Charles Smith Rocks the Wine Scene with Music and Vino

By Melissa Pulvermacher We all think of pairing food and wine, but have you ever thought of pairing music with wine? Charles Smith, a self-taught winemaker, has brought a new element to the world of wine – soul. Smith is undoubtedly a full-bodied personality with a genuine passion for both music and wine. The only way to truly describe the experience of Charles Smith and his wines is to crank rock music and pour yourself a big glass of red or white… or both and just enjoy. During a 1999 road trip, when Smith was managing rock bands and concerts, […]

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Which Women Shine with Wine in the Movies?

Wine, women and … the movies. As we celebrate the Toronto Film Festival (TIFF 2014), here’s a look at some of the cameo roles that wine and women have played in film as terrific co-stars. In The Seven Year Itch (1955), Marilyn Monroe, moves into a Manhattan apartment above Tom Ewell, a married man whose family has gone to Maine for summer vacation. When the two get together for an innocent glass of champagne, the bottle explodes—and he gets his thumb stuck while trying to stop the overflow. That makes for lots of double-entendres about pent-up pressure and powerful thumbs. […]

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Walk in the Clouds: Winemaking in the Movies

In anticipation of the Toronto Film Festival #TIFF kicking off this week, this is the first in a series of articles about wine in the movies. First, I’d like to nominate a few of my favourite Oscar-worthy Canadian wines in honour of TIFF being held in Toronto: Featherstone Black Sheep Riesling Flat Rock Cellars Gravity Pinot Noir Painted Rock Red Icon Blue Mountain Brut Sparkling Luckett Vineyards Phone Box Red Stay tuned for more nominations this week. Now let’s travel back to 1995. Although not written as a comedy, the movie A Walk In The Clouds offered many laughs for […]

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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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Veuve Clicquot Champagne: Riddle Me This!

Above: Designer Karim Rashid created a Love Seat for Veuve Clicquot’s Yellow By Design exhibition, a modern take of an 18th century love seat blended with the rose colour seats to complement the Veuve Clicquot wine. Part 1: Champagne Widows Madame Clicquot wasn’t just a saleswoman, she also developed the technique called remuage or riddling, to remove sediment from the wine – a method that was quickly adopted throughout the Champagne region. Veuve Clicquot Riddling Table The second fermentation in the bottle that gives champagne its carbon dioxide also creates sediment, which gives the wine an unsightly cloudy appearance.  To […]

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The Merry Widows of Mousse: Champagne Widows

They were all young women whose families owned the great champagne houses at the turn of the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. When they lost their husbands to war or illness, they did not do what was expected: step aside or sell the business.  Nor did they marry again (though they were still in their twenties and thirties), handing over the reins to a new husband. Instead, these celebrated veuves, or widows, took control of their châteaux to produce some of the most prestigious wines in the world – wines that still bear their names: Veuve Clicquot, Pommery, Laurent-Perrier, Roederer and […]

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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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Dom Perignon Champagne1998 Vintage Wine Tasting Sparkles

By Melissa Pulvermacher When I think about Dom Pérignon Champagne, I think of luxury and pleasure. Now, more-so than ever, that opinion has amplified beyond pleasure into absolute bliss. After attending a private tasting of the soon to be released to Ontario, Dom Pérignon P2-1998 with Chef de Cave, Richard Geoffroy, I have an entirely new excitement for the potential of Dom Pérignon Champagne. Dom Pérignon is always a vintage Champagne, which means production only occurs in ideal years. 1998 was one of the rare years that led a triple vintage where 1998, 1999 and 2000 were all great years […]

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