11 Tips for WineSense: No Nonsense Wine Lovers

By Bob Desautels 1. Get to know the best producers/wineries. This is your safest route to consistent quality. 2. Distrust frivolous names and “pretty” pictures on labels.‎ 3. Taste and know wines (and grape varieties) from their traditional home. This becomes your benchmark for all other similar wines made from the same grapes. 4. Experiment with lesser known grape varieties versus always drinking the classic varieties and blends. It makes life more interesting. 5. Drink wine with food – it’s good for digestion and it slows the absorption of alcohol into your system. 6. Buy local wines when possible (when at […]

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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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Billionaire’s Vinegar Movie Stars Matthew McConaughey + Wine Book Review Globe & Mail

Alright, alright, alright! It’s just been announced that Oscar winner Matthew McConaughey will star in movie adaptation of the wine book The Billionaire’s Vinegar by Ben Wallace. Will Smith bought the rights and will be directing this production along with Todd Black, James Lassiter, Jason Blumenthal, and Steve Tisch. No indication yet of which role McConaughey will play or of the release date for the film. I can’t wait to see it! Here’s my review of the book in the Globe & Mail … Reviewed by Natalie MacLean The Billionaire’s Vinegar: The Mystery of the World’s Most Expensive Bottle of […]

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Vertigo Flights of Wine: CN Tower Restaurant Wine List Dazzling (and Dizzying)

James Muir, is the sommelier and maitre d’ at the 360 The Restaurant at the top of the CN Tower in Toronto. James manages the world’s highest wine cellar and has served many celebrities from Michelle Obama to John Travolta. What was your first wine experience? It was likely some low-end import wine from the depanneur, the corner convenience store where I lived in Montreal. I also tried Baby Duck at some point back then. However, more interesting wines were those from British Columbia in the 1980s. At that time, I experimented with pricier, imported bottles when I went out […]

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Sommelier Secrets on Weird Wine and Food Pairings, and Dream Cellar

In our latest sommelier profile, Jay Whiteley, who has been the sommelier and wine director at several of Canada’s best restaurants, most recently, The Chase in Toronto, shares his favourite and weirdest food and wine pairings, as well as tips on choosing from a restaurant wine list. What was your first wine experience? Learning how to say the word Gewürztraminer. Why did you move from BC, where you were working at one of the top restaurants in Vancouver, to join The Chase in Toronto? I moved for some personal reasons, but also to learn about the LCBO distribution system. Toronto […]

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Starbucks Barista is No Joe Job: The Real Story

When I open the door to Starbucks on O’Connor Street, long shafts of September sunlight stream in, ricocheting off the chrome espresso machine and the cellophane-wrapped bags of coffee. The smoky, dark chocolate aroma of brewing coffee snakes down my central nervous system. I feel faint with the need for caffeine. On most Sunday mornings, I’m less bright-eyed squirrel, more startled raccoon. A young auburn-haired woman named Bethany Wade bounds to the door and greets me with the perky inflection of the highly caffeinated. “Welcome!” she says. “We’re so glad you can join our group.” Wade trains Ottawa recruits to […]

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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? 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 drink with them on Tuesday. Top 10 Green Wine & Food Matches 1. Corned beef and cabbage: Pinot Blanc 2. Irish Stew: Cabernet Franc 3. Spring Asparagus: Gruner Veltliner 4. Field greens salad: Riesling 5. Tomatoes: Pinot […]

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Drinking the Green: St. Patrick’s Day Wines

Tuesday 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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How to Import Wine into Canada for Pleasure and Profit

By Steven Trenholme Since 1993, hundreds of people have attended my seminar, many going on to establish agencies or finding employment in the trade. A short list of graduates includes: Alex Patinos – Dionysus Agencies – agents for Fuxion Ted Warren – RKW Wines – agents for Goats Do Roam Howard Wasserman – B&W Wines – agents for Kendall-Jackson Margaret Hobbs – Hobbs & Co. –agents for  Tabali Ken Hayden – Appellation Wines – agent for Champagne Couche  It is the only training seminar for wine agents in Canada. There are still many suppliers who are not represented in Ontario. […]

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