A Wine Lover's Diary, part 184 (April 14, 2008)
Monday, April 7: Worked on my piece for Post City Magazines, the annual 25 best beverage alcohol experiences. In the evening downtown for a tasting of the Churchill Cellars portfolio at the National Ballet School, a really interesting venue for a tasting. Great light.
Tuesday, April 8: A tasting for Winerytohome.com. In the evening a tasting for Post City Magazines advertising agencies at Grano.
- Cave Spring Riesling 2007 (Ontario)
- Anselmi San Vincenzo 2007 (Veneto)
- Kim Crawford Sauvignon Blanc 2007 (New Zealand)
- Poulleau Père & Fils Côte de Beaune Les Mondes Rondes 2005 (Burgundy)
- Chateau de Beaucastel Coudelet 2005 (Rhône)
- Wolf Blass Gold Label Shiraz 2005 (Australia)
Wednesday, April 9: Received the following email:
I read all the time about Andy Warhol and how he designed the 1975 Rothschild label there was 241,000 bottles with that label. Andy Warhol also designed a wine label for Cuvaison as a favor to the owner of the winery there was only 80 bottles with that label and 3 variations that were not used. I have yet to find anything about the Cuvaison project. As the wine guy have you seen anything about the Cuvaison label I have bottle # 37/80 if you have never seen one my address is http://awarhol37of80.googlepages.com/ I have pictures there
This is the first I have heard of a Warhol label for Cuvaison.
Conducted a tasting in the Concert Hall of the Fairmont Royal York for a drug company that had just received government approval for a new drug they had been researching for 15 years. A lot of very happy people.
- Creekside Sauvignon Blanc 2006
- Henry of Pelham Unoaked Chardonnay 2006
- Frescobaldi Nipozzano Chianti Riserva 2004
- Castillo del Diablo Shiraz 2006
Three times the amount of Chianti was consumed compared to the other wines.
Thursday, April 10: Deborah and I flew to Ottawa. We're having lunch with His Excellency Jean-Daniel Lafond at Rideau Hall to discuss his plans for a Governor General's award scheme for the culinary arts in Canada. We sit in the sun room where we are lunching and have a glass of wine (a Chardonnay, which came pre-poured so I have no idea whose it is). I present Jean-Daniel with signed copies of my wine murder mysteries and a Grapes for Humanity pin, which he immediately puts on. He shows me a well-thumbed copy of Vintage Canada, which I wrote 26 years ago (the cover shows me with a full head of dark brown hair) and asks me to sign that too. We are joined for lunch by his aide Christine MacIntyre, Director of Events and Visitor Services, and Janet Dorozynski from the Foreign Office, who is in charge of stocking Canada's embassies and consulates with Canadian wine.
Jean-Daniel Lafond wearing a Grapes for Humanity pin
The lunch menu:
Tandoori Dusted, Ginger and Grapefruit Oil Poached Lobster Cannelloni on a plate with Red Apple and Lime-enhanced Fig and Arugula Salad, served with Quails' Gate Family Reserve Riesling 2002 (a little tired)
Dark Cherry Glazed Caribou Tenderloin with Wild Mushroom and Truffle-flavoured Risotto with an Apricot Mousseline, Fine Green Bean and Tomato Fondue, served with Thirty Bench Reserve Blend 1997 (still holding up well)
Dark Chocolate and Icewine Parfait
We see Glenn Gould's piano, which has been refurbished, much to Christine's chagrin, since all the wine glass stains have been buffed out and it is now totally reconditioned. And admire the Canadian art on the walks.
