A Wine Lover’s Diary, Part 554: Family Day

Monday, July 20th: A winerytohome tasting at Doug Towers’s with David Lawrason. For dinner with grilled salmon, Joie En Famille Reserve Chardonnay 2012 from BC (golden straw colour; high-toned nose of tropical fruit and vanilla oak; full-bodied, mature, dried peach flavour, intense (89)).

Tuesday, July 21st: Wrote my 680News wine reviews and sent off my monthly column to Lexpert about atmosphere and timing being the most essential elements in the enjoyment of wine.

Wednesday, July 22nd: Went for a blood test this morning. Wrote up my Wines of the Week and sent off my Post City Magazines column (the difference between Syrah and Shiraz). In the evening, conducted a tasting for members of our condo (30 people altogether). The wines:

  • Tenuta San Giorgio Banero Prosecco Extra Dry (Veneto)
  • Cono Sur Bicicleta Viognier 2014 (Chile)
  • Riverlore Sauvignon Blanc Marlborough 2014 (New Zealand)
  • Trapiche Malkina Rosé 2014 (Argentina)
  • Miguel Torres Las Mulas Organic Cabernet Sauvignon Reserve 2013 (Chile)

Thursday, July 23rd: Wrote another chapter in the new novel. For dinner, lamb chops with a bottle of Lavau Côtes du Rhône Villages 2011 ($12.90, LCBO #421024). Purple colour with a floral, blackberry nose lifted with a spicy oak note. Medium-bodied, dry and savoury with herbal, cherry flavours and supple tannins. Good value. (88+)

Friday, July 24th: A Vintages release tasting. For dinner with pasta salad I opened a bottle of Château Timberlay Merlot-Cabernet Bordeaux Clairet 2014 (Bordeaux getting on the rosé bandwagon. Pale ruby colour with a nose of raspberries. Medium-bodied, dry with raspberry and redcurrant flavours and not a suggestion of tannin (87)).

Saturday, July 25th: A family day today. My sister Shirley was in town and she wanted to meet my son Guy’s fiancée, Sasha. I took them all to lunch at Terroni on Yonge Street, along with my nephew David (who is also my godson) and his fiancée, Mary. Then in the evening Guy and Sasha had arranged for Deborah and me to meet Sasha’s parents for the first time. We had dinner at an Indian restaurant, The Copper Chimney on Avenue Road. Zoya and Valentin are Ukranian and Valentin and I spent a good deal of the time talking about our mutual passion – fishing. Only he’s crazier about it than I – he keeps his fishing tackle in a roof-rack holder for easy access. We’re going to get on well.

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A Wine Lover’s Diary, Part 553: i4C

i4C program

Monday, July 13th: Took the day off to watch the PanAm men’s and women’s squash doubles down at Exhibition Centre. The squash they played is a different game than I used to play. For dinner with chicken pasta, Kacaba Reserve Merlot 2010.

Tuesday, July 14th: Decided to make notes for a new novel since work is slow at the moment. It’s set in Germany during World War II.

Wednesday, July 15th: Spent the morning picking up the Gaja wines from the Italian Consulate and delivering them to the house to be cellared where the Gaia Gaja dinner will be held on October 26th; then dropped off old Grapes for Humanity files at our storage locker on Adelaide Street West. Then to Grano for lunch with Sandy Ward to discuss the use of social media for the Ontario Wine Awards. With a pizza, a bottle of Villa Medoro Rosso del Duca Montepulciano d’Abruzzo (N/V).

Thursday, July 16th: Spent the day inputting wine reviews to the website for July 25th Vintages’ release. At 7 pm drove down to White Oaks Resort in Niagara-on-the-Lake so I could attend the morning session of the Fifth Annual International Cool Climate Chardonnay Celebration.

C is for cork

Friday, July 17th: Up at 7 am for get ready for the first session of i4C, a sold-out event with 350 people in attendance. The keynote speaker is Matt Kramer of the Wine Spectator. Matt is the perfect keynote speaker bound to get people’s hackles rising. Here are some quotes from his address: “Chardonnay is a way to say I’d like a glass of white wine.” “There are two styles of Chardonnay. Chardonnay of cosmetics and Chardonnays of consequence…. We all know that there are more things get done to Chardonnay than any other wine. You (Ontario winemakers) have the capacity to make Chardonnay of consequence.” He spoke of “luminosity of flavour… if they blend they lose that luminosity… Your wines are privileged to have that element of surprise. All great wines are wines of consequence.” We then tasted eight Chardonnays.

The panellist were asked to define what cool climate is all about.

Panelists: Virginia Willcox, chief winemaker of Vasse Felix, Margaret River. “Chardonnay is a chameleon… for a cool climate wine we’re on the edge.”

Virginia Willcox, Vass Felix chief winemaker 

Marco Piccoli, winemaker Jackson-Triggs, Niagara: “Cool climate Chardonnays are inclined to have high acidity and lower alcohol.”

Rajat Parr, winemaker of Sandhi and Evening Land Vineyards: “Chardonnay grapes taste of almost nothing… there are two type of climates where you can grow Chardonnay. Is it cool and long or cool at the end of the growing season? Cool climate, primary citrus flavours; warmer climates tropical flavours.”

Marlize Byers, winemaker at Hidden Bench, Niagara: “We have variability of vintages. Maybe we should call ourselves a variable climate… Regardless of the geography the character of the wine is an expression of the site… The flavour you typically see here, apple and stone fruit.”

Anthony Hamilton-Russell, Hamilton Russell Vineyards, South Africa: “I’m less fixed on soil type than climate… I’m much more in favour of a long cool growing season.”

Dr. Gary Pickering, COOVI: “Chardonnay is a manufactured product… Flavour is a psychological construct, it all happens up here (in your head). Experience, expectation, emotion all impact on flavour. Taste, smell and mouth feel. There are many hundreds of phenolics that can affect taste… 12 or 13 aromas in Chardonnay… so much starts at the winery door (in terms of the choices winemakers make)…”

Moderator John Szabo asked us to guess if the eight wines in front of us were Old World or New World by holding up either a red or a green card.

