Monday, December 28th: Wrote my column for Quench magazine on Sherry – predicting it will make a comeback this year (but I’ve been saying that for the last decade – a prophet whistling in the dark). Also began working on consolidation points in Niagara, Lake Erie North Shore and Prince Edward County for entries to the Ontario Wine Awards. For dinner, lamb chops with Trapiche Las Palmas Cabernet Sauvignon 2012 from Argentina ($16.95): dense ruby colour; an herb-tinged blackcurrant and cedar nose; full-bodied, dry and firmly structured (88).
Tuesday, December 29th: Snow at last. A day working on the novel with no interruptions apart from having to visit Restoration Hardware to buy some small gifts for our hosts, Rose and Michael, for tomorrow’s dinner.
Wednesday, December 30th: Another day to work on the novel, as this time of the year nothing is happening and no-one is around to pitch stories. Dinner this evening with Rose and Michael. From his extensive cellar Michael opened Lanson Gold Label Brut 1997 Champagne, Charles Heidsieck Blanc de Millénaires 1985, Wynn’s Coonawarra Black Label Riesling 2005, Château Cos d’Estournel 1982, and Château Grand Puy Lacoste 1982.
The menu: French onion soup, BBQ steak with cauliflower and Brussel sprouts and roast potatoes. The steaks came from The Butcher Shoppe (now in its 31st year of supplying Toronto’s finest restaurants), where owner Allan Weisberg picked out the rib steaks for Michael. Dessert: Mabel’s Triple chocolate brownies & Chapman’s Lactose Free Vanilla Ice Cream with a half bottle of Château Filhot Sauternes 2009 from my cellar. A memorable meal, if only I could remember how it ended with all the spirits we tasted before leaving by Uber!
Thursday, December 31st: Deborah and I decided to stay home. We started with duck pâté which we bought in Quebec when we visited Charlevoix’s Flavour Trail in September. We demolished that with Louis Roederer Brut Pemier Champagne (beautifully balanced, minerally, toasty, citrus and peach flavours – 91). Then I grilled a Rock Cornish Hen with green beans and rice, followed by a selection of cheeses. Watched a movie, watched the ball drop in New York City and finally saw the New Year in with a cup of NeoCitran (for my cold).
Friday, January 1st: Pinot the Wonderdog’s 11th birthday today. Deborah and I took her for a long walk in the park and then to Pet Value to buy her a toy. She tried out several before taking a liking to a squeaky toy in the shape of a monster. Began choosing the wines for my annual Blind Tasting Award for the wine importers.
Pinot with her birthday toy