A Wine Lover’s Diary, Part 596: Ontario Wine Awards 2016

Crasto Superior 2013

Monday, May 2nd: Caught up on emails and wrote up my 680 NEWS wine reviews. In the afternoon down to the Hyatt Regency Hotel to taste Douro wines and ports. Not the best conditions under which to taste, especially port. Enjoyed the Crasto Superior 2013, Dalva LBV 2010 and the aged tawnies 20 Year, 30 Year and 40 year from Taylor.

A tasty LBV

Taylor’s 30 year old tawny

For dinner with hamburgers, a bottle of Quadrus 2011 – a Douro blend of Touriga Nacional, Tinta Roriz and Souzao made by Carm: dense purple colour with a spicy, earthy nose of leather, pencil lead and blackberries; medium to full-bodied, dry and savoury with cherry and plum flavours carried on lively acidity. More intense than the 2010 vintage. (90)

Tuesday, May 3rd: A day of working on the Ontario Wine Awards flights and administration. Dinner at the Harbord Room with Rui Falcão of the Port and Douro Wines Institute. Started with Taylor Fladgate White Port then Esporão Assobio White 2015 followed by Meandro do Vale Meao 2012, Quinta da Touriga Chã 2013 and Quinta da Touriga Puro 2011.

Wednesday, May 4th: Recorded my 680 NEWS wine reviews. Then down to the National Club to see James Sichel and to taste his wines.

  • G de Château Giraud 2015: bright straw colour; fresh nose of lanolin, grass and hay with spicy lemony undergrowth notes and a touch of oak; flavours of kiwi and Mirabelle plum fleshed out with oak to a peach and apricot finish. (92)
  • L’Abeille de Fieuzal 2011 (Pessac-Leognan): pale straw colour; lemony, grassy, minerally nose of struck flint with a touch of oak; fresh and lively grapefruit and green plum flavours with a tangy, citrus finish. (90.5)
  • Château Alter Ego 2007 (Merlot): dense purple colour; cedary, blackcurrant nose with a light floral note; medium-bodied, dry, with plummy-currant flavours and moderate length. (89.5)
  • Château Alter Ego 2012: dense purple colour, spicy blackcurrant nose with pencil lead and white pepper note; medium-bodied, dry, firmly structured with juicy, sweet fruit and a lovely mouth-feel. Forward and very drinkable now. (90)
  • Château Angludet 2011 (55% Cabernet Sauvignon, 35% Merlot, 10% Petit Verdot): dense purple colour; spicy, cedary, blackcurrant bouquet with a light vanilla oak note; richly extracted savoury flavours of black plum lifted with a floral note. Firmly structured plum and blackcurrant flavours and ripe tannins. (92)

James Sichel

Then up to the Box Car on Yonge for a portfolio tasting by Negociants International of their Australian wines. Really enjoyed Jansz Late Disgorged Cuvée from Tasmania (yeasty, toasty, gingery, baked apple flavour). Terrific wines Henschke, Vasse Felix, Jim Barry and John Duval.

A delicious sparkler from Tasmania

Thursday, May 5th: Wrote my Lexpert column on Queen Mary’s doll’s house wine cellar in Windsor Castle, then drove to Costco to shop for lunch stuff for the Ontario Wine Awards judges, who will be tasting the sweet wines on Sunday at The Fine Wine Reserve.

For dinner, curried chicken pot pie with a bottle of Santa Irene Bonarda Organic 2015 that will be released in Vintages on May 28th: dense purple-ruby colour; spicy plum nose with cedar, pencil lead and leather notes; medium-bodied, dry, savoury plum and cherry flavours with lively acidity. Finishes firmly. (89)

Friday, May 6th: To the LCBO for a tasting of wines on general release. Then made final preparations for the Ontario Wine Awards. The first day of judging is tomorrow at George Brown College – 24 judges.

The judges at the Ontario Wine Awards

Saturday, May 7th: Up early to walk Pinot the Wonderdog before heading down to George Brown for the tasting. This is the first time in we have judged all the dry wines on one day (usually it’s on consecutive Saturdays with three panels of four judges). Sadie Darby and her “elves” did a great job marshalling all the wines to the panels.

Judging panel at work

Sunday, May 8th: The GoodLife Toronto Marathon made it difficult getting down to the Fine Wine Reserve on King Street West. But the eight judges (two panels) tasted 30 sweet wines each. Spent the rest of the day inputting the results.

Tasting sweet wines at the Ontario Wine Awards

For dinner, steak with a bottle of Kacaba Cabernet Franc 2014: deep purple-ruby colour; cedary, plum and currant bouquet; medium-bodied, dry, full on the palate with alively spine of acidity. (88)


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