  • Two Sisters Chardonnay Unoaked 2013
  • Niagara College Teaching Winery Unoaked Chardonnay 2012
  • Evening Land Vineyards Seven Springs Vineyard La Source Chardonnay 2012
  • Hamilton Russell Vineyards Chardonnay 2013
  • Hidden Bench Chardonnay 2013
  • Sandhi Bentrock Chardonnay 2012
  • Vasse Felix Heytsbury Chardonnay 2013
  • Gerard Bertrand Aigle Royal Chardonnay 2013

Second session: “Does Minerality Exist?” Alex Maltman, professor of Earth Sciences, Aberystwyth University (Wales). “Minerality – It is not the taste of geological minerals in the vineyard.” “The nutrient minerals in wine are not detectable. The concentrations are too small to taste… Whatever minerality is, it is not the taste of minerals in the vineyard rocks and soils.”

J-L Groulx, Winemaker, Stratus: “Some people talk about taste, some of aromatics. The descriptors are related to two different concepts. We don’t have the ability to measure it yet.”

Albrecht Seeger, grape Grower: “Minerality is what the soil contributes and what happens in the winery.”

Paul Pender, winemaker at Tawse: “I’m a believer in terroir. I really believe the vineyards have an impact on the wine. In every bottle there are thousand decisions that you make along the way.”

Dave Keatley, director of winemaking, Flowers Vineyard, Sonoma Coast: “Is it a catch-all phrase? …Soils do matter. Dry extract is a way of measuring what the vine is up-taking (in geological minerals).”

Jeremy Dineen, chief winemaker, Josef Chromy (Tasmania): “Culturally people have different perceptions of minerality: some taste graphite, lead. The French think of minerality as zingy, fresh (acidic). It can almost be described as a loss of fruit.”

Matt Kramer: “I believe in minerality. I celebrate it… at least we’re looking for it. I believe scientists know nothing about wine. We have been bullied by science and scientists… I accept the veracity of the senses. Minerality is real, trust your senses.” (That’s what sent off the scientists in the room and on the twitter-verse.)

Then we had a tasting of wines to vote on whether we consider each to be mineral or not. Not a lot of consensus here.

  • Flowers Vineyard Meeting Ridge Chardonnay 2012
  • Josef Chromy Chardonnay 2014
  • Stratus Vineyards Chardonnay 2013
  • Tawse Quarry Road Vineyard 2012
  • Adelsheim Vineyards Caitlin’s Reserve 2012
  • Malivoire Moira Chardonnay 2012
  • Pearl Morissette Chardonnay Dix-neufieme 2010
  • Vie de Romans Chardonnay 2013

Lunch. Met up with Matt Kramer and he told me he took a copy of Death on the Douro with him to the Douro Valley.

Matt Kramer and Magdalena Kaiser

After lunch seminar: All that Sparkles. The sparkling wine panel:

Belinda Kemp, CCOVI: “Wine that has no dosage has a lot more bubbles.” The discussion is about oxidative versus reductive winemaking.

Xavier Rousset MS: “If you treat them (champagne) in an oxidative way they are dead after 10 years.”

Bernard Sparr (Pierre Sparr): “Crémant production goes up every year – up 25%. Chardonnay accounts for 1% of grape production in Alsace.”

Paul Speck (Henry of Pelham): “All things are about balance. We’re experimenting with more time on the lees and fresher sparkling rosé.”

Philip Dowell (winemaker, Angels Gate): “I don’t encourage oxidation. Lees ageing softens the wine. Chardonnay is by far the best variety for sparkling wine in Ontario.”

Then a tasting of the four wines in front of us:

  • Angels Gate Archangel 2012
  • Vina Requingua Arken Brut Chardonnay 2011
  • Cave Spring Blanc de Blancs (NV)
  • Pierre Sparr Crémant Brut Clos Ste-Odile (N/V)

Second flight (re: yeast autolysis). 2nd fermentation in the bottle takes six to eight weeks. Autolysis (ageing on the lees) begins six months after bottling. Dosage and sugar levels: sugar and CO2 have a big effect on flavour. Sparkling wine closures: younger wines come in under crown cap but the consumer wants sparkling under cork. New oak and relatively new oak in Champagne is a hot topic. But too much new oak reduces autolysis. Veuve Clicquot and Pol Roger use no oak at all. Taittinger rarely uses oak, a few percent of reserve wines are kept in oak vats to keep roundness in the wine. Interesting note: UV light causes sparkling wine to gush.

  • Cuvée Jean Bourdy Crémant de Jura (NV)
  • Henry of Pelham Cuvee Catherine Blanc de Blancs Carte Blanche 2010 (the dosage they use is old bottles of Chardonnay they keep back)
  • Angels Gate Archangel 2008 (disgorged yesterday)
  • Champagne Taittinger Comtes de Champagne Blanc de Blancs 2005

Awash in Chardonnays

After lunch I spent time in the press room tasting a raft of Chardonnays:

  • Berton Vineyards Metal Range Chardonnay 2014 (Eden Valley, Australia – $16.95): sweet and sour, a manufactured wine. (86)
  • Caves Jean Bourdy AOC Cotes du Jura White 2010 (Jura – $30): deeply coloured, oxidative, floral, dried peach flavour with a nutty finish. (88+)
  • Cusumano Jale 2012 (Sicily – $24.95): deeply coloured; developing barnyard notes, tropical fruit with toasty oak with a roasted note. (88+)
  • Cusumano Angimbe 2014 (Sicily – $16.95): better balanced than Jale – peach and mango flavours. (90)
  • Domaine Laroche Chablis Les Vaudevey 2012 (Burgundy – $39): minerally, vanilla, apple nose; well structured, beautifully balanced. (91)
  • Domaine Laroche Chablis Saint Martin 2013 (Burgundy – $25): crisply dry, apple and lemon flavours. (88)
  • Domaine Queylus Chardonnay Reserve 2013 (Niagara – $39.95): ripe, nectarine and lemon flavours with well integrated oak. (90)
  • Domaine Queylus Chardonnay Tradition 2013 (Niagara – $24.95): cashew nuts, citrus flavour, volatile note. (87+)
  • Evening Land Seven Springs Vineyard La Source Chardonnay 2012 (Oregon – $94): floral, pear and apple flavours, lovely texture. (91)
  • Evening Land Eola-Amity Hills Chardonnay 2012 (Oregon – $59): light straw colour; forest floor nose; dry, apple-pear and lemon flavours, light oak influence. (89)
  • Flowers Vineyard & Winery Camp Meeting Ridge Chardonnay 2012 (California – $129.95): rich, high toned, tropical fruit. (90)
  • Flowers Sonoma Coast Chardonnay 2013 (California – $64.95): well-balanced, elegant, rich and full on the palate. (92)
  • Gerard Bertrand Domaine de L’Aigle 2013 (Languedoc-Roussillon – $32.95): well balanced, dry, nicely balanced with a lively acidity; good length. (89)
  • Hamilton Russell Vineyards Chardonnay 2013 (South Africa – $45): Some bound-in sulphur here dumbing down fruit. Don’t know where this wine is going.
  • Josef Chromy Chardonnay 2014 (Tasmania – $32.95): Burgundian style nose, exciting acidity, orange and apple flavours. (91)
  • Josef Chromy Pepik Chardonnay 2014 (Tasmania – $21.95): forest floor nose and vanilla oak; sweetish with lively acidity. (88+)
  • L’Ecole No. 41 Columbia Valley Chardonnay 2013 (Washington – $22): Intense, ripe, tropical fruit, full-bodied, powerful. (89)
  • Maycas Del Limari Reserva Especial Chardonnay 2014 (Chile – $18.95): good fruit intensity with fresh acidity. (88)
  • Maycas Del Limari Sumaq Chardonnay 2014 (Chile – $14.95): oaky, ripe tropical fruit; moderate length. (87)
  • Vasse Felix Heytesbury Chardonnay 2013 (Margaret River – $69): still some sulphur but ag great wine underneath. Decant. Lovely balance and weight, apple and citrus flavours. (91)
  • Vasse Felix Filius Chardonnay 2013 (Margaret River – $25): bound-in sulphur, needs airing. There’s a good wine under that sulphur blanket. (88–90)
  • Westcott Estate Chardonnay 2013 (Ontario – $26): forest floor, spicy oak, apple nose; ripe peach backed by toasty oak. (89)
  • Westcott Lillias Chardonnay 2013 (Ontario – $20): similar nose to the Estate; softer on the palate with a touch more residual. (88)

