Monday, September 18th: Lunch at Toula in the Harbour Castle Hilton with my old friend Ellen who lives in Washington, DC. We met in London in the 1970s. She reminded me that I had introduced her to Michel Couvreur, who was a Burgundy shipper in those days, now selling malt whisky. Before dinner opened a bottle ofClosson Chase Mosaic Charmat Method Sparkling 2010 (medium straw colour; off-dry style, very much in Prosecco style – 88).
Tuesday, September 19th: Spent the day shopping and preparing for tonight’s dinner party with old friends Patrick and Alexandra and Guy and Mika. Raided the wine cellar for some gems I have cellared for several years:
- Laurent Perrier Cuvée Rosé Brut
- Domaine de la Vougeraie Famille 2002 with spicy shrimp, stuffed mushroom caps, duck and goose foie gras pâté, skewers of grape tomatoes and bocconcini
- William Fèvre Chablis Bourgros 2013 with smoked trout
- Château Lafite 1989 and Château de Valandraud 2000 with barbecued butterflied leg of lamb, fingerling potatoes, baked heirloom carrots and barbecued asparagus
- Antinori Albis 2006 (Cabernet Sauvignon 72%, Carménère 28%) with an assortment of cheeses
- Alvear Solera 1927 Pedro Ximenez with peach tart
A great evening of food, wine and conversation – the last dinner party we will hold in our Toronto condo!
Wednesday, September 20th: Began writing my Lexpert magazine column about new research in cork production to alleviate the problem of cork-tainted wines.
Dropped in to the 5th annual portfolio tasting of Mark Anthony. Lots of terrific wines on offer. Scored many 90 or above. Really liked:
- Mission Hill Martin’s Lane Simes Pinot Noir 2014
- Hidden Bench Felseck Vineyard Chardonnay 2013
- Distel Anchorman Chenin Blanc 2016
- Nederburg Motorcycle Marvel Rhone Blend 2015
- Rodney Strong Symmetry Meritage 2013
- Rodney Strong Rockaway Cabernet Sauvignon 2013
- Rodney Strong Alexander Crown Cabernet Sauvignon 2013
- Beaulieu Vineyard Tapestry Red Wine 2013
- Chateau St. Jean Cinq Cepages 2012
- Etude Carneros Estate Pinot Noir 2014
- Brumont Chateau Boucasse Madiran Vieilles Vignes 2006
- Louis Latour Corton Charlemagne 2015
- Louis Latour Corton Grancey 2015
- Louis Latour Meursault Blagny 2015
- Schloss Johannisberg Rotlack Kabinett Trocken 2016
- Achaval Ferrer Quimera 2013
For dinner, with lamb left over from Tuesday’s dinner party, Quails’ Gate Merlot 2015 (purple ruby colour; sandalwood and blueberry nose; full-bodied, sweet blueberry flavour with oak spice, richly extracted with a note of chocolate on the finish (89)).
Thursday, September 21st: Went for a blood test. Started cleaning out old files in order to cut down the volume for the move next week.
Friday, September 22nd: A Vintages tasting, 130 products. I tasted 56 since I have a charity tasting to conduct in Etobicoke this evening. Deborah drove me there and helped set up the tasting. I selected an all-Ontario list:
- Huff Estate Cuvee Peter 2010
- Chateau des Charmes Aligoté 2011
- Angels Gate Chardonnay 2010
- 13th Street Gamay Noir 2013
- Trius Chalk Farm Pinot Noir 2014
- Hillebrand Cabernet Franc 2008
- Thirty Bench Red 2005/2007
- Chateau des Charmes Late-Harvest Riesling 2005
Saturday, September 23rd: Deborah and I hosted a Niagara winery tour for members of her Unity church. I told them I worship at the Church of Dionysus. Twenty-two of us on a bus from the church in Mississauga. A blisteringly hot day. Our first visit was to Pillitteri, where the hospitality guide, Zack, showed us around. He told us the Pillitteri is the world’s largest single-estate producer of icewine. In the mercifully cool cellar we were ear-witnesses to a bended-knee proposal (she said “Yes!”). We marvelled at the Guinness Book of Records‘ Largest Poured Concrete Table – 500 inches – and the metal chairs hung around the walls whose geometric designs depict the history of the Pillitteri family. Then upstairs to the tasting room for:
- Pillitteri Fusion Gewurztramner Riesling 2016
- Pillitteri Market Collection Cabernet Merlot 2014
- Pillitteri Vidal Icewine 2013
- Pillitteri Cabernet Sauvignon Icewine 2013
While we were having our sandwich lunch in the covered picnic room, Gary Pillitteri came in to greet the group.
Next stop, Niagara College Teaching Winery. We were greeted with a glass of Niagara College Balance Sparkling Wine before a tour of the Teaching College’s cellars. Then upstairs to the tasting room for:
- Niagara College Balance Riesling 2015
- Niagara College Pinot Noir 2015
- Niagara College Dean’s List Meritage Icewine 2012
The final visit was to Flat Rock Cellars, where proprietor Ed Madronich showed us around after a brief look at the vineyard while sampling a glass of Flat Rock Cellars Good Karma Chardonnay 2015. Upstairs in the six-sided tasting room with a great view over the vineyards we tasted the following wines – Ed insisting we try the red wine before the white, as they do in Burgundy:
- Flat Rock Cellars Pinot Noir 2015
- Flat Rock Cellars Twisted 2016
Followed by a sample of the craft beer, an IPA, produced by the Shawn & Ed Brewing Company.
On the drive back to Mississauga, our bus driver got into a minor accident about 600 metres from where we left our car. No-one was hurt, only metal.
For dinner with pasta and meat sauce, Fairview’s Goat Do Roam Red Blend 2016 (deep ruby purple in colour; savoury, blackberry nose with herbal notes; medium to full-bodied, dry, plummy blackberry flavour (88)).