A Wine Lover’s Diary, Part 663: Ode to the Order of Canada

standing banner: The Order of Canada: They desire a better country

Thursday, August 24th: Caught up with emails and correspondence after our Baltic cruise. Took my sore shoulder to Dr. Tim, my chiropractor, in the afternoon and then did some tasting:

  • Wolfberger W3 2015 (Alsace – $15.95; a Riesling, Muscat, Pinot Gris blend): medium straw colour; fragrant nose of honeysuckle, grapefruit and apple; medium-bodied just off-dry, full on the palate and loads of flavour. (89)
  • Manoir de Mercey Mercurey 2014 (Burgundy – $29.95): ruby colour; a nose of black raspberries with a floral note and oak spice; medium-bodied, dry and nicely balanced. (88.5)
  • Henry of Pelham Baco Noir 2016 (Ontario – $14.95): dense purple colour; savoury-herbal, blackberry bouquet; medium to full-bodied, dry, well-extracted, ripe blackberry flavour, well-balanced, fruity plum flavour with a herbal finish. (87.5)
  • Paolo Leo Passo del Cardinale Primitivo di Manduria 2017 (Puglia): dense purple colour; a nose of leather and plum; medium-bodied, dry, black plum flavour with lively acidity; a little short on finish. (88)

Friday, August 25th: A Vintages tasting today with 111 products released (except they didn’t put out the Dom Pérignon Luminous Brut Champagne 2006 (at $259.95 a bottle) – even though it was the 30th anniversary of the wine press tasting Vintages products). In the bad old days the LCBO would have single tasting glass in front of an open bottle from which we were all meant to taste! George Soleas, CEO and President of the LCBO, dropped by to mark the occasion and to tell us about the future plans for the Board.

Saturday, August 26th: Up early to walk Pinot before driving down to the Island Airport with Deborah for a Porter flight to Ottawa. As part of Canada’s 150th birthday celebration and the 50th anniversary of the Order of Canada, David Johnson, the Governor General, has invited all recipients of the Order to an outdoor reception in the grounds of Rideau Hall. Some 800 recipients responded and each was allowed one guest.

Rideau Hall grounds

Deborah and I in Rideau Hall’s greenhouse

I was delighted to see Donald Ziraldo, Paul Bosc Senior and Anthony von Mandl there. Anthony, who had flown in from Vancouver, told me that his 101-year-old mother witnessed the presentation of his medal the evening before. We all had the opportunity to tour Rideau Hall and admire the art as well as the gardens and green houses. Wines from Ontario, BC and Nova Scotia were served. Joining the Governor General on stage for the opening remarks were all former GGs, plus Julie Payette, who will succeed David Johnson.

Governors General

George Elliott Clarke, the Parliamentary Poet Laureate, read his poem “Ode to the Order of Canada” in both official languages. There were inspirational remarks by the Honorable Chantal Petitclerc and Marc Kielburger and musical performances by a jazz ensemble – all Order recipients: Tommy Banks, Terry Clarke, P. J. Perry Guloien, Jens Lindemann and John Geggie, with vocals by Suzie LeBlanc.

David Blackwell

I ran into an old friend whom I hadn’t seen for 34 years from my CBC Radio days, Bernie Lucht, who produced the Ideas series for years.

Our return flight from Ottawa was delayed over 80 minutes, but I have to say that the snacks they serve on Porter are far superior to what you get on Air Canada.

Monday, August 28th: Wrote my Quench column on off-site wine storage based on an interview with Marc Russell of the Fine Wine Reserve. Tasted the following wines:

  • Angels Gate GSM 2016 (Gamay, Shiraz, Merlot): ruby colour; savoury, cherry nose with a light floral note; medium-bodied, dry, fresh and lively on the palate; lovely mouth-feel. (90)
  • Barossa Valley Estate Cabernet Sauvignon 2016: deep purple colour; herb-tinged blackcurrant nose; medium to full-bodied, dry and somewhat tart with a savoury finish. (88)

Tuesday, August 29th: Went to the bank to negotiate a bridging loan for the new house, then wrote up thirty wine reviews for Quench magazine before an appointment with my chiropractor for the pain in my neck (no, not the bank loan).

For dinner with grilled salmon, Black Hills Alibi 2016 (Okanagan Valley: 70% Sauvignon Blanc, 30% Semillon): pale straw in colour; peach pit nose with a floral and lightly grassy note; more Viognier-like, full-bodied, dry, fresh and fruity with a peachy flavour. (91)

Wednesday, August 30th: Spent an hour on the phone with Carlos De Jesus, Portuguese Cork Association (APCOR) Operational Director Peter Weber, Executive Director of the Cork Quality Council in Portugal. APCOR had taken exception to an article I had written about tainted corks. They wanted to tell me of the most recent developments in eradicating TCA from corks. The rest of the day I spent getting the paperwork together for the bank. What a business. Dinner with Irvin and Carol Wolkoff. Irv opened a bottle of 1935 Fearon Block Port, which was delicious.

