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A Wine Lover's Diary, part 210 (October 14, 2008)

Monday, October 6: Last night I tasted two Icewines from Niagara College Teaching Winery.

  • Niagara College Cabernet Franc Icewine 2007: deep rosé colour; strawberry jam and sweet rhubarb bouquet; clean, nicely balanced with a sweet, spicy, candied strawberry and honey flavour. Nicely balanced with acidity, great length. *****
  • Niagara College Vidal Icewine 2007: light amber colour; high toned, honeyed peach and mango; unctuous, intense and mouth-filling but balanced with a lively spine of acidity. Good length. ****½

At lunch, a Madeira event at the university club with Madeira being served with each course.

  • Hors d'oeuvres: Chorizos Empenadas, Shrimp Beurre Blanc and Smoked Salon, with Justino Fine Dry 5 Year Old, Blandy's 10 Year Old Special and Henriques & Henriques 10 Year Old Sercial.
  • Beef Consomme with Madeira and Juliennes of Vegetables, with Justino 10 Year Old Verdelho and Blandy's 10 Year Old Verdelho
  • Half a dozen Fresh Shucked Oysters On Ice
  • Champagne Sorbet
  • Grain Fed Guinea Hen and a Port and Veal Jus, Bouquietiere of Vegetables, with Henriques & Henriques 10 Year Old Bual
  • Chocolate Crème Brule with Strawberries dipped in Chocolate, with Justino Fine Rich 10 Year Old, Blandy's 10 Year Old Malmsey and Henriques & Henriques 15 Year Old Malmsey
  • Canadian Cheese Selection, with Henriques & Henriques Bual 1980.

Unfortunately, I couldn't stay for the cheese course. The concept of a meal with all Madeiras was interesting but only the soup course really matched. The Bual with the guinea hen was too sweet and the Madeiras with the dessert not sweet enough. I'm a great fan of Madeira and really enjoyed the Henriques & Henriques 10 Year Old Bual (tawny ruby colour; spicy, spy, brown sugar and molasses flavour with lively acidity ****½) and Blandy's 10 Year Old Malmsey (ruby-brown colour; high toned nose of dried fig, honey, spicy orange peel and brown sugar; great length, well balanced with a coffee bean finish *****).

Rest of the day, I packed books and papers.

Tuesday, October 7: Lunch with Sophie Baldo, export manager for Chanson Père & Fils at The Miller Tavern with Andrew Hanna whose company, John Hanna and Sons, represents them in Ontario. Chanson wines have improved immeasurably under Jean Pierre Confuron's guidance since being taken over by Bollinger nine years ago. We tasted the Beaune Teurons 2005, beautifully seamless wine with great expression of raspberry fruit and minerality (****½). Sophie told me something I did not know: Burgundian winemakers are allowed to use up to 15% Gamay grapes in their wine. You live and learn.

We next tasted Chanson Clos des Feves 2002, a 4-hectare monopole that belongs to the company. A much more robust wine with a peppery, minerally, black raspberry flavour (****½).

Visited the condo for the first time (had to ear a hard hat since it's still under construction. It looked smaller than the model suite we saw. Apparently the builders measure the dimensions of the room from the outside wall! In the evening, a home wine tasting at dinner for the Fred Victor Centre won at a charity auction.

The wines were:

  • Peninsula Ridge Sauvignon Blanc 2007 (Ontario)
  • Le Clos Jordanne Chardonnay 2004 (Ontario)
  • Château des Jacques Clos de Rochegrès Moulin-à-Vent 2003 (Beaujolais)
  • Château Brehat 2001 (Côtes de Castillon, Bordeaux)
  • Brolio Chianti Classico 2002
  • Ridge Lytton Springs 1993 (California) – the wine of the night
  • Chateau des Charmes Late Harvest Riesling 2006 (Ontario)
  • Inniskillin Riesling Icewine 2006 (Ontario)

Wednesday, October 8: Today I'm leading a group of bankers and lawyers for a tour of three Niagara wineries. The stock market has tanked and I guess they need something to get their minds off the financial melt-down of the world's banking system. On the bus I told them that I had received an email from the governor of the Bank of Iceland asking us to save the bottles from our tastings and send them to him so he could get the 20 cent deposit on empties. First we visited Tawse and were given a guided tour by winemaker Paul Pender. We ended with a tasting in the stainless steel cellar.

  • Tawse Chardonnay Robyn's Block 2004: deeply coloured; spicy, peachy-melon nose with a touch of oak; full-bodied with orange and peach flavours with a creamy note. Very Burgundian in style. ****½
  • Tawse Meritage 2006: ruby colour; lean, sinewy, redcurrant flavour with a toasty oak finish and lively acidity. A good effort for the vintage. ***½
  • Tawse Riesling Wismer Vineyard 2007: medium straw with a green note; minerally, petrol, lime and tangerine flavours; lively acidity and good length. ****

Then on to Malivoire for a tasting.

