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A Wine Lover's Diary, part 311 (October 4, 2010)

Monday, September 27: Wrote my 680 News wine reviews and then spent the rest of the day on the Grapes for Humanity dinner. In the evening Deborah and I had a meeting of the volunteers in the condo's library to go over the flow of the evening and individual responsibilities. Among the wines I opened was a really delicious Grange of Prince Edward Sauvignon Blanc 2009.

Tuesday, September 28:  Proofed the final copy for the dinner program on October 7th. In the evening, went down to the Real Sports Bar at the Air Canada Centre for Stem's annual portfolio tasting. The invitation said "Entertainment and food will be provided." The food was great but entertainment was a very loud rock band. Coupled with the crush of people and the huge TV screens, tasting the great Italian producers that Stem represents was a challenge. Loved the wines of Zyme, particularly Zyme Valpolicella Superiore Ripasso 2006 and Zyme Amarone 2003. Other top wines for me were Boroli Barolo "Villero" 2004, La Fattoria di Magliano "Sinarra" Sangiovese 2008, Masciarelli "Marina Cvetic" Montepulciano d'Abruzzo 2005 and their Montepulciano d'Abruzzo "Villa Gemma" 2004, Feudi San Gregorio Fiano di Avellino 2009 and their Serpico Aglianico 2005. They also import Merry Edwards wines and I had the chance to taste again her amazing Merry Edwards Sauvignon Blanc 2009 and her Russian River Valley Pinot Noir 2007. But the real revelation was the grappas of Disillerie Berta  from Monferrato  in Piedmont. They do a 1989 Grappa di Barbera/Nebbiolo "Del Fondator" which blew me away. I've never tasted a grappa like it. It was more like a Paradis cognac. The flavour stayed with me from the Air Canada Centre until Union Station. Not cheap – $390 for 500 mL – but a memorable tasting experience.

Wednesday, September 29: Got an email telling me that my colleague Beppi Crosariol, the Globe's wine writer, will from now on be using the 100-point scoring system when evaluating wines. He gave some very cogent arguments as to why he's adopting the numbers game. I succumbed to it about 18 months ago – I used to score out of five stars (giving half stars, which is basically a ten-point system). Recorded my 680 News reviews, and while I was down at Rogers I bought a BlackBerry. Something I've resisted for years (like the 100-point system) but I have come to accept, with reluctance, that it's necessary if you are carrying on a business and are not in one's office a lot.

A conference call to Ottawa with board members of the Governor General's Award for "The Nation's Table" to discuss next year's awards. In the evening, a reunion dinner at Rossini's on Avenue Road for the participants in my wine tour of Spain in May. It's really like a family get-together – and many are already committed to the May 2011 wine tour of Sicily. I brought along the following wines for the dinner:

  • Planeta Cometa 2008
  • Planeta La Segreta Bianco 2009
  • Thirty Bench Riesling 2008
  • Closson Chase South Clos Chardonnay 2007
  • Mission Hill Perpetua Chardonnay 2008
  • Planeta La Segreta Rosso 2009
  • Serego Aligheri in Toscana 2005
  • Ogier Cotes du Rhone 2007
  • Cave de Roquebrun Roches Noirs Saint-Chinan-Roquebrun 2007
  • Durbanville Hill Shiraz 2007

Thursday, September 30: Started work on a profile of Frederic Picard, Huff's winemaker, for The County Grapevine. Went to Ladies' Night at the Audi dealership, put on by Lifford. Tasted a range of Mitolo Shiraz 2007The Jester, Reiver, Savitar and Sapico. Intrigued by the latter, made Amarone-style by drying the Shiraz grapes for five to six weeks before fermentation. Lovely wine. Also tasted the new vintage of Laurent Miguel Unoaked Chardonnay 2009. A great bargain at $11.

Friday, October 1: A Vintages tasting this morning and then to Coppi to have lunch with Guy Hooper of De Martino. Their Elqui wines show beautifully. Back home to change and then dash downtown to have drinks with Jean-Charles Boisset and Gina Gallo at the bar in the Hazelton Hotel (Clos de la Vougeraie Clos Blanc de Vougeot 2005) before heading to Todd Halpern's house for his annual Grand Cru party. Greeted at the door by an elephant from the Bowmanville Zoo.

Saturday, October 2: Up early to meet the bus in Yorkdale Shopping Centre's parking lot to take a group of Ontario Wine Awards sponsors to Prince Edward County for a tour of Huff and The Grange of Prince Edward. Back in time to join Sam and Esther Sarick's Grand Cru dinner, prepared by Jamie Kennedy. Two amazing wines: Faively Corton-Charlemagne 2007 with quenelle with crab and soubise and Leroy Clos de Vougeot 1996 with Arctic caribou with wild blueberry and spaetzle.




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