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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Why is Rose Champagne More Expensive than Regular Champagne?

Rosé Champagne is often more expensive than white champagne because making it is  more labor-intensive and time-consuming, and therefore, more costly to produce. The most common method in Champagne is to blend non-sparkling red wine into the champagne. The other approach is more difficult because it involves carefully limiting contact between the red skin and the juice during the part of fermentation called maceration (soaking the grapes in their own flesh, juice and skins to extract the colour, tannin and flavour compounds into the must or juice) to create the coveted pale salmon color known as oeil-de-perdrix or partridge eye. […]

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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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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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Best LCBO Wine Reviews and Ratings: Vintages December 6

You can access the 136 wines that I reviewed for December 6 as a text wine list with my complete tasting notes, scores, food matches. You can also see my wine reviews for November 22. 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 and Lunch in the CBC Fridge for the Food Bank

CBC All in a Day host Alan Neal and I sneak into the CBC kitchen to snoop into employee lunches and pair them with wine. You can listen to our chat above from the drive-home show. It’s actually not as weird (or creepy) as it sounds … we’re kicking off the final 3 days of Food Fantasy fundraising for the Food Bank, with prizes like having a sommelier come to your home and pair wine and food for you and 11 friends. In addition to being your personal sommelier for an evening, I’ll also bring along 12 signed copies of […]

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Vino Under the Volcano: Etna Wines Erupt Expected Notions of Terroir

I expected something a little more dramatic: the sizzle of a lava river oozing down the volcano, the rumble of the earth as it split between my feet, the screams of villagers running for their lives. Instead, all I hear are the clicks of tourist cameras as we look up at Mount Etna, its white tip puffing peacefully against the blue sky. “To have seen Italy without having seen Sicily is not to have seen Italy at all,” Goethe wrote. “For Sicily is the clue to everything.” That’s why I’m here on this island of dazzling sunshine and menacing shadows, […]

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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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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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