Oregon’s Peak Destinations for Food, Wine and Golf

Nestled in a pastoral Oregon valley between the Cascade Mountains and the Coastal Range lies some of the best cool-climate wineries in North America. While some would say the terroir of the Willamette Valley rivals that of Burgundy, that claim can only be tested when tasted. There are seven American Viticultural Areas (AVAs) in the Willamette Valley and these diverse areas are home to over 800 wineries with the vast majority in the hills of the north. For the most part this region is best known for its Pinot Noir and Chardonnay varietals with a growing reputation for Pinot Gris, […]

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The Use (and Abuse) of Wine Scores with Vino Mike and Pete on That Wine Pod

Introduction How does the 100 point scale make wine scores easier for you to interpret? How can you drink better wines by finding a wine critic whose style you like? How does grade inflation affect you as a wine lover? Why is taking an online wine course often better than an in-person course? In this episode of the Unreserved Wine Talk podcast, I’m sharing a conversation I originally had with Pete & Vino Mike on their podcast, That Wine Pod. You can find the wines we discussed here.   Highlights What’s my take on the best wine? Why should you […]

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Wine Girl Reveals the Wine World’s Dark Side and Hope for the Future with Sommelier Victoria James

Introduction What’s it like serving wine to celebrities like Mariah Carey, Jay-Z, Beyonce and Miley Cyrus? How is being a sommelier different when you work at a Michelin-starred restaurant, especially when you’re just 21 years old? Why is the wine world still largely an old boys club and how does that impact the wines you drink? Which shocking ingredients might you find in some non-organic wines? In this episode of the Unreserved Wine Talk podcast, we’re chatting with Victoria James, author, restauranteur and the youngest person in the world to pass the certified sommelier exam with the Court of Master […]

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Niagara Vine Laureate Klaus Reif: Ontario Wine’s Future

Introduction What profound impact does buying your local wine have on your economy? Why will supporting the “Free My Grapes” campaign improve your choice and access to wine? How have Ontario wines changed since the 80s? What are the biggest challenges facing the Canadian wine industry? In this episode of the Unreserved Wine Talk podcast, we’re chatting with Klaus Reif of Niagara-on-the-Lake’s Reif Winery. You can find the wines we discussed here.   Highlights How is the younger generation of Ontario winemakers impacting the industry? How has the perception of Ontario wines changed since the 80s? What are the four […]

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The Grapes of Laugh: How to Host a Wine Tasting or Start a Wine Club

  We had such fun on The Social yesterday chatting about how to organize an informal wine tasting party at home. Click the arrow above to play the video. There are many excellent reasons to host a wine tasting party—or even to form a wine club. For one thing, wine is a social beverage—one that’s meant to be shared with friends. And it’s more fun to drink than to buy Tupperware—unless, of course, you’re drinking from the Tupperware. The only goal is to enjoy yourself and perhaps find a new favorite bottle. Although wine does lend itself to serious technical […]

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Dr. Laura Catena on Malbec, Wine’s Health Benefits and Winemaking in Argentina

Introduction Have you tasted an Argentine Malbec? Which foods pair best with Malbec? Why is Malbec more like Pinot Noir than Cabernet? What are the health benefits of wine? In this episode of the Unreserved Wine Talk podcast, we’re chatting with Dr. Laura Catena, a fourth-generation Argentine vintner, physician and author. You can find the wines we discussed here.   Highlights How does Laura’s scientific approach to winemaking improve the taste of the Malbecs you drink? What is the significance of the pyramid-style of the Catena winery? Why is Malbec the flagship grape of Argentina? What differences can you see […]

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Celebrating Mother’s Day with the Great Women of Champagne

On CTV’s The Social yesterday, we chatted about the top Champagnes made by women for Mother’s Day. (Click on the arrow above to play the video.) They were all young women whose families owned the great champagne houses at the turn of the 18th and 19th centuries. When they lost their husbands to war or illness, they didn’t sell the businesses or remarry. They took control of the chateaus to produce some of the most prestigious wines in the world. In an era when few women were in business at all, these women headed what were, at the time, some […]

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What Happens to Wine with Salt or Lemon?

One of my students recently told me how much he misses going out to restaurants right now, and asked if there was anything fun and educational that he could try at home with wine. My mind immediately went to the salt and lemon taste test. You can try this too at home to see just how profoundly these two ingredients or garnishes can change the taste of your wine. Doing this tasting will also give you terrific insight on how to better pair your wine with a variety of dishes. These are the kind of tips that I teach in […]

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Stave & Steel Wines Aged in Bourbon and Canadian Whisky Barrels

Steve & Steel Winemaker James Foster was raised on a family farm, the historic Roseland Plantation in Eufaula, Alabama, where they farmed peanuts, hay and cotton.   James FosterWinemaker   Although James grew up in Alabama, his father worked in the California wine industry, and James began to follow in his footsteps.           Stave & Steel Bourbon Barrel Aged Cabernet Sauvignon 2017 California, United States             Great pairings include grilled burgers, ribs, steak and charcuterie.           Curious about the winemaking process and inspired to learn more, he […]

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Women v Men Wine Tasting and Texture with Dr. Gary Pickering

Introduction What makes you a supertaster? Does supertaster status play a role outside of wine tasting? How does age affect our senses of smell and taste? Why is mouthfeel an important aspect of a wine’s appeal? Why should you describe wine by sensation, rather than compound? In this episode of the Unreserved Wine Talk podcast, we’re chatting with Dr. Gary Pickering, the inventor of the white wine mouthfeel wheel and the supertasting kit, and co-developer of the Wine Aroma Kits. You can find the wines we discussed here.   Highlights What makes you a supertaster? Does your supertaster status play […]

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