Pairing Wine and Molecular Gastronomy: Steve Robinson

My story about Steve Robinson was originally published in Ottawa Magazine, the sister publication of Toronto Life Magazine. Ottawa sommeliers are proving to be among the best in the province. Steve Robinson placed second in this year’s Ontario’s Best Sommelier Competition, and was named one of the top 30 under 30 in the province’s hospitality industry by the Ontario Hostelry Institute. Robinson studied chemistry at the University of Ottawa, then completed the sommelier fast-track program at Algonquin College and finally became certified by the Court of Master Sommeliers in 2011. The 26-year-old’s passion for science and wine pair perfectly for […]

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L.A. Cetto Petite Sirah: Wine Value from Mexico

Frida and Diego, poinsettias and tequila, corn, salsa and home to many a winter vacation, these things may have you thinking of Mexico, but did you know that Mexico is also the birthplace of winemaking in the Americas?  In 1597 the first winery of the New World was established in Parras – which is in Central Mexico – with vines brought from Spain. Granted, the sandy soils and scorching temperatures proved to be less than ideal for a large wine industry and soon the focus moved to more conducive climes elsewhere, but today there is still a boutique wine industry […]

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Wine, Chips and Snack Pairings Video

In our second video chat below, sommelier Mike Pierce gets into some specific and fun snack food and wine pairings. There were some surprising insights (really) as I thought all snacks would go best with sweet wines … Skittles proved me wrong, though I loved the Cracker Jacks pairing best. Have you discovered an unusually great pairing? What things do you have to keep in mind for the chemically-enhanced flavors of snack food? Any wines that really don’t work with snack food? Why do more obscure and expensive wines seem to go better with junk food?   You can watch […]

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Simi Chardonnay, Jip Jip Shiraz, Megalomaniac Icewine: Best LCBO Wines Feb 2

Here are my top wine picks from the February 2 Vintages Release. You can also get all 91 of my Best Value Wines and Top Rated Wines for red, white, rose, sparkling and dessert wines that encompass many price points, styles and regions. I’ve also posted my picks for the February 16 Vintages Release. You can add my wine picks to your shopping list by clicking on the little shopping cart icon. You can also create a custom list just for this release that will be saved in your account. Print a text-only version of the reviews. Familia Zuccardi Organica […]

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Wine and Junk Food Pairing from Maverick Mike

Anyone can pair filet mignon and cabernet sauvignon. But how about a bag of Doritos or a Snickers bar? Should you even try? Mike Pierce, sommelier and co-owner of San Francisco’s Maverick wine bar. says yes. In the video chat below, he shares his tips on how to find delicious shabby-chic combos. Why do we only think of beer or pop with junk food? Why even bother to pair wine and junk food? I’ve heard that your Road to Damascus experience with wine and junk was triggered by Cool Ranch Doritos. Why they were so hard to pair with wine? […]

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BC Wines Toast Large Twitter Tasting

BC wineries celebrated a vibrant wine tasting on Twitter last night. The positive energy and support from the wine community coast to coast poured out in tweets that came rapid-fire one after the other. A tasting event like this proves what we can build and create together using these new social media tools. Not only did we support our homegrown producers, but we showed our strength and commitment to having access to all of our wines across this country. Ontario wants more BC, BC wants more Ontario and Canada wants more Canada. We were fortunate to have @DanAlbas join us […]

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Canadian wine community gets behind (and into) BC wine

Here’s a toast to the terrific team of wine reviewers who joined in a terrific  wine tasting on Twitter last night. Their enthusiasm and positive energy came through in both their tweets and their reviews for these incredible BC wines (scroll down on the page for each wine to see their notes and scores): Mission Hill Reserve Chardonnay 2010, BC VQA Gray Monk Gewürztraminer 2011, BC VQA Quails’ Gate Chardonnay 2011, BC VQA Eau Vivre Pinot Noir 2008, BC VQA Osoyoos Larose Le Grand Vin 2008, BC VQA Mission Hill Quatrain 2009, BC VQA I raise my glass to an […]

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Sommelier Guild Honours Wine Person of the Year Dan Albas

  The National Capital Sommelier Guild is delighted to honour Mr. Dan Albas, Member of Parliament for Okanagan–Coquihalla, as its 2012 Wine Person of the Year. The award was presented at the Guild’s annual gala dinner at the National Arts Center on January 19. Mr. Albas introduced and was the driving force behind Private Members Bill C-311, which passed with unanimous support of the House of Commons and Senate on June 28, 2012. The bill amended the Importation of Intoxicating Liquors Act and removed federal restrictions prohibiting Canadians from moving wine purchased for personal use from one province to another. […]

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How to Buy a Gift Wine (Screwcaps are Fine): CBC Fresh Air

In this chat below with CBC Fresh Air host Mary Ito, we discuss how to choose a great wine as a gift for someone depending on their taste and style preferences, or when you don’t know those details. (Hint: Try wrapping a story around the bottle.)Wine is the ultimate gift: doubles are okay, one size fits all and re-gifting is easy! We also chat about screwcaps, whether you can get a good wine under $20, underrated wines, wine and food pairing, low-alcohol wines, the differences between Ontario’s regions and some of my favourite Ontario wines, including those below. Listen by […]

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Holiday Wine and Food Pairings, Active Adult Magazine

Although the holidays have passed, the wines recommended in my column for Active Adult Magazine still serve us well through these chilly winter months. Let me know if you’ve discovered a favourite wine lately that you’d add to the list.     Silvano Piacentini Valpolicella Superiore Ripasso 2009 Veneto, Italy Full-bodied and juicy with dark red fruit; great food wine. Food matches: cocoa-rubbed beef medallions, barbecued ribs, baked pasta dish. Drink: Now 289637 $16.95 Score: 88/100.   Wynns Coonawarra Estate Cabernet Shiraz Merlot 2010 Coonawarra, South Australia, Australia Elegant, refined and balanced like Sue herself. Classic cassis and blackberry fruit. […]

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