Monday, September 5th: Deborah (my DD) and I drove down to Angels Gate Winery in Niagara for a late lunch party at Meg and Phil’s. Phil cooked his famous paella on an open fire in the woods behind his house. Everybody (four other couples) brought wine. We opened Angels Gate Sparkling Chardonnay 2012, Cave Spring Chardonnay Musqué 2014, Gadais Père et Fils Muscadet Vieilles Vignes 2013, Angels Gate Marsanne 2013, Quinta do Consuelo Rias Baixas 2014, Malivoire Vivant Rosé 2015 (in magnum), Ardal Reserva Ribera del Duero 2006, Terra Terra Douro Reserva 2011. I contributed a bottle of KWV Cathedral Cellars Blanc de Blancs 2010. A memorable lunch.
Philip Dowell’s paella
Tuesday, September 6th: Worked on the novel. In the evening, down to the Spoke Club for a presentation of Artisper Frescobaldi wines by Tiziana Frescobaldi – three magnums whose labels were designed by two German and one Italian artists, commissioned to “interpret the Tenuta del Castello di Nipozzano in an original way through evocative and poetic images…”
Frescobaldi Montisodi artwork by Michael Sailstorfer
I want one of these pens
I also tasted Montesodi Vendemmia Dedicato 2011 (deep ruby colour; a nose of cherry, plum and tobacco, firmly structured with lively acidity (90)), Frescobaldi Lamaione 2011 (Merlot – dense ruby-purple colour; a nose of cherries, blueberries, tobacco, cedar and vanilla oak; medium-bodied, dry, lovely mouth-feel and beautifully balanced with a pencil lead finish (92)), and Frescobaldi Castelgiocondo Brunello di Montalcino 2011 (deep ruby colour; cedary, cherry and vanilla oak nose; medium to full-bodied, dry, elegant and savoury (90)). Someboday at the event told me they had heard that I’m retiring. Me, retiring! One doesn’t retire from wine.
Wednesday, September 7th: Up early to join a busload of the Toronto diplomatic corps for a trip down to Niagara two visit a couple of wineries that won the Lieutenant Governor’s Award for Excellence in Ontario Wines. Our first stop was at Southbrook, where we were shown around by owner Bill Redelmeier and winemaker Ann Sperling. Touring the vineyard, we tasted Southbrook Triomphe Riesling 2015, the first Riesling produced by Southbrook, Chardonnay Wild Ferment 2012, and Cabernet Franc “201” 2013.
Southbrook’s Bill Redelmeier
Lunch at Willowbank School of Restoration Arts, prepared by culinary students at Niagara College in their 30-foot food truck. A torrential cloudburst before the group photograph was taken on the back staircase.
Then onto the bus to Tawse winery for a tour by winemaker Rene Van Ede. Greeted with a glass of Tawse Spark Blanc de Blancs 2011. In the cellar we tasted Tawse Estate Chardonnay 2015 out of the barrel, a blend of three vineyards and the most Burgundian in style I’ve tasted of Tawse Chardonnays. More barrel tastings of Tawse Robyn’s Block Chardonnay 2012, Tawse Cherry Avenue Pinot Noir 2013, Tawse David’s Block Merlot 2012 and Tawse Limestone Ridge Riesling 2014.
Then we all drove back to Queen’s Park for the official presentation of the awards by Her Honour the Honourable Elizabeth Dowdeswell, where the 12 award-winning wines were available for tasting.
The Lieutenant Governor and me (photo by Konrad Ejbich)
At home for dinner – trout filet – opened a bottle of CedarCreek Platinum Riesling Block 3 2013 (pale straw colour; lime blossom, grapefruit zest nose; medium-bodied, just off-dry, grapefruit and lime flavours with a touch of honey. Good length. (88.5))
Thursday, September 8th: Imant Malins dropped by to deliver his amazing smoked salmon. Worked on the novel and in the evening a visit to Dr. Tim, my chiropractor, to manipulate my shoulder. For dinner, Trius Red “The Icon” 2014 (deep ruby colour; cedary, blueberry and currants on the nose with vanilla oak notes; medium-bodied, dry, savoury and elegant. Needs time. (89–91)).
Toronto sunset on Thursday
Friday, September 9th: A Vintages release today – tasted 60-plus wines then my customary New York Fries on the way home. For dinner with hamburgers, Torres Altos Ibericos 2013, a Tempranillo from Rioja (deep purple-ruby colour; dusty, earthy nose of cherry and plum with cedary-sandalwood notes; medium-bodied, dry, blackcurrant and plum flavours with lively acidity, good length and a firm tannic finish).