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A Wine Lover's Diary, part 226 (February 2, 2009)

Monday, January 26: Met with Jeff Lake and Stuart McPhee for lunch at Bravi to talk about wine cellars at Nassau resorts. Trying to arrange a visit in May or June. I have been invited to give the keynote address at the Expert's Tasting at this year's Cuvée on the subject of sparkling wine in Ontario. Asked Huff to send me a sample of their sparkling wine. Dinner: lamb chops with Chakana Bonarda 2007, a much underappreciated grape in Argentina.

Tuesday, January 27: Spent the day editing the cellar book manuscript. The working title is The Complete Cellar Book but I'm not happy with it. Toying around with The Wine Cellar Miscellany but I have found that it is the publisher's marketing department that usually gets to choose the title. In the evening I conducted a home tasting for a charity auction in aid of Amani, a Tanzanian children's home. The wines were:

  • Inniskillin Chardonnay Reserve 2006
  • Cono Sur Viognier 2007
  • Le Clos Jordanne Claystone Terrace Pinot Noir 2005
  • Domaine Remoriquet Nuits-St.-Georges 2006
  • Vina Tarapca Reserva Carmenere 2007
  • D'Aarenberg The Footbolt Shiraz 2005

Favourite wine of the evening: Domaine Remoriquet Nuits-St.-Georges 2006. When Burgundy gets it right there's nothing can beat it.

Wednesday, January 27: Had a phone call from Portugal this morning. Price Waterhouse in Lisbon was conducting a survey on behalf of Amorim, the world's largest cork producer. I am an advocate of cork for reds that need cellaring and Amorim is doing a good job trying to eliminate the problem of cork taint. Wisely, they understand that their best argument to preserve their cork market is to play up its impact on the environment compared with that of plastic and metal closures. Read an item in a British wine trade magazine, Drinks Business, that a doctor in Sydney, Philip Norrie, claims to have produced the world's healthiest wine. It's said to contain up to 100 times the amount of resveratrol in normally produced wines. Resveratrol acts as a "vascular pipe cleaner," flushing out low-density lipoproteins that can clog arteries. Dr. Norrie will be marketing a Chardonnay and a Shiraz, apparently. For dinner: chicken biryani with Huff Estates Cuvée Peter F. Huff 2004 (100% Chardonnay), weighing in at $49.95. Champagne prices but a really good bubbly.

Thursday, January 29: Went to the Hazelton Hotel to meet Lindt's Master Chocolatier, Ann Czaja. She had arranged a chocolate and wine tasting (two of my most favourite food groups). She had bars of the chocolate on the coffee table with wines from Jackson-Triggs.

Lindt's Master Chocolatier Ann Czaja sampling wine and chocolate with me.

  • Lindt Excellence Extra Creamy Milk (30% cocoa butter) with Jackson-Triggs Chardonnay Proprietor's Reserve 2007: I was surprised how well this worked.
  • Lindt Excellence Orange Intense (47% cocoa butter) with Jackson-Triggs Riesling Icewine 2006: The orange set off the citrus flavours in the wine beautifully. A seamless match.
  • Lindt Excellence 70% Cacao with Jackson-Triggs Okanagan Merlot 2005: I found the chocolate brought out the acidity in the wine. More sweet extract in the wine was needed. Amarone might have worked well.
  • Lindt Excellence 85% Cacao with Jackson-Triggs Meritage 2006: the drier nature of the chocolate with the higher cocoa butter content worked well, allowing the acidity to cleanse the palate.
  • Lindt Excellence 90% Cacao with Jackson-Triggs Cabernet Franc Icewine 2006: the smoky, butter character of the chocolate brought out the strawberry flavour of the wine. A very good match.

We talked about the Fleur du Sel chocolate that Lindt has made and tried it with the Cabernet France Icewine. It has the same effect as port and stilton with the light saltiness of the chocolate playing against the sweetness of the Icewine. Delicious.

Arrived home to an email from Vinexpo with some good news for the wine industry.

According to the industry-leading study, worldwide consumption of wine will grow by more than 6% over a five-year period, reaching 2.816 billion cases by 2012. In 10 years, therefore, world wine consumption will have increased by 14.07% to 4.16 billion bottles, roughly equal to the annual production of wine in the U.S., the world's fourth largest producer. In terms of sales, the world wine industry will total no less than 166.117 billion dollars by 2012: an increase of 8.92% since 2008.

Between 2003 and 2007, Canadian consumers enjoyed over 454 million bottles of still and sparkling wines, representing an increase of 26.62%. The study predicts further wine consumption growth, reaching 49.587 million cases by 2012. In 10 years, Canadian wine consumption will have increased at a rate of 6.5% per year, compared to the world average annual growth rate of 1.4%.

Retail sales for the Canadian wine industry will mirror the growth in consumption. While it increased by 29.3% between 2003 and 2007, the sales turnover should rise by a further 26.05% between 2008 and 2012 to reach $5.642 billion. Between 2008 and 2012, the growth of retail sales of still wine in Canada is expected to be three times that of the global market: 26.05% versus 9.56%.

Wow, I'll still have a job.

In the evening Deborah and I went to Olympia Tiles to choose the floor tiles for the wine cellar (gunmetal grey slate). For dinner, salmon with R. Stuart & Co big fire Oregon Pinot Noir 2007. Great match.

Friday, January 30: Finished the major edits on the cellar book. It now goes back to my editor, Sarah Brohman, for a final edit before it goes to the publisher. In the evening to the Fermentation Cellar for an Australian wine event featuring over 50 wineries. Top wines that I tasted were Mount Langi Ghiran Billi Billi Shiraz 2005, McPherson Chapter Three Shiraz Viognier 2006, Yering Station Reserve Pinot Noir 2006, Parker Coonawarra Estate First Growth 2005, Hardy's Eileen Hardy Shiraz 2003, Barossa Valley Estate Black Pepper Shiraz 2004, St. Hallett Old Black Shiraz 2005 and Thorn Clarke William Randall Shiraz 2005. Disappointed in the d'Arenberg The Dead Arm Shiraz 2006 – I suspect it was a marginally corked bottle, the flavours were flat. My wine writer colleague Michael Pinkus gave me a lift home and he stayed for a bottle of Chakana Cabernet Sauvignon 2007 and cheese plate.




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