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A Wine Lover's Diary, part 306 (August 30, 2010)

Monday, August 23: Spent most of the day on writing the dinner program for Grapes for Humanity's Oct. 7th event. There will be a live and a silent wine auction. The proceeds go to BRAC, an NGO created in 1972, in Bangladesh that will funnel the proceeds to the Haiti relief fund to buy prosthetics.

Watched a DVD that was sent to me from the Everyday Genius Institute in San Franscisco. It's entitled Think like a Genius Wine Master and it features Tim Gaiser, a Master Sommelier. Tim demonstrates his wine tasting strategies – how to taste like a pro. It's a good step-by-step analysis on how to deconstruct wine, although Tim swallows every sample he takes and doesn't suggest spitting. Notwithstanding, a good introduction to the art (and craft) of tasting by imaging. That is, picturing the type of fruits, herbs and spices you taste subconsciously when you smell wine and put it in your mouth. Tim comes across as a very engaging wine man with whom you'd like to share a bottle of something really good.

Tuesday, August 24: Worked on the auction lots for Grapes for Humanity (they're all posted at Grapes for Humanity Fine Wine Auction reserve bidding). Tasted the new Niagara College Teaching Winery Dean's List Chardonnay 2009: Straw colour; ripe Burgundian-style nose – spicy, creamy pineapple with a touch of forest floor. Lovely mouth-feel with flavours of pineapple and orange flavours carried on a lively acidic spine. Deftly handled oak and good length. (91)

Wednesday, August 25: Had a walk through at the Four Seasons hotel with the dinner committee for the Grapes for Humanity event. How to make the logistics of the auctions work – display of wines, spotting bidders, recording winners, movement of bottles to the payment point, etc. There will be a test dinner in a couple of weeks. The menu is:

Hors d'oeuvres to accompany Champagne Roederer

Lobster & Leek Quiche
Rabbit Rillette, Thyme Biscotti, Quince Jelly
Duck Liver Parfait, Toasted Brioche, Spicy Maple-Cider Glaze
Squash Cider Shooter, Muscat Grapes

Dinner Menu

Smoked Ontario Kolapore Springs Speckled Trout with Celery Root & Cranberry Remoulade, Green Onion Aioli
Goat cheese Beignet, Chestnut & Pear Relish
Remoissenet Chassagne Montrachet 2006
Remoissenet Puligny-Montrachet Referts 2006

Slow Roasted Venison, Pumpkin Puree, Sauteed Wild Mushrooms, Truffled Brussels Sprout Salad, Confit Shallot Jus
Remoissenet Chambolle-Musigny Echanges 2006
Remoissenet Clos Vougeot 2007 

Dessert: Lemon Almond Savarin with spiced Apple Compote with Lindt chocolate
Domaine Pinnacle Ice Cider
Coffee, Decaffeinated, Tea
Remy Martin Cognac XO

Thursday, August 26: This whole week seems to be taken up with arrangements for the dinner. Read the following disturbing note in the August issue of Wine Spectator:

Our Spanish-speaking Unfiltered readers will quickly recognize Spain's newly approved Vino Dulce de Hielo appellation, or Denominación de Origen (D.O.), for what it is: the country's first approved D.O. for ice wine, including ice wine made from artificially frozen grapes. The Vino Dulce de Hielo D.O. has been approved for wines made from a variety of grapes in the Penedès wine region, just east of Barcelona. Elsewhere in Europe, ice wine can only be produced from grapes that are left on the vine until temperatures drop low enough to freeze the grapes, and well-bundled harvesters rush to bring the grapes into the presses still frozen. The new D.O. allows grapes of suitable sugar content (240 grams per liter) to be frozen, although the natural method is also acceptable. But given the fact that the last time Unfiltered visited vineyards in Penedès it was upwards of 90° F, a freezer seems the most likely alternative for a wine from this new D.O.

This should start the alarm bells going at the VQA, to say nothing of the wine regulators in Germany and Austria with whom Canada has an agreement that Icewine must be made from vine-frozen grapes.

Friday, August 29: A Vintages tasting for the October release. There were 115 wines put out. I think the LCBO has a plot to do in the wine writers.




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