Monday, March 27th: An 11:30 am tasting at the Novotel with the head winemaker of the Ackerman-Remy-Pannier group in the Loire, Pierre Charron.
Ackerman-Remy-Pannier head winemaker Pierre Charron
Starting off with Ackerman sparkling wines:
- Ackerman Crémant de Loire Cuvée 1811 Blanc Brut: pale straw in colour; earthy apple and citrus nose; light-bodied, dry, quince, lemon and crab apple flavours; nicely balanced, clean and crisp with good length. (88) (Apparently, Ackerman made the first Loire Crémant in that year.)
- Ackerman Crémant de Loire Royal Blanc Brut (three years on the lees): very pale in colour with a lime tint; leesy, bready, apple bouquet; light to medium-bodied, clean, dry, crisp green apple and quince flavours with lively acidity and a lemony finish. (89)
- Ackerman Crémant de Loire Ambrosa: pale straw with a lime tint; apple and pear on the nose with a light floral note; light-bodied, crisply dry lively and fresh on the palate with an apple flavour, a touch of sweetness and a floral note; good length. (88.5)
- Remy Pannier Muscadet 2016: pale straw in colour; a nose of apricot and marshmallow with a white pepper note; light-bodied, dry, crab apple flavour with citrus acidity and a touch of bitterness on the finish. (86.5)
- Remy Pannier Sauvignon Val de Loire 2016: almost water white; sweaty, green plum and apple core nose; medium-bodied, dry, green plum and grapefruit flavours with lively acidity and a touch of bitterness on the finish. (87.5)
- Remy Pannier Touraine Sauvignon Blanc 2016: very pale in colour; grassy, grapefruit nose; medium-bodied, dry, good varietal character; crisp, green plum flavour. (88)
- Remy Pannier Blanc de Noir 2016 (Cabernet Franc with no skin contact): pale straw colour; marshmallow, yellow plum and redcurrant nose; medium-bodied, dry, redcurrant and citrus flavours; well-structured with good length. (88)
- Ackerman Secret des Vignes Saumur Blanc 2015: very pale straw; quince and apple peel nose; medium-bodied, dry, spicy, green pineapple; well-balanced, good length with a touch of resiny oak on the finish.
- Remy Pannier Rosé 2016: pink with a bluish tint; cherry pit nose with a floral note; off-dry, red plum flavour with balanced acidity. Easy drinking. (87)
- Ackerman Saint-Nicolas de Bourgeuil 2015: ruby-violet colour; dusty, winter apple nose with a light floral note; light to medium-bodied, dry, fruity, cherry and redcurrant flavour, firm with a herbal green note on the finish. (87.5)
- Ackerman Secret des Vignes Chinon 2014: purple-ruby colour; floral, black cherry nose with a mineral note; medium-bodied, dry, savoury, cherry flavour with lively acidity and a firm finish. (88.5)
In the afternoon I went over to visit Gordon Stimmell for a chat.
For dinner, pasta with a bottle of Cesari Mara Valpolicella Ripasso 2014: dense purple colour; cedary, peppery, cherry nose; medium-bodied, dry, quite savoury for a ripasso; firmly structured with lively acidity. (88.5)
Tuesday, March 28th: Spent much of the day on Ontario Wine Award business. In the evening Deborah and I went down to George Brown for the Italian Market event – booths with Italian food products and wines. Discovered a great Italian bakery – Forno Cultura – that makes an amazing loaf of black bread.
Italian Market spread
Wine of the night at the Italian Market event
Wednesday, March 29th: Wrote up my Wines of the Week, paid some income tax and then got down to some tasting.
- Joie Farm Unoaked Chardonnay 2016 (Okanagan Valley): pale straw colour; leesy, apple and lemon nose with a light floral top note; medium-bodied, dry, lemon and crab apple flavours. A touch of bitterness on the finish (88).
- Joie Farm Muscat 2016 (Okanagan Valley): pale straw in colour; aromatic, orange blossom and grapefruit nose; light-bodied, dry, orange, lemon and tangerine flavours with a spicy white blossom note finishing on a slightly bitter note which does not detract from the overall-flavour but adds a bit of character. (89)
- Joie Farm Noble Blend 2016 (Okanagan Valley – Gewurztraminer, Riesling, Pinot Blanc, Pinot Auxerrois): pale straw colour; aromatic, spicy grapefruit and apple nose; just off-dry, with lychee, rose water and grapefruit flavours carried on lively acidity. Lovely mouth-feel. (90)
- Joie Farm Re-Think Pink Rosé 2016 (Okanagan Valley – 75% Pinot Noir, 25% Gamay): deep salmon colour; minerally, strawberry nose; medium-bodied, dry, well-extracted strawberry and watermelon flavours with lively acidity; lovely mouth-feel and food length with a raspberry candy finish. A versatile food wine. (89)
- Rosewood Origin Cabernet Franc 2014 (Niagara Peninsula): deep purple-ruby colour; cedary, vanilla oak, blackcurrant and plum bouquet; medium-bodied, dry, well-extracted currant, cherry and plum flavours with a floral note; well-balanced with well-integrated oak and fresh acidic finish. (90)
- Graffigna Malbec 2015 (Argentina): deep ruby colour; cedary, spicy plum and cherry nose; medium to full-bodied, dry, blackberry and espresso coffee flavours carried on lively acidity. (88)
- Burrowing Owl Syrah 2014 (Okanagan Valley): cedary-oaky, blackberry nose with a note of toasted herbs; full-bodied, dry, savoury, blackberry and dark chocolate flavours, rich and full on the palate with good length. (89)
- Burrowing Owl Athene 2013 (Okanagan Valley – 50% Cabernet Sauvignon/50% Syrah): dense purple-ruby in colour; savoury, blackberry, blackcurrant and pepper on the nose; full-bodied, richly extracted, dark chocolate and black fruit flavours; beautifully balanced and seamless with a firm but pliant tannic finish and great length. (92)
- Franciscan Estate Cabernet Sauvignon 2013 (Napa Valley – $29.95): deep ruby-purple colour; cedary, spicy damson nose, dried herbs and a floral top note; full-bodied, dry, savoury, plum and currant flavours; richly extracted with dark chocolate and black fruit flavours finishing on a spicy oak note and ripe chewy tannins. (89).
Thursday, March 30th: Wrote my monthly On the Go article, then had lunch at Cibo on Yonge with Andrew Menceles to discuss a wine project. In the evening went down to Burdock Restaurant and Brewery, 1184 Bloor St. West, in the rain for what turned out to be a most bizarre event. Comando G wines from the Gredos region in Spain and Pearl Morissette from Niagara. When I got there the place was crowded and I was handed a card with the name of the wine and a price for a 3 oz pour. Once you got the wine you wanted the pourer ticked it off on your card and when you left you settled up with the cashier. Now, I didn’t want a 3 oz pour and all I wanted was to taste and spit, especially the Spanish wines with which I was not familiar. It occurred to me that it would cost me something like $60 plus HST to sample the wines. So I had a glass of Pearl Morissette Vioginer Cuvée Nadia 2014 2014, which was delicious, paid $10 + HST and left. I appeared to be the only wine writer there.
Friday, March 31st: A Vintages release tasting for April 17th – 109 products out for review. I got through 64. For dinner, opened a bottle of Hidden Bench Locust Lane Rosé 2016: salmon colour; strawberry and watermelon on the nose; medium-bodied, dry, with red apple and watermelon flavours. (88.5)