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A Wine Lover's Diary, part 63 (November 28, 2005)

Monday, November 21: From the look of my diary this is going to be – mercifully – a quiet week. Another day in front of the computer, mainly dealing with emails. The amount of spam is increasing. So are the emails from Nigeria etc. promising me millions of dollars from frozen bank accounts. Also getting emails from a Steve Allison with the CIA saying my website is listed on 30 illegal websites and would I fill in the attached form. Fat chance. Guy came over to dinner and we opened bottle of Inniskillin Meritage 2002.

Tuesday, November 22: I had asked Alain Breault if he would read the Quebec chapter of the atlas and correct any errors before it goes to galleys. Alain sells vines to virtually everybody in the Quebec wine industry so he is well paced to know what goes on there. He and his wife Mariette drove Steve Elphick (the photographer on the project) and me around the province when we were researching the region. Alain speaks English well enough but wanted to go over the chapter with me so he drove all the way from Abbotsford and will spend the night here. This morning, another tasting with Doug Towers and David Lawrason. Margaret Swaine joined us, as she will be tasting for the site too. We had thirty-four wines from Ontario and a further six imports to taste. Alain arrived when we were halfway through and joined in. For dinner (pork loin), a bottle of Hawthorne Mountain's Se Ya later Merlot 2003 from BC.

Wednesday, November 23: Snow. Pinot loves the snow and burrows her face through it. We bought her a blue coat but she won't tolerate being fitted for protective socks. She looks very smart in her new blue coat and, I believe, she is aware of the impression she makes. A day in front of the computer working on the maps for the atlas. There are so many new wineries in BC and Ontario that don't appear on previous guides. This evening, a wrap-up meeting for Grand Cru, the fund-raiser for Toronto General Hospital. All the bills aren't in yet but it looks like the event raised at least $1.5 million. On the agenda is "Grand Cru II." Next year will involve the 25 dinners in donors' homes and the big tasting of Halpern's winery principals, but not the auction. It was decided that the auction should be every two years. All the advisory committee members were given a copy of Robert Parker's The World's Greatest Wine Estates.

Thursday, November 24: An enormous amount of scam and virus-laden emails today. I cannot understand the mentality of a person who would create a virus and spread it around, destroying the work (and livelihood) of strangers. Had lunch with my old friend Patrick Burroughs at Lai Wah Heen, to my mind the best Chinese restaurant in Toronto. Canson, the maître'd, brought over a bottle of Moutai, dangerous stuff. It makes grappa taste like ambrosia. An afternoon eye appointment with Josh Josephson. I need new glasses. Josh says I should get a dedicated pair for working at the computer because I'm getting a crick in my neck from leaning my head back. Brought four frames back home so that Deborah could choose the one she likes best. After all, she has to look at them all the time. For dinner, a bottle of Jackson-Triggs Sun Rock Chardonnay 2004. If I had had it blind I would have sworn it was an Australian Chardonnay – big, sweet with a buttered popcorn flavour.

Friday, November 25: Worked on the maps of Prince Edward County. Lunch at The Spoke Club in King Street West with Dominique Jousson, International Brand Manager for Rémy Martin. The thrust of the cognac industry now is to dispel the image of their product as something consumed after a meal by old fogies in leather armchairs. In order to capture a younger demographic they are using cognac in cocktails and showing how it can be consumed with food. We started with a delicious long drink which Dominique (who, incidentally, was born in the town of Cognac) called Rémy Centaur Spice. The centaur is the company's logo. It's a mix of VSOP, Angostura bitters, ginger ale and orange zest.

At lunch in the private dining room with eight of us at table we started with salmon tartar wrapped in smoke salmon with salmon caviar. This was served with a small glass of Rémy VSOP that had come straight from the freezer. Chilling it down lessened the impression of alcohol and made it very smooth on the palate. With the beef tenderloin I had a glass of Murphy-Goode Cabernet Sauvignon 2002. Thise who ordered the roasted pickerel were offered Jean-Luc Colombo Viognier 2003. For dessert, a trio of crème brûlée with a glass of XO. Picked up a case of Boekenhoutskloof Porcupine Ridge Syrah 2004 from South Africa at the LCBO. This wine is a steal at $13.95. It comes on like a Crozes-Hermitage. For dinner André Millot Merlot 2003 (Pays d'Oc) in magnum – a very tasty wine for the price ($13.30).




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