Finding Your Sole-mate: Pairing Sparkling Wine and Seafood

By Melissa Pulvermacher The Vino Enthusiasts wine club is a gathering for people who appreciate wine and want to learn more about it. The group gets together to taste, pair and learn on a monthly basis. At the most recent wine club, the group drank sparkling wine paired with seafood to discover the array of types and how they all pair differently with food. The goal was to compare and contrast the most popular sparkling styles with local, Ontario options that are made and accessible in our own backyards. The food pairings included crab and goat-cheese crostini, lemon-butter calamari, salted […]

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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 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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How to Write a Wine Review: Tasting Notes that Tell a Story

Each week, I issue a challenge to those who post reviews on our site. If you’d like to get the latest challenge when it goes out, please e-mail me at natdecants @ nataliemaclean.com. Use All Five Senses Use all five senses to describe a wine. We tend to lean on just two as wine writers: smell and taste. But what about colour, texture (mouth-feel, weight) and even sound as you pour the wine, or other ambient sound in your environment, such as what’s playing on your stereo to make this wine even more memorable? Evoking all five senses will make […]

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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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Pierre Sparr Wines: Alsace Value and Taste Pair Well

Maison Pierre Sparr By Melissa Pulvermacher We’re all on a constant search of high-value wines for a great price. I always say that your chance of getting a great quality wine for a large price tag is high, and although the odds are less consistent, it feels great to find a killer bottle of wine that doesn’t break the bank. Maison Pierre Sparr, founded in 1680 by Jean Sparr, is a winery and brand located in Alsace, France. Sparr owns 15 hectares of their own Domaine, while also sourcing grapes from 130 hectares of trusted farmer-owned vines, to produce their […]

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What is Wine’s Role in Modern Madness? Finding Our Humanity Drop by Drop

Editor’s Note: I wrote this magazine piece on wine and civility 13 years ago, after 9/11. However, the search for civility in everyday life has more resonance than ever, with the riots in Ferguson, ISIS, Jian Ghomeshi, Gamergate, unfettered consumerism, and the mysogenous micro-aggressions that women face daily on social media. I welcome your thoughts here: never lose is your voice. In Vino Civilitatis The trouble with moderation is that it’s hard to get excited about it. Until now. After September 11, moderation seems to be rarer than a California cult cabernet. Finding the moderate and the civilized in everyday […]

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Dominus + Napanook Wine Tasting 2011 to 1991 Vertical

Dominus Estate  By Olivier deMaisonneuve Montreal Passion Vin is the annual rendez-vous when the Fondation de l’Hopital Maisonneuve-Rosemont invites wine lovers to open their wallets for a good cause. They also get the unique chance to taste world renowned wines and meet the actors behind those famous labels. This year funds were raised for a new integrated cancer treatment center. Tod Mostero, director of viticulture and winemaking at Dominus Estate, was presenting  a few vintages of the two wines produced by this domaine, born by the joint venture of Christian Moueix and the heiresses of the Inglenook Estate, one of […]

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Villa Maria Stays True to its Roots: New Zealand Winery Focuses on the Field

Villa Maria By Julia Kelada Often, decanting a wine for an hour gives it time to breathe and reveal its true character. That was exactly the time I was fortunate to spend recently talking with Sir George Fistonich, founder and owner of Villa Maria Wines in New Zealand, who has been making wines for more than 50 years. Private Bin Sauvignon Blanc 2014 Cellar Selection Sauvignon Blanc 2013 Private Bin Pinot Gris 2013 Private Bin Pinot Noir 2011 Cellar selection Pinot Noir 2010 Private Bin Merlot Cabernet Sauvignon 2012 Reserve Cabernet Merlot 2010 Although I had researched a long list […]

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Stem Wine Group Gala Tasting at Ottawa’s Museum of Nature-October 22, 2014

By Jane Staples The Stem Wine Group organized a very polished and elegant wine tasting event which took place at Ottawa’s Museum of Nature on October 22. This was Stem Group’s 10th anniversary and they have a great deal to celebrate, having gone from representing 9 wineries in 2005 to over 50 wineries at this year’s event, with over 125 wines featured. Italy dominated the scene, California had several wines on offer and Australia, New Zealand, France and Argentina were also represented. I started with a taste of the Veneto region in northern Italy.  I tried Matto’s Pinot Grigio 2013. […]

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