From Cinquante to wine with Canada-U.S. hockey

Canada\'s Marie-Philip Poulin (L) celebrates with Canada\'s Meghan Agosta-Marciano.

Canada’s Marie-Philip Poulin (L) celebrates with Canada’s Meghan Agosta-Marciano.
Photo: ANDREJ ISAKOVIC/AFP/Getty Images

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I hope the Canadian men’s hockey team watched the women this afternoon. Lesson number one: Play to the last friggin’ millisecond. Canada versus the United States is hockey incarnate. The games are always exciting.

When we gathered for that first historic Salt Lake City Gold Medal game in 2002, we drank cinquante. Mario would have wanted it that way. For the 2010 Vancouver golden goal win we convened with Steam Whistle. That historic Sunday in February was my first time out of the house after a right AC (acromioclavicular) joint shoulder rebuild. Hockey injury, of course. Wine did not factor into those generation defining Olympic hockey games. Back in 2002 names like Lemieux, Sakic, Fleury, Brodeur, Hull, Leetch, Modano and Roenick were toasted with beer, though back then the brands were not so craft related. In 2010 it was all Sidney Crosby and had I been acquainted at the time with the wonders of Sparkling wine from Nova Scotia, Benjamin Bridge would surely have been flowing.

Meanwhile, Super Mario turned out to be a serious wine collector so I wonder what Le Magnifique will be opening this Friday at noon. Team Canada architect Steve Yzerman is also known to follow the way of the grape and though he won’t be sipping Napa Cabernet with the other brass during the game, I’ve a feeling there’s a ’97 waiting in his hotel room should Canada prevail over their arch rivals.

Hockey stick and wine bottles

Hockey stick and wine bottles

The great Rhône wine scribe George Heretier posed the all-important debate, ”who says wine and hockey don’t make a good match?” If you want to exercise the powers of superstition, pulling out those two winning vintages will call upon the hockey gods to carry our Canadian men to gold. That and a Loonie buried beneath the surface at centre ice.

Here are eight great Canadian 2002 and 2010 wines to crack open and sip along with another Canada-U.S. classic hockey meeting.

Clockwise from left: Southbrook Vineyards Cabernet Franc ‘Watson Vineyard’ 2002, Henry of Pelham Family Estate Winery Speck Family Reserve Cabernet Merlot 2002, Rosewood Estates Winery Sémillon 2010, Southbrook Triomphe Cabernet Sauvignon 2010, Burrowing Owl Syrah 2010, Huff Estates Cuvée Janine Sparkling Rosé 2010, and Stratus White 2010

Clockwise from left: Southbrook Vineyards Cabernet Franc ‘Watson Vineyard’ 2002, Henry of Pelham Family Estate Winery Speck Family Reserve Cabernet Merlot 2002, Rosewood Estates Winery Sémillon 2010, Southbrook Triomphe Cabernet Sauvignon 2010, Burrowing Owl Syrah 2010, Huff Estates Cuvée Janine Sparkling Rosé 2010, and Stratus White 2010

Southbrook Vineyards Cabernet Franc ‘Watson Vineyard’ 2002 ($30, winery) From A long and ‘wine-ding’ tasting road

Shows amazing longevity and freshness. Proof of the Peninsula’s magic to state ”you will never never never know me.” Simply solid red.  91  Tasted March 2013  @SouthbrookWine

Stratus White 2002, VQA Niagara Peninsula (660704, $44.20, WineAlign)  From Select tasting through years of the Stratus Red and White

Performs a demi-sec act which is not such a stretch, considering the late harvest actualities of the Gewürztraminer and the Riesling within. Could pass for dessert-like, cool-climate French (Jura) though after the chimerical declension it’s still nothing but a Chardonnay-galvanized meritage. Like warm honeycomb buttering steamed crustaceous matter. That Stratus White medicine, in rose potpourri and honey completes the classic scene within the portal.  93  Tasted September 2013  @Stratuswines

Stratus White 2002

PHOTO: Michael Godel
Stratus White 2002

Henry of Pelham Family Estate Winery Speck Family Reserve Cabernet Merlot 2002 ($50, wineryWineAlign) From A long and ‘wine-ding’ tasting road

From the Niagara Peninsula shows toffee and concentrated, oxidized fruit. That said, it has aged well and still offers intellectual spirit in dried fruit and potpourri. Great old tune to Dance, Dance, Dance along to.  89  Tasted March 2013  @SpeckBros

Rosewood Estates Winery Sémillon 2010 (177758, $17.95, WineAlign) From Showcase Showdown: Rosewood Sémillon

