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A Wine Lover's Diary, part 317 (November 15, 2010)

Monday, November 8: A meeting at the Pantages Hotel to discuss the re-opening of 8 Wine Bar in the Cosmopolitan Hotel. The idea is to do a tasting of medal-winning Ontario Wine Award wines with a grazing menu.

A call from the CRA telling me that they want to do an audit of the books of Grapes for Humanity. Just what I need. The books are scrupulously kept but it means the waste of a day.

Received the following email:

Thank you for your interest in the grassroots campaign by the Alliance of Canadian Wine Consumers. As we discussed, our aim is to make it legal for Canadians to buy more Canadian wine by allowing cross border, direct-to-consumer wine sales. As you and your colleagues at the Wine Writers Circle appreciate, Canada's wine districts produce some great wine.  Like you, we want to be able to take wine home from vacation and order Canadian wines online. We feel it is patently ridiculous that current laws mean buying/shipping this wine across a provincial boundary can earn you a fine, jail time and a criminal record. Agriculture Minister Gerry Ritz has initiated discussions with provincial agriculture ministers. Canadians must weigh in or the status-quo forces will prevail. More information is contained in the attached press release and on our website.

A great initiative.

Tuesday, November 8: A tasting this afternoon of the 2008 Le Clos Jordanne wines with Sebastian Jacquey and Thomas Bachelder in the Panorama Room of the Manulife Centre. 2008 was a rainy years and overall the wines are not as concentrated as they have been in the past, especially the very ripe 2007 vintage.

  • Le Clos Jordanne Village Reserve Pinot Noir 2008: light ruby colour; high toned nose of raspberries and violets with a touch of spice; medium-bodied, elegant, quite forward; light, dry and sinewy on the palate. (87)  
  • Le Clos Jordanne Talon Ridge Pinot Noir 2008: light ruby colour; minerally, red berry nose; firm and well structured. Very stylish – in Beaune style – and well balanced. (89)
  • Le Clos Jordanne La Petite Colline Vineyard Pinot Noir 2008: light ruby; high toned, minerally, firmly structured with a spicy/peppery touch and a dry orange peel note on the finish. (88)
  • Le Clos Jordanne Claystone Terrace Pinot Noir 2008: light ruby; black cherry and rhubarb nose, minerally-clay note; firm structure, quite acidic with evident tannins. (88)
  • Le Clos Jordanne Le Clos Jordanne Vineyard Pinot Noir 2008: light ruby; focused nose of minerals, fresh mushrooms, raspberries and lavender; dry, elegant with a lovely mouth-feel and good acidity. Good energy. Reminds me of Volnay or Chambolle-Musigny. (90)
  • Le Clos Jordanne Le Grand Clos Pinot Noir 2008: light ruby; similar nose to La Petite Colline; austere, firm and tight. But will be very good with 3–4 years bottle age. (89++)
  • Le Clos Jordanne Village Reserve Chardonnay 2008: straw colour; spicy apple, pear and white flowers on the nose; nicely integrated oak; rich mouth-feel with lively tangerine acidity, vanilla oak; good length with a mouth-watering finish. (89)
  • Le Clos Jordanne Talon Ridge Chardonnay 2008: deep straw colour with a spicy, pineapple and butternut nose; full on the palate with peachy, citrus flavours, lively acidity and a rich mouth-feel. (90)
  • Le Clos Jordanne Claystone Terrace Chardonnay 2008: deep straw colour; more restrained on the nose than Talon Ridge, minerally with evident oak. Opens on the palate with apple and citrus flavours. Should develop well. (89)
  • Le Clos Jordanne Le Clos Jordanne Vineyard Chardonnay 2008: deep straw colour; spicy, minerally, white peach, apple and nuts; full on the palate with racy citrus acidity; great length. (91)
  • Le Clos Jordanne Le Grand Clos Chardonnay 2008: straw colour; very elegant nose of apple, white flowers and undergrowth with well integrated oak and a pencil lead note. Spicy, white honey and apple flavour, beautifully balanced. (92)

Overall the Chardonnays performed better than the Pinot Noirs, as reflected in my scores.

