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. […]

read more …

Read More

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

Zinfandel is a vitis vinifera red wine grape that produces deep robust wines, most famously from California. You’ll find my most recent Zinfandel reviews and ratings here. Surprising Facts about Zinfandel: 1. Zinfandel’s high sugar content means it can be fermented into highly alcoholic wines sometimes in excess of 15%.  Zinfandel is generally early ripening as compared to other grapes and grows in very tight bunches. These tight bunches are prone to bunch rot and uneven ripening. Zinfandel grows best in warm climates but there is cool climate Zinfandel. 2. The origin of Zinfandel seems to be Croatia where Zinfandel […]

read more …

Read More

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 […]

read more …

Read More

5 Surpring Facts about Pinot Grigio + Top 10 Pinot Grigio Wines to Buy Now

Pinot Grigio is one of the fastest growing white wines in the liquor store. It has a clean, crisp, fresh nature that works well as an aperitif or as a companion to a wide range of dishes from seafood and chicken. Here are my top 10 Pinot Grigio reviews and ratings. 5 Surprising Facts about Pinot Grigio: 1. Pinot Grigio is a white variant-clone of the red grape Pinot Noir. The Italian region of Friuli produces the best Pinot Grigio in a crisp, refreshing style. Other Italian regions produce it too but it can be over-cropped and taste insipid. 2. […]

read more …

Read More

Cool Climate Chardonnay: LCBO Vintages Release July 19

You can access the 87 wines that I reviewed for July 19 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 July 5. 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 […]

read more …

Read More

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

Did you know that the Latin name for Sangiovese, Sanguis Jovis (San Gioveto), translates to “blood of Jove or Jupiter”? The first written reference to the grape was in 1722. You’ll find my Top 10 Sangiovese reviews and ratings here. 5 Surprising Facts about Sangiovese: 1. Sangiovese represents 10% of Italy’s entire vineyard acreage, the most-planted grape in the country, with 247,000 acres. 2. Until the 1980s, Chianti was bottled in squat oval straw-covered fiasci. It was viewed a modest bistro wine rather than one for collectors. Then winemakers started experimenting with premium blends of Sangiovese and Cabernet Sauvignon or […]

read more …

Read More

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 […]

read more …

Read More

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 […]

read more …

Read More

Australia’s Red Wines: Food Pairings and Styles in LCBO Vintages Feb 1

Australian wines hit the spotlight in the LCBO Vintages Release February 1. We may think of red wines from Australia as being full-bodied, but there’s a wide range of styles now emerging from the various winemaking regions in the country. Try cool, crisp whites and balanced, medium-bodied reds from Australia’s cooler regions. You’ll be surprised at how well these wines pair with various dishes, not just a big steak or hamburger. This just a sampling of wine ratings, the most quoted Canadian source of reviews in the Vintages Magazine. VIP Members can access all 50 wines that I reviewed as a […]

read more …

Read More

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 […]

read more …

Read More