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A Wine Lover's Diary, part 39 (June 13, 2005)

Monday, June 6th: Up at 6:00 a.m. to prepare for a flight to Saint John, New Brunswick. I have been invited to speak at the CALJ conference held the Fairmount Algonquin in St. Andrew's. CALJ is the Canadian Alcohol Licensing Jurisdictions where all the liquor board chairs get together every year. We hired a car in Saint John and drove to the hotel. I felt like a poacher among gamekeepers. My talk was on future global trends and the importance of terroir to combat homogenization. My main point was that 2008 will be a watershed year - the year of the Beijing Olympics. China will want to show the world how progressive they are in all fields and will stock the wine cellars of their restaurants and hotels with the best wines. There are 236,000 millionaires in China. They will also want to have the top wines in their cellars. This will mean greater demand for the Bordeaux first growths, domaine-bottled Burgundies, and icon wines like Sassicaia, Tignanello, Screaming Eagle, Grange, etc. The demand will affect the price. Currently the Chinese drink 0.27 L of wine a year. This is about one 6-oz glass of wine a year. When the Chinese see Westerners in their restaurants drinking wine, they will want to emulate their example. If the Chinese (1.3 billion people) drank two glasses of wine a year, there would be no wine lakes in Europe or the New World regions. At dinner, Deborah and I sat at the table with Andy Brandt, Chairman of the LCBO. The dinner was delicious, each course accompanied by a BC and an Ontario wine.

Tuesday, June 7th: A very foggy morning which seemed to get worse as we drove into Saint John. Parked under Market Square and bought a couple of lobsters (cooked) to take home for dinner. The airport was locked in with fog. A flight from Toronto approached the runway but flew off again because of a pocket of fog at the end of the runway. Luckily our flight to Montreal did take off albeit almost an hour late. The lobster was delicious with Château Bonnet Blanc 2003.

Wednesday, June 8th: I was meant to go to the U.S. food and wine event at Liberty Grand but I am behind in my writing and have to stay at my desk. Tonight, a corporate tasting event. An interesting concept - comparing New World and Old World wines of the same varietal. Here are the pairings:

  • Mitchell Riesling Watervale Vineyard 2004 (Clare Valley, Australia)
  • Domaine Paul Zinck Riesling 2003 (Alsace, France)
  • Shaw & Smith Unoaked Chardonnay 2003 (Adelaide Hills, Australia)
  • Louis Jadot Bourgogne Chardonnay 2002 (Burgundy, France)
  • Southbrook Cabernet Merlot Triomphe 2001 (Ontario)
  • Chateau Brown La Martine 2002 (Bordeaux Superieur, France)
  • Niebaum-Coppola Syrah Diamond Series 2002 (California)
  • Laurent Miquel Syrah Nord Sud 2002 (Languedoc-Roussillon, France)

The Niebaum-Coppola was the wine the group really liked.

Thursday, June 9th: Another day at the desk writing profiles of Quebec wineries. Tonight, a wine-tasting dinner at a downtown law firm with a great view from their boardroom overlooking the Toronto Islands. Here are the wines we tasted before the meal and then with the food.

  • Henri Bourgeois Sancerre 2003 (Loire Valley; $23.95) #542548
  • Goldridge "Premium Reserve" Chardonnay 2003 (New Zealand; $18.95) #651836
  • Trenel Cote de Brouilly 2002 (Beaujolais; $19.95) #608703
  • Vina Carmen Cabernet Sauvignon 2002 (Chile; $18.95) #975359
  • Frescobaldi Montesodi Chianti Rufina 2001 ($57.95) #304501

Friday, June 10th: A Vintages tasting today. Really hot in the lab and there 80 wines to taste. People ask me, "how can you be fair in your assessment of that many wines?" Well, the answer is that you just do your best because you have to. A meeting this evening with a wine travel company to discuss the possibility of a trip next year to Tuscany, Piedmont, and Veneto. Talked over a bottle of Robert Skalli Chardonnay 2002 from the Pays d'Oc. Skalli is doing a great job in the Languedoc, offering varietal wines at prices consumers can afford. This one is big and rich and spicy with tropical fruit flavours.

Saturday, June 11th: Our annual fishing trip dinner at Steve Cohen's. He's an amateur chef who cooks better than a lot of professionals. Steve serves a smoked arctic char (one of which we caught in northern Quebec last year) with Charles Heidsieck in magnum. Then Chinese duck salad with Hugel Gewurztraminer Vendanges Tardives 1990, veal chops with Château Montrose 1989, and cheese with a 1970 Taylor Port. This is one of the great gastronomic events of my year.




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