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A Wine Lover's Diary, part 314 (October 25, 2010)

Monday, October 18: Wrote my monthly wine reviews for On The GO magazine. Lunch at The Miller Tavern with Francisco Baettig, the winemaker from Errazuriz (flushed with victory from the Hong Kong blind tasting:

  1. Châteaux Margaux 2007
  2. Seña 2007 and Kai 2007
  3. Viñedo Chadwick 2007
  4. La Cumbre 2007
  5. Don Maximiano Founder's Reserve 2007
  6. Château Lafite 2007
  7. Château Haut-Brion 2007
  8. Sassicaia 2007
  9. Tignanello 2007

We tasted the following wines before the meal:

  • Errazuriz Pinot Noir 2009: Light ruby colour; a nose of raspberries, violets, sweet rhubarb and hay; full-bodied, smoky, toasty sweet candied raspberry flavour with a rhubarb note; velvety mouth-feel and a peppery, warm alcoholic finish. (87)
  • Errazuriz Merlot 2009 (with 10% Carménère): Dense purple colour; a nose of redcurrants, cedar, vanilla oak; sweet blackcurrant flavour, spicy and reminiscent of a Cabernet Franc; full-bodied, well balanced with a dry finish. (88+)
  • Errazuriz La Cumbre 2006 (Shiraz with 3% Petit Verdot): Dense purple colour; spicy vanilla, blackcurrant and blackberry nose; fruity on the palate; rich mouth feel with a ouch of pepper; beautifully balanced, firmly structured with good length. (90)
  • Errazuriz Don Maximiano 2006 (82% Cabernet Sauvignon, 6% Cabernet Franc, 6% Petit Verdot, 6% Syrah): Dense purple colour; vanilla oak, creamy blackcurrant; richly extracted fruit, full-bodied, sweet fruit with a smoky, medicinal note. Muscular but elegant. (91)
  • Vinedo Chadwick 2006 (100% Cabernet Sauvignon): Dense purple colour; cedar, blackcurrant nose; sweet blackcurrant flavour with a white pepper note; firmly structured, elegant with supple tannins. (91)

In the evening to Malena restaurant on Avenue road for a Kir Yianni winemaker dinner with Stellios Boutaris and the importing agent Steve Kriaris of the Kolonaki Group. The food was amazing. We stared with a really good sparkling wine, Tselopos Amalia Brut made from Moschofilero.

Chilled Lobster & Bufala Mozzarella, Fave & Lemon Pesto, Lobster Coral, served with Sigalas Santorini Assyrtiko 2009 (one of my favourite Greek white wines) (minerally pear flavour, fresh with a floral note – 89)

Seared Marine Scallop, Squash, Cippollini Caponata, Greek Sausage, with Kir Yianni Akakies Xinomavro Rosé 2009 (deeply colours; a flavour of wild strawberries and orange -87)

Slow Braised Rabbit Risotto with Roasted Plum & Parmigano, with Kir Yianni Paranga Syrah Merlot Xinomavro 2009 (deeply coloured; floral, plum, menthol nose; fruity, minty flavour with soft tannins – 87)

Espresso Rubbed Lamb Ribs, Black Olive & Yukon Mash, Baby Carrots, served with three wines:

  • Kir Yianni Ramnista Xinomavro 2007: Deep ruby colour; a nose of dried rose petals, plums and minerals; firmly structured, still young and tight with a firm finish. Very Nebbiolo-like. (90)
  • Kir Yianni Two Olives Syrah Merlot Xinomavro 2006: Dense ruby colour; rich, sweet spicy nose of plums and new oak; full-bodied, cherry flavour, easy drinking but complex with a firm finish. New World style. (91)
  • Billed as a "Mystery Wine 'New Age' Xinomavro": Kir Yianni Diaporos Xinomavro 2007 (with 10% Syrah): Deep ruby colour; pencil lead, tobacco and red berry nose; very elegant, firm and well structured; still tight with a long, dry finish. (91+)

Pear & Apple Crostata, Crisp Filo, La Tur Cheese & Vanilla Gelato, with Sigalas Vin Santo 2003 (pale tawny ruby; high toned nose, syrupy strawberry flavour – 88)

