Stem Wine Group Gala Tasting at Ottawa’s Museum of Nature-October 22, 2014

By Jane Staples The Stem Wine Group organized a very polished and elegant wine tasting event which took place at Ottawa’s Museum of Nature on October 22. This was Stem Group’s 10th anniversary and they have a great deal to celebrate, having gone from representing 9 wineries in 2005 to over 50 wineries at this year’s event, with over 125 wines featured. Italy dominated the scene, California had several wines on offer and Australia, New Zealand, France and Argentina were also represented. I started with a taste of the Veneto region in northern Italy.  I tried Matto’s Pinot Grigio 2013. […]

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10 Best Cinsault Wines to Buy Now + 5 Surprising Facts about Cinsault

Cinsaut, or Cinsault as it is sometimes called, is a dark-skinned red vitis vinifera grape that’s often blended with Grenache, Carignan and Syrah grapes to add softness and bouquet to a wine. You’ll find my Top 10 Cinsault reviews and ratings here. 5 Surprising Facts about Cinsault: 1. Cinsaut is the fourth-most planted grape in France. 2. A French grape in origin, it’s unusual to see Cinsaut produced as a single varietal comprising 100% of the wine. 3. Cinsaut is light in body and low in tannin, and adds lovely perfumed aromas of red berries to its blends, especially when harvested […]

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10 Best Petite Sirah Wines to Buy Now + 5 Surprising Facts about Petite Sirah

There’s nothing petite about Petite Sirah. The robust red grape is also known as Durif and is mostly grown in Australia and California to produce full-bodied red wines. You’ll find my Top 10 Petite Sirah reviews and ratings here. 5 Surprising Facts about Petite Sirah: 1. Petite Sirah it should not be mistakenly spelled as Petite Syrah, which is a small berried clone of the Syrah grape variety from the French region of the Rhône Valley. However, Petite Sirah still has a familial connection to Syrah, as it is a cross of a Syrah pollen-germinating with a Peloursin plant which is […]

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10 Best Sparkling Wines to Buy Now + 5 Surprising Facts about Bubbly

Sparkling wines made outside of Champagne, France, may not be called Champagne as it’s a trademarked term. However, they often use the same methods and/or grapes used in Champagne. 5 Surprising Facts about Sparkling Facts: 1. Bubblies made in Burgundy, France, are called Crémants de Bourgogne while those from Alsace are Crémant d’Alsace. 2. Spain makes Cavas (“cave”), Italy makes either Prosecco (lightly sparkling) or Spumante (fully sparkling and sweet), Germany makes Sekt or Deutscher. 3. Those from New World regions, such as Canada, California, Australia and elsewhere, are simply called sparkling wine. 4. Drink bubbly from a flute glass […]

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Best New Zealand White Wines for Summer Sipping: LCBO Vintages July 5

You can access the 70 wines that I reviewed for July 5 as a text wine list with my complete tasting notes, scores, food matches and the stock for each bottle in their closest LCBO stores. You can also see my wine reviews for June 21. You can add my wine picks to their custom shopping list with one click and access that list on their smartphone. This is one of the benefits of becoming a Paid Member. Inventory stock numbers are usually posted online a day or two before the release based on the LCBO doing so. Here are […]

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Canada Day Wines Featured in the LCBO Vintages Release June 21

This is just a sampling of my reviews for June 21. You can access the 88 wines that I reviewed for June 21 as a text wine list with my complete tasting notes, scores, food matches and the stock for each bottle in their closest LCBO stores. You can also see my wine reviews for June 7. You can add my wine picks to their custom shopping list with one click and access that list on their smartphone. This is one of the benefits of becoming a Paid Member. Inventory stock numbers are usually posted online a day or two […]

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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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Australian Wine Icon Digs into Regional Styles

By Matt Steeves Recently on a cold January afternoon in Ottawa a small group of sommeliers and wine writers had the fortune of spending an afternoon with the legendary Chris Hancock, MW (Hon.), of Robert Oatley Vineyards at the Empire Grill in the Byward Market.  Chris led us through a tasting of nine of his wines in the Robert Oatley portfolio of wines. First of all, a bit of background about Chris Hancock.  After graduating from his studies in Oneology, and long before joining efforts with Robert Oatley in 1975,  Chris  worked at Penfolds where he produced six vintages of […]

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Lunch with “Mr. Chardonnay” aka Robert Oatley Wines

By: Jane Staples, Certified Sommelier I love wine because it brings people together.  Wine offers something for everybody…whether you’re interested in the viticulture, or the facts and numbers, New Oak VS Old Oak treatments, or the timeless harmony between food and wine.  Then of course there’s the concept of “terroir” if you like a good argument. Yesterday’s lunch at the Empire Grill in Ottawa combined all of the above, plus wine economics, changing markets and considerations for the future, especially when it comes to Australian wine. Chris Hancock, Deputy Executive Chairman of  Australia’s Robert Oatley Vineyards,  introduced us to several […]

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Dazzling Wine and Food Pairing Dinner Party at Chatelaine

The editors of Chatelaine, Canada’s largest magazine, hosted their first dinner party in the cozy setting of their food kitchen on Thursday evening. Wine and food media gathered to share a delicious multi-course meal. In the video above, Executive Food Director Claire Tansey welcome guests to the Chatelaine Magazine Kitchen, noting that the magazine is celebrating its 84th year of publication. (Click on the arrow to play the video.) Before dinner started, we enjoyed cocktails and hors d’oeuvres in the magazine’s offices on the eighth floor of the building that is home to Chatelaine, Today’s Parent, Maclean’s, Canadian Business, MoneySense, […]

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