A Wine Lover's Diary, part 320 (December 6, 2010)
Monday, November 29: A black day – heard that my old friend and fishing buddy Larry Paterson, the Little Fat Wino, had succumbed to meningitis in a Peterborough hospital. On April 21, 2007, at the Ontario Wine Awards, I had presented Larry Paterson with the Grapes for Humanity Award. The citation was:
This award is presented to individuals who have made an exceptional contribution to the Ontario Wine industry over the years, in appreciation of their commitment and passion for the VQA wines of Ontario.
The Grapes for Humanity Award is not an award that is given every year. There has only been one other recipient. It is given to an individual who has made an extraordinary contribution to the Ontario wine industry over the years. Larry Paterson could be called the "Johnny Appleseed" of Ontario wines. He is not a professional winemaker, nor does he work for a winery. He is an amateur wine grower and vintner who has actively encouraged the propagation of vineyards beyond the boundaries of the VQA. As a staff member of the LCBO he championed the cause of Ontario wines before it became popular and politically expedient to do so. Through his website and his personal contacts he has encouraged amateur growers to plant vines in northern areas where the accepted wisdom was that wine grapes would not flourish. His protégés have gone on to become professional winemakers and more will in future.
He calls himself The Little Fat Wino.
Spent much of the day touring restaurants with designer Lori de Grace and restaurateur Robert Stanley looking a wine cellars for a new restaurant to open next year in Niagara Falls. In the evening I conducted a wine tasting dinner at Grano for a financial company. The wines:
- Villa Maria Sauvignon Blanc 2010 (New Zealand)
- Tawse Chardonnay Musqué 2009 (Ontario)
- Pierre Sparr Gewurztraminer 2009 (Alsace)
- Cono Sur Pinot Noir 2009 (Chile)
- Peller Estates Cabernet Sauvignon 2007 (Ontario)
- Kilikanoon Killerman's Run Shiraz 2008 (Australia)
- Foreign Affair Cabernet Sauvignon 2007 (Ontario)
Tuesday, November 30: Worked on the Canadian section of Oz Clarke's annual wine pocket book. In the evening Deborah and I went to an opening press party for 8 Wine Bar in the Cosmopolitan Hotel. Medal-winning wines from the Ontario Wine Awards had been paired with dishes from the restaurant's new menu. The wines were selected by 8's resident sommelier, Sheila Person, who did a great job.
Duck Confit Samosas with Zesty Tamarind Dip
Fried Tofu "Popcorn" with Wasabi Aioli & Soy Dipping Sauce
Hillebrand Estates NV Trius Brut
Henry of Pelham Family Estate NV Cuvee Catharine Rose Brut
Individual Charcuterie Plates
With Kozlik's Mustard and Truffle Honey
2008 Magnotta Winery White Merlot Special Reserve
2009 Cattail Creek Estate Serendipity Rose
Roasted Pork Belly
With Sweet Potato Puree and Apple Chutney
2008 Hillebrand Winery Trius White
2008 Flat Rock Cellars Twisted
Black Truffle Ricotta Gnocchi
2007 Huff Estates South Bay Vineyards Chardonnay
2007 Flat Rock Cellars Reserve Chardonnay
Roasted Lamb Lollypop
With Roasted Figs and Carrot Jam
2007 Jackson-Triggs Delaine Vineyard Merlot
2007 Cattail Creek Estate Merlot Reserve
Individual Cheese Plates
With Toasted Walnut Bread and Icewine Apple Jam
2007 Chateau des Charmes Estate-bottled Late Harvest Riesling
2007 Chateau des Charmes Riesling Icewine,
Paul Bosc Estate Vineyard
The gnocchi dish was amazing. The dessert was a foot-high cone of profiteroles decorated with white chocolate.
Wednesday, December 1: Received an email with the design of the 2008 Mouton-Rothschild label. I always look forward to seeing which international artist Philippine de Rothschild has chosen to illustrate her label. This year it's the Chinese painter Xu Lei.
