A Wine Lover’s Diary, Part 661: Cambridge Awards

printed on paper: Cambridge Food & Wine Society 10th Anniversary

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

Menu: A Culinary Paradise & Wines from Beautiful British Columbia. Cocktail Reception Hors d'Oeuvres and Wines provided by: Kingdom of Cambodia – Festival Rice Cakes; Hiro Yoshida – Sushi and Sashimi; Mistura – Antipasti; Cynthia's – Seafood Cheese Ragu; Vina Santa Rita – Red and White Wines from Chile; Tea Master's Choice – chinese Tea. Dinner created by Paradise Fine Chinese Cuisine: Oven Roasted Piglet Crusted Shrimp Purée with Crab Paste Tofu, Seared Black Cod with Truffle Oil, Tea Smoked Duck Breast and Fresh Mango with Honey Pepper Sauce, Traditional Chinese Orange Beef. Dessert and Sweet Table provided by: Kingdom of Cambodia, Chef Ruwan Jayakody, Trillium Chefs of Canada, Jack's Bakery and Pastry, Chef Christopher Siu, Scheffler's Cheeses. Mission Hill Reserve Icewine, Glenfiddich Single Malt Scotch Whisky, Rémy Martin X O Cognac.

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.

Unorthodox Koosher Sauvignon Blanc 2017
South African kosher Sauvignon Blanc

Ego Bodegas El Gorù
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)


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