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A Wine Lover's Diary, part 298 (July 5, 2010)

Monday, June 28: People keep sending me emails telling me how to open a bottle of wine by banging the base with a shoe. Please stop. A www.winerytohome tasting at Doug Towers, following which Doug's wife Judy prepared a great meal, which we ate in the back yard.

Tuesday, June 29: Lunch with Matey Nedkov, one of the directors of Grapes for Humanity, and Blake Goldring at the National Club. Blake is chair of the club's wine cellar, and the beverage manager Brian Perry pulled out some good stuff for us to drink with our lunch (I had oysters and gnocchi – not on the same plate – with Olivier Fichet Mâcon Igé "La Cra" 2008 and Château de Meursault Pommard Clos des Epenots 2000). Blake is also founder of Canada Company, a volunteer organization established in May 2006 to support Canadian troops.

At 3:30 pm, over to Vertical Restaurant in First Canadian Place for a meeting with Jacques and Stephen Pauwels of Pauwels Travels to discuss the itinerary for next year's May wine tour. The destination is Sicily. While determining the route and in which towns we would stay we consumed a bottle of Sardus Pater Vermentino di Sardegna 2007. And then another meeting at the National Club with Jackie Davies and Catherine MacFadyen to discuss arrangements for October 7th's Grapes for Humanity fine wine dinner and auction.

This evening, did a tasting of two wines from Black Hills in the Okanagan. I have been a great fan of this winery since I tasted Senka Tennant's wines when I was researching The Wine Atlas of Canada. She only made four wines then – very sensible – and the flagship was Nota Bene, a Bordeaux blend. When the estate was sold to Vinequest Wine Partners (which includes Jason Priestley) I was concerned that the quality might suffer. But winemaker Graham Pierce has carried on the tradition and even makes a Carmenère now. (The first in BC.; Sumac Ridge and Twisted Tree have some of this Chilean variety planted). I tasted Black Hills Nota Bene 2008 and Black Hills Alibi 2009 (a Sauvignon/Semillon blend), both of which are delicious, although the Alibi label – a puky yellow with red font and capsule – doesn't invite the eye. Finished the Nota Bene with barbecued steak.

Wednesday, June 30: A tasting for a friend who was entertaining his doctor colleagues. The wines were taken from his own cellar, which is extensive.

  • Reception wine: Champagne Veuve Clicquot (magnum)
  • Weinbach Riesling Schlossberg Grand Cru Cuvée St. Catherine 2004 (Alsace)
  • Latour Corton Charlemagne 1996 (Burgundy)
  • Willm Gewürztraminer 2005 (Alsace)
  • Château Haut Batailley 1989 (Bordeaux)
  • Drouhin Chambolle Musigny Les Amoureuses 1996 (Burgundy)
  • La Nerthe Châteauneuf du Pape Cuvée des Cadettes 1998 (Rhône)

Thursday, July 31: Canada Day. Deborah and I took Pinot the Wonder Dog down to Cherry Beach, where she enjoyed the water in the dogs' area. Then we went to an open house party thrown by one of her co-workers. There I met Bruce Borysiuk, who works for the Heritage ministry. He told me that the flag that flies over the Peace Tower is used for one day only and that Canadian residents can have one free by writing in to Public Works and Government Services Canada. According to the website, there's a 27-year waiting list. Nineteen years for flags flown over the East and West Blocks. This was an initiative by Sheila Copps, who said that any Canadian could get a flag for nothing by writing in. She also said she'd resign if the GST was instituted. To celebrate Canada Day I opened a bottle of Mike Weir Pinot Noir 2007.

Friday, July 2: The Wine Writers Circle tasting down at the Summerhill liquor store, mostly Ontario whites. For dinner with lamb chops, Red Knot Cabernet Sauvignon 2007 from McLaren Vale. A perfect match.




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