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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Rediscover Bordeaux with Château Phelan-Ségur

By Mymi Myriam On the eve of a massive winter storm that threatened to shut down most of the eastern coast of the United States, I had the pleasure of briefly sitting down with Pamela Wittman prior to attending the LCBO sponsored Union des Grands Crus Bordeaux tasting at the Carlu. An oenologist by profession, she is now the US representative for Château Phélan-Ségur located in the Médoc St-Éstèphe region of Bordeaux. The estate’s story starts with a young Irish wine merchant name Bernard Phelan who settled into the area in the late 18th century and married a local girl […]

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Austrian Wines Come to Montreal April 12

On April 12 in Montreal, more than 30 vintners present up to 165 wines at the Austrian Wine Fair, which also features a Tutored Tasting for wine professionals, guided by Willi Klinger from the Austrian Wine Marketing Board. Wine lovers will enjoy Austria’s unique grape varietal, the beloved Grüner Veltliners, Rieslings, Sauvignon Blancs and our liquid gold, Austria’s sweet wines, accompanied by hors d’oeuvres and live piano music. For Montreal, please register at Lafortune@exquis.ca. This post is sponsored by the Wines of Austria.

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

The sparkling wine Champagne is named after the northern region of France where it’s produced. Other regions of France, as well as other countries, make sparkling wine, but only those from Champagne may be called Champagne. You’ll find my most recent Champagne reviews and ratings here. 5 Surprising Facts about Champagne: 1. Supposedly the eighteenth-century blind Benedictine monk, Dom Pérignon, accidentally discovered how to put the bubbles in Champagne when his wines started fermenting again in the spring after the cold winter had stopped them. Other records attribute this discovery to the British scientist Christopher Merret thirty years before Pérignon. […]

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Spicy Food & Wine Pairings: Cinco de Mayo, Tex-Mex, Indian Food Matches

What better time to explore wine and spicy food pairings than to celebrate Cinco de Mayo (May 5), the day in 1862 when a rag-tag Mexican army defeated the far larger French forces under Emperor Napoleon III. Sure, you could toast with a cerveza or tequila, but which wine? The growing Mexican wine industry is gaining respect, particularly the region of Baja California, and among the leading producers is L.A. Cetto, creating exceptionally well-priced red wines. But let’s broaden the field, and look at wines from around the world to complement the fiesta dishes that include the diverse and spicy […]

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Wine Writers Behaving Like Critics: The Good, The Bad and the Ugly

By Natalie MacLean They called it a tempest in a wine glass: two of the world’s most respected wine writers facing off against one another over one bottle of wine. Of course, there’s nothing unusual about critics disagreeing, even vehemently. But this time, the debate degenerated into a rumble over the definition of wine itself—and the integrity of the critics. In the American corner was Robert Parker, whose wine scores carry so much weight that they move the market. From Britain, was author Jancis Robinson, Master of Wine and columnist for the Financial Times of London. Both have written more […]

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Romancing the Score: What do Wine Ratings Really Tell Us?

The biggest problem with wine scores is that they evaluate the obvious: how a wine tastes. What really matters is how interesting the wine makes your dining companion. Now that would be worth rating. Indeed, you have to wonder why we rate wine in the first place. After all, it is just a drink. We certainly don’t rate orange juice or lemonade; we don’t have beef shank critics talking about the region from which the cows hailed or syndicated cabbage columnists talking about how the September rainfall affected the leaf set. Perhaps this scrutiny is a testament to the way […]

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15 Sommeliers + Bloggers, 60 Wines, 700 Wine Reviews Live Posting + Tweeting Today

Heather Wall, wine columnist for the Huffington Post and a frequent contributor to our review site, talks about our tasting yesterday with 15 sommeliers, wine writers and bloggers working their way through more than 60 wines. More than 700 wine reviews will be posted online and shared on social media, including Twitter and Facebook. Stay tuned for our next tasting! Martha Kelly is the regular wine expert on the Rogers Daytime Television Show in Ottawa, as well as a regular writer for our site. She is the owner of Capital Wine School, teaching the Wine & Spirit Education Trust (WSET) […]

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Wine Review of the Week: Sterling Chardonnay by Deborah Podurgiel

Our Wine Review of the Week celebrates summer with this classic Californian Chardonnay reviewed by Deborah Podurgiel. Deborah has completed the Wine & Spirits Education Trust (WSET) Level 3, and is now a candidate studying for the WSET Diploma. She’s an active wine blogger in Vancouver, as well as a journalist who writes about food, wine and home decor for various magazines and newspapers.   Summer Barbie parties are great, but how does one manage to have stellar wines without busting the budget? Well, you can rely on word of mouth from friends, or your very helpful and knowledgeable local wine store […]

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10 Best Moscato d’Asti Wines to Buy Now + 5 Surprising Facts about Moscato d’Asti

Moscato d’Asti is a fragrant and slightly fizzy DOCG dessert wine produced in the Northern Italian region of Piedmont. You’ll find my most recent Moscato d’Asti reviews and ratings here. Surprising Facts about Moscato d’Asti: Moscato d’Asti is produced from the Moscato Bianco (white Muscat) grape in and around the town of Asti. The hub of Asti production being the tiny village of Canelli. Moscato Bianco is the fourth most planted grape in Italy and perhaps the first cultivated vine in Piedmont. Moscato d’Asti is often mentioned in the company of its relative wine Asti. The two have many differences. […]

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