A Wine Lover’s Diary, part 684: Tragic News; Ice Patrol; Buffalo Jaunt

Monday, January, 22nd: Have caught a bad cold and am coughing like a fiend. Spent part of the day researching wineries in Burgundy and Champagne as possible visits for an October tour of those two regions. For dinner, with beef casserole, Chakana Nuna Estate Malbec 2016 from Mendoza (dense purple-black; spicy, cedary, blackberry nose; medium-bodied, dry and savoury with herbal, dark chocolate notes and lively acidity (88.5)).

Tuesday, January, 23rd: Not a good day: a message that my oldest friend’s daughter had been hit by a car and had died in hospital. Deborah is in Toronto today to attend a condo board meeting (her term is up in May) so I am here with Pinot and my thoughts. Too sick to enjoy wine even.

Wednesday, January 24th: Set aside some Icewines for the Second Harvest fund-raiser which were picked up today. On my walk with Pinot today I noticed three fire engines parked on a private road that runs into the Henley Rowing Club property. A group of firemen were on the roadway by the water watching one of their number who was in the middle of the river up to his neck in broken up ice. Apparently it was a practice drill for rescuing a victim who had fallen through the ice…

Tried to get back to tasting wine in spite of my cold. Opened a bottle of Vina La Rosa La Capitana Cabernet Sauvignon 2006 but it was corked. Dionysus has turned his back on me. So I opened a bottle of Sue-Ann Staff Fancy Farm Girl Frissonesque Sauvignon Blanc 2016 and what a delightful surprise: very white Bordeaux in style – pale straw in colour with a grassy, green plum nose; medium-bodied, crisply dry, gooseberry and green bean flavours with good length (89). Improved my mood somewhat.

Thursday, January 25th: The cold is still hanging on but at least I can (and want to) taste wine again. My laptop would not open when I powered up this morning. Panic! I phoned Harry Yoo, my new go-to techy at Geeko Computer Systems in St. Catharines (a nice pun because he has a pet gecko in a glass case on the counter). He told me to take out the battery to discharge it. But the battery is internal so I had to drive over to his shop and reacquaint myself with his gecko.

Opened a bottle of Blackwood Lane Winery The Reference 2009 from BC, which retails for $150 a bottle: A blend of all five Bordeaux varieties – Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Cabernet Franc, Malbec and Petit Verdot. Deep ruby in colour with a high-toned, savoury-spicy nose of black plums with vanilla oak and note of graphite. Medium to full-bodied, rich and full on the palate, with plum, dark chocolate and oak spice flavours; Creamy mouth-feel and ripe tannins. A New World take on Pomerol (91).

Friday, January 26th: Still suffering from this cold. The blind guy came over to install the new blinds in the kitchen, sunroom and bedroom. For dinner, chicken pasta with a bottle of Alta Mora Etna Blanco 2016 ($21.95) from Sicily – 100% Carricante: bright straw in colour; floral-spicy nose of green herbs and oak notes; medium-bodied, dry, melon, green pineapple and apple flavours; beautifully balanced with lemony acidity and a minty finish. Delicious wine (90).

Saturday, January 27th: Deborah and I decided to drive to Buffalo to shop at Trader Joe’s. At the border US immigration officials pulled us in on a “random” check. Had to surrender our passports and car key and wait in a waiting room with several other drivers. Some 20 minutes later they called us and said we were free to proceed. Shopped at Trader Joe’s and Target and then came home to Canada. Time to sign up for Nexus.

Took Deborah to Ravine Vineyard restaurant for her belated birthday dinner. Ordered a bottle of Ravine Vineyard Merlot 2015. Deborah had the beet and goat’s cheese salad and pork loin; I had grilled calamari and duck confit. We both had sticky toffee pudding for dessert.

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