A Wine Lover’s Diary, Part 617: Rush Dinner

(l to r) Alex Lifeson, Joe Canavan, Chuck Thomas and Geddy Lee

Monday, October 4th: An 11:30 am tasting at Toula with Concha y Toro winemaker Marcelo Papa.

Conchas y Toro’s Marcelo Papa

  • Marques de Casa Concha Chardonnay 2014 (Limari Valley – $19.95): yellow straw colour; minerally, toasty, nutty, apple and pear bouquet; medium to full-bodied, dry, mouth-filling, richly extracted green pear and citrus flavours with well-integrated oak and a saline note; well-balanced with good length. (89)
  • Marques de Casa Concha Pais/Cinsault 2015 (Maule and Itata Valleys – $24.95): Carbonic maceration. Light ruby colour; spicy, fruity cheery nose with a light floral note; Beaujolais style, cherry, plum and blackcurrant flavours, dry with a long floral finish. (89)
  • Marques de Casa Concha Carmenère 2014 (12% Cabernet Sauvignon; Cachapoal Valley – $19.95): dense purple colour; spicy, blackcurrant, cedary nose with notes of red flowers and pencil lead; medium-bodied, dry and savoury with plum, blackcurrant and dark chocolate flavours; firmly structured. (90)
  • Casillero del Diablo Reserva Private 2015 (Maipo Valley – $17.95): 14 months in French oak. Dense purple colour; spicy, leather and blackcurrant nose with light oak notes; medium-bodied, dry, well-extracted fruit; firmly structured with balanced acidity. (89.5)
  • Marques de Casa Concha Cabernet Sauvignon 2015 (with 6% Cabernet Franc, 1%Merlot and 1% Syrah; Maipo Valley – $21.95): Dense purple colour; savoury, cedary, tobacco bouquet with vanilla oak, lead pencil and floral notes; full-bodied, richly extracted sweet blackcurrant and black plum flavours; lovely mouth-feel finishing firmly with ripe tannins. (91)

Marques de Casa Concha Cabernet Sauvignon 2015

In the evening to Barberian’s steak house on Elm Street for a Grapes for Humanity fund-raiser wine dinner hosted by Joe Canavan with Geddy Lee and Alex Lifeson. Mayor John Tory and his wife Barb dropped in before dinner to have a glass of champagne. The Mayor had recently given the key to the city to Rush and named a Willowdale park Lee Lifeson Art Park.

Mayor John Tory and his wife Barbara. The Mayor is holding a Grapes for Humanity wine bag.

A riotous evening with much wine. For the record:

  • Bouchard Ursules Blanc de Noirs Champagne
  • F.X. Pichler 2007 Loibner Berg Riesling
  • Hirtzberger 2007 Honivogl Gruner Veltliner
  • 1997 Guigal La Mouline Côte Rôtie
  • 1999 Jamet Côte Rôtie
  • 2000 Ogier Côte Rôtie Belle Helene
  • 2001 Jasmin Côte Rôtie
  • 2003 Jamet Côte Rôtie
  • 1997 Dows Port

A flight of Côte Rôtie

Grapes for Humanity raised $40,000 this night for Amani (to build a house for street kinds in Moshi, Tanzania). 

Tuesday, October 4th: A Vintages make-up tasting at noon. For dinner: Henry of Pelham Chardonnay Estate 2014 (straw colour; ripe peach and tropical fruit on the nose; medium to full-bodied, spicy pineapple flavour with well-integrated oak and a sweetness of the core of the wine (89)); Ménage à Trois Silk Soft Red Blend 2014 (California) (deep ruby-purple colour; spicy plum ans sandalwood nose; sweet plum and blackcurrant flavours; soft and easy drinking; commercial style but well-made (87.5)).

Wednesday, October 5th: Wrote my On the Go column and then to lunch at TOCA in the Ritz Carlton with José Luis Lapuente Sánchez, General Manager of the Consejo Regulator DOCa Rioja. We sat at the chef’s table in the kitchen.

TOCA’s Rioja menu

A glass of refreshing Finca La Emperatriz Virua 2014. With the meal:

  • Ostatu Rosado 2015 (Rioja Alavesa): pale pink in colour; fresh, floral, mineral nose of cranberries; crisply dry with lively acidity. (88.5)
  • Tobia Selección Crianza 2010: deep purple-ruby colour; spicy, sandalwood and cherry nose with a cedary note; medium-bodied, dry, well-extracted, black cherry flavour with well-integrated oak. Well-structured with soft tannins and refreshing acidity on the finish. Dry and savoury with herbal notes. (89)
  • Coto de Imaz Reserva 2010: deep purple colour; cedary, cherry with light spice and floral notes on the nose; medium-bodied, dry, elegant, lovely mouth-feel and a firm finish. (91)
  • Cune Reserva 2011: deep ruby-purple in colour; cedary, sandalwood nose of black cherry and oak spice; medium-bodied, dry, well-extracted cherry and plum flavours with a lively spine of acidity and a note of red licorice. Sturdy and well-structured. (90)
  • Conde de Valdemar Gran Reserva 2007: still holding its dense purple colour; spicy, sandalwood, vanilla oak and plum bouquet; medium-bodied with a flavour of cooked plums with lively acidity; mature plum and blackcurrant flavours with firm tannins. (91)

Coto de Imaz Reserva 2010

Cune Reserva 2011

At the end of the meal we were each given hors d’oeuvres plates designed by Jacqueline Poirier, the hotel’s resident “Crazy Plate Lady.”