Josef Chromy Tasmanian Cuvée NV

In the evening we were bussed to 13th Street Winery for “Barrels & Bonfires” and the traditional pig roast. Because the threat of rain the barrel-top tasting of all 58 participating wineries was held in the winery’s greenhouse. By this time I was dying for some red wine so Craig DeBlois, the agent for 13th Street, took Alder Yarrow and me into the winery shop to taste some Gamays and a Syrah – otherwise I might have bitten my wrist.

Tasting in the greenhouse

Saturday, July 18th: A sultry hot day. An early email from Peter Gamble invited me to an impromptu tasting of Benjamin Bridge wines in one of the hotel’s meeting rooms. About a dozen winemakers were sitting around the table to hear winemaker Jean-Benoit Deslauriers lead us through a tasting of Benjamin Bridge Vero 2013 and Benjamin Bridge Brut Reserve 2008. He told us that the dry extract in the 2008 is twice as high as that of Dom Pérignon. The wine is a blend of 60% Chardonnay and 40% Pinot Noir, six years on the lees with 9 grams sugar dosage. (Lemony, green apple with a biscuit note. 92–93).

Jean-Benoit Deslauriers, Benjamin Bridge winemaker

Alder and I were driven by limousine to Trius for an event called “Sabre & Savour.” Bottles of Trius Brut were sabred and served in Riedel’s new sparkling wine glass. We had a chilled glass of Trius Wild Ferment Sauvignon Blanc 2013 before dividing up into three groups to attend three tastings led by winemakers. Our group attended Jean-François Bourdy’s tasting in the cellar of Caves Jean Bourdy Crémant du Jura Brut (N/V), a Chardonnay sparkler (apple, honey flavours with a creamy mouth-feel (89)). The Bourdy family has been making wine since 1485 and are one of the ten oldest wine families in France. Their cellar contains 30,000 bottles of old wine dating back to 1781.

Jean-François Bourdy

Our next tasting was conducted by Jeremy Dineen, chief winemaker at Josef Chromy in Tasmania. We tasted Josef Chromy Sparkling (NV) – 65% Pinot Noir/35% Chardonnay (dry, crab apple and pear flavours). Finally we moved to Trius’ sparkling wine cellar, where winemaker Craig McDonald served Trius 5 Blanc de Noir 2009 (a blend of Pinot Noir and Pinot Meunier, 5 years on the lees – toasty, raspberry, citrus and leather nose; well-balanced, dry and firm with a red apple flavour and great texture (91)).

Trius winemaker Craig McDonald

Lunch followed, about 60 of us at two long tables at which the following wines were served: Josef Chromy Chardonnay 2014 (rich, spicy, peach with lively lemony acidity; full-bodied, green pineapple flavour; great length (90+)); Trius Wild Ferment Chardonnay Oliviera Vineyard 2012 (golden colour; vanilla, spicy oak nose; broad, full-bodied, tropical fruit flavours backed by toasty oak, finishing on a clovey note (90)); and Jean Bourdy White 2009 (old gold colour; high-toned nose, spicy and oxidative apple with a floral grace note; mature flavours of dried peach and green nuts with a touch of bitterness on the finish (89+)). With dessert, Trius Brut Rosé (deep pink – more of a pale ruby – colour, dry, easy drinking, cherry flavour (87+)).

Trius’s lunch menu

After lunch, back to the hotel to change and freshen up for the evening event – “Cool Chardonnay World Tour.” A table-top tasting in the grounds of Ridley College with all the wineries. Everyone made a beeline for the Taittinger table and then to the oyster tent and Imant Malins’ amazing Fat Chance Hand-Sliced Smoked Salmon. We sat down for dinner in the college grounds with servers bringing the wines to the tables.

Oysters at Cool Chardonnay World Tour

Sunday, July 19th: Up early to drive back to Toronto in order to walk Pinot T. Wonderdog. Deborah had left at 6 am for her Pan Am volunteer duties. A great weekend of Chardonnay and there is no question that Ontario Chardonnays can stand next to the wines of the world without a blush.

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A Wine Lover’s Diary, Part 552: Andrea Da Ponte

Monday, June 6th: Wrote up my 680News wine reviews and did the banking. Selected wines for a Spanish tasting at Hola later this year and then got down to some tasting.

