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A Wine Lover's Diary, part 236 (April 13, 2009)

Monday, April 6: Today is the 17th annual "Toast to California" lunch for the trade at the Royal York Hotel, followed by a tasting in the ballroom where 120 wineries were pouring 450 wines. I was seated at the Select Wine Merchants table for the lunch at which Joel Peterson of Ravenswood, a self-confessed "Zinphomaniac," gave the keynote speech. His theme: wine is in a wine renaissance; he cited about 15 young winemakers to watch. He spoke very quickly and the only ones I could make a note of were Anthill Farms, Lillian Winery, Saxon Brown, Melville Vineyards, Morley Winery and Whetstone Wine Cellars. During the lunch of smoked salmon and crab roulade, strip loin steak and artisanal cheeses, I tasted Sebastiani Chardonnay 2007 (89), Clay Station Viognier 2007 (89), Brazin Old Vine Zinfandel 2006 (90), Sebastiani Secolo 2006 (Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Malbec and Petite Sirah, (89)) and 337 Cabernet Sauvignon 2006 (88).

Very impressed by the wines of Darioush. Their Napa Valley Chardonnay 2007, Cabernet Sauvignon 2006 and Merlot 2005 were all ninety-plus wines. Made a beeline for Justin Vineyards – their Isosceles 2006 (93) was the best wine I tasted all afternoon, closely followed by their Justification 2006 (92). Since I couldn't taste everything I concentrated mainly on Pinot Noir: really enjoyed DeLoach Vineyards Russian River Pinot Noir 2007 (sweet spicy raspberry, 90) and the delicate Flowers Winery Andreen Gale Pinot Noir 2006 (89). Testarossa Vineyards "Palazzio" Pinot Noir 2007 showed lovely black raspberry fruit with a rose petal note (91). Murphy-Goode Cambria Pinot Noir 2006 from Santa Maria was well extracted with fruit-forwards raspberry flavours, very elegant (90).

At last year's event I discovered Magito and my first impression then that this is a quality producer was confirmed at this tasting by their Meadowcroft Cabernet Sauvignon Mount Veeder 2005 (great structured, rich blackcurrant fruit and minerality (92)). Other wines I really enjoyed: Far Niente Chardonnay 2007 (rich, spicy pineapple flavour with a fine spine of acidity (91)), Hess Collection Allomi Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon 2006 (firmly structured, sweet blackcurrant fruit, well balanced (91)) and Grgich Hills Cabernet Sauvignon 2004 (rich, full-extracted fruit, great length (90)).

In the silent auction I put my name down for a canteen of cutlery (I liked the box).

Tuesday, April 7: Got a phone call this morning on my answering service telling that I was the successful bidder for the canteen of cutlery. What was I thinking. I casually dropped the idea to Deborah as she drove me over to Doug Towers for a tasting: I think we need new cutlery, ours is looking a bit worn. She gave me an odd look and ask me what I had done. I fessed up and now await the arrival of a huge box of cutlery for all occasions. A coffee at The Homeway diner near the condo to meet Joe Sexsmith, who is interested in importing Australian wines with added concentrations of resveratrol. I said I'd be interested in tasting them when he gets samples. Met my son, Guy, at the Rogers Centre to watch the Blue Jays' second game of the season against Detroit. They came from behind to defeat the Tigers 6–2. A very satisfactory evening in spite of fact the stadium had lost its liquor license for some infringement and no beer was to be had.

Wednesday, April 8: A tasting this evening at The National Club for members and their guests. I started by showing the guests the effect of flavours on wine using the club's own bottling of Chardonnay as the control wine. We tasted it with apple, salt and lemon to show the effect. Then into a tasting of cheese and wine.

  • Arrowood Chardonnay 2005 with Brie de Meaux
  • Pinard Cuvée Florès 2007 with Chèvre Noir
  • Caravan Cabernet Sauvignon 2005 (a second label of Darioush) with Le Cru du Clocher Cheddar
  • Trius Estate Vidal Icewine 2004 with Roquefort

Thursday, April 9: Spent the day writing a Commentary for the July issue of Tidings on the growing phenomenon of blended white wines in Ontario and BC. In the evening a meeting with the Silver Circle services for senior executives regarding a wine tasting fund-raiser in June.

Friday, April 10: Good Friday. Worked on the results of the Ontario Wine Awards from the two days of judging on Saturday and Sunday last. A record number of entries this year, 501. For dinner with tilapia, Caliterra Sauvignon Blanc Riserva 2008 (a really good example of Chilean Sauvignon from Casablanca Valley).




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