Frolicking with Sheep and Hawks in Niagara

One of the highlights of my recent visit to Niagara was meeting husband-and-wife Louis Engel and David Johnson at Featherstone Winery. They, in turn, introduced me to one of their hawks, Zeke. He was an adorable little fellow that we took out into the vineyard with us. I noticed that as we walked down the rows of vines, the birds went silent. That’s because Zeke is a hunter, trained to go after the number one enemy of ripened grapes: starlings. Other birds, such as robins and orioles, also attack the fruit, but starlings cost the industry hundreds of thousands of […]

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Google & Wine: Great Pairing!

  My team and I are thrilled that our site has hit #1 on Google for the most popular wine-related search terms: – wine and food – wine newsletter – wine and food matching – wine with food   These search term rankings are driven by traffic. You can’t buy this traffic, you can only build it  … in a sense these are click-through votes from wine lovers who visit the site. On these key search terms, these sites all ranked highly in the #2 or #3 spots: – Food Network – Globe & Mail – Montreal Gazette     […]

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Tasty Holiday Winetails

Holiday season’s here, which means doing pretty much everything inside – especially entertaining. Enter [yellow tail] wine, which is the star of these refreshing, winetails, suitable for all your guests this Holiday season! This first recipe is for a delicious Berry Mochatini and other winetail recipes brought to you by [yellow tail] wine:            Berry Mochatini 2 oz [yellow tail] Shiraz 1 oz coffee 1 oz pomegranate juice 1/2 oz Crème de Cassis Splash of simple syrup Strawberry   Directions: • Shake all ingredients and strain into a martini glass • Garnish with a strawberry   […]

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Beaujolais Nouveau arrives Thursday! Top 10 food matches …

On the third Thursday of every November, Beaujolais produdcers in southern Burgundy, France, release wine from the new harvest. More than 60 million bottles make their way around the world to bistros, bars and restaurants. Nouveau is a knock-it-back kind of wine to be enjoyed in the spirit of celebrating the harvest! Here are my top 10 food matches for this light-bodied red bursting with notes of field strawberries:  1. Poached salmon 2. Roast chicken sandwich 3. Crusty baquette and cheese 4. Smoked ham 5. Mixed field green salads 6. Cream-sauce pastas 7. Various pates and terrines 8. Pepperoni pizza […]

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What’s Wrong with Panel Wine Scores? Lots

There’s always debate about how useful wine scores are, with the usual pro arguments (easy to understand) and cons (wine is subjective and can’t be trapped in a number). Fair enough. I resisted scoring wines for the first three years that I wrote about wine until I realized that consumers want them.  Plain and simple. There’s a lot of clutter, information, crowd-sourcing, tweets, Facebook posts, blog entries and other info coming at us these days. Most people don’t want to spend hours analyzing multiple wine reviews to buy a bottle. That’s why scores work: they’re as clear and simple as […]

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New Wine Reviews

Number of Wines Recommended: 51 Review date: November 21, 2009 The highlights in this Vintages release include: – 14 wines under $20 – Best value white: Orange blossom zest in this lovely Muscat from southern France for seafood and salads $13.95 – Favourite white: Niagara’s benchmark Chardonnay, no question 95/100 – Best value red: Blackberry-rich Argentine Malbec for pizza and lasanga $12.95 – Favorite red: Iconic Australian Shiraz that’s worth three times the price 96/100 – Favourite Sparkling Wine: The bubbly that all the rappers rapsidize about, pure luxury 93/100 – Favourite Dessert Wine: Niagara’s classic and iconic icewine producer, […]

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New Wine Reviews

Number of Wines Recommended: 48 Review date: November 7, 2009 The highlights in this Vintages release include: – 17 wines under $20 – Best value white: Chilean Chardonnay with toasted almonds and buttery richness for roast chicken $15.95 – Favorite white: German Riesling with mouth-watering aromas of ripe peach for glazed ham and soft cheeses 93/100 – Best value red: Argentine Malbec with fleshy dark berries for hamburgers, lamb and pizza $12.95 – Favorite red: An Italian Super Tuscan bursting with notes of violets, aged leather, black cherry for prime rib and filet mignon 93/100 – Favorite Sparkling Wine: James […]

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Join Me at the Ottawa Food & Wine Show Nov 7

  I’ll be at the Ottawa Wine & Food Show Saturday November 7th from 5 pm to 7 pm in the Tasting Alley, the area of the show where you can meet winemakers, taste some special wines and there are no lineups guaranteed. Please come to say hello. You can also get some holiday shopping done early as I’ll have my books on hand and will sign them personally to whomever you like. E-mail me in advance if you want me to reserve copies for you. I’m also happy to do this for anyone who can’t make it to the […]

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Louis Roederer Wine Writing Awards Video

Here’s a short video and some pics from the Louis Roederer Wine Writing Awards last month. It was incredible meeting many of my favorite wine writers from various countries. I wasn’t holding my breath since my fellow nominees included the sites of Jancis Robinson, Kate Thal and Robert Parker So I was a little dumbstruck when they announced my name. I wanted to thank you, my readers, for making my web site what it is today with all of your helpful suggestions and great ideas!     One of my favorite all-time writers is Jancis Robinson, the editor of The […]

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