A Vine Celebration: The 120th Anniversary of Nino Negri Wines

In October, I traveled to Italy with great excitement to participate in Nino Negri’s 120th Anniversary celebration.  As I drove through the historic wine region of Valtellina, I was captivated by its breathtaking beauty and eager to participate in this year’s wine harvest. Valtellina is a serene valley at the foot of the Lombardy Alps, on the Italian-Swiss border. The “vine”, the heart of this difficult mountainous terrain, has found perfect growing conditions here. The vineyards are protected by two high mountain chains, the Retiche Alps and the Orobie Pre-Alps. Exposure to the sun at high altitude, as well as a significant […]

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This is Why Summer Wines are Different from Winter Wines (Video)

We has such fun chatting about spring and summer wines on CTV’s The Social yesterday!   Are the wines we drink in the winter that different from the ones we drink in the spring and summer? · Yes, most people’s drinking habits change with the seasons. · We typically drink heavy, alcoholic, heavily oaked wines in the winter because they comfort us and keep us warm. · “Drink what you like” remains in effect no matter the weather, but for most people, lighter drinking in the summer generally means more consumption of white wines.     LIGHT & COLD This […]

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Easter Wines for Fish, Lamb + Ham: Video

Wines for Good Friday fish, Easter brunch, lamb and ham are the focus of our chat on CTV News. In particular, red wines often clash with fish not because of the wine tannin and fish iodine, as previously thought, but rather because of high iron content in the wine. The iron comes mostly from the soil where the vines are grown, but can also be due to winemaking methods. Generalizing about which wines will be high in iron content is difficult. The iron in wine is thought to break down the unsaturated (good) fats in fish and creates that fishy […]

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Pairing Wine with Spicy, Sweet and Sour Dishes for Chinese New Year and Beyond

 This Facebook Live Video Wine Tasting above, we chat about pairing wine with our favourite Chinese dishes, from sweet and sour chicken to wontons and spring rolls. You can click on the arrow above to play the video. We’re joined by guest winemaker, Jean-Benoit Deslauriers of Benjamin Bridge Winery to help us celebrate the Chinese New Year. You’ll find the most recent live video wine tasting at the top of the timeline here: https://www.facebook.com/pg/natdecants We taste every Sunday evening at 6 pm eastern so add us to your calendar and grab a glass of wine. Click on the icons for “Share” […]

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How to Sabre Champagne + Sparkling Wines

Leanne and I chat about sparkling wines and Champagnes for the holidays. Click on the arrow to play the video above. Napoléon visits the Moët & Chandon cellars in 1807 Napoleon is credited with inventing the sabering technique and is famous for his phrase: “In victory we deserve Champagne, in defeat, we need it.” The famous Champagne maker Veuve Clicquot, who lost her husband when she was just 27, was a wealthy young widow. She would entertain Napoleon’s officers (early day sampling program). They, in turn, tried to impress her by sabering the tops of the Champagne bottles that she […]

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Fontanafredda Makes a Barolo for Every Palate

Fontanafredda Vineyard Priya & Alex, A Vine Romance It was a whirlwind visit for Danilo Drocco, winemaker at Fontanafredda in Barolo, Italy. He swept into Toronto for a lunch and dinner, only to rush back to the vineyard the following morning as they are deep into harvest season and as he said, “My job is to talk about Nebbiolo, but more importantly, to make Nebbiolo.” Alex was especially thrilled to have the opportunity to sit down with Danilo as the 1974 Barolo was the first ‘big’ (read “expensive”) bottle of wine he had ever purchased as a gift for his father. […]

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What Makes Prosecco One of the Most Popular Sparkling Wines?

Photos: Santa Margherita By Melanie Lloyd Recently, I had the opportunity to interview Alberto Ugolini, a passionate and knowledgeable brand ambassador for Santa Margherita, from his home in Italy. With the holidays around the corner and Prosecco’s ever-increasing popularity, it was great timing to talk about this festive sparkling wine. Question: The sale of Prosecco has been increasing globally for the last several years. What contributes to this success? Alberto: There are several factors that fuel the success of Prosecco. The first, and most important, is its flavour profile. Prosecco is a joyful and vibrant sparkling wine. It has delicate bubbles, […]

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Tasting Barolo, the King of Wines with Fontanafredda (Video)

Recently, Canada’s top wine writers and sommeliers gathered in our nation’s capital for a comprehensive tasting of the wines from one of Italy’s best wine producers, Fontanafredda. Here are our impressions and tasting notes.       Jennifer MacDonald Havers Wine Columnist, Ottawa Citizen     The weather may have been rainy, but spirits were bright on a Sunday afternoon as we had the opportunity to celebrate Barolo and learn of one of the gems of Piedmont, Fontanafredda. Alberto Frea, the brand ambassador for Fontanafredda, walked us through the extensive family history of the winery as well as some of […]

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Getting Clearer on Glera, the Grape of Prosecco Sparkling Wine

By Greg Hughes Prosecco has become, possibly, the most sought after sparkling wine after Champagne. It showcases wonderful aromatics and freshness, as well as value.  As one might imagine, there is still a fairly broad range of styles that this tiny northeastern appellation in Italy can offer. What makes Prosecco distinct from other sparkling wines are the well-preserved aromatics and the perceived “creaminess” the gentle carbonation creates on the palate. This distinctiveness is partially due to the obscure family of grape varietals used, but these flavours can only be harnessed so effectively because of the innovative production method behind Prosecco. […]

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Cultivated Success: Prosecco’s Popularity is no Accident

 By Greg Hughes Some say the national drink of Italy is espresso, others say it’s Prosecco. Northeastern Italy’s distinctively aromatic sparkling wine is now beloved by the majority of the wine drinking world. Often, it is misrepresented as an inexpensive alternative to traditional sparkling wines, which are laborious and costly to produce. Could this be so? Is it merely a cost-saving mix for mimosas? Definitely not, especially considering it is priced in a similar bracket to local sparkling or even Cava, Spain’s traditionally made sparkling wine. There are plenty of other choices available to consumers, yet they overwhelmingly choose Prosecco. Sales […]

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