Shows little procrastination with a superfluity of lemon, lime and paraffin but like all great Sémillon, the wine needs time. A block of wax keeps the honey down but look for a mellifluous ooze three years on. Glittering sheen, diamond-like focus and crusted by an accent of lemon zest. Krystina Roman will lead this grape to stardom. “Come on you stranger, you legend, you martyr, and shine!” Top white. Shine on you crazy Sémillon.  90  Tasted October 2012 and May 2013  @RosewoodWine

Southbrook Triomphe Cabernet Sauvignon 2010, VQA Niagara On The Lake, Ontario (ON, VINTAGES Essential, 193573, $22.95, WineAlign) From: Good Look Ahead at Canadian Wines For Thanksgiving

Drifts effortlessly along in an extreme brightness and lightness of being. A perfumed exotic beauty that displays definitive Cabernet Sauvignon character. Tea, tobacco, Cassis, vanilla, dark berries, proper acidity, good grip and length. Dictionary entry for the vintage, the Niagara-on-the-Lake appellation and the genre. No other sub-$25 Ontario Cab does the warm vintages (’02. ’05, ’07 and ’10) with this kind of grace and power. From and kudos to winemaker Ann Sperling.  91  Tasted September 2013  @SouthbrookWine

Burrowing Owl Syrah 2010 (73072, $41.95, B.C. $39.99, Alberta $44.99, WineAlign) From: Nine big November best buy wines

This Syrah will cure so many ails. Vouchsafe for a pepper-laced, plasmic mouthfeel, a maroon liquid pewter party of rocks and stones in the mouth. Playful and childlike, digs a pony, playing and offering really good fun. Does its own Okanagan thing becuase “ev’rything has got to be just like you want it to.”  92  Tasted October 2013  @BurrowingOwlBC

Huff Estates Cuvée Janine Sparkling Rosé 2010 ($29.95, winery only, WineAlign) From: You can lead a county to the city

100 per cent Pinot Noir grapes is a phenomenal, inaugural genesis effort. More sanguine in colour than one would imagine, this sparkler is wonderfully sweet but also ”turns sweat, turns sour.” Pinot Noir is always potentially so dramatic but who knew it could be like this, like blood swirling in the glass. “Bottled in a strong compression,” with black raspberry, noticeable yeast and impressive finesse.  Out of the cage.  91  Tasted May 2013  @HuffEstatesWine

Stratus White 2010, VQA Niagara Peninsula (660704, $44.20, WineAlign)  From Select tasting through years of the Stratus Red and White

sends me immediately towards Bordeaux, in neo-marmalade, but also buoyed in perfume and body by 25 percent Viognier. “This variety worked so well in the vineyard in 2010,” notes Groux. Niagara honey and near-botrytis via Semillon and Sauvignon Blanc void of grass, full of vigor. A sharp note, neither metallic nor mineral, but a combination of the two is present in this so very concentrated ’10. Of a warm vintage (self-explanatory) fully picked by October 23. Though loaded with early Spring maple sap, foie gras and appley terpines, its sharp and framed by “tannic” tang and protracted length.  92  Tasted September 2013

Good to go!

A Stanley Cup for house league hockey

Former Toronto Maple Leaf Wendel Clark and a happy George Bell Titan

Former Toronto Maple Leaf Wendel Clark and a happy George Bell Titan

This is what hockey is supposed to be about

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They do give back. If your son or daughter was born in 2000 or 2001 and loves playing minor hockey, the 2012-2013 season would more than likely have been a good one.  Regardless of ability or what level they played, kids in the Toronto-area had a chance to experience the competitive thrill of playoff atmosphere, tournament hockey, just like the prodigies and the professionals.

It’s not the way house league players normally get treated.

The 2013 Canadian Tire Cup was held from April 5-7, 2013 at Iceland Arena and The Hershey Centre in Mississauga, ON. The free, three-day tournament was an end-of-season gift resulting out of a partnership between Canadian Tire and the GTHL. Together they provided 103 Peewee-level house league hockey teams in the GTHL with $500 in funding over the course of the 2012/2013 season to help pay for the costs associated with playing hockey.

Canadian Tire Cup Photo: Connie Riga

Canadian Tire Cup
Photo: Connie Riga

The GTHL is the largest minor hockey organization in the world and predates the NHL. Parents invest tens and in some cases hundreds of thousands of dollars in their child’s minor hockey career to chase the NHL dream. Only a select few get there. Injuries and especially concussions are rampant and are today the centre of endless controversy. Don Gilmor asked, “is minor hockey worth it?”

