Pascual Toso Proves There’s More to Argentina Than Malbec

  By Priya & Alex, A Vine Romance The only thing better than enjoying a good bottle of wine is getting to meet the person who made it. We were fortunate to have that opportunity recently as we sat down with winemaker, Felipe Stahlschmidt from Pascual Toso. This Argentinian winery is celebrating it’s 125th anniversary. That’s a nice age for a “New World” region. They describe their production facility as “an old Chevy with a brand new Mercedes engine inside”. It’s a great analogy for an older building that has been completely updated with state-of-the-art production equipment. Alex: Pascual Toso is a fairly large […]

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Something to Wine About: The Mystique of French Wine Decoded 

It’s understandable to be intimidated by French wine — even if you know enough about wine to know which varietals you like. Intimidated by the French section in your local wine store? That’s understandable — even if you know enough about wine to know which varietals you like. In fact, your question might be, “Why don’t they just put the varietal on the bottle?” It was while reading the book, “Red, White and Drunk All Over: A Wine-Soaked Journey from Grape to Glass” by Natalie MacLean, that I got the answer to my question. Wine and Chocolate Make a Perfect […]

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Garden Variety Wines: The Best Bottles for Outdoor Dining

By Rebecca Meïr-Liebman of Chef & Somm Spring and summer means outdoor parties – casual barbecues to white-glove garden soirées – and there’s a perfect wine for every al fresco occasion. Flip Flops and Fine Wine – The BBQ When food is smoky and beefy, you might automatically think of an oaky Cabernet Sauvignon, but let’s not forget how hot and humid it can be, so a nicely chilled, oaky white wine or slightly chilled lighter red – may be just the thing! An oaky white – think Norman Hardie Chardonnay or La Crema Chardonnay will complement smoky, grilled chicken, […]

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Taste Ontario! Defies Wine Stereotypes

Two Taste Ontario! events featured large tastings of Ontario wine recently. There wa strong representation of provincial wineries pouring a wide range of styles largely from the 2013, 2014 and 2015 Ontario vintages. You’ll find 100+ wine reviews from our team here, along with which stores have the wines in stock now. You’ll get a sense of the strong attendance and energy in the room from the video below (click on the arrow to play it). I was particularly impressed with the riesling, chardonnay and viognier wines I tasted. Meanwhile, Ontario Pinot Noir may have its best year ever in 2013.   Several of our team members enjoying […]

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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 Petit Verdot Wines to Buy Now + 5 Surprising Facts about Petit Verdot

Petit Verdot is most famously associated with the Bordeaux blend, and is added to the blend to increase the tannin, colour and flavour. You’ll find my Top 10 Petit Verdot reviews and ratings here. 5 Surprising Facts about Petit Verdot: 1. It usually only makes up 1-3% of the Bordeaux blend, which also includes the grapes Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Cabernet Franc and Malbec. The exception is Chateau Palmer, in which it is 6% of the blend due to the vineyard’s microclimate. 2. Petit Verdot can be a problem vine, as it ripens late in the season, if at all. It has […]

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10 Best Petite Sirah Wines to Buy Now + 5 Surprising Facts about Petite Sirah

There’s nothing petite about Petite Sirah. The robust red grape is also known as Durif and is mostly grown in Australia and California to produce full-bodied red wines. You’ll find my Top 10 Petite Sirah reviews and ratings here. 5 Surprising Facts about Petite Sirah: 1. Petite Sirah it should not be mistakenly spelled as Petite Syrah, which is a small berried clone of the Syrah grape variety from the French region of the Rhône Valley. However, Petite Sirah still has a familial connection to Syrah, as it is a cross of a Syrah pollen-germinating with a Peloursin plant which is […]

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10 Best Chateauneuf-du-Pape Wines to Buy Now + Surprising Facts about Chateauneuf-du-Pape

Chateauneuf-du-Pape is the most southern and important quality-driven appellation in the southern Rhone Valley. You’ll find my top 10 Chateauneuf-du-Pape reviews and ratings here. Surprising Facts about Chateauneuf-du-Pape: The history of Chateauneuf-du-Pape can be traced back to the 14th century when the papal court of Rome relocated to Avignon, close to a limestone quarry for construction purposes. Pope Clement V arrived in Avignon in 1309 during the rebuilding of the papal summer quarters in Calcernier. He ordered the planting of grape vines. His successor John XXII is credited with developing the papal vineyard. This area became known as Chateauneuf-du-Pape, which […]

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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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