Monday, February 1st: No snow yet. This is an amazing winter. Worked on my 680 NEWS wine reviews and polished the article for the International Wine & Food Society’s magazine. Tasted a couple of wines in the evening:
- Gabbiano Chianti 2014 (90%Sangiovese, 10% Merlot): ruby colour; herb-tinged sour cherry nose; medium-bodied, dry with a lean, cherry flavour and lively acidity. (87.5)
- Clos du Bois Calcaire 2013 (Sonoma County – $29.95): straw colour; apple, baked corn and butter on the nose with citrus notes; medium-bodied, dry, white peach and citrus flavours with a touch of oak spice. Nicely balanced. (89)
Tuesday, February 2nd: A make-up tasting at the LCBO for the March Vintages release. In the afternoon wrote my columns for Post City Magazines and On The Go.
Wednesday, February 3rd: Recorded my 680 NEWS wine reviews and worked on the novel. In the evening, down to Vertical restaurant in First Canadian Place for an interesting wine event: a Master of Wine v. Master Sommelier taste off – Igor Ryjenkov of the LCBO and John Szabo. Prior to the event they tasted through some 27 wines provided by the importing agents, Noble Estates and Trialto. They then chose wines to match this menu:
Before each course was served, both explained the rationale behind their selection – with a bit of trash talk thrown in for good measure. The guests then sampled the food and wine match and then voted as to their favoured pairing. I placed John Szabo ahead by one point. The wine of the night for me Fattoria dei Barbi Riserva Brunello di Montalcino 2005. With the dessert two sweet wines were served, Zind Humbrecht Gewürztraminer Sélection de Grains Nobles 2007 and 13th Street 13 Below Zero Riesling 2010. A fun event with great food and delicious wines.
My white of the night
My red of the night
One of the best Pinotages I’ve tasted in a long time
Zind Humbrecht dessert wines
Thursday, February 4th: Interviewed Anthony von Mandl by phone for an upcoming article on Mission Hill Winery.
Friday, February 5th: A Vintages release tasting today. Stopped for my habitual New York fries on the way home. A quick nap and a shower then down to the National Club for the annual Drinks Ontario dinner. This year Portugal is the host country. Three wines with each course:
Octopus salad with baby kale, green beans, cherry tomatoes, black olive puree and olive oil drizzle, with Caves Aliança Vinho Verde, Bacalhoa JP Azeitão Branco Setubal and Quinta da Aveleda Vinho Verde
Arroz de pato – duck risotto with shredded duck, orange zest, smoked and cured sliced duck breast, with Dão Sul Cabriz Reserva Red Dão 2012, Real Companhia Velha Porca de Murca Douro Red 2013
Braised lamb shank served on a on a chorizo, kale, white bean and tomato ragout, with Symington Family Estates Altano Red 2013, Quinta so Vale Meão Meandro 2012, Delaforce Touriga Nacional 2013
Dessert: Baked custard tart with fig, port ice cream and chorizo brittle, with Taylor Fladgate 20 Year Old Tawny, Fonseca Bin 27, Warre’s Otima 10 Year Old Tawny Port. Followed by cheeses
I presented Joanna Steele with the customary engraved decanter and certificate as the winner of my blind tasting award.
Joanna Steele, winner of the Tony Aspler Blind Tasting Award