On a weekend like this, absolutely. Yes, there were some spirited games, a few mismatched teams and some bruises, but when all is said and done, so many kids benefited from the experience.

Jeff Stewart, GTHL’s manager of membership services and events said 85 of a possible 103 eligible teams participated in the tournament. Those that did not enter did so because of conflicts with their league playoffs.

Candian Tire Cup Photo: Nana Wall

Candian Tire Cup
Photo: Nana Wall

Canadian Tire is the exclusive sweater sponsor of the GTHL but their support goes well beyond the elite levels of AAA, AA, A and Select minor hockey.

“This is really the culmination of their season for these teams,” said Kevin Kloostra, Canadian Tire’s sponsorship and events advisor. “Many of these players have never been to a full tournament before.”

Each participant was given a loot bag with a Canadian Tire baseball cap and toque, NHL hockeycards and mini sticks.

Some NHL alumni – dressed in vintage-style, Canadian Tire hockey jerseys – spent quality time with the kids. They signed autographs, posed for photos and held court inside dressing rooms. The ambassadors (primarily former Toronto Maple Leafs players) included Lanny McDonald, Wendel Clark, Tiger Williams, Curtis Joseph, Brad May, Tom Fergus, Jeff O’Neill, Kris King, Todd Warriner and Bob McGill.

Good to go!

The Wine Diaries: Hockey and tasting notes

PHOTO: KYBELE/FOTOLIA.COM

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I’ve been for a walk. On a winter’s day.

Just in case you were not privy to the wisdom, I’m here to put you in the know. Some phenomenal wine is made here in Ontario. A rather large and excited group at #ONWineChat talks about this very fact every Wednesday night. You can chime in or just eavesdrop. We also have some dedicated, propitious traffickers of the red, white and sparkling stuff, including Wines in Niagara, the Wine Council of Ontario, the Ontario Wine SocietySpotlight Toronto and Wine Align Cru.

If you are looking for an event that brings Ontario’s greatest wines, wineries and winemakers together, don’t miss CUVÉE WEEKEND 2013, taking place March 1 to March 3, 2013 in Niagara Falls and throughout the Niagara region.

Attending a wine festival is one way to spend three days away from the dolor and calamity of the city. Another way is to head north and leave the noisome and constant freezing/unfreezing behind. The freedom to seek peace and quiet is in itself a gift of something very special. It’s called time. Time to spend with family. Time to transcribe thoughts and notes, to watch a movie. Time to enjoy a glass of wine.

Three wines, hockey stick and puck

The kids clamber down through parapets of snow to the natural boathouse rink, a glassine envelope, like a reef’s teeming tide pool left behind by retreating waters. Inside is a sheltered 12′ x 40′ basin frozen in time with the lake laid out beyond the gate as far as the eye can see. Others bring the wine. Here are three calming selections to enjoy on such a winter’s day.

From left to right: Trius Pinot Grigio 2011, Kunde Zinfandel 2007, Tawse Estate Chardonnay 2010

Trius Pinot Grigio 2011 (316414, $15.95) continues to throw smoke and amaze with its hue, this time reminiscent of crocus sativus linnaeus meets malachite green with an added fogging of rime. Herbal and balmy sweet, like pistachio halvah. Consistent with my previous note. “Out of the shell Ontario white.”  88  @TriusWines

Kunde Zinfandel 2007 (965921, $16.95) remains faithful in quiescence while we await the next incredibly valued vintage. The ’07’s bramble and brier are now more subtle, the sanguine notes now stanched. A Zinfandel in its later years, comfortable, content, grandfatherly. Enter retirement zin-city.  89  @KundeEstate  @imbibersreport

Tawse Estate Chardonnay 2010 ($37.95) like its half-sister Quarry Road, stands firm and smacks stubbornly up to the heat of the vintage. Opaque green of agate stone. Combines the apples and citrus from Quarry with Robyn’s musk and pear, but also the searing, mineral tang of Hillside. The assemblage is the most fleshy and forthcoming Chardonnay of the lot. Promises the best of all Tawse’s worlds, without stealing the spotlight from its single vineyard sistren.  90  @Tawse_Winery  @Paul_Pender

Boathouse wines

Winter tasting notes:

Related – VINTAGES February 16th, 2013 Release

Boutari Grande Reserve 2007 (140111, $16.95) from the family @boutari is rusty and evinced of a slight, smokey corrosion though not yet nearly ancient, especially by Macedonian standards. Tough red, granting notes of smoked gyros, Kalamata olive and acetic, Bebecou apricot. Unique and worth a try.  88  @KolonakiGroup

