Sunday, January 29th: Conducted a dinner tasting for the local Opimian Society in Seasons Restaurant, Oakville. The menu:
Wild mushroom and champagne soup
Arugula salad with poached pear and creamy goat cheese and toasted pistachio
Mixed grill of roasted herb capon breast and striploin steak with seasonal vegetables, creamy mashed potatoes and a natural jus
Traditional crème brûlée
- Lirico Torrontes Valle de Famatino/Petit Verdot 2015 (Argentina)
- Warwick Professor Black Sauvignon Blanc 2015 (South Africa)
- Cornellana Barrel Reserve Carmenere/Petit Verdot 2013 (Chile)
- Cinema Crianza Ribera del Duero 2011 (Spain)
- Chateau Haute Bergeron 2010 (Sauternes)
Monday, January 30th: Wrote an article for Grapevine magazine about glasses and how wines taste different in various shapes. Still have not come to terms with Riedel’s stemless O series.
Tuesday, February 1st: An appointment with the sleep pack people to see how I’m getting on with the machine (not great). A meeting in the afternoon with Kristal Carter of Tourism Toronto for background on an article I’m writing for Decanter magazine – “My Toronto.” At 9 pm Deborah dropped me off at the Appleton Sleep Clinic for another session to test how I’m reacting to the sleep machine. Not looking forward to it.
Wednesday, February 2nd: Not as bad a night as I was anticipating although I had 27 wires hanging from my body. Was woken up by the nurse/attendant at 6 am to leave.
Worked on the Decanter article and prepared for this evening’s wine tasting in the condo’s party room. The theme is “Bold Winter Reds.” I’m serving:
- Les Dauphins Côtes du Rhône Réserve 2015
- Cusumano Nero d’Avola 2015 (Sicily)
- Quadrus 2010 (Douro Valley)
- Las Mulas Cabernet Sauvignon Reserve 2015 (Chile)
- Fairview Winery Goats Do Roam 2015 (South Africa)
Bold Winter Reds
Thursday, February 2nd: Gérard Blanloeil, Managing Director of Clarence Dillon Wines, came to the condo with Toby and Martine O’Brian to sample Clarenedelle with me. The concept, Gérard says, is to introduce Bordeaux to a younger consumer with more accessible wines.
Gérard Blanloeil of Clarendelle
Clarendelle is “inspired by Haut Brion,” carrying a Bordeaux appellation (wines from right and left banks), production 80% red, 500,000–1000,000 bottles.
- Clarendelle 2014 (70% Sauvignon, 25% Semillon, 5% Muscadelle – $23.95): earthy-floral, nose of beeswax, golden straw colour; minerally, apple and quince flavour with a floral note; lovely mouth-feel, lively spine of acidity with a lemony finish. (88)
- Clarendelle 2012 (57% Merlot, 30% Cabernet Sauvignon, 13% Cabernet Franc – $23.95): deep purple colour; cedary, plum and blueberry with tobacco notes and oak spice; medium-bodied, dry almost savoury flavour of red fruits; well-balanced, firmly structured with soft, cocoa powder-like tannins. (89)
They will also be making commune wines under the Clarendelle label – Médoc 2014 and Saint Émilion 2014 – as well as Quintus (formerly St. Emilion’s Château Terte Dauguay, which Haut Brion purchased in 2011, as well as the neighbouring Château L’Arosée they acquired the following year).
Friday, February 3rd: A Vintages tasting this morning. 123 products in this February 18th release. Enjoyed a Kew Vineyards Marsanne 2014 that won a gold medal at the Ontario Wine Awards last year. An unexpected grape to be grown in Ontario.
Saturday, February 4th: Deborah and I had dinner at Doma, a new Korean-French restaurant on Clinton Street. Very minimalist décor but stunning food, attractively served. Sweet potato purée foam in an egg cup as an amuse bouche. A glass each of Pablo Claro Sauvignon Blanc 2015 from Spain. We ordered, to share…
…Duck Two Ways with foie gras and cauliflower purée…
…lobster in a tomato soup with cumquats and grilled bok choy…
…followed by pork belly with buttered apple, pickled shallots, cilantro and ginger.
A glass of Domaine de Seminaires Côtes du Rhône 2015. Dessert:
A totally delicious meal.