A Wine Lover's Diary, part 273 (January 11, 2010)
Monday, January 4: Began working on the Ontario Wine Awards, compiling the letter to the wineries and updating the entry regulations, etc. Had new passport photos taken. Look like an axe murderer. Got the wines together for the blind tasting competition on Thursday. For dinner, Cusumano Nero d'Avola 2008 with pasta, Italian sausage and arrabbiata sauce.
Tuesday, January 5: A meeting with my literary agent, Dean Cooke, to discuss future book projects. I want to get back to fiction and complete the fourth in the Ezra Brant series, Nightmare in Napa. Dean says it's a good time to submit it to publishers so maybe I'll get back to fiction again. Wrote my notes for a seminar I have to deliver in Santiago on how Chileans might get Canadian consumers to trade up in price. Dinner, Sandhill Pinot Blanc 2007 with salmon.
Wednesday, January 6: A tasting this morning with Doug Towers and David Lawrason for winerytohome.com. Since I won't be in town for Deborah's birthday on January 12th, we went out to dinner locally at Agostino risorante on Yonge. I brought along a bottle of Lassalle Champagne Brut and Burrowing Owl Merlot 2007. I ordered pork belly and wild boar ravioli and mushroom risotto, both of which were delicious.
Thursday, January 7: At 4:30pm Deborah and I drove down to The Wine Establishment to set up the tables for my annual blind tasting challenge to the Ontario International Wine Spirits & Beer Association members. This is the eleventh year I've held the competition. Each agency is invited to enter two candidates. Seventeen people signed up. Contest participants are asked to taste blind and identify the grape type, region, vintage and, if possible, the producer of the following six wines:
- Hermann J. Weimer Riesling Dry 2006 (New York)
- Southbrook Triomphe Chardonnay 2006 (Ontario)
- Villa Maria Merlot Hawkes Bay 2004 (New Zealand)
- Concha y Toro Winemaker's Lot Cabernet Sauvignon 2007 (Chile)
- Quails' Gate Old Vines Foch 2007 (British Columbia)
- Fairview Jakkals Fontein Shiraz 2004 (South Africa)
The participants now have a different pronunciation for Marechal Foch. I admit it was a devilishly had set of wines to identify. Congratulations to the winner – Frank Rey, Ontario Specialty Brands Manager, Authentic Wine & Spirits Merchants. Frank will be presented with a specially engraved decanter and certificate at OIWSBA's 31st Annual Awards Dinner on Friday, February 12, 2010, at the National Club. He can also look forward to years of hushed industry whispers when he walks into a room... "Hey, look... it's him... that blind tasting competition winner, Frank Rey."
For dinner, Deborah prepared a spicy Thai soup with pork, green beans and potatoes, which we consumed with pleasure with the last quarter of bottle of the Hermann J. Weimer Riesling Dry 2006 (which was more like a Spätlese and perfect for the dish).
Friday, January 9: A Vintages release tasting this morning. Arrived at the tasting room by 10:30 to find that only half the wines had been put out. The rest arrived an hour later, the whites and sparkling at room temperature. Who's minding the shop? One fantastic wine for a good price – Concha y Toro Trio Reserva Chardonnay/Pinot Grigio/Pinot Blanc 2008 made by old friend Ignacio Recabarren. I'm flying to Chile tomorrow to judge in their annual wine competition and hope to see him there. For dinner, salmon with a bottle of Hillebrand Oliveira Vineyard Chardonnay 2007.