A Wine Lover's Diary, part 91 (June 12, 2006)
Monday, June 5: I received in the mail today some samples of a product called BreathPatrol, a herbal breath freshener made up as a green lozenge that tastes sweet and lemony. It comes from Germany and the box shows what appears to be a traffic cop blowing a whistle with his hand up against a line of red stop symbols that signify alcohol, tobacco, garlic and onions. Check it out on www.breathpatrolwpg.com. I have to breathe on my wife to find out how effective they are. If they work well I might give them to Pinot the Wonder Dog. Did a radio interview by phone with Bob Farrow of The Wave about next Tuesday's Ontario Wine Awards Consumer Tasting of the medal-winning wines. Marc Russell of the Fine Wine Reserve delivered eleven boxes of wines for this coming Monday's tasting for the Liberal caucus at Queens Park (to say thank you for steering through the private member's bill to create Ontario Wine Week). I opened a bottle of Henry of Pelham Gamay 2005, very Beaujolais-like.
Tuesday, June 6: 6/6/6, the day of the Beast, ominous, but nothing untoward happened, except for the news that some lunatic Muslim terrorist planned to storm the Houses of Parliament in Ottawa and cut off Stephen Harper's head. David Lawrason and Doug Tower came over for another tasting of Ontario wines for www.winerytohome.com (45 altogether). In the evening I attended the farewell party for Vintages' buyer Claudius Fehr, who has worked for the LCBO for 333 years. The event was held at the Arcadian Room in the Simpson Tower. We were all asked to buy tickets $40, which included hors d'oeuvres and a portion towards a gift. And a cash bar (which means you have to buy your drinks, not that they will give you cash if you belly up to it). A bit chintzy, I thought, given the gazillions of dollars the LCBO makes from the sale of beverage alcohol. A huge turnout of agents and wine people for Claudius, who has done a great job over the years. Even though he kept trying to press Swiss wines on an unsuspecting public. So I made up the following limerick, which I delivered to camera at the Speaker's Corner.
HOMAGE TO CLAUDIUS
IF CLAUDIUS FEHR HAD HIS WAY
WE'D ALL BE DRINKING SWISS WINES TODAY
FENDANT AND DOLE
ARE ALL VERY DROLL
BUT HOW ABOUT SOME CANADIAN, EH?
(The wines were Perrin Reserve and Abadia, couldn't make out the vintages too stunned by the $10-a-glass price.)
Wednesday, June 7: Recorded my 680 News reviews and then dropped by Josh Josephson's shop at Bay & Bloor to pick up the olive oil he brought in for friends. Josh swears that this is the world's best olive oil, and at $64 for two vials of 100 mL I sure hope it is. It's Armando Manni's organic olive oil from Tuscany. Apparently he makes seven different crus. Mine are labelled "Per me" and "Per mio figlio." Then dropped in to the InterConinental hotel on Front Street for a tasting called "Australia by the Region." They had a team of aboriginal dancers and aboriginal musicians performing while we tasted. Most of the wines, set out tabletop-style by regions, were from producers looking for importing agents. There were a lot of wines that tasted very similar, but I was taken with Connon Park Durif 2003, Sandhurst Ridge Shiraz 2004, Big Fella Chardonnay 2004, Blewitt Springs Malbec and Tentham Estate Semillon Sauvignon Blanc 2005. Straight from there to Verity to lead a dinner lasting for the winners of an auction item in aid of CanStage. We started off with Codorníu Brut Clásico and then sat down to the following menu, wines donated by Rob Groh of The Vine.
Butter Poached Lobster
Quinoa Salad, Grilled Asparagus
Whitehall Lane 2003 Sauvignon Blanc, Napa
Black Cod and Artichoke Tart
Chili Carrot, Jasmine Soya
Mayacamas Vineyards 2002 Chardonnay, Napa
Careé of Ontario Lamb
Yellow Beet Confit, Potato Goat Cheese Pavé
Tin Barn Vineyards 2002 Cabernet Sauvignon, Napa
Chef's Choice Cheese Platter
McManis 2004 Syrah, California
Thursday, June 8: An uneventful day. Wrote my monthly Post City Magazines column on Summer Wines under $20. For dinner, a bottle of Campo Viejo Reserve 2000, with spaghetti and meat sauce.
Friday, June 9: A Vintages release tasting with 103 bottles out for tasting. Brutal. Broke halfway through and took lunch at the Toronto Star cafeteria. Got home at 4 pm and tried to work but couldn't concentrate so walked Pinot the Wonder Dog instead. Tomorrow she will be groomed; she's looking very shaggy. For dinner, Hillebrand Trius Red 2003 with hamburgers.