Surprising Pairings for Villa Maria Wines from Antipasto to Steak

Canada’s top wine writers and sommeliers gathered in the nation’s capital for a comprehensive tasting of Villa Maria wines from New Zealand.   Terry Jeans Wine Writer, Ottawa Wine Guide   What an elaborate tasting! We had the chance to have an amazing tasting with one of the viticulturists from Villa Maria– Ollie Powrie, who presented us with an insightful session of tasting over a dozen wines from one of the only New Zealand owned and family operated wineries. Founded and owned by the venerated Sir George Fistonich, a real icon of the wine industry, who has been part of […]

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5 Dynamite Bubblies for a Sparkling Holiday and How to Find Wonderful Wines to Celebrate

By Melissa Pulvermacher ‘Tis the season for family, food and sparkling wine. Every year I feature my favourite bottle of bubbly before New Year’s Eve. This year, I decided to write about my top 5 picks to make sure everyone can ring in the new year with bubbles. To help you navigate the intimidating selection, all you need to know is the basics. Mostly you need to be able to navigate whether a bottle is traditional method or tank method and the level of dosage (sweetness added to the wine by concentrated grape juice). 1. Traditional Method This is the […]

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7 Secrets about Prosecco Sparkling Wine that you don’t know but should

By Rebecca Meïr- Liebman of Chef & Somm As New Year’s Eve approaches our thoughts turn to bubbles, after all, for pure joie de vivre, there’s nothing like a flute of sparkling wine. Invariably, Champagne comes to mind, but good luck finding a decent bottle for under $40. Hey, if you can spring for a Jeroboam of Armand de Brignac Gold at $2,239 a pop, go for it, but for the rest of us, the search for something of decent quality and good value continues. Prosecco to the Rescue Often thought of as merely a cheap and cheerful alternative to Champagne […]

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Best Bubbly for New Years? There’s a Wine for That

In our continuing holiday wine series with Canadian Press (CP), we chat about great sparkling wines for New Year’s Eve.   You don’t have to go for Champagne, even though this is the traditional treat. There are terrific options from around the world, including Spanish Cava, Italian Prosecco and sparkling wine from Canada, New Zealand, Australia and the United States, among many other regions. Natalie MacLean, editor of Canada’s largest wine review site at www.nataliemaclean.com, chooses her favourite sparkling wines:   Kim Crawford Fizz Methode Traditionnelle 2011  Marlborough, New Zealand                 Henry of […]

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How Much do you Know About Champagne? Take the Pop Quiz

Got your champagne ready for New Year’s? Here are my Top 20 Champagnes to celebrate the New Year and which stores have them in stock now. Take the Pop Quiz below and you’ll have some trivia to drop this evening as you celebrate the New Year! Pop Quiz 1. Is all sparkling wine champagne? No. Only sparkling wine from the Champagne region of France may be called Champagne. It’s a trademarked word. 2. Before the modern era of product placement in movies, which Champagne was the favourite of James Bond? Bollinger or as Bond would call it, Bolly. That was also in […]

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Sparkling Wine from Cava to Cremant: Festive Fizz

Sparkling wines and champagne for New Year’s Eve is our topic in the CTV News clip above. Here’s a list of the bubblies we discussed, including cava from Spain, cremant from France and sparkling wines from Canada and the US. Let me know which sparkling wine you’re opening for New Year’s Eve in the comments below. You can get a shopping list with my top sparkling wines showing the stock at your closest liquor stores when you join as a  VIP Member. Girls Night Out Sparkling Wine Review VQA, Lake Erie North Shore, Ontario Clean, crisp and refreshing: this is […]

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How do You Pick a Great Gift Wine? 5 Tips for Festive Sips

Want to give someone a bottle of wine this year? On Global Television’s Morning Show, we chat about quick tips on how to choose a great gift wine this holiday. 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 without a receipt – wine doesn’t have to be cared for and it should never be watered – it’s consumable so it doesn’t create clutter adding to more stuff in your home How to decide which wine to give? – match the […]

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Frothy Tales from the Vino in Villa Festival: A Primer on Prosecco

By Jacky Blisson In the aftermath of the 2008 financial crisis, Prosecco sales skyrocketed internationally. The popular explanation was that Champagne drinkers were trading down to accommodate shrinking wallets. This may have been a key factor spurring the initial upswing, but Prosecco sales continue to soar, unmatched by other non-Champagne sparkling wines. Many attribute Prosecco’s long term success to its vibrantly fruity and uncomplicated style. Others suggest that the refreshingly low alcohol, typically a modest 11 to 11.5%, is the main appeal. Yet this seems an to be over simplistic analysis. It fails to take into account the incredible expression […]

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Getting Clearer on Glera, the Grape of Prosecco Sparkling Wine

By Greg Hughes Prosecco has become, possibly, the most sought after sparkling wine after Champagne. It showcases wonderful aromatics and freshness, as well as value.  As one might imagine, there is still a fairly broad range of styles that this tiny northeastern appellation in Italy can offer. What makes Prosecco distinct from other sparkling wines are the well-preserved aromatics and the perceived “creaminess” the gentle carbonation creates on the palate. This distinctiveness is partially due to the obscure family of grape varietals used, but these flavours can only be harnessed so effectively because of the innovative production method behind Prosecco. […]

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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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