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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Nobilo Sauvignon Blanc and Pinot Noir Wines from New Zealand

    Nobilo Icon Pinot Noir 2013 Marlborough, New Zealand A smooth, supple easy-drink red wine. This New Zealand Pinot Noir features notes of wild field berries on the nose and palate. Lovely balance, very food-friendly. Pair with planked salmon. Alcohol: 14% Sweetness: Extra Dry Price: $19.95 Drink: 2013-2018 Product #: 66803     Nobilo Icon Pinot Noir 2012 Marlborough, New Zealand Very juicy, cherry-berry flavours and roundness in this gloriously happy New Zealand Pinot Noir. This medium-bodied red wine with dance with your senses, and your food, from planked salmon to roast chicken. Top me up! Alcohol: 14% Sweetness: […]

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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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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. Use All Five Senses Use all five senses to describe a wine. We tend to lean on just two as wine writers: smell and taste. But what about colour, texture (mouth-feel, weight) and even sound as you pour the wine, or other ambient sound in your environment, such as what’s playing on your stereo to make this wine even more memorable? Evoking all five senses will make […]

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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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