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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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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Insider’s Guide to Bordeaux: Tips on How to Find Great Wines

By Natalie MacLean Here are some tips to get the most out of Bordeaux wine — whether you’re visiting the region itself or just pouring over the liquor store shelves. Get a good grounding A few basics about Bordeaux can help you bluff your way through the next bow-tie tasting. The region, about three hours southwest of Paris, is bordered by three rivers: the Gironde, the Garonne and the Dordogne. It’s divided into five districts (or appellations): Pomerol, Saint-Emilion, Graves, Sauternes and Médoc. Within each of these are more specific districts, much like those hollow wooden Russian dolls, with each […]

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World Malbec Day Celebrates Argentina’s Flagship Red Wine

Today, April 17, is the fourth annual Malbec World Day (#MalbecWorldDay), celebrating the flagship red grape for the wines of Argentina, as well as a blending grape in Bordeaux and other regions. You’ll find my most reviews and ratings of Malbec Wines here. The Malbec grape produces wines that stylistically fall between Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot, with more plummy richness and roundness than Cabernet, but firmer tannins and structure than Merlot. Malbec is one of the five grapes in Bordeaux wines, especially in the districts of St. Emilion and Graves. It adds a deep dark red hue and rich dark […]

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A White Wine that is Remarkably Green

Sponsored Post: Text and Photos by Santa Margherita It turns out that Santa Margherita’s white wine, the celebrated Pinot Grigio, is remarkably ‘green’. With the Italian winery undertaking extensive sustainable practices, at home and now here in Canada, to ensure that production and distribution of the wine has no impact on the environment. In fact, the bottle is now Carbonzero Certified. In honour of Earth Month, from April 1st – April 26th Santa Margherita will be planting trees across Canada.  Fifty cents from each sale of their celebrated Pinot Grigio in Ontario and British Columbia will be donated to support […]

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