Monday, November 28th: Wrote my 680 NEWS wine reviews and then down to Boehmer Restaurant for a Garnacha tasting, both red and white – 24 in all. My top scoring wine turned out to be the most expensive: Viñas del Vero Secastilla 2011 (Somontano PDO – $40, 70 year-old vines): deeply coloured, richly extracted black raspberry flavour (91).
Best value: Castillo de Monseran Garnacha 2015: medium-bodied, dry, fruity, raspberry flavour with a floral note – $9.95 (LCBO #73395).
A meeting at home with John Switzer and Paul Miles to discuss the Royal Winter Fair wine competition. For dinner, salmon steak with Wildass Sauvignon Blanc 2015 (Niagara Peninsula – $18.95): ale straw on colour; grassy, green plum nose; medium-bodied, crisply dry with grapefruit and passionfruit flavours (89).
Tuesday, November 29th: Lunch at Pai Thai on Duncan Street. Bernard Sparr was matching his Alsace wines with Thai dishes.
- Pierre Sparr Crémant d’Alsace Brut Réserve (Pinot Blanc and Auxerrois): pale straw colour; green apple and lemon nose with mineral notes; medium-bodied, crisply dry with apple and lemon flavours and a salty note. (88.5)
- Pierre Sparr Crémant d’Alsace Rosé Brut: deep pink in colour; a nose of cherries and citrus fruits with a light floral note; medium-bodied, dry with a cherry pit flavour. (88.5)
- Pierre Sparr Riesling Schoenenbourg 2013: pale straw colour; minerally, floral grapefruit nose with notes of grapefruit zest and developing petrol notes; light to medium-bodied, dry, elegant, well-balanced peach and grapefruit flavours with a touch of honey. Good length. (90)
- Pierre Sparr Gewurztraminer Réserve 2015: straw colour; lychee and rose petal nose; medium-bodied, off-dry, grapefruit and lychee flavours. (88)
- Pierre Sparr Pinot Gris Mambourg 2015: deep straw colour; mealy, peach nose with a mineral note; full-bodied, well-balanced, sweet peach flavour with a honeyed note and balancing acidity. (89)
- Pierre Sparr Sol Calcaire 2013: ruby colour; minerally, cherry nose with a light oak note; light to medium-bodied, dry, elderberry and cranberry flavours; firm structure with ripe tannins and good length. (89)
- Pierre Sparr Gewurztraminer SGN 2008 (picked January 2009): coppery-golden colour; a nose of apricot and honey with spicy notes; full-bodied, intense, lychee and barley sugar flavours; beautifully balanced with great length. (94)
Wednesday, November 30th: Recorded my 680 NEWS wine reviews. Telephone meeting with Sandy Kurbis to discuss the Ontario Wine Awards.
Thursday, December 1st: An eye appointment with my ophthalmologist. Thankfully my prescription for my glasses hasn’t changed. Got down to some tasting.
- Quinta de Curvos Loureiro Vinho Verde 2015 (Portugal – $12.95): medium straw colour; minerally, white peach nose with a floral top note; light-bodied, fresh, lemony-melon flavour with a faint spritz. Easy drinking. (88)
- Villa Maria Private Bin Sauvignon Blanc 2015 (Marlborough, New Zealand – 375mL, $8.85): straw colour; intense, green pepper and guava nose; medium-bodied, dry, elderberry and sweet gooseberry flavours with a grassy note. (89)
- White Cliff Sauvignon Blanc Winemaker’s Selection 2016 (Marlborough, New Zealand – $14.95): medium straw colour; grassy, green plum nose; medium-bodied, dry, spicy, greengage and grapefruit flavours with lively acidity and good length. Good value. (88)
- Norton Barrel Select Sauvignon Blanc 2015 (Argentina – $12.95): straw colour; discreet nose withoak predominating over green plum aromas; light to medium-bodied, dryherbaceous, grapefruit and green plum flavours. (86.5)
- Château des Charmes Chardonnay 2014 (St. David’s Bench, Niagara Peninsula – $19.95): bright straw colour; spicy, apple and oak nose; medium-bodied, creamy apple and lemon flavours with a leesy note. Well-made with good length. (89)
- Henry of Pelham Family Tree Red 2014 (Ontario, $18.95: 33% Syrah, 29% Merlot, 19% Cabernet Franc, 14% Cabernet Sauvignon, 5% Baco Noir): deep purple-ruby-colour; spicy, cedary, blackcurrant and plum nose with a touch of oak; medium-bodied, dry, juicy red fruit flavours with lively acidity and ripe tannins. (88)
- Henry of Pelham Baco Noir Speck Family Reserve 2014 (Ontario – $24.95): deep purple-ruby colour; cedary, savoury black plum nose with a herbal note; medium- to full-bodied, dry, fruity plum flavour with a floral note; lively acidity finishing on a note of sandalwood. Good mouth-feel. (89)
- Henry of Pelham Cabernet Merlot Estate 2012 (Short Hills Bench, Ontario – $24.95): deep ruby colour; cedary, vanilla oak and currants on the nose with a light floral note; medium-bodied, medium-bodied, dry, petit château style, firmly structured red and blackcurrant flavours with lively acidity and supple tannins. (88.5)
- Château des Charmes Cabernet-Merlot Old Vines 2012 (Niagara-on-the-Lake – $21.95): deep ruby colour; cedary, herb-tined nose of red and blackcurrants with a vanilla oak note; medium-bodied, dry, lean and elegant blackcurrant and red berry flavours with well-integrated oak; firmly structured and well-balanced. (89)
- Ferraton Père & Fils Côtes du Rhône Samorëns 2014 ($14.95): deep ruby colour; spicy, black raspberry nose backed by oak; medium- to full-bodied, fruity and somewhat ponderous in mid-palate, moderate length. (86.5)
Friday, December 2nd: A Vintages release tasting for January. Not very inspiring. The LCBO seems to release a weird bunch of wines in January. David Rose and his partner Elaine came by in the late afternoon and with cheeses we opened a bottle of Ravenswood Old Vine Zindandel 2014 (Napa Valley – $ 21.95): deep ruby colour; plum and leather nose with oak backing; full-bodied, spicy, peppery black fruit flavours with chocolate notes (89).
Saturday, December 3rd: In the evening, the Wernhams’ annual Christmas party. The theme this year was “Pirates and the Seven Seas.” At the last moment I made this poster:
Sunday, December 4th: Attended the Amici Chamber Ensemble fund-raiser at Grano. I had donated a wine tasting for the live auction.