1935 Fearon Block Port

Thursday, September 1st: A Winerytohome tasting at Doug Towers’s – 40 wines tasted, after which we all had dinner. Doug had asked David Lawrason to bring along a wine that was not from Ontario. We both brought something from BC: David, Black Hills Carmenère 2015, and I, Checkmate Black Rook Merlot 2013 (which, unfortunately, was corked).

Friday, September 2nd: Down to the LCBO lab to taste a dozen new wine listings. After this, Michael Vaughan introduced me to TNT, the Chinese supermarket on Cherry Street. Bought quail’s eggs, shrimp and corn for a dinner party on Saturday.

Then back to my place with Michael for a tasting of wines that had been accumulating:

  • Trius Sauvignon Blanc 2016 (Niagara Peninsula – $14.95): pale straw colour; grassy, white peach nose; medium-bodied, dry, grapefruit and green plum flavours with a sweaty, honeysuckle note on the finish. (88.5)
  • Thirty Bench Winemaker’s Blend Chardonnay 2015 (Niagara Peninsula – $19.95): light straw colour; apple nose with oak spice, on the nose; medium-bodied, dry, apple and pear flavours with toasty oak notes, a light floral component and a long lemony finish. (89)
  • Peller Estate Riesling 2015 (Niagara Peninsula – $12.95): pale straw colour; honeyed grapefruit and apple with a light petrol note; medium-bodied, just off-dry with honey, grapefruit and lime flavours. Good length. (87.5)
  • Trius Rosé 2016 (Ontario – $15.95): salmon pink in colour; light strawberry nose; light to medium-bodied, red apple with lemon; fresh on the palate with a strawberry candy finish. (86.5)
  • Raven Conspiracy Deep Dark Red 2016 (Niagara Peninsula – $15.95): deep ruby-purple colour; earthy, sweet, clovey, confected, medium-bodied, off-dry, dusty, short, sweet red apple flavour. (85)
  • Wayne Gretzky Cabernet Merlot 2015 (Niagara Peninsula – $14.95): ruby-purple colour; cedary, red plum and redcurrant nose; light to medium-bodied, spicy, juicy and fruity, dry with a firm finish. Good value. (88)
  • Peller Estates Baco Noir 2015 (Ontario – $11.95): deep purple colour; smoky, reductive nose of black cherries and bitter chocolate with a charred note; medium-bodied, dry, smoky, sandalwood flavour and a firm finish. (87.5)
  • Thirty Bench Red 2014 (Beamsville Bench – $24.40): deep purple-ruby in colour; cedary, blackcurrant with oak spice; medium-bodied, dry, lean and sinewy, redcurrant and red plum flavours carried on lively acidity. Petit château claret style with a firm tannic finish. Hold for a couple of years and will improve. (88.5)
  • Bodega Altaza Lealtanza Rioja Reserva 2011 (Rioja – $19.90): ruby-plum colour with a mature rim; cedary, sandalwood nose of strawberry puree; medium-bodied, dry, elegant, beautifully balanced, firmly structured with a long finish. Great mouth-feel finishing freshly. (89)
  • Trius Showcase Red Shale Cabernet Franc 2014 (Four Mile Creek – $48.95): deep, dense purple colour; pencil lead, cedar, blackcurrant and blackberry nose; medium-bodied, dry, elegant, beautifully balanced and firm; richly extracted, juicy with lively acidity and great length and coffee bean note on the finish. Lovely mouth-feel. (93)
  • Tinhorn Creek Chardonnay 2016 (Okanagan Valley): medium straw colour; popcorn, apple nose; spicy, pineapple flavour with lemony, oaky, full-bodied, orange, mango and lemon flavours. (86)
  • Tinhorn Creek Pinot Noir 2014 (Okanagan Valley): light tawny-ruby; earthy, tomato leaf, cherry nose; medium-bodied, beetroot and cherry; cooked strawberry and bitter tannins. (86.5)
  • Tinhorn Creek Cabernet Franc 2015 (Okanagan Valley): dense purple colour; cedary, vegetal nose of blackcurrant; medium-bodied, herbaceous, ground coffee, plum flavour with grainy tannins. (87)
  • Tinhorn Creek Merlot 2015 (Okanagan Valley): deep purple-ruby colour; cedary, plum nose; medium-bodied, dry, earthy, plum flavour with gripping tannins. (88)
  • Tinhorn Creek The Creek 2014 (55% Cabernet Sauvignon, 19% Merlot, 15% Cabernet Franc, 9% Malbec, 2% Petit Verdot): deep ruby colour; cedary, dried herbs, black fruits on the nose; medium-bodied, dry, fresh acidity, red and blackcurrant flavours. (88)

For dinner with steak, Porto Carras Limneon 2015 from Greece (deep ruby colour; a nose of plum leather and oak spice; medium-bodied, dry, savoury plum flavour with fresh acidity and ripe tannins. (88)).


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