Mother’s Day Gifts, Wines and Pairings

By Natalie MacLean How to thank Mom for all those kisses, compliments and band-aids? Try a great bottle of wine with Mother’s Day gift, brunch or dinner pairing. As a mother myself now, I call my glass of wine at 5 p.m. “Mommy’s little helper.” Here’s to you Mom! Here are my Top 20 Wines for Mother’s Day, either made by women or named for them. Often the latter were originally made by women. Try these wines that I recommended on the Conde Nast site Epicurious.com or more choices on Canada AM and in More Magazine: Veuve Clicquot Champagne France […]

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Wine and Comfort Food Pairing: Revel in Your Rut

Yes, I know that I’m supposed to be forward-looking to spring with a chirpy article about zesty white wines to pair with fresh vegetables, but it’s so cold outside … and I’m tired of writing seasonally-appropriate editorial content. So let’s make wallowing fun, and turn to comfort wines paired with comfort food. In our continuing video series with Canadian Press, we look at quick tips on pairing those old favourites, from braised meat to pasta in cream sauce with wine. It’ll make you (almost) care what time of year it is when you have bottled sunshine. Here are my favourite […]

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Win a Trip to London, England, with a Toast to 19 Crimes Wine

The full-bodied Australian wine “19 Crimes” pays tribute to British criminals who were punished by transportation. The name 19 Crimes comes from a list of 19 violations that, in the 18th-century Britain, would get someone banished from Britain and shipped to what is now Australia. You can win a trip to London, England, and help three convicts get a royal pardon, by entering this contest before November 15: 19Crimes.com/RoyalPardon There are also hundreds of secondary prizes to be won, so enter today! The wine labels feature black and white mug shots of real-life convicts who were handed a sentence in the 18th-century.   The […]

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Rack of Lamb with Almond Crust Recipe Paired with Wits End Luna Shiraz

This dish is a classic Harvey family meal and incorporates ingredients famous in the region and blocks. Outside the Slate Creek school block, 1 mile from their organic, Wits End block, are rows of almond trees. These not only provide a beautiful, blossoming avenue to frame their country homestead but allow a bounty of almonds. This recipe compliments the robust, generous and fruit driven Shiraz that is our Luna and utilises quintessentially regional and foraged ingredients. This recipe compliments the robust, generous and fruit driven Shiraz that is their Wits End Luna Shiraz and uses quintessentially regional and foraged ingredients. This dish […]

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How to Get the Most from a Wine Show? 17 Insider Tips

You’ll find my Top 10 Wine Shows in Canada list, as well as a tongue-in-cheek story of attending a show. And here are my top tips on how to get the most from a wine show: 1. To build your stamina in the weeks leading up to the show, walk around Price Club during the weekends. Eat lots of the cheese-doodles and toothpick wieners. And be nice to the Demo Lady: she may well be pouring your sample at the show. 2. Eat before you come to the show even though there are often lots of food exhibitors. A full […]

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Sparkling Wine for New Year’s Eve versus Champagne

Most people think of champagne as the drink of choice to ring in the New Year. But when the price of one bottle averages $60, you might want to consider sparkling wine, which offers great taste for a fraction of champagne’s price. Although champagne only comes from the Champagne region of France, almost every other region of the country and many countries around the world produce sparkling wines, often using the same techniques and grapes as champagne. Most sparklers are a blend of the traditional champagne grapes—Pinot Noir, Pinot Meunier and Chardonnay. Like champagne, they’re labeled according to their dryness, […]

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How to Read a Wine List, Vertical Tastings and Sommelier Sips

Ryan Campbell, formerly sommelier at Toronto’s Crush Wine Bar, now works with the wine lists at the parent company, Vintage Hotels in Niagara. Wine is such a big part of your restaurant, how do you ensure that your staff, who aren’t sommeliers, are still knowledgeable? We hold an informal “wine school” once a month for about 15 staff members.  For the last class, we focused on chardonnay with a vertical tasting. Vertical tastings mean one type of wine, like chardonnay, from different producers, but all from the same vintage. A horizontal tasting would be, say chardonnays, all from one producer, […]

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Australian First Families of Wine: Seduction Speed Tasting

Photo Credit: Kristy Gardner By Kristy Gardner, Wine Writer, Photographer, Designer I’ve never been to Australia. But hot damn, after the Australian First Families of Wine (AFFW) Unlock Tour de Force event in Vancouver this week, I want to go. The setting: 22 wines, 60 minutes, and some pretty epic “coming-of-age” stories later, Robert Hill-Smith of Yalumba Family Vignerons c. 1849 – and the 11 other family owned wineries belonging to the AFF – welcomed us with a generous sampling of some of best wines Australia has fermented. Presenting hand selected, flagship wines ranging in varietals from the lesser known […]

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Wolf Blass Wines Dig Into Their Australian Roots and Go Regional

Wolf Blass Winemaker Chris Hatcher shares some colourful history about Wolf Blass – the man, his history and work ethic – including an amusing story about a receptionist at the winery who didn’t believe that he was Wolf Blass ;) “Despite being a multi-millionaire,” Chris added, “Wolf still maintains his driving work ethic and frugal mentality. Just before he checks out of a hotel, he still cleans out all the shampoo and soap.” Christ Hatcher talking about the effect of fermentation by ‘committing a barrel’ to get that soft barrel character. Some insights that surprised me: – Wolf Blass first […]

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Wolf Blass Yellow Label Wines Go Regional

Wolf Blass Yellow Label Sparkling Brut Sparkling White South East Australia Green apple fresh with zesty lime. Terrific bubbly for this price. Perfect for any large festive gathering. Alcohol: 11% Sweetness: Extra Dry Drink: 2015-2017 Score: 88 Price: $17.95 LCBO #: 708290   Smoked Chicken, Pancetta and Roasted Pear Pizza Recipe Makes:  2 pizzas Preparation time: 15 minutes Cooking time: 15 minutes Ingredients: 2 brown pears (Beurre  Bosc) ½ cup Wolf Blass Yellow Label Padthaway Adelaide Hills Chardonnay 1 tablespoon brown sugar 50g butter 2 large par-baked plain pizza bases 250g grated mozzarella cheese 8 thin slices pancetta 1 smoked […]

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