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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Canadian Wine Harvest 2014: BC, Ontario, Quebec, NS Winemakers Weigh In

Join us Friday morning on Global Television as we discuss how the Canadian wine harvest is going from coast to coast. In the meantime, here are reports from the field: winemakers from British Columbia, Ontario, Quebec and Nova Scotia give their impressions of how the 2014 harvest is looking so far. Tantalus Vineyards David Paterson, Winemaker, Tantalus Vineyards, British Columbia How is the 2014 harvest going so far? So far the 2014 harvest has been ideal. We are in the home stretch now and a couple more weeks of warm days and cool nights to finish off with will be […]

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Nicolas Catena: Argentina’s Wine Laureate

This morning, I’m driving to the Bodega Catena Zapata, the winery that changed my opinion of Argentine wine. I remember drinking a Catena red wine one night at a friend’s house and guessing that it was Australian Shiraz. My body hummed with contentment as I let myself down into its berry-decadence. I was pleasantly surprised to find out what it was, and started buying more Malbec. Now, as I follow the long gravel road, a space-age stone temple rises from the vines, framed against the Andes silver peaks. This extravagant architectural statement is the concrete gesture of one man’s desire […]

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First Argentine Wine: Malbec Calling Catena

Continued from Part 1 of Catena Wine That robust work ethic has been in the Catena family for generations. In 1898, his grandfather Nicola left a small village in Sicily for Argentina. He started planting vines in 1902 and raised a family. His eldest son, Domingo, married Angelica Zapata, a daughter of a large land owner, increasing the family’s holdings. By 1973, the winery had become the country’s largest producer of cheap wines, pumping out 240 million bottles a year. Nicolás, the son of Domingo and Angelica, was a brilliant boy and finished high school at 15. At the request […]

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Science and Wine: The Argentine Marriage of True Vines

Continued from Part 2 of Catena Wine That “little project” lasted fifteen years and involved planting 145 Malbec “clones”: the same grape, but from different parent vines, to see which clones would do best in different sites. (“Wine caters to obsessive personalities: it makes you worse,” Nicolás observes with a sigh.) He knew that until the late 1800s, when phylloxera destroyed most European vineyards, Malbec had been one of the most planted grapes in Bordeaux whereas today, it’s less than ten percent of vineyards there. Malbec still thrives in the warm region of southwest France called Cahors, which makes a […]

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Like Father, Like Daughter: Nicolas and Laura Catena

Continued from Part 3 of Argentine Wine The Catena Alta Malbec Cabernet we’re drinking smolders in the glass. Its sultry edge is more enticing than the sweet, soupy international style of many brand name grapes. Nicolás believes that drinkers are shifting away from the herbal flavors of Cabernet and turning more toward wines like Malbec (and Syrah, Tempranillo, and Grenache) that have fleshy dark red fruit and violet flavors. Blending Malbec and Cabernet grapes is still traditional: “These blends give us French elegance and Latin passion,” as Nicolás explains. However, he no longer believes that Malbec needs Cabernet Sauvignon—or any […]

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Argentina’s Wine Visionary Sees the Future Rooted in the Past

Continued from Part 4 of Argentine Wine The 1982 Falklands War with Britain also didn’t help the economy or exports. Then there was hyper-inflation that exceeded 3,000 percent a month, which discouraged foreign investment. Vintners made up for the lost revenue by producing high volumes of poor-quality wines that smelled like bananas rotting in an attic. Meanwhile, neighboring Chile’s economy was much more stable and the country was already producing more wine than it could consume, so it was focused on export in the 1980s. Chile took advantage of this to position itself at the very low end of the […]

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Mac and Cheese Pizza Recipe Paired with Pinot Noir

Mac and Cheese Pizza Back to school – Send them back with Cheesy Mac You can tell by the morning traffic that back to school season is here. But it’s not all early mornings and angry commutes; it’s also the beginning of a colourful season full of cool class projects, fun field trips, and exciting lunch ideas. I have a great lunchtime meal that your wee ones will eat right up!  Hint: it involves the words “mac”, “cheese” and “pizza”. Say no more. Mac and Cheese is really having its moment. And, well, why wouldn’t it- it’s amazing! Take a […]

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Cream of Roasted Red Pepper with Bocconcini Soup Recipe Paired with Sauvignon Blanc

Cream of Roasted Red Pepper with Bocconcini Soup Warm up to Fall Shorter days. Colder weather. It’s enough to leave you feeling like you need a vacation. But if you can’t do that, why not try the next best thing: a hearty, heartwarming bowl of soup. This recipe for Cream of Roasted Red Pepper with Bocconcini Soup ain’t your grandma’s chicken noodle (not that there’s anything wrong with that). It’s a deliciously modern combination of soft and creamy Canadian Bocconcini  and juicy roasted peppers, topped with a sweet tang of balsamic. It’s one of my go-to soups, and whether you’re […]

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