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A Wine Lover's Diary, part 48 (August 15, 2005)

Monday, August 8: Another day on the book. This evening I'm taking the family out to dinner at Sequel, a restaurant on Yonge Street that's been open almost a year. I'm bringing a bottle of Ried Sandgrube Gruner Veltliner 2003 and Olssen Merlot 2000 from the Clare Valley (a wine I picked up on my last visit to Australia). In addition we asked the owner Eric te Boekhorst to choose a white from his list. He came up with Dog Point Vineyard Sauvignon Blanc 2003 "Section 94" from Marlborough. It was terrific. In fact, all three wines were wonderful. We came home and had a half bottle of Vineland Estate Riesling Icewine 2003 for dessert on the deck.

Tuesday, August 9: Justin Nugent, the international marketing manager for Vasse Felix in Western Australia, came to the house with his Canadian colleague, Kathy Marlin, to taste a few VF wines. The bottles were open, which makes me nervous. When were they opened? We started with the Adams Road Chardonnay 2004, a third-tier label they buy in fruit for. The wine had a concentrated smoky, toasty nose with pineapple and peach nuances; full-bodied with lively acidity but a little on the pricey side at $22.95. Then came the Adams Road Shiraz, a very fruit forward wine, vibrant with blackberry and back licorice flavours and soft tannins. This was followed by the Vasse Felix Margaret River Shiraz 2001 from the estate. Amazing depth of colour with a coffee bean and minty nose, again on the pricey side at $35. The wine I really enjoyed was the Vasse Felix Cabernet Sauvignon 2002 with its intense blackcurrant and pencil lead nose, sweet, succulent fruit, fleshy but well balanced (8% Merlot and Malbec in the blend). The flagship wine, the Heytesbury 2002 (a blend of 90% Cabernet Sauvignon with Shiraz and Merlot), had great structure and richness but I had an inkling that it was marginally corked since its flavours were muted. Justin left all of the wines except for the Heytesbury for dinner. A good thing because I had forgotten to tell Deborah until that morning that our friends from Collingwood, Karen and Rick, were coming to dinner at 7 pm. Deborah was rushing around like a mad thing trying to pull together a dinner party while I was happily tasting wines. I served a Calona Sovereign Opal 2004 from BC which Deborah didn't care much for. It really didn't go with the hummus and taramaslata dips. I don't know why I opened it – because it was there. For the tomatoes with bocconcini to start I served the Vasse Felix Chardonnay and then the rest of the reds with the pork ribs. For the cheese I opened a bottle of Jackson-Triggs Cabernet-Shiraz 2003 from the Okanagan which was well received.

Wednesday, August 10: Just about finished the Ontario chapter except for a few of the wineries I'm awaiting information from. I really don't understand why the winemakers don't see the value in being included in a reference book like this. It's like pulling teeth to get the information. Another meeting of the Grand Cru committee for the Toronto Hospital fund raiser in October. The auction items are amazing. My job is to get Mike Weir to agree to offer a round of golf at Magna or Red Tail. Mission Impossible? I can only ask. Mike Weir has his own charitable foundation to help kids and his own wine label – so that's the way I'll approach him. Pinot is in the dog house, literally. She gnawed on the corner of our Victoria chair in the living room – an antique my parents were given as wedding present by my Uncle Louis. Deborah says it can be restored.

Thursday, August 11: Another day at the computer working on the book. My eyes are aching. Time for new glasses. Was meant to go to Le Baron to pick up bass lures for a fishing trip with Guy next week, but there was an accident in the north part of the city and traffic was terrible. So I'll leave it to Saturday.

Friday, August 12: The deadline day to hand in the Ontario chapter. I had two wineries to contact in Lake Erie North Shore and managed to get ahold of them both to complete the research. The chapter is nearly 37,000 words long. Will probably have to be cut. Celebrated with a bottle of Cousiño Macul Antiguas Reservas Cabernet Sauvignon 2003 with spaghetti. Dropped in on Annabel's party at Caren's on Cumberland. All her old school friends were there whom I have known since they were teenagers. They're now in their thirties and look like real people. Then dropped by to see Michael Carlevale at Prego. He opened a bottle of Brander Sauvignon Blanc 2003. A lovely, fruity wine, unlike Loire or New Zealand, quite soft but delicious.




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