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A Wine Lover's Diary, part 262 (October 26, 2009)

Monday, October 19: Am reading Linda Bramble's new book, Niagara's Wine Visionaries: Profiles of the Pioneering Winemakers. Very entertaining, well researched, a real page turner with good gossip. A pleasure to read something about the Ontario wine industry that doesn't talk about Cellared in Canada wines.

At 6 pm I visited Ian Hall, who called me up about a Commentary I had written in Tidings magazine on the move to blended white wines by Canadian winemakers. I had not mentioned a wine that he really liked, and would I like to taste it with him? The wine turned out to be Little Straw Tapestry 2008 from BC, a blend of five or six mainly aromatic varieties. Very drinkable in the same style as Trius White. Ian's daughter, a noted Canadian triathlete, joined us. Good to see athletes take a glass of wine occasionally.

Tuesday, October 20: Down to the Summerhill liquor store for a very well organized tasting of wines from the G7 – five Portuguese producers who grow wine in seven regions. We begin, in a private room, with nine indigenous varieties: Alvarinho, Loueiro, Arinto, Fernão Pires, Aragones, Tinta Nacional grown in the Douro, Setubal and Dão and Touriga Franca (a cross of Touriga Nacional and Tinta Barroca). Then into a tasting of specific wines.

  • Quinta da Aveleda Vinho Verde 2008: very pale with a greenish tint; crisp, light, green melon and lemon flavours with lively acidity. More mouth-feel than most Vinho Verdes. (87)
  • J.P. Tinto 2008 (Castelão, Aragones, Syrah and 105 other varieties from Setubal): ruby colour; minerally, floral, spicy raspberry nose; sweet fruit. (86)
  • Aliança Particular 2006 (Tinta Roriz and Touriga Nacional): ruby; rich, warm black fruits with vanilla oak; creamy, soft mouth-feel with a firm tannic finish. (88)
  • Charamba Doura 2007 (Touriga Nacional, Tinta Franca, Tinta Roriz and Tinta Barroca from the Douro): deep ruby; spicy blackberry and cinnamon; fruity, dry, easy drinking, fresh on the palate with supple tannins. Great value. (88)
  • Caves Aliança Tinta da Anfora 2006 (Aragones, Touriga Nacional, Trincadeira from Alentejo): spirity, licorice, dry and fleshy; firmly structured with a salty note. (86)
  • Caves Alianca Vista TN Reserva 2007 (Touriga Nacional with 10% Tinta Roriz from Beiras): deep ruby; earthy, cherry pit nose; dry, acidic with a short blunt finish. (85)
  • J.M. Fonseca Periquita 2006 (Castelão, Trincadeira and Aragones from Setubal): ruby; leather, cherry with a floral note; light and fresh on the palate. More elegant and less rustic than previous vintages. (87)
  • J.M. Fonseca Quinta da Camarate 2007 (Touriga Nacional, Castelão, Aragones from Terres do Sado), Cabernet Sauvignon): cedar, plum nose like a rustic claret; dark chocolate and black fruit flavours, firm structure. (89)
  • Caves Messias Quinta do Penedo 2007 (Touriga Nacional, Alfrocheiro from Dão): A foot-pressed wine. Deep purple-ruby; pencil lead, mulberry, pepper with a floral note; dry well structured, elegant and well balanced. (90)
  • Messias LBV Port 2004: mature ruby; medicinal, vermouth-like nose; sweet and spicy with an aged note; a flavour of sweet dried figs with lively acidity. (87)

Following this tasting we move into the test kitchen for lunch. A delicious Italian menu prepared by Chef Massimo Renzi of Sotto Sotto.

  • Tris di mare (seafood mosaic composed of seared scallop, seared tuna and garlic shrimp) served with Aveleda Follies Alvarinho 2008 (pale straw with a lime tint; minerally, citrus peel nose; fresh and lively green melon flavour (88)).
  • Ravioli di zucca (butternut squash ravioli in a brown butter sage sauce) with J.M. Fonseca Hexagon 2005 (Tannat, Syrah, Touriga Nacional, Tinta Tranca, Tinta Cão and Trincadeira from Setubal – dense purple colour with a nose of violets, spicy oak and blackberry and currants; full-bodied plum and chocolate flavours, beautifully balanced and elegant. Best wine of the day (91)).
  • Osso buco stinco di vitello (veal shank with soft polenta) with three wines: Tinto da Anfora Grande Escolha 2006 (Aragones, Touriga Nacional, Cabernet Sauvignon from Alentejo - deep ruby; spicy blackberry with sweet creamy oak; soft mouth-feel, floral, cassis and leather notes (89)); Quinta dos 4 Ventos Reserva 2006 (Touriga Nacional, Tinta Roriz, Tinta Franca – deep ruby; vanilla oak, blackberry nose; chunky, eearthy blackberry flavour, full-bodied and firmly structured (89)); Caves Messias Dados Douro Reserva 2007 (Tinta Roriz, Tinta Franca, Touriga Nacional – made by Spanish and Portuguese winemakers - dense purple colour; cedar, chocolate, vanilla oak notes; sweet fruit with a rose petal note; Very elegant. (90)).
  • Cannoli di ricotta all'arancia (traditional Italian pastry with orange ricotta filling) served with Bacalhôa Moscatel Roxo 1998 (deep copper colour; high toned, honey and orange peel nose; full on the palate, sweet with good acidity but beginning to dry out (89)).

Wednesday, October 21: Lunch at Acqua with my old friend Luiz Conceição, who runs the Port Wine Club. He tells me about the new website he's in the process of setting up, I order roasted skate wine and a glass of Cave Spring Riesling 2008.

Thursday, October 22: A Vintages tasting this morning as part of the December release. This will be repeated tomorrow.

Friday, October 23: The second half of the release. My son, Guy, came over but wouldn't stay for a roast chicken dinner. He stayed long enough to join Deborah and me for a glass of Lailey Vineyard Pinot Noir 2004.

Saturday, October 24: Deborah and I drove up to Peterborough and The Orginal Greek Bistro and Wine Bar. The proprietor, George Anagnostou, has been putting on wine dinners intermittently for several years since moving up to Peterbrough from Toronto. This was the menu we had. No chance to come away hungry from this meal since George's sister Chef Anna presents each dish as if it's a main course.

Belcanto di Bellussi
Extra Dry Prosecco di Valdobbiadene-D.O.C.

First course:
2008 Falchini Vigna a Solatio
Vernaccia di San Gimignano-Tuscany-D.O.C.G.

Food pairing: Fresh homemade ravioli, filled with fresh lobster, topped with a light crab cream sauce

Second course:
2008 Bollini
Pinot Grigio-Alto Adige/Trentino-D.O.C.

Food pairing: Crespelle with proscuitto and  fontina cheese, crusted with a light cream parmigiano reggiano sauce

Third course:
2008 Duca di Castelmonte Gorgo Tondo

Food pairing: Pumpkin risotto topped with filet of broiled salmon

Fourth course:
2004 La Spinona Bricco Faset

Food pairing: Fresh Tuna topped with a tomato basil caper sauce

Fifth course:
2006 Zironda
Amarone della Valpolicella-Veneto-D.O.C.

Food pairing: Famous Italian dish of braciole: slow roasted beef wrapped around proscuitto, raisins & provolone cheese topped with a red wine tomato sauce

Sixth course:
2004 Fenocchio Bussia

Food pairing: Braised osso buco in a red wine reduction, topped with a gremolata sauce

2007 Pellegrino Pantelleria Passito

Food pairing: Zabaglione is a famous Italian dessert, with fresh fruit, Marsala wine and almond biscotti




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