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A Wine Lover's Diary, part 250 (August 4, 2009)

Monday, July 27: This week it looks like I'll be working on the Reader's Digest book of wine touring in Canada. Tasted a wine from a new winery called Blackwood Lane in the Fraser Valley, BC. It's called Alliance 2006, a Bordeaux blend. Unlike the wines from Oliver-Osoyoos, this wine is more elegant and claret-like. Richly extracted fruit with flavours of blackcurrant, bramble and bitter chocolate. The best red wine I've tried from the Fraser Valley, a region that doesn't get the attention of the Okanagan.

Javier Santos came by the condo for a glass of wine to tell me about marketing Yellow Tail in Mexico. I opened a bottle of Creekside Reserve Viognier 2007. Deborah made some guacamole, which went very well with the wine.

Then we dropped in on the opening of a new restaurant at 579 Mount Pleasant, Florentia. It's co-owned by chef Bruno Soleri and artist Marco Sassone, whose apocalyptic sunset painting adorns the label of Ferrari-Carano Tresor 2005 (Meritage). Sassone also painted a 17-foot mural in the restaurant depicting Florence from the perspective of Fiesole interspaced with Florentine figures of the Renaissance – Leonardo, Michelangelo, Dante, astronomer Galileo and the contemporary film actor Roberto Benigni. The wine list is well priced. Had a bite of pizza and came home and opened a bottle of Inniskillin Okanagan Cabernet Sauvignon 2006 with cheese.

Chef Bruno Soleri (left), Tony and artist Marco Sassone with mural

Tuesday, July 28: Lunch at Il Posto with Garrett Herman, Rudi Blatter and Gary Prouk to discuss the chocolate fundraiser dinner for Grapes for Humanity. Rudi is trying to get Ken Shaw, the CTV news anchor, to MC the event. Ordered a bottle of Anselmi San Vincenzo 2008 with my grilled trout. It was so good we ordered another. 

Wednesday, July 29: Finished off the Quebec portion of the Reader's Digest book. Tried a bottle of Kappa P35 Xynomavro Rosé 2008 – an interesting pink wine unlike any other. The wine is dry with a resiny quality adding to the sour cherry flavour. Not for all tastes but worked beautifully with my home-made hummus with grilled pine nuts, olive oil and fresh coriander.

Good news: Ken Shaw has accepted to host the October 8th dinner. We still don't know the ticket cost, as we're waiting for the Four Seasons Executive Chef, Claudio Rossi, to cost the five-course menu prepared by his colleague Ashley James in Los Angeles.

Thursday, July 30: Lunch at Didier's to celebrate my fishing buddy Leo's 80th birthday. Five of the six of us who go fishing every year were there and Sam brought the wine. We started with Bollinger RD 1979 followed by Louis Latour Corton Charlemagne 2003, served with Didier's mushroom risotto. With his steak tartar (the best in Toronto) and French fries, Roumier Chambolle-Musigny 1989 and Roumier Bonnes Mares 1997 (amazing). Sam is upset that Lettie Teague does not mention Canada at all in her new book, Educating Peter – How I Taught a Famous Movie Critic the Difference Between Cabernet and Merlot or How Anybody Can Become an (Almost) Instant Wine Expert. He wants to send her a copy of my Wine Atlas of Canada. Tracked her down easily on the internet.

Received an email from New York directing me to Mark Squires's Wine Bulletin board on Robert Parker, where he asks the ungrammatical question: "Aside From Parker who's (critic) palate do respect for": Howard Goldberg of The New York Times wrote:  

Any meaningful discussion must include Michael Broadbent, Steven Spurrier, Oz Clarke, Serena Sutcliffe, Stuart Pigott, Hugh Johnson, Gerald Asher (an especially sophisticated writer), Matt Kramer (not principally for his palate as for his imaginative, witty, even brilliant gravitas, which, for my money, made him Wine Spectator's Ted Williams long ago), Joshua Greene (his high seriousness as publisher and editor of Wine & Spirits has doubtless helped inspire the lovely writing of Peter Liem, on Champagne, and of Tara Q. Thomas, on Greek wines), Tony Aspler (on Canadian wines, no contest), Sergio Esposito (though a merchant and thus not necessarily as disinterested as writers are supposed to be, he is as deep as an old taproot on Italian wines), Gerald Dawes (a veteran, pugnaciously provocative heavyweight on Spanish wines) and Daniel Rogov (Israeli wines).

I'll have to buy Howard Goldberg a drink.

Friday, July 31: Started in on the British Columbia portion of the book. For dinner I cooked salmon and we accompanied it with Georges Duboeuf Chardonnay Pays d'Oc 2007. The wine comes on like a Pouilly-Fuissé only at half the cost ($10.95) – minerally, green pineapple flavour with a nutty note; a candidate for my Wines of the Week.




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