Gift Wines: 5 Tips on How to Pick a Great Bottle

Want to give someone a bottle of wine this year? Here are quick tips on how to choose a great gift wine this holiday that we discussed on CBC Ontario Morning in the audio clip below. Click on the arrow above to listen to the clip. You can get all my wine reviews of great gift wines (including those for yourself) showing the stock for each bottle at your closest liquor stores. Wine is a great gift because: –    one size fits all –    doubles are fine –    it’s easy to re-gift Also: – it’s easy to return for cash […]

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Oyster Bay Wine Tasting: Fresh and Food Friendly

Oyster Bay By Matt Steeves New Zealand’s High Commissioner to Canada, Mr. Simon Tucker, hosted a lovely tasting of Oyster Bay wines at his official residence recently.  A small group of trade professionals attended to sample and assess the portfolio of New Zealand wines that Delegat Canada Limited (agent and owner of Oyster Bay) were showcasing.  Jason Hands and Camille Gemmell Johnston of Delegat kindly walked us through the tasting of their Oyster Bay portfolio. My overall impression from the tasting was that each wine Oyster Bay produces is done very well, and sold at a very reasonable price point […]

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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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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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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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Canada Day Wines Featured in the LCBO Vintages Release June 21

This is just a sampling of my reviews for June 21. You can access the 88 wines that I reviewed for June 21 as a text wine list with my complete tasting notes, scores, food matches and the stock for each bottle in their closest LCBO stores. You can also see my wine reviews for June 7. You can add my wine picks to their custom shopping list with one click and access that list on their smartphone. This is one of the benefits of becoming a Paid Member. Inventory stock numbers are usually posted online a day or two […]

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High on Wine: Argentina and Chile Magic Mountain LCBO Vintages May 10

The wines of Argentina and Chile hit the spotlight in the May 10 LCBO Vintages Release. The premium wine region for Argentina is Mendoza, 650 miles southwest of Buenos Aires. Many of us have only a vague notion of this South American country that’s five times the size of Spain. It spans more than a million square miles from the sub-tropical jungles and parrots in the north, near the equatorial Tropic of Capricorn, to the Antarctic ice fields and penguins of Patagonia in the south. To the east, lie the expansive cattle-grazing grass-fields of the pampas; to the west, the […]

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10 Reasons to Drink Austrian Wine

By Leslie Quinn “Austria makes wine? Aren’t they known for beer?” This is the typical response I get when I suggest an Austrian wine to a guest or a friend. My answer is always “Yes they make a great brew, but their wine is among the best in the world.” And here are 10 reasons why you should give Austrian wine a chance. 1. Purity We love a delicious chunk of salmon dressed up in a delicate creamy caper beurre blanc, maybe even cooked on a cedar plank. However, a sliver of salmon sashimi is pure. It allows you to […]

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Kim Crawford Wines: Small Vineyard Sauvignon Blanc, Pinot Noir

“Several Ottawa sommeliers and wine professionals, along with noted author Natalie MacLean, enjoyed a wine tasting luncheon October 4, with an informative presentation from Kim Crawford’s Chief Winemaker, Anthony Walkenhorst and a scrumptuous meal from Maxwell’s Bistro. We were treated to several of Kim Crawford’s finest wines and each plate was introduced by the chef. The New Zealand winery Kim Crawford was launched in 1996 with a virtual vineyard … the actual land for the vines came later! With an unusual start, and in a relatively short time, the winery has made New Zealand as famous for its wines as […]

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