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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Video: Valentine’s Day Wine and Chocolate Pairings

In the video chat above, Master Chocolatier Derrick Tu Tan Pho shares his tips for pairing wine and chocolate for Valentine’s Day and any other time of the year when you want to indulge. He knows his sweet stuff having won gold at the Culinary Olympics in the categories of sugar, chocolate, wedding cakes and dessert presentation. How did you train for the culinary Olympics? Your secrets to making great chocolate? What is the strangest chocolate sculpture you’ve created? Tell me about some of your specialized tools for making chocolate: induction burners, ganache frames, guitars, robot-coupes, heat guns and automatic enrobers? […]

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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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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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(Video) From Altitude to Attitude: 3 Reasons to Love Cool Chardonnay

The rebirth of cool is kicked off today in Niagara, as the world’s top cool climate chardonnay producers gather together with wine lovers to celebrate the grape. The seventh annual International Cool Climate Chardonnay Celebration (mercifully i4C) will showcase 120 chardonnays and 59 winemakers from Canada, the U.S., Europe, New Zealand and Australia. Some 30 wineries are from Ontario alone. There’ll be tastings, brunches, dinners and fun events such as “Flights” of Chardonnay at the Niagara airport, The School of Cool and do other crazy things to reaffirm their love of this style of chard. So why don’t you re-frame […]

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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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