Fielding Estate Cabernet/Syrah 2010 (258657, $24.95) from @RichieWine is a veritable smoked porcine charcuterie board sprinkled with potpourri. Black currant and fig, expertly extracted fruit in a ripe and round package.  88  @FieldingWinery

Creekside Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon 2007 (662247, $34.95) from @CreeksideWine offers up 31 months of sweet oak scents and flavours yet resists over-mochafication. Rarely does a Niagara Cab bask in such a rich and full-bodied bath like this robin red, Queenston Road Vineyard beauty. Currants, citrus and herbs make appearances.  89 

Mocali Vigna Raunate Brunello Di Montalcino 2007 (162552, $46.95) is a pin-up babe indicative of the vintage, of crimson visage, flaunting a tanned and curvy figure. Brunello as a sexy twitter pic. Red cherry, smoky tobacco, mouth-puckering dried fruit. Spicy, sassy, ready to party.  90  @liffordwine

Altesino Brunello Di Montalcino 2007 (994095, $57.95) is not, contrary to the LCBO information page, a VQA wine. Offers instant permeate gratification with a stunning translucence studded by a faint, rustic and sweet cherry resonance. Fine, downy texture and corporeal substance for near wild heaven indulgence, followed by R.E.M. sleep. “My heart thrown open wide.”  91  @rogcowines

Château de Pez 2009 (202697, $58.95) is no kidding Johnny, this pirate in Saint-Estèphe clothing. Firm, cedar, mocha saveur and shakin’ all over. “Sends quivers down my backbone” and while it may be unapproachable today, this will aim to please when it settles down in ten years time.  90

And the fort still stands.

Winter Fort

Good to go!

We played pond hockey, we drank wine

Taylor Cup 2013 (Photo: Kevin Hewitt/kevinhewitt.ca)

Taylor Cup 2013 (Photo: Kevin Hewitt/kevinhewitt.ca)

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Pond Hockey. Is there a comparable Canadian cold weather activity yet apposite to define our sense of place or recreational state of being? Summer assigns us to a canoe but winter demands a bipedal, upright physicality built of speed and agility. In 2012 my yardarm to yardarm hockey and libation report journeyed beyond beer, to wine of course. It’s a natural tangent for me because of a keen awareness for all things terroir. Our roots grow out of the woods and lakes, from water sliced by the tip of a paddle and ice cut by the blade of a skate. Wine rides shotgun, like a loyal and faithful companion, wherever the trip may take me.

Taylor CupPhoto courtsey Dany Le Goaix

Taylor Cup
(Photo: Dany Le Goaix)

In 2006 some neighborhood friends gathered together in Lakefield, Ontario for a pond hockey tournament in honour of Judy Taylor, our hosts’ great friend who had recently lost her battle with Sarcoma. The Taylor Cup is in tribute and in memory of Judy, with funds raised benefiting the Princess Margaret Sarcoma Research Fund, to ultimately help others who are fighting this deadly disease.

In 2007 the tournament was moved to Bayview Wildwood Resort on Sparrow lake in Port Stanton, northwest of Orillia. I have now participated in my eighth consecutive Taylor Cup Pond Hockey Tournament to raise money for Cancer research at Princess Margaret Hospital.

This year nearly $140,000 was donated, bringing our eight-year total close to $960,000. My team, VanHooterman raised $25,568, tops in the tournament. Props to my teammates as our eight-year total has now exceeded more than $105,000.

Taylor Cup 2013 (Photo: Ian Chalmers)

Taylor Cup 2013 (Photo: Ian Chalmers)

We skated to a 3-1 record in the 35-team draw, matching our previous best. Once again we did not have to play on Sunday, save for the parents and kids shinny, a must do Taylor Cup tradition. The 2013 Taylor Cup champions were the three-peat boys from Around the Horn, defeating the Hamilton Houdinis for the second straight year.

Two wines from Ontario’s Prince Edward County made the trip and hung out rink side while we played. We were very careful not to shatter their glassine envelopes. As for the other teams, well mostly they just drank beer.

