My favourite wine moments of 2007
1Hidden Bench 2005 Nuits Blanche, NiagaraMy head-spinning first tasting of a brilliant bordeaux-inspired white blend of sauvignon blanc and sémillon that went on to win white wine of the year at the Canadian Wine Awards. Hidden Bench opened in June and came out of nowhere to take runner-up for winery of the year.
2Dr. Loosen 2006 Riesling, Mosel, GermanyA 10 a.m. tasting of bottled sunshine—the incredibly rich and vibrant rieslings of Ernst Loosen—that kick-started an amazing day in the middle Mosel. It was my first trip to a region that dazzles as one of the great vineyard landscapes in the world. It was a visit that was matched by what’s in the bottle and the aspirations of its winemaking families.
3Closson Chase 2005 Iconoclast Chardonnay, Prince Edward CountyEncountered at the Gold Medal Plates culinary competition in Ottawa, this silky, incredibly rich yet poised chardonnay was matched to an equally sumptuous, mouth-melting ginger-lacquered fillet of B.C. black cod by chef Matthew Carmichael of Restaurant 18. Who knew (except iconoclastic winemaker Deborah Paskus) that the young vines of Prince Edward County could yield such elixir?
4Donatella Cinelli Colombini 2001 Brunello di Montalcino Riserva, Tuscany, ItalyA profound, layered yet lively Brunello that, like its creator, has found a way to marry classicism with modernity. As we discussed this over lunch at Donatella Colombini’s centuries-old farmhouse turned agri-turisma, I was shocked at her view that Italy was actually new at making fine wine. The penny dropped; suddenly the dynamism and energy characterizing winemaking all over Italy made sense.
5Marsala 1916, SicilyQuietly, and with a generosity often displayed by lovers of fine wine, an elderly Kingston gentleman auditing my wine course offered this rarity. The faded label barely registered the vintage date, let alone a producer name. The wine was sublime, silencing a room happily into its 12th wine of the night. It was so silken and aromatic that it was more a haunting essence than a liquid. “I didn’t know wine could be like this,” remarked a sommelier in attendance.