Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Report from ... The All Canadian Wine Championships Judging, Day 1 - May 16, 2011

Here I am in Windsor, Ontario for another round of the All Canadians which includes wines from across Canada (I was told that the first wine ever from Saskatchewan was entered this year).  We assembled in the morning (9 AM) at The Other Place Catering venue to start our tasting of more than 1130 wines ... it always looks the most daunting in the morning.  I wrapped my palate around Unoaked Chardonnay, Meade, Late Harvest, Soft Fruit Dessert wines, and then after lunch a pile of Merlots and Iced Ciders.  Somewhere in there we also had the Sparkling wine taste off to determine the best Sparkler in Canada - I am sure I am not allowed to tell you who it is but I can say that the trophy will stay in Ontario with a first time winner.  We break at 3:30 and are back at the hotel about 4 for a well deserved bit of rest before heading out to dinner.

Now dinner I know I can tell you all about ... we went to a place called Nico's, that serves some wonderful Italian food, tonight's choice was between white fish and lamb - from my look around the table lamb was the main of choice for most judges, but I bucked the trend and went for the fish (glad I did, it was delicious) - both dishes were sided with the best pillow-gnocchi I have ever tasted ... pictures are below.
When you get a whole bunch of wine judges / writers together the wine flows free and there were some really good bottles on the table this evening - the most interesting of which were brought by members of the jury themselves:
Gemma 2001 Giblin Riserva Barolo - I had one mouthful, what what a delicious mouthful it was.
2027 Cellars 2007 Featherstone Vineyard Riesling - brought by a proud papa, this wine is still showing beautifully.
Ehrhart 2008 Domaine Saint-Remy Reserve Gewurztraminer - floral and spice with a thick mouth-feel.
Michel Delhommeau 2009 Cuvee Harmonie,Muscadet Sevre et Maine (sur lie) - a lovely lemon-limeade wine with great acidity that paired well with the shrimp and calamari made from 100% Melon de Bourgogne.
Castello Vicchiomaggio 2001 Ripa della More - a super-Tuscan blend of Sangiovese, Cabernet and Merlot, another wine I had but a mouthful of but a mouthful was enough to taste the intricate flavours this wine had developed ... though I wish I had been able to relish a whole glass to get all the nuances out of it.
Librandi 2007 Duca San Felice Ciro Riserva - a wine made with the native Italian grape 'Gaglioppo'; this was a really food friendly wine.

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