August 21st: Deborah and I went over to Michael and Rosie’s for dinner and I brought along four wines from Joie Farm in the Okanagan to taste:
- Joie Farm Gamay 2014: ruby colour; spicy, cherry nose with a cedary note; medium-bodied, fruity, cherry ,red plum and raspberry flavours with lively acidity and a cinnamon note on the finish. Good mouth–feel. (89.5)
- Joie Farm PTG 2014: ruby-purple colour; cedary, spicy, cherry pit nose with a light oak note; medium-bodied, dry, cherry and cranberry flavours with a touch of tannin on the finish. Well balanced and firm. (89.5)
- Joie Farm Pinot Noir 2014: ruby colour; spicy cherry nose with well-integrated oak; medium-bodied, dry, elegant, red plum and cherry flavours, lovely mouth-feel with good length. A charming wine. (91)
- Joie Farm Pinot Noir En Famille Reserve 2014: deeper ruby than the previous Pinot; spicy, vanilla oak, ripe cherry and red plum bouquet with a thread of minerality; full-bodied, dry, richly-extracted, vivid fruit flavours, beautifully balanced with great structure. (92.5)
August 22nd: Wrote my Lexpert column on the British tonic wine Wincarnis that’s been on LCBO shelves since 1958. Then wrote up my 680 NEWS wine reviews for four weeks, as I leave for Tuscany for a week.
In the evening Deborah and I went over to Cesar Penalver’s condo to taste his menu dishes for his new 29-seat restaurant, El Tenedor (“The Fork”), to open at 909 Yonge Street in October. Not knowing what the dishes were I brought over two versatile food wines, Henry of Pelham Estate Riesling 2013 (straw colour with a ime tint; already developing petrol notes above the grapefruit and lime aromas; off-dry, honey and grapefruit flavours in Spätlese style; medium-bodied with a lovely mouth-feel; clean flavours with mouth-freshening acidity (90)) and Yalumba Coonawarra Cabernet Sauvignon 2015 (dense purple-ruby colour; savoury, cedar, black currant, vanilla oak bouquet with a light floral: medium-bodied, dry, elegant and firmly structured (89.5)). A series of dishes arrived:
Ravioli windows – Aged cheddar, cumin and pumpkin seas in a transparent envelope
Garden salad with a frozen dressing (which we eat with our fingers, dipping the fresh vegetables into what looks like earth (ground black lentils over a creamy, savoury ice-cream))
Watermelon carpaccio with honey
Zucchini cannelloni stuffed with shrimp
Linguine vongole with baby clams, lemon pepper and garlic
Risotto with scallops, fennel and cauliflower
Lamb sous vide on a pool of pea puree with chicken mousseline
Dessert: Chocolate, orange with a spicy, sweet Marsala
Chef Cesar Penalver working on ravioli windows
(It’s going to be a great restaurant.)
Tuesday, August 23rd: Spent most of the day inputting my wine reviews of the September Vintages release, then tasted a few wines to keep the palate in practice.
- Le Vieux Pin Cuvée Violette Syrah 2014 (Okanagan): dense purple colour with a violet rim; spicy floral blackberry nose with a note of dried herbs; medium to full-boded, dry and savoury blackberry flavour with balancing acidity and a lovely mouth-feel. (93)
- CedarCreek Platinum Merlot 2013 (Okanagan): dense purple colour; savoury, leather. Spicy, cedar nose with a note of blueberry and pie crust; medium to full-bodied, lively acidity finishing on a savoury note of fresh blueberries. (89)
- Cape Bay Cabernet Sauvignon Shiraz (South Africa): ruby colour; smoky, tarry raspberry nose with notes of cedar and vanilla oak; medium-bodied, dry, lean and sinewy with a flavour of red plums. (87)
Wednesday, August 24th: Recorded my 680 NEWS reviews and spent the rest of the day working on my book. Dinner – pan-fried salmon with San Pedro Gato Nero 9 Lives Chardonnay/Semillon 2015 (straw colour; spicy apple nose with a touch of oak; full-bodied, dry, grassy, apple and pear flavours with a note of green pineapple on the finish).
Thursday, August 25th: Final preparations during the day for a dinner tasting I’m conducting at the Oakdale Golf Club.
- Santa Margherita Prosecco Superiore
- Gavi di Gavi La Giustiniana Cru Lugarara 2015
- Mastroberardino Greco di Tufo 2014
- Allegrini Corte Giara Ripasso Valpolicella 2013
- Querciabella Chianti Classico 2013
- Pala i Fiori Vermentino di Sardegna 2015
Friday, August 26th: A Vintages release tasting for September 17th. One hundred and twenty-six wines, of which I tasted half. These tastings get bigger and bigger. I’ve decided that 65 is my limit per day.