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A Wine Lover's Diary, part 111 (November 7, 2006)

Monday, October 30: Today the promotion starts for the Atlas of Canadian Wine. At 2 pm a TV crew from Star! Daily arrived at the house. Dina Pugliese did a taped interview with me but Pinot The Wonder Dog kept licking her toes so we had to take a break. We did a small tasting featuring Charles Baker Stratus Riesling 2005 and Flat Rock Pinot Noir 2004. At 4pm I'm down at Random House offices for an interview with Glen Siegel for the Ontario Wine Society Newsletter. Then at 5:20 pm to ROB TV's "Squeeze Play" for a live interview with Amanda Lang and Kevin O'Leary.

Tuesday, October 31: An interview with Victoria Ahearn of Canadian Press at Random House. Signed copies of the Atlas that will be sent to Prime Minister Harper and the Governor General. Tonight is Halloween. I bought a big box of mixed candies which Deborah has already broken into. As it turns out it was far too much, even though we were handing it out until the kids cried, "Enough!" The scariest thing the kids saw was Pinot the Wonder Dog, who went berserk every time the doorbell rang.

Wednesday, November 1: Doug Macfarlane dropped by to show me his Vidal Icewine. He and his brother Jamie and another partner have started a company to make Icewine for the domestic and export market. It's called Ice House Winery Northern Ice Vidal Icewine 2005 and retails for $54.95. Dinner at Meating, a steak restaurant within walking distance of the house. The wines of Stoneleigh in New Zealand – 2006 Sauvignon Blanc (excellent wine for the price – $14.95), Bancroft Sauvignon Blanc 2005, Stoneleigh Chardonnay 2004, Bancroft Merlot Cabernet 2004 and Wyndham Estates Shiraz Bin 555 2004.

Thursday, November 2: A meeting with a woman who is doing a PhD thesis on the VQA. Then down to a tasting of the Vintages Essentials, wines that are meant to be always available. There must have been 50 wines there. A quick shower and shave and into a suit for the Grapes for Humanity fund-raiser dinner at the Four Seasons Hotel. Jean-Guillaume Prats of Cos d'Estournel was the wine sponsor and Peter Ventura the auctioneer. At the pre-dinner reception we drank Louis de Sacy Champagne.

The menu:

  • Roasted Shallot & Chestnut Soup with Duck Confit and Foie Gras Crouton, served with 2001 Les Pagodes de Cos
  • Glazed Black Cod with Smoked Pork belly, Romano Bean and Thyme Ragout, with 2000 Cos d'Estournel and 2003 Cos d'Estournel
  • Grilled Lamb Sirloin, Carrot puree, Haricot Vert, Espresso Jus, 1989 Cos d'Estournel
  • Artisan Canadian Farmhouse Cheese, Cranberry Chutney & Walnut Crisps, 1995 Cos d'Estournel
  • Poached Sugar Pear with Marscapone, Sweet Spiced Sabayon, with Canadian Icewine

Friday, November 3: A Vintages tasting for the December release. There were 120 wines plus spirits. I stopped at about 90 wines and will go back on another day to taste the other products. At 3:30 pm Marion Kane of the Toronto Star came to the house to interview me. Pinot was acting up, demanding attention, and Marion was getting annoyed. Can't wait to see the piece she writes. This evening Arlene and Michael Willis held a dinner for directors of Grapes for Humanity and the out-of-town guests who attended last night's fund-raiser dinner. Arlene tells me that we raised about $100,000. The money is going to the Prey Veng Rehabilitation Center in Cambodia to build a new dormitory for patients undergoing fittings for prosthetics and an administrative office. Didier Leroy prepared the meal for twenty-two. We started off with Pol Roger "Sir Winston Churchill" 1995, then sat down to the meal:

  • Pickerel Gateau with Beurre Blanc, served with Michel Niellon Chassagne-Montrachet Clos de la Maltroie 2000
  • Squab Confit with Fig and Sweet Potato, with Chateau Goulee 2003 and Cos d'Estournel 2000
  • Ontario Venison with Beets & Celeriac Puree, Cos d'Estournel 1989 and 1985
  • Selection of French Cheeses with Cos d'Estournel 1982
  • Pear Tart Tatin with Warre's Vintage Port 1977

Saturday, November 4: Participated in "Toast to the Gardens" – an event for members of the Botanical Gardens. Marjorie Harris and John Valleau talked about their favourite plants and how to grow them and I conducted a small tasting of Ontario wines: Henry of Pelham Chardonnay Reserve, Vineland Estates Semi-Dry Riesling 2005 and Cave Spring Gamay 2004. For dinner I cooked one of the Arctic Char I caught on the fishing trip in August and served it with a bottle of Château des Charmes St. David's Bench Chardonnay 2001. It tasted fine, but not like the flavour of a fish caught and cooked for shore lunch.




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