A Wine Lover's Diary, Part 470: Going Greek (November 18, 2013)
Trinity Taverna wine display
Sunday, November 10: Tom Noitsis invited Deborah and me to have dinner at the Trinity Taverna on Lakeshore East with Angelos Iatridis, winemaker and co-owner of Alpha Estate in Amyndeon, northern Greece. Angelos was trained in Bordeaux and it shows in his finely crafted wines made from indigenous as well as international varieties.
Angelos Iatridis, Alpha's winemaker
Chef Pierre Restivo's menu was impressive, as was the restaurant's wine list – the only all-Greek list in the city, the sommelier Chris told me (65 labels, apart from the champagnes). Trinity Taverna is a deceptively large Greek trattoria. The menu:
Warm red & yellow organic beet salad with roasted garlic tapenade, served with Alpha Estate Axia Malagouzia 2012 (pale straw colour; spicy, melon and honeysuckle nose; Medium-bodied, fragrant tangerine flavour, lovely mouth feel with a crisp finish (88+)).
Fresh shucked Atlantic oysters topped with cucumber chiffonade and salmon caviar, served with Alpha Estate Sauvignon Blanc 2012 (straw colour; a nose of sweet grass and green plums; on the palate, a pure expression of the grape, medium-bodied, crisp and fresh with well extracted gooseberry, grapefruit and orange flavours and lively citrus acidity (90)).
Lamb and feta ravioli with caramelized leeks & a veal and truffle reduction, served with Alpha Estate Reserve Xinomavro 2009 (deep ruby colour; high toned prune and spicy cherry nose; full-bodied, dry, rustic flavours of sour cherry and vanilla oak finishing with a tannic lift. Reminded me of a cross between Barbaresco and Amarone (91)).
Mint spit-roasted lamb gyros, served with Alpha Estate Red 2008 (60% Syrah, 20% Xinomavro, 20% Merlot – deep ruby colour; creamy blackberry, lead pencil nose with a savoury-herbal note; full-bodied, sweet blackberry flavour carried on lively acidity that finishes dry. Lovely mouth feel. Known in the US as SMX (91)).
Taverna Rossini, veal sweetbreads pan-seared with butter, a Greek Vioginer wine reduction with roasted bone marrow, sea salt and fresh herbs, served with Alpha Estate Utopia Tannat 2009 (dense ruby-purple colour; vanilla oak and black fruits on the nose; silky mouth feel with spicy blackcurrant a plum flavours, beautifully balanced with remarkably rounded tannins for this variety. Madiran should look to its laurels if Greece can produce such a graceful 100% Tannat (90)).
Dessert: Yoghurt brûlée with a spicy raspberry coulis, served with Alpha Estate Omega Late Harvest Gewurztraminer-Malagouzia 2012 (light golden colour; spicy. White flower nose; semi-sweet, well balanced with a sweet melon flavour and good length (89)).
Monday, November 11: A tasting of 54 Ontario wines at Doug Towers' house for www.winerytohome.com made me forget about the disasters going on at Toronto's City Hall. We paused at 10:50 am to watch coverage of the Memorial Day ceremony in Ottawa.
Tuesday, November 12: Wrote my Lexpert column on my trip to China, the thrust being that within two generations China will be producing wines that rival the best Bordeaux and Burgundy.
Wednesday, November 13: Met with literary agent, Bev Slopen, at Nespresso (very impressive new coffee-bar showroom on Cumberland) to discuss my new Ezra Brant murder mystery, Nightmare in Napa. She gave me some good feedback on the opening chapter, which I will revise.
Thursday, November 14: Had the luxury of spending the entire day on rewrites to Nightmare in Napa. Somehow the time seems to fly by when I'm writing fiction as opposed to magazine articles or non-fiction books. Tasted Château des Charmes Gamay Nouveau 2013, to be released on November 21st. Ruby colour with a fresh fruity nose of sour cherries; light on the palate with a faint spritz, sour cherry flavour with lively acidity and a firm tannic finish (87). Well priced at $11.95 and should give the Beaujolais Nouveau a run for their money. I'm not a great Nouveau fan but this wine augurs well for the Château des Charmes red wines from the 2013 vintage.
Friday, November 15: After writing my monthly article for On The Go magazine I settled down to more rewrites on the novel. Then wrote up the Agenda for a Grapes for Humanity board meeting that coincides with the release date for Beaujolais Nouveau.