Box Wine: Good or Grim? How to Drink Inside the Box

“Where do you keep your boxed wine?” I ask the liquor store clerk, brushing away the loose strands of the auburn wig from my face. “You mean the two bottles of wine we sell in the gift box?” she asks, peering into my dark sunglasses. “No, the stuff that comes as a bag in the box,” I snap back. (I’ll throw away pretension, but not my reputation.) “Ah, follow me” she says, taking me to the back section that has the same social approval as where they keep the adult flicks in video stores. In 1967, an Australian invented the […]

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Wine Casks have Captured the Attention of Canadian Wine Consumers

Casks, most often referred to as boxed wines, have traditionally had a bad reputation with consumers. The perception is that wine in a box must be poor quality wine and that no one buys them. As one of the fastest-growing segments of the Canadian wine industry, high-quality boxed wines are finally getting the attention they deserve in this country. Australia has lead the way with casks since the majority of wine Down Under is sold in boxes. Now, Canadians are getting hip to the idea that good wine can come in something other than a bottle. For the first time […]

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Chateau Cardbordeaux: Is All Boxed Wine Bad?

What you want: A holiday get-together with friends over a cheering glass of wine. What you don’t want: A budget deeper in the red than an old vine zin. The answer may be in the box. Once the runt of the wine world, boxed wines have come a long way, says Natalie MacLean, author of the Internet wine newsletter Nat Decants. “Get over your hang-ups about boxed wine being plonk. It’s a great way to go with a large party,” she says. Today’s boxed wines are mostly sold in 3-liter containers, the equivalent of four bottles. And while the quality’s […]

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Sommelier Loves Pairing Wine with PEI Shellfish and Seafood

Lesley Quinn, Sommelier, Sim’s Corner Steakhouse and Oyster Bar in Charlottetown, PEI Was wine a part of your family’s meals when you were young? I grew up in a small farming community on Prince Edward Island, with two older brothers. Wine wasn’t a part of our meals at home. However, my mother worked in the tourism industry, and she was host to journalists from around the world. She’d take me with her to meals with them, and it was during one of those dinners, that I had my first sip of wine. Apparently, I described it as tasting like sour grape juice. What […]

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Top 6 Wine New Year’s Resolutions

Every New Year, I make—and break—several resolutions about exercise or housecleaning. However, I also make a resolution or two about wine, which have always been easy to keep because they’re fun. Here are a few of my favorites that you can try this year.   1. I resolve to try something new  It’s easy to get into a rut with wine and buy the same brand every time. But the pleasure of wine is in its diversity. If you like full-bodied Cabernet Sauvignon from California, try one from Argentina, or even a different robust red, such as an Argentine Malbec. […]

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The Wrath of Grapes: Hangover Causes and Cures

Do your eyelids creak when they open? Has your tongue been scrubbed with sandpaper? Is the Little Drummer Boy playing on your cerebral cortex? At this time of year, we make merry in haste and then repent in waste, the next day. Thousands of years ago, man discovered alcohol; the next day he discovered the hangover. Since then, we’ve learned a lot about what causes hangovers but not what cures them. Their effects are as immutable as Newton’s law: for every action there is an equal and opposite reaction. Of course, the only way to avoid a hangover is not […]

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The Champagnes of James Bond and Rappers: Bollinger and Cristal

Part 2: Champagne Widows By the 1930s, French winemakers faced even greater challenges: a country about to go to war, a worldwide Depression that made running any business difficult, and U.S. Prohibition, which made selling luxury champagne to the lucrative American market almost impossible. This was the forbidding business environment that Camille Olry-Roederer stepped into when she took over the champagne house Louis Roederer after losing her second husband in 1932 (her first husband had died in World War I). Sales were 264,000 bottles that year, compared to 2.3 million bottles in 1876. But like the other women of Champagne […]

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Veuve Clicquot Champagne: Riddle Me This!

Above: Designer Karim Rashid created a Love Seat for Veuve Clicquot’s Yellow By Design exhibition, a modern take of an 18th century love seat blended with the rose colour seats to complement the Veuve Clicquot wine. Part 1: Champagne Widows Madame Clicquot wasn’t just a saleswoman, she also developed the technique called remuage or riddling, to remove sediment from the wine – a method that was quickly adopted throughout the Champagne region. Veuve Clicquot Riddling Table The second fermentation in the bottle that gives champagne its carbon dioxide also creates sediment, which gives the wine an unsightly cloudy appearance.  To […]

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The Merry Widows of Mousse: Champagne Widows

They were all young women whose families owned the great champagne houses at the turn of the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. When they lost their husbands to war or illness, they did not do what was expected: step aside or sell the business.  Nor did they marry again (though they were still in their twenties and thirties), handing over the reins to a new husband. Instead, these celebrated veuves, or widows, took control of their châteaux to produce some of the most prestigious wines in the world – wines that still bear their names: Veuve Clicquot, Pommery, Laurent-Perrier, Roederer and […]

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Which Wine Pairings for turkey, fruitcake or cheese?

The holiday countdown is on and Canadians are scrambling for last-minute gifts for their hosts and loved ones. Wine and food seem like a natural option at this time of year, but with thousands of bottles lining the shelves at liquor outlets, where does one begin? “I’d start with pairing the wine that you’re going to bring to go with the dinner. Wild guess, might be turkey,” says sommelier Natalie MacLean, editor of the wine review site nataliemaclean.com. She suggests a sparkling wine like Cava from Spain, a Pinot Noir from New Zealand, a dry rose from France or a […]

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