  • Jackson-Triggs Sparkling Chardonnay Musqué 2014 (Ontario – Charmat process): very pale colour; apple and apple blossom nose; sweetish in Moscato d’Asti style; easy drinking, orange and cardamom flavours that sustain well on the palate. 8.5% alcohol. A good summer sipper. (88)
  • Jackson-Triggs Reserve Sauvignon Blanc 2013 (Niagara Peninsula): pale straw colour; grassy, minerally, greengage nose; dry, medium-bodied, tart, green plum flavour. Some bitterness on the finish. (86)
  • Inniskillin Klose Vineyard Riesling 2014 (Niagara River): very pale lime colour; minerally, citrus nose; off-dry, honey and lime flavours; good texture with a zesty finish. (88)
  • Inniskillin Barrel Fermented Sauvignon Blanc Discovery Series 2014 (Niagara Peninsula): pale straw colour; evident oak almost masking a grassy, green plum nose; green bean and gooseberry flavours; round in the mouth; well extracted green fruit flavours. (88)
  • Inniskillin Reserve Pinot Gris 2013 (Niagara Peninsula): pale straw colour; minerally, peach pit bouquet; dry, medium-bodied, soft mouth feel with a white peach flavour prolonged with a good acidic spine. (88+)
  • Flat Rock Good Kharma Chardonnay 2013 (Twenty Mile Bench): pale lemon yellow colour; fresh sweet corn and apple nose; off-dry with a nutty, apple and orange flavour and toasty finish; good length. (88)
  • Flat Rock Chardonnay 2012 (Twenty Mile Bench): pale straw with lime tint; apple with a hint of oak on the nose; medium-bodied, dry, apple and citrus flavours; well balanced and long on finish. (89)
  • Flat Rock The Rusty Shed Chardonnay 2012 (Twenty Mile Bench): pale straw colour with a lime tint: apple, subtle oak nuances and developing barnyard notes; medium-bodied, dry, well balanced, lovely mouth feel with great length. A terrific Ontario Chardonnay, seamless in the mouth. (90)
  • Gérard Bertrand Gris Blanc 2014 (Pays d’Oc – $16.95): flesh pink in colour; minerally, nectarine nose; dry, aromatic, peachy-nectarine flavour with watermelon notes, medium-bodied, dry with good length. (88)
  • Citra Cerasuolo d’Abruzzo 2014 (Abruzzo, Italy – $8.45): orange-pink colour; orange and watermelon nose; dry, medium-bodied, fruity and fresh. (87)
  • Rosewood Origin Series Merlot 2012 (Beamsville Bench, Ontario): deep ruby with a mature rim; earthy, plum nose with a whiff of oak; medium-bodied, richly extracted plum and blueberry flavours. Soft mouth feel. (87+)
  • Jackson-Triggs Red Meritage 2012 (Niagara Peninsula): dense ruby-purple colour; cedar, blackcurrant with a toasty oak note on the nose; medium to full-bodied with a good mouth-feel, dry and firmly structured with tightly woven flavours of blackcurrant, cranberry and vanilla oak. (89)

Tuesday, June 7th: A 10 am dental appointment for a teeth cleaning. At 11 am Christian Kokkinomagoulos, export manager of Andrea da Ponte, came to the condo with his proseccos and grappas to taste:

  • Don Giovanni da Ponte Prosecco Superiore 2013: pale straw colour; light floral nose with peach and mineral notes; soft mouth feel with just a touch of sweetness with a lingering finish. (89)
  • Andrea Da Ponte Uve Bianche Malvasia Chardonnay: sweetish and round on the palate; clean pear and apple flavours. (89)
  • Andrea Da Ponte Uve Bianche Fior d’Arancio: orange peel nose, aromatic, orange blossom flavours; long finish. (91)
  • Andrea Da Ponte Grappa do Prosseco Unica (aged 10 years in Limousin oak): old gold colour; high toned, vanilla, honey, rancio nose; sweet (reminiscent of Irish whiskey!); beautifully balanced. (92)
  • Andrea Da Ponte Vecchia Grappa of Prosecco (a blend of 8 years): old gold colour; honey, dried peach; sweetish, rich and powerful, with a long clean oaky finish. (90)

In the afternoon tasted more wines:

  • Laurent Miguel Père & Fils Unoaked Chardonnay 2013 (Pays d’Oc): very pale colour; citrus and apple nose; medium-bodied, crisply dry, apple skin flavour. (86+)
  • Joie Farm Pinot Blanc 2014 (Okanagan Valley): straw colour; peachy nose with a mineral note medium-bodied, pear, peach and peach pit flavours with a touch of sweetness in mid-palate. (89)
  • Joie Farm Unoaked Chardonnay 2014 (Okanagan Valley): straw colour; leesy, apple nose, medium to full-bodied, dry, intense flavours of apple and green pineapple with lively citrus acidity. (89+)
  • Wooing Tree Central Otago Pinot Noir 2010: deep ruby colour; high toned nose of black raspberry with vanilla oak; dry, lively red plum flavour with a touch of tannin on the finish. (88+)

Wednesday, July 8th: Recorded my 680News wine reviews and put together some wine books for a Rotary auction. Worked on material for Grapes for Humanity’s new website.

Thursday, July 9th: Sadie Darby came over to discuss the future venue for the Ontario Wine Awards judging. Our traditional spot was the basement of Crush wine bar/restaurant on King Street. Apparently, it’s been sold to Susur Lee and is being remodelled.

Friday, July 10th: A Vintages release tasting this morning; several Greek and Argentinian wines are coming out on July 25th.

Saturday, July 11th: Took Guy to the Centre Street Deli for lunch (best smoked meat in Ontario) then we watched the Jays beat Kansas City – so a perfect day. In the evening Deborah and I were invited to Gordon and Carole Stimmell’s for dinner. We brought dessert on the subway, an Angel cake Deborah would finish off in the Stimmell’s kitchen with Ontario strawberries and whipped cream. I found a half bottle of Colio Select Late Harvest Riesling 1998 in the cellar to go with it. Both were fantastic! The wine tasted like an old Tokaji, orange marmalade and barley sugar flavours.

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A Wine Lover’s Diary, Part 551: Pinot’s Procedure

Monday, June 29th: Did some wine evaluations for Grand Cru’s auction and then wrote an article for Grapevine magazine on how to get into wine.

Tuesday, June 30th: Took Pinot to the emergency clinic. She’s having a CAT scan to determine what is causing her pain with sudden movements. Couldn’t really concentrate on much as Pinot will be put under an anaesthetic and I’m worried about her. Picked her up at 5:30 pm to find that they had shaved the back of her head for the procedure. Very modish do. The vet could find nothing on the X-rays but has taken spinal fluid for further testing.

Pinot’s new do

Went to the ballgame with my friend Frank Daley. The security to get into Rogers Stadium is like entering Fort Knox. Jays lost – again. They always do when I go. They should pay me to stay away.

