Monday, March 26th: Deborah and I drove into Toronto up pick up a piece of sculpture we had purchased from the artist. Her name is Kristina Guison and she works in metals. While Deborah was having her hair done I had lunch at Cibo with Angela Aiello to discuss Winetario, the consumer event following the Ontario Wine Awards.
Tuesday, March 27th: Had dinner with Bob & Maureen and another couple at Paris Crêpes in Niagara Falls. On Tuesdays they serve mussels (1 lb) prepared curried, marinière, with a blue cheese sauce or in beer, and no corkage on wine. Started with French onion soup, Malivoire Melon 2017, Sperling Brut Reserve 2011, Niagara College Pinot Noir 2011, Jaboulet Côte Rôtie Les Jumelles 1999, and with the chocolate crepe dessert, d’Arenberg Shiraz Chamourcin 2005 (a fortified wine).
Wednesday, March 28th: Did some catch-up tasting:
- Ernie Els Big Easy Red Blend 2016 (Western Cape – 60%Shiraz, 20% Cabernet Sauvignon, 7% Cinsaut, 5% Grenache, 5% Viognier, 3% Mourvèdre; $19.95): dense purple in colour; spicy, cedary, smoky, blackberry with a note of leather; medium to full-bodied, dry with plum and prune flavours carried on a rush of fresh acidity. (88.5)
- Quails’ Gate Chardonnay 2016 (Okanagan Valley): light straw colour; spicy, apple and peach bouquet with oak notes; medium-bodied, dry, apple and green pineapple flavours with lemony acidity. Well-balanced with good length. (89)
- Quails’ Gate Chardonnay Stewart Family Reserve 2016 (Okanagan Valley): light straw colour; spicy, minerally, oak-driven nose of apple and oak spice; medium-bodied, dry, apple and green pineapple flavour backed by well-integrated oak, well-balanced with an note of orange on the finish. (90)
- Quails’ Gate Pinot Noir 2016 (Okanagan Valley): deep purple-ruby in colour; cedary, black cherry nose with vanilla oak and pencil lead notes; medium-bodied, creamy, black cherry flavour with well-integrated oak and soft tannins on the finish. (89)
- Quails’ Gate Pinot Noir Stewart Family Reserve 2016 (Okanagan Valley): deep purple-ruby colour; cedary, black cherry nose with oak spice and a hint of mint; medium-bodied, dry, lovey caressing mouth-feel, beautifully balanced, juicy but firm and lingering on the palate. (91)
Thursday, March 29th: Started writing my Quench magazine column on Ontario as a wine region (the editor Aldo Parise tells me that Quench is the oldest wine magazine in North America, even older than Britain’s Decanter). For dinner, Gérard Bertrand Languedoc Syrah Grenache 2015 (deep purple in colour; cedary, spicy, herbal nose of blackberries; medium to full-bodied, dry, richly extracted, savoury flavour of blackberry and black plum; lively acidity with a firm tannic finish (89)).
Friday, March 30th: Dropped Deborah off in Burlington for the GO train to Toronto (she’s working the One Of A Kind show in Toronto for two days). Invited to Sue Ann Staff’s Great Friday Brunch bash at her house. Lots of wine and interesting people. Dinner at John & Laurie Nadeau’s. John barbecued a bone-in steak and I brought along a bottle of Gérard Bertrand St. Chinian Syrah Mourvèdre 2015 (dense purple colour; savoury-herbal nose of black plums; full-bodied, dry, spicy-herbal black fruit flavours. (89)).