Is Zinfandel the World’s Most Misunderstood Wine?

ZINZEN, ZINZEST, ZINFUL: The licence plates in the parking lot warn me that this is no tweedy wine tasting. Closer to the wharves, a line of three thousand people, thick as an anaconda, snakes its way along San Francisco’s waterfront. Behind them soars the Golden Gate Bridge; Alcatraz Island sits brooding in the distance; and the glinting bay is dotted with tiny tissue sails. But no one’s admiring the postcard view: all eyes are fixed on the warehouse’s paint-peeled doors, waiting for them to open on the Zinfandel Advocates and Producers tasting, the world’s largest single-varietal wine event according to […]

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Meritage Wines: Do They Blend In or Stand Out?

Are Meritage Wines a case of mistaken idenity or do they blend in to stand out? The words Perrier, Häagen-Dazs and Godiva may not be in the dictionary, but they’ve all come to mean a high-quality product. That simple guarantee of value, captured in a short and memorable brand name, was what North American winemakers were searching for a couple of decades ago, when they were first trying to establish their identities as producers of fine wine. Even before then, in the early 1960s, vintners were looking for a way to position their wines as something more than “cheap ‘n […]

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796 Wine Reviews, 113 Wines, 16 Wine Writers and Sommeliers, 1 Terrific Tasting

Canada’s top wine writers and sommeliers gathered in our national’s capital yesterday to taste through an impressive line-up of wines. Twitter, Facebook and Instagram were on fire as they posted their reviews live and shared on social media. You can get the complete list of wines here, along with their reviews and the closest liquor stores that have these wines in stock now. This list is also accessible on the wine mobile apps. Stay tuned: we’re already planning our next big tasting! Jacky Blisson above has just returned from Napa Valley where she wrote her final papers for the Masters […]

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Climate Change Impact on Wine? It’s Not What You Think (Video)

Recently, I worked with TVO on the impact of climate change on wine. Is it simply a matter of wine regions getting warmer and therefore, wine styles getting bigger? No. With this weekend’s cool climate chardonnay event in Niagara, this issue is not just timely, but also important to all wine lovers who value a nervy energy in their wine. Click on the arrow above to watch the video, as well as the wine below.     My thanks to Daniel Speck, Henry of Pelham Winery, and to Paul DeCampo, Southbrook Vineyards, for their expert guidance on this subject. Notes: Ontario has grown […]

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Pairing Wine and Tomato Dishes (Video)

In the video clip above, Jeff and I chat about pairing wine with different types of tomatoes and tomato dishes. What’s your favourite pairing?   Jeff: Stores and Farmer’s Markets are lush right now with colourful products including tomatoes of every colour ripe off the vine or cooked up in a sauce. Nothing can complement a tasty dish like a great glass of wine. And here with her picks for perfect pairing is wine expert Natalie MacLean, nice to see you. Natalie: It’s great to see you, Jeff. Jeff: Now listen, before we get to the tomato, which, to me, […]

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Best LCBO Wine Reviews: Vintages Ratings July 23

You can access the 109 wines that I reviewed for July 23 as a text wine list with my complete tasting notes, scores, food matches. You can also see my wine reviews for July 9. If you are a Paid Member, you can add my wine picks to your custom shopping list with one click and access that list on your smartphone to find the stock for each wine in your closest LCBO store. These are just some of the benefits of supporting out wine community as a Paid Member. Inventory stock numbers are usually posted online a day or […]

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Want an Instant Wine Library? 500 Wine Book Collection for Sale

Some of my favourite wine books … The Heartbreak Grape by Marq de Villiers, A Fool and Forty Acres by Geoff Heinricks, Adventures on the Wine Route by Kermit Lynch, A Hedonist in the Cellar by Jay McInerney and The Billionaire’s Vinegar that I reviewed for the Globe & Mail. Speaking of heartbreak, all of these treasured books are among my wine library collection of more than 500 books that I am selling in its entirety. Why? I feel that these tomes are now a part of me so I no longer need their physical manifestations (translation: I’m downsizing homes and […]

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How to Serve Oysters at Home with Sauvignon Blanc Wine Pairing

The Secret “5 S” Method To Enjoying Oysters at Home SELECT. SHUCK. SERVE. SAVOUR. SAUVIGNON BLANC Nobilo Sauvignon Blanc and oysters are the ultimate summer pairing. The crisp citrusy flavours of the wine work superbly with the salty minerality of the oysters. S3: SERVE Serve on crushed ice with fresh horseradish, lemon wedges and New Zealand’s Nobilo Sauvignon Blanc. Nobilo Sauvignon Blanc represents the best of what New Zealand has to offer, with fresh, vivid flavours that consistently showcase the diverse qualities of New Zealand’s Marlborough region. Nobilo Sauvignon Blanc can be found at the LCBO for $16.95.   More Tips: […]

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The Secret “5 S” Method To Enjoy Oysters at Home with Sauvignon Blanc

The Secret “5 S” To Enjoy Oysters at Home SELECT. SHUCK. SERVE. SAVOUR. SAUVIGNON BLANC “Oysters, like wine, have a tendency to bring people together, open up conversation, throw inhibitions to the side and make a party unique.” – John Belknap, owner of John & Sons Oyster House S1: SELECT Ten Tips To Select Oysters 1.    Buy oysters from a local fish monger and ask for ‘Select’ or ‘Choice’ grade oysters. 2.    Look for oysters that are tightly closed. Avoid oysters that have a soft or spongy shell. 3.    Choose oysters that are slightly rounded and evenly shaped, with a […]

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