My Roman Holiday: A Food and Wine Lover’s Paradise

Just back from a mouth-watering journey through the streets (strada) of Rome. Here are some pictures and videos to whet your appetite, from olive oil and bruschetta tastings to thin-crust pizza and fresh tomato sauce pasta. Click on each picture at the link above if you want to see the comments to the right about the food and wine. Have you been to Rome? I’d love to hear about your favourite food haunts and restaurants. Ciao! Natalia

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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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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 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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10 Best Nero d’Avola Wines to Buy Now + 5 Surprising Facts about Nero d’Avola

Nero d’Avola is one of the most important red wine grapes in Sicily and increasingly in Italy as a whole. You’ll find my top 10 Nero d’Avola reviews and ratings here. 5 Surprising Facts about Nero d’Avola: 1. Nero d’Avola is named after Avola, a small town in South East Sicily. Several hundred years ago Nero d’Avola was known as “The Black Grape of Avola.” Nero d’Avola is also known as Calabrese, which lends to the idea that Nero d’Avola originated in Calabria on mainland Italy at the tip of the boot. 2. The best Nero d’Avola comes from the […]

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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 Barolo Wines to Buy Now + 5 Surprising Facts about Barolo

Barolo is a full-bodied red wine produced in the northern Italian region of Piemonte. Barolo means “commune” in Italian. Widely termed “the wine of kings, the king of wines” among the nobility of Turin and the ruling House of Savoy.  You’ll find my Top 10 Barolo reviews and ratings here. 5 Surprising Facts about Barolo: 1. This powerful DOCG red wine is made from the late-ripening Nebbiolo grape. Barolo tends to be light rust in colour. Barolo is often described as one of Italy’s greatest wines. 2. Traditional Barolos were known for their ability to age. These red wines extract lots […]

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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 […]

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