A Vine Celebration: The 120th Anniversary of Nino Negri Wines

In October, I traveled to Italy with great excitement to participate in Nino Negri’s 120th Anniversary celebration.  As I drove through the historic wine region of Valtellina, I was captivated by its breathtaking beauty and eager to participate in this year’s wine harvest. Valtellina is a serene valley at the foot of the Lombardy Alps, on the Italian-Swiss border. The “vine”, the heart of this difficult mountainous terrain, has found perfect growing conditions here. The vineyards are protected by two high mountain chains, the Retiche Alps and the Orobie Pre-Alps. Exposure to the sun at high altitude, as well as a significant […]

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Discovering the Jewel Grape of Austrian Wine

By Alex and Priya, A Vine Romance Austria. The first thing that comes to mind when most people hear this country is The Sound of Music and Julie Andrews singing My Favorite Things! However, this little European country is known for something else that will likely become one of your favourite things, Gruner Veltliner. Read on as Alex sheds light on this versatile grape as well as other wines that are made in Austria. Priya: I don’t even think I knew Austria made wine! Why do you think it’s such a little-known region to non-sommeliers? Alex: For one thing, Austrian […]

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Liquor up Your Lover on Valentine’s Day

I’ll be chatting with the hosts of the CBC radio drive-home shows from coast to coast this Thursday and Friday about wines for Valentine’s Day. But we’re going to depart from the usual natter about which wines are most seductive or how to pair them with chocolate. We’ll go straight to the heart of the matter: how do you liquor up your lover on February 14? More specifically, we’ll talk about why wines are getting more alcoholic these days and how does that affect their taste and ours? Is this just a cultural trend of winemakers responding to the market? Is […]

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Wine Buying and Pairing for Valentine’s Day and Beyond

You’re asking me what’s the way to a woman’s heart? Forget flowers and candy … I’d like Pinot Noir please! Wine is the drink of conversation. You’re usually over a glass of wine watching each other, you’re talking, it’s over an evening, it lasts a long time, just like love should. Think about it. You don’t give a six-pack of beer for Valentine’s Day; you give a bottle of wine and often a bottle of sparkling wine and flowers or chocolates. It’s meant to be shared. It’s meant to be savoured slowly. But which bottle do you buy? How much […]

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Top 6 Wine New Year’s Resolutions

Every New Year, I make—and break—several resolutions about exercise or housecleaning. However, I also make a resolution or two about wine, which have always been easy to keep because they’re fun. Here are a few of my favorites that you can try this year.   1. I resolve to try something new It’s easy to get into a rut with wine and buy the same brand every time. But the pleasure of wine is in its diversity. If you like full-bodied Cabernet Sauvignon from California, try one from Argentina, or even a different robust red, such as an Argentine Malbec. […]

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How Much do you Know About Champagne? Take the Pop Quiz

Got your champagne ready for New Year’s? Here are my Top 20 Champagnes to celebrate the New Year and which stores have them in stock now. Take the Pop Quiz below and you’ll have some trivia to drop this evening as you celebrate the New Year! Pop Quiz 1. Is all sparkling wine champagne? No. Only sparkling wine from the Champagne region of France may be called Champagne. It’s a trademarked word. 2. Before the modern era of product placement in movies, which Champagne was the favourite of James Bond? Bollinger or as Bond would call it, Bolly. That was also in […]

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Nova Scotia Wines: Cool Climate Grapes Create a Wide Range of Styles

By Susan Desjardins A recent tasting event in Ottawa provided the opportunity to once again taste a range of wines from Nova Scotia’s burgeoning wine industry. Vines were planted as early as 1611, when a French settler, Louis Herbert, planted a vineyard in the Bear River area – he soon learned that climatic conditions in the region make wine production a challenging enterprise. It wasn’t until 1980 that an intrepid entrepreneur, Roger Dial, produced Nova Scotia’s first commercial vintage at the Grand Pré winery. The Jõst family soon followed suit, establishing their winery in the Malagash Peninsula. The Grape Growers’ […]

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Tasty Cool Climate Chardonnay, Niagara, Italy and Tasmania, Robust Barolo and Brunello, Italy, plus dry Rose from France: July 23 Vintages Release Wine Reviews

My top picks and best value wines from the July 23 Vintages Release: Full-bodied, deep and delicious Italian red wines: Barolo, Brunello, Amarone Cool-climate, generously layered Chardonnay: Tasmania, Niagara, Italy, France Zesty, herbal, food-friendly New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc Blackberry-rich Cabernet and Shiraz from Australia Smooth and luscious Niagara Merlot Rhone and Okanagan Syrah You can get all 74 wines that I’ve recommended from a wide range of price points, scores, food pairings, regions and styles, including red, white, sparkling, rose and dessert wine. Make sure you pick some back-up choices from the full list in case some of these below […]

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How Oyster Bay Tamed Prickly Pinot Noir in New Zealand

By Greg M.P. Hughes Winemakers who specialize in Pinot Noir are some of the hardest working viticulturists on the planet. This grape’s thin skin makes it extremely vulnerable to diseases, makes colour extraction torture to get right, and yields are minuscule (not a tremendous ROI compared to Cabernet Sauvignon or Shiraz). Pinot Noir’s idiosyncrasies are enough to make even hardened pro winemakers tear their hair out. That is why Pinot Noir is one of the most misunderstood selections that wine experts explain to their audiences. Most people understand it as byword for a quality wine, but have no idea what […]

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Wine Review of the Week: Wine for Mother’s Day

Our Wine Review of the Week celebrates Mother’s Day with this lovely Chardonnay that can be given as a gift or opened with brunch favourites. This wine is selected by Dianne Fisher, International Sommelier Guild (ISG) Sommelier  and wine video blogger. Her wine review, rating and tasting note: After tasting the Rosehall Run Chardonnay, it made me think it could be a candidate as one of life’s little indulgences for the busy mom, in honour of Mother’s Day. This wine is so well balanced with lush tropical fruits, notes of brown butter and caramel that revel themselves with every sip. […]

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