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A Wine Lover's Diary, part 278 (February 16, 2010)

Monday, February 8: Finished off an article for Post City Magazines about little-known red wines. I phoned Flying Blue, Air France's frequent flyer program, to find out how many points I had accumulated, as I wanted to book a flight to London in April for the Decanter International Wine Competition. The guy tells me that I have zero points. I say, "What do you mean, no points?" He tells me that they were eradicated from my account on February 2nd because I hadn't used them within the prescribed period. I told him that I had no notification of this policy and who did I have to write to to complain. He gave me a fax number and I have written asking that the points be re-instated. It will be interesting to see what happens.

Lunch with Matey Nedkov, a director of Grapes for Humanity, to discuss the possibility of a fund-raiser event based on a polo match. At 3 pm Rolando Maya of Argentum Wine Imports picked me up to take me to The Boulevard Café on Harbord Street for a tasting of David Butterfield's Burgundies. David is the son of George Butterfield of Butterfield & Robinson. He was one of the company's guides in Beaune, where he decided he wanted to become a winemaker. David took a diploma course in 2001 and studied viticulture for two years, working with Pascal Marchand at Domaine de la Vougeraie. He spent six months in New Zealand with Villa Maria and returned to Burgundy to work with Frédéric Cossard at Domaine de Chassorney and the following year in Volnay. In 2005 he began making wine under his own label from bought-in grapes. His father-in-law is Jacques Lardière, the technical director at Louis Jadot, and his wife graduated top of her class in oenology. David's wine labels feature a big black B.

  • Butterfield Chardonnay 2007: straw-coloured with a green tint; apple nose with lively acidity; crisp and fresh in the mouth, minerally, broad on the palate with good mouth feel and surprising length (89+)
  • Butterfield Meursault 2007: straw-coloured with green highlights; minerally, lemony, nutty nose, beginning to develop barnyard notes; rich and full on the palate, well integrated oak; spicy orange, lemon and green apple flavours; great mouth feel. (90)
  • Butterfield Meursault les Charmes 2007: straw-coloured with green highlights; vanilla oak, apple, minerally, chestnut skin bouquet; fresh and lively, very focused with great energy. Hold for  3–5 years (92)
  • Butterfield Puligny-Montrachet Les Folatières 2007: straw-coloured with a minerally, spicy apple and smoky nose; flavours of toasty orange and apple; firm and beautifully balanced; opulent and dry but still elegant with great length. Hold 4 years. (93)
  • Butterfield Pinot Noir 2007: ruby colour; mineral, cherry nose; light, clean, fruity flavour with a top note of violets; easy drinking and fresh with ripe tannins (88)
  • Butterfield Pinot Noir 2006: ruby colour; earthy, cherry, mushroom nose; firm, well structured, dry and tight (89)
  • Butterfield Beaune 2007: ruby colour; spicy, black raspberry nose with minerally mushroom notes; well balanced, firm and muscular with ripe tannins (90)
  • Butterfield Corton 2006: light ruby colour; spicy, raspberry nose with minerality and violets; full on the palate belying its colour with a firm structure and a tannic lift on the finish. (91).

Tuesday, February 9: A meeting with David Rose and Sandy Kurbis of Forefront with the Pantages Hotel to discuss holding the Ontario Wines medal ceremony and trade and consumer tastings there in June. Learned today that my friend and fishing buddy Leo Fine died. He was 80 but was so full of life and energy you would have taken him for a much younger man. On our annual fishing trips it was Leo who made the Bloody Marys. We will miss his wicked sense of humour and his friendship.

At 2 pm over to Casey House to learn about their Art of the Barrel fund-raiser in conjunction with Ontario College of Art & Design. Twelve students have been selected to paint wine barrels. Then down to Roy Thomson Hall in the evening for Eat, Drink & Give, a fund-raiser in support of Doctors Without Borders and their work in Haiti. An amazing number of restaurants, wineries and wine importer booths. Great good and wine. Zoltan Szabo and I floated around the VIP tasting area to answer questions about the wines, amongst which were Bouchard Père et Fils Beaune L'Enfant Jesus 2004, Heitz Trailside Cabernet Sauvignon 1999, Southbrook Chardonnay 1998 (in magnum), Le Clos Jordanne Le Grand Clos Pinot Noir 2006 and Nicolas Feuillatte Champagne Brut. I conducted an auction of fine wines that raised $11,000. A really fun evening.

