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A Wine Lover’s Diary, part 41 (June 27, 2005)

Monday, June 20th: This afternoon a tasting of wines for with Doug Towers and David Lawrason. David brought along his dog, Maggie. Pinot went crazy and barked for an hour in her crate. David is moving down to Prince Edward County which reminded me that three years ago I nearly bought a piece of land there. Eight acres that would have been perfect for Pinot Noir. At 8.30 a.m., I went to the real estate office to put down a deposit. The agent told me she had sold the land the night before. God was telling me I shouldn’t become a grape-grower. Pinot has chewed the corners of the side table next to Deborah’s chair in the TV room. She has also taken a bite out of the Persian rug there. The rug is no longer on the floor and we sprayed the table with green apple - apparently dogs don’t like the smell of it. For dinner, with barbecued hamburgers, Trenacinquesimo Parallelo Nero D’Avola-Shiraz from Sicily. A plummy wine that's perfect for burgers.

Tuesday, June 21st: A day spent wrestling with Quebec regions, trying to find tourist information on the Internet. A meeting with the publisher and editor. I’ve had to hire a researcher to help since the workload is becoming irksome. My friend Leonard, a Dutch-Canadian now living in Belgium, is in town. He imports Ontario wines into Brussels and is here on a buying trip. He came to dinner with Michael Carlevale, the owner of Prego. They had both been to celebrate John Maxwell’s becoming a Canadian citizen at his restaurant, Allen’s. Deborah had made a gazpacho and I barbecued steak (which was a good thing since Michael has been known to leave a dinner party if he doesn’t like the food – he has an aversion to stew). A riotous evening with the wine flowing freely – Vergelegen Chardonnay 2002, Hardy’s Tintara Shiraz 1998, Thomas & Vaughan Meritage 2000, Strewn Three 1999 (badly corked, unfortunately – Michael insisted Leonard try it blind against the Tintara to see if he could tell a corked wine – it was so bad my cat could have made the right choice), and Magnotta Meritage 2002 which Michael called "muffa" (mouldy). I didn’t get that; in fact, I liked it a lot. It was very rich and well-extracted for an Ontario red.

Wednesday, June 22nd: Recorded six items for 680 News this morning. Otherwise not much activity other than the book. For dinner, a bottle of Caliterra Sauvignon Blanc 2002.

Thursday, June 23rd: The Quebec section is finally finished. But I started reading Dave Gamble’s magazine, BC Wine Trails, and he writes of several new wineries opening in the Okanagan and Similkameen Valleys. This atlas has become like the myth of Sisyphus. Met with Amy, the researcher who will be helping me put the details of the wineries in order. Tomorrow we catch the 6:55 a.m. train for Montreal to celebrate my brother-in-law Sam’s 80th birthday.

Friday, June 24th: Managed to write a Tidings commentary and wine reviews on the train. Arrived in Montreal half an hour late at 12:15 p.m., and checked into to the Queen Elizabeth. The flags were flying at half-mast and I asked the concierge who had died. He told me it was St. Jean Baptiste Day. I brought a bottle of Southbrook Vidal Icewine 2003 for my friend Robert Mercure who is the GM (he used to be at the Royal York when we held the Ontario Wine Awards events there). But I learned that you can’t bring wine into hotels in Quebec under SAQ regulations. He sent a bottle of Clos St. Denis Ice Cider up to the room for Deborah and me. It was delicious with blue cheese. Sam and Shirley (my sister) put on a dinner at La Pizella on St. Mathieu for the family. My nephew, Jeffrey, flew over from London. There were 26 of us at table – a grand reunion, including a great-grand-daughter.

Saturday, June 25th: Went to the Atwater market and bought maple syrup and a picnic lunch. After visiting with my sister, Deborah and I went shopping on St. Catharine Street. There were sales everywhere. The sidewalks were almost impassable with people – obviously a lot of pent-up demand because yesterday the shops were closed. Tonight a birthday dinner at the Montefiore Club for 140 friends and family. We couldn’t find an appropriate card so I made up a limerick for Sam who likes scotch:

My brother-in-law, Sam Cossever,
is both fisherman and philosopher.
Caught speeding full throttle,
he hid the scotch bottle,
and said, “I’m not a thunk as you drink I am, Ossifer”.

Sunday, June 25th: On the train back, I wrote on summer wines for my monthly piece with Post City Magazines. I’d choose the train over the plane to Montreal any day. Pinot, who was staying with neighbours over the weekend, gave us a very warm and wet welcome.




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