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A Wine Lover's Diary, Part 472: Launching Canadian Wineries (December 2, 2013)

Monday, November 25: Polished my Nightmare in Napa manuscript. In the evening down to The Miller Tavern on Bay Street to meet Andres Caballero, the winemaker for Viña Santa Carolina.

  • Santa Carolina Reserva Sauvignon Blanc 2013: pale straw colour; grassy, passion fruit nose; fresh, sweet grapefruit, green plum and passion fruit flavours with crisp citrus acidity. (88)
  • Santa Carolina Gran Reserva Chardonnay 2010: straw coloured with a nutty, buttery, barnyard nose; full in the mouth with pear and pineapple flavours, tending to caramel on the mid palate and finishing with some browning apple notes. (88)
  • Santa Carolina Reserva Carmenère 2012: deep ruby colour; on the nose, smoky, vanilla oak; sweet fruit with supple tannins. (87)
  • Santa Carolina Reserva de Familia Cabernet Sauvignon 2006: dense purple ruby; smoky. Toasty, blackcurrant nose; rich, chunky mouth feel, earthy, spicy blackcurrant flavours with lively acidity. (89)
  • Santa Carolina Reserva de Familia Cabernet Sauvignon 2007: dense ruby colour; blackcurrant, spicy, floral nose; lovely mouth feel, more elegant than the 2006; firmly structured and well balanced with a fresh finish. (90)
  •  Santa Carolina Reserva de Familia Cabernet Sauvignon 2008: dense purple colour, crushed blackcurrants with vanilla oak on then ose; creamy mouth feel, full-bodied and well balanced. Still youthful. (91)
  • Santa Carolina Reserva de Familia Cabernet Sauvignon 2009: dense ruby colour; meaty, floral nose with vanilla oak; sweet frut, firmly structured – earthy plum and blackcurrant flavours with chewy tannins. (89+)
  • Santa Carolina Reserva de Familia Cabernet Sauvignon 2010: dense ruby colour; elegant, blackcurrant and cedar nose; rich cherry and blackcurrant flavours, well structured. (90)
  • Santa Carolina Reserva de Familia Cabernet Sauvignon 2011: dense ruby colour; spicy, toasty oak with a bouquet of blackcurrants and a floral top note; evident vanilla oak, dry and tight but well balanced. Needs time. (90–91)
  • Santa Carolina Romano 2013: deep ruby colour; creamy nose, reminiscent of Tempranillo; dry with Sangiovese-like acidity; leather, blackcurrant and black raspberry flavours with a floral grace note and a tannic finish. (89)

Tuesday, November 26: Recorded my 680News wine reviews and then took the subway down to Barberian's for a lunch tasting of Ornellaia wines in the cellar with the Director of Sales for the US and Latin America, Alessandro Lunardi. He told us that Ornellaia's 90 hectares of vineyards grown Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc, Petit Verdot and Merlot in 65 lots. Before we sat down we had a glass of Ornellaia's second wine, Le Serre Nuove 2011 (deep ruby colour; tobacco, cedar, pencil lead and black fruits on the nose with a vanilla oak note; lovely mouth feel, elegant, medium-bodied and well structured (91)).


Magnum of Ornellaia 1998

  • Ornellaia 1998 (in magnum): dense ruby colour; cedar, tobacco and spicy blackcurrant nose; richly extracted flavours of cassis, licorice, beautifully balanced with ripe tannins. Very elegant and reminiscent of Château Lafite. The most claret-like of all the wines at the tasting. (94)
  • Ornellaia 2001: deep ruby colour; spicy, cedar, plum and raspberry nose; sweet fruit, firmly structured with an earthy note and still showing muscular tannins. (90)
  • Ornellaia 2005: deep ruby colour; cedar, jammy blackcurrant and vanilla oak bouquet; sweet fruit, firmly structured with heightened flavours of red berries and a solid, tannic finish. Needs time. (90–92)
  • Ornellaia 2007: dense purple-ruby colour; intense, cedar, tobacco, sweet blackcurrant and blackberry nose whose flavours are replicated on the palate; chunky mouth feel, sweet and juicy fruit; firmly structured. Needs time. (92+)
  • Ornellaia 2010: dense purple-ruby colour; cedar, spicy, blackcurrant nose with a floral grace note; lively and firm on the palate; very elegant with ripe tannins. A beauty more in the 1998 style. (93)

Wednesday, November 27: Wrote my Post City Magazine column on red wine headaches and how to avoid them. A meeting with Shari Mogk-Edwards of the LCBO to discuss the Ontario Wine Awards' 20th anniversary next year and also the consumer event, sip&Savour Ontario's 10th anniversary. In the afternoon a tasting of Rosewood Estates wines at home.

  • Rosewood Sémillon 2012: pale straw colour; minerally, white peach and grapefruit nose; rich and mouth-filling on the palate with citrus and peach flavours, finishing dry. (89)
  • Rosewood Süssreserve Riesling 2012: pale straw with a lime tint; minerally, lime and honey nose; off-dry, lime and grapefruit flavours; well balanced with good length. (89)
  • Rosewood Pinot Noir 2011: light ruby colour; cherry and oak on the nose; dry, light and medium body, dry, good varietal character with a firm tannic finish. (87)
  • Rosewood Pinot Noir Reserve 2010: ruby colour; concentrated nose of black cherries and moist earth with a vanilla oak note; dry, medium-bodied with a velvety mouth feel and sour cherry and milk chocolate flavours. (88+)
  • Rosewood Merlot 2011: deep ruby colour; vanilla oak, red berry and blueberry nose; dry, medium-bodied, well-structured with ripe tannins and a creamy finish. (88)
  • Rosewood Estate Lock, Stock and Barrel 2011 (44% Cabernet Sauvignon, 37% Merlot, 16% Cabernet Franc, 3% Petit Verdot): ruby colour; cedar, red berry nose; firmly structured, claret-style with flavours of black cherry and currants laced with tannins. (89)

Thursday, November 28: Finished the rewrite of Nightmare in Napa and sent the manuscript off to a literary agent. For dinner, grilled lamb chops with Tinhorn Creek Merlot 2010 (dry, savoury, cedar, blueberry, vanilla oak and pencil lead on the nose; firm structure, dry, blackcurrant flavour. One of the best wines I've tasted from Sandra Oldfield in some time (90+)).

Friday, November 29: An early morning flight from Toronto Island to Montreal for the Montreal launch of Canadian Wineries. Jean-François Bergeron, who shot all the images for the book, had arranged an event at La Fête ds Vins du Québec in the Marché Bonsecours. I was booked into the Hotel Intercontinental on St. Antoine in the old city and walked over to the building, about 15 minutes away.


Jean-Francois Bergeron at the Montreal launch

On the second floor there were about 50 Quebec wineries pouring their products. What was interesting was the demographic of the crowd – they were all young. Maxime Bernier, the Minister of Small Business, Tourism and Agriculture, said a few words, Jean-François spoke at length and I followed, terrified at having to deliver a speech in public in French. I said: "Je suis désolé mais je ne suis pas confortable en français. Je viens de la ville de Rob Ford. Mais je suis très heureux d'être ici à Montréal pour m'assister à cet événement et le lancement de notre livre, Canadian Wineries. Jean-François et moi ont traversé le Canada pour documenter et célèbrer les meilleurs domaines viticoles du Canada. Je crois qu'on entre l'age d'or des vins du Canada, particulèrement les vins Québecois. Merci." Then I sat down exhausted. They said I had a Parisian accent. Must have been my schoolboy French lessons in England. After signing copies of the book, a group of us went to dinner at Bistro T!

 

 

 

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