Ruffino Wines: Tasting Italy in a Glass

Our third winemaker dinner team tasting on October 18 featured the wines of the Italian winery Ruffino. Our team did an excellent job of summarizing the wines, food pairings and overall experience of the evening. A second Ruffino wine dinner was held the following night at a different restaurant. You can see all of the Ruffino wine reviews, showing stock at your local liquor store. “Graffiti’s Italian Restaurant in Kanata was the perfect location for a Ruffino tasting dinner with Brand Ambassador Robert Ghezzo. Though dimly lit and boisterous at times, we were nonetheless transported to the Tuscan countryside as […]

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Black Hills Winery: Tasting Vintages of a BC Flagship Wine

By Valerie Stride Located on one of the most arid and sunny sites in the Okanagan, Black Hills Estate Winery is abundant in many things – including quality wines. Spread across a 27-acre vineyard, Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Cabernet Franc, Carmenere, Sauvignon Blanc, and Semillon are carefully grown and handled by the Black Hills team. The microclimate on property, in addition to long hours of sunlight and cool nights, offers this west-facing orientation vineyard added value. The vineyard manager, Steve Carberry, works closely with winemaker Graham Pierce to ensure that the authenticity of Black Hills wines remains bona fide. On October […]

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Food and Wine Pairing Book: Inspired by The Flavour Principle

In the video above, two of Canada’s most respected food and drink writers, Lucy Waverman and Beppi Crosariol, discuss their new book The Flavour Principle. It’s packed with delicious recipes that are paired with wine and other drinks, based on 11 key flavour categories. The two writers are also weekly columnists for the Globe and Mail, Canada’s national newspaper. They share their tips on pairing and some surprising insights they discovered while writing the book that make it different from other cookbooks and pairing guides. You’ll question your assumptions about red wine and cheese and find out why texture and […]

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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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3 Insider Wine + Food Pairing Tips, Most Underrated Grape

Wordsmith, wine pro and lifelong highland dancer, Natalie MacLean sat down with Grape Magazine, talking whisky, winter, the world’s greatest wines and the secrets to top-shelf imbibing without breaking the bank. Your Writing Process? I’m a messy writer—if I were a painter, I’d paint a seagull in one corner, then a clump of clover in another corner. I’d splash on the page every impression I have, then edit, edit, edit. Best Wine & Food? The best pairing is between you and a wine you like. But as far as food pairings go, the fun is in experimenting, choosing whether to […]

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Wine Aroma Wheel: 5 Wine Tasting Secrets They Reveal

The best-known wine aroma wheel above was developed by Dr. Ann Noble, while she was a professor with the renowned oenology program at the University of California at Davis. It categorized aromas broadly, splintering off into more specific sub-aromas. It was ground-breaking in that it took the obscure and confusing adjectives often used to describe wine and categorized them coherently. Here are the top 5 wine tasting secrets that Dr. Noble’s aroma wheel, and the other wheels below can tell us: 1. Describing wine doesn’t have to be vague and off-putting. Using concrete, everyday adjectives from categories of fruit, flowers […]

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Liquid Lingo of Italy: You Say Wine, I Say Vino

By: The Drink Wine and Giggle Gals Dove regna il vino non regna il silenzio.  (Where wine reigns, silence does not reign.) Italian Proverb The second stop in our linguistic tour of the world’s top wine-producing countries is Italy. Whenever the Drink Wine and Giggle Gals think about Italy, we think about the Italian philosophy of living referred to as la bella figura—“the beautiful figure”—that is about much more than dressing well, looking good and admiring all forms of physical beauty. La bella figura is also defined by behaviour, specifically how one comports oneself when ordering wine. Our first Italian […]

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A Wonderful Life With Wine – Ottawa At Home

Raised by a single mother in Nova Scotia, Natalie MacLean learned the value of a deal, hard work and ambition at a young age. A strong work ethic and drive, combined with study at Oxford University and in Canada, has helped to shape her into the woman she is today: An award-winning author of two best-selling books and an internationally-acclaimed writer on wines. Natalie enjoys life to the fullest, sharing a love of movies with her 14 year-old-son Rian, and engaging in the family sport of dining out on weekends. There is nothing she likes more than great conversation and […]

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Best Wine Bloggers Conference Ever: Penticton, BC 2013

The Wine Bloggers Conference is sort of a cross between a press junket, MacWorld and summer camp. It involves some work with a lot of play and often serves as the kick-start to a summer vacation. Some people leave their families at home for WBC. The majority of bloggers attend every year, so it gets quite old homey with the all the alumni and veterans hugging and kissing. To encourage fresh blood, though, the conference offers a scholarship fund to those who can’t afford the $95 “citizen blogger” fee. What citizen bloggers get is 2.5 days of wine tastings, wine […]

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National Post on Wine Writers + Competitions: Critiquing the Critics

National Post drinks columnist Adam McDowell penned an excellent, thought-provoking editorial in the weekend edition of the paper on wine critics and competitions entitled “Are wine critics fooling us into buying pricier bottles?” He opens with the classic Roald Dahl short story Taste, in which a stockbroker makes a bet with his wine snob dining companion, to correctly identify a wine in a blind taste test. (Dahl is also the author of the bestselling children’s novels Charlie and the Chocolate Factory and James and the Giant Peach: clearly a man who loves food and drink, but mercifully doesn’t take it, […]

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