Monday, January 18th: This morning a photographer from the Toronto Star came over to shoot Pinot T. Wonderdog for the Saturday Pet Psyche column by Jane Welowszky. She had already given Pinot the Proust interview a couple weeks ago. Pinot gave him the raucous Wheatie greeting but settled down once she realized her picture would be in Canada’s largest selling newspaper.
Worked my Post City Magazines column. They’ve changed editorial direction on the column and want me to compare two wines, a white and a red.
Dinner at Gordon and Carole Stimmell’s house. Curried shrimp with Cathedral Cellars Chardonnay 2012. Rack of lamb on the BBQ, which was so good I forgot to record the red wine. Deborah made a lemon tart for dessert which I carried in both hands on the subway. I brought a half bottle of Niagara College Dean’s List Prodigy Icewine 2013.
Tuesday, January 19th: Went down to the LCBO to taste wines I’d missed at the last Friday’s release tasting. Blown away by Antinori-Matte, Haras de Pirque Albis 2006, a Chilean Cabernet Sauvignon with 25% Carmenère from the Maipo Valley, that comes on like a First Growth claret. I gave it 94 points and will pick up three bottles on Friday (Vintages #579813).
Wednesday, January 20th: Wrote my After Taste column for Quench Magazine on how I’ve given up worrying about wine and food pairings.
Dinner at Kamasutra (1522 Bayview) with Deborah. Executive Chef Balwant Rathour ordered for us: tandoori prawns, tandoori cauliflower, lamb rogan josh, butter chicken, palak paneer with rice and garlic naan and a bottle of Pierre Sparr Gewurztraminer 2011, with dessert to follow.
Kamasutra Executive Chef Balwant Rathour
The meal was so good we lingered past our parking meter time and got a $30 ticket. (Are we as tax-payers paying over-time for meter-people who troll the streets and ticket you at 8:42 pm when it’s free after 9pm? They must have a quota to fill.)
Thursday, January 21st: Another dental appointment – to have two fillings. Came home and began writing an article for the International Wine & Food Society magazine on Niagara as a wine region. In the evening got down to some tasting:
- Peninsula Ridge Barrel Aged Chardonnay 2014 (Beamsville Bench, Niagara – to be released in Vintages on March 5th at $15.95): bright straw colour; apple, oak spice and undergrowth notes on the nose; medium-bodied, dry, Burgundian in style; apple and citrus flavours with good length and great balance. A well-made wine. (89)
- Flat Rock Cellars Riesling 2014 (Twenty Mile Bench, Niagara – LCBO March 5th, $16.95): pale straw with a faint lime tint; minerally, grapefruit zest nose; medium-bodied, off-dry, apple, grapefruit flavours with a suggestion of honey, finishing dry. (88)
- Flat Rock Unplugged Chardonnay 2014 (Twenty Mile Bench, Niagara – $16.95): pale straw colour; leesy, apple nose with a mineral note; medium-bodied, dry, fresh and zippy on the palate with green pineapple and citrus flavours. (88)
- Flat Rock Chardonnay 2013 (Twenty Mile Bench, Niagara – Vintages April 16th, $18.95): straw colour; toasty, spicy, apple bouquet with a mineral note; medium to full-bodied, dry and mouth-filling with apple and pear flavours and a touch of smoke. Good length. (89)
- Flat Rock Twisted 2014 (Riesling, Gewurztraminer, Chardonnay – Niagara Peninsula – $16.95): pale straw colour; aromatic, lychee, grapefruit and melon bouquet; off-dry, spicy, orange, peach and grapefruit flavours with a touch of sweetness in mid-palate. A lovely blend. (88.5)
- Tiago Cabaco Premium White Alentejo 2014 (Portugal – Antao, Vaz, Verdelho, Viognier – $14.95): light straw colour; minerally, peach pit, lanolin nose; medium-bodied, dry, flavourful, green peach and green herb flavours with an engaging bitter almond finish. Good value. (89)
- Trail Estate Pinot Noir Rosé 2014 (Prince Edward County – $21.95): deep salmon colour; earthy, cherry and vanilla nose; medium-bodied, raspberry candy flavour with enough acidity to control the sweetness. Viscous finish. (87.5)
- Trail Estate Gamay Noir 2014 (Prince Edward County and Niagara fruit – $25.95): ruby colour; peppery, cherry nose with a touch of oak spice; dry and lively on the palate with cranberry and pomegranate flavours with a floral grace note. A touch bitter on the finish but this gives the wine some character. (88.5)
Friday, January 22nd: After the Vintages release tasting (120 wines out), I went over the Queens Quay Vintages to buy three bottles of the Albis 2006. I could only get one bottle so they called the Laird Street store to have two bottles put aside for me. This $40 Chilean wine flew off the shelves. For dinner lamb chops with a bottle of The Hidden Sea Shiraz 2013 from South Australia ($16.95 – full-bodied, mouth-filling dry and flavourful, toasty-smoky oak and black fruits with milk chocolate notes. Commercial but enjoyable (87)).