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A Wine Lover's Diary, part 316 (November 8, 2010)

Monday, November 1: Last night my son Guy and my sister-in-law Suzanne came to dinner. I barbecued a couple of pork loins and served Burrowing Owl Pinot Gris 2009 and, with the cheese, Burrowing Owl Syrah 2008. The wines from this BC winery just keep getting better and better.

The annual Italian wine tasting at Roy Thomson Hall this morning began with a seminar on Prosecco, led by David Lawrason. Apparently 53 million bottles if the sparkling wine are produced annually. We tasted six: Nino Franco Spumanti Brut Valdobbiadene Prosecco Superiore 2008 (I served this wine at my son's bar mitzvah in 1988 at Centro), Ruggeri Brut Valdobbiadene Prosecco Superiore Vecchie Viti 2009, Toffoli Prosecco Superiore de Conegliano e Valdobbiadene Spumante Extra Dry Rive di Refrontolo 2009, Bortolin Angelo Spumanti Valdobbiadene Prosecco Superiore Extra Dry 2009, Le Bertole di Bertolin G Valdobbiadene Spumante Dry Supreme 2009 and (the star of the tasting) Bisol Desiderio & Figli Bisol Valdobbiadene Superiore di Cartizze 2009. The tasting was held in the concert hall's auditorium on the stage, this year with our backs to the seats, which gave it a more intimate feeling. Then upstairs for the main tasting where 224 wineries poured their wines. Of the 50 or so wines I tasted my favourites were Rocca di Frassinello 2007 (92), Monte del Fra Scarnocchio Amarone 2001 (91), Pietro Rinaldi Barbaresco San Cristoforo 2006 (90), Le Sughere di Frassinello 2007 (90), De Angelis Marche Anghelos 2007 (90), Podere Colla Barolo Bussia 2005 (90), Cecchi Vino Nobile di Montepulciano 2006 (89+).

Best values: Casal Thulero Terre di Chieti Sangiovese 2009 ($7.45), Castorani Piccio Syrah 2008 ($13.95). But my great discovery was a Piemonte distillery called Sibona that makes an amazing Grappa Madeira Wood Finish from 100% Moscato pomace. They also do a nifty Amaro Sibona.

In the evening I conducted a tasting at a private house in Forest Hill as a birthday present to the host. A great line-up of wines:

  • Château Smith Haut-Lafitte 2003
  • Kistler Chardonnay Les Noisetiers 2007
  • Jadot Beaune Bressandes 1997
  • Tom Eddy Cabernet Sauvignon 2001 Dr. Crane Vineyard
  • Vega Sicilia Valbuena No. 5 2003
  • Quintarelli Amarone Riserva 1990

Then with dinner three mystery wines: Château Pipeau 2005, Château Lynch Bages 1989 and Château Margaux 1982.

Tuesday, November 2: Got the sad news that my old friend and fellow wine writer Dick Singer died. Apparently, he had a stroke. I will miss his sense of humour and his irrepressible love of life.

Recorded my 680News wine reviews and wrote my column for Post City Magazines. Rock Cornish hen for dinner with Mondavi Private Selection Chardonnay 2006 – a great match.

Wednesday, November 3: Lunch with John Parent, Director of Research and Product Development for Tourism Windsor Essex and Pelee Island, to discuss next year's Shores of Erie event. He ordered a bottle of Viewpointe Focal Pointe Pinot Noir 2005, which was absolutely delicious (in Volnay style). Received a copy of Joseph Batianich's Grandi Vini – An opinionated tour of Italy's 89 finest wines. He obviously likes Piemonte reds because 21 of his choices are based on Nebbiolo. For dinner, salmon with a bottle of Calliope Sauvignon Blanc 2009, the first wine I have tried from this BC winery.

Thursday, November 4: This evening down to the Carlu for Vintages' pre-auction tasting. Indisputably the best tasting of the year. I headed for the Burgundy tasting and was rewarded with one of the finest wines of the night – Armand Rousseau Chambertin 1996. The other wines of the table weren't too shabby either: Bernard Dugat-Py Charmes-Chambertin 2004, Dugat-Py Mazis-Chambertin 2003, Dugat-Py Charmes-Chambertin 1996, and J. Roty Charmes-Chambertin Cuvée de Très Vieilles Vignes 1995. Other outstanding wines were Château Montrose 1990, Château Cheval Blanc 1990, Clape Cornas 2001, Peter Michael Les Pavots 1996, Chave Hermitage Blanc 2000 and Château d'Yquem 1990.

A great collection of Burgundies (photo by Bernie Gluckstein)

Friday, November 5: In the evening an invitation to hear Paul Potts sing in the basement of Crush Wine Bar and drink Mission Hill wines. After his recital I talked to him and asked him about his job as wine salesman before he made a sensation singing Nessun Dorma on Britain's Got Talent. He told me he was working for a supermarket in Bristol, stacking the wine shelves, when a woman came up to him and asked him for advice. He spent half an hour talking to her, after which time she bought £2,500 worth of Forts de Latour. His store manager was furious with him because he should have been stacking shelves instead of chatting up customers!

At the end of the evening Margaret Swaine, Bill Seigel and I wanted to go to Rodney's for oysters but they couldn't accommodate us, so we went next door to Brassaii. We ordered oysters there (which came from Rodney's) and bottle of Kurt Angerer Kies Grüner Veltliner 2008.




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