Surprising Pairings for Villa Maria Wines from Antipasto to Steak

Canada’s top wine writers and sommeliers gathered in the nation’s capital for a comprehensive tasting of Villa Maria wines from New Zealand.   Terry Jeans Wine Writer, Ottawa Wine Guide   What an elaborate tasting! We had the chance to have an amazing tasting with one of the viticulturists from Villa Maria– Ollie Powrie, who presented us with an insightful session of tasting over a dozen wines from one of the only New Zealand owned and family operated wineries. Founded and owned by the venerated Sir George Fistonich, a real icon of the wine industry, who has been part of […]

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5 Dynamite Bubblies for a Sparkling Holiday and How to Find Wonderful Wines to Celebrate

By Melissa Pulvermacher ‘Tis the season for family, food and sparkling wine. Every year I feature my favourite bottle of bubbly before New Year’s Eve. This year, I decided to write about my top 5 picks to make sure everyone can ring in the new year with bubbles. To help you navigate the intimidating selection, all you need to know is the basics. Mostly you need to be able to navigate whether a bottle is traditional method or tank method and the level of dosage (sweetness added to the wine by concentrated grape juice). 1. Traditional Method This is the […]

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How do You Pick a Great Gift Wine? 5 Tips for Festive Sips

Want to give someone a bottle of wine this year? On Global Television’s Morning Show, we chat about quick tips on how to choose a great gift wine this holiday. 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 without a receipt – wine doesn’t have to be cared for and it should never be watered – it’s consumable so it doesn’t create clutter adding to more stuff in your home How to decide which wine to give? – match the […]

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Wine Tasting Hackathon: New Way of Social Wine Discovery

Our second team wine tasting yesterday felt like a family reunion. Sommeliers and wine bloggers from Toronto and Montreal flew or drove in to join those from the east to west ends of Ottawa. There was an instant camaraderie among those gathered here who recognized each other as fellow contributors to our online community. What I admire most about these reviewers is that although they have sterling wine credentials and training, they keep it real and conversational — with an effort to connect, not to impress. The tasting also struck me as the wine version of a hackathon. In the […]

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Pairing Wine and Holiday Dishes and Treats

On Global Television’s Morning Show today, Carolyn, Jeff and I chat about pairing wine with holiday treats such as shortbread, chocolate Santas and fruitcake … … yes, we’re going there ;) Plus, here are bonus tips on pairing wines with other holiday favourite dishes … 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 […]

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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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Find Your Holiday Gift Wine from Our Team Tasting Top Picks

Our last big team tasting for the year had 150 bottles on the tables, along a variety of Balderson Cheddar Cheeses in preparation for our pairing contest. .   You can watch the video reviews below of our team’s favourite discoveries.       Matt Steeves Wine Expert, CTV Morning Live                 Jennifer MacDonald Havers Wine Columnist, Ottawa Citizen                 Rachelle O’Connor Wine Blogger & Judge         Photo by Cherie Cole Cherie Cole Restaurant Wine Consultant         Sharon Prionas Wine […]

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Which #Wine to Pair with Your Ugly Christmas Sweater?

In our second Day in the Life Photo Essay, we’ve assembled our pictorial interpretation of holiday spirit with the classic Ugly Christmas Sweater. Yes, there’s a wine for that. We’re also sharing these photos on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, Tumblr and LinkedIn. The hashtag is #WineFashion  and @RobertMondavi. You can see our first photo essay here. Jane Staples Wine Columnist, Ottawa Wedding Magazine           Jon Steeves Accredited Sommelier & Blogger         Matt Steeves Wine Expert, CTV Morning Live           Sean O’Regan Director, National Capital Sommelier Guild       […]

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Holiday Gift for Wine Lovers: Give the Gift of Great Wines Year Round

Wondering what to give the wine lovers in your life? How about a guarantee that they’ll enjoy every bottle they open? With a gift subscription to my wine reviews, they get exclusive access to my best value and top rated wines: red, white, rose, sparkling and dessert wines from around the world at all price points. They’ll discover wines they’ve never heard of that go amazingly well with a wide variety of dishes: bottles they would never have pulled off the shelf based on the label alone. No more disappointing bottles, no more paying too much for too little taste […]

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Plonk Wine Videos Stumble Blindly into Brilliant Insight

At last, wine web videos that actually blend humour and personality. The online series Plonk crushes tired old wine talk, yet slyly mixes in wine education without a bitter after taste. The creators of Plonk get it: you can’t begin to educate without entertaining … first, foremost, forever. My thanks to the intrepid Beppi Crosariol for featuring the series in his Globe and Mail wine column. It deserves the attention, and is certainly getting it with 98,000 views and climbing quickly.  Now that’s viral. My favourite scene is in episode four when Chris, the host, gets Rocky-style training on how […]

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