Kosher Wine: What is it? Why should I not Passover it?

Ten years ago, kosher wine was considered the cough syrup of the wine world: mostly made from nasty Concord grapes and often sweeter than Buckley’s—but without as much nuance. Today, it’s no longer the wine of affliction: many kosher wines, made from classic grapes, are complex and full of character. In fact, kosher wines sales are growing fast —  up 12% since 2013. While no one tracks buyer demographics, some producers claim that up to half aren’t even members of the Jewish faith—they’re just attracted to the wine’s quality and its preparation, which guarantees purity. Kosher wines, like fashionable organic […]

read more …

Read More

Billionaire’s Vinegar Movie Stars Matthew McConaughey + Wine Book Review Globe & Mail

Alright, alright, alright! It’s just been announced that Oscar winner Matthew McConaughey will star in movie adaptation of the wine book The Billionaire’s Vinegar by Ben Wallace. Will Smith bought the rights and will be directing this production along with Todd Black, James Lassiter, Jason Blumenthal, and Steve Tisch. No indication yet of which role McConaughey will play or of the release date for the film. I can’t wait to see it! Here’s my review of the book in the Globe & Mail … Reviewed by Natalie MacLean The Billionaire’s Vinegar: The Mystery of the World’s Most Expensive Bottle of […]

read more …

Read More

Getting Hammered: 9 Tips to Win at Wine Auctions

Sitting in the centre row of the auction room, I barely lift my forefinger for the 1945 Château Cheval Blanc. All bidders crane their necks to look at the mysterious woman who has just bid the price of a Porsche. “Sold to the gentlewoman in the Prada jacket with embroidered family crest,” the auctioneer says, bringing down the hammer. The reality: I’m at the back of the room blinking wildly, struggling to remove the eyelash from my eye. The auctioneer just winked back at me — bad news when you’re playing the blood sport of the rich. Most auction talk […]

read more …

Read More

Easter Wines for Fish, Lamb + Ham: Video

Wines for Good Friday fish, Easter brunch, lamb and ham are the focus of our chat on CTV News. In particular, red wines often clash with fish not because of the wine tannin and fish iodine, as previously thought, but rather because of high iron content in the wine. The iron comes mostly from the soil where the vines are grown, but can also be due to winemaking methods. Generalizing about which wines will be high in iron content is difficult. The iron in wine is thought to break down the unsaturated (good) fats in fish and creates that fishy […]

read more …

Read More

Vertigo Flights of Wine: CN Tower Restaurant Wine List Dazzling (and Dizzying)

James Muir, is the sommelier and maitre d’ at the 360 The Restaurant at the top of the CN Tower in Toronto. James manages the world’s highest wine cellar and has served many celebrities from Michelle Obama to John Travolta. What was your first wine experience? It was likely some low-end import wine from the depanneur, the corner convenience store where I lived in Montreal. I also tried Baby Duck at some point back then. However, more interesting wines were those from British Columbia in the 1980s. At that time, I experimented with pricier, imported bottles when I went out […]

read more …

Read More

Video: Wine, Lamb and Ham Pairing for Easter

Here’s part two of our conversation about pairing wine with lamb and wine with ham for Easter, though the pairing tips apply year-round if you love these dishes and the wines that make them taste even better. I’ve also included tips on pairing wine with chocolate bunnies … it doesn’t matter whether you start with the ear or the tail! Wines recommended include: Quails’ Gate Estate Winery Gewurztraminer Liberty School Cabernet Sauvignon Rosemount Estate Shiraz Reif Icewine Vidal Taylor Fladgate 10 Year Old Tawny Port Here’s part one of our chat on red wine and fish pairing. Posted with permission […]

read more …

Read More

Heart of Darkness: The Ultimate Guide to Pairing Wine and Chocolate

We love chocolate not just for its taste, but also for its sensual texture. Cocoa butter, one of its main ingredients, melts close to body temperature, so sliding a piece into your mouth and feeling it seep out to coat your tongue can almost be orgasmic. Maybe that why’s the eighteenth century Venetian womanizer Giacomo Casanova drank chocolate daily as an aphrodisiac. Sadly, scientists have since proven no link between chocolate and sexual prowess, but they have discovered that it contains phenylethylamine, a compound that produces a high in the brain that’s similar to the feeling of falling in love. […]

read more …

Read More

Drinking Beside the Box: The Ultimate Guide to Pairing Wine and Fast Food

Knowing that saffron-flavored mille-feuille of red mullet and langoustine pairs perfectly with Dom Perignon, or that prime fillet of Kobe beef with braised oxtail and potato rosti will make Château Pétrus sing is useful if you have a fat trust fund and a kitchen staff of twenty. But when most of us are racing from work to soccer practice to ballet class and then home again, we’re far more apt to grab some take-out food or heat a frozen TV dinner than to prepare a multi-course dinner every night of the week. We’re more aware than ever of health issues […]

read more …

Read More

Sommelier Secrets on Weird Wine and Food Pairings, and Dream Cellar

In our latest sommelier profile, Jay Whiteley, who has been the sommelier and wine director at several of Canada’s best restaurants, most recently, The Chase in Toronto, shares his favourite and weirdest food and wine pairings, as well as tips on choosing from a restaurant wine list. What was your first wine experience? Learning how to say the word Gewürztraminer. Why did you move from BC, where you were working at one of the top restaurants in Vancouver, to join The Chase in Toronto? I moved for some personal reasons, but also to learn about the LCBO distribution system. Toronto […]

read more …

Read More

Chicken, Vegetable, Gouda Couscous Recipe with Pinotage

Chicken Vegetable and Gouda Couscous Encourage the warmer weather with a cold dish. Celebrate the longer days by inviting a few friends over for some good food and wine. Don’t know what to make? Fret not, I found the perfect little recipe that tastes great served cold or warm. This recipe for Chicken, Vegetable, and Gouda couscous is so fast and easy to prepare, you’ll have plenty of time to catch up with your guests. Made with Canadian Gouda, it’s the perfect combination of creamy and crunchy and will be sure to chase away any remaining winter blues. If you’re […]

read more …

Read More