A Wine Lover’s Diary, Part 584: A Frigid Week

Monday, February 8th: Down to the AGO for a seminar on “United Wines of Veneto” conducted by Michael Fagan. We tasted:

  • Raphael dal Bo Prosecco Extra Dry Organic: very pale colour with a marshmallow and citrus peel nose topped with a floral note; dry, light and airy, apple flavour; good mouth-feel, creamy and well balanced. (88.5)
  • Domus-pictA Conegliano Valdobbiadene Prosecco Superiore Extra Dry: pale straw colour; minerally, citrus peel nose; beautifully balanced, fresh and lively apple flavour with a floral flourish on the finish; lovely mouth-feel. (90)
  • Azienda Agricola Benazzoli Bardolino Chiaretto Spumante “Ruffiano” 2014: salmon colour; strawberry-cherry nose with a leafy note; light to medium-bodied, sour cherry flavour with a long citrus finish, crisp with a finish of cinnamon and apple peel. (88.5)
  • Ornello Molon Traverso Raboaso Riserva 2010 (a grape I had not tasted before): deep dark ruby colour; a nose of vanilla oak and plum; medium to full-bodied, rustic, cedary flavours of black cherry amd lum with a tannic, earthy, pencil lead finish. (89.5)

This was followed by another seminary on the impressive Franciacorta wines of Ricci Curbastro led by the proprietor, Riccardo Ricci Curbastro.

Riccardo Ricci Curbastro

  • Ricci Curbastro Franciacorta Dosaggio Zero Gualberto 2008 (Pinot Noir and Chardonnay): bright straw colour; a nose of brioche apple, honey and white flowers; crisply dry, elegant and beautifully balanced; good length ending on a mineral note. A lovely bubbly. (91.5)
  • Ricci Curbastro Brut N/V (60% Chardonnay, 30% Pinot Blanc, 10% Pinot Noir): pale straw colour; toasty, floral, minerally nose; flavours of pear and toast with leesy, citrus notes; creamy on the palate with a dry finish. (89)
  • Ricci Curbastro Franciacorta Satèn Brut 2011: pale straw colour with a greenish tint; creamy, vanilla, apple and toast bouquet; mouth-filling apple and nutty flavours; soft mouth-feel with a lingering citrus finish. (90.5)
  • Ricci Curbastro Curtefranca Bianco Vigna Bosco Alto 2011 (100% Chardonnay): pale straw colour; toasty, leesy apple nose with wood spice; rich apple, vanilla and toast flavours – oak dominates, full-bodied. (89)
  • Ricci Curbastro Curtefranca Vigna Santella del Gröm 2011 (30% Cabernet Franc, 12% Carmenère, 20% Cabernet Sauvignon, 28% Merlot, 10% Barbera): deep ruby colour; cedary, leafy, red and blackcurrant aromas; medium-bodied, dry, white pepper and currant flavours; finishes firmly on a lead pencil note. (89.5)
  • Ricci Curbastro Brolo dei Passoni Chardonnay Passito Sebino 2010: deep golden colour; honey, dried peach nose with a note of botrytis; full-bodied, toffee, apricot and honey flavours, medium sweet, beautifully balanced with a spicy, tangerine finish. (93)

Ricci Curbastro Brolo dei Passoni Chardonnay Passoni Sebino 2010

Upstairs at the AGO, 20 Italian wineries were showing their products, trying to find importing agents. Not the best scenario for wine writers, as they would rather speak with potential importers than the wine press. So I tasted a delicious Barbera (Colle Manora Pais 2014 from Monferrato – medium-bodied, dry cherry flavour, fresh and lively with a floral note: 89) and left.

Tuesday, February 9th: Spent much of day working on the novel. Tasted the remainder of a bottle that a friend had passed on to me: Fabre Montmayou Grand Vin 2013 from the Mendoza Valley (85% Malbec/10% Cabernet Sauvignon/5% Merlot): dense purple-black colour that stains the glass; a nose of chocolate, vanilla oak, tobacco with a cedary note; intense an full-bodied, spicy blackberry flavour; mouth-filling blackberry and blueberry with chocolate notes; chunky mouth-feel; rich, full and fleshy but firm, finishing on a licorice and floral note. The best wine I’ve tasted from Argentina. (92.5)

Wednesday, February 10th: The weather has turned very cold. Wrote my Wines of the Week column input notes for the February 20th release. For dinner, lasagna with a bottle of Kacaba Silver Bridge Vineyard Syrah 2013 (deep purple colour; cedary, blackberry nose with oak spice, smoke, tobacco and white pepper; dry, lean and savoury sour cherry flavour, medium-bodied with lively acidity and a firm tannic finish (89)).

Thursday, February 11th: At 2:30 pm a meeting with the Lieutenant Governor’s office to discuss the possibility of using Ontario Wine Awards judges to determine the Lieutenant Governor Awards for Excellence in Ontario Wines. The on to a meeting with Angela Aiello and her iYellow team to firm up our partnership agreement for the Ontario Wine Awards and the consumer tasting of medal-winners at George Brown.

Friday, February 12th: We’ve purchased an induction top stove and have sold our glass-top electric stove to a couple from Belleville who arrived this morning to take it away. Only problem is that we take delivery of the new stove on February 17th. At least we have the toaster oven and the microwave, even if it’s too cold to BBQ. Went down to the LCBO to taste 24 new releases.

Saturday, February 13th: My son Guy’s birthday today. Pinot T. Wonderdog is featured in the Toronto Star (see www.thestar.com/life/2016/02/13/meet-tony-asplers-wheaten-terrier-pinot-t-wonderdog.html).


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