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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Wine Tasting Hackathon: New Way of Social Wine Discovery

Our second team wine tasting yesterday felt like a family reunion. Sommeliers and wine bloggers from Toronto and Montreal flew or drove in to join those from the east to west ends of Ottawa. There was an instant camaraderie among those gathered here who recognized each other as fellow contributors to our online community. What I admire most about these reviewers is that although they have sterling wine credentials and training, they keep it real and conversational — with an effort to connect, not to impress. The tasting also struck me as the wine version of a hackathon. In the […]

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Gerard Bertrand Wine Tasting: Diversity of Southern France Wines

On a glorious April morning, a small group of wine journalists gathered at Restaurant Daniel on New York City’s upper east side for a tasting with winemaker Gerard Bertrand (pictured above). Click on the arrow to play the short video. Gérard Bertrand Côte Des Roses Rosé 2014 Languedoc, Midi A.P., France This lovely southern French rosé is a blend of Grenache, Cinsault and Syrah grapes. It’s elegant, yet full-bodied for rosé and very satisfying. Freshness is everything in this wine. Grenache is ideal for rosé because it matures easily and quickly, has vibrant aromatics, yet keeps its zesty acidity for food. […]

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Organic Wines Podcast: Better for You or for the Environment?

Organic wines are among the fastest growing segments in the liquor store, but they’re also misunderstood, from how they’re made to their health benefits. This podcast sheds some light on these issues: Listen Your glass wine (or three) isn’t more healthful just because it’s organic. In fact, some organic wines can be more about marketing than about health or the environment. Fermentation, filtering and fining during winemaking eliminates pesticides. As well,”organically grown grapes” on the label refers only to the way the vines are farmed, and not necessarily to the way the wine is then made in the winery because […]

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11 Tips for WineSense: No Nonsense Wine Lovers

By Bob Desautels 1. Get to know the best producers/wineries. This is your safest route to consistent quality. 2. Distrust frivolous names and “pretty” pictures on labels.‎ 3. Taste and know wines (and grape varieties) from their traditional home. This becomes your benchmark for all other similar wines made from the same grapes. 4. Experiment with lesser known grape varieties versus always drinking the classic varieties and blends. It makes life more interesting. 5. Drink wine with food – it’s good for digestion and it slows the absorption of alcohol into your system. 6. Buy local wines when possible (when at […]

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Billionaire’s Vinegar Movie Stars Matthew McConaughey + Wine Book Review Globe & Mail

Alright, alright, alright! It’s just been announced that Oscar winner Matthew McConaughey will star in movie adaptation of the wine book The Billionaire’s Vinegar by Ben Wallace. Will Smith bought the rights and will be directing this production along with Todd Black, James Lassiter, Jason Blumenthal, and Steve Tisch. No indication yet of which role McConaughey will play or of the release date for the film. I can’t wait to see it! Here’s my review of the book in the Globe & Mail … Reviewed by Natalie MacLean The Billionaire’s Vinegar: The Mystery of the World’s Most Expensive Bottle of […]

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The Making of a Wine Lover: That First Glass

I remember the night I tasted my first good wine. My future husband Andrew and I had just graduated from university and were enjoying our “wealth” relative to our student days. We dined out a lot and our favorite place was a small Italian restaurant around the corner from our apartment. The first time we went there, the owner, a tall, burly man with fierce dark eyes, asked us if we’d like to try the Brunello. We thought at first it was a regional dish, but it turned out to be a red wine from central Italy. We were relieved […]

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What are Your Earliest Memories of Drinking Wine?

Continued from Part 1 of The Making of a Wine Lover When we finally got up to leave, we realized that the restaurant was empty. We said good night to the owner and he slapped Andrew on the back as if he were choking on a bread stick. That was the first of many happy evenings there and we drank that Brunello for a year. A pilot light had been ignited inside me; over time it would grow into the flames of full-blown passion. Today, I joke that I started drinking seriously when I met Andrew. However, my earliest experiences […]

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Wine Critic Writes with Humor and Contagious Passion

By Jessica Yadegaran For someone who grew up in a whiskey-drinking Scottish family, Natalie MacLean has come a long way in wine. Today, the Le Cordon Bleu World Food Media Award winner is Canada’s answer to Jancis Robinson. She is a critic who writes about wine with humor and contagious passion. She counts Kermit Lynch, Rex Pickett and Gary Vaynerchuk among her fans. Her best-selling books, “Red, White, and Drunk All Over” (Bloomsbury, 2007) and “Unquenchable” (Perigee, 2011), share tips on hunting the world’s best bargain wines. But these days, MacLean’s website, which she launched in 2000, is a go-to […]

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