Then hustled down to the wine bar at 9 Church Street, where Rupert Symington conducted a tasting of a dozen ports ranging from Croft 1927 (92) to Niepoort 2007 (93). My favourites were Sandeman 1935 (95) and Graham 1948 (94). The only disappointment (apart from a corked bottle of Sandeman 1934) was Delaforce 1963 (88), which had a sulphury note. With the dinner we sampled some of the table wines made in the Douro: Quinta de Roriz Prazo de Roriz, Vale Do Bonfim 2008, Post Scriptum de Cryseia 2007, Altano 2008, Quinta do Portal 2006 and Xisto Roquette e Cazes 2004 (the table wine of the night).

Wednesday, November 10: My daughter Annabel and her fiancé Ian arrived last night. They were to stay in the guest suite in our condo but the concierge had double-booked the room so we had to accommodate them at the Roehampton Hotel a couple of blocks away.

A meeting with Suresh Doss, who runs Spotlight Toronto. He shot a short video about my Cellar Book. To dinner at Ruby Watchco with Deborah, Guy, Annabel and Ian. I brought along the following wines: L'Acadie Vineyards Prestige Brut 2007 (Bruce Ewart used to make wine at Summerhill in BC before moving to Nova Scotia to found his own winery. Made from 100% L'Acadie grapes – a delicious bubbly), Burrowing Owl Chardonnay 2007, Le Clos Jordanne Claystone Terrace Pinot Noir 2006 and Clos de Los Siete 2008. We plan to have Annabel's pre-wedding party for her Toronto friends and family there in February (she's chosen a destination wedding in Maui in April).

Thursday, November 11: A meeting with Doug Birrell at the Thompson Hotel to discuss a wine list for a new restaurant in Niagara Falls. At 6 pm to a private house to conduct a tasting of six 1982 clarets (an auction item at the TSO fund-raiser). All the wines came from a collector's cellar, two bottles of each. Only one was corked. The evening started with Krug Champagne 1982, then sitting down to Louis Latour Bâtard-Montrachet 1977. Each wine was served with a different course prepared by Jamie Kennedy, beginning with Grilled Arctic Char with Chive Beurre blanc.

Chateau Palmer 1982 (Margaux)
with Risotto with Wild Mushrooms

Vieux Chateau Certan 1982 (Pomerol)
with Galantine of Quail with Sweet Potato

Chateau Lynch-Bages 1982 (Pauillac)
with Wagyu Slider with Caramelised Onions

Chateau Leoville-Las-Cases 1982 (St. Julien)
with confit of Duck with Cider Poached Apples

Chateau La Mission Haut Brion 1982 (Graves)
with Grilled Chili-Mint Lamb Chop

Chateau Mouton-Rothschild 1982 (Pauillac)
with Cheese with Wild rice Crackers & Toasted Walnuts

Domaine Schlumberger Cuvée Anne Gewürztraminer 1989 (Alsace) with Tart Tatin with Vanilla Ice Cream

All the wines were great but the best were Mouton, La Mission and Palmer.

Friday, November 12: A Vintages tasting this morning. Picked up a copy of David Churchill's first novel that he has self-published, entitled The Empire of Death, about the catacombs in Paris. To Richmond Hill in the evening to conduct a tasting for the successful bidder of the Women in Insurance Cancer Crusade auction. The wines I chose were:

  • Tawse Sketches of Niagara Riesling 2009
  • Huff Estates South Bay Chardonnay 2007
  • DeLoach Pinot Noir 2006
  • Pillitteri Merlot Reserve 2002
  • Burrowing Owl Cabernet Franc 2006
  • Creekside Broken Press Shiraz 2007
  • Jackson-Triggs Cabernet Franc Icewine 2004




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