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A Wine Lover's Diary, part 313 (October 18, 2010)

Monday, October 11: Caught Deborah's cold. I was scheduled to do a wine tasting at the IWEG stand at The International Home Show themed to Ontario's gold medal wines. But a miscommunication somewhere down the line ended up with no wines being delivered. I hustled around the hall to see what Ontario wines were available and found Peller Estates' chef Jason Parsons was doing a cooking demonstration in another area, so I snaffled a bottle each of Peller Estates Chardonnay 2009, Peller Estates Cabernet Merlot 2009 and Peller Estates Vidal Icewine 2009 for my event. Delivered more of Thursday's auction wine to successful bidders in the evening. For dinner, barbecued hamburgers with Quails' Gate Old Vine Foch 2008. A great match.

Tuesday, October 12: My cold is worse and have to record my 680 News wine reviews. My producer, Stewart Hammill, tells me that I'd better come back next week since my voice sounds terrible. Wrote an article about Frédéric Picard, Huff Estates' winemaker, for The County Grapevine magazine.

Justyn Szymczyk and Brett Preston came to the condo and made a presentation of a charity wine concept called The Little Grape That Could. They had bottled a white (Sauvignon) and a red (Tempranillo) Spanish wine under this label to sell for under $11 a bottle. The idea is that charities who sign on will receive a donation from each bottle sold if the purchaser goes on line to direct the donation to them. The charities' websites will appear on the back label. They have approached the LCBO for the wines to be available on liquor board shelves. That's the only way the scheme can work in Canada. I tasted the wines and they do punch above their weight. The Sauvignon has good varietal character and the Trempranillo is fruity and well made.

Wednesday, October 13: Wrote my monthly column for Post City Magazines. The editor has altered the format. He wants wine reviews rather than an essay about wine. It seems all wine columns are going that way these days. Tasted Stratus Red 2007. This is a brilliant wine, one of the best of Ontario's 2007 vintage – St. Emilion style, a seamless blend, beautifully crafted. Deborah and I polished off the bottle with a barbecued steak.

Thursday, October 14: A meeting with Pantages Hotel executives to discuss venues for next year's Ontario Wine Awards. In the evening I had a dinner wine tasting to conduct for a corporation. I had the venue down in my diary as the Marriott Hotel on Bay Street. When I called the hotel to find out which room the dinner was in I was told there was no record of it. I started calling the other Marriotts around Toronto with the same result. Started to panic. I called my contact at the company and got her answering service. Luckily she picked up the message as I was driving madly all over Toronto from Marriott to Marriott. It turned out to be Le Meridien (the King Eddie). I arrived hot and sweaty ten minutes before the guests were to be seated. Turned out very well, though. I must have been running on adrenalin. The wines for the tasting:

  • Reception wine: Prosecco di Valdobbiadene (Veneto)
  • Dinner wines:
  • Henry of Pelham Chardonnay Non Oak, Sur Lie (Ontario)
  • Jardin Sauvignon Blanc (South Africa)
  • Louis Jadot Beaujolais Villages (Burgundy)
  • Henry of Pelham Cabernet-Merlot Meritage (Ontario)
  • Pascual Toso Malbec (Argentina)

Friday, October 15: A Vintages tasting for November 27th. There are 165 wines in this release so, mercifully, David Churchill has broken it up into two days. Today is white wines and light reds. After the tasting Zoltan Szabo and I went to Didier's restaurant for steak tartare and frites with mayonnaise and a bottle of Butterfield Pinot Noir Bourgogne 2007. Didier makes the best steak tartare in Toronto.

In the evening, drove over to the Columbus Centre for the Cambridge Food & Wine Society annual awards ceremony. With Donald Ziraldo and Winne Fong I was presented with the College of Builders Award. Very gratifying. Met Ted Kotcheff, who was also honoured at the event, and we reminisced about our days in London in the 1960s and '70s.




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