Bourbon, Mint Juleps + Kentucky Derby: A Spirited Race

When the Kentucky Derby runs this Saturday, the horses won’t be the only ones racing. Over at the Seelbach Hotel, the mint juleps will be flying too. By the end of the day, the hotel staff and its bartender, Edward Duffy, will have concocted more than 3,000 of these traditional cocktails made with bourbon and fresh mint hand-picked from the hotel grounds. Built in 1905, the Seelbach Hotel was F. Scott Fitzgerald’s favorite watering hole—and it was also his setting for the wedding of Daisy and Tom Buchanan in his novel The Great Gatsby. But today, amid the creaking bar […]

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Wine for Tax Time: Which Wines to Return To?

At this time of the year, most of us need some liquid assets. So pairing the right wine with your tax return should not be taken at face value. As well as vinous savvy, you’ll also need financial acumen to calibrate the wine to your T4. Regardless of the wines you chose, you can’t go wrong as about 65% of the price is of wine is tax, so you’ll get to contribute one way or the other. After sending in the cheque, it’s time to eat repentant bologna sandwiches for six weeks. If you owe, it’s off to the bargain […]

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Best of Bordeaux Wines + Bargains in the LCBO Vintages Release April 26

By Natalie MacLean To most wine lovers, the French wine region of Bordeaux is a vinous Mecca—and one with ancient tradition: wine has been made there for thousands of years. As far back as AD 379, the writer Ausonius penned (or quilled) some poems about the excellence of the wines. Some of the greatest names in the wine world have their home there: Château Mouton-Rothschild, Château Pétrus, Château Lafite-Rothschild, Château Margaux and Château Latour, among others. Yet these top names comprise less than 5% of the region’s production—which means you don’t have to fork over $100 to get a good […]

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Wine Review of the Week: Loimer Riesling from Austria for Earth Day

Our new feature, Wine Review of the Week, will put the spotlight on our vibrant community of wine reviewers with one special bottle personally selected by one contributor. To kick things off, sommelier Lesley Quinn has chosen the  Loimer Erste Lage Zöbing Heiligenstein Riesling 2011, Kamptal DAC Reserve from Austria for Earth Day. Her tasting note: Ever come across a small clear spring where the water is slowly trickling over rocks, giving off a fresh clean steely scent? That is what drinking this Riesling reminds me of. The satin smooth texture and fresh aromas of pears and apples give you […]

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Wine for Ladies Who Shoot Their Lunch & the Charming Man Behind the Bottle

Winemaker Matt Fowles talks with guests By Jane Staples An early spring evening, a cozy fire burning in the hearth and award-winning wine from Australia’s Fowles Wines set the tone for a delightful evening at Australia’s High Commission on April 8th. The original Fowles family ancestors settled in Australia in the early 1800s, having arrived from England and Ireland.  The winery is now run by one of their descendants, Matt Fowles, who was formerly a successful lawyer. In 2007, Matt was selected to be part of the “Future Leaders” program that fosters a new generation of wine industry leaders for […]

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Organic Wine: What is it? Toast Earth Day with Wine, Naturally

By Natalie MacLean Earth Hour has passed, and Earth Day is almost upon us. Naturally, you might think about pouring yourself a glass of organic wine on April 22. But what is organic wine and how is it different from “inorganic wine”? Back in the 1970s, the concept of “organic wine” conjured up images of pony-tailed vintners in tie-dyed T-shirts, producing wines more for ideology than taste. Thankfully, those days are just a watery memory now. Today, organic wines are no longer just for health nuts and tree-huggers. Wine lovers drink them for their quality. They’ve gone mainstream and represent […]

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How to Find the Best Organic Wines: Buying Tips

By Natalie MacLean Who makes organic wine? The number of wineries making organic wines is increasing steadily, with the result that they’re available in a far greater range of styles than ever before. Formerly, they were only the domain of small producers, but now large companies are taking an interest as a way to diversify their offerings and to improve their environmental images. Some of the producers implement some organic principles and not others, some grow organic grapes but don’t make organic wine and still others make both organic and non-organic wines. So check the labels carefully. Why don’t more […]

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Organic Wine v Biodynamic Wine v Sustainable Farming: Differences?

By Natalie MacLean Why farm organically? Many winemakers consider the approach as part of their overall commitment to quality. Organic farming requires a much deeper understanding of the vineyard and a greater vigilance over it. Problems must be detected early because organic fixes take longer. Another benefit is the social responsibility for winery workers’ health and not exposing them to toxic chemicals. What are the environmental benefits? Many wineries have locked horns with environmentalists and local residents over the issue of deforesting the land in order to plant vineyards. Hillsides are a flash point. Winemakers know that vineyards on slopes […]

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Sulfites in Wine: A Debate to Cause a Headache?

By Natalie MacLean What’s the big deal about sulfites in wine? Most wine labels bear the warning “contains sulfites” (or sulphites, the Canadian and British spelling), which can alarm consumers into thinking that the substance is harmful or unhealthy. In fact, sulfites, the salts of sulfurous acid or sulfur dioxide (SO2), are just a common food preservative that prevents the wine from oxidizing after fermentation (it turns brown and the fruit aromas go stale) or spoiling from bacteria once bottled. Traditionally, in Europe no warning label was required if there was less than 100 parts per million of sulfites added, […]

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Is Organic Wine Healthier for You?

By Natalie MacLean Are organic wines really better for you? The good news about even non-organic wine grapes is that far fewer chemicals are used on them than other on other fruit. Consumers want strawberries and pears to look good on the fruit stands, so they ignore the chemicals that keep them that way event to the detriment of taste and health. However, the appearance of wine grapes is irrelevant, since they’re going to be crushed. As a result, they’re grown specifically to optimize their taste. Still, there are 17 chemicals commonly used in vineyards today and grapes aren’t washed […]

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