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A Wine Lover's Diary, Part 478: Blind Tasting Award (January 13, 2014)

Monday, January 6: Wrote my 680News wine reviews, then down to Ciceri e Tria – La Bettola to lunch with Phil Anisman to discuss a new venture, The Executive Wine Experience – training corporate staff in wine appreciation so that they feel comfortable entertaining clients. Had an interesting white pizza with pear and nuts.

In the evening, conducted my annual blind tasting competition for the importers at the LCBO's Scrivener Square store. This was the list of wines ten intrepid souls tasted blind and had to guess the grape variety or varieties, the region, the vintage and – if possible – the producer.

  1. Freixenet Cordon Negro Cava Seleccion (Spain)
  2. Inniskillin Unoaked Chardonnay 2010 (Ontario)
  3. Cono Sur Bicicleta Viognier 2012 (Chile)
  4. Inniskillin Pinot Noir Rosé 2011 (Ontario)
  5. Plunkell-Fowles Stone Dwellers Cabernet Sauvignon 2009 (Strathbogie Ranges, Australia)
  6. Kilikanoon Killerman's Run Shiraz 2011 (South Australia)

The ultimate winner was David Beauroy of Oenophilia Connexion.

Blind tasting wines

Tuesday, January 7: Deborah and I went for a meeting with our financial advisor to discuss our portfolio. Worked on updating the Canadian section of Oz Clarke's Pocket Wine Book. Booked a flat in Verona for a family vacation in September – one week in Tuscany and one in Veneto. For dinner, chicken pot pie with Jackson-Triggs White Meritage 2012 (grassy, celery nose with a flavour of passion fruit augmented by oak that fills out the middle palate; nicely balanced (89)).

Wednesday, January 8: Recorded my 680News wine reviews and then to lunch at Patachou with Liz Gallery, Cathy Martin, Ted Kalaboukis and Lisa Ulrich to discuss Grapes for Humanity's event on May 15th – Chile Uncorked (at the Gardiner Museum, 6–9 pm).

Dinner: Deborah's rich vegetable and barely soup and cheeses, with Rosewood Estates Origin Series La Fumée 2012 (grassy, lemony, passion fruit and gooseberry on the nose; medium-bodied, fresh and lively on the palate; elegant with good length (90)).

Thursday, January 9: Emma Garner, the winemaker from Thirty Bench, came to the condo to show me her new wines.

  • Thirty Bench Woodpost Riesling 2012 ($30): very pale lemon-lime colour; petrol, lime, mineral note; crisply dry, light-bodied with a minerally, citrus flavour, tart finish with a crab apple finish. (88+)
  • Thirty Bench Steelpost Riesling 2012 ($30): very pale lime; more minerally, lime with a light floral note; very Mosel in character, light-bodied, crisply dry with a lime flavour and good length. Exciting acidity. (91)
  • Thirty Bench Triangle Riesling 2012 ($30): very pale lime colour; broader on the nose, minerally, floral, lemon zest nose; expansive on the palate with lemon-lime flavours and a strong thread of minerality. (89)
  • Thirty Bench Winemaker's Riesling 2012 ($18 LCBO): very pale lime colour; minerally, apple and citrus nose with a light floral note; lemony, green apple flavour, doesn't have the length of the single-vineyard wines but well made with a lively acidic finish. (88)
  • Thirty Bench Small Lot Pinot Gris 2012 ($30): light straw colour; minerally, peach nose; dry, white peach and citrus flavours with a touch of oak, nicely balanced and firm with a peach pit finish. (88)
  • Thirty Bench Small Lot Gewurztraminer 2012 ($30): straw colour; spicy, peppery, light lilac note on the nose; more Gewurz character on the palate than on the nose – dry, spicy, cardamom flavour; good length. (88+)
  • Thirty Bench Small Lot Pinot Noir 2011 ($30): light ruby colour; earthy, raspberry and beetroot nose with a touch of oak and a minty note; dry, medium-bodied, Volnay style, firmly structured with a fine acidic spine and good tannic structure. (89)
  • Thirty Bench Small Lot Merlot 2011 ($45): deep ruby colour; spicy, cedary, black cherry with a floral note; medium-bodied, rich and well extracted black cherry and plum flavours, good grip with a fine thread of acidity. Needs a year or two in bottle. (91)
  • Thirty Bench Cabernet Franc 2012 ($45): deep ruby colour; vanilla oak, floral, black fruit nose; medium-bodied, tight but showing good fruit extract : blackcurrant flavour. Nicely balanced, firm finish. (91)

Friday, January 10: A Vintages release tasting for February 10th. The best wine was Mountadam Vineyards High Eden Chardonnay 2009 from the Barossa Valley.

In the evening I took Deborah to dinner at The Chase to celebrate her birthday. Our menu:

Mozzarella with warm heirloom beets, savory walnut crumble & aged balsamic (Deborah)
Beef tartare with horseradish, quail's egg, salsa verde & pickled vegetables (me)

Main course:
Whole roasted chicken with foie gras, prunes, armagnac & brioche (for two)

Chicken with foie gras

The wine:
Lucas & Lewellen Pinot Noir 2009 from Santa Barbara

Lime curd layered in an angel food cake with coconut cream & toasted marshmallow icing (with a candle)

Deborah's birthday cake

An amazing meal.

Deborah's birthday wine




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