A Wine Lover's Diary, part 52 (September 12, 2005)
Monday, September 5: Labour Day. Did an interview with a Calgary radio station about the Georges Dubuf scandal. The more I think about it, the more bizarre it sounds. Why would anyone blend Beaujolais-Villages into the named village wines? It's so weird. In my wine murder mystery Blood Is Thicker than Beaujolais, I had a co-op in Beaujolais bottling Italian plonk and selling it as Beaujolais nouveau. Now that's the way to perpetrate a fraud on the consuming public. This evening Deborah and I are invited to the Willis' for a BBQ. They are great hosts and love entertaining. It's an evening for cabbing it. This is my first anniversary for this diary. When I started it I had no idea that it would grow like this and I would be writing at such length about my wine life and how it spills over into my private life. I am by nature a private person (my English birthright) and not given to confessional writing. This continues to be a cathartic experience.
Tuesday, September 6: The weather has gotten cooler almost as if mandated after Labour Day. I had to wear a sweat shirt walking Pinot this morning. I am working on the BC chapter again, fiddly stuff, trying to make every entry consistent, checking spellings, etc. before Rosemary, the line editor, gets the manuscript. I have to start thinking about the Greek tasting I have scheduled at Grano for October 4th. Deborah has bought a new computer and when our computer whiz transferred all her files she seems to have lost her email address book with all the previous attendees at my other Grano tastings. Tonight I have to start inputting the October Vintages release wines into my database. This is a chore I do while I watch television.
Wednesday, September 7: George Soleas, the LCBO's VP of Product Control, is a passionate supporter of Greek wines (not surprising since he's Greek). I had told him I wanted to put on a tasting of Greek wines at Grano and he rustled up 16 for me to try. Here are my notes:
- Domaine Tselepos Amalia Brut
Pale straw colour; minerally, dried herbs on the nose; fresh, lemony-stony flavour; clean with good length. ****
- Spiropoulos Mantinia Moshofylero 2004 (organically grown)
Pale straw with a pink tint; wet stones, citrus peel bouquet; dry, almost tart, green plum flavour; medium-bodied, clean with good length. ***½
- Palivou Vineyards Nemea 2004 (Malagouzia, Chardonnay)
Light straw colour; high toned, creamy, buttery nose; medium-bodied, spicy apple flavour with a nutmeg note on the finish. ****
- Domaine Tselepos Mantinia 2004 (Moshofylero)
Straw with a pink tinge; lovely fruity nose with a whiff of oak; spicy, racy, white peach flavour with lemony acidity. ****
- Domaine Gerovassiliou Malagousia & Assyrtico 2004
Medium straw colour; Sauvignon Blanc-style nose of cut grass and green plums; full-bodied, spritzy and fresh with a touch of sweetness in mid-palate. ****½
- Domaine Gerovassiliou Viognier 2004
Straw colour; more Chardonnay-like on the nose than Viognier, evident oak; sweet peachy-melon flavours; clean with good balancing acidity. ****½
- Tsantali Chromitsa 2004 White Blend Mt. Athos
(Chardonnay, Assyrtico, Athiri)
Straw colour; minerally, bubble gum note; dirty barrel note, browning apple, caramel finish. **½
- Manousakis Nostos Roussanne 2002 (Crete)
Straw colour; earthy, citrus; well extracted fruit but heavy on the palate, lacking charm. ***
- Spiropoulos Porfyros Nemea 2000 (Agiorgitico & Cabernet Sauvignon) (organically grown)
Dense purple-ruby colour; mature, plum, raisin and cedar nose; dry, rather austere and Italianate, reminiscent of an old-style Barolo. ***½
- Spiropoulos Dorkas Nemea 2001 (Agiorgitico)
Ruby colour; spicy oak and plum nose that follows through on the palate as a lean and sinewy flavour. ***½
- Domaine Tselepos Nemea Dryopi 2003 (Agiorgitico)
Dense ruby colour; plums and red berry nose; full-bodied, dry, well structured and quite elegant. ****
- Domaine Gerovassiliou Avaton 2002 (Limnio-Mavroudi-Mavrotragano)
- Tsantali Metoxi Chromitsa 2000 Mt. Athos (60% Cabernet Sauvignon/40% Limnio)
Dense purple colour; New World style tobacco, vanilla and toast on the nose ; full-bodied, richly extracted, ripe black fruits and chocolate flavour; mouth-filling, firmly structured with mellow tannins. *****
- Tsantali Rapsani Reserve 2000 (Mt Olympus) (Xynomavro, Krassato, Stavroto)
Deep purple colour ; cedar, red berries on the nose; lean, sinewy with a firm structure. ***½
- Manousakis Nostos 2002 (Syrah-Grenache-Mourvedre-Roussanne)
Dense purple black; volatile nose, earthy, black cherry flavour with hefty tannins. ***½
- Palivou Vineyards Nemea Muscat 2004 (500 mL)
Old gold colour; honey and orange blossom nose; rich, sweet raisins; full-bodied, with enough acidity to give it balance. ****½
A meeting at 2:45 with Sara Angell to meet Rosemary Shipton, who will be the line editor on the atlas. She sounds really good. I need someone who is detail-oriented since I am not as my office will tell you.
For dinner, with pasta, Inniskillin Okanagan Zinfandel 2003 rich, full-bodied with prevalent American oak.
Thursday, September 8: Dental appointment to replace a filling I lost during the Canadian Wine Awards. Must have been all that acid. Added a profile on Ann Sperling to the BC chapter since Sarah, the editor, said that all my profiles were of men. She's right. Philip and Debra Mirabelli of noble Estates invited Deborah and me to dinner at Crush to meet Maier Rico-Salinas, who looks after exports for the Rioja house of Heredad Ugarte. She had arrived from Spain that afternoon and had not visited Canada before. We started off with their Malvasia 2004, made from 85- to 100-year-old vines. An interesting wine with a flavour of orange blossom and citrus peel with a note of bitterness on the finish (***½). Too expensive, though, at $39. Next, Heredad Ugarte Crianza 2002, a blend of Tempranillo and 8% Grenache. Spicy oak, black cherry and plum flavours, sweet fruit, firm structure with soft tannins (****). Then Dominio de Ugarte Reserva 2001, an intense, concentrated wine with plum and black cherries on the nose, fleshy, rich and full-bodied (****½). The last wine, the best of the evening, was Martin Cendoya Reserva 2001 (Tempranillo, Graciano and Mazuelo), very elegant and polished with rich extraction, black cherry and licorice flavours (*****). The food was good too, a main dish of lamb.
Friday, September 9: Another vintages tasting day. Zoltan Szabo couldn't make it so I had to taste all 78 wines myself and write my notes. Deborah kindly offered to pick me up from the LCBO and drive me home. Slept for an hour before a meeting with Jack Pauwels about conducting a wine tour of Italy next May. Opened a bottle of Sandbanks Riesling 2004 from Prince Edward County to pour him a glass. Deborah and I finished the wine with dinner.