Grand Cru Culinary Wine Festival: Vintage Pleasure

The Grand Cru Culinary Wine Festival is Canada’s largest wine and culinary fundraiser for medical research, raising more than $11.4 million since it started in 2005. In the video below, chef Massimo Capra, who writes a column for the Globe & Mail and has appeared on the Food Network, is one of the celebrity chefs who will be cooking a special dinner this year. He reveals the details of this special meal in the video. You can also watch our second wine video chat here. Chef Massimo Capra has been involved with Grand Cru since it began in 2005, and […]

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Haunting Wines for Halloween Treats and Pairings that won’t Spook You

Something a bit scary happens on Halloween: we try pairing wine with mini Rolos, Mars bars and Smarties. Here are some tips on combinations that won’t frighten your palate … Count Dracula said, “I never drink … wine.” But for those of us who don’t enjoy his beverage of choice, wine is the way to go — even with Halloween treats. In between doorbell chimes, I like to polish off those mini chocolate bars with a glass of Messias 10 Year Old Tawny Port 1998 ($23.95, 91 points). This Portuguese dessert wine, with its river of almond and toffee flavour, […]

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LCBO Best Wines: St Hallett Shiraz, Wither Hills Sauvignon Blanc, Featherstone Merlot: October 26 Vintages

Here are my top wine picks from the October 26 Vintages Release, the most quoted Canadian source of reviews in the magazine. VIP Members can access all 67 wines that I reviewed as a text shopping list with my complete tasting notes, scores, food matches and the stock for each bottle in their closest LCBO stores. Stock numbers are usually posted online a day or two before the release based on the LCBO doing so. You can also see my reviews for the October 12 LCBO Vintages Release or take a sneak peak at the November 9 LCBO Vintages Release. […]

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Wine Prices: Is the Price Right?

Update: This October interview was re-broadcast on December 27 as part of The Social’s Best of 2013 segments. I love this new show, with its hybrid of old and new media: they do such a great job of integrating social, especially Twitter and Facebook, with their national television show. No wonder its ratings are flying up the charts – congrats to the hosts! On CTV’s The Social Friday, we chatted about how wines are priced: does a $100 wine taste ten times better than a $10 one? How can you spot the bargains in the liquor store? What clues can […]

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Pumpkin, Chocolate and Cheddar Muffins Recipe Paired with Torres Moscatel

Take a Trick or Treat Break Things are getting pretty spooky around here and in just a few days the kiddies will be lining up for yummy treats! I love seeing them all dressed up in their Halloween garb and can’t wait to give them the assortment of candy I bought. I especially can’t wait to whip up and enjoy a little trick or treat of my own. This great recipe for Pumpkin, Chocolate and Cheddar Muffins is the perfect mix of salty and sweet, with a surprising combination of chocolate and Canadian cheese – my two favourite things! The […]

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A Tale of Two Ruffino Wine Tasting Dinners with Authentic Italian Food Pairings

Our second Ruffino wine tasting took place October 19 at La Cucina Ristorante with another team of our top-notch wine reviewers who share their observations of the wines, pairings and experience below. You’ll find the pictures, videos and notes from the Ocober 18 Ruffino wine tasting here, and reviews of all Ruffino wines here. “The more I drink Italian wines, the more convinced I am that they are made for the purpose of enjoying good food. And when you have the perfect pairing, it gives you the kind of evening we had at the great Italian restaurant La Cucina in […]

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Ruffino Wines: Tasting Italy in a Glass

Our third winemaker dinner team tasting on October 18 featured the wines of the Italian winery Ruffino. Our team did an excellent job of summarizing the wines, food pairings and overall experience of the evening. A second Ruffino wine dinner was held the following night at a different restaurant. You can see all of the Ruffino wine reviews, showing stock at your local liquor store. “Graffiti’s Italian Restaurant in Kanata was the perfect location for a Ruffino tasting dinner with Brand Ambassador Robert Ghezzo. Though dimly lit and boisterous at times, we were nonetheless transported to the Tuscan countryside as […]

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Stratus Wine and Food Pairing Dinner with Beckta Cuisine

Stratus Winery hosted a spectacular wine and food tasting dinner in Niagara on September 28 that featured the cuisine of Ottawa restaurateur Steve Beckta’s three establishments: Beckta Dining & Wine, Play and Gezellig.  I found that the Stratus wines paired beautifully with partner and executive chef Mike Moffatt and chef de cuisine Katie Brown Ardington’s dishes. Click on the arrow above to play the short Instagram video clip. The missing word at the end is windmill ;) Chef Moffatt is a two-time Gold Medal Plates winner and Katie is a rising star on the Ottawa restaurant scene. This dinner paired […]

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Black Hills Winery: Tasting Vintages of a BC Flagship Wine

By Valerie Stride Located on one of the most arid and sunny sites in the Okanagan, Black Hills Estate Winery is abundant in many things – including quality wines. Spread across a 27-acre vineyard, Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Cabernet Franc, Carmenere, Sauvignon Blanc, and Semillon are carefully grown and handled by the Black Hills team. The microclimate on property, in addition to long hours of sunlight and cool nights, offers this west-facing orientation vineyard added value. The vineyard manager, Steve Carberry, works closely with winemaker Graham Pierce to ensure that the authenticity of Black Hills wines remains bona fide. On October […]

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