Tania’s Magical Matches: Wine Pairing for Creamy Cheese Fondue

By Tania Thomas Wine and cheese are a truly perfect pair. An especially satisfying experience is to enjoy the two together after a hard day of playing in the snow. Imagine a roaring fireplace, snowed-in mountain lodge and a pot of warm and gooey cheese fondue. Heaven! As a national dish of Switzerland, fondue was associated with rustic mountain life from the lowlands of western, French-speaking, Switzerland. A rich and expensive Gruyère cheese was used for its preparation with the addition of wine and seasoning. If you feel inspired; get started by rubbing the pot with a halved garlic clove. […]

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Tania’s Magical Matches: Wine Pairing for Risotto, Seduction in Piedmont

By Tania Thomas Nestled in the Italy’s northwest corner, surrounded on three sides by the mighty Alps, lies the gastronomical regions of Piedmont. Unlike the rest of Italy, this is the land of butter and hearty fare due to a strong French influence from Savoy just across the border. In Piedmont, the meal always starts with antipasti. Usually risotto or polenta, followed by braised meats as a main course. Except in the case of risotto alla Milanese, made by adding beef bone marrow, flavoured by saffron and served as main course along Ossobuco, a classic Milanese dish of braised veal […]

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10 Best Champagne Wines to Buy Now + 5 Surprising Facts about Champagne

The sparkling wine Champagne is named after the northern region of France where it’s produced. Other regions of France, as well as other countries, make sparkling wine, but only those from Champagne may be called Champagne. You’ll find my most recent Champagne reviews and ratings here. 5 Surprising Facts about Champagne: 1. Supposedly the eighteenth-century blind Benedictine monk, Dom Pérignon, accidentally discovered how to put the bubbles in Champagne when his wines started fermenting again in the spring after the cold winter had stopped them. Other records attribute this discovery to the British scientist Christopher Merret thirty years before Pérignon. […]

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Moet & Chandon Champagne Tasting 2006 Vintage Rosé Wine

By Melissa Pulvermacher Moët & Chandon is one of the world’s leading producers of Champagne. Moët produces more than 26,000,000 bottles of Champagne on an annual basis. Elise Losfelt, one of the 10 winemakers of Moët & Chandon, joined a group of tasters in Toronto, Ontario to introduce the new release of the 2006 Rosé in Canada in December, 2015. Elise helped the tasters understand that behind the label and well-recognized brand, there is a product and that the winemakers are extremely dedicated to achieving the expected style, while exceeding quality and expectations of its consumers. The tasting began with […]

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Wine Writers Behaving Like Critics: The Good, The Bad and the Ugly

By Natalie MacLean They called it a tempest in a wine glass: two of the world’s most respected wine writers facing off against one another over one bottle of wine. Of course, there’s nothing unusual about critics disagreeing, even vehemently. But this time, the debate degenerated into a rumble over the definition of wine itself—and the integrity of the critics. In the American corner was Robert Parker, whose wine scores carry so much weight that they move the market. From Britain, was author Jancis Robinson, Master of Wine and columnist for the Financial Times of London. Both have written more […]

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How to Write a Wine Review: Tasting Notes that Tell a Story

Each week, I issue a challenge to those who post reviews on our site. If you’d like to get the latest challenge when it goes out, please e-mail me at natdecants @ nataliemaclean.com. Use All Five Senses Use all five senses to describe a wine. We tend to lean on just two as wine writers: smell and taste. But what about colour, texture (mouth-feel, weight) and even sound as you pour the wine, or other ambient sound in your environment, such as what’s playing on your stereo to make this wine even more memorable? Evoking all five senses will make […]

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Chateau Palmer Tasting: Bordeaux Wine Seduces and Satisfies

Château Palmer By Melissa Pulvermacher Château Palmer is a much-respected winery in the Margeaux appellation d’origine contrôlée in Bordeaux, France. You may recognize Palmer better as one of the classified Third Growths of Bordeaux. Palmer has been known as one of the most popular of this classification and some even argue that its consistent delivery of quality held up against First Growth, Château Margeaux. I was given the opportunity to taste several of the Palmer wines at an organized tasting at The National Club in Toronto, Ontario. After tasting the 2004, 1999, 1995 and 1983 vintages up against one another, […]

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Pierre Sparr Wines: Alsace Value and Taste Pair Well

Maison Pierre Sparr By Melissa Pulvermacher We’re all on a constant search of high-value wines for a great price. I always say that your chance of getting a great quality wine for a large price tag is high, and although the odds are less consistent, it feels great to find a killer bottle of wine that doesn’t break the bank. Maison Pierre Sparr, founded in 1680 by Jean Sparr, is a winery and brand located in Alsace, France. Sparr owns 15 hectares of their own Domaine, while also sourcing grapes from 130 hectares of trusted farmer-owned vines, to produce their […]

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Dominus + Napanook Wine Tasting 2011 to 1991 Vertical

Dominus Estate  By Olivier deMaisonneuve Montreal Passion Vin is the annual rendez-vous when the Fondation de l’Hopital Maisonneuve-Rosemont invites wine lovers to open their wallets for a good cause. They also get the unique chance to taste world renowned wines and meet the actors behind those famous labels. This year funds were raised for a new integrated cancer treatment center. Tod Mostero, director of viticulture and winemaking at Dominus Estate, was presenting  a few vintages of the two wines produced by this domaine, born by the joint venture of Christian Moueix and the heiresses of the Inglenook Estate, one of […]

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Wine App Pours its Way to the Top of the App Store

Thanks to reporter Trish Crompton with the technology magazine Communitech for this terrific review of our new wine mobile app! Wine app pours its way to the top of the app store Natalie MacLean may have uncorked the secret to helping even the most amateur of wine drinkers to become their own sommelier. As an award-winning wine writer, MacLean is constantly asked for recommendations on the perfect wine. “I would get lots and lots of emails all the time,” MacLean says, and they were filled with questions like, “I want to buy an anniversary wine for my parents, I have […]

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