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A Wine Lover's Diary, part 257 (September 21, 2009)

Monday, September 14th: Spent much of the day writing my Commentary for Tidings magazine on Ontario's sub-appellation system. It took the French 200 years to work out what varieties should be planted where. J.L. Groulx, Stratus' winemaker (and a Frenchman) believes it will take us as long. Delivered material for the Grapes Under Pressure auction of rock memorabilia to Geddy Lee's office. The items will appear on eBay later this week (see

Tuesday, September 15: Deborah got back from Paris and I picked her up at the airport. Worked on an article about champagne and sparkling wine for the BC Liquor Distribution Branch magazine, Taste.

Wednesday, September 16: Picked up my son Guy from his office to drive up to Fenelon Falls. This is our annual father-and-son fishing trip. We are staying with Hugh Johnsone, who used to work for the LCBO, now retired. He serves us Tio Pepe and roasted almonds when we arrive. I've brought a couple of bottles for dinner, Fielding White Conception 2008 (a Conundrum-style blend of Pinot Gris, Gewurztraminer, Chardonnay Musqué, Riesling and Chardonnay (spicy melon flavour with a honeyed, floral note – very attractive (89)). Hugh has fresh corn on the cob and barbecued rack of lamb. He opens a bottle of Colio Signature Merlot 2002, which we taste against the Colio Merlot Reserve 2002. Then we start on my bottle of Catena Alamos Malbec 2007. For dessert, chocolate profiteroles. I leave Guy and Hugh arguing politics at 10:20 pm (the Blue Jays are up 4–2 against the Yankees), as we have to be up at 4:45 am to drive to Apsley,where we will meet Larry Paterson (a.k.a. The little Fat Wino) and Paul Ward to trek into the woods to Rock Lake.

Thursday, September 17: We stop for breakfast at Tim Hortons. I have a cup of tea and a plain donut that sits on my stomach for the rest of the morning. A 40-minute hike through the woods to Rock Lake. As a break from catching bass, before lunch we open a bottle of Mission Hill Quatrain 2006 (splendid) and Colio CEV Cabernet Franc 2002 and Paul Ward's home-made Landot 2007. We drink these wines with the nibbles I bought yesterday at Sobeys – pâtés, two dips, corm chips, pitas, salami and sliced ham.

Guy cooks (right), Paul watches

While Guy barbecues the steaks that Larry brought, I open the bottle of Kutjevo DD Rizling 1991 that I carried back from Croatia. With the steak we drink a bottle of Stoney Ridge Wismer Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon 1998. I am obviously a jinx as far as my son is concerned. He doesn't catch a fish while he's in my boat but the moment he switches to Larry's boat and uses Larry's rod, he catches three. Larry says he read in a sporting magazine that the fish are sensitive to the smells of fishermen (their odour gets on the bait and the hooks) and if the fish are attracted to the smell they will bite.

Larry Paterson holding forth

Larry is a fish magnet. Every time he drops his lure into the water he seems to get a fish. My tally at the end of the day was 11 foul-mouth bass. At least that's what it sounded like with five guys in close proximity. The Latin name for small-mouth bass is Micropterus dolomieui and mine were on the micro side. Got a sore back from casting and sitting on a plank of wood trying to keep my feet out of the bottom of the boat, which was slowly filling with water.

Paul and Hugh give us a tow

Larry gave me a hair-raising, bone-jarring ride on his ATV back to where the cars were parked. Arrived home at 8:30 pm, too tired to join Deborah for dinner across the road at The Homeway.

Friday, September 18: Spent the day on the phone trying to sell tickets to Grapes for Humanity's fund-raiser on October 8th. For dinner, with mushroom filled pasta, a bottle of Jacob's Creek Cabernet Sauvignon Reserve 2006. A really delicious wine with rich blackcurrant fruit and a minty note (89).




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