A Wine Lover’s Diary, Part 603: Eating Crow

Asado beef at Big Crow

Monday, June 20th: Wrote my 680 News wine reviews and worked on the novel. Deborah is away on her book club weekend at a cottage so I’m baching it. Pinot and I got caught in a torrential downpour coming back from the park. In the evening to Grano for a tasting of Marco Bonfante wines. Marco’s family have lived in Piemonte for 8 generations.

  • Marco Bonfante Rorero “Persté” 2015 ($24.95): Straw colour; minerally nose of citrus, apple and crushed stones; medium- to full-bodied, dry. Well-extracted apple, lemon and white peach flavours; frsh and lively on the palate. (89)
  • Marco Bonfante Imma Nebbiolo 2013 ($29.95): deep ruby colour; earthy, floral, cherry and sage bouquet with a spicy oak note; medium-bodied, dry, rustic and dusty, sweet raspberry flavour with a lively acidic spine and a cherry pit finish. (88.5)
  • Marco Bonfante Barolo 2011 ($59.95): deep ruby colour; cedary, cherry and dried rose petal and rust on the nose; medium to full-bodied, dry and firm, with sour cherry and oak spice flavours; lively acidity and firm on the finish. Hold 3–5 years. (89)
  • Marco Bonfante Albarossa “Albarone” 2012 (a 1938 cross of Nebbiolo and Barbera given appassiento treatment – $71.95): dense purple colour; spicy plum and prune bouquet with a cedary note; dry, full-bodied, richly extracted plum and cherry flavours with lively acidity ending on a vanilla oak note. (91)

Marco Bonfante’s Albarossa

Tuesday; June 21st: another quiet day working on the novel and then got down to some tasting.

  • Huff Estates Pinot Gris 2015 (Prince Edward County – $20): pale straw colour; minerally, peach pit nose; medium-bodied, dry, green peach flavour with lively citrus acidity. (88)
  • Huff Estates South Bay Vineyards Chardonnay 2014 (Prince Edward County – $30): pale straw colour; apple, spicy oak with a barnyard note; medium-bodied, dry, elegant, green apple and lemon flavours with toasty oak notes; well balanced with great length. (91)
  • Chateau St. Jean Chardonnay 2014 (Sonoma County – $19.15): straw colour; spicy, pear, grilled cashew nuts with a vanilla oak note; full-bodied, dry, mouth-filling sweet and savoury flavours with well-integrated oak. Great length, finishing on tropical fruit notes. Great value. (91)
  • Huff Estates Riesling Off-Dry 2015 (Prince Edward County – $18): very pale in colour with lime tint; spicy, floral, honey and citrus nose with a mineral note; honey and crab apple flavours; good balance of sweetness and acidity with a touch of bitterness on the finish. (88)
  • Flat Rock Cellars Nadja’s Vineyard Riesling 2015 (Twenty Mile Bench, Ontario – $29.95): almost water white with a lime tint; minerally, lime and grapefruit rind nose; light-bodied, elegant, off-dry, honey and grapefruit flavours, great tension between sweetness and acidity, finishing firmly. (91)
  • Huff Estates Pinot Noir Reserve2014 (Prince Edward County – $35): cherry red with a tawny rim; earthy, raspberry nose with pencil lead and barnyard notes; light to medium-bodied, cranberry and sour cherry flavours; delicately oaked with a lively acidic spine. Volnay style. (90)
  • Huff Estates South Bay Vineyards Merlot 2013 (Prince Edward County – $40): deep purple-ruby colour; cedary, smoky, toasty, baked plum nose; medium-bodied, dry, juicy, blackberry and blueberry flavours with fresh acidity. (90)
  • Watchdog Roack Cabernet Sauvignon 2013 (Columbia Valley, Washington – $17.95): deep ruby colour; cedary, blackcurrant nose with vanilla oak notes on the nose; medium-bodied, dry and savoury with currant and herbal flavours rounded out with oak. Fresh and lively on the palate with a spicy finish. (88.5)
  • Montes Twins Malbec/Cabernet Sauvignon 2013 (Chile – $12.95): deep ruby colour; spicy, toasty-cedary nose of currants with a smoky note; medium- to full-bodied, dry, plum and blackcurrant flavours; richly extracted, spicy-minty with ripe tannins. Good value. (89)
  • Honoro Vera Garnacha 2014 (Calatayud, Spain – $15.95): deep ruby colour; baked earth and plum nose; full-bodied, dry, juicy, cherry and plum flavours with well-integrated oak, firmly structured with a blackcurrant finish. (88.5)
  • Allegrini Corte Giara Valpolicella Ripasso 2013 (Veneto – $19.95): tawny ruby colour; spicy, cedary, dried cherry nose with a minty note; medium-bodied, dry, richly extracted plum and cherry flavours; lovely mouth-feel and a firm finish. (90)
  • Gallo Signature Series Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon 2013 (5% Petit Verdot, 2% Petite Sirah): dense ruby-purple colour; spicy-cedary nose of blackcurrants with a vanilla oak note; full-bodied, dry, plum and currant flavours with a dusty mouth-feel; creamy mid-palate with a dark chocolate note behind the berry fruit. Finishes firmly. (90)