Lunch with Michel Laroche at E11even restaurant, the bottom of York Street in the new Maple Leaf sports complex. We started with a tasting of Laroche wines from Languedoc and Chablis.
Laroche 3 Grappes Blanches 2009 (50% Chardonnay, 30% Terret, 20% Sauvignon Blanc): pale straw colour; fresh apple and pear nose; medium-bodied, fresh and lively on the palate with a crisp finish and good mouth feel (87)
Laroche Chardonnay de la Chevalière 2009: medium straw colour; minerally, apple nose; full-bodied, clean and crisp with good length (88)
Laroche Mas la Chevalière Blanc 2008 (85% Chardonnay, 15% Viognier): medium straw; vanilla oak, apple, touch of spice; rich mouth feel, full-bodied, fresh and lively on the palate with good length (88)
Laroche Bourgogne Chardonnay Tête de Cuvée 2009: pale gold colour with a green tint; on the nose, apple, hay, minerally nose; powerful, dry, putty-like flavour (87)
Laroche Petit Chablis 2009: medium straw with a green tint; minerally, lemon and green apple nose; fresh, crisp and clean with a sour cream note, tart finish (88)
Laroche Chablis Saint Martin 2009: pale straw with a green tint; fresh, minerally, green apple and white flowers on the nose; crisp, elegant, mouth-wateringly fresh (89)
Laroche Chablis Les Vaillons Vieilles Vignes 2007: straw with a green tint; barnyard note, minerally, white flowers, green apple; deftly handled oak, fresh and elegant (90)
Laroche Chablis Les Vaudevey 2008: medium straw colour; red apple and pear nose with a spicy note; broader on the palate than the 2009 – good thread of minerality, brisk apple peel finish (90)
Laroche Chablis Grand Cru Les Blanchots 2007: medium straw; minerally, crisp green apple, lemony nose; very elegant, great length; opens on the palate (92)
Laroche 3 Grappes Rouges 2009 (50% Merlot, 25% Syrah and 25% Grenache): purple-ruby; black raspberry nose; firm structure, dry, soft mouth feel, firmly structured (86)
Laroche Pinot Noir de la Chevalière 2009: ruby colour; not oaked but has a vanilla note on the nose, raspberry with a light herbal note; well extracted cherry flavour; good balance (87)
Laroche Mas la Chevalière Rouge 2008 (50% Syrah, 50% Merlot): deep ruby; floral, blackberry with a spicy note; firmly structured, spicy, well balanced with soft tannins (88)
In the evening, dropped in to the Novotel for a French Trade Commission reception for companies that have done business with France. There were wines for the tasting and I was taken by the Lacourte-Godbillon à Eceuil Brut Champagne. On the way home, realizing I hadn't eaten, I dropped into Boland's on Mount Pleasant. Chris Boland gave me a glass of Hess Estate Chardonnay 2008 and Alain Jaume Réserve Grand Veneur Côte du Rhône 2009. I ordered a dish of calf's liver with grilled apple, crisp bacon with confit shallots and Dijon veal stock. Boland's offers complimentary amuses bouches. This night, roasted beef with blue cheese and braised endive, olive and shaved lamb saddle.
Thursday, December 2: Wrote my Commentary on Larry Paterson. In the evening down to Roots on Bloor Street West for Hans Gerhardt's book launch of his memoir, Hotel Biz. Bought a copy and had a couple of glasses of Wayne Gretzky Cabernet Merlot 2007.
Friday, December 3: Wrote my wine reviews for On the Go magazine and my column for Post City Magazines. Took Deborah to dinner at Tako Sushi at 1300 Don Mills Road. An amazing meal for $19.99 (salad, lobster, clam soup, tempura, lamb chops and crème caramel). Ordered a bottle of Duboeuf Beaujolais-Villages 2008.