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

It’s hard to imagine that the Carignan grape used to play such a big role in France’s wine history, yet most wine drinkers have never heard of Carignan. Today, this red wine grape is mostly used as a blending wine, known for its rich dark color. You’ll find my Top 10 Carignan reviews and ratings here. 5 Surprising Facts about Carignan: 1. In France, Carignan was the most planted grape variety from the 1960s to 2000.  In fact, in the late 90s there were more than 150,000 acres of Carignan vines planted in France. 2. Why so popular?  Two words: large […]

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

Barbera is both the name of a grape and of the red wine it produces. Its ancestral home is in the Piedmont region of Northern Italy, from the vineyards around the towns of Asti, Alexandria and Casale Monferrato. You’ll find my Top 10 Barbera reviews and ratings here. 5 Surprising Facts about Barbera: 1. Unlike Barolo and Barberesco, Barbera is not considered a classic grape. It is Italy’s most common red grape. 2. In 1985 Barbera producers added methanol to their wines. Thirty people died as a result, and many were left with affected sight including blindness. The fallout from bad […]

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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 Primitivo Wines to Buy Now + 5 Surprising Facts about Primitivo

Primitivo is an Italian red grape that many wine drinkers recognize by its American counterpart Zinfandel, although the grape’s true origin is Croatia, where the grape is known as Crljenak Kaštelanski. Some have taken to calling Primitivo ZPC to include all three grape names as an acronym, even though it doesn’t exactly roll off the tongue the way the wine does. You’ll find my Top 10 Primitivo reviews and ratings here. 5 Surprising Facts about Primitivo: 1. Primitivo has been grown in the heel of Italy, Puglia, since the 18th century, where it is now roughly the twelfth most planted grape […]

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10 Best Brunello di Montalcino Wines to Buy Now + 5 Surprising Facts about Brunello di Montalcino

Brunello di Montalcino is a robust Italian red wine grape produced in vineyards in and around the town of Montalcino, about 120 km south of Florence in Tuscany. The word Brunello is derived from the Italian masculine form Bruno, which means “brown.” You’ll find my top 10 Brunello di Montalcino reviews and ratings here. 5 Surprising Facts about Brunello di Montalcino: 1. The origins of Brunello di Montalcino can be traced back as far as the 14th century. A red wine praised by the nobles of Tuscany as the “best wine in Tuscany,” Brunello is considered the youngest of Italy’s […]

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Canadians Vote for Their Favourite Wines for Canada Day

This Canadian Press (CP) story was published in the major daily newspapers across Canada. Canada’s best wine for barbecue? Tipplers can vote on favourites By: The Canadian Press OTTAWA – Many Canadians opt for beer or gin when it comes to pairing beverages with grilled food. But wine lovers can now weigh in with their picks in an online poll. In The Great Canadian Wine Match: BBQ Edition, launching Friday, wine lovers can nominate and vote for their favourite Canadian wines to pair with grilled chicken, beef, seafood, pork, vegetables and dessert. Unlike traditional competitions judged by experts, wine lovers […]

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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 […]

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10 Best Cabernet Franc Wines to Buy Now + 5 Surprising Facts about Cabernet Franc

Cabernet Franc is one of the five grapes in Bordeaux blends, along with Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Malbec and Petit Verdot. You’ll find my top 10 Cabernet Franc reviews and ratings here. 5 Surprising Facts about Cabernet Franc: 1. Cabernet Franc is a thin-skinned, early-ripening grape with a lighter body and acidity than the robust Cabernet Sauvignon, but is more susceptible to spring frosts. 2. Cabernet Franc, along with Sauvignon Blanc, is actually one of the genetic parents of Cabernet Sauvignon. 3. In France, which boasts the most vineyard acreage of Cabernet Franc in the world, several regions have more plantings […]

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Surprising Canadian Wine Pairings for BBQ: Radio Chat Tips

This chat with CBC radio in Ontario was one of 26 interviews with the morning and drive-home shows on Friday about terrific (and surprising) pairings for Canadian wines with barbecued food. We also kicked off The Great Canadian Wine Match: BBQ Edition. Got a wine to nominate? Or maybe you’d like to see which wines others have nominated and vote for them. Check out the race so far here with lots of great ideas for July 1 barbecue wines. Read more about the wine competition here as well as prizes for those who nominate wines, including a $3,000 Weber Summit […]

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