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A Wine Lover's Diary, part 182 (March 31, 2008)

Monday March 24: Worked on my 680News wine reviews and the Ontario Wine Awards, setting the flights for the judges. Disaster in the basement. A drain to the sewer has backed up, contaminating the floor. Roto-Rooter guy tries to unblock the pipe but says it's roots from the tree in the front garden. They'll have to dig up the front driveway to get at the damaged pipe. Meanwhile the insurance guy says we'll have to tear up the linoleum to decontaminate and anything the water has touched will have to go. On further inspection it seems that the connection inside the house has been compromised as well and the cement has to be broken to get at it. Ah, the joys of owning an old house.

Deborah and I escape to Amaya restaurant for dinner with Martin and Moira Malivoire and Martin's winemaker, Shiraz Mottiar, with a clutch of Malivoire wines to see what works best with Indian food. We're joined by the owners, Hermant Bhagwani and Derek Valleau. The table was fairly bristling with bottles as we worked our way through a plethora of dishes to find the perfect match. We started with the wine that everyone expects to work with Indian food – Gewürztraminer (2006), which we had with peppery chapattis and nan flavoured with cumin. A very delicate dish of rice puffs followed, which we tried with Malivoire Gamay 2005, although the Ladybug Rosé 2006 worked better. The dishes began arriving thick and fast – chicken tikka, crab cakes with coconut mint chutney – all terrific with Malivoire Chardonnay Musqué 2007, whose acidity refreshed the palate and stood up to the spices. We also tried Malivoire Pinot Noir 2005 and the better choice, Vin Gris de Pinot Noir 2006 (they only made 14 cases of this wine – bled off from their Pinot Noir). Then came King Prawns in green mango sauce, which went well with Malivoire Chardonnay 2006. Next sea bream with mint and coriander, chicken chettiand, lamb rogan gosh, eggplant steak stuffed with potatoes, carrots and green peas. We pulled corks on Malivoire 2005 Cabernet Franc and Merlot but found that tannin doesn't work well with Indian dishes. Chardonnay Musqué and chilled Pinot Noir worked best, even with beef cooked in red wine sauce with cinnamon and cloves.

Tuesday, March 25: The workmen are digging a trench seven feet deep at the bottom of the front steps. Pinot the Wonder Dog is upset and is barking furiously. I record my 680News pieces and set up a small tasting at home for Paxton Allewell, who will be a guest judge on Saturday for the Ontario Wine Awards.

Wednesday, March 26: Received an email which confirmed something that I had written about: "Well, many people think it is one of the big monopolies that still exist, for example Systembolaget in Sweden or the LCBO in Canada. But no. Biggest is actually Tesco, the UK retail chain. They sell alcohol products for €4.3 bn (£3bn). That almost twice as much as the LCBO (€2.5bn, C$3.7) and well over twice as much as Systembolaget in Sweden (€2bn, SEK19 bn)."

This evening, I conduct a tasting of Ontario and BC wines in a private home nearby, a charity auction item.

Thursday, March 27: A Wine Writers Circle tasting of Spanish wines on the General Product list. Considering what the exciting wines that care coming out of the new D.O.s – like Priorat, Yekla, Jumilla, etc. – this was pretty average stuff. Dinner at Chez Victor in the St. Germaine Hotel for Julie Gonet-Médeville of Château Gilette. The company has an interesting philosophy; they won't sell their wines until they have been in cement tanks for twenty years or even longer. Julie's grandfather Rene Médeville, she told those attending the dinner, went to war (WWII) and told his wife not to touch the wines in the tanks until he got back. The 1953 was aged for 27 years. The 1986 was just bottled last year.

Julie Gonet-Médeville and me enjoying the 1983 Château Gilette

First course: Butter Poached Lobster and Scallop Terrine with Tarragon scented East Coast Oyster and Creamed leek chowder, served with Château Gilette Demi Sec Sauternes 1954 (deep orange colour with a barley sugar and marmalade nose; off-dry, smoky, caramel flavour; great balance; *****).

Second course: Veal Tenderloin with Roast Cauliflower, "Fresh Raisins" and Mustard Sauce, with Château Gilette Crème de Tête 1985 (deep orange-gold; very fresh, minerally, not sweet but firm and powerful with burnt orange peel flavours and tangerine acidity; great length; ****½).

Third course: Whole Roasted Berkshire Suckling Pig with Cumin Flat Bread, Ciel de Charlevoix Cheese, Mint and Fennel Salad, with Château Gilette Crème de Tête 1982 (bottled in 2000: floral, orange and honey nose; semi-sweet, burnt orange peel and barley sugar flavours with a cola note; lovely mouth feel; *****).

Fourth course: Confit Big Eye Tuna with Tempura Fried Epoisse and Jalapeno Polenta, with Château Gilette Crème de Tête 1983 (orange, more deeply coloured than the 1982; rich, orange peel, toffee, coconut and sweet grapefruit nose; perfect balance with great length; lots of Botrytis flavours here but still very fresh. The wine of the night, although the match with the tuna didn't really work. *****).

Finale: Foie Gras Torcho Brûlé with Rhubarb Compote, with Château Gilette Crème de Tête 1979 (light bronze colour; high toned caramel and orange peel nose, minerally and mouth-filling; creamy and unctuous, medium sweet. *****)

Friday, March 27: There is a tasting of new wines on the General Product list of the LCBO this morning but I'm not up to it. Especially since I have to speak to the wines at a very special dinner tonight for Grapes for Humanity. This is the line up with Jamie Kennedy in the kitchen:

Reception wine: Krug 1982 (magnums)


  • Chateau Laville Haut Brion Crème de Tete 1982 (Fresh Scallops on the Shell)
  • Joseph Drouhin Le Montrachet Marquis de Laguiche 1982 (Lobster Risotto with Bisque Sauce)
  • Chateau La Mission Haut Brion 1982 (Duck Three Ways)
  • Ch. Leoville Las Cases 1982
  • Ch. Petrus 1982
  • Ch. Mouton-Rothschild 1982 (Loin of Venison with Wild Rice)
  • Ch. Latour 1982
  • Ch. Lafite 1982
  • Warre's 1945 (Stilton and Pear Melt with Blackberry)
  • Chateau Gilette Crème de Tete 1953 (Warm Almond Pithviers with Apricots)




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