Monday, October 31st: The annual Italian tasting at Roy Thomson Hall this morning. 105 wineries. There must have been around 600 wines being poured. Unfortunately, I only had time to stop at 13 producers’ tables. My best tasting experience was at the Aurelio Settimo table. Mightily impressed by Aurelio Settimo Barolo Rocche dell’Annunziata 2010 (93) and 2008 (92). The 2011 wasn’t too shabby either (90). Other top wines I tasted: Ca’Tullio Viola Traminer Aromatico 2015 (90), Monteci Amarone della Valpolicella Classico 2011 (91), Azienda Agricola Visintini Andrea Collo Orientali del Friuli Merlot 2008 (91).
In the mail, when I got home, was a copy of John Szabo MS’s beautifully illustrated book, Volcanic Wines – Salt, Grit and Power. A very useful addition to the library – and one that won’t date. Looking forward to reading it.
Tuesday, November 1st: A busy wine day today. At noon down to the LCBO to taste some of the November 12th Vintages release wines I’d missed. Then on to the ROM for the “Love Wine. Love Chile” tasting. 27 wineries pouring six or less wines each. Enjoyed the wines of Montes, Baron Philippe de Rothschild, Maipo, Via Wines and Casas del Bosque.
In the evening, Deborah and I were invited to have dinner at the Rosedale Golf Club, where Eduardo Chadwick of Errazuriz was conducting a winemaker dinner.
Eduardo Chadwick with Chadwick 2013
Wednesday, November 2nd: A lunch tasting with Jackson-Triggs winemaker Marco Picoli at Woods, 45 Colborne, to taste his new label, Arterra.
- Arterra Chardonnay 2015 (the fruit comes from Le Clos and Claystone vineyards – $29.95): Bright straw colour, a nose of apple and green pineapple with well-integrated oak; medium to full-bodied, dry, apple and pear flavours, well-extracted and fruity with a note of caramel on the finish. (89)
- Arterra Pinot Noir 2015 (Montague Vineyard fruit – $29.95): deep ruby colour; cedary, spicy, minty, plum nose; medium to full-bodied, rich and fruity plum and cherry flavours with lively acidity and ripe tannins. Reminded me more of a Valpolicella Ripasso than Pinot Noir. 15% of the grapes for this wine were dried for 8 weeks and 15% were put through Ripasso, then oak-aged for 7–8 months.
Marco Picoli with Arterra wines
For dinner, lamb chops with Château d’Ardilley Haut Médoc 2012 (dense purple colour; cedary, blackberry nose with vanilla oak notes; dry, medium-bodied, blackcurrant and blueberry flavour with a lively acidic spine (87)).
Thursday, November 3rd: Wrote up my wines of the week and after lunch down to the Convention Centre to judge wines for Gold Medal Plates. David Lawrason asked the panel to taste 16 wines, a cider, and four spirits and then rank them, giving out top five. My top wines in order (1st to 5th) were: Cave Spring Cellars The Adam Step Riesling 2014, Hidden Bench Nuit Blanche 2014, Stratus Evergreen White 2008, Rosehall Run Vineyard Pinot Noir 2014, Tawse Winery Laundry Cabernet Franc 2012. When the dust settled, the group consensus was:
- Hidden Bench Nuit Blanche 2014
- Tawse Winery Laundry Cabernet Franc 2012
- Cave Spring Cellars The Adam Step Riesling 2014
- Tawse South Bay Chardonay 2013
- Hinterland Rosé Method Traditional
Friday, November 4th: Wrote a chapter of the novel, then shopped for tomorrow night’s dinner party and bought a Dutch oven for the osso buco. Then did a little tasting.
- Henry of Pelham Red House Wine Co. Baco Cabernet Sauvignon 2015 (Ontario): deep ruby-purple colour: cedary, blackberry nose with a herbal note; medium-bodied with a touch of sweetness, lively acidity and plum and blackberry flavours. (86.5)
- Henry of Pelham Sibling Rivalry Red 2015 (Ontario – Cabernet Franc, Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon): deep ruby-purple colour; briary, curranty nose with a suggestion of oak; medium-bodied, dry, fruity, nicely balanced with ripe tannins. (87)
- Château Guillou 2014 (Montagne Saint- Emilion – $19.95): deep ruby colour; cedary, blueberry nose with spicy oak on the nose; medium-bodied, dry, savoury, blueberry and currant flavours, firmly structured. (87)
- Domaine Galaman 2013 (Fitou – $14.95): Syrah, Carignan, Grenache. Deep purple-ruby colour; savoury nose of toasted herbs, cedar and blackberry; medium-bodied, dry, blackcurrant and blackberry flavours, nicely balanced with a firm tannic finish. Good value. (87.5)
- Montebuena Cuvée KPF 2014 (Rioja – $15.95): deep ruby colour; cedary-sandalwood nose of strawberry puree; medium-bodied, dry, cherry and strawberry flavours with lively acidity. (87.5)
- Hob Nob Wicked Red Blend (Pays d’Oc – $12.95): Grenache, Cabernet Sauvignon, Syrah, Pinot Noir. Earthy, black cherry nose; medium to full-bodied, sweetish plum and cherry flavour. Firmly structured, fruity but finishing dry. (86.5)
- Sartori Montegradella Valpolicella Classico 2012 (Veneto – $17.95): deep ruby colour; cedary, cherry and blackcurrant nose with an oaky note; medium to full-bodied, sweet and sour flavours of cherry and currants with lively acidity and a firm structure. (88.5)
- Sartori Corte Bra Amarone della Valpolicella Classico 2009 (Veneto – $49.95): deep ruby colour; spicy, dried cherry nose with an earthy note; full-bodied, sweet cherry and plum flavours with grainy tannins and a firm tannic finish. (89)
A copy of Liz Palmer’s The Ultimate Guide to Champagne was dropped off at the condo – a delightful travelogue through the Champagne region with loads of tips on how to enjoy my favourite beverage.
Autumn colours in my ‘hood
Saturday, November 5th: Spent much of the day preparing for a dinner party for our friends Rene and Ivor and Roz and Steve. While I prepared the meal (Deborah made dessert) I drank San Raffaele Organic Pinot Grigio 2015 (very pale in colour with a lime tint; minerally, white peach and lemon bouquet; medium-bodied, crisply dry and fresh (88.5)).
Imant Malin’s Smoked Salmon with capers and lemon wedges
Osso buco with roasted potatoes in rosemary and roasted vegetables
Cheeses: 6-year-old Balderson Cheddar, David Wood’s Goat Cheese and a ripe Brie
Dessert: Red wine pear crisp
- Henry of Pelham Carte Blanche Blanc de Blancs 2011
- O’de Mailly Champage 2008
- Tantalus Riesling 2012
- Masi Campofiorin 2006
- Bottega Brunello di Montalcino 2006
- Inniskillin Cabernet Franc Icewine 2014
A great dinner party, if I say so myself.