  • Malivoire Lady Bug Rosé 2007: (Mainly Cabernet Franc and Gamay) pink with blue tint; minerally, cherry and strawberry notes; dry with lively acidity and a crisp finish. ****
  • Malivoire Gamay 2006: ruby colour; peppery, cherry; medium-bodied with a note of celery salt; firm with a strong spine of acidity. ***½
  • Malivoire Moira Vineyard Chardonnay 2007: medium straw colour; minerally, pineapple, citrus nose; fleshy, caramel and pineapple flavours, spicy oak, mouth-filling with a toasty finish. Great length. ****½
  • Malivoire Pinot Noir 2006: light, Burgundian style, slightly green. Speaks to the vintage. ***½
  • Malivoire Gewurztraminer 2007 (375 mL): very pale colour; lovely perfumed lychee and rose petal nose; light, delicate and elegant with a touch of sweetness. Great balance. One of the best Ontario Gewurz I have tasted. *****

Then on to Hillebrand for dinner in the cellar.

  • Avalon Farm's Duck and Smoked Chicken Broth, Enoki Mushroom and Spring Onion, with Hillebrand Showcase Unfiltered Chardonnay 2006
  • Cookstown Rainbow Heirloom Tomato, Icewine Chiogga Beets, Mozzarina Cheese, Zacari Zesty Greens, with Trius Riesling 2007
  • Second Wind Farm Elk Tenderloin, Goat's Cheese and Potato Gratin, Icewine Cabbage, with Trius Red 2004
  • Artisan Canadian Cheese, Icewine Apricots, Oatmeal Cookies, with Hillebrand Late Harvest Vidal 2006
  • Icewine Raspberry Upside Down Cake, Caramel Almond ice Cream, with Hillebrand Showcase Cabernet Franc Icewine 2007

Thursday, October 9: A tasting for with David Lawrason and Doug Towers, the last tasting we will be able to do in this house. Dinner at The Miller Tavern with Zoltan Fekete and Steven Weiss to taste Silverado Vineyards.

  • Silverado Vineyards Miller Road Sauvignon Blanc 2007
  • Silverado Vineyards Vineberg Chardonnay 2006 (Carneros)
  • Silverado Vineyards Cabernet Sauvignon 2004
  • Silverado Vineyards Cabernet Sauvignon 2005
  • Silverado Vineyards Solo 2005 Stag’s Leap Single Vineyard (one terrific wine)
  • Grgich Cabernet Sauvignon 2004
  • Honig Cabernet Sauvignon 2004

Friday, October 10: At lunchtime, a tasting of three top Chilean producers ay George Restaurant. A table top affair with Aurelio Montes, Alexandra Marnier Lapostolle and Eduardo Chadwick.

  • Montes M 2005: (80% Cabernet Sauvignon, 20% Cabernet Franc, 5% each of Merlot and Petit Verdot) densely coloured; spicy, rich, full-bodied; cedar, red berry flavour; lovely mouth feel. ****1/2
  • Montes Folly Syrah 2005: rich blackberry, spicy flavour with a note of black olives; full-bodied and well integrated.****
  • Montes Purple Angel 2005: (46% Carmenere from Colchagua, 46% from Apalta, 8% Petit Verdot) ripe blackcurrant and spice on the nose; black cherry with firm minerality on the palate; well structured. ****
  • Casa Lapostolle Chardonnay Cuvee Alexandre 2005: sweet spicy pineapple; bold and assertive, full-bodied with a toasty oak finish. ****½
  • Casa Lapostolle Cabernet Sauvignon Apalata Vineyard 2006: ripe fruit, geranium note; firm structure. ***
  • Clos Apalta 2005: (42% Carmenere, 26% Merlot, 28% Cabernet Sauvignon, 4% Petit Verdot) dense purple with a pencil lead and blackcurrant nose; a fleshy wine that’s seamless on the palate; great integration; voluptuous but elegant. ****½
  • Errazuriz Don Maximiano 2005: (85% Cabernet Sauvignon, 7% Cabernet Franc, 5% Petit Verdot, 3% Shiraz) ripe blackcurrant, medium to full-bodied, youthful; firmly structured with vanilla oak. Needs time. ****
  • Vinedo Chadwick 2005: (100% Cabernet Sauvignon) medium-bodied, tight and closed at the moment but good ripeness of fruit. A real sense of terroir in this wine. Will develop well. ****
  • Sena 2005: the wine of tasting for me. Intense blackcurrant nose with a lavender note; firmly structured with spicy, sweet fruit and soft tannins. *****
  • Errazuriz La Cumbre Shiraz 2005: soft, sweet blackberry with smoky, toasty oak; firmly structured with a velvety mouth-feel. ****
  • Errazuriz Kai 2005: (88% Carmenere, 7% Petit Verdot, 5% Shiraz) ripe fruit, firmly structured with blackcurrant and red pepper flavours. Full on the palate. ***½

At 5.30pm down to Signatures at The Four Seasons to sample the test dinner for Grapes for Humanity’s October 20 fund-raiser dinner.




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