How to Write a Wine Review: Tasting Notes that Tell a Story

Each week, I issue a challenge to those who post reviews on our site. If you’d like to get the latest challenge when it goes out, please e-mail me at natdecants @ nataliemaclean.com. How Would an Historical Figure Talk about the Wine? Choose anyone you admire from the past, whether famous or not, and let them tell the reader about the wine. Even better, set the scene and discuss the wine with that person in a little dialogue. For example, I’d choose Dorothy Parker, one of the wits at the Algonquin Round Table in New York City in the 1920s. […]

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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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Wine App Pours its Way to the Top of the App Store

Thanks to reporter Trish Crompton with the technology magazine Communitech for this terrific review of our new wine mobile app! Wine app pours its way to the top of the app store Natalie MacLean may have uncorked the secret to helping even the most amateur of wine drinkers to become their own sommelier. As an award-winning wine writer, MacLean is constantly asked for recommendations on the perfect wine. “I would get lots and lots of emails all the time,” MacLean says, and they were filled with questions like, “I want to buy an anniversary wine for my parents, I have […]

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

Zinfandel is a vitis vinifera red wine grape that produces deep robust wines, most famously from California. You’ll find my most recent Zinfandel reviews and ratings here. Surprising Facts about Zinfandel: 1. Zinfandel’s high sugar content means it can be fermented into highly alcoholic wines sometimes in excess of 15%.  Zinfandel is generally early ripening as compared to other grapes and grows in very tight bunches. These tight bunches are prone to bunch rot and uneven ripening. Zinfandel grows best in warm climates but there is cool climate Zinfandel. 2. The origin of Zinfandel seems to be Croatia where Zinfandel […]

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

Ripasso is not a grape variety, but rather a winemaking process, made famous in Italy. This sends the wine into a second fermentation and gives the wine more tannins, body, flavour, and alcohol. You’ll find my top 10 Ripasso reviews and ratings here. 5 Surprising Facts about Ripasso: 1. The wine of Valpolicella, made from a combination of native Italian grapes most commonly Corvina, Rondinella and Molinara, is re-passed over the leftover grape skins and seeds of the wine, also known as its pomace. 2. Some refer to the Ripasso style of wine as a “baby amarone,” more powerful than […]

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

Valpolicella, like Chianti, is a style of wine from a specific region of Italy bearing the name Valpolicella. Valpolicella is not an actual grape variety. You’ll find my most recent Valpolicella  reviews and ratings here. 5 Surprising Facts about Valpolicella: The grapes that are typically used to make Valpolicella include Corvina, Rondinella, and Molinara. The area known as Valpolicella is a part of the greater wine region known as the Veneto and is inside the province of Verona, in the North East of Italy. Valpolicella labels can give you clues as to what wine you can expect from the wine […]

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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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