Tuesday, October 19: To Barberian's restaurant for a tasting of the Trialto Wine Group's Fall Tour. After a fortifying lunch of filet mignon, down to Arron Barberian's magnificent cellar, where 16 of the group's wineries poured three or four wines each. This was a wonderful tasting with more than half the wines scoring 90 points or more. My highest scores went to Argiano Solengo 2005 (Tuscany), Bodega Noemia J. Alberto 2008 (Patagonia, Argentina), Geo Wines Syrah Elqui Valley 2008 (Chile), Dog Point Pinot Noir 2008 (Marlborough, New Zealand), Kaesler Stonehorse Shiraz 2008 (Barossa Valley, Australia), L'Ecole Perigee 2007 and L'Ecole Cabernet Sauvignon 2007 (Washington Sate), Poplar Grove Syrah 2007 (Naramata Bench, Okanagan Valley), Quinta do Vale Meão Douro 2008 (Douro Valley), Renacer Malbec 2007 (Mendoza, Argentina), Tait Wines Basket Pressed Cabernet Sauvignon 2006 and Tait Wines Basket Pressed Shiraz 2005 (Barossa Valley, Australia). All the above wines I scored 91 or 92.

Wednesday, October 20: Recorded my 680 News wine reviews (which I should have done last week but a cold made this impossible). At 3 pm to Vertical restaurant for a tasting of Bond Cabernet Sauvignons. This was the first tasting in Canada of Bill Harlan's single-vineyard wines under the Bond label. The table was set with Bond Melbury Cabernet Sauvignon 2006, Quella 2006, St. Eden 2006, Vecina 2006, Pluribus 2006 and some older vintages: Bond Melbury Cabernet Sauvignon 2002, St. Eden 2001, Vecina 2000, Pluribus 2004. Of the 2006s my lowest score was 90 (for St. Eden) and my top score 93 (Vecina – very Pauillac). The outstanding wine of the day was Bond Vecina Cabernet Sauvignon 2000 (very elegant, blueberry flavour, sweet and savoury with a delicious richness in mid palate – 94).

In the evening to La Maquette to have dinner with Peter and Margaret Lehmann. We dined with them here ten years ago. During the meal we tasted Peter Lehmann Semillon 2004 (lanolin, honey and petrol nose; peach flavour with lively acidity – 89), Peter Lehmann Mentor 2005 (100% Cabernet Sauvignon; dense purple-black, stains the glass, rich blackcurrant flavour with rhubarb acidity – 89) and Peter Lehmann Stonewell Barossa Shiraz 2005 (dense purple-black colour; spicy blackberry and iodine nose; full-bodied, sweet fruit with lively acidity and a pencil lead note – 91).

Thursday, October 21: An early 9:30 am tasting of Ontario wines with Doug Towers and David Lawrason for In the afternoon tasted through Pillitteri's new Exclamation Cellar series, four wines featuring metallic labels replicating the design on chairs Gary Pillitteri had designed for the tasting table in the winery's cellar. Chardonnay, Merlot, Cabernet Franc, Cabernet Sauvignon 2006 and 2007 – each in their own distinctive bottle shape. The quality of the wines in the bottle live up to the expensive packaging. These are some of the best wines I've tasted from the winery and I was particularly impressed by the signature of winemaker Marc Bradshaw through the range. The best wine for my palate was Pillitteri Exclamation Merlot Reserve 2007 (dense purple colour with a nose of blackcurrant and blueberry lifted with floral notes and vanilla oak; medium-bodied but full on the palate with spicy, herbal Syrah-like flavours – 90).

Friday, October 22: The second half of the November 27th Vintages release. Some fabulous wines coming out that Saturday for Christmas buying. In the late afternoon Deborah and I drove up to Caledon to see our friend Frank Daley, who is recovering from bypass surgery – six arteries! Took the Pillitteri Exclamation wines with me for Frank to enjoy with out dinner. Frank gave me a copy of his book, Who Are You and What Are You Doing Here? The way to know yourself and get what you want. I predict that this will be bigger than all those self-help books you've ever read.




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