The Champagnes of James Bond and Rappers: Bollinger and Cristal

Part 2: Champagne Widows By the 1930s, French winemakers faced even greater challenges: a country about to go to war, a worldwide Depression that made running any business difficult, and U.S. Prohibition, which made selling luxury champagne to the lucrative American market almost impossible. This was the forbidding business environment that Camille Olry-Roederer stepped into when she took over the champagne house Louis Roederer after losing her second husband in 1932 (her first husband had died in World War I). Sales were 264,000 bottles that year, compared to 2.3 million bottles in 1876. But like the other women of Champagne […]

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The Merry Widows of Mousse: Champagne Widows

They were all young women whose families owned the great champagne houses at the turn of the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. When they lost their husbands to war or illness, they did not do what was expected: step aside or sell the business.  Nor did they marry again (though they were still in their twenties and thirties), handing over the reins to a new husband. Instead, these celebrated veuves, or widows, took control of their châteaux to produce some of the most prestigious wines in the world – wines that still bear their names: Veuve Clicquot, Pommery, Laurent-Perrier, Roederer and […]

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Which Wine Pairings for turkey, fruitcake or cheese?

The holiday countdown is on and Canadians are scrambling for last-minute gifts for their hosts and loved ones. Wine and food seem like a natural option at this time of year, but with thousands of bottles lining the shelves at liquor outlets, where does one begin? “I’d start with pairing the wine that you’re going to bring to go with the dinner. Wild guess, might be turkey,” says sommelier Natalie MacLean, editor of the wine review site nataliemaclean.com. She suggests a sparkling wine like Cava from Spain, a Pinot Noir from New Zealand, a dry rose from France or a […]

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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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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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