Monday, August 7th: Wrote up my 680 NEWS wine reviews, four weeks as Deborah and I are leaving on Saturday for a 20th wedding anniversary cruise to St. Petersburg and will be away until August 25th.
Opened a bottle of Wolfberger W3 2015, an Alsace blend of Riesling, Muscat and Pinot Gris (medium straw colour; fragrant, honeysuckle, apple and grapefruit nose; medium-bodied, just off dry, full on the palate and delicious (89)).
Tuesday, August 8th: Went to the tasting lab for the August 19th Vintages release. In the evening to Paradise Fine Chinese Dining at Leslie & Finch for the annual awards presentation of the Cambridge Food and Wine Society, founded by Leo Chan and J. P. Michelini. This year two old friends were honoured: Anthony von Mandl, proprietor of Mission Hill Family Estate, received the Riedel Winemaker of the Year Award (unfortunately, he couldn’t be in Toronto to accept it); and Jacques Marie received the Cambridge College of Builders Award. Sheila Swerling-Puritt did a great job matching the Mission Hill wines with Chef Ivan Lee’s menu.
- Mission Hill Sauvignon Blanc No. 16 2013
- Mission Hill Limited Edition Viognier 2015
- Mission Hill Reserve Shiraz 2014
- Mission Hill Riesling Icewine 2015
Wednesday, August 9th: Recorded the 680 NEWS wine reviews and finally finished the novel. In the evening to dinner at friends.
Thursday, August 10th: Wrote up my Wines of the Week and then got down to some tasting.
- Bench 1775 Sauvignon Blanc 2016 (Okanagan Valley – $24.90): pale straw colour; slightly sweaty, grassy nose; medium-bodied, dry, grapefruit and green kiwi flavours with lively acidity. (88)
- Bench 1775 Viognier 2016 (Okanagan Valley – $24.90): very pale in colour; fragrant, minerally, peach pit and honeysuckle nose; medium-bodied, round on the palate, beautifully balanced with ripe lychee and melon flavours. Sustains well on the palate. (90)
- Henry of Pelham Fumé Sauvignon Blanc 2016 (Short Hills Bench – $19.95): pale straw colour; grassy, grapefruit nose; medium-bodied, dry, very Bordeaux white in style, green plum and lanolin flavours; well-balanced, fine mouth-feel. (89)
- Henry of Pelham Speck Family Reserve Chardonnay 2010 (Short Hills Bench – $29.95): light straw colour; apple, spicy oak with a barnyard note; medium-bodied, dry, apple and pear flavours, well-balanced with just the right amount of oak giving the wine a spicy lift on the finish. Great length. (91)
- McWatters Collection Chardonnay 2014 (Okanagan Valley – $30.95): light straw colour; earthy, undergrowth nose of apples; medium to full-bodied, sweet apple flavour, round and full in the mouth but lacking energy to give the wine length. (88)
- Bench 1775 Malbec Nouveau 2016 (Okanagan Valley – $24.90): deep purple-ruby colour; spicy, cedary, blackberry nose with a light floral note; medium-bodied, dry, fruity, juicy, red and blackcurrant flavours carried on a lively spine of acidity. (88.5)
- Bench 1775 Pinot Noir 2014 (Okanagan Valley – $29): mature ruby in colour; earthy, raspberry and tomato leaf nose; medium-bodied, dry and savoury; firmly structured with a note of smoky tar on the finish. (88)
- Bench 1775 Cabernet Franc Clone 214 2013 (Okanagan Valley – $34.50): deep ruby colour; cedary, blackcurrant nose with oak spice; medium-bodied, dry, elegant, well-balanced with zesty acidity and red and blackcurrant flavours. Good length. (90)
- Henry of Pelham Pinot Noir 2016 (Niagara Peninsula – $16.95): light ruby colour; red cherry nose with a light oak note; light to medium-bodied, fresh and lively on the palate with a cherry flavour augmented by vanilla oak. (88)
- Inniskillin Montague Vineyard Merlot 2015 (Four Mile Creek – $29.95): Deep purple-ruby colour; spicy, cedary nose of plum and cherry with a touch of oak; medium-bodied, dry, juicy, black cherry flavour with well-integrated oak. Lovely mouth-feel with a long finish and gentle tannins. (90)
- Giacomo Mori Chianti 2014 (Tuscany – $21.95): solid ruby colour; smoky-cedary nose of cherries and vanilla oak; medium-bodied, dry, sour cherry flavour with zesty acidity and a lingering finish. A well-made understated wine but delicious. (89)
- Chateau Ste. Michelle Canoe Ridge Estate Merlot 2015 (Horse Heaven Hills, Washington): Deep ruby colour; earthy, herbal, black fruit nose; medium to full-bodied, dry, black plum flavour backed by spicy oak with an engaging floral note and ripe tannins. Beautifully balanced. (91)
Friday, August 11th: A Vintages release tasting (a couple of interesting labels), then spent the rest of the day inputting the notes.
South African kosher Sauvignon Blanc
Would you buy this wine?
Tasted a couple of wines before dinner:
- Closson Chase Vineyard Chardonnay 2015 (Prince Edward County): straw colour; tropical fruit nose with oak spice; clove and green pineapple flavour, rich and full on the palate with lively acidity and vanilla oak notes. (90)
- Black Hills Rosé 2016 (a Pinot Noir from the Okanagan): deep pink colour; raspberry nose with a light herbal note; medium-bodied, just off-dry; fruity, raspberry flavour, nicely balanced. (88.5)
Dinner: barbecued steak with Le Secret des Capitelles Saint Chinian 2014 (Languedoc-Roussillon – $18.95): purple-violet in colour; savoury, black cherry nose with vanilla oak notes; medium to full-bodied, dry, sour cherry and plum flavours with lively acidity ending on a herbal note. (88.5)