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A Wine Lover's Diary, part 331 (February 22, 2011)

Monday, February 14: Received yet another device for aerating  wine. This one is called Wine Breather. It's a squat-looking carafe with a rubber nozzle that fits into the neck. You place it over your open bottle, upend the pair and the wine pours into the carafe. You can then reverse the process to pour the wine back into the bottle or serve it from the carafe, which you can stopper if you don't finish the wine. Ingenious really. When I get the time I'll try it out. Spent the day inputting wine reviews and working on the Sicily wine tour in May. For dinner, Fabiano Valpolicella 2009 with pasta. At 9 pm appeared on the Stephen Le Drew Show on CP 24, talking about wine for Valentine's Day.

Tuesday, February 15: Recorded my 680News wine reviews, then lunched with my old friend Eric Wright at Hannah's Kitchen. A meeting with Matt Tedford and Sudhir Morar, the co-chairs of Grapes for Humanity's June 6th fund-raiser to be held at Rodney's Oyster House, featuring New Zealand wines and produce. Dinner with Deborah, Guy and Sasha at the pasta bar in Scaramouche to celebrate Guy's birthday. I wrought along a bottle of Chapoutier Hermitage Blanc 2005 and Château Terte Roteboeuf 2005 and selected a bottle of Rabl Grüner Veltliner 2009 from their list.

Wednesday, February 16: Did some research into the history of Chardonnay in Ontario and BC for the Chardonnay tasting coming up in New York on March 8th. There's to be a seminar before the tasting and I am one of the panelists along with John Szabo MS, winemaker Thomas Bachelder, Tara Q. Thomas from Wine & Spirits magazine. Janet Dorozynski is moderating. The first Chardonnay in Ontario was made by Brights as an experiment in 1955 from vines brought to Canada by their winemaker, Adhemar de Chaunac – who gave his name to the hybrid grape de Chaunac. The first commercial vineyard was planted by Bill Lenko, the father of Daniel Lenko. Still trying to find out parallel information from BC. Dinner at Baka restaurant with David & Marlene Rose and Art and E.J. Steinberg to see each other's photos of the Chilean holiday in January. I ordered Tiefenbrunner Chardonnay 2005 and Quinta do Vale de Meao Meandro 2005.

Thursday, February 17: A portfolio tasting of Treasury Estates wines at the Fermentation Cellar. Fifteen wineries in all. A lot of great wines – Matua Valley Estate Pinot Noir 2008, Wolf Blass Platinum Label Shiraz 2006, Stags Leap "The Leap" Cabernet Sauvignon 2006, Chateau St. Jean Cinq Cepages 2006, Beringer Private Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon 2005, Devil's Lair Cabernet Sauvignon Merlot 2006, Etude Chardonnay 2008 and Etude Cabernet Sauvignon 2006. Top marks to Penfolds Grange 2004 (95). Best value Santa Barbara Wine Co. Pinot Noir 2009 ($19.95).

Dinner at Grano to meet Vincenzo Gaeta, Export Manager for Cantine Dragani, a family-owned winery in Abruzzo that produces 8 million bottles.

  • Dragani Pinot Grigio-Trebbiano 2009: Pale colour; light, fresh and clean, lemony, white peach flavour. Easy drinking. ($16.95 for 2 litres!)
  • Dragani Selva De'Canonici 2009: Fresh and lively nose, reminiscent of a Vermentino; grapefruit and banana flavours; light on the palate Good value. (87)
  • Dragani Montepulciano d'Abruzzo 2009: Dense purple colour; rustic, earthy, black cherry nose with a floral note; easy drinking, simple fruit flavours. ($6.95!) (86)
  • Dragani Selva De'Canonici Montepulciano D'Abruzzo 2007: Dense ruby colour; smoky, herbal, plum and vanilla oak nose; fruity but firm, creamy palate with a clovey oak finish. Good value at $11.95. (87)
  • Dragani Don Gabrielle Terre di Chieti 2008: Medium-bodied, spicy cherry and cocoa nose; firm structure, dry with soft tannins and good length. (88)
  • Dragani Gune Riserva Montepulciano D'Abruzzo 2009: Deep ruby colour; cedar and red berry nose with a floral note; very claret-like, elegant, well balanced with fresh acidity. (89)

I had to leave before dessert because I had to get down to the Fermentation Cellar (again) for a charity fund-raiser for Women's College Hospital, called Grape to Glass. The wines available were the ones I had tasted earlier in the day. Deborah and I arrived as they were packing up but I did manage to get a glass of Greg Norman Cabernet Merlot 2007 before they put away the bottles.

Friday, February 18: This evening I conducted a home tasting in the west end of Toronto for the successful bidder of an auction in aid of Amani Children's Home. The wines I chose:

  • Château des Charmes Chardonnay Musqué 2008 (Ontario)
  • James Oately Tic Tok Sauvignon Blanc 2009 (Australia)
  • Martin's Lane Riesling 2009 (Okanagan Valley)
  • Meyer Pinot Noir 2009 (Okanagan Valley)
  • Ghost Pines Merlot 2007 (Sonoma)
  • Errazuriz Max Reserva Shiraz 2007 (Chile)




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