Recipe: Steak Au Poivre Paired with Merlot

Steak “Au Poivre” Preparation Time: 15 MIN Total Time: 30 MIN Servings: 4 INGREDIENTS: 3 tbsp. black peppercorns 4 6-oz. beef filets, about 1½“ thick Salt 2 tbsp. butter 1 tbsp. vegetable oil 1 cup beef stock ½ cup heavy cream INSTRUCTIONS: Wrap peppercorns in a clean dish towel and crush them. Transfer pepper to a plate, then roll filets in it so that they are evenly coated. Season liberally on both sides with salt. Heat butter and oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add filets and cook until well browned, about 4 minutes on each side for […]

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Chateau Palmer Tasting: Bordeaux Wine Seduces and Satisfies

Château Palmer By Melissa Pulvermacher Château Palmer is a much-respected winery in the Margeaux appellation d’origine contrôlée in Bordeaux, France. You may recognize Palmer better as one of the classified Third Growths of Bordeaux. Palmer has been known as one of the most popular of this classification and some even argue that its consistent delivery of quality held up against First Growth, Château Margeaux. I was given the opportunity to taste several of the Palmer wines at an organized tasting at The National Club in Toronto, Ontario. After tasting the 2004, 1999, 1995 and 1983 vintages up against one another, […]

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Veal Chop Recipe with Portabello Mushrooms Paired with Merlot

Veal Chop with Portabello Mushrooms Preparation Time: 25 MIN Total Time: 40 MIN Servings: 2 INGREDIENTS: 5 tablespoons olive oil, divided 1 tablespoon butter 2 veal chops 1 portobello mushroom, sliced 1½ cups chicken broth 1½ teaspoons fresh rosemary, chopped ½  cup red wine INSTRUCTIONS: Heat 4 tablespoons olive oil with butter in a skillet over medium-high heat. Cook chops until browned, 2 to 3 minutes per side. Once browned, stir in mushrooms and cook for 1 minute. Add chicken broth and rosemary; cover, and simmer 10 minutes. Stir in red wine, increase heat, and cook, uncovered, until sauce is […]

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Pierre Sparr Wines: Alsace Value and Taste Pair Well

Maison Pierre Sparr By Melissa Pulvermacher We’re all on a constant search of high-value wines for a great price. I always say that your chance of getting a great quality wine for a large price tag is high, and although the odds are less consistent, it feels great to find a killer bottle of wine that doesn’t break the bank. Maison Pierre Sparr, founded in 1680 by Jean Sparr, is a winery and brand located in Alsace, France. Sparr owns 15 hectares of their own Domaine, while also sourcing grapes from 130 hectares of trusted farmer-owned vines, to produce their […]

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Bring on the Beaujolais! A Young Red Wine is Centre of Attention each November

Carol Anne and I chat about this year’s beaujolais nouveau in the video above. Catch our second video chat about more easy-drinking red wines for the holidays that aren’t nouveau. Here are my reviews and ratings of the 2014 Beaujolais Nouveau wines, French Primeur, Italian Novellos and Canadian nouveau-style wines: The Fool Reif Estate Gamay Nouveau VQA, Ontario The Hanging Man Reif Estate Kerner Nouveau VQA, Ontario Art’s Beaujolais Primeur Nouveau, France Catalans Primeur Syrah Merlot, France Negrar Novello Del Veneto, Italy Tollo Novello Rosso Terre di Chieti, Italy Mommessin Beaujolais Nouveau, France Joseph Drouhin Beaujolais Villages Nouveau, France George […]

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Beaujolais Nouveau arrives Thursday! Top 10 Food Matches …

In our first video chat, Carol Anne and I discuss beaujolais nouveau wines to try this year. However, for those who want to try other easy-drinking red wines this week and during the holidays, we’ve got more suggestions above for you. On the third Thursday of every November, Beaujolais produdcers in southern Burgundy, France, release wine from the new harvest. More than 60 million bottles make their way around the world to bistros, bars and restaurants. Nouveau is a knock-it-back kind of wine to be enjoyed in the spirit of celebrating the harvest! Here are my top 10 food matches […]

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Beaujolais Nouveau Wines Celebrate Vintage in November

Beaujolais Nouveau wine causes quite a stir on the third Thursday of every November. We spoke about this light red wine from the Beaujolais region of France on CBC’s Ontario Morning today (I’ll post the clip later). Beaujolais nouveau is meant to celebrate the current vintage. It’s harvested, fermented and bottled within weeks and is meant to be gulped now in bistros with friends, not cellared or analyzed. Here are some of my picks from this year’s crop below as well as beaujolais nouveau food pairings. You can also look for nouveau wines from other regions, including Canada, Italy and […]

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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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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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