Gifts for Mother’s Day: Wine Trumps Flowers (and Tastes Better)

My wine column in the May issue of More Magazine Canada, with more than 500,000 thirsty readers, features three wines to celebrate Mother’s Day as gifts: three spectacular bubblies. A toast to Mom! The cover features an actress whom I admire for her depth, strength and guts, Julianna Margulies (The Good Wife, Canterbury’s Law, ER). I also love that she’s often drinking a glass of wine as she reviews her legal briefs in the evening at home. (Guess that doesn’t play so well in the ER.) At the start of the season, it was white wine, but I notice that it’s […]

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Mother’s Day Gifts, Wines and Pairings

By Natalie MacLean How to thank Mom for all those kisses, compliments and band-aids? Try a great bottle of wine with Mother’s Day gift, brunch or dinner pairing. As a mother myself now, I call my glass of wine at 5 p.m. “Mommy’s little helper.” Here’s to you Mom! Here are my Top 20 Wines for Mother’s Day, either made by women or named for them. Often the latter were originally made by women. Try these wines that I recommended on the Conde Nast site Epicurious.com or more choices on Canada AM and in More Magazine: Veuve Clicquot Champagne France […]

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Top Restaurants for Food, Wine and Fun

Here are the restaurants I love in various cities. I hope you find this a helpful list, and let me know if you enjoy your dining experience at any one of these. My favorite restaurants in Ottawa, Ontario are Wellington Gastro Pub (613-729-1315), Fraser Café (613-749-1444), The Shore Club (in The Westin, but not owned by it 613-569-5050), Fauna (613-563-2862),  Taylor Wine Bar (613-730-5672), Sidedoor (613-562-9331), Social (613-789-7355), Eighteen (613-244-1188), Soif Wine Bar (819-600-7643), Earling’s (613-231-8484), The Pomeroy House (613-237-1658), The Albion Rooms in Novatel (613-760-4771), Mena (613-233-6462), Play (613-667-9207), Absinthe (613-761-1138), Navarra (613-241-5500), Atelier (613-321-3537) and Supply and Demand (613-680-2949). For a […]

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Easter Wines for Fish, Lamb + Ham: Video

Wines for Good Friday fish, Easter brunch, lamb and ham are the focus of our chat on CTV News. In particular, red wines often clash with fish not because of the wine tannin and fish iodine, as previously thought, but rather because of high iron content in the wine. The iron comes mostly from the soil where the vines are grown, but can also be due to winemaking methods. Generalizing about which wines will be high in iron content is difficult. The iron in wine is thought to break down the unsaturated (good) fats in fish and creates that fishy […]

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Video: Wine, Lamb and Ham Pairing for Easter

Here’s part two of our conversation about pairing wine with lamb and wine with ham for Easter, though the pairing tips apply year-round if you love these dishes and the wines that make them taste even better. I’ve also included tips on pairing wine with chocolate bunnies … it doesn’t matter whether you start with the ear or the tail! Wines recommended include: Quails’ Gate Estate Winery Gewurztraminer Liberty School Cabernet Sauvignon Rosemount Estate Shiraz Reif Icewine Vidal Taylor Fladgate 10 Year Old Tawny Port Here’s part one of our chat on red wine and fish pairing. Posted with permission […]

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Easter Wines: The Essential Hip-Hop Guide to Earmark

Some of my favourite meals are those we savour to celebrate Easter: fresh asparagus omelets and ham for brunch. But which Easter wines to serve with them? As a determined hedonist, I like something more than orange juice, thank-you—unless it’s a mimosa. The wines that work best are zesty, mouth-watering and lighter than those we drink in the winter—and they’ll put some spring in your glass. When the coming of spring heralds warmer weather, we feel like celebrating. One of the best ways is by drinking fresh, vivacious wines that suit the season and complement lighter fare. You can pair […]

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Wine Paired with Ham for Easter and Beyond

One of the classic Easter dishes is ham. Most hams are wet-cured with brine or saline solution and then smoked. Popular finishes are a sweet glaze of bourbon and brown sugar or maple syrup or orange marmalade. This gives the meat a glistening finish and an appetizing salty-sweet taste. The dish is often accompanied by tangy dressings such as cloves, dried fruit chutney or apricot preserves. All those powerful fruit and spice flavors are delicious, but they’re tough on many wines. What works best is usually a zippy white with a touch of sweetness, such as an off-dry Canadian or […]

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Kosher Wine: What is it? Why should I not Passover it?

Ten years ago, kosher wine was considered the cough syrup of the wine world: mostly made from nasty Concord grapes and often sweeter than Buckley’s—but without as much nuance. Today, it’s no longer the wine of affliction: many kosher wines, made from classic grapes, are complex and full of character. In fact, kosher wines sales are growing fast —  up 12% since 2013. While no one tracks buyer demographics, some producers claim that up to half aren’t even members of the Jewish faith—they’re just attracted to the wine’s quality and its preparation, which guarantees purity. Kosher wines, like fashionable organic […]

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Gabbiano Blind Wine Tasting Reveals True Chianti Character

    Heather Wall Wine Columnist, Huffington Post Canada   Wine tasting lunches that I have had the pleasure of attending usually follow a similar format. A visiting winemaker/owner/agent; a group of local sommeliers and bloggers; a lovely meal paired with six or so of the winemaker’s selected wines; and some technical notes with some storytelling. We all leave with tasting notes and stories we can share with our wine loving community. A recent Ottawa Castello di Gabbiano tasting at Sidedoor Kitchen in Ottawa threw that format out with the must! As we entered the private dining room there was […]

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