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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Custom Crafted Heirloom Wine Cabinets: Shrine to Wine

The three-cabinet wine cellar design above features the finishes and design touches from the last era of custom-built cabinetmaker craftsmanship from the 1850s, when designing and building heirloom pieces were meant to be passed down from one generation to the next. Details include hand-carved columns affixed to a breakfront cabinet structure. The upper sections are composed of  crown and frieze moldings with inset clamshell (modeled after the Oval office in the White House, and representing the bounty of land and sea) and wood panels. The doors and drawers are cock beaded and slide seamlessly. The doors are fitted with bevelled […]

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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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Size Does Matter > Big Bottles of Wine

These are big-game bottles. Drink one and you become a character in a Hemingway story. We hunted for the bottle under the hot sun. We brought it down. The bottle was big. Drinking it felt good. We drank until the bottle was empty, and then we fell asleep. Known in the trade as large formats, big wine bottles are larger animals than the standard 750 ml. They range in size from the magnum, which equals two standard bottles (1.5 litres), to the nebuchadnezzar (neb-kd-NE-zr), which equals 20 standard bottles and weighs in at a table-warping 15 litres. According to a […]

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Wine Cellar Tips for Your Underground Sips

You may have long yearned for a wine cellar, but thought you couldn’t build one because you didn’t have a large wine collection or budget. Not to worry: although cellars are traditionally associated with snobbery and expense, in today’s egalitarian world wine lovers are building them on relatively modest budgets. In fact, there are a range of reasons why wine lovers choose to build a cellar: Do you yearn for the smooth, layered taste of mature wines? Do you like to buy wines upon release, when they’re least expensive, rather than paying top dollar later? Or do you just have […]

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Building a Wine Cellar: Costly Mistakes to Avoid

Here are some mistakes to void when building a cellar. Don’t wait until you have a large collection. You don’t need to amass hundreds of bottles before you consider building a cellar. In fact, it’s best to take the opposite approach: build the cellar and then fill it. You don’t want good wines to cook in the heat of some closet or to freeze over-chilled in an icy basement. And if you do keep your wine in the basement, it may have to rub shoulders with undesirable influences such as harsh solvents or cans of paint. These chemicals break down […]

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How to Stock Your Cellar: Which Wines, What Budget?

A candelabra flickers on the massive oak table in the cool, musty subterranean room. Old wine crates are stacked to the ceiling, each etched with the name of a venerable château. Dusty barrels in one corner were filled with cognac distilled a century ago. Through the stone archway, racks of cobwebbed bottles stretch into the distance. Many wine lovers share the fantasy, but how do you tackle the realities of building a wine cellar in your home? Mature wines offer exotic flavors and aromas that just aren’t found in young wines. As fine wine ages, the fresh grapey aromas diminish […]

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How to Stock Your Wine Cellar with $40-$80 Bottles

For those looking to stock their wine cellar in the $40-$80 per bottle range, will notice that many of the budget-friendly wines I recommended also produce premium wines in this category. At this level, wines have greater aging potential, usually at least three to five years, and sometimes longer depending on the producer. Broaden your search to include California, where wines have increased in price dramatically over the past ten years, even though that’s softening somewhat with the currency exchange. The Sunshine State offers great wines in this range, particularly chardonnays and cabernets from Arrowood, Sterling, Frog’s Leap, Kenwood and […]

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Wine Cellar: Dream Bottles of a Lifetime

When price isn’t a concern, go for the heavy-hitters that start at one to two hundred dollars per bottle and go up to thousands of dollars per bottle, especially for mature vintages bought at auction. The challenge in this range is finding the wines since many are on limited allocations, and have people on waiting lists to buy them. Almost all of these require aging to taste their best – at least five years, and some up to ten to fifteen years, or longer. Start with California cult cabernets, such as Screaming Eagle, Harlan Estate, Grace Family, Pahlmeyer, Cain Five, […]

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How to Build a Custom Wine Cellar: Calm, Cool and Collected

$5,000 – $50,000+ CUSTOM WINE CELLAR As their collection continues to grow past wine racks and wine fridges, some wine drinkers retro-fit their existing basements to make them ideal for wine storage, rather than rely on natural conditions. Since renovating your basement, or building a custom cellar, can involve several trades — electrical work, insulation, carpentry, lighting, engineering, masonry and interior design — it’s advisable to hire an experienced contractor or a cellar consultant. First, analyze your existing basement conditions to identify humidity levels and hot and cold spots, in relation to the ideal range. This will tell you what […]

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