How to Read a Wine List, Vertical Tastings and Sommelier Sips

Ryan Campbell, formerly sommelier at Toronto’s Crush Wine Bar, now works with the wine lists at the parent company, Vintage Hotels in Niagara. Wine is such a big part of your restaurant, how do you ensure that your staff, who aren’t sommeliers, are still knowledgeable? We hold an informal “wine school” once a month for about 15 staff members.  For the last class, we focused on chardonnay with a vertical tasting. Vertical tastings mean one type of wine, like chardonnay, from different producers, but all from the same vintage. A horizontal tasting would be, say chardonnays, all from one producer, […]

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Mandela Wines: South African Free Trade Wines Toast with Madiba Label

By Melissa Pulvermacher When someone says Nelson Mandela – what do you think of? Political prominence, humanity, social brilliance and revolutionary philanthropy are only some of the things that come to mind for me. After one afternoon spent at the iYellow Wine Cave, I now add the word ‘wine’ to that list. Yes, that’s right. House of Mandela Wine exists and is not only a great product, but is Free Trade guaranteed and carries through the legacy of Nelson and his family while supporting a thriving industry in South Africa contributing to the country’s economic prosperity. Who knew a great […]

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Australian First Families of Wine: Seduction Speed Tasting

Photo Credit: Kristy Gardner By Kristy Gardner, Wine Writer, Photographer, Designer I’ve never been to Australia. But hot damn, after the Australian First Families of Wine (AFFW) Unlock Tour de Force event in Vancouver this week, I want to go. The setting: 22 wines, 60 minutes, and some pretty epic “coming-of-age” stories later, Robert Hill-Smith of Yalumba Family Vignerons c. 1849 – and the 11 other family owned wineries belonging to the AFF – welcomed us with a generous sampling of some of best wines Australia has fermented. Presenting hand selected, flagship wines ranging in varietals from the lesser known […]

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Andrea Franchetti: Mountain Wine Between Stone and Cloud

Continued from Part 3: Etna Wine The next morning, I drive farther up the mountain along a narrow, vertiginous lane called Passopisciaro or “fishmonger’s road.” It was originally named after a seaman who used to sell his catch here on sunny afternoons. He charmed his female customers, generously offering them his services in addition to the seafood. Eventually, their husbands banded together and killed him. Most of Andrea Franchetti’s wines are labeled Passopisciaro, but his customers are safely scattered around the world. In 2001, having spent ten years in Tuscany making wines that received rave reviews, Andrea decided to buy […]

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Errazuriz Wines: Chile’s Cool Climate Grapes Shine

This is the first in a series of team tastings by top reviewers in our community, most of whom are graduates of either the Algonquin College Sommelier Program or La Cite Collegiale Sommelier Program. They share with us their overall impressions from the tasting, as well as reviews of each of the wines presented. You’ll also find their reviews shared on Twitter and Facebook as they are all very active on social media. “The Errazuriz wine tasting at Daly’s restaurant in Ottawa on September 26th was an absolute treat. Francisco Baettig, head winemaker at Errazuriz, is a supremely knowledgeable and […]

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Wolf Blass Wines Dig Into Their Australian Roots and Go Regional

Wolf Blass Winemaker Chris Hatcher shares some colourful history about Wolf Blass – the man, his history and work ethic – including an amusing story about a receptionist at the winery who didn’t believe that he was Wolf Blass ;) “Despite being a multi-millionaire,” Chris added, “Wolf still maintains his driving work ethic and frugal mentality. Just before he checks out of a hotel, he still cleans out all the shampoo and soap.” Christ Hatcher talking about the effect of fermentation by ‘committing a barrel’ to get that soft barrel character. Some insights that surprised me: – Wolf Blass first […]

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Tasting from the Tank: Barrel Samples and Wine Reviews

Most of the wines that I taste are bottled and on the liquor store shelves, or about to be there. However, when I attend a tasting with a winemaker who is visiting my city or when I travel to wine regions, I am often tasting tank or barrel samples. Sometimes, these samples get sent to my office in a generic wine bottle with a hand-written sticker telling me when the wine will be bottled, which is a future date. This is because the winemaker is keen to show you his or her new baby, even if that child is still […]

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Wolf Blass Yellow Label Wines Go Regional

Wolf Blass Yellow Label Sparkling Brut Sparkling White South East Australia Green apple fresh with zesty lime. Terrific bubbly for this price. Perfect for any large festive gathering. Alcohol: 11% Sweetness: Extra Dry Drink: 2015-2017 Score: 88 Price: $17.95 LCBO #: 708290   Smoked Chicken, Pancetta and Roasted Pear Pizza Recipe Makes:  2 pizzas Preparation time: 15 minutes Cooking time: 15 minutes Ingredients: 2 brown pears (Beurre  Bosc) ½ cup Wolf Blass Yellow Label Padthaway Adelaide Hills Chardonnay 1 tablespoon brown sugar 50g butter 2 large par-baked plain pizza bases 250g grated mozzarella cheese 8 thin slices pancetta 1 smoked […]

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Wine Writers Behaving Like Critics: The Good, The Bad and the Ugly

By Natalie MacLean They called it a tempest in a wine glass: two of the world’s most respected wine writers facing off against one another over one bottle of wine. Of course, there’s nothing unusual about critics disagreeing, even vehemently. But this time, the debate degenerated into a rumble over the definition of wine itself—and the integrity of the critics. In the American corner was Robert Parker, whose wine scores carry so much weight that they move the market. From Britain, was author Jancis Robinson, Master of Wine and columnist for the Financial Times of London. Both have written more […]

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LCBO Wines on Sale: Bargains and Best Buys April 2015

Sponsored Post by Philippe Dandurand Wine Agency You can get the complete shopping list of these wines in your closest liquor stores here.   Trapiche Broquel Malbec 2012 Mendoza, Argentina Regular Price: $14.95 Sale Price: $12.95 April 1 to April 30            Yellow Tail Merlot 2013 South Australia Regular Price: $11.95 Sale Price: $10.95 April 1 to April 30           35 South Cabernet Sauvignon Merlot 2012 Chile Regular Price: $12.95 Sale Price: $10.95  April 1 to April 30            Errazuriz Max Reserva Sauvignon Blanc 2013 Valle de Aconcagua, […]

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