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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Something to Wine About: The Mystique of French Wine Decoded 

It’s understandable to be intimidated by French wine — even if you know enough about wine to know which varietals you like. Intimidated by the French section in your local wine store? That’s understandable — even if you know enough about wine to know which varietals you like. In fact, your question might be, “Why don’t they just put the varietal on the bottle?” It was while reading the book, “Red, White and Drunk All Over: A Wine-Soaked Journey from Grape to Glass” by Natalie MacLean, that I got the answer to my question. Wine and Chocolate Make a Perfect […]

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Tania’s Magical Matches: Wine Pairings for Thanksgiving Turkey

By Tania Thomas Thanksgiving is the time of the year when we remember what we are thankful for and a celebration that captures holiday spirit of home cooking like no other. Sharing this day with family and friend is what makes it even more special. The origins of Canadian Thanksgiving can be traced to two separate events in our history. The arrival of the explorer Samuel de Champlain in the early 17th century, who came with the French settlers to New France and celebrated their successful harvests, even sharing food with the indigenous peoples of the area. The second is […]

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Pairing Wine with Weird Holiday Turkey Recipes

Maple-Brined, Wood-Smoked Grilled Turkey To stuff some life into this year’s obligatory wine and turkey pairing column for Thanksgiving (or Christmas), I asked the creators of some strangely wonderful turkey recipes for their permission to post them here and pair them with wine. I’m still on the hunt for beer can turkey, turducken, tofurkey (tofu-shaped turkey), and believe or not, that new chocolate-glazed with sprinkles dessert favourite, turdunkin (!) Maple-Brined, Wood-Smoked Grilled Turkey Recipe Allow a total of 4 to 4-1/2 hours to start the fire, cook the turkey, and let it rest. Have a full bag of charcoal on […]

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Garden Variety Wines: The Best Bottles for Outdoor Dining

By Rebecca Meïr-Liebman of Chef & Somm Spring and summer means outdoor parties – casual barbecues to white-glove garden soirées – and there’s a perfect wine for every al fresco occasion. Flip Flops and Fine Wine – The BBQ When food is smoky and beefy, you might automatically think of an oaky Cabernet Sauvignon, but let’s not forget how hot and humid it can be, so a nicely chilled, oaky white wine or slightly chilled lighter red – may be just the thing! An oaky white – think Norman Hardie Chardonnay or La Crema Chardonnay will complement smoky, grilled chicken, […]

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Rediscover Bordeaux with Château Phelan-Ségur

By Mymi Myriam On the eve of a massive winter storm that threatened to shut down most of the eastern coast of the United States, I had the pleasure of briefly sitting down with Pamela Wittman prior to attending the LCBO sponsored Union des Grands Crus Bordeaux tasting at the Carlu. An oenologist by profession, she is now the US representative for Château Phélan-Ségur located in the Médoc St-Éstèphe region of Bordeaux. The estate’s story starts with a young Irish wine merchant name Bernard Phelan who settled into the area in the late 18th century and married a local girl […]

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The Champagnes of James Bond and Rappers: Bollinger and Cristal

Part 2: Champagne Widows By the 1930s, French winemakers faced even greater challenges: a country about to go to war, a worldwide Depression that made running any business difficult, and U.S. Prohibition, which made selling luxury champagne to the lucrative American market almost impossible.   Camille Olry-Roederer   This was the forbidding business environment that Camille Olry-Roederer stepped into when she took over the champagne house Louis Roederer after losing her second husband in 1932 (her first husband had died in World War I). Sales were 264,000 bottles that year, compared to 2.3 million bottles in 1876.   1954 1954 […]

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The Merry Widows of Mousse: Champagne Widows

They were all young women whose families owned the great champagne houses at the turn of the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. When they lost their husbands to war or illness, they did not do what was expected: step aside or sell the business.  Nor did they marry again (though they were still in their twenties and thirties), handing over the reins to a new husband. Instead, these celebrated veuves, or widows, took control of their châteaux to produce some of the most prestigious wines in the world – wines that still bear their names: Veuve Clicquot, Pommery, Laurent-Perrier, Roederer and […]

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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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10 Best Sparkling Wines to Buy Now + 5 Surprising Facts about Bubbly

Sparkling wines made outside of Champagne, France, may not be called Champagne as it’s a trademarked term. However, they often use the same methods and/or grapes used in Champagne. 5 Surprising Facts about Sparkling Facts: 1. Bubblies made in Burgundy, France, are called Crémants de Bourgogne while those from Alsace are Crémant d’Alsace. 2. Spain makes Cavas (“cave”), Italy makes either Prosecco (lightly sparkling) or Spumante (fully sparkling and sweet), Germany makes Sekt or Deutscher. 3. Those from New World regions, such as Canada, California, Australia and elsewhere, are simply called sparkling wine. 4. Drink bubbly from a flute glass […]

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