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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Toronto Sommelier at Four Seasons Pours a Glass for Chef Thomas Keller

Drew Walker, wine director at Café Boulud & D Bar in Toronto’s Four Seasons Hotel. Where did you grow up? I grew up in Niagara, in Port Dalhousie, with my parents Bruce and Nancy, and my older sister Kate. Tell us about a time when your life was different? When I was 19 years old, I lived in the Caribbean and worked long hours as a bartender in a great little bistro in the Cayman Islands. It was my first experience in the food and beverage industry, and it shaped me quite a lot.  I learned so much from the […]

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Peanut Noodle Salad Recipe Paired with Sparkling Wine

Peanut Noodle Salad Recipe by Courtney Flood This dish is a good go-to for me. I love the myriad of flavours in peanut satay sauce and I could eat almost anything that has it slathered on. It’s also a good way to use some fresh veggies you might have on hand. I used cucumber and carrot, but you could also use cabbage, zucchini, green onion, bell pepper, bean sprouts, peas, etc. You could also top with grilled chicken, pork, or beef if you are a meat eater. Ingredients: 1 large English cucmber 2 large carrots ½ small onion, thinly slice […]

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Recipe: Steak Au Poivre Paired with Merlot

Steak “Au Poivre” Preparation Time: 15 MIN Total Time: 30 MIN Servings: 4 INGREDIENTS: 3 tbsp. black peppercorns 4 6-oz. beef filets, about 1½“ thick Salt 2 tbsp. butter 1 tbsp. vegetable oil 1 cup beef stock ½ cup heavy cream INSTRUCTIONS: Wrap peppercorns in a clean dish towel and crush them. Transfer pepper to a plate, then roll filets in it so that they are evenly coated. Season liberally on both sides with salt. Heat butter and oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add filets and cook until well browned, about 4 minutes on each side for […]

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Pairing Wine and Cranberry Sauce, Chestnut Stuffing, Cream Corn

Can we be honest? Holiday turkey dinner is just an excuse for most of us to chow down on our favourite side dish, whether it’s cranberry sauce, chestnut stuffing or sweet potatoes. Often they have more interesting flavours than that dry old bird in the middle of the table. So please, let’s stop kidding ourselves with wine matches for turkey and focus on those pocket cravings. And please pass me that bowl of mashed potatoes. Wine and Tangy Food Why don’t we eat cranberry sauce more often throughout the year? Let’s talk about that at dinner. In the meantime, try […]

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Chateau Palmer Tasting: Bordeaux Wine Seduces and Satisfies

Château Palmer By Melissa Pulvermacher Château Palmer is a much-respected winery in the Margeaux appellation d’origine contrôlée in Bordeaux, France. You may recognize Palmer better as one of the classified Third Growths of Bordeaux. Palmer has been known as one of the most popular of this classification and some even argue that its consistent delivery of quality held up against First Growth, Château Margeaux. I was given the opportunity to taste several of the Palmer wines at an organized tasting at The National Club in Toronto, Ontario. After tasting the 2004, 1999, 1995 and 1983 vintages up against one another, […]

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Veal Chop Recipe with Portabello Mushrooms Paired with Merlot

Veal Chop with Portabello Mushrooms Preparation Time: 25 MIN Total Time: 40 MIN Servings: 2 INGREDIENTS: 5 tablespoons olive oil, divided 1 tablespoon butter 2 veal chops 1 portobello mushroom, sliced 1½ cups chicken broth 1½ teaspoons fresh rosemary, chopped ½  cup red wine INSTRUCTIONS: Heat 4 tablespoons olive oil with butter in a skillet over medium-high heat. Cook chops until browned, 2 to 3 minutes per side. Once browned, stir in mushrooms and cook for 1 minute. Add chicken broth and rosemary; cover, and simmer 10 minutes. Stir in red wine, increase heat, and cook, uncovered, until sauce is […]

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Gift Wines: 5 Tips on How to Pick a Great Bottle

Want to give someone a bottle of wine this year? Here are quick tips on how to choose a great gift wine this holiday that we discussed on CBC Ontario Morning in the audio clip below. Click on the arrow above to listen to the clip. You can get all my wine reviews of great gift wines (including those for yourself) showing the stock for each bottle at your closest liquor stores. Wine is a great gift because: –    one size fits all –    doubles are fine –    it’s easy to re-gift Also: – it’s easy to return for cash […]

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Panettone Brie Tower Recipe Paired with Merlot Wine

Panettone Brie Tower The Gift that Keeps on Giving: Holiday Entertaining Made Easy Can you feel that? It feels like the holidays are here. There is an exuberant amount of energy that surrounds us as people rush to finish last-minute shopping and prepare for their upcoming family festivities. It’s an exciting time of the year, and one that calls for a recipe that’s packed with pleasure and deliciously creamy Canadian Brie. Hopefully, this simply delicious recipe for Panettone Brie Tower will be the perfect little dinner party dessert idea. If you’re not familiar with Panettone, it’s a traditional Italian cake […]

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