Gifts for Mother’s Day: Wine Trumps Flowers (and Tastes Better)

My wine column in the May issue of More Magazine Canada, with more than 500,000 thirsty readers, features three wines to celebrate Mother’s Day as gifts: three spectacular bubblies. A toast to Mom! The cover features an actress whom I admire for her depth, strength and guts, Julianna Margulies (The Good Wife, Canterbury’s Law, ER). I also love that she’s often drinking a glass of wine as she reviews her legal briefs in the evening at home. (Guess that doesn’t play so well in the ER.) At the start of the season, it was white wine, but I notice that it’s […]

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Mother’s Day Gifts, Wines and Pairings

By Natalie MacLean How to thank Mom for all those kisses, compliments and band-aids? Try a great bottle of wine with Mother’s Day gift, brunch or dinner pairing. As a mother myself now, I call my glass of wine at 5 p.m. “Mommy’s little helper.” Here’s to you Mom! Here are my Top 20 Wines for Mother’s Day, either made by women or named for them. Often the latter were originally made by women. Try these wines that I recommended on the Conde Nast site Epicurious.com or more choices on Canada AM and in More Magazine: Veuve Clicquot Champagne France […]

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The Fruit Whisperer: California Vineyards Speak in Beringer Wine Tasting

Beringer’s Chief Winemaker, Laurie Hook, leads our team tasting of an impressive line-up of red and white wines from select vineyards of California’s Napa and Sonoma Valleys. Laurie’s Hippy Approach to Winemaking … aka The Fruit Whisperer A-oiy! Look out for that ship bearing down on you at 70 knots, setting a course right through your chardonnays! Our shipshape crew on deck for this tasting: Jennifer MacDonald, Wine Writer, Ottawa Citizen Jane Staples, Wine Writer, Windsor Star and Ottawa Wedding Magazine Matt Steeves, Wine Expert, CTV Morning Live Heather Wall, Wine Writer, Huffington Post Canada Monique Ippolito, Wine Writer, Ottawa […]

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Nobilo Sauvignon Blanc and Pinot Noir Wines from New Zealand

    Nobilo Icon Pinot Noir 2013 Marlborough, New Zealand A smooth, supple easy-drink red wine. This New Zealand Pinot Noir features notes of wild field berries on the nose and palate. Lovely balance, very food-friendly. Pair with planked salmon. Alcohol: 14% Sweetness: Extra Dry Price: $19.95 Drink: 2013-2018 Product #: 66803     Nobilo Icon Pinot Noir 2012 Marlborough, New Zealand Very juicy, cherry-berry flavours and roundness in this gloriously happy New Zealand Pinot Noir. This medium-bodied red wine with dance with your senses, and your food, from planked salmon to roast chicken. Top me up! Alcohol: 14% Sweetness: […]

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Organic Wine: What is it? Toast Earth Day with Wine, Naturally

By Natalie MacLean Earth Hour has passed, and Earth Day is almost upon us. Naturally, you might think about pouring yourself a glass of organic wine on April 22. But what is organic wine and how is it different from “inorganic wine”? Back in the 1970s, the concept of “organic wine” conjured up images of pony-tailed vintners in tie-dyed T-shirts, producing wines more for ideology than taste. Thankfully, those days are just a watery memory now. Today, organic wines are no longer just for health nuts and tree-huggers. Wine lovers drink them for their quality. They’ve gone mainstream and represent […]

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How to Find the Best Organic Wines: Buying Tips

By Natalie MacLean Who makes organic wine? The number of wineries making organic wines is increasing steadily, with the result that they’re available in a far greater range of styles than ever before. Formerly, they were only the domain of small producers, but now large companies are taking an interest as a way to diversify their offerings and to improve their environmental images. Some of the producers implement some organic principles and not others, some grow organic grapes but don’t make organic wine and still others make both organic and non-organic wines. So check the labels carefully. Why don’t more […]

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Organic Wine v Biodynamic Wine v Sustainable Farming: Differences?

By Natalie MacLean Why farm organically? Many winemakers consider the approach as part of their overall commitment to quality. Organic farming requires a much deeper understanding of the vineyard and a greater vigilance over it. Problems must be detected early because organic fixes take longer. Another benefit is the social responsibility for winery workers’ health and not exposing them to toxic chemicals. What are the environmental benefits? Many wineries have locked horns with environmentalists and local residents over the issue of deforesting the land in order to plant vineyards. Hillsides are a flash point. Winemakers know that vineyards on slopes […]

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Is Organic Wine Healthier for You?

By Natalie MacLean Are organic wines really better for you? The good news about even non-organic wine grapes is that far fewer chemicals are used on them than other on other fruit. Consumers want strawberries and pears to look good on the fruit stands, so they ignore the chemicals that keep them that way event to the detriment of taste and health. However, the appearance of wine grapes is irrelevant, since they’re going to be crushed. As a result, they’re grown specifically to optimize their taste. Still, there are 17 chemicals commonly used in vineyards today and grapes aren’t washed […]

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Organic Wines Podcast: Better for You or for the Environment?

Organic wines are among the fastest growing segments in the liquor store, but they’re also misunderstood, from how they’re made to their health benefits. This podcast sheds some light on these issues: Listen Your glass wine (or three) isn’t more healthful just because it’s organic. In fact, some organic wines can be more about marketing than about health or the environment. Fermentation, filtering and fining during winemaking eliminates pesticides. As well,”organically grown grapes” on the label refers only to the way the vines are farmed, and not necessarily to the way the wine is then made in the winery because […]

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Biodynamic v Organic Winemaking – Southbrook’s Ann Sperling Video

In this video below with Southbrook Vineyards’ winemaker Ann Sperling, we chat about biodynamic and organic winemaking. (What’s with burying cow’s horns, witchcraft and astrology?) Also: – can you taste the difference in the wine? – why take this approach and is it difficult and expensive to do in a cool climate like Ontario? Click on the arrow to play the video: Here are my Top 20 Organic Wines for Earth Day April 22, and year round. When Ann Sperling was a child, she had a miniature version of every farm tool—a child-sized hoe, shovel and so on so that […]

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