Wednesday, June 7th: Dined with Deborah at the Twisted Vine Restaurant in Virgil as guests of Cooperativa Vinchio Vaglio winery, their export manager Tessa Donnadieu and their importing agency, Gradwell Wines (contact: Sean@gradwellwines.com). The co-op is in the Monferrato hills of Piemonte. The co-op manages 500 acres of vineyards of its 200 members; 350 acres are devoted to the Barbera grape.
The meal began with Vinchio Vaglia Alta Langa 2019 Metodo Classico Brut (Pinot Nero/Chardonnay, $39.95) – a delightful sparkler.
First course: gorgonzola salad, served with Vinchio Vaglio Roero Arneis Frusté 2022 (bright and fresh citrus and green pineapple flavours, $23.95).
Second course: spaghetti primavera with black olives, with 50 Vigne Vecchie Barbera d’Asti 2020 (celebrating the 50th anniversary of the winery; earthy black fruit flavours with vivid acidity, $28.95).
Third course: beef in Barbera sauce with mashed potatoes and grilled vegetables, with Vinchio Vaglio Barolo 2018 (deep ruby in colour with licorice and rose petal bouquet; full-bodied, savoury, black cherry flavour, firmly structured with evident but supple tannins, $49.95).
Dessert: Semifreddo, with Vinchio Vaglio Valamasca Moscato d’Asti (floral, peachy nose, light on the palate, dry and refreshing, $19.95). Valamasca is “an inaccessible and hidden place” where, according to local legend, witches to meet for their Black Sabbaths.
Thursday, June 8th: The presentation for the 29th annual Ontario Wine Awards 2023 was held at Niagara College. For the full results, see 2023 Ontario Wine Awards Winners.
Friday, June 9th: Bought myself a pair of white jeans for tonight’s “White Night” event at Peller Estates. Deborah has made a salmon mousse dip and a chickpea and wheatberry salad as our contribution to the menu. We pre-purchased Peller Estates Trius Brut and their Rosé 2021.
Also tasted this week (with dinner):
Henry of Pelham Speck Family Reserve Riesling 2022 (Short Hills Bench, $29.95, CSPC #643362, winery only)
Palest straw in colour with a lime tint; minerally, grapefruit bouquet: light-bodied, crisply dry, with a lemony, green apple flavour carried on lively acidity. (89)
Henry of Pelham Speck Family Reserve Pinot Noir 2020 (Short Hills Bench, $47.95, CSPC #657874, winery only)
Medium ruby red in colour; raspberry bouquet with oak spice; medium-bodied, dry, elegant, raspberry flavour; well-balanced, lovely mouthfeel. (91)
Plume Cabernet Sauvignon 2020 (Alexander Valley, $39.95, Vintages #287367, to be released July 22nd)
Deep ruby-purple colour; toasty, vanilla, blackcurrant nose; full-bodied, dry, richly extracted, juicy blackcurrant flavour with fresh acidity. (90)
Le Macchiole Bolgheri Rosso 2020 (Tuscany, $39.95, Vintages #483412, to be released July 22nd)
A blend of Merlot, Cabernet Franc, Cabernet Sauvignon and Syrah. Deep purple in colour; cedary, toasty, blueberry bouquet with oak spice; medium to full-bodied, blueberry and black plum flavours with well-integrated oak. Lovely mouthfeel. (92)
Skyfall Red Blend 2020 (Washington State, $18.95, Vintages #30525, to be released July 22nd)
Deep ruby-purple in colour; cedary, toasty, plum nose with a herbal note; medium to full-bodied, just off-dry; juicy, plum and currant flavours with lively acidity, finishing on firm but ripe tannins. (89)
Also tasted with dinner: Bersano Barolo Nirvasco 2007, Closson Chase Vineyard Chardonnay 2019, Cava Amethystos 2004 (from Drama, Greece), Big Head Red #7.