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 […]

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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 […]

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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. […]

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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 […]

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Best LCBO Wine Reviews and Ratings: Vintages April 4

You can access the 106 wines that I reviewed for April 4 as a text wine list with my complete tasting notes, scores, food matches. You can also see my wine reviews for March 21, 2015. If you are a Paid Member, you can add my wine picks to your custom shopping list with one click and access that list on your smartphone to find the stock for each wine in your closest LCBO store. These are just some of the benefits of supporting out wine community as a Paid Member. Inventory stock numbers are usually posted online a day […]

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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 […]

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Best LCBO Wine Reviews and Ratings: Vintages March 21

You can access the 93 wines that I reviewed for March 21 as a text wine list with my complete tasting notes, scores, food matches. Taste more Californian wines when the California Wine Fair stops in 8 cities across Canada. You can also see my wine reviews for March 7. If you are a Paid Member, you can add my wine picks to your custom shopping list with one click and access that list on your smartphone to find the stock for each wine in your closest LCBO store. These are just some of the benefits of supporting out wine […]

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Wine Pairing: Corned Beef and Cabbage

Do you really need to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day with the liquid abomination of green beer? You bet your lucky stars, no! “Green wine” can be magically delicious. No, I’m not talking about wine that’s the colour green, but rather about wine that has green aromas and flavours such as lime, peas, asparagus (stay with me), green apple and herbaceous notes. These zesty wines dance a jig with corned beef and cabbage, shepherd’s pie and colcannon (mashed potatoes and green cabbage). When I think of ‘green’ wines, those that come to mind are zippy whites with herbal notes such as […]

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Top 10 Green Wine & Food Matches for St. Patrick’s Day

Which wines go best with the “green food” that we’ll enjoy on St. Patrick’s Day, such as corned beef and cabbage or Irish stew? How about those fresh spring vegetables that will soon be on our plates? Green foods are the problem children of the wine world. But as a stubborn hedonist whose grandmother’s name was Brophy, I’ve found some terrific wines to drink with them on Tuesday. Top 10 Green Wine & Food Matches 1. Corned beef and cabbage: Pinot Blanc 2. Irish Stew: Cabernet Franc 3. Spring Asparagus: Gruner Veltliner 4. Field greens salad: Riesling 5. Tomatoes: Pinot […]

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Peppercorn Roasted Beef Tenderloin Recipe Paired with Carmenere

Peppercorn Roasted Beef Tenderloin Prep: 5 min Inactive: 10 min Cook: 25 min Ingredients: 1 whole beef tenderloin, trimmed of all visible fat Salt 2 teaspoons sugar ½ cup tri-color peppercorns, crushed with a rolling pin 1 stick butter 2 cloves garlic, crushed Directions: Preheat the oven to 475 degrees F. Place the tenderloin on a roasting rack. Sprinkle generously with salt and sugar, which will deepen the savory flavors. Press the crushed peppercorns all over the surface of the meat. Insert a meat thermometer and place in the oven until the beef registers 120 to 125 degrees F for […]

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