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A Wine Lover's Diary, part 271 (December 29, 2009)

Monday, December 21: Work is slowing down as Christmas approaches. David Rose came to lunch to discuss next year's Ontario Wine Awards. In the evening Zoltan Szabo and his wife, Johanna, came to dinner. We served spaghetti and meat sauce after nibbles of prosciutto and salami and cheeses. Zoltan brought over a bottle of Huba Szeremley Badaconyi Muscat Ottonel 2004 from Hungary – very aromatic with rose petal and apricot flavours finishing dry – and a bottle of Carmelo Patti Cabernet Sauvignon 2002 from Argentina – very flavourful blackcurrant and cedar notes. I pulled out a bottle Closson Chase S. Kocsis Chardonnay 2007 – from the vineyard Deborah Paskus used to make the Temkin-Paskus Chardonnays, very rich, full-bodied, tropical fruit flavours with evident oak.

Tuesday, December 22: Drove out to Prince Edward County to interview Deborah Paskus for an article I'm writing for The County Grapevine. Stopped in at The Grange of Prince Edward to pick up a bottle of their first sparkling wine, The Grange of Prince Edward Brut 2007. The lyrical back label is spoiled by the misspelling of palate as "palette." I'm coming across that a lot lately. Dinner: pork stir-fry with a bottle of Strewn Gewurztraminer Dry 2008.

Wednesday, December 23: Recorded my 680News reviews and finished off reading and correcting proofs for the "North American Wine Routes" book. Tried to get the publisher to call it The Wine Routes of the U.S and Canada but to no avail. Dinner: roast chicken with a bottle of Ogier Ventoux 2008. Unremarkable but went well with the chicken.

Thursday, December 24: A dental appointment for teeth cleaning this morning. My dentist says my teeth aren't as stained as they were last year. He asked me if I'd given up wine. I nearly swallowed one of his instruments. I told him it could be that I'd given up coffee, which I used to take black without sugar. This evening, the annual traditional carol-singing buffet dinner at Arlene & Michael Willis's. Lashings of Pol Roger Brut Cuvée Reserve. The highlight of the evening is the singing of "A Partridge in a Pear Tree." Couples are given one line each and we have to rehearse, accompanied by Bernie, the pianist who is Jewish and is an annual fixture. Hysterical.

Friday, December 25: Deborah and I exchanged gifts over the breakfast table; I bought her a necklace which I had purchased at a Diabetes Charity event in a silent auction last summer. She bought me the Rosetta Stone Italian course. I'm determined to learn Italian in 2010. My father taught himself Italian in 1965 so that he could deliver a speech at a wedding in Palermo. It was such a success that it was reprinted in the local newspaper and guests kept coming up to him telling him how much he sounded like Mussolini. The books he learned from were all printed in the 1930s. At 1 o'clock Deborah and I picked up her sister Suzanne and drove up to Caledon for Christmas dinner at Deborah's niece, Nadine's. Egg nog, mince pies, Christmas cake, all the works. A late lunch – a vegetable soup made by Nadine's father, Spiro. The turkey dinner was served at 7:30. I brought up a few Ontario wines: Flat Rock Riesling 2008, Inniskillin Three Vineyards Chardonnay 2008, Pillitteri Cabernet Franc 2007 and Viewpointe Fine Pointe Pinot Noir 2005.




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