Keint-He Wines Photo courtesy Kevin Hewitt www.kevinhewitt.ca

Keint-He Wines
(Photo: Kevin Hewitt/www.kevinhewitt.ca)

Keint-He Chardonnay Prince Edward County 2009 ($20) forges a connection between Ordovician limestone-driven shoder and tropically travelled cutch. Ebullient, golden hue, lip-smacking cracker acidity and the stride of a long-distance skater. Creamy, crowd pulling Chardonnay. Confident and generous like a deft-passing, puck moving Defenceman. On the card at Barque.  90  Keint-He Winery

Keint-He Pinot Noir Foxtail Prince Edward County 2009 ($15) makes tender use of Hillier clay loam and young vines. Impossibly and remarkably light on its feet, ruddy bright and fragrant of raspberry, cranberry and pine. Smooth skater with a game built on finesse and stamina. Great current value from Bryan Rogers and a PEC defining Pinot Noir future with winemaker Ross Wise. Also at Barque.  88  @KeintheWinery

Good to go!

Shinny Video, Sidney Crosby and the NHL Playoffs

April 10, 2012 

http://blogs.canada.com/2012/04/10/shinny-hockey-sidney-crosby-and-the-nhl-playoffs/

 

City permit expires, mercurial ice melts, close of shinny season. Beer break, break from beer. Hockey void temporarily filled if only in a heteroclite dream of narrative embroidery. For one weekend in April a miraculous, synergistic trinity. Enmity gauged exodus out of Pharaoh’s desert, the heavenly ascension and an inexplicable blast out of the pine straw at Augusta National. The Paschal Flame, Burning Bush and Amen Corner of Jesus, Moses and Bubba now in the rear view mirror. Attention diverts to round one of the Stanley Cup Playoffs. The most exciting two weeks in sports television. 

At what twain do Shinny and the NHL meet? Does the amateur Thursday night skater dream of scoring the big goal to send his team to the second round? No. But does he wonder what wine to open when Crosby, Malkin and Fleury face the big bad Philadelphia Flyers on Wednesday night? Mr. Crosby has been accused of the whine and dive and having a little “punk in him.” Meanwhile, watch here as shinny guy goes five-hole on a Pinot and a CdP.

http://youtu.be/oM9EL32yg-4

 

3630 Pinot Noir, Prince Edward County 2007 may just be the Barnyard Wine Company’s last red. Whites only going forward. No mistaking the lackey to Volnay. Medaille, metallica and silica. Enter Pinot Sandman. Turn the page and despite the nettles and bitter herb of oppression gone biblical on the buds, the black cherry fruit is cheery. Strong bones transition firm and fighting towards wizard chess end game checkmate.  87

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Château La Nerthe Châteauneuf-du-Pape 2001 turns water into wine in a presentation of varietal ephemera. The La Crau plateau galets impart a puckish, stony and smokey cinnamon sensation upon the raspberry-scented fruit. Defends its terrior with Vezina and Norris ability despite costing well below the league average. Has a good five years left in its stride.  92

 

 

 

Good to go!

Canadian Pond Hockey, Beyond Beer

 
Curious to know what wine to drink with Pond Hockey? On Saturday night of the big tourney we had a pot luck dinner and opened these wines…
 
KUNDE ZINFANDEL 2007 (965921, $16.95). Like waiting for a loved one, gazing hopefully at the overhead screen, patiently anticipating this VINTAGES arrival. Barque BBQ price and personality. Bang the drum slowly while the fat renders and enter Zin city. Jettison of bramble, berry and brawn yet no cloying trail of exhaust.   mjg 89
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
X WINERY NAPA CABERNET SAUVIGNON 2007 ($29.95) protrudes as a big nose of capsicum and perfumed poppies with a ton of dark fruit. Grainy tannins will require some aeration. Sure value in mid-round Napa draft choices. I’ll buy tickets to the first few seasons and drink up before free agency sets in.  Available through www.25brix.com.  mjg 90

 

 

 

 

 

 

For seven years I have been playing in the Taylor Cup Pond Hockey Tournament to raise money for Cancer research at Princess Margaret Hospital.  We skate on the frozen ice of Sparrow Lake at Bayview Wildwood Resort.  The weekend was everything we hoped it would be and more. Every game was played on ice and no injuries to report. Shout out to our heroes year after year, hosts Lisa, Brian, Brenda and all the volunteers.
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Over $120,000 was raised to support cancer at PMHF. This brings our seven year total to $807,000. My team, VanHooterman raised the second most amount of funds, $13,775. Kudos to my teammates as our seven-year total has now exceeded more than $80,000.
 
We skated to a 2-2 record, not bad for a bunch of old guys and we kept our string alive. No Sunday games, except for the parents and kids shinny, another Taylor Cup tradition.  
 

Cooper and Arlo, Taylor Cup 2012
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Here is a link to the Taylor Cup page:
 
 
 
 
 
Good to go!