Tony as auctioneer

Wednesday, February 10: A meeting at The Homeway at 9 am with Wendy Gamble to flesh out concepts for wine experiences in Ontario for conventions and corporate events. Then back to The Homeway for lunch at noon with Carol Slatt to catch up on her wine importing agency. They have repainted the front doors of the condos and the smell is overpowering, causing Pinot to throw up on the carpet. I know how she felt. For dinner with rock Cornish hen, a bottle of Ortas Rasteau Côtes du Rhône Villages 2008.

Thursday, February 11: Today is Leo Fine's funeral. Beth Zedek Synagogue is packed with his friends. His granddaughter and his son gave very moving eulogies. Tonight I will go to the shiva. Packed for a weekend wedding in Sarasota. My friend Arlene Willis's daughter Adrienne is getting married on Valentine's Day in Longboat Key.

Friday, February 12: A Vintages tasting today for the March 20th release. This evening is the annual OIWSBA dinner, at which I present my Blind Taster Award to Frank Rey of Authentic Wine & Spirits. Can't resist a little dig at the LCBO's new regulations for importers when it comes to cartons of wine. In my speech I said: "I'm proud to tell you that this year's framed certificate for the winner conforms to the LCBO's new guidelines on maximum cartoon weight. I've lightened the glass so that it's under 18.9 kilograms, and as you see there are no cardboard dividers. I'm sure that the winner will be able to lift it without injury, so can I be in line for an Elsie Award, Mr. Peter?"

Each year there is a themed county or region. This year it's California. Here is the menu:

~ Reception ~

Butler Served Canapés
Tuna Tartar on Wonton Crisp
Wild Mushroom Bruschetta
Roast Lamb Loin on Yorkshire Pudding
Shrimp and Monterey Jack Quesadilla

  • Mumm Napa Brut Prestige, Pernod Ricard USA
    (Corby Distilleries Ltd.)
  • Sonoma County Syrah, 2007, Cline Cellars
  • Menage à Trois (White), 2008, Folie a Deux (Trinchero)
    (Dionysus Wines & Spirits Ltd.)


~ Appetizer ~

Seared Pacific Cod Pavé with Young Spinach,
Prosciutto Julienne and Citrus Beurre Blanc

  • Founders' Estate Pinot Grigio, 2008, Beringer Vineyards
    (Foster's Wine Estates)
  • Private Selection Sauvignon Blanc, 2008, Robert Mondavi Winery


~ Soup ~

Corn and Shellfish Bouillon with King Crab Leg
and Root Vegetable Julienne

  • Morning Fog Chardonnay, 2008, Wente Vineyards
    (Churchill Cellars Ltd.)
  • Sonoma County Chardonnay, 2007, Rodney Strong Vineyards
    (Mark Anthony Brands)
  • Russian River Ranches Chardonnay, 2007, Sonoma-Cutrer Wines
    (Brown-Forman Corporation)


~ Main Course ~

Fire-Roasted Alberta Beef Filet Mignon
with Honey Balsamic Glazed Shallots,
Sautéed Winter Chanterelle and Bluefoot Mushrooms,
served with a Cabernet Essence
- Roasted Chateau Potatoes and Vegetable Medley -

  • Diamond Collection Ivory Label Cabernet Sauvignon, 2007, Francis Ford Coppola Winery
    (Lifford Wine Agency)
  • Sterling Vineyards Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon, 2006, Sterling Vineyards
    (Diageo Canada Inc.)
  • Gnarlier Head Old Vine Zinfandel, 2006, Delicato Family Vineyards
    (Select Wine Merchants)


~ Dessert & Cheese ~

Semi-Sweet Valrhona Chocolate and Raspberry Bavarian Tower
with Marble Anglaise and Chantilly Cream

American Artisan Cheese Presentation
Featuring Cow Girl, Purple Haze, Humbolt Fog Goat,
Wisconsin Cheddar, Big Ed's Cow's Milk and Ciel de Charlevoix
accompanied by Dried Fruits and Nuts

  • Late Harvest Sauvignon Blanc, 2005, Lucas & Lewellen
    (Saverio Schiralli Agencies Ltd.)
  • Reserve Old Vine Zinfandel Lodi, 2007, Ironstone Vineyards
    (Lifford Wine Agency)
  • Gallo Family Vineyards Frei Ranch Zinfandel, 2007
    (E&J Gallo Winery Canada)


Coffee and Tea




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