A taxi back to the Lord Elgin Hotel in time for a telephone conference in Toronto about Grapes For Humanity's October 20th dinner. Given the quality and rarity of the Jadot wines that Pierre Henry Gagey has offered, it is decided to raise the price of a ticket to $500. According to Steven Campbell of Lifford, who represents Jadot, this is the best selection of wine he's seen offered at the fund-raising event in Toronto in the past 10 years. Walked to the Rideau Centre, where Deborah toured the shops and I eventually gave up and returned to the hotel to write up the day's events. Guy and Laura are driving up from Toronto with Deborah's sister Suzanne to witness my investiture into the Order of Canada tomorrow morning. This is the first year the ceremony is to be broadcast live on the internet. The hotel has made a 7:30 reservation for us at Beckta Fine Dining, but we have to sit at the bar because it's completely booked at that hour. When we arrive at Beckta they tell us the hotel didn't confirm the reservation
and that they gave away the place at the bar. They offer us a place upstairs in an empty room or that they can recommend a restaurant across the road called A'Roma, a Greek meze place. We opt for the latter. Beckta calls across to reserve and when we sit down there's a couple of glasses of Prosecco on the table, courtesy of Beckta. We order a bottle of Hatzimichalis Cabernet Sauvignon 2004 (a blend of all three Bordeaux varieties) and plates of grilled eggplant and artichokes, calamari two ways and mint-flavoured meat balls.
Friday, April 11: After breakfast, Deborah and I get to the hotel lobby at 9:15 am to join the other recipients of the Order of Canada to take the bus the Rideau Hall. Once there, the "primary guests" are shown into the ballroom where the ceremony will be held while recipients are ushered into another room to be briefed on the protocol. Alphabetically I am second in order, after Jean-Baptiste Arcand, a Métis fiddler from Saskatoon, and the two of us have to go through the sequence in the hall: when our name is called, we are escorted by aide de camp Major Rebecca Sabourin to the front where the Governor General is seated in a chair next to her husband and we bow. Then we move to the left and face the audience while Sheila Marie Cook, Secretary General of the Order of Canada, reads out the citation. We then approach the Governor General, who pins on the medal, shakes our hands, and turns to pose for a photo. Then shake hands with Jean-Daniel Lafond and
exit left. There are 30 Members, 11 Officers and 2 Companions to receive the honours. For the first time in its 40-year history the event is to be televised live via the internet (www.gg.ca).
The Governor General delivers a speech in both language, the thrust of which is the obligation of recipients of the Order of Canada to mentor the young. Then the honourees are called up one at a time. When the name Arthur MacDonald, an eminent scientist from Kingston, is called, a little girl behind me piped up in a loud voice "MacDonald's," much to the amusement of those within earshot. After the presentations we move into a reception room for drinks and finger food (Henry of Pelham Pinot Blanc 2006 and Jackson-Triggs Meritage 2000). Everyone is taking photos and the room is electric with happiness as everyone congratulates everyone else. Guy and Laura, Suzanne, Deborah and I drive to Domus restaurant for lunch (a bottle of 13th Street Riesling 2005 and a class of Le Clos Jordanne Pinot Noir Village Reserve for Guy).
Deborah and Tony after the ceremony
Back to the hotel for a meeting with Chris Demerse and Mhairi Peterson of CIDA about Afghanistan, zeroing in for a landmine project for Grapes for Humanity's October fund-raiser. Then quickly change into black tie for this evening's formal dinner at Rideau Hall. Suzanne, a make-up artist for movies, is doing Deborah's face and hair. She looks very glamorous in a new dress and new shoes. She will not tell me what she paid for the look. A bus takes us to Rideau Hall in the rain. A cocktail reception in the ballroom and an official photograph before the dinner, which is held in the room where the investitures took place. I'm seated next to Alistair Maclean's wife and Bernard St-Laurent, Senior Advisor to the Secretary to the Governor General (not the CBC broadcaster), who has served seven Governors General.
Mosaic of Roasted Haida Gwaii Spotted Prawns, Yukon Artic Char, Prince Edward Island Scallops and Yellow Tail Tuna, served with Summerhill Pyramid Cellar Aged Gewurztraminer 2006
Pressed Pâté of Braised Alberta Lamb Shank and Quebec Bison Tenderloin, British Columbia False Morel, Fiddlehead and Adzucki Bean Fricasee, Truffled Yellow Squash and Beet Lasagna, served with Marynissen Cabernet Sauvignon Lot 60 2001 (showing a hint of ladybug)
Salad of Mixed Baby Greens, Rideau Cottage Crabapple Vinaigrette
Cheese plate: Geai Bleu, L'Apprenti Sorcier, Le Fleurmier, Paradiso and Belle Ann
Dessert: Niagara Almond and Bitter Chocolate Tube, Quadra Island Honey and Muesli Quenelle, Partridgeberry Panna Cotta