A Wine Lover’s Diary, Part 671: Halpern Tasting

Monday, October 23rd: Wrote my Lexpert column on how to become a hobbyist wine importer. For dinner with roast chicken, Yalumba The Scribbler Cabernet Sauvignon Shiraz 2013 (59% Cab/41% Shiraz – $23.95, Vintages release Nov. 25th): dense purple colour; savoury, spicy, blackberry and eucalyptus nose; medium to full-bodied, dry, herb-tinge blackberry flavour with lively acidity and well-integrated oak. (89)

Tuesday, October 24th: Spent most of the day inputting wine review notes for the upcoming Vintages release. Deborah is in Toronto today for the condo board meeting and staying over at the condo’s guest suite.

Wednesday, October 25th: The 500-bottle wine cabinet I bought is full and I have a lot of wine yet to accommodate. It seems that the garage will suffice for the time being as it’s certainly cool enough there. Will have to get a wine fridge for the kitchen.

At 3:30 pm I was picked up by Brian and Mary, part of our wine group tour, for the reunion dinner at the Wine Academy on Richmond Street. Great to see the old gang. Next year’s destination in May is the Loire Valley so we started with oysters and Muscadet. Drove home with Deborah as DD.

Thursday, October 26th: Took the GO train in to Toronto to record my 680 NEWS wine reviews and then TTC’ed over to the Beanfield Centre for the Halpern Portfolio Wine Tasting. Seventy wineries all pouring their wines, many by the principals – including old friends, Paolo di Marchi from Isole e Olena, Marchesi Fumanelli and Alessia Antinori (who introduced me to her new wine Fiorano from Lazio, a Cabernet Sauvignon/Merlot blend).

Alessia Antinori

Lots of great wines there but my favourites of those I tasted were Marquis d’Angerville Volnay Champans 2015, Vincent Girardin Santenay 2015, Egon Müller Scharzhof Scharzhofberger Spätlese Riesling 2016, Domaine d’Eugenie Vosne-Romanée 2010 and Castello di Ama Chianti Classico 2015. Best value in the room (of those I tasted): Michel Gassier A Cappella Blanc 2016 (licensee price: $18.67; a blend of Colombard and Viognier).

Marquis d’Angerville Volnay Champans 2015

Vincent Girardin Santenay 2015

Egon Müller Scharzhof Scharzhofberger Spätlese Riesling 2016
Egon Müller’s great Riesling

Domaine d'Eugenie Vosne-Romanée 2010

Castello di Ama Chianti Classico 2015

Poster for Coravin at Halpern tasting

Following the tasting, I taxied over to Lula Lounge for a fund-raiser dinner for Access Education Guatemala, a charity that Grapes for Humanity has supported for some years. I donated two wine tastings for the silent auction – one at Domaine Queylus and one at 13th Street Winery (home of the World’s Best Butter Tarts – trust me on that one!). Drove back home with Deborah.

Friday, October 27th: Drove into Toronto at 2 pm to beat the traffic to set up a home tasting of a silent auction at a fund-raiser for the Barbara Schlifer Home. En route I stopped in at the LCBO and picked up a case of Kilian Hunn Pinot Noir 2014. Tasted the following wines accompanied by finer food prepared by the Spice Sisters:

  • Stoney Ridge Pinot Gris 2011
  • Thirty Bench Riesling 2013
  • Konzelmann Gewurztraminer 2011
  • Angels Gate Pinot Noir 2010
  • Pelee Island Baco Noir Reserve 2013
  • Trius Red Shale Cabernet Franc 2012
  • Magnotta Riesling Icewine 2013
  • Jackson-Triggs Vidal Icewine 2014

After the tasting (I spat all evening), I drove over to my son Guy’s house in Leslieville to spend the night. We opened a bottle of the Kilian Hunn Pinot Noir which was delicious. Deborah called to say that UPS had delivered the Chagall print I bought on board the Azamara cruise in August as a moving in present for our new home. Can’t wait to see it.

A print of Marc Chagall's 'The Couple of the Eiffel Tower' or 'Bride and Groom of the Eiffel Tower', also known as 'Bride and Groom and the Rooster'
Chagall print still wrapped in cellophane and waiting to be hung

Saturday, October 28th: Fuelled by a croissant and a tall Starbucks, black no sugar, I drove over to Michael Vaughan’s to taste a few wines:

  • Henry of Pelham Estate Chardonnay 2016: bright straw in colour; spicy, smoky, graphite nose of apple with an oaky note; medium-bodied, dry, apple and pear flavours; well-balanced, fresh, with good length. (88.5)
  • Il Viziato Vino Rosso (NV): 80% Sangiovese & 20% Nero d’Avola. Medium ruby colour; sweetish, raspberry candy nose with a note of cedar; medium-bodied, off-dry, earthy with bitter tannins. Commercial. (85)
  • Doña Paula Estate Cabernet Sauvignon 2015 (Mendoza, $16.95): ruby-plum in colour; cedary, spicy, plum and redcurrant nose with light floral note; medium-bodied, dry, fragrant, redcurrant and orange peel flavours; firmly structured with evident but ripe tannins. (87)
  • Doña Paula Estate Malbec 2015 ($16.95): medium ruby colour; spicy-cedary nose of plum with a light floral note; medium-bodied, dry, fruity and floral but firm on the palate with red plum and blackcurrant flavours and chalky tannins on the finish. (88)
  • Beronia Reserva 2013 (Tempranillo, Graciano and Mazuelo – $20.95): deep ruby in colour; sandalwood, coconut nose masking fruit at the moment; medium-bodied, dry, strawberry puree and coconut flavours with a tannic lift on the finish. (88)
  • Allegrini di Fumane Veneto Ross 2015 (Corvina, Rondinella): deep ruby colour; cedary-spicy, plum and cherry nose; medium-bodied, dry, fresh, with nicely integrated oak, lively acidity, flavours of sour cherry and red plum with a firm tannic finish. (88.5)

Got home in time to meet our friend Pooch, who took us to lunch at Pier 61 in Port Dalhousie. Pooch represents McManis wines in Canada – so we ordered a bottle of McManis Chardonnay 2016, which I drank with pleasure and chicken pie. For dinner, I made a cheese soufflé and served it with a bottle of Kilian Hunn Pinot Noir 2014 (looks like I’m going to go through that case of Pinot Noir in no time).


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