Wednesday, July 1st: Canada Day. Took Deborah to Cibo on Yonge Street for dinner. It used to be Centro (where we celebrated Guy’s bar mitzvah 27 years ago) and then Vita Sociale. I ordered a bottle of Carpineto Dogajolo Rosato 2014, which was delivered by a wine angel who hoisted herself up the face of the glassed-in wine cellar to retrieve it. I first saw this concept at the Auerole in the Mandalay Hotel in Las Vegas, which has a 44-foot high wine cellar. Cibo’s is probably 20 feet. The wine waiter was about to apply a corkscrew to the bottle when I pointed out to him that it had a screwcap.

Cibo’s wine angel

Deborah enjoying Carpineto’s rosé

Thursday, July 2nd: Spent much of the day transcribing the tape of an interview with a bio-chemist in Texas who has invented a product that could… (I say no more at this stage. Watch this space). Then got down to some tasting.

  • Bench 1775 Chill 2014 (Naramata, BC): pale straw colour; minerally, pear skin nose; medium-bodied, dry and mouth-filling with apple and pear flavours. (88+)
  • Bench 1775 Sauvignon Blanc 2014 (Naramata, BC): pale straw colour with a lime tint; sweaty, grassy nose of grapefruit and green plum; medium-bodied, dry, tart flavours of grapefruit and gooseberry. Good length. (89)
  • Bench 1775 Pinot Gris 2014 (Naramata, BC): light straw colour; white peach nose with a thread of minerality; dry, full-bodied, mouth-filling peach flavour with balancing acidity. (89)
  • Nugan Estate Third Generation Chardonnay 2013 (South Eastern Australia – $11.95): pale straw colour with a lime tint; earthy, green pear nose with a mineral note; dry, full-bodied-bodied, pear and lemon flavours that linger on the palate. Great value. (87+)
  • Huff Estates Pinot Gris 2013 (Prince Edward County – $20): pale straw with a greenish tint; minerally, peach pit nose; full-bodied, dry, white peach and pear flavours; richly extracted with good length. (88)
  • Bench 1775 Glow Rosé 2014 (Naramata, BC – 65.4% Malbec, 13.2% Merlot, 5.4% Syrah, 16% Cabernet Franc): flesh pink colour; minerally, redcurrant bouquet; medium-bodied, dry and soft on the palate with raspberry and cranberry flavours and a warm alcoholic finish. (89)
  • Bench 1775 Merlot 2013 (Naramata, BC): deep purple colour; blueberry and dark chocolate nose with an oak note; full-bodied, dry, creamy mouth feel; blueberry flavour with a note of violets and a lively spine of acidity. (90)
  • Jim Barry The Cover Drive Cabernet Sauvignon 2013 (Coonawarra – $16.95): dense purple-ruby colour; cedary, blackcurrant nose and vanilla nose; dry medium- to full-bodied, blackcurrant flavour with a floral grace note and tangy acidity on the finish. (89+)

Friday, July 3rd: Down to the LCBO to taste some general list wines that are about to be released as well as some Australian wines. Noticed this artwork at Union Station. It looks suspiciously like a child picking its nose. Just the thing to greet visitors to Toronto for the Pan Am Games with.

Union Station art

The vet called to say she could not find anything from the spinal fluid test. So nothing learned from a very expensive procedure.

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A Wine Lover’s Diary, Part 550: Culmina Launch

Monday, June 22: Wrote up 30 wine reviews for Quench magazine. Since Deborah is still away I decided to open a can of tripe I had purchased in a gas station in Spain on a recent trip. Deborah hates tripe so this was a good time to try it. And since Deborah is not a great fan of curry cooked at home I decided to do curried tripe. It was delicious with a bottle of Burrowing Owl Chardonnay 2013 (straw colour; minerally, apple and forest floor bouquet; medium to ful-bodied, dry with pear and pineapple flavours and nicely integrated oak; touch of smokiness on the finish (89)).

Tuesday, June 23: Deborah got back from Vancouver on the red-eye and filled me in with news of our grandson. In the evening, down to Allen’s for a Wine Writer’s Circle Dinner. Each of us brought a bottle of wine:

  • 13th Street Gamay/Pinot Noir 2013 VQA
  • Irsai Oliver 2014 (Muscat) Hungarian
  • Veuve Clicquot Rich NV
  • Laurenz V. Friendly Gruner Veltliner 2012 Kampal
  • La Faite Cotes de Saint Mont 2001 Madiran
  • Kuhlmann Platz Cremant de Rose NV Alsace (Pinot Noir)
  • Argyros Santorini 2014 Assyrtika Greece
  • Yalumba The Strapper Grenache Shiraz Mataro 2012 Australia (my wine)
  • Gabbiano Chianti Classico Riserva 2011
  • Lenko Old Vines Merlot 2003 VQA

A hit at the Wine Writers’ dinner

The wine of the night

I ordered deep-fried calamari with Mongolian fire sauce and pan-seared wild halibut with tomato vinaigrette. The wine of the night was the Lenko Old Vines Merlot, still vibrant and fresh after 12 years. As a prelude to dinner Sheila Swerling-Puritt brought along a bottle of the new Veuve Clicquot Rich, a champagne with residual sweetness designed as the base of cocktails for the club circuit. It was poured over ice and we could choose the addition of a slice of pineapple, red pepper or cucumber. It costs $82.20, which is costly when you think about the ice and the fruit and vegetables.

Champagne for cocktails

Wednesday, June 24: Wrote my columns for Post City Magazines and On The Go and the Wines of the Week for my site. Booked a flight to Vancouver in August and then got down to some tasting:

