Pairing Wine with Chocolate: Follow Your Nose

By Jessica Nagy Pairing wine with chocolate is about more than just rich desserts and powerful Ports or Amarones;  it’s a subtle art that can have a big impact on the entire meal if done well. I recently spoke with Sommelier Rebecca Meïr-Liebman about how she takes on this challenge in a series of Sweet & Savoury chocolate-inspired dinners that she hosts with her husband, Chef Eyal Liebman, in Toronto. The next dinner will take place November 8 with all proceeds going to support Second Harvest. “I start by choosing the winery,” says Rebecca. In this case, it’s Niagara’s Henry […]

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The Grapes of Laugh: How to Host a Wine Tasting or Start a Wine Club

There are many excellent reasons to host a wine tasting party—or even to form a wine club. For one thing, wine is a social beverage—one that’s meant to be shared with friends. And it’s more fun to drink than to buy Tupperware—unless, of course, you’re drinking from the Tupperware. The only goal is to enjoy yourself and perhaps find a new favorite bottle. Although wine does lend itself to serious technical analysis, that’s not really necessary. You don’t need a PhD to talk about it: anyone can share opinions about the wine. Most people just want to socialize over a […]

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Prince Edward County Pinot Noir: A Ruby Wine Gem

I was determined that our recent weekend get-away to Prince Edward would be all pleasure, no work. For me, that means not visiting wineries and interviewing winemakers. I just wanted to dine at amazing restaurants, like Blumen, stay at a wonderful inn like The Manse, and take long walks along Sandbanks Park beach. I did all that, but alas could not resist the siren call of one winery. I blame Blumen. We enjoyed a fabulous meal, and a spectacular pinot noir from Exultet Estates. I got up the next morning determined to find the hidden, off-the-main-strip, little white shed that […]

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Pairing Wine with Weird Holiday Turkey Recipes

Maple-Brined, Wood-Smoked Grilled Turkey To stuff some life into this year’s obligatory wine and turkey pairing column for Thanksgiving (or Christmas), I asked the creators of some strangely wonderful turkey recipes for their permission to post them here and pair them with wine. I’m still on the hunt for beer can turkey, turducken, tofurkey (tofu-shaped turkey), and believe or not, that new chocolate-glazed with sprinkles dessert favourite, turdunkin (!) Maple-Brined, Wood-Smoked Grilled Turkey Recipe Allow a total of 4 to 4-1/2 hours to start the fire, cook the turkey, and let it rest. Have a full bag of charcoal on […]

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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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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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5 Tips to Pick Wines for Thanksgiving

No other holiday celebrates the gift of wine like Thanksgiving. Wine is a taste of the harvest along with all the delicious dishes on the table. But actually choosing a bottle can feel like a thankless task, especially with so many flavors to match. Relax. Have a drink. And try some of my suggestions for great wines to pair with Thanksgiving turkey and all the trimmings that Leanne and I chat about in the video above. You can also watch our first video on fall wines here. In my free online matching tool, you can click on “turkey holiday dinner” […]

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Win a Cooking Lesson with Top Chef Canada and Wolf Blass Wine Tasting

Sponsored Post Want to cook one-on-one with a Top Chef Canada and attend a wine tasting event with lots of terrific Australian wines from Wolf Blass? You could win: Enter now! One winner from Ontario and one winner from Western Canada will get a celebrity chef experience with Top Chef Canada winner Matthew Stowe, consisting of a cooking lesson with Matthew and tickets to an exclusive Wolf Blass event.   Top Chef Tested Recipes Braised Beef Short Rib with Celeriac Purée and Red Wine Jus Roasted Butternut Squash Soup with Sautéed Granny Smith Apples, Toasted Hazelnuts, Parmesan Foam Get the Recipes […]

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Best Wine Reviews and Ratings: LCBO Vintages Release September 27

You can access the 59 wines that I reviewed for September 27 as a text wine list with my complete tasting notes, scores, food matches. You can also see my wine reviews for September 13. If you are a Paid Member, you can add my wine picks to your custom shopping list with one click and access that list on your smartphone to find the stock for each wine in your closest LCBO store. These are just some of the benefits of supporting out wine community as a Paid Member. Inventory stock numbers are usually posted online a day or two […]

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The Dark Side of Wine in the Movies: Days of Wine and Thorns

In films such as the Godfather series, wine and food are expressive of Italian culture, and its fierce loyalty—wine is part of family gatherings, and presented as something simple, without pretense. It’s often consumed from shot glasses. But also represents the darker side: the brooding nature of the family members, and the blood ties that bind. You’ll find my TIFF and Oscar-worthy, award-winning wines here, with all-star ratings. Looks alone have made red wine the preferred drink of horror movies, often an omen of evil. The Dracula movies associate wine with blood. “Aren’t you drinking?” inquires the guest, as Count […]

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