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A Wine Lover's Diary, part 315 (November 1, 2010)

Monday, October 25: This will be a wine-packed week and from my calendar it will last through November. It's the time that winemakers visit Toronto to cozy up the LCB0 and wine writers get invited to meet them.

Started planning for Grapes for Humanity's AGM which will be in December. Received a review copy of The Art and Design of Contemporary Wine Labels by Tanya Scholes. A beautifully illustrated book. Eleven of the 284 wineries are British Columbia or Ontario facilities (Tanya Scholes lives in Toronto) and Vancouver's Bernie Hadley-Beauregard designed more than half of these, including the brilliant series for Blasted Church and The Dean's List (the latter didn't make the cut). According to the bio, Scholes "worked in the advertising and design industry for ten years. Very few European wine labels made Scholes' selection."

For dinner, with BBQ-ed pork loin, First Press Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon 2007. A powerful Cab with a great label.

Tuesday, October 26: Lunch at Didier's for a portfolio tasting and lunch with the bearded  Peter Bognar Rod of 13th Street Winery. Peter has let his hair grow and looks remarkably like portraits of Jesus Christ.

  • 13th Street Premier Cuvée (N/V) (60% Pinot Noir, 40% Chardonnay): yeasty, apple nose; dry, white honey flavour; soft mouth feel with good acidity (89).
  • 13th Street Old Vine Riesling 2009: pale colour; petrol and lime nose; tart grapefruit flavour with a floral note; good length (90).
  • 13th Street Chardonnay June's Vineyard 2009: straw coloured; apple, barnyard note; soft mouth feel, apricot and apple flavours, fine spine of acidity with a toasty finish (89).
  • 13th Street Gewurztraminer 2009: lychee, rose petal; well made, good varietal character with an alcoholic finish (88).
  • 13th Street Essence Sauvignon Blanc 2009: straw coloured; rip fig, green plum with a sweet botrytis note; good concentration of flavour with fresh, lively tangerine acidity; full on the palate and nicely oaked (90).
  • 13th Street Sandstone Chardonnay 2009: deeply coloured; spicy oak with apple and floral notes; toffee and citrus flavours; great balance, reminded me of Corton-Charlemagne. Great length with a lively acidic finish (91+).
  • 13th Street Gamay Noir 2009: ruby colour; high toned, cherry with volatile acidity; sour cherry flavour, somewhat acetic (85).
  • 13th Street Sandstone Old Vines Gamay Noir 2009: deep ruby; again high toned, sour cherry with that volatile note (86).
  • 13th Street Essence Pinot Noir 2009: ruby colour; Burgundian nose, leather, raspberry; a flavour of sweet raspberry candy mitigated by lively acidity. Firmly structured, full on the palate with good length. Very Burgundian with a firm finish. (This is winemaker Jean-Pierre Colas's first attempt at Pinot Noir. Bravo.) (90)
  • 13th Street Syrah 2009: dense ruby; pepper, blackberry, herbal with a touch of oak; very dry with lively acidity (87).
  • 13th Street Cabernet Franc 2009: deep ruby; oaky, restrained fruit (bottle shock – bottled last week); dry redcurrant, lean and sinewy (88).
  • 13th Street Ratafia Rouge (Merlot juice with grain spirit): sweet raspberry nose, a flavour of sweet black cherries (18% alcohol).

The lunch was one of the best I've had in a long time:

Oeuf en Cocotte Périgordine, with 13th Street Premier Cuvée

Cheese Soufflé, Wild Mushrooms and Herbs, with 13th Street Essence Sauvignon Blanc 2009

Seared Mediterranean Sea Bass, Cauliflower Puree, Sauce François 1er, with 13th Street Chardonnay June's Vineyard 2009

Boned Quail Stuffed with Quail Mousse and Sour Cherry, Bed of Pepper Squash, Merguez Sausage, with 13th Street Essence Pinot Noir 2009

Petit Fours, Valrhona Chocolate Truffles, 13th Street Ratafia Rouge

At 6:30 pm to One Restaurant in the Hazelton Hotel for dinner with Alexandra Marnier Lapostolle.

First course: Beet salad with goat's cheese, hazelnut, pumpernickel and sherry vinaigrette, paired with Lapostolle Casa Carménère 2008 (dense purple colour; blackcurrant and creamy oak nose with a cedar note; rich mouth-feel, sweet, bright fruit with cocoa powder tannins – 89).

Second course: Smoked foie gras with huckleberry and brioche, with Lapostolle Cuvée Alexandre Carmenère 2008 (dense purple, stains the glass; vanilla, spicy blueberry and blackcurrant nose; ripe fruit, graphite, with a rich blueberry flavour, sustains well on the palate; very elegant with great balancing acidity – 91).

Third course: Red wine braised octopus with bone marrow and gemelli, paired with Lapostolle Casa Cabernet Sauvignon 2008 (dense purple; cedar, blackcurrant, red berry nose; well extracted fruit, firmly structured, black fruit flavours, dry finish – 87).

Fourth course: Grilled Lamb chop Lancashire "hot pot," paired with Lapostolle Cuvée Alexandre Cabernet Sauvignon 2008 (dense purple; blackcurrant, cedar, malty, spicy; lovely mouth-feel, sweet fruit, firmly structured. Good acidity – 90).

Wednesday, October 27: Wrote an article for Lexpert magazine on Carménère. Lunch with Stephen Pauwels at Terroni on Adelaide to finalize the wineries we will visit during next May's tour of Sicily. Only five places left.

At home, tasted Château des Charmes Equuleus 2007. This is the best of this flagship wine I've tasted. Very Pomerol style with flavours of ripe blackcurrant and black cherry (90). Also tasted Alvento Emilie 2007 (70% Cabernet Franc, 30% Merlot), a fine wine with an Italianate flavour (spicy, red berry fruit with a cedar note – 89).

Thursday, October 28: Wrote my 680 News reviews. At 1 pm, two Ryerson students came over to quiz me about VQA for a project they're doing. They've done a lot of research and know the subject well. In the evening, down to Teatro Verde on Yorkville Street for a Veuve Clicquot event. I've always thought the colour of the Veuve label was orange, but I'm told that it's 137A on the Pantone colour chart – towards the end of the yellows. This colour is a proprietary colour for the champagne house.

Friday, October 29: A tasting for the December Vintages release. Then lunch at Didier's with Marc Nadeau. A reprise of two weeks ago – had the steak tartar and French fries. Marc brought along a bottle of Evening Land Vineyards Occidental Coast Carl Myers Vineyard Pinot Noir 2007 from Oregon (dense ruby; spicy, floral, smoky cherry flavours; firmly structured – 90). In the evening Deborah and I have been invited to have dinner with Marchese Leonardo di Frescobaldi at Noce on Queen Street West. Leonardo's importer had dropped off a bottle of Tenuta di Castiglioni 2008 and Frescobaldi Nipozzano Mormoreto 2007 – both terrific wines.




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