  • Burrowing Owl Pinot Gris 2014 (Okanagan Valley): light straw colour; minerally, peach pit nose; sweetish white peach and pear flavours, mouth-filling. (88)
  • Strewn Gewurztraminer 2011 (Niagara Peninsula): straw colour; oily, aromatic, rose petal nose; thick and unctuous on the palate, lychee and tangerine flavours; moderate length. (86)
  • Ironstone Vineyards Obsession Symphony 2013 (California): very pale, almost water white with a lime tint; fragrant, orange blossom and citrus nose; dry, light-bodied, perfumed, cardamom and tangerine flavours. Exotic but beautifully made. (89+)
  • Tinhorn Creek Oldfield Series Rosé 2014 (Okanagan Valley): pale orange-pink colour; peachy-watermelon nose; medium-bodied, some sweetness, expressive and fruity but could be drier. (87)
  • Tinhorn Creek Oldfield Series Pinot Noir 2011 (Okanagan Valley): tawny ruby colour; briary, cherry nose; medium-bodied, dry, earthy cherry flavour, firmly structured, muscular. (86)
  • Tinhorn Creek Pinot Noir 2012 (Okanagan Valley): ruby colour with an orange rim; rhubarb and cherry nose with a minerally, light floral note; ripe red berry fruit with some sweetness in mid palate, soft and well balanced with a lovely mouth-feel and a firm tannic finish. (89+)
  • Burrowing Owl Pinot Noir 2013 (Okanagan Valley): solid ruby colour; black raspberry and violets on the nose; spicy oak and black cherry flavours with a smoky note; sweet fruit with balancing acidity. (90)
  • Burrowing Owl Cabernet Franc 2012 (Okanagan Valley): deep ruby colour; cedar, smoky, red berry; mouth-filling, well-extracted flavours of plum and grainy tannins with evident oak and a lively spine of acidity. (89)
  • Burrowing Owl Syrah 2012: dense purple-ruby colour; savoury-meaty nose of blackberry, pepper and oak spice; rich and full on the palate, creamy blackberry and chocolate flavours with balancing acidity and a tannic lift on the finish. Good length. (90)
  • Burrowing Owl Athene 2012 (53% Syrah 47% Cabernet Sauvignon): deep purple-ruby colour; cedar, blackcurrant and blackberry nose with an uplift from oak; beautifully balanced and seamless full-bodied flavours of black fruits and oak. Sweetness checked by savoury notes. A distinguished wine. (92)
  • Domaine Buisse-Matteri Cuvée du Paradis 2013 (Côtes de Provence): deep ruby colour; toasty, smoky, reductive nose; dry, medium-bodied, raspberry flavour with resolved tannins. Easy drinking. (87+)
  • Villa Maria Merlot Cabernet Sauvignon 2013 (New Zealand): deep ruby colour; cedar, red berry nose; dry, medium-bodied, minty, currant flavours with soft tannins. (88)
  • Columbia Winery Cabernet Sauvignon 2012 (Columbia Valley, Washington – $17.95): deep ruby colour; cedar, red and blackcurrant aromas; dry, medium to full-bodied, firmly structured blackcurrant flavour with vanilla oak. (88)

Thursday, June 25: A meeting with Doris Maculan Bradley, the new president of Grapes for Humanity, and Arlindo Beca of Wines of Portugal to discuss the Douro Boys’ visit to Toronto in October. In the evening to Canoe for the launch of Culmina Hypothesis 2012 at Vintages. Don and Elaine Triggs hosted the event with winemaker Pascal Madevon.

Don Triggs of Culmina

The menu:

Canapes – West coast oyster and sea buckthorn; crispy pork belly & green tomatoes; shore lunch fried northern pike steam bun, with Culmina Decora Riesling 2014

Yarmouth lobster, compressed watermelon, licorice mascarpone & cucumber, with Culmina Unicus Grüner Veltliner 2014

Grandview Farms pasture pork, mixed charcuterie, warm olives & Branston pickle, with Culmina Saignée Rosé 2014

Owen Sound pheasant, Okanagan hazelnuts, apple butter & ricotta gnocchi, with Culmina Dilemma Chardonnay 2013

Intermezzo: rhubarb slices on a bed of sugar

Alberta waygu beef tip, tree syrup glazed short rib, horseradish greens, portobello pickles & smoky mustard aioli, with Culmina Hypothesis 2011 & 2012

I couldn’t stay for the cheese course, but got to taste a barrel sample of Culmina Cabernet Sauvignon 2013 (which is going to be terrific when it’s out of oak and in bottle). In fact, all the wines showed very well and the rosé is the best I’ve tried from BC.

Culmina Unicus Grüner Veltliner 2014

Culmina Saignée Rosé 2014

Friday, June 26: A Vintages’ release tasting today. Dinner, BBQ steak with Le Vieux Pin Equinoxe Syrah 2012 (dense purple colour with nose of blackberries, vanilla oak, herbs and savoury spice; full-bodied, rich and full on the palate, dry, bold and jammy (92)).

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A Wine Lover’s Diary, Part 549: Men in Pink

Men in pink at lunch

Monday, June 15th: My email hacked. Somebody sent around an email signed Aspler saying I was in London and stranded without a passport. Please send 1200 pounds. I posted the fact on Facebook and on my answering service but people still called – from London and Shanghai – asking if I was OK. I told them I was but they could still send the money. Wrote my 680News wine reviews and then to dinner at Campognolo on Dundas Street West for a tasting of wines from Foss Marai in Valdobbiadene. For their proseccos they use a different yeast for Brut and Extra Brut.

  • Foss Marai Extra Dry (blue bottle): very crisp for an Extra Dry; floral nose with a lemony finish. (87+)
  • Foss Marai Prosecco DOCG: driest prosecco I’ve tasted; floral nose, delicate, apple-pear flavours with a mineral note. (89)
  • Foss Marai Roos (Rosé): Sangiovese, Sagrantino, Montepulciano, Cabernet Sauvignon, Nero di Troia: dry wild strawberry flavour, firmly structured with a touch of bitterness on the finish. (88)
  • Foss Marai Niró 2010 (100% Aglianico): deep ruby colour; floral, licorice, cedar nose; fruity, dry, blackberry flavour with a tannic lift on the finish. (88)
  • Foss Marai Fumac Rosso Tranquillo 2010: (Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon, Nero di Troia) deep ruby colour; high toned, spicy, black fruit nose; on the palate, redcurrant and cranberry flavours with lively acidity. (87)

Foss Marai Niro 2010

Tuesday, June 16th: A meeting with the owners of Hola Café on Queen East to discuss a wine tasting for their clientele. Then over to Allen’s on the Danforth for John Maxwell’s annual “Men in Pink” lunch. Perfect weather for an outdoor lunch in the garden with Ontario producers bringing their rosés and all the men wearing something pink. 28 of us at a long table. Great menu: Buttermilk and roasted beet soup, barbecued chilli-rubbed shrimp, beef tenderloin, zabaglione with Cattail Creek Late Harvest Vidal 2006.

Beet soup in keeping with the theme

Ken in the pink

For dinner, with barbecued ribs, Alamos Cabernet Sauvignon 2013 from Argentina: ruby colour; cedar, red berry nose; medium-bodied, dry, redcurrant and cranberry flavours with lively acidity and supple tannins. (87+)

Wednesday, June 17th: Wrote my Quench column for October on Avondale Sky winery in Nova Scotia and Tidal Bay wines. Then got down to some tasting.

