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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Sparkling Wine for New Year’s Eve versus Champagne

Most people think of champagne as the drink of choice to ring in the New Year. But when the price of one bottle averages $60, you might want to consider sparkling wine, which offers great taste for a fraction of champagne’s price. Although champagne only comes from the Champagne region of France, almost every other region of the country and many countries around the world produce sparkling wines, often using the same techniques and grapes as champagne. Most sparklers are a blend of the traditional champagne grapes—Pinot Noir, Pinot Meunier and Chardonnay. Like champagne, they’re labeled according to their dryness, […]

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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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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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City Hall New Home for a Baby Grand

I’ve back-dated this post so that it doesn’t appear at the top of the blog since it’s not wine-related, unless I offer some wine and music pairings, but I’ll spare you that … for now. I just wanted to collect together some memories here of a very special day.           Donated piano brings music to the lobby at Ottawa City Hall Ottawa City Hall’s lobby will be a livelier place for the holidays, now that a baby grand piano has arrived, the donation of an Ottawa woman. Mayor Jim Watson took delivery of the piano from […]

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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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Pairing Wine and Lunch in the CBC Fridge for the Food Bank

CBC All in a Day host Alan Neal and I sneak into the CBC kitchen to snoop into employee lunches and pair them with wine. You can listen to our chat above from the drive-home show. It’s actually not as weird (or creepy) as it sounds … we’re kicking off the final 3 days of Food Fantasy fundraising for the Food Bank, with prizes like having a sommelier come to your home and pair wine and food for you and 11 friends. In addition to being your personal sommelier for an evening, I’ll also bring along 12 signed copies of […]

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