Malbec Day: A Tale of Tango and Taste

World Malbec Day on April 17 (#MalbecWorldDay) reminds me of both a recent Argentine tasting with the Opimian Wine Club as well as a trip I took to Buenos Aires several years ago. The tasting featured a terrific range of Latin American wines. It was an evening of Latin music, food, friends, and yes, tango! We gathered at a local restaurant, El Gusto Mazzola, where the husband-and-wife owners, Elena Mazzola and chef Victor Mazzola treated us to an authentic Argentine tapas dinner paired with the Malbec and other wines. Rounding out the feeling of an Argentine bistro, Réjean Simard and Diane Clément offered superb demonstrations of the three forms of […]

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Austrian Wines Come to Montreal April 12

On April 12 in Montreal, more than 30 vintners present up to 165 wines at the Austrian Wine Fair, which also features a Tutored Tasting for wine professionals, guided by Willi Klinger from the Austrian Wine Marketing Board. Wine lovers will enjoy Austria’s unique grape varietal, the beloved Grüner Veltliners, Rieslings, Sauvignon Blancs and our liquid gold, Austria’s sweet wines, accompanied by hors d’oeuvres and live piano music. For Montreal, please register at Lafortune@exquis.ca. This post is sponsored by the Wines of Austria.

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Austrian Wine Fair Comes to Toronto April 14

    On April 14 in Toronto, over 30 vintners present up to 165 wines at the Austrian Wine Fair, which also features a Tutored Tasting for wine professionals, guided by Willi Klinger from the Austrian Wine Marketing Board.   Traditionally known for its white wines, did you know that a third of Austria’s vineyards are made up of red wines? Join us for an educational seminar featuring flights of the three red aces, the indigenous grape varieties Zweigelt, Blaufränkisch and St. Laurent, plus a rare flight of Austrian Pinot Noir. A trade Walk Around Tasting is followed by the […]

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Top Restaurants for Food, Wine and Fun

Here are the restaurants I love in various cities. I hope you find this a helpful list, and let me know if you enjoy your dining experience at any one of these. My favorite restaurants in Ottawa, Ontario are Wellington Gastro Pub (613-729-1315), Fraser Café (613-749-1444), The Shore Club (in The Westin, but not owned by it 613-569-5050), Fauna (613-563-2862),  Taylor Wine Bar (613-730-5672), Sidedoor (613-562-9331), Social (613-789-7355), Eighteen (613-244-1188), Soif Wine Bar (819-600-7643), Earling’s (613-231-8484), The Pomeroy House (613-237-1658), The Albion Rooms in Novatel (613-760-4771), Mena (613-233-6462), Play (613-667-9207), Absinthe (613-761-1138), Navarra (613-241-5500), Atelier (613-321-3537) and Supply and Demand (613-680-2949). For a […]

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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 […]

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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 […]

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Easter Wines: The Essential Hip-Hop Guide to Earmark

Some of my favourite meals are those we savour to celebrate Easter: fresh asparagus omelets and ham for brunch. But which Easter wines to serve with them? As a determined hedonist, I like something more than orange juice, thank-you—unless it’s a mimosa. The wines that work best are zesty, mouth-watering and lighter than those we drink in the winter—and they’ll put some spring in your glass. When the coming of spring heralds warmer weather, we feel like celebrating. One of the best ways is by drinking fresh, vivacious wines that suit the season and complement lighter fare. You can pair […]

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Wine Paired with Ham for Easter and Beyond

One of the classic Easter dishes is ham. Most hams are wet-cured with brine or saline solution and then smoked. Popular finishes are a sweet glaze of bourbon and brown sugar or maple syrup or orange marmalade. This gives the meat a glistening finish and an appetizing salty-sweet taste. The dish is often accompanied by tangy dressings such as cloves, dried fruit chutney or apricot preserves. All those powerful fruit and spice flavors are delicious, but they’re tough on many wines. What works best is usually a zippy white with a touch of sweetness, such as an off-dry Canadian or […]

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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 […]

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