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A Wine Lover's Diary, Part 521: Sparr & Thai (November 24, 2014)

Monday, November 17: Wrote my 680News wine reviews and then settled down a day of inputting the wine reviews on my website for Vintages' November 22nd release. It's time-consuming work and I usually do it while listening to CBC Radio.

Tuesday, November 18: At noon, down to the LCBO to taste the Beaujolais Nouveaux, Italian Novelli, and other new wines that will be released on Thursday.

  • Reif The Fool Gamay 2014 (Ontario – $11.95): Purple-ruby colour; high-toned raspberry nose; candied raspberry flavour with lively acidity. (85)
  • Art's Beaujolais Nouveau 2014 ($13.95): deep purple with a violet rim; earthy, cherry nose; well extracted cherry flavour with fresh acidity. (87)
  • Dubouef Gamay Nouveau 2014 (Pays d'Oc – $9.95): deep purple; minerally, cherry pit nose; dry, cherry flavour with a light floral note and some bitterness. (86)
  • Momessin Beaujolais Nouveau 2014 ($13.95): purple-ruby colour; muted nose of red berries; dry, sour cherry flavour with a firm finish. (87)
  • Duboeuf Beaujolais Villages Nouveau 2014 ($14.95): deep purple colour; cherry skin with a light banana note; dry, fresh and lively on the palate, good mouth-feel with a suggestion of tannin to give interest to the end taste. (88)
  • Joseph Drouhin Beaujolais Villages Nouveau 2014 ($15.95): bright purple colour; cherry with a light floral note; mouth-filling, well structured, dry, cherry and plum flavours with a firm finish. (88)
  • Catalans Primeur Syrah Merlot 2014 (Pays d'Oc – $9.95): dense purple-black; earthy, vanilla, black cherry nose; fruity, juicy and round on the palate; chunk mouth-feel. (87)
  • Tollo Novello Rosso Terre di Chieti 2014 ($9.45): dense purple-ruby colour; floral, black cherry nose; well extracted cherry and graphite flavours, well-structured and firm. (87+)
  • Negrar Novello del Veneto 2014 ($9.95): dense purple-ruby; fruity cherry and blackberry nose; sweet and juicy fruit, grapey flavour with enough tannin to give the wine structure. (87+)

While I was in the lab I also tasted Daniel Rion Nuits St. Georges Les Grandes Vignes 2011: ruby; raspberry with a floral note; medium-bodied, raspberry and red licorice flavours, beautifully balanced. (90)

In the evening I conducted a tasting of Prince Edward County wines for donors to the Bridgepoint, the health facility next to the renovated Don Jail. The tasting was held in the jail's Rotunda – Huff Estates Cuvée Peter Sparkling, The Grange of Prince Edward Victoria Block Barrel Fermented Chardonnay 2010 and their Northfield Cabernet Franc 2010 and Exultet Cru X Pinot Noir 2011.

Wednesday, November 19: Lunch with Bernard Sparr at Pail Northern Thai Kitchen (18 Duncan Street) – a really funky place with delicious food. Maison Pierre Sparr was sold to the Cave de Bebleneheim co-operative following a falling out within the Sparr family. With the added source of grapes the winery is making better wines than ever. We started off with two bubblies – Pierre Sparr Crémant Brut Reserve (89) and Brut Rosé (88+), served with vegetarian deep-fried battered squash fritters with garlic tamarind dip and grilled pork belly sausages with fresh turmeric, kaffir lime leaves, lemon grass, garlic and shallots.

Bernard Sparr

Main courses: papaya salad with dried shrimps; Thai omelette with ground pork on rice; grilled curry marinated chicken on a skewer with peanut sauce; green curry with bamboo shoots, kaffir lime leaves, basil leaves, green peppers and coconut milk, served in a coconut; crispy bass fillet with crispy shallots served with two sauces: fresh chili sauce and tangy tamarind sauce (contains oyster sauce). With these dishes the following wines were served:

  • Pierre Sparr Riesling Granit 2010: petrol nose, grapefruit and lime flavours; soft on the palate. (89)
  • Pierre Sparr Pinot Gris Réserve 2013: honeyed peach nose, beautifully balanced, spicy and dry. (90)
  • Pierre Sparr Gewurztraminer 2012: spicy, lychee nose; elegant rose petal and lychee flavours; lovely mouth feel, good length. Great value. (90)
  • Pierre Sparr Pinot Gris Mambourg 2011: minerally, floral, peach and pear nose with a honeyed note; rich and satisfying on the palate; semi-dry, its sweetness balanced with citrus acidity. (92)
  • Dessert: Mango with pandan sticky rice, with Pierre Sparr Gewurztraminer Vendanges Tardives 2012: spicy, lychee and honey nose; sweet, light on the palate with mango and lychee flavours; elegant with a lovely mouth-feel. (92)

Pierre Sparr Pinot Gris Réserve 2013

Thursday, November 20: Wrote my Post City Magazines column on Italian wines. In the evening down to the Convention Centre for the Gourmet Food & Wine Expo to help conduct a seminar given by Jason Woodman of Burgundy. Together we tasted the following wines that his company imports:

Villa Ponciago Beaujolais-Villages 2012 and Villa Ponciago Fleurie 2012, William Fèvre Chablis Champs Royaux 2012 and William Fèvre Chablis Vaillons 2012, Bouchard Père & Fils Bourgogne Pinot Noir 2012, Beaune du Château 2009 and Beaune Grèves Vigne de l'Enfant Jésus 2011. Then in Burgundian style, the following whites – Bouchard Père & Fils Mâcon-Lugny Saint-Pierre 2012, Montagny 2011 and Meursault 2012.

Opening slide of the Burgundy seminar

>Bouchard Père & Fils Beaune Grèves Vigne de l'Enfant Jésus 2011

Friday, November 21: A tasting of Vintages December 6th release – all the sparkling and white wines. The reds to be tasted next week. Picked up Deborah from the airport on her return from a week in the Dominican Republic. She gets back just in time to drive me to the airport tomorrow for a week in Sardinia and Piemonte.




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