Konzelmann Estate Winery: German pedigree, Niagara flourish

By Susan Desjardins The Konzelmann family delivers consistently good and good-value award-winning wine—10 medals at this year’s Ottawa Wine Challenge and 5 at the Canadian Wine Awards. It’s hardly surprising considering the focus and dedication of 75-year-old Herbert Konzelmann, and his extensive winemaking pedigree. His great grandfather, Friederich, a successful restauranteur and wine connoisseur, created the Konzelmann Estate Winery  in Germany in 1893. Friederich was soon producing over 200,000 litres of wine, and the successful business was passed from one generation to the next. Herbert joined the family business in 1958 and continued its growth, almost doubling production. But as […]

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Recipe: Aged Gouda Quesadillas and Bacon Paired with Cabernet Sauvignon

By  Christie Pollard At a recent wine and cheese pairing event I tasted an Aged Dutch Gouda from Lancaster, Ontario with several wines and the best match was with Liberty School Cabernet Sauvignon from Paso Robles, California. The nutty, caramel flavours in the cheese wonderfully compliment the juicy, ripe fruit flavours in the wine. This easy quesadilla appetizer recipe was inspired by the match. Aged Gouda and Caramelized Onion Quesadillas with Bacon and Roasted Red Pepper Recipe Serves 8 Ingredients: 3 tbsp butter 1 tbsp olive oil 2 large Spanish onion, peeled and thinly sliced 1 tbsp brown sugar ½ […]

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A Letter to My Readers about My Wine Reviews

Dear Reader, Whether or not you’ve been following the recent debate on quoting third-party wine reviews, you deserve to hear my thoughts on it in the interest of balance and fairness. To summarize, I’ve always been open and consistent in my manner of attribution, but I realize that it should change and I am doing that now, and my reviews are not influenced by whether or not wineries subscribe to my site. When I was approached by a fellow writer about how I quote other writers’ wine reviews, I didn’t realize that there was an issue since I had been […]

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Seven Celtic Questions – Celtic Life International

Internationally renowned sommelier and wine writer Natalie MacLean has no sour grapes about her personal pedigree. The author of Red, White and Drunk All Over, and Unquenchable; a Tipsy Quest for the World’s Best Bargain Wines uncorks her Celtic heritage in our Seven Celtic Questions. What are your own Celtic roots? Both my mother, Ann Estelle (MacDonald) MacLean, of Baddeck, Nova Scotia, Canada, and my father, John MacLean of Mabou, Nova Scotia, are Celtic. The only non-Scot was my grandmother, who was a Brophy of Irish origin, so the family line is 100 per cent Celtic-grown. I was born in […]

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Canadian Restaurant Mobile App by Top Food Critics

By Anne DesBrisay Last spring, I opened an email from John Gilchrist, Calgary’s pre-eminent food writer, asking if I’d be interested in contributing the Ottawa section to a cross-Canada restaurant app he was working on. It was to be a first of its kind, geared to the business traveller, a catalogue of best places to eat as chosen by the leading restaurant critics in eleven cities across Canada. Its working title was Dining in Downtown Canada … good places to eat within a walk or cab from major hotels in our major cities. The idea was simple: you’re in Saskatoon, […]

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Wine and Books: Holiday Gifts – Breakfast Television

This past Thursday, we chatted about book and bottle pairings as holiday gifts on Breakfast Television. Words and wine seem like a natural pairing to me … here are my favourites. What are yours? 1. Books are Beautiful The publisher selected 30 classic works of literature and assigned each a beautiful colour. Then the editors organized them in a rainbow of words so spectacular that you’re going to want to line them up on your shelves and just look at them.         Wolf Blass Yellow Label Sparkling Brut, South East Australia, Australia: Green apple fresh with zesty […]

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Graciano: Unique Red Wine from Rioja, Spain

By Holly Bruns Hidden away in the vineyards of Rioja, amidst fields of the popular Tempranillo and Garnacha are ancient, as well as new vines of the hardly known red grape Graciano. Used as a blending grape for its intense colour and aroma, Graciano has historically played a supporting role in the wines of Spain. A difficult grape to grow – it is prone to disease and is low-yielding – it has been pulled up and abandoned by growers over the years particularly as international markets had demanded more Cabernet and Merlot. Thanks to a recent project in Rioja to […]

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Recipe: Beef Tenderloin, Root Vegetable Ragout, Porcini Red Wine Sauce Recipe

Beef Tenderloin with Root Vegetable Ragout and Porcini Red Wine Sauce An elegant and easy classic pairing. Rich, roasted beef tenderloin with sweet earthy root vegetable and mushroom ragout make this dish a terrific match with Chateau Pipeau Saint Emilion Grand Cru. This new addition to Vintages Essentials is an impressive Bordeaux, mainly Merlot, and is full of expressive red fruit with a long, structured finish. Serves 6 For the Ragout: 1 cup boiling water 1 cup dried porcini mushrooms 1 tbsp olive oil 2 tsp butter ½ cup chopped shallots 2 cloves garlic, chopped 2 cups chopped parsnips (peeled […]

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Rocky Road Cream Cheese Fudge with Port or Icewine

Make the festive season even more festive The calendar has flipped to December and you know what that means. Parties. Lots and lots of parties. And while we all look forward to going out and having a good time with friends and family, it’s not always easy to think of a nice gift to bring the hosts. Until now. This week I’m happy to share the recipe for Rocky Road Cream Cheese Fudge, which, I have to tell you, is as good as it sounds. Featuring Canadian Cream cheese, this particular recipe has a lot going for it. Yes, it’s […]

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Ontario Produces Such Great Wines – Maclean’s Magazine

This story about Ontario wines by Jessica Allen in Maclean’s Magazine deserves to be shared widely: she makes some excellent points about Ontario wines … By I spent American Thanksgiving with friends in Washington D.C. They’re enthusiastic wine drinkers and the last time they visited this side of the border they couldn’t contain their excitement over a variety of Niagara wines they’d enjoyed. So, I brought along a couple to share. They did not disappoint. But I did: when they asked me how it’s possible that cold Ontario could produce such standouts, I babbled on about Southern Ontario being on […]

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