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A Wine Lover's Diary, part 29 (April 4, 2005)

Monday, March 28: Spent the day going over the initial results from Saturday's Ontario Wine Awards tasting. Interesting how well the Cabernet Franc and Merlot scored... Last night Deborah and I had inner with my friend and fishing buddy Steve Cohen, one of the best amateur chefs in the city. He held a tasting of Syrah-based wines before the meal. One of the wines was a Turley Petite Sirah and Steve wanted some information about it. Now, I had always been led to believe that Petite Sirah was a synonym for Durif. But apparently it's a different grape. Durif apparently is a crossing of Syrah and Peloursin, propagated by Dr. Durif in the Rhône in the late 1800s. That's what I love about the wine business – there is always something new to learn – and to relearn.

Tuesday, March 29: A Greek wine seminar today at the Hotel InterContinental on Bloor Street. It's the first time I've seen the framing for the construction of the new façade for the Royal Ontario Museum. It looks like a bombsite at the moment, with great steel girders sticking out at all angles. Sofia Perpera, a Bordeaux-trained oenologist, and her husband, George Athams, are promoting a consortium of twenty-three Greek wineries who are in the vanguard of contemporary winemaking. They talk of a Greek wine renaissance, citing the new generation of Greek winemakers educated in Dijon and UC Davis, the investment in new technology and the use of indigenous, ancient grape varieties. The whites were particularly good, especially the Moschofilero grape from the great 2003 vintage.

Experience the Greek Wine Renaissance
Sponsored by
Intercontinental Toronto March 29, 2005
Panelists: Tony Aspler, Sofia Perpera

1. Oenoforos, Asprolithi 2004
Region: Patra, Peloponnese
Type: Dry white
Grapes: Roditis
Tasting Notes: Almost water white with a pinkish tint; fresh, minerally, lemony with green banana note; lively acidity

2. Domaine Spiropoulos, Mantinia 2004
Region: Mantinia, Peloponnses
Type: Dry white
Grapes: Moschofilero
Tasting Notes: (organic) very fresh, honeysuckle and citrus flavours, reminiscent of Viognier

3. Domaine Tselepos, Mantinia 2004
Region: Mantinia, Peloponnese
Type: Dry white
Grapes: Moschofilero
Tasting Notes: broader flavours than the previous wine; minerally grapefruit with lively acidity

4. Enoteca Emery, Athiri 2004
Region: Rhodes
Type: Dry white
Grapes: Athiri
Tasting Notes: almost water-white;peachy-citrus nose; very crisp, green apple

5. Gentilini, Robola 2003
Region: Cephalonia
Type: Dry white
Grapes: Robola
Tasting Notes: minerally peachy, very ripe fruit with a lovely sweetness in mid palate; clean, dry finish

6. Domaine Sigalas, Santorini 2004
Region: Santorini
Type: Dry white
Grapes: Assyrtiko
Tasting Notes: mouth-filling apricot flavour with racy acidity

7. Domaine Gerovassiliou, Domaine Gerovassiliou white 2004
Region: Epanomi
Type: Dry white
Grapes: Assyrtiko, Malagousia
Tasting Notes: floral, green plum nose; lovely mouthfeel, great balance

8. Ktima Pavlidi, Ktima Pavlidi white 2004
Region: Drama
Type: Dry white
Grapes: Assyrtiko, Sauvignon blanc
Tasting Notes: very crisp, green fruit flavours, fresh and vivid

9. Katogi & Strofilia, Fresco Averoff 2003
Region: Nemea, Peloponnese
Type: Dry red
Grapes: Agiorghitiko
Tasting Notes: fresh, fruity, ripe raspberry flavours, Beaujolais-like, good acidity

10. Mount Helios, Agiorghitiko 2003
Region: Nemea, Peloponnese
Type: Dry red
Grapes: Agiorghitiko
Tasting Notes: ruby colour; sweet well-extracted blackberry flavour with well integrated oak

11. Palivou Vineyards, Nemea 2003
Region: Nemea, Peloponnese
Type: Dry red
Grapes: Agiorghitiko
Tasting Notes: very new World style – fruit forward and oaky but well balanced with good length

12. Domaine Skouras, Grand Cuvée 2003
Region: Nemea, Peloponnese
Type: Dry red
Grapes: Agiorghitiko
Tasting Notes: deeply coloured, smoky, charred oak nose; firm structure. Red berry flavours with evident tannins

