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A Wine Lover's Diary, part 322 (December 20, 2010)

Monday, December 13: Wrote my Lexpert magazine column on the man who mentored me into the wine business - the late Gordon Bucklitsch, then head of the Grant's of St. James' Wine School. I met him in 1974 on a visit to Champagne. I modeled my fictional wine-writer detective on Gordon in a series of three novels. Thinking of Gordon sparked my interest in getting back to an unfinished novel, Nightmare in Napa (all the books have alliterative titles - Blood Is Thicker than Beaujolais, The Best of Barbaresco, and Death on the Duoro.

Tuesday, December 14: Alex Nokhrin of Nokhrin Wines invited me to a tasting of some producers he represents.

  • 2009 Weingut Hannes Sabathi Scheurebe Klassik (Austria): Very pale colour; aromatic, floral, lemon blossom with a mineral note; light, floral-lemony, crisply dry, almost dry Muscat in flavour. Lively acidic finish. Light-bodied. (87)
  • 2009 Weingut Hannes Sabathi Sauvignon Blanc: Pale straw with a green tint, grassy nose, minerally, green plum; crisply dry with an earthy note. (86)
  • 2007 Domaine de Machard de Gramond Nuits St. Georges Les Creux Fraiche-Eau (corked)
  • 2009 Vinedos Marchigue Panilonco Carmenère Reserve (Colchagua Valley): Deep ruby; vanilla oak, spicy, blacberry nose; lean, touch of bitterness on the finish. (85)
  • 2008 Tricyclo Cabernet Sauvignon Merlot Cabernet Franc: Dense purple-ruby; chocolate, blackcurrant, vanilla oak; dry, lean, sinewy; firmly structured. (86)
  • 2009 VEO Ultima Cabernet Sauvignon Reserve: Deep ruby; smoky, pencil lead, blackcurrant nose; vanilla oak, lean Bordeaux style; a touch green on the finish. (87)
  • 2008 Marchigue Carmenère Reserve: Dense ruby; high toned, cherry; short, green tannins. (84)
  • 2007 Marchigue Private Collection Syrah: Dense, ruby; creamy, vanilla, blackberry, fennel; fresh and lively; firm finish. (87)
  • DR 10-Year-Old Tawny: Dark amber colour; high toned, spicy, dried sultanas, sweet, lively acidity with a nutty finish. Evident alcohol. (88)

Wednesday, December 15: Recorded my 680 News wine reviews to cover the Christmas period and the time I'll be vacationing in Chile, January 1-9. Dinner at Zee Grill with my fishing buddy Steve Cohen and his wife Roz. Steve brought along the wines: Hidden Bench Nuit Blanche 2006, Albert Morot Beaune Teurons 2002, and Testarossa Pinot Noir 2004 from California.

Thursday, December 16: Sent out invitations for judges for the 2011 Ontario Wine Awards. Started writing the plot line for Nightmare in Napa. I had already written about 15,000 words 4 years ago but had to put the project aside for other books and income-generating projects. This book is really a labour of love and I will try to finish it by th eend of 2011. In the evening, a meeting at Sam Sarick's with auctioneer Steve Ranger and Dr. Woody Fisher to discuss tax receipts for wine donations to charities and to find a formula that is acceptable to the CRA. Sam served a Dauvissat Chablis. I could see the label across the room but was too engrossed in the conversation to check the vintage and provenance. Knowing it was probably Vaillons or La Foret. For dinner with a light chicken curry, Robertson Winery Shiraz 2010 from South Africa.

Friday, December 17: Today is the annual Christmas lunch for the three members of the Saintsbury Society - Tony Hirons, Irvin Wolkoff, and me. Irv had made arrangements for the chef at The Hemingway to prepare a special meal. The menu: chicken liver pâté, turkey and vegetable soup, foie gras, paella, cheese platter. The wines: Tempus Two Wilde Chardonnay 2007, Dr. Nägler Rüdesheim Riesling Auslese 2002, Mirasson Pinot Noir 2008, Balnaves The Tally Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon 2007, and Hugel Pinot Gris Vendauge Tardive 1989. Took the rest of the day off.

Saturday, December 18: Walked Pinot the wonder dog to Sherwood Park. The dog police were out looking for dogs not on the leash. Spent the morning shopping for a dinner party this evening; and the afternoon preparing it. The guests are my wine writer colleague Gordon Stimmell and his wife Carol, and David and Leonard - our neighbours who also own a wheaten named Oliver who is one of Pinot's boy friends. The menu: appetizers of smoked salmon on slices of cucumber with cottage cheese and dill, roased nuts with Laurent Perrier Rosé Champagne. First course, spicy shrimp on a bed of arugula, with Clos Jordanne Le Grand Clos Chardonnay 2006. Main course: roast beef, mashed potatoes, and baked squash with blue cheese and pecans, with Robert Mondavi Cabernet Sauvignon Reserve 1999 and Madrigal Petite Sirah 2006. Cheese course with Casa Lapostolle Clos Apalata 2000. For dessert, Deborah's sticky toffee pudding with ice cream.




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