Jacqueline Poirier, “the Crazy Plate Lady,” with the plate she gave

Came home to taste samples that have been accumulating.

  • Citra Trebbiano d’Abruzzo 2015 ($7.95): pale straw colour; minerally, citrus peel nose; light-bodied, dry, white peach and lemon flavours with a peach pit finish. (85)
  • Citra Pinot Grigio Terre di Chieti 2015 (Abruzzo – $8.95): pale straw colour; minerally, burnt match head nose; medium-bodied, dry, smoky, citrus flavour with some bitterness on the finish. (84)
  • Tinhorn Creek Chardonnay 2015 (Okanagan Valley – $19.49): straw colour; spicy, buttered popcorn nose; full-bodied and rich, spicy, apple, pineapple and toasty flavours with some sweetness in mid-palate. Well-integrated oak and a long lingering finish. (90)
  • Tinhorn Creek Cabernet Franc 2014 ($21.99): mature ruby colour; cedary-spicy nose of cherries; medium-bodied, dry, fresh on the palate with flavours of cherries and pomegranate with an engaging floral note. Firmly structured. (88.5)
  • Tinhorn Creek Oldfield Series Merlot 2013 (4% Cabernet Franc, 1% Merlot – $26.99): ruby with a mature rim; cedary, wood spice on the nose with strawberry and raspberry notes aromas and a light floral note; medium-bodied, full on the palate with blackberry and black cherry flavours and a tannic lift on the finish. Good mouthfeel. St. Emilion in style. (89)
  • Tinhorn Creek Oldfield Series 2 Bench Red 2013 (47% Cabernet Sauvignon, 24% Cabernet Franc, 20% Merlot, 6% Malbec, 3% Petit Verdot – $30.49): deep ruby colour; earthy, spicy, black raspberry nose with cedary-floral notes; medium-bodied, elegant, beautifully balanced with resolved tannins and a rich flavour of blueberry pie. (90)
  • Citra Sangiovese Terre di Chieti 2015 ($7.95): purple-ruby colour; smoky, struck-flint nose of cherries; medium-bodied, dry, fruity, red plum flavour with enough acidity and tannin to give it structure. (85)
  • Citra Montepulciano d’Abruzzo 2015 ($7.95): purple-ruby colour; struck flint, plum and cherry nose; medium-bodied, dry, fruity, plum flavour. (86)
  • La Belle Angele Merlot 2015 (France – $10.95): deep ruby colour; cedary, baked plum bouquet with wood notes; medium-bodied, fruity, soft on the palate and slightly sweet with a touch of tannin on the finish. (85)
  • Trapiche Pure Black Malbec 2015 (Unoaked – Argentina – $15.95): deep purple colour; spicy, roasted plum nose; full-bodied, juicy, blackberry fruit with notes of blueberry and cranberry, finishing firmly. Well-made wine and good value. (88)
  • Big Bill Cabernet Sauvignon 2015 (Western Cape – $12.95): deep purple-ruby colour; spicy, smoky, tarry, blackcurrant nose; light to medium-bodied, lively acidity carrying red and blackcurrant flavours to a tannic finish. (86)
  • Gérard Bertrand Cap Insula 2013 (Languedoc – Grenache, Syrah, Mourvèdre – $17): deep ruby-purple colour; earthy, spicy, dark chocolate nose with dried rose petal notes; medium to full-bodied, dry, with a black raspberry and rose petal flavour; well-balanced and frim and flattering. (88.5)
  • Luigi Bosca Cabernet Sauvignon 2012 (Argentina – $19.95): deep ruby-purple colour; cedary, plum and blackcurrant nose; full-bodied, dry, richly extracted, sweet plum and blackcurrant flavours, firmly structured. (88.5)

Thursday, October 6th: A Winerytohome tasting today with Doug Towers and David Lawrason.

Friday, October 7th: A Vintages’ release tasting today, split into two-weekly sessions as there are 147 products being released in November.

Saturday, October 8th: Deborah and I prepared a dinner party for our friends Adrienne and Myra and Michael and Rosie. The menu: smoked salmon appetizers; first course: moules marinières; main course: black cod; pommes dauphinoise; followed by cheeses and pumpkin pie and ice cream. The wines:

  • Cathedral Cellar Blanc de Blancs 2010 (South Africa)
  • Blomidon Estate Late Picked Chardonnay Methode Traditionelle 2011 (Nova Scotia)
  • Domaine Hamelin Chablis Beauroy 2014 (Burgundy)
  • Bachelder Côte de Beaune La Grande Chatelaine 2011 (Burgundy)
  • Exultet Estates The Blessed Chardonnay 2012 (Prince Edward County)
  • Marcarini Barolo La Serra 2004
  • Schloss Schönborn Hattenheimer Pfaffenberg Riesling Kabinett 1997


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