Wednesday 22nd: Recorded my 680 NEWS wine reviews and then had lunch at Terroni with Karen and Cesar, who own Hola Café on Queen Street East, to discuss the new restaurant they will open on Yonge Street. Wrote my Quench column on the 100-point scoring system.

In the evening to Anthony Rose’s Big Crow restaurant on Dupont Street for an Argentinian Asado put on by the winery Graffigna. Not a vegetarian in sight. The menu:

APPETIZERS: Beef empanadas • Choripan argentino • Sweetbread with creamy potato and chimichurri • Graffigna Pinot Grigio 2015, Graffigna Centenario Malbec 2014. MAIN COURSE: Oj de bife (grilled ribeye) • Asado de tira (short ribs) • with • Chimichurri and salsa criolla • and • Strawberry, chili and chive • Cranberry beans • Cherry tomatoes, asparagus and basil pesto • Zucchini, mint and anchovies • Graffigna Centenario Malbec 2014, Graffigna Grand Reserve Malbec 2012. DESSERT: Crème caramel, dolce de leche, cream • Pumpkin preserves with fresh cheese
Asado menu at Big Crow

  • Graffigna Pinot Grigio 2015 ($12.95): Pale straw yellow colour; winter melon, white peach and citrus; dry, light- to medium-bodied, good concentration of white peach and pear carried on lively acidity. (87.5)
  • Graffigna Centenario Malbec 2014 ($13.95): Deep ruby colour; a nose of black plums, blackberries, with vanilla oak spice; dry; medium- to full-bodied; dry, savoury black fruit flavours with ripe tannins to give structure. (88)
  • Graffigna Grand Reserve Malbec 2012 ($17.00): deep ruby colour, black fruit aromas with a floral grace note; dull-bodied, dry, black plum and cherry flavours mingled with vanilla oak and a chocolate note. (90)

Anthony Rose and meat

Thursday, June 23rd: Worked on some Grapes for Humanity business (a donation of US$50,000 to the Marshyangdi school in Kathmandu). Then wrote up thirty wine tasting notes for the next issue of Quench. For dinner with roast chicken, Frei Brothers Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon 2013 (Sonoma County – $26.95): dense purple colour; cedary, vanilla oak and earthy plum nose; full-bodied, dry and savoury, chunky mouth-feel; firmly structured with a coffee bean note on the finish. Grainy tannins. (90)

Friday, June 24th: A Vintages release tasting. Those French fries on the way home really tasted good. For dinner with barbecued hamburgers, Argento Reserva Malbec 2014 ($13.95): rich purple colour; spicy, cedary blackberry nose; medium-bodied, dry, savoury plum and blackberry flavours. Good value. (88)


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