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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Blending Family, Tradition and Place: Peter Lehmann Wine Tasting

It is a pleasure to meet any winemaker, especially one who makes a journey across the world to share his wine personally with us. Our group had the pleasure of meeting Ian Hongell from Peter Lehmann wines who led us through a tasting, at Sidedoor restaurant, with their wide range of wines paired with tapas. Jennifer MacDonald Havers Wine Columnist, Ottawa Citizen Peter Lehmann is located in the Barossa region, a small wine region of Australia producing only about 65,000 tonnes of fruit per year. It contains some ancient Shiraz, Cabernet, Grenache and Semillon vines, some are 150 or 160 years old. Their remote […]

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Risky Business: Breaking the Rules of Wine & Food Pairing

By Rebecca Meïr-Liebman of Chef & Somm I’m not a follower of hard and fast rules. Charts and wheels are fun, but the best experiences I’ve had have been when I broke the rules. Applying the rules to wine and food pairing will deliver a decent experience, but for an exceptional pairing, it’s all about risks. Most charts insist that Cabernet Sauvignon is the wine for beef. But is it really? Always? But charts don’t reflect our actual dining habits. Most guides list a single ingredient – chicken, beef, duck, etc. – but how often is there just one ingredient […]

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Drinking the Green: St. Patrick’s Day Wines

March 17 is St. Patrick’s Day … which begs the question: Is there any wine that pairs with corned beef and cabbage? This in turn begs the question: Can we skip the corned beef and cabbage and just have wine? No matter. Traditional matches for this Irish meal usually include Irish stout, like Guinness. But what about wine? Corned beef is salty and cabbage is skunky: is there a wine for that? Yes, as long as you avoid those wines with a strong sulphur smell or taste, as well as big red wines with heavy tannins and oak. Your best bet […]

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Wine Pairing: Corned Beef and Cabbage

Do you really need to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day with the liquid abomination of green beer? You bet your lucky stars, no! “Green wine” can be magically delicious. No, I’m not talking about wine that’s the colour green, but rather about wine that has green aromas and flavours such as lime, peas, asparagus (stay with me), green apple and herbaceous notes. These zesty wines dance a jig with corned beef and cabbage, shepherd’s pie and colcannon (mashed potatoes and green cabbage). When I think of ‘green’ wines, those that come to mind are zippy whites with herbal notes such as […]

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Top 10 Green Wine & Food Matches for St. Patrick’s Day

Which wines go best with the “green food” that we’ll enjoy on St. Patrick’s Day, such as corned beef and cabbage or Irish stew? How about those fresh spring vegetables that will soon be on our plates? Which wines go best with the “green food” that we’ll enjoy on St. Patrick’s Day, such as corned beef and cabbage or Irish stew? How about those fresh spring vegetables that will soon be on our plates? Green foods are the problem children of the wine world. But as a stubborn hedonist whose grandmother’s name was Brophy, I’ve found some terrific wines to […]

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Holiday Wine Team Tasting: Your Wines for Gift Giving and Entertaining

On Sunday, 22 wine-loving, football-sacrificing souls (it was Grey Cup) gathered to taste more than 70 spectacular wines. Click on the arrow above to hear about Jennifer’s favourite wine from the tasting, a Chilean Carmenere with bright acidity, nice little spice, great for a wide variety of foods. Jennifer MacDonald Havers Wine Columnist, Ottawa Citizen                 Monique explains her reasons for picking Taittinger Champagne to toast her celebration events.         Monique Ippolito Wine Columnist, Ottawa Living Magazine               Craig’s take on Beringer Quantum red […]

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Chili n’ Cheese Cornbread Muffins Recipe Paired with Pinot Blanc

Chili n’ Cheese Cornbread Muffins This November all I want to do is curl up by the fireplace with a good book, cozy sweater, and some comfort food – specifically cornbread. These little cornbread muffins are full of cheesy goodness and pack a punch with slow-cooked chili. So get ready to turn the heat right up with these Chili n’ cheese cornbread muffins. I like to start with quality ingredients made locally, like creamy Canadian Provolone cheese, which tastes like heaven when melted into these muffins. That’s best washed down with a fresh and crisp Niagara white wine, like the […]

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Discovering the Secret Side of Malbec Wine

By Priya & Alex, A Vine Romance “Come, let me show you another side of Malbec, my friend.” Winemaker Aurelio Montes Jr. spoke the lovely quote above. What distinguishes him from many of his peers is that he makes wines for consumers rather than for winemakers, because he considers himself “a consumer first and foremost.” Perhaps this is why both of us (Alex, the Sommelier and Priya the casual drinker) were able to enjoy the horizontal tasting of Kaiken wines in Toronto at Nota Bene restaurant last week. Over a lunch spanning a leisurely 3 hours (a lovely Argentinian custom we wish Canadians would […]

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Fall Wines: A Warming Taste Trend

Wine styles are as seasonal as clothing. In the summer, I drink light, refreshing wines that remind me of a simple T-shirt and shorts: perfect for sun-baked beaches and country road strolls. But in the fall, my wine, like my clothes, becomes warmer, more layered and better able to combat those cool winds of October. In the video above, Leanne and I chat about fall fashions in wine, from the run-way to your dining room table. The wines featured in this show include: Robert Mondavi Private Selection Chardonnay, California Toasted Head Chardonnay, California Clos du Bois Cabernet Sauvignon, California Santa […]

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