Willamette Valley, Oregon – Your Next Wine Destination. Five hidden-gem boutique wineries to visit in the Willamette Valley.

by Rebecca Meir Liebman Unlike much-visited Chianti, Bordeaux, or Napa, the Willamette Valley is yet to be discovered by wine tourists. Odd, since this upcoming region has everything one could look for on vacation: beautiful views, quality wines, and fascinating, welcoming people. Within this charming region of 530 wineries, the vast majority are family owned and small-scale, producing less than 5,000 cases a year. In fact, 70% of the wineries in all of Oregon produce fewer than 5,000 cases per year. The vast majority of Oregon’s wineries are not part of big corporations, where the owner is absent or might live […]

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Beyond Barolo and Chianti: Discovering Le Marche Wines

There’s more to Italian culture and wine than Chianti and Barolo. by Rebecca Meir Liebman As Italy’s most famous cities – Rome, Milan, Venice – and her better-known wine regions – Chianti, Brunello, and Barolo become more and more crowded with tourists, it’s time to consider touring her less-buzzy, hidden gems. One of my favourite lesser-known regions is the gorgeous and fascinating Le Marche, with its beautiful Adriatic Sea coastlines, white sand beaches, outstanding produce and restaurants, and of course, its unique wines. Pronounced La Mar-kay, La Marche lies between Emilia-Romagna to the north, Tuscany and Umbria to the west, […]

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Second Chance: Austrian wine is back and better than ever

By Rebecca Meïr- Liebman Chef & Somm Austria is a little gem in the heart of Europe, with a population of only 8.7 million. The country finds itself being surrounded by countries either without an instantly recognizable wine culture – Slovenia, Slovakia, Czech Republic – or by contrast, ones with world-famous, longstanding wine cultures: Italy, Germany, and to a lesser extent, Hungary. This little powerhouse is fighting to get the recognition it deserves. It hasn’t been easy. For starters, their wine production is extremely small – their entire vineyard area is less than a half the size of France’s Bordeaux […]

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A Wine Waltz through Austria’s Weinviertel Region

By Rebecca Meïr-Liebman of Chef & Somm In North America, many of us are entranced by commercialism, shopping, the latest must-have piece of tech, and novelty. Sometimes, it feels as if we’ve lost touch with our history and our past. This is especially true you have an opportunity to compare and contrast our values with those of another culture, as I have recently. Then you gain insight into a culture that very much holds on to, and celebrates, its history, music, art and architecture, fashion and food. This contrast became vivid when I visited Austria, courtesy of the Austrian Wine […]

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5 Great Reasons to Explore Armenian Wines

A View of Ararat from Armenia Wine Company By Rebecca Meïr-Liebman of Chef & Somm I’ve tasted thousands of wines – perhaps even hundreds of thousands – from all over the globe yet, until now, none had been Armenian. So when I was invited by the Vine and Wine Foundation of Armenia (VWFA) to explore Armenian wine culture, I was thrilled to say yes! There is a great energy here, with new wineries, wine bars, and wine shops popping up everywhere, many of them owned by Armenians who, returning from abroad, are investing heavily in this renaissance. Chances are many […]

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Natural Born Beauty in a Bottle: Wachau Wine

By Rebecca Meïr-Liebman of Chef & Somm One of the most wonderful aspects of wine is that it allows us to travel the world without leaving home. From anywhere in the world, we can taste the terroir of Bordeaux, Sonoma, or the Mosel, especially when we successfully pair the cuisine of a particular region with its wine. But can we truly grasp the complexity of a wine and its terroir without actually going there, without touching the land, breathing the air and getting to know the regions’ style, tradition, and philosophy? At the risk of coming off as elitist, I […]

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7 Secrets about Prosecco Sparkling Wine that you don’t know but should

By Rebecca Meïr- Liebman of Chef & Somm As New Year’s Eve approaches our thoughts turn to bubbles, after all, for pure joie de vivre, there’s nothing like a flute of sparkling wine. Invariably, Champagne comes to mind, but good luck finding a decent bottle for under $40. Hey, if you can spring for a Jeroboam of Armand de Brignac Gold at $2,239 a pop, go for it, but for the rest of us, the search for something of decent quality and good value continues. Prosecco to the Rescue Often thought of as merely a cheap and cheerful alternative to Champagne […]

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Sex in a Glass: Getting up Close and Personal with Pinot Noir

By Rebecca Meïr- Liebman of Chef & Somm “Pinot Noir is like young love,” opined my private sommelier client in his luxurious house in Muskoka as I pulled the cork on a Romanée-Conti.  “You do not know what to expect, but it will always make the blood run hot; either melt your heart or break it, sometimes even both.” Pinot Noir has been described in many ways. Master Sommelier Madeline Triffon went so far as to call it “sex in a glass”. So what is it about this grape – a variety also known as the heartbreak grape – that inspires […]

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The Makeover Miracle of Israeli Wines: Finding New Life in the Desert

  By Rebecca Meïr- Liebman of Chef & Somm Some of the most brilliant minds come from Israel. Their creative thinking often challenges what many see as unchanging truths. The USB flash drive, GPS, WIX, and Solaris Synergy were all invented in Israel. Lucky for us, some of those creative minds are hard at work in Israel’s burgeoning winemaking industry, leading recently to substantial gains in quality and complexity. More and more Israeli wine professionals are traveling to Europe to learn from leading winemakers and educate and expand their palates. And, on a quest for the ultimate expression of Israeli […]

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Merroir, it’s a Thing. A Tasty, Tasty Thing; Wine and Oyster Pairings

By Rebecca Meïr-Liebman of Chef & Somm Photos by Signe Langford  Oenophiles have always understood the concept of terroir; food- lovers are grasping this taste of place, too.Ingredients are just as terroir-driven as wine, sometimes the connection to the soil, sun, and air is even more pronounced in a cheese or a cacao bean than in a particular wine! And, what if that taste of place –or terroir– is underwater? Well, until I met with Patrick McMurray, author, oyster expert and shucking champion, I was unaware of how much terroir- or, rather, merroir-driven these beautiful bivalves are. Joining him at his […]

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