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A Wine Lover's Diary, part 183 (April 7, 2008)

Monday, March 31: Gurth Pretty and I are doing a wine & cheese tasting for a financial company. Gurth has chosen the following cheeses and asked me to match them with Ontario wines.

Comfort Cream – produced in Niagara by Upper Canada Cheese Co., a rich Brie-style, Guernsey cow's milk cheese. Cave Spring Chardonnay Estate 2006

Prestige – produced in Quebec by Fromages Chaput, a tangy raw goat's milk cheese, covered in black ash. Creekside Sauvignon Blanc 2006

Vigoroso – produced in Ontario by Monforte Dairy, a firm sheep milk cheese, created in a pecorino-style, yet washed in Ontario Baco Noir wine. Henry of Pelham Baco Noir Reserve 2005

Geai Bleu – produced in New Brunswick by Bergerie aux 4 vents, a creamy, raw, sheep's milk blue cheese. Inniskillin Riesling Icewine 2005

Coincidentally, today I received an email from Barry McLarnon in Ottawa, who is part of a group dedicated to discussions about Canadian wine, but it is languishing due to lack of participation. He asked me if I'd mention it here "to help raise its profile a bit." The URL to find it is

Tuesday, April 1: Received two April Fool emails today, the first from Dean Tudor, who set out the parameters for an expectoration contest for wine writers, an idea he's been trying to sell me for years as part of the Ontario Wine Awards. Distance, accuracy, style, etc. And one from my friend Deacon Dr. Fresh. Worth publishing here in its entirety just as I received it, colours and all.

Yo Homeys!

I aint got the article up yet, but I want y'all to know that the Wine Posse and your humble Deacon will be crashing the Ontario Wine Awards in a huge way! There's an old score I gotta settle here, going back to last year's event, and as those who know me are well aware...I'm self-employed, accountable to no human being, and I can't let a slight pass.

More to follow, but this will definitely make the major media...

Apologies in advance to the IYellow Wine Club, this year's hosts. It's not about them.

Stay tuned for the fun and fireworks...

You heard me.

Deacon Dr. Fresh

Still raiding and pillaging

The "slight" in question was someone pulling the amplifier plug while the Deacon, last year's MC, was in mid-riff AC/DC guitar style – at the threshold of pain – during last year's Ontario Wine Awards gala dinner.

Wrote my Tidings commentary on boomers' ageing taste buds and how this will affect while-making styles in the next decade. Invited to dinner at Cru at Royal York Road and Islington to taste Tawse wines. Moray Tawse hosted with his winemaker Paul Pender and winery manager Brad Gowland.

We started off with a new wine for the portfolio called Tawse Sketches of Niagara Riesling (2007) matched with Arctic char ceviche, Japanese eggplant, sunchoke chips and coconut foam. (The wine is pale straw in colour with minerally, grapefruit nose lifted by a light floral note; lightish body, off-dry grapefruit and lime flavours with racy acidity and a tart finish. Interesting how it starts off medium and dry and finishes with mouth-puckering acidity. Perfect for the dish. ****)

Yellow fin tuna tartar, wakame, BBQ unagi, hibiscus and grapefruit juice, paired with 2007 Carly's Block Estate Riesling (from 31-year-old vines: pale straw; minerally, terroir-driven nose of spring flowers, citrus and white pepper; lovely mouth feel, tangerine flavour, well balanced with great length. *****). We also tasted the 2002 Carly's Block Riesling to see how this wine ages: deeper colour with a petrol and honey nose, very Alsace in style with a mid-palate flavour of caramel; great acidic core that carries the minerality to the finish. ****½

Lobster tail, vanilla-champagne butter sauce, toasted kashi, paired with 2005 Robyn's Block Estate Chardonnay (golden straw colour; Burgundian nose – nutty, creamy, spicy, sweet peach and pineapple flavours; full-bodied with orange acidity and a fresh nutty finish. ****½).

Duck breast, sour cherries, parsnip purée, paired with 2006 Pinot Noir (ruby colour; a nose of sweet oak, raspberry, vanilla ands violets; lean, raspberry and cherry flavours channeled with lively acidity; medium-bodied with soft tannins. A touch green on the finish with a sour cherry flavour. ****).

Venison loin, glazed granny smiths, allspice jus, edamame, paired with 2006 Vintners Reserve Cabernet Franc (deeply coloured, dense ruby; cedar and blueberry nose; medium to full-bodied, dry with immediate lively acidity; sour cherry, cranberry and redcurrant flavours; creamy texture with a fresh finish. ****).

Crème brûlée, paired with 2007 Quarry Road Barrel Aged Chardonnay Icewine (straw colour; oaky, spicy pineapple, sweet mid palate of baked apple and pineapple flavours; fresh acidity but not showing its paces yet. Needs bottle time. ****)

Then Moray, a renowned Burgundy lover, brought out two wines blind and asked the group what they were. I guessed Vosne Romanée 1989 (Moray is that kind of guy). The second wine was much lighter in colour and I thought it was an old Corton. Just shows you not to let psychology enter the equation. Because Moray is such a burgundy lover I thought he'd present two Burgundies. The first was a Musigny Comte de Vogüe 1998 and the second was a 1971 red Bordeaux. Reminds me of that quote from Harry Waugh, the great English wine writer, when asked if he had ever mistaken a claret for a Burgundy. His reply: "Not since lunch."

Wednesday, April 2: Wrote my monthly article for Lexpert magazine on Sauternes and Château Gilette. This evening Deborah and I have been invited to dinner at the home of one of Guy's old hockey team, Sam Baldwin and his wife Ivy. Guy and Laura are joining us and Sam's parents, George and Stewy Baldwin, with whom I have shared many cold mornings at the North Toronto hockey rink in the past. I told Sam I'd bring the wine.

  • 2006 Flat Rock Nadja's Riesling
  • 2006 Mondavi Fumé Blanc
  • 2004 Galil Mountain Shiraz Cabernet
  • 2000 Cabutto Tenuta La Volta Barolo

A delicious meal – prosciutto salad, osso buco and lots of fun reminiscing about former teammates and their parents.

Thursday, April 3: An email from my friend and colleague Dean Tudor with an item on his website wondering if there was any truth to the rumour that Boisset had sold its interest in Le Clos Jordanne back to Vincor. (Dean calls the winery Closure Dan!) I had sent an email to Jean-Charles Boisset asking him about this rumour that seemed to be taking on a life of its own and was now assumed by many in the industry. Jean-Charles phoned me, coincidentally, a half hour after I had received Dean's mass email to the Wine Writers Circle. After the conversation I replied as follows:

Dean, I just got off the phone with Jean-Charles Boisset (he was in Sausalito) and he tells me there is no truth to the rumour. It may have started because they (Vincor/Boisset) had to change the structure of the agreement so that they could get an Ontario license to e-trade the wines. 'It's business as usual,' was his final comment. Co-incidentally, Jay Wright had to answer the same question in the St. Catharines Standard.

Cheers, Tony

Friday, April 4: A Vintages tasting for the May release. Lots of very good German wines and some interesting Pinot Noirs. This evening we are taking our friends from England, Lucy and Ashley Pover, to dinner at Mata Hari on Baldwin Street. I'm bring along 2004 Weingut Hupfeld Hochheimer Königin Victoriaberg Riesling Kabinett, 2004 Le Clos Jordanne Village Reserve and 2002 Jackson-Triggs Sparkling Vidal Icewine.




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