13. Mercouri Estate 2001
Region: Korakohori, Peloponnese
Type: Dry Red
Grapes: Refosco, Mavrodaphne
Tasting Notes: rustic, earthy, spicy plum with a licorice note

14. Kir Yianni Estate, Ramnista 1999
Region: Naoussa, Macedonia
Type: Dry Red
Grapes: Xinomavro
Tasting Notes: olives, herbs on the nose; firm structure, Nebbiolo style, tannic

15. Ampelones Antonopoulos, Gerontoklima 2000
Region: Achaia, Peloponnese
Type: Dry red
Grapes: Vertzami, Cabernet Franc
Tasting Notes: Italianate nose, minerally, floral plum, firm sweet fruit

16. Tsolis winery, Ftelia 2000
Region: Tryfilia, Peloponnese
Type: Dry Red
Grapes: Cabernet Sauvignon
Tasting Notes: lovely cabernet nose with a floral grace note, red and blackcurrant flavours with a firm finish

17. Evangelos Tsantalis, Metohi 2000
Region: Mount Athos, Macedonia
Type: Dry red
Grapes: Limnio, Cabernet Sauvignon
Tasting Notes: youthful sweet jammy fruit with forward oak, chocolate flavour, well extracted fruit

18. Samos Cooperative, Samos Anthemis
Region: Samos
Type: Vin de Liquor
Grapes: White Muscat
Tasting Notes: intense, sweet. Spicy toffee and burnt orange peel flavour

That evening I had another Tuesday tasting at Grano – Italian wines. Fifty-one people had booked, but as usual, not everyone turned up. Which was a good thing since I only had three bottles of the wines. Here's the list of wines. The star of the evening was the Masi Grandarella.

grano, March 29, 2005

  • Reception wine: Prosecco
  • Masi Masianco 2003 (Pinot Grigio & Verduzzo)
  • Colli Secco Montepulciano D'Abruzzo 2001
  • Masi Grandarella 2001 (Refosco & Carmenere)
  • Castello Banfi Brunello di Montalcino 1999
  • Fontanafredda Barolo 2000
  • Tedeschi Amarone 2000

Wednesday, March 30: Recorded the next six wine minutes at 680 News. This evening I'm conducting a wine tasting dinner at Bistro 990. It was an auction item for Arts Etobicoke. The lady who won it wanted it to be a surprise for her husband's 50th birthday. There were fourteen of us at the table. The wines were Sauvion Muscadet Sur Lie 2002, Henry of Pelham Dry Rosé 2004, Tandem Hallbeck Vineyard Pinot Noir 2002 (Napa), Winzer Krems Blauer Zweigelt 2003 and Hillebrand Showcase Riesling Icewine 2003. I knew the Pinot Noir was going to blow everyone away, but the real revelation was the Austrian red. What a terrific wine.

Thursday, March 31: Spent most of the day on the wine atlas. Today is the day Pinot goes to Hundgarten – her first training session. The woman is coming to the house to spend an hour showing us how to discipline the puppy. If she can break Pinot of the habit of using my office as her personal latrine I will be delighted... For dinner, a gorgeous bottle of Morgan Pinot Noir 2000 from Monterey (with guinea fowl on the BBQ).

Friday, April 1 (April Fool's Day): Almost got taken in by a story on the Decanter Website, which was so believable I republished it on my site with proper attribution.

Sixth Premier Cru to be added in Bordeaux (April 1, 2005)

April 1, 2005
Oliver Styles, and Adam Lechmere

For the first time in 32 years a new Bordeaux chateau is to be elevated to First Growth status.

For the 150th anniversary of the 1855 classification the Union des Grands Crus Classes de Bordeaux will announce this month it has been examining three potential candidates to join the ranks of the First Growths.

According to sources close to senior members of the UGCC in Bordeaux, one château will be chosen from a shortlist of Second Growth châteaux.

The only change there's been to the First Growths since the classification was fixed in 1855 was in 1973, when Mouton-Rothschild was elevated from a Second to a First Growth, joining Lafite, Latour, Margaux and Haut-Brion... Today is a Vintages tasting day for the April 30th release. Lots of New Zealand Sauvignons, South African and Australian wines... Tomorrow is the second part of the Ontario Wine Awards tastings, including a blind tasting for the Sommelier award.




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