  • Château Saint-Pierre Tradition 2013 (Côtes de Provence): pale straw with a green tint; minerally, citrus nose; dry, mouth-filling Asian pear flavour; full on the palate with a touch of sweetness in mid palate. (86+)
  • Domaine Bouisse-Matteri Cuvée du Paradis 2013 (Côtes de Provence): pale straw colour; crushed stones, lemon and lemon blossom on the nose; dry, full-bodied, unctuous on the palate at first before the acidity kicks in; apple and lemon flavours. (86+)
  • Daniel Pollier Pouilly-Fuissé Vieilles Vignes 2013 (Burgundy): pale straw with a green tint: minerally, apple nose; medium-bodied, dry, apple and green pineapple flavours with good sustaining acidity and a sultana note on the finish. (88)
  • Quinta do Cabeço Oboé Douro Branco Reserva 2012 (Malvasia Fina, Rabigato, Vosinho): light straw colour with a greenish tint; earthy, citrus nose; dry, full-bodied, aromatic, nectarine and citrus flavours. (88)
  • Kellermeister Barossa Chardonnay 2011 ($15.20): pale straw with a lime tint; minerally, apple nose; dry, medium-bodied, apple and lemon flavours; a touch hard on the finish.(86+)
  • Blossom Hill Crisp & Fruity White (California – $10.80): very pale colour; minerally-citrus nose; soft on the palate, sweetish, pear and citrus flavours. (86)
  • Château Saint-Pierre Tradition Rosé 2014 (Côtes de Provence): very pale, flesh colour; minerally, watermelon, nose; dry, raspberry flavour with prolonging acidity. (87+)
  • Blossom Hill Soft & Fruity Red (California – $10.80): ruby colour with violet tints; woodsy, red berry nose; off-dry, soft on the palate, raspberry flavour with just a suggestion of tannin to give the structure and enough acidity to give the wine a fresh finish. Inoffensive and quaffable. (86)
  • Ruffino Modus 2011 (Tuscany – $29.95): deep ruby colour; roasted, meaty nose, charcoal notes; dry, full-bodied, cherry and plum and dark chocolate flavours with lively acidity and a tannic lift on the finish. (89)
  • Luis Canas Crianza Rioja 2011 (Tempranillo with 5% Garnacha – $17.95): purple-ruby colour; sandalwood and strawberry nose with wood spice; rich and full on the palate, dry, savoury-herbal flavour with soft tannins. (88)
  • Chateau Saint Pierre Tradition 2011 (Côtes de Provence): ruby colour; rustic, forest floor nose; dry, raspberry flavour backed by a strong spine of acidity and light tannins on the finish. (87+)
  • Rancho Zabaco Zinfandel 2013 (Sonoma Heritage Vines – $19.95): deep ruby colour; a nose of black fruits; mouth-filling sweet black plum and blackberry flavours, full-bodied, fruity and firm. (88)
  • Frei Brothers Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon 2012 (Sonoma – $26.95) deep ruby colour; cedar, blackcurrant with a floral top note; full-bodied, well-extracted sweet fruit, jammy in mid-palate with enough tannin and acidity to give structure. (88)
  • Kellermeister The Funk Wagon GSM Grenache Shiraz Mataro 2011 (Barossa Valley – $16.30): deep ruby colour; peppery, black raspberry nose with vanilla oak notes; full-bodied, sweet black fruits, chunky on the palate. Moderate length. (87+)

For dinner, salmon in a spicy sauce with Haycutters Shingleback Sauvignon Blanc Semillon 2014: pale straw colour with a lime tint; medium-bodied, dry, green plum flavour with good mid-palate fruit. (87)

Thursday, June 18th: Spent the day inputting wine reviews for the Vintages release on Saturday. For dinner with grilled sausages, Alamos Malbec 2013: deep ruby colour; floral blackberry nose with a savoury note; medium-bodied, dry, soft mouth-feel. (88)

Friday, June 19th: Deborah left for Vancouver at 6 am. She’s visiting our grandchild, Declan, who is now 15 months old. Today I had a Vintages tasting of Vintages Essentials. Watched the ball game. The Jays beat Baltimore in a wild ride.

Polished off a bottle of Culmina Hypothesis 2012 (57% Merlot, 24% Cabernet Franc, 19% Cabernet Franc) from BC: deep purple-ruby color with a complex nose of blackcurrant and blueberry, vanilla oak, cedar, tobacco and pencil lead; full-bodied, dry with a lovely floral note and lively acidity; corseted with tannins at the moment. Needs 2–3 years. (91–92)

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A Wine Lover’s Diary, Part 548: Grapes for Humanity’s 15th Anniversary

Stratus winemaker J-L Groulx

Monday, June 8: At The Chase restaurant for the 10th Anniversary of Stratus. Tasting in the basement room (hot) led by the winemaker J-L Groulx.

