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

Cava is the name for sparkling wine made in Spain, think of it as the Champagne of Spain, just remember to call it Cava since Champagne may only be used in reference to the sparkling wines from the French region of Champagne. Spain has adopted similar regulations to Champagne, as Cava may only be used to name a wine if it was made using the traditional Méthode Champenoise. You’ll find my most top 10 Cava reviews and ratings here. 5 Surprising Facts about Cava: 1. Most Cava comes from the region of Catalunya where Barcelona is located, in particular the […]

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Wine Review of the Week: Loimer Riesling from Austria for Earth Day

Our new feature, Wine Review of the Week, will put the spotlight on our vibrant community of wine reviewers with one special bottle personally selected by one contributor. To kick things off, sommelier Lesley Quinn has chosen the  Loimer Erste Lage Zöbing Heiligenstein Riesling 2011, Kamptal DAC Reserve from Austria for Earth Day. Her tasting note: Ever come across a small clear spring where the water is slowly trickling over rocks, giving off a fresh clean steely scent? That is what drinking this Riesling reminds me of. The satin smooth texture and fresh aromas of pears and apples give you […]

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Organic Wine: What is it? Toast Earth Day with Wine, Naturally

By Natalie MacLean Earth Hour has passed, and Earth Day is almost upon us. Naturally, you might think about pouring yourself a glass of organic wine on April 22. But what is organic wine and how is it different from “inorganic wine”? Back in the 1970s, the concept of “organic wine” conjured up images of pony-tailed vintners in tie-dyed T-shirts, producing wines more for ideology than taste. Thankfully, those days are just a watery memory now. Today, organic wines are no longer just for health nuts and tree-huggers. Wine lovers drink them for their quality. They’ve gone mainstream and represent […]

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How to Find the Best Organic Wines: Buying Tips

By Natalie MacLean Who makes organic wine? The number of wineries making organic wines is increasing steadily, with the result that they’re available in a far greater range of styles than ever before. Formerly, they were only the domain of small producers, but now large companies are taking an interest as a way to diversify their offerings and to improve their environmental images. Some of the producers implement some organic principles and not others, some grow organic grapes but don’t make organic wine and still others make both organic and non-organic wines. So check the labels carefully. Why don’t more […]

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Organic Wine v Biodynamic Wine v Sustainable Farming: Differences?

By Natalie MacLean Why farm organically? Many winemakers consider the approach as part of their overall commitment to quality. Organic farming requires a much deeper understanding of the vineyard and a greater vigilance over it. Problems must be detected early because organic fixes take longer. Another benefit is the social responsibility for winery workers’ health and not exposing them to toxic chemicals. What are the environmental benefits? Many wineries have locked horns with environmentalists and local residents over the issue of deforesting the land in order to plant vineyards. Hillsides are a flash point. Winemakers know that vineyards on slopes […]

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Sulfites in Wine: A Debate to Cause a Headache?

By Natalie MacLean What’s the big deal about sulfites in wine? Most wine labels bear the warning “contains sulfites” (or sulphites, the Canadian and British spelling), which can alarm consumers into thinking that the substance is harmful or unhealthy. In fact, sulfites, the salts of sulfurous acid or sulfur dioxide (SO2), are just a common food preservative that prevents the wine from oxidizing after fermentation (it turns brown and the fruit aromas go stale) or spoiling from bacteria once bottled. Traditionally, in Europe no warning label was required if there was less than 100 parts per million of sulfites added, […]

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Is Organic Wine Healthier for You?

By Natalie MacLean Are organic wines really better for you? The good news about even non-organic wine grapes is that far fewer chemicals are used on them than other on other fruit. Consumers want strawberries and pears to look good on the fruit stands, so they ignore the chemicals that keep them that way event to the detriment of taste and health. However, the appearance of wine grapes is irrelevant, since they’re going to be crushed. As a result, they’re grown specifically to optimize their taste. Still, there are 17 chemicals commonly used in vineyards today and grapes aren’t washed […]

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The Rising Green Tide of Sustainable Viticulture and Eco-Centric Winemaking

Trending words like sustainable viticulture, eco-centric winemaking, biodynamic and organic wines, and that old chestnut, environmentally-friendly grape farming, are all sprinkled as liberally as compost on wine blogs, labels, and most recently, the LCBO Vintages Magazine. They’re all part of a growing trend that looks at wine holistically, though of course, there’s also a certain amount of natural barnyard marketing here ;) Regardless, it’s a good thing. Sustainable viticulture can include everything from LEEDS-certified buildings like Stratus Vineyards in Niagara, which recycles gray water; to lighter bottles that meet the Lightweight Glass Wine Standard of 420 grams. Those wineries don’t […]

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