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A Wine Lover's Diary, part 172 (January 21, 2008)

Monday, January 14: Wrote my 680News wine reviews and then drove up to a new Indian restaurant at 5949 Yonge Street, two blocks north of Finch, to have lunch with Silke Rudelbach. At lunch time they have an "all you can eat" buffet. Very tasty food. Each dish had its own individual spicing. Will have to go back for dinner to try their full menu. Called Laird at the Wine Establishment to get the architectural drawings for the cellar I intend to build in the condo when we move later this year. For dinner, Carone Vandal Blanc 2004, a Quebec wine. Deborah liked it but I found a foxy taste. Vandal Cliche is a winter hardy hybrid first propagated in Quebec that can survive in temperatures down to –35°C. That is its only virtue.

Tuesday, January 15: A morning TV session at the Fine Wine Reserve with Angela Aiello, cofounder of the iYellow Wine Club. Ange wanted to film a segment for Le Gourmet TV about the effect of terroir and climate on a given varietal. For the shoot she chose three Chardonnays – Bouchard Pere & Fils Saint Pierre Macon-Lugny 2006, Henry Of Pelham Chardonnay Reserve 2006 and Wolf Blass Yellow Label Chardonnay 2006; and for Syrah/Shiraz, Red Bicyclette Syrah 2005, Two Oceans Shiraz 2007 from South Africa and Lindemans Bin 50 Shiraz 2007. Am writing a piece for a travel magazine about the three celebrity wineries in Niagara – Wayne Gretzky, Mike Weir and Dan Aykroyd. Contacting them is proving difficult since all are out of the country, so I may have to email my questions to them. This evening I'm conducting a tasting for a financial group that is celebrating 25 years in business. The wines chosen for two sessions in the course of the evening are:

  • Louis Jadot Bourgogne Chardonnay 2005
  • Errazuriz Sauvignon Blanc 2006
  • Grant Burge Barossa Vines Cabernet Merlot 2005
  • Ironstone Old Vine Zinfandel 2005

Wednesday, January 16: Recorded my 680News reviews and then to lunch with Eric Wright. Talked crime fiction and reminisced about the early days of Crime Writers of Canada. For dinner, chicken curry. Found a bottle of Recline Ridge Seigerrebe 2002 tucked away in the cellar. It was perfect for the curry, even if it was showing its age. Recline Ridge is Canada's most northerly winery, up by Salmon Arm in BC. And probably the most northerly winery in the world.

Thursday, January 17: Spoke today to Pamela Wallin, who has recently returned from Afghanistan as part of John Manley's team to assess Canada's role there and future commitments. For the Grapes for Humanity dinner in October I am trying to find a Canadian connection with Afghan civilians who have been injured by landmines. She said she would put me in touch with a Canadian soldier who had lost both limbs in a landmine incident and was aware of local organizations that help landmine victims. Opened a bottle of Tempus Tempranillo 2006 from Argentina to go with a grilled salmon steak. A big chocolatey wine.

Friday, January 18: Drove down to Niagara for meetings at Peller Estates and Pillitteri. Then dropped by Le Clos Jordanne to taste Thomas Bachelder's 2006 and 2007 wines. Moray Tawse and his winemaker Paul Pender dropped by and together we tasted a range of Pinot Noirs and Chardonnays from tank and barrel. "When I came to Niagara I always thought I'd use my Burgundian experience," said Thomas. "But in 2007 I'm using my Oregon experience." The 2007 Pinot Noirs are the deepest in colour I have seen, very Oregon in style. The 2006s are restrained and leaner. Yet Thomas still manages to get great differentiation in character from the different vineyard sites. Left at 5:15 pm in order to make a 6 pm meeting with Ken Weir, the General Manager of the Niagara Wine Festival, at the Fallsview Casino. I have to interview him for an article on the Icewine gala in the hotel. He turns up an hour late. Twenty-nine Niagara wineries had tables, each serving a white and a red wine as well as their Icewines. Most of the guests were in dinner jackets as they sampled the wine and food. The really dedicated could have tasted 59 different Icewines. The most interesting for we were Konzelmann Shiraz Icewine 2006 and Pillitteri Semillon Icewine 2006, two varieties I have not tasted as Icewine before. Spent the night at the Hilton Hotel and was awakened at 1:30 by the headboard of the bed in the next room pounding rhythmically on the wall. Unable to get back to sleep for the noise, I knocked on the wall. My protest only seemed to inspire my neighbours to greater efforts. Awoke exhausted at 7 am for the drive back to Toronto.

 

 

 

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