Pairing Chocolate & Wine, Harvest 2019 Update

Introduction Welcome to episode 50! Miles and I had dinner last night at one of Ottawa’s best new restaurants, Gitanes. The food has a French flair, but the restaurant is modern, dare I say hip? Is it even hip to say hip any more? Anyway, we loved the meal, especially the tuna tartare. I discovered the Pinot Noir I want for the Christmas holidays from Lighthall Vineyards in Prince Edward County… it had that perfect balance between Burgundian finesse and North American ripeness. This isn’t a commercial for this wine — I’m just sharing my latest discovery with you as […]

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Flying with Flavour: Travel and Wine Stories with Stephanie Piché

Introduction In this episode of the Unreserved Wine Talk podcast, we’re chatting with Stephanie Piché, a chef who in her never-ending quest for new flavours and experiences, has travelled the world to over 30 countries to gather insight and knowledge in international travel, luxury dining, local recipes and the world’s best wines. Enjoy!   Highlights How did Stephanie stumble upon a secret cellar in Nice, France? What did Stephanie find in the old cellar? What was Stephanie’s Australian kangaroo encounter like? How can you pair wine and kangaroo? Why did Stephanie have to cringe at her driver’s etiquette in New […]

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Smart Tests for Wine Acidity, Tannin & Balance with Sommelier Chris Scott

Introduction In this episode of the Unreserved Wine Talk podcast, we’re chatting with Chris Scott, a U.K.-based sommelier who published the world’s first-ever wine podcast, the UK Wine Show. Chris and his wife, Jane also founded ThirtyFifty, a company which offers fun and no-nonsense wine tastings for private and corporate events. From his adventures as a triathlete to wine tastings in a hot tub, Chris shares his often-hilarious adventures as well as his brilliant tasting tips, including nifty ways to physically see how acidic or tannic wine is and insights into the U.K. wine industry. Enjoy!   Highlights Why did […]

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The Smart Woman Behind the Wine for Dummies Books: Mary Ewing-Mulligan MW

Introduction In this episode of the Unreserved Wine Talk podcast, we’re chatting with Mary Ewing-Mulligan, president of the International Wine Center and the first woman in America to become a Master of Wine. She’s also just published the seventh edition of the book “Wine For Dummies.” Mary’s motto “Peace. Community. Wine.” is a wonderful summary of the work she’s doing in the wine industry, from wine education to advocating for women in the industry, to her tenacity and determination to achieve the highest designation and continuing to grow her knowledge and ability. I really enjoyed this fantastic chat and I know […]

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California Wine Fair 2019: Dates, Cities and Venues

    Let’s Toast with California Wines! The 2019 California Wine Fair is traveling across the country in April touching down on 5 cities coast to coast. California’s success has been built by a pioneering spirit that prides itself on its unique identity, lifestyle, personality and passion for the grape. This year, more than 150 wineries, 450 wines and numerous friends from the vineyards will be visiting Canada and meeting with lovers of California wine. NatalieMacLean.com Members receive $5 off the regular ticket price by using the promo code: cwfnatalie The ticket price includes all wine tasting samples and light hors d’oeuvres. Visit www.calwine.ca for […]

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How do You Choose a Wine Class or Course? (Video)

On CTV’s The Social, we chat about how to choose a wine tasting class or course. Click the arrow above to watch the segment. You can join me in my free online video class here that also tells you more about my full course, with food and wine pairing. Cheers, Natalie   JESS I’ve been known to host some pretty epic wine nights – just ask anyone here! Not to brag, but it’s probably because I have a certificate in Italian wine which I got when I worked in the restaurant industry. And I found that after I started learning […]

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Video: A Sensory Journey Through Austrian Wines

This spring, I attended a stellar tasting of Austrian wines at Toronto’s Alo, named Canada’s Best New Restaurant by several publications. In the video above, Birgitta Samavarchian of the Austrian Wine Marketing Group, explains why the country’s iconic  grape, Gruner Veltliner, is a white wine unlike any other. This is a sampling the wines we tasted, but you can access more than 300 Austrian Wine Reviews here, along with those of our team members at Ottawa-based tastings. The dishes that Alo presented to pair with the wines were simply spectacular. These pictures tell a thousand words (and sensory sensations).   […]

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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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Tasting Trapiche Wines from the Mountaintop to the Skytop

  Recently, Canada’s top wine writers and sommeliers gathered in the nation’s capital for a portfolio tasting with Sergio Case, head winemaker with Trapiche Winery in Argentina. Not only did he take us through a spectacular lineup of upcoming releases, but the event was also hosted at Ottawa’s newest event space, the glass-encased ballroom in the sky on the 22nd floor of the Westin Hotel. It’s a 3,200 square foot ballroom with a 270 degree view of downtown Ottawa, the Parliament buildings, the Ottawa River, and the Gatineau Hills, with the leaves starting to turn colour. You can watch the entire […]

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A Dionysian Tasting with Thornbury Wines Winemaker Simon Fell

Recently, Canada’s top wine writers gathered in the nation’s capital for a comprehensive tasting of Thorbury wines with head winemaker Simon Fell. You can watch our Live Video Wine Tasting on Facebook right here.     David Skinner Wine & Travel Columnist, Outdoor Magazine   In New Zealand the wine trail always seems to lead to one of Villa Maria’s cellar doors. The flagship brand is represented by over 60 labels but founder, Sir George Fistonich, has been adding other great regional wineries to the family with quality and diversity driving his search for excellence. Thornbury, one of the more […]

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