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A Wine Lover's Diary, part 99 (August 14, 2006)

Monday, August 7: A civic holiday. Worked out for the first time in weeks. Still don't get this endorphin thing; you're meant to feel terrific after working out. Maybe I need an endorphin supplement. Worked on my monthly article for Post City Magazines' September issue. The subject is BC wines. Deborah and I took Pinot the Wonder Dog to Sherwood Park and on the way we passed a Wheaten puppy that was seven weeks old. It looked just like Pinot at that age. Turns out the puppy was from the same breeder, same father. Sheila Swerling-Puritt came for dinner. I made a very refreshing starter – plain yoghurt with diced cucumber and green apple and dill with lemon zest, salt and pepper. Barbecued sirloin steak, fingerling potatoes, grilled aubergine and red pepper, French beans (sorry, Freedom beans). Deborah made a peach cobbler with blueberries. The wines: Torres De Casta Rosado 2005 (an LCBO wine, $10.95) – cherry coloured with a flavour of raspberries and pomegranates, a touch of residual sugar but dry enough to be perfect for drinking on the deck; for the steak, Lindhorst Statement 2003 (a Shiraz/Merlot/Cabernet Sauvignon from South Africa, available at Vintages, $19.95). I was really impressed with this wine with its focussed fruit flavours and great balance. It's imported by Ruby Wine & Spirits, 905-989-1089.

Tuesday, August 8: My sister Shirley's birthday. A cooler day today, mercifully. Spent most of the day setting up the Italian tasting and answering emails. In the evening I participated in a focus group on fishing in northern Ontario. Getting paid an honorarium to talk about fishing – it doesn't get any better than that.

Wednesday, August 9: My tasting in Muskoka for Cranberry Marsh Cove resort has been postponed because of hydro problems. Pity, I was looking forward to the drive up there. Instead I worked on Grapes for Humanity stuff and inputting reviews of the September Vintages release wines. Deborah managed to get my Palm working again but all the information on it is gone somewhere in the ether. However, I was able to transfer the contacts from my PC to it, so all was not lost. For dinner, with chicken stir fry, a bottled of Gallo Family Vineyards Pinot Noir 2005 in screwcap. A nifty wine for $11.85.

Thursday, August 10: Wrote up my Wines of the Week for the site, leading off with last night's Gallo Pinot. Had a call from Marcus Ansems, the winemaker from Therapy Vineyards in the Okanagan (before that Blasted Church in the Okanagan and before that Creekside in Niagara). He's in town with his wife Rachel. Invited him to dinner. Will have to shop for more spare ribs. Before dinner I opened a bottle of Huff Estates South Bay Chardonnay 2004 from Prince Edward County, as Marcus had never tasted anything from Prince Edward County. He was very impressed. Then we tried Marcus' Therapy Vineyard Chardonnay 2005, absolutely delicious, followed by his Pinot Noir 2005. It had been newly bottled and was suffering a bit from bottle shock – not showing its real concentration of flavour yet. But when it settles down it should be a good drop of wine. Next, Château des Charmes Cabernet Sauvignon 2002, which Marcus said could have been a Bordeaux. We finished with Lailey Vineyard Vidal Icewine 2004.

Friday, August 11: The second half of the Vintages September release. A huge one with about 100 wines out for tasting. Exhausting. Zoltan Szabo tasted half the wines, mercifully, and will write them up for the site. For dinner, chicken stir-fry again – with a bottle of Southbrook Winery Cabernet Franc 2001, the perfect wine for this dish (and not a whiff of ladybug).




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