Monday, February 26th: Took an early bus into Toronto to attend the annual Taste Ontario event at the ROM. A room was provided for the wine press so that we could sit down and taste at our leisure. I tasted several Rieslings: Charles Baker Riesling Picone Vineyard 2014 (91), Southbrook Vineyards Triomphe Organic Riesling 2016 (89), Charles Baker Riesling Ivan Vineyard 2014 and B-Side Riesling 2016 (both 89), Fielding Estate Bottled Riesling 2016 (89), and Hidden Bench Bistro Riesling 2015 (89).
Top Pinot Noir: Bachelder Wismer-Parker Pinot Noir 2014 (91), Domaine Queylus Reserve du Domaine Pinot Noir 2013 (90), Flat Rock Gravity Pinot Noir 2014 (90), Domaine Queylus Pinot Noir Tradition 2015 (89), Wescott Estate Pinot Noir 2015 (89), Norman Hardie County Pinot Noir 2016 (89), and 2027 Cellars Edgerock Vineyard Pinot Noir 2016 (88).
Then I went down to the main room where the wineries were serving wines from tables. Here I tasted a bunch more wine. Top scoring wines were: Cave Spring Cabernet Franc Dolomite 2016 (89), Creekside Iconoclast Syrah 2015 (89), Nyarai Cellars Veritas 2012 (red blend – 89), ICellars Estate Syrah 2016 (89), and Jackson-Triggs Grand Reserve Shiraz 2015 (89).
Tuesday, February 27th: A doctor’s appointment to recheck a urine sample, which turned out to be fine. Wine kills all bugs. Took Pinot to the vet for her checkup. Still doesn’t like travelling in the car, barks all the way. For dinner with pasta, Aniello 006 Riverside Estate Pinot Noir 2016 from Patagonia, Argentina ($17.95, ruby colour; raspberry candy with a rose petal note on the nose; dry, elegant, sweet raspberry that gives way to a pomegranate flavour with fresh acidity; lovely mouth-feel and beautifully balanced (90)).
Wednesday, February 28th: A visit to Dr. Peter Young to have a look at my finger (swollen and painful from a fall on the ice last Friday). He is sending me to a physiotherapist tomorrow. For dinner with New Zealand Green Lip Mussels, Tohu Single Vineyard Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc 2016 (palest straw in colour with a grassy nose of gooseberries; light to medium-bodied, crisply dry, grapefruit, gooseberry and lime flavours with a tart, zesty acidic finish (90)).
Thursday, March 1st: Had an appointment with a physiotherapist to rectify a finger problem. She fitted me with a brace that I am to wear day and night. She made a special one for night wear! Picked up three bottles of the Aniello 006 Riverside Pinot Noir 2016 from the LCBO and bought a bottle of Montes Alpha Cabernet Sauvignon 2015: (Chile, $19.95; dense purple in colour; an intense nose of cedar, cigar box and blackcurrant with a floral grace note; medium-bodied, dry, richly extracted, ripe blackberry and blackcurrant flavours; beautifully balanced and well-structured with ripe, mellow tannins (91)). David Lawrason came by and after an early dinner we drove to Toronto as the snow began to fall. Packed for Spain, as I fly there on Saturday and will be spending a couple of nights in Toronto at my sister-in-law’s.
Friday, March 2nd: A Vintages release tasting for March 17th – 116 products, of which I tasted 60 before changing for the annual Drinks Ontario dinner at the Daniel Spectrum event space on Dundas East. I presented Joanna Steele with my Blind Tasting Award and announced that this would be the last year I would be organizing on the competition – though the Drinks Ontario organization has assured me that the event will continue in future. I was seated at a table with several people who worked for the Lifford agency so there were lots of good wines on the table.
Saturday, March 3rd: Found that I had not packed my mouse so I had to go to Future Shop to buy another one. Took my sister-in-law Suzanne to lunch at Hokkaido Ramen Santouka (91 Dundas East) for a great bowl of spicy-hot ramen. Then finished packing and took the UP train to the airport for my flight to Madrid to spend a week visiting wineries in Jerez and Montilla-Moriles.