Bourbon, Mint Juleps + Kentucky Derby: A Spirited Race

When the Kentucky Derby runs this Saturday, the horses won’t be the only ones racing. Over at the Seelbach Hotel, the mint juleps will be flying too. By the end of the day, the hotel staff and its bartender, Edward Duffy, will have concocted more than 3,000 of these traditional cocktails made with bourbon and fresh mint hand-picked from the hotel grounds. Built in 1905, the Seelbach Hotel was F. Scott Fitzgerald’s favorite watering hole—and it was also his setting for the wedding of Daisy and Tom Buchanan in his novel The Great Gatsby. But today, amid the creaking bar […]

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Wine for Ladies Who Shoot Their Lunch & the Charming Man Behind the Bottle

Winemaker Matt Fowles talks with guests By Jane Staples An early spring evening, a cozy fire burning in the hearth and award-winning wine from Australia’s Fowles Wines set the tone for a delightful evening at Australia’s High Commission on April 8th. The original Fowles family ancestors settled in Australia in the early 1800s, having arrived from England and Ireland.  The winery is now run by one of their descendants, Matt Fowles, who was formerly a successful lawyer. In 2007, Matt was selected to be part of the “Future Leaders” program that fosters a new generation of wine industry leaders for […]

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World Malbec Day Celebrates Argentina’s Flagship Red Wine

Today, April 17, is the fourth annual Malbec World Day (#MalbecWorldDay), celebrating the flagship red grape for the wines of Argentina, as well as a blending grape in Bordeaux and other regions. You’ll find my most reviews and ratings of Malbec Wines here. The Malbec grape produces wines that stylistically fall between Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot, with more plummy richness and roundness than Cabernet, but firmer tannins and structure than Merlot. Malbec is one of the five grapes in Bordeaux wines, especially in the districts of St. Emilion and Graves. It adds a deep dark red hue and rich dark […]

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Easter Wines: The Essential Hip-Hop Guide to Earmark

Some of my favourite meals are those we savour to celebrate Easter: fresh asparagus omelets and ham for brunch. But which Easter wines to serve with them? As a determined hedonist, I like something more than orange juice, thank-you—unless it’s a mimosa. The wines that work best are zesty, mouth-watering and lighter than those we drink in the winter—and they’ll put some spring in your glass. When the coming of spring heralds warmer weather, we feel like celebrating. One of the best ways is by drinking fresh, vivacious wines that suit the season and complement lighter fare. You can pair […]

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Wine Paired with Ham for Easter and Beyond

One of the classic Easter dishes is ham. Most hams are wet-cured with brine or saline solution and then smoked. Popular finishes are a sweet glaze of bourbon and brown sugar or maple syrup or orange marmalade. This gives the meat a glistening finish and an appetizing salty-sweet taste. The dish is often accompanied by tangy dressings such as cloves, dried fruit chutney or apricot preserves. All those powerful fruit and spice flavors are delicious, but they’re tough on many wines. What works best is usually a zippy white with a touch of sweetness, such as an off-dry Canadian or […]

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Vancouver International Wine Festival 2014: Five Fascinating Wines

By Tania Thomas In its 36th year running, Vancouver International Wine Festival has become Canada’s most anticipated extravaganza of the grape. This year, 14 countries participated with 177 wineries pouring more than 780 wines. In addition to providing educational and entertaining wine events for both public and trade, the Festival also raises funds for the Bard on the Beach Theatre Society. With France as a theme country and a global focus on Bubbly, it was a sure crowd pleaser for any novice wine lover and a seasoned connoisseur alike. Nine wine growing regions of France were featured, from Alsace in […]

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10 Tips to Make The Best out of any Wine Fest

By Tania Thomas Have you ever found yourself standing in the middle of the tasting floor at a wine show or festival and felt confused and overwhelmed, wanting to taste as many wines as possible but did not know where to begin? Attending a wine event of any kind can certainly be a confusing and overwhelming experience that leaves you bouncing from table to table without a direction, other than circular. On the other hand, attending a wine festival is an excellent opportunity to learn, taste new varietals and have fun with just a little bit of preparation. Apart from […]

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Australian Wine Icon Digs into Regional Styles

By Matt Steeves Recently on a cold January afternoon in Ottawa a small group of sommeliers and wine writers had the fortune of spending an afternoon with the legendary Chris Hancock, MW (Hon.), of Robert Oatley Vineyards at the Empire Grill in the Byward Market.  Chris led us through a tasting of nine of his wines in the Robert Oatley portfolio of wines. First of all, a bit of background about Chris Hancock.  After graduating from his studies in Oneology, and long before joining efforts with Robert Oatley in 1975,  Chris  worked at Penfolds where he produced six vintages of […]

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Whistler Cornucopia Wine Festival: BC Wines and Beyond

British Columbia Wines at the Cornucopia Wine Festival By Tania Thomas Early November is a perfect time to head to Whistler, a majestic resort town nestled in the Coastal Mountains of beautiful British Columbia, and take part in Cornucopia; an 11-day annual Fall Celebration of premier food and wine. This great event, 17 years running now, offers a great variety of interactive seminars, delectable winery dinners, gala wine tastings and those famous after-parties. It is an epicurean extravaganza not to be missed for locals and visitors alike. Friday events started with the BC Wine Institute’s, VQA Trade Seminar “Unmistakably Ours,” […]

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