventisquero Root: 1 Carmenere n/v (Chile – $12.95): deep ruby colour; smoky, cedary, blackberry nose with hints of vanilla oak and pencil lead; mouth-filling, sweet blackcurrant and plum flavours with soft tannins and bright acidity; a coffee note on the finish. (88)
- Fairview Goats Do Roam 2014 (South Africa –Shiraz, Grenache, Mourvedre, Petite Sirah, Carignan and Cinsault – $12.95): deep ruby colour; savoury nose of blackberries and smoky oak with a note of tar; sweet and savoury, herbal, black fruit flavours with a smoky note. (87+)
- Fairview Goats in Villages Shiraz Pinotage 2012 (South Africa – $12.95): dense purple-ruby colour; cedar, oaky, herbal nose with a black licorice note; medium-bodied, dry, plum and licorice flavours with lively acidity. (88)
- Boekenhoutskloof Porcupine Ridge Syrah 2014 (South Africa – $14.95): deep ruby colour with a violet rim; a smoked meat nose, herbal, blackberry notes; rich and savoury with blackberry, dark chocolate and an iodine note; well balanced and lingering. Good value. (88+)
- Boekenhoutskloof The Wolftrap Syrah Mourvèdre Viognier 2014 (South Africa – $13.95): deep ruby-purple colour; smoky, cedar, herbal, black licorice nose; medium-bodied, dry, blackberry and toasted herb flavours. (88)
Thursday, April 20th: Wrote my Lexpert column on Michigan wines. Then got down to more tasting:
- Trail Estate Riesling 2014 (Prince Edward County – 10% Gewurztraminer: $21.95): pale straw colour; aromatic, grapefruit nose with a touch of spice; dry, grapefruit and grapefruit pith flavours, touch of bitterness on the finish. (86+)
- Domaine La Haute Fevrie Muscadet Sèvre-&-Maine Sur Lie 2014 (Loire – $13.95): pale straw colour; minerally, acacia flower with a green nut note; crisply dry, light-bodied with a slight spritz, lemony, green apple flavour. (88+)
- Black Hills Cellar Hand Free Run White 2014 (Okanagan – Pinot Blanc, Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc, Viognier, Muscat and Pinot Gris – $15.90): pale straw colour; spicy, pear and grapefruit bouquet; medium-bodied, off-cry with a pronounced Muscat flavour of peach and cardamom. An interesting blend with a touch of bitterness on the finish. (88+)
- Ménage à Trois Moscato 2013 (California – $12.95 til Sept. 19 then $14.95): light straw colour; perfumed, cardamom and orange nose; off-dry, mouth-filling, intense and exotic peach, orange and spicy flavours. Clean finish with a good mouth-feel. (88+)
- DuBoeuf Morgon Côte du Puy 2011 (Beaujolais – $17.95): deep ruby colour; black cherry nose with a minerally-terroir note; dry, light to medium-bodied with a cherry and cherry-pit flavour and a floral top note. Dry and fruity with a touch of tannin on the finish to give it interest and lively acidity. (89+)
- Georges DuBoeuf Morgon Domaine des Versauds 2011 (Beaujolais – $16.95): deep ruby colour; earthy, black plum and cherry nose; rich and full on the palate, dry black cherry flavour with balancing acidity. (88)
- Georges DuBoeuf Rochegrès Moulin-à-Vent 2011 (Beaujolais – $19.95): deep ruby-purple colour; cherry, graphite nose; sturdy and structured, medium-bodied, dry with black cherry and white pepper flavours with a firm finish. (89+)
- Trail Estate Baco Noir Unfiltered 2014 (Prince Edward County- $25.95): dense purple colour; peppery, blackberry with a kirsch and chocolate note; rich and full on the palate; fruity-savoury, plum flavour with lively acidity and a light veneer of vanilla oak. Chalky tannins on the finish. (88)
- Colio Hat Trick Cabernet Merlot 2014 (Ontario – $14.95): purple-ruby colour; cedar, red berry nose; medium-bodied, dry, red and blackcurrant flavours; moderate length to a firm, blunt finish. (86)
- Black Hills Cellar Hand Punch Down Red 2013 (Okanagan Valley – $24.90): a blend of 45% Syrah, 28% Merlot and 27% Cabernet Sauvignon. Deep ruby colour; cedar, herbal black fruit aromas; medium-bodied, dry, toasted herbs and blackberry flavours with creamy oak and lively acidity. Evident green tannins on the finish. (88)
- Châteauneuf-du-Pape Galets Blonds 2012 ($56.95): deep ruby colour; garrigue and blackberries on the nose; full-bodied, generous with licorice and black fruits and plum flavours; dry and savoury, firmly structured and resonating on the palate. (91)
- Concha y Toro Casillero del Diablo Shiraz 2013 (Chile): deep ruby colour; minty-eucalyptus nose of blackberries and vanilla oak; medium-bodied, dry, savoury blackberry flavour with tinged with green herbs. (86+)
Friday, August 21st: A Vintages release tasting this morning. Packed for my flight to Vancouver tomorrow. For dinner, pasta with chicken in tomato sauce with CedarCreek Pinot Gris 2014 (pale straw colour; a nose of white peach with a light mineral thread; medium-bodied, dry, peach and peach pit flavours. Well extracted fruit (89)).