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A Wine Lover's Diary, part 132 (April 9, 2007)

Monday, April 2: A slew of April Fool's emails yesterday – Mike Mandel wrote that his alter-ego Deacon Dr. Fresh is closing down his rapper wine blog on legal advice because he's being threatened with a law suit by Yellow Tail. And Dean Tudor sent one saying that Constellation was buying the LCBO for $46 billion or some such figure. It must be spring. The homeless gent who parks himself on a newspaper box on our corner is back. He has a one-word appeal to passers-by. "Change?" Usually I smile and shake my head but I guess I was affected by the smell of spring in the air. So I stopped and he repeated, "Change?"

I told him change is inevitable. "You cannot step into the same river twice."

"Cigarette?" he asked.

My cold was too bad to attend the German Wine Fair. I couldn't taste a thing. I enjoy this tasting usually since the wines are so spring-like and I imagine there will be a lot of the great 2005 vintage available.

Tuesday, April 3: Spent much of the day on the Ontario Wine Awards wrap-up, trying to get labels from the wineries. Also writing my 680 NEWS wine reviews. I have to record tomorrow and the cold is still bad. The weather has turned again and there is now in the forecast. Worked on the dinner program for Grapes For Humanity's May 10th dinner. The designer, Amy Huynh, has done a great job. Here are the highlights of the silent auction that night:

  • 2001 Bouchard Beaune Grèves Vigne de L'Enfant Jesus Magnum
  • 1979 Domaine de la Romanée Conti Echezeaux
  • 1982 Domaine de la Romanée Conti La Tâche
  • 1995 Dominique Laurent Echezeaux
  • 1997 Dominique Laurent Chambertin Clos de Bèze
  • 1987 Heitz Martha's Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon
  • 1968 Taylor's Quinta de Vargellas Vintage Port
  • 2000 Antinori Guado al Tasso
  • 1953 Château D'Yquem
  • 2001 Château Rieussec (Magnum)
  • 1969 Château Lafite Rothschild
  • 1993 Château Mouton Rothschild
  • 1982 Château La Mission Haut Brion
  • 1989 Château La Mission Haut Brion

Wednesday, April 4: Trying to record my wine reviews was a nightmare. The producer, Stu Hammel, was very patient with me as I stumbled my way through, hoarse as turkey buzzard. My friend Pooch, who runs the California State Fair Wine Competition, is coming to stay for a few nights. He was judging at the Finger Lakes International Wine Competition this past weekend – which I had to miss because of the Ontario Wine Competition. I will also have to miss Pooch's event because of conflicts. When Pooch comes we tend to open a lot of bottles. He brings samples of wines he represents and I try to impress him with Ontario wines. Art Hill, my computer wiz, is coming over to finish setting up my new computer and to show me how to burn CDs. Frankly, I'd like to burn the computer.

Thursday, April 5: Snow! Pinot the Wonder Dog is delighted and Pooch cannot believe it. He left Sacramento last week in blazing sunshine. Pooch tells me that one of the wines he represents in this market – McManis Family Vineyards – is the biggest seller of all wines out of the LCBO's Consignment warehouse. He got this from a guy who loads wine at the warehouse dock. A conference call to Virginia for a large insurance company who are holding a sales conference in Toronto and want a wine dinner in June. Wrote my Tidings wine reviews for the July issue. Started on my June column for Post City Magazines. They want a piece about coolers. I don't drink coolers. I don't like coolers. But they said I could write what I wanted to about them. I guess I'll have to try some. What's impressive about coolers is what Mike's Hard Lemonade did for the British Columbia wine industry. Anthony Von Mandl, whose company Mark Anthony Brands, invented Mike's, ploughed back the profits into the rebuilding of Mission Hill winery in the Okanagan (which he also owns). This winery is now a magnet for the region. I once described it as the home Dionysus would have designed for himself. Pooch opened a great bottle of Cinnabar Pinot Noir 2004. I parried with a bottle of La Croix Bonis 2003 from St. Estephe.

Friday, April 6: Good Friday. Worked out for the first time in a week. Then back home to do a tasting with Pooch of 14 wines that have been sitting in the kitchen waiting until my nose would work again. The best wine was De Loach Vineyards Pinot Noir Maboroshi Vineyard 2005. Pooch can't understand why everything is closed in Toronto on Good Friday. He was hoping to do business with restaurateurs for his wines today. The weather has turned colder and there are snow flurries. A white Easter follows a green Christmas.




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