Monday, December 25th: Deborah and I drove up to Deborah’s niece in Caledon for Christmas dinner. We took Pinot the Wonderdog with us and she barked for the entire journey. I brought up five bottles of wine, which I tasted before the meal.
- Jackson-Triggs Entourage Grande Reserve Brut ($29.95): pale straw in colour; minerally, citrus and apple bouquet; medium-bodied, dry, apple flavour; well-balanced with good length. (89)
- Anterra Chardonnay 2016 (Ontario, $26.95): golden straw colour; leesy, spicy, apple and lemon on the nose; full-bodied, dry, richly extracted, nutty. Apple flavour. (88.5)
- Robert Mondavi Private Selection Chardonnay Bourbon-Aged 2015 ($19.95): golden straw colour; malty, toasty, spicy, caramel nose; full-bodied, dry, creamy on the palate with a candy apple and pineapple flavours ending on a note of cloves. Well balanced and good length. (89)
- Anterra Pinot Noir 2016 ($29.95): ruby colour; cherry and struck flint on the nose; medium-bodied, dry, earthy, sour cherry and cranberry flavours with lively acidity. (88)
- Ruffino Il Ducale Toscana 2015 ($19.95 – Sangiovese, Merlot, Syrah): deep ruby colour; earthy, cherry nose; medium-bodied, dry, cherry flavour with a vanilla oak note and soft tannins. (87.5)
Slept the night at Caledon before the bark-fest return home to Port Dalhousie on Boxing Day
Tuesday, December 26th: Boxing Day. Long walks in the snow with Pinot the Wonderdog.
Wednesday, December 27th: Worked on my Blind Tasting Award for the Ontario importers, getting the wines together. It will be held at the IWEG offices in Toronto on January 4th. In the afternoon we were invited to Donald Ziraldo’s son Aspen’s 5th birthday party at Donald’s house on Niagara Parkway. We brought him a Lego dinosaur kit. For dinner lamb chops with a bottle of Inniskillin Discovery Series Baco Noir 2016 (deep ruby colour; blackberry nose with a note of oak; medium-bodied, dry, sour cherry flavour with lively acidity (87)).
Thursday, December 28th: Our first dinner party in the new house – John and Laurie Nadeau and Craig McDonald. Started off with appetizers in the kitchen with a bottle of Fresne Ducret Reserve Champagne which I had brought back from my last visit to Champagne. Next wine, Domaine Queylus Chardonnay consumed with Penfolds Magill Estate Shiraz 1994 (graciously provided by Craig), Vinarija Dingač Vrhunsko vino Plavac mali 2006 (from Croatia) and MontGras Quatro 2007 from Chile. Followed by a selection of cheeses.
Friday, December 29th: Guy, Sasha and baby Isla came to visit from Toronto. Isla had a great time opening a raft of Christmas presents but her most fun was chasing Pinot around. Deborah made tourtière and sticky toffee pudding. The wines: Rosewood Pinot Noir 2012, Malivoire Gamay Alive 2012, Boutinot Les Coteaux Schisteux Séguret Côtes du Rhône Villages 2013.
Saturday, December 30th: Lunch at the Honsberger Estate with John and Laurie, John’s cousin Trev and his girl-friend from Istanbul, Aysegul. We were joined by Craig MacDonald, who actually lives in the Honsberger house and is convinced it’s haunted. The wines: Domaine Queylus Chardonnay 2014, Honsberger Cabernet Franc 2015 (ruby colour, medium -bodied, dry, cedary, floral, blackberry with oak spice – 89), followed by Honsberger Cabernet Franc Reserve 2014 (very much in Bourgueil style – 90).
A pre-New Year’s gathering at Meg and Phil Dowling’s house. It was meant to be a New Year’s Eve Party but Phil had booked a flight to Australia for the next day at 12:30 (except his booking was am and not pm – so they decided to have the party anyway). Everyone was asked to bring a sparkling wine (I brought a Bouvet Excellence Crémant de Loire) but most people brought Champagne. Phil cooked an amazing meal: steak, lamb chops, chicken, turkey pot pie (by Helen Pennachetti), potatoes, peas and ratatouille; cheeses and chocolate ice cream balls. And lashing of red wine.
Sunday, December 31st: New Year’s Eve and tomorrow is Pinot the Wonderdog’s 13th birthday. Saw in the New Year at John and Laurie Nadeau’s with much sparkling wine and a Turkish red. John had prepared three fondue pots for beef and chicken; cheese and vegetables and chocolate with mini donuts. A great evening.