Sparkling Wine for New Year’s Eve versus Champagne

Most people think of champagne as the drink of choice to ring in the New Year. But when the price of one bottle averages $60, you might want to consider sparkling wine, which offers great taste for a fraction of champagne’s price. Although champagne only comes from the Champagne region of France, almost every other region of the country and many countries around the world produce sparkling wines, often using the same techniques and grapes as champagne. Most sparklers are a blend of the traditional champagne grapes—Pinot Noir, Pinot Meunier and Chardonnay. Like champagne, they’re labeled according to their dryness, […]

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Gift Wines: 5 Tips on How to Pick a Great Bottle

Want to give someone a bottle of wine this year? Here are quick tips on how to choose a great gift wine this holiday that we discussed on CBC Ontario Morning in the audio clip below. Click on the arrow above to listen to the clip. You can get all my wine reviews of great gift wines (including those for yourself) showing the stock for each bottle at your closest liquor stores. Wine is a great gift because: –    one size fits all –    doubles are fine –    it’s easy to re-gift Also: – it’s easy to return for cash […]

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What is Wine’s Role in Modern Madness? Finding Our Humanity Drop by Drop

Editor’s Note: I wrote this magazine piece on wine and civility 13 years ago, after 9/11. However, the search for civility in everyday life has more resonance than ever, with the riots in Ferguson, ISIS, Jian Ghomeshi, Gamergate, unfettered consumerism, and the mysogenous micro-aggressions that women face daily on social media. I welcome your thoughts here: never lose is your voice. In Vino Civilitatis The trouble with moderation is that it’s hard to get excited about it. Until now. After September 11, moderation seems to be rarer than a California cult cabernet. Finding the moderate and the civilized in everyday […]

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Dominus + Napanook Wine Tasting 2011 to 1991 Vertical

Dominus Estate  By Olivier deMaisonneuve Montreal Passion Vin is the annual rendez-vous when the Fondation de l’Hopital Maisonneuve-Rosemont invites wine lovers to open their wallets for a good cause. They also get the unique chance to taste world renowned wines and meet the actors behind those famous labels. This year funds were raised for a new integrated cancer treatment center. Tod Mostero, director of viticulture and winemaking at Dominus Estate, was presenting  a few vintages of the two wines produced by this domaine, born by the joint venture of Christian Moueix and the heiresses of the Inglenook Estate, one of […]

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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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Best LCBO Wine Reviews and Ratings: Vintages Release October 11

You can access the 102 wines that I reviewed for October 11 as a text wine list with my complete tasting notes, scores, food matches. You can also see my wine reviews for September 27. 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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Pairing Wine with Weird Holiday Turkey Recipes

Maple-Brined, Wood-Smoked Grilled Turkey To stuff some life into this year’s obligatory wine and turkey pairing column for Thanksgiving (or Christmas), I asked the creators of some strangely wonderful turkey recipes for their permission to post them here and pair them with wine. I’m still on the hunt for beer can turkey, turducken, tofurkey (tofu-shaped turkey), and believe or not, that new chocolate-glazed with sprinkles dessert favourite, turdunkin (!) Maple-Brined, Wood-Smoked Grilled Turkey Recipe Allow a total of 4 to 4-1/2 hours to start the fire, cook the turkey, and let it rest. Have a full bag of charcoal on […]

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Wine Tasting Hackathon: New Way of Social Wine Discovery

Our second team wine tasting yesterday felt like a family reunion. Sommeliers and wine bloggers from Toronto and Montreal flew or drove in to join those from the east to west ends of Ottawa. There was an instant camaraderie among those gathered here who recognized each other as fellow contributors to our online community. What I admire most about these reviewers is that although they have sterling wine credentials and training, they keep it real and conversational — with an effort to connect, not to impress. The tasting also struck me as the wine version of a hackathon. In the […]

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Best LCBO Wines: Vintages Release August 2

You can access the 71 wines that I reviewed for August 2 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 19. 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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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 […]

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