  • Stratus White 2012 (Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc, Semillon, touch of Viognier): bright straw colour; peach with a grassy note on the nose; mouth-filling, tropical fruit flavours, mango and orange with lively acidity. Well integrated oak. (91)
  • Stratus White 2005: old gold colour; oaky, spicy, dried peach nose; mature. Lovely mouth feel, full-bodied. Toasty, nutty finish. Great length. (92)
  • Stratus Chardonnay 2012: straw colour; toasty, spicy nose of peach and apple; mouth-filling, nectarine flavour with evident oak. Full-bodied and ripe. (89–91)
  • Stratus Chardonnay Reserve 2002: straw colour; mature woodsy nose with caramel notes; sweet peach and tropical fruit flavours with toasty, nutty notes and a pencil lead finish. (90)
  • Stratus Viognier 2012: straw colour; aromatic, peach skin nose with a mineral note and a touch of oak; spicy, full on the palate, dry with a floral grace note. (90)
  • Stratus Red 2012 (Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc, Merlot, Petit Verdot, Malbec, Tannat): dense ruby colour; floral, pencil lead, cedar nose; black fruit flavours, richly extracted, full-bodied, grainy tannins; dry, savoury, licorice finish. (91)
  • Stratus Red 2002: deep ruby colour; mature, leather, spicy, meat extract, soy nose with a floral top note; dry, elegant, and well balanced.
  • Stratus Cabernet Franc 2012: deep ruby colour; creamy, blackcurrant with a floral note; dry, dark chocolate and black fruit flavours, lovely texture with a tannic lift on the finish. (90)
  • Stratus Cabernet Franc 2005: deep ruby colour; earthy, redcurrant nose; dry, medium weight, some green flavours with evident tannins. (87+)
  • Stratus Cabernet Sauvignon 2012: dense ruby-purple colour; cedar, blackcurrant with vanilla oak on the nose; richly extracted, dry, full on the palate with ripe tannins. Youthful, needs time. (90–92)
  • Stratus Petit Verdot 2012: dense purple-ruby colour; violets and red berry nose with oak spice; full-bodied, dry, earthy black fruit flavours with grainy tannins. (89)
  • Stratus Gamay 2012: deep ruby colour; black cherry nose with a touch of oak on the nose and a cedar note; richly extracted and firmly structured, round on the palate with a firm tannic finish. (89)
  • Stratus Sangiovese 2012: deep ruby colour; elegant floral, cherry nose; medium-bodied, fleshy, soft mouth-feel, firm tannic finish. (90)
  • Stratus Tempranillo 2012: deep ruby colour; peppery, cherry nose with a floral note; dry, well extracted, elegant and full on the palate. (91)
  • Stratus Tannat 2012: dense purple-ruby colour; peppery, blackberry nose; blackberry fruit with lively acidity with chalky tannins; dense and full on the palate. (89)
  • Stratus Syrah 2012: deep ruby; peppery, blackberry with a savoury, herbal note on the nose; full-bodied, dry, spicy, blackberry with lively acidity and a firm tannic finish. (90)
  • Stratus Malbec 2012: deep purple-ruby colour; blackcurrant with a floral note and a touch of vanilla oak on the nose; dry, firmly structured, full in the mouth. Tannins kick in in mid-palate. (89)

For dinner, with grilled salmon: La Cadièrenne Bandol Rosé Grande Tradition 2014 (very pale pink with a bluish tint; minerally, raspberry nose with a touch of sweetness in mid palate; full-bodied with good length, finishing dry. (88))

Tuesday, June 9: Down to the Burroughs Building 639 Queen West for “The Soul of Portugal Tasting.” A top-floor room, crowded and hot. Thirty-four companies represented with 160 wines and ports available for tasting. I found it hard to taste under the crowded conditions but was impressed by Quinta da Fronteira Selecção do Enológo 2011, Cortes de Cima Syrah 2012, Esporão Reserva Tinto 2012, Niepoort Redoma Branco 2013, Quinta Vale D. Maria 2012, Crasto Superior 2012. Best value, João Portual Ramos Loios 2014 on the general list at $9.30.

Quinta da Fronteira Selecção do Enológo 2011

Cortes de Cima Syrah 2012

Esporão Reserva Tinto 2012

Quinta Vale D. Maria 2012

Crasto Superior 2012

To relax in the evening with Deborah I opened a bottle of Gruhier Crémant de Bourgogne Extra Brut 2010 – a terrific bubbly, golden colour, toasty, rich apple flavour; bone dry and full on the palate. A bargain at $20.95. (90)

Wednesday, June 10: A tasting today at Doug Towers with David Lawrason for winerytohome. For dinner, with roast chicken, Opawa Pinot Gris 2014 from New Zealand (straw colour with green tints; minerally, peach nose; dry with well-extracted nectarine flavours. (88))

Thursday, June 11: Up at 6 am in order to get down to Queen’s Park to meet members of the Lieutenant Governor’s staff and drive down to Niagara College to judge the 5th annual Lieutenant Governor’s Award for Excellence in Ontario. There were four adjudication panels tasting 305 entries. Our panel of Peter Rod, Yvonne Irvine and Kasia Koziara tasted blind 10 Chardonnays,11 Other Whites, 11 Cabernet Franc, 8 Merlot, 7 Cabernet Sauvignon before lunch. Then 6 sparkling wines, 7 Other Reds, 7 Rosés, 10 Riesling and 10 Dessert wines. We put forward 8 wines for the award and the other panels put forward their numbers. Tomorrow the panels will taste all the recommended wines and narrow down to number to 9–12 awards. Unfortunately, I can’t judge tomorrow as I have a Vintages release tasting. The stellar flights for our panel were Cabernet Franc and Riesling.

Friday, June 12: The June 27th Vintages release tasting this morning. Then home to prepare for Grapes for Humanity’s 15th anniversary dinner at Pangea. Board members from the US foundation were in town for their AGM and our Canadian directors joined them for the dinner. Everyone brought bottles of wine (my contribution – Yaluma Viognier 2013 and Alpha Estate 2007 (a Syrah, Xynomavro and Merlot blend).

The best of wines…

The highlight of the evening was a wine that one of our Canadian directors had purchased at the Toronto Symphony auction many years ago – a Salmanazar (9 litres) of Beringer Special Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon 1980. It was in terrific shape, still youthful with a rich cassis, tobacco and smoky nose; full on the palate and beautifully balanced (93). This contrasted with probably the worst wine I have ever tasted in my life: Prasat Phnom Banon The Best Selected Red Wine (no vintage). The bottle was brought back by a US director from Cambodia. He arrived in Toronto from Phnom Penh that afternoon. The wine smelled of rancid tea leaves and a mature hockey bag. I could not put it in my mouth. (I subsequently googled it to find if it actually existed. Its website reads: “On the road between Battambang and the temple of Phnom Banan you will find the only vineyards in Cambodia.” Not worth the detour, believe me.)

…The worst of wines.

The other wines at the table or that I tasted were Domaine Mathieu Blanc 2005, Sattlerhof Kranachberg Sauvignon Blanc 2009, Bond St. Eden Cabernet Sauvignon 2008, Fanti Brunello 2000, Château Bellefont Belcier 2000, though most of the time I stuck with the wonderful Beringer. During the dinner my fellow directors presented me with an award for my time as president of the foundation. The menu, prepared by Chef Martin Kouprie, was delicious. I chose:

Roasted Pear and Endive Salad with fennel, watercress, walnuts, Stilton cheese and mustard dressing

Mushroom risotto with sugar snap peas, mushrooms, wild rice, tomato, parmesan cheese and veal reduction

Sirloin of beef grilled, with wilted green, seasonal vegetables, pommes purée, sauce Bordelaise

Lemon Semifreddo with crisp sour lemon meringue & poached cranberries.

Just a great evening to celebrate 15 years. See the video.

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