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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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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Frothy Tales from the Vino in Villa Festival: A Primer on Prosecco

By Jacky Blisson In the aftermath of the 2008 financial crisis, Prosecco sales skyrocketed internationally. The popular explanation was that Champagne drinkers were trading down to accommodate shrinking wallets. This may have been a key factor spurring the initial upswing, but Prosecco sales continue to soar, unmatched by other non-Champagne sparkling wines. Many attribute Prosecco’s long term success to its vibrantly fruity and uncomplicated style. Others suggest that the refreshingly low alcohol, typically a modest 11 to 11.5%, is the main appeal. Yet this seems an to be over simplistic analysis. It fails to take into account the incredible expression […]

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A Sparkling Dilemma: What’s the Real Difference Between Champagne and Prosecco?

By Alex and Priya, A Vine Romance What’s the real difference between Champagne and Prosecco? Priya: Ahh bubbly! There are so many styles of sparkling wine but Champagne and Prosecco are undoubtedly the two most popular. Alex: You’re right about that my lady. However, they are distinctly different from one another. So much so that an experienced taster should almost never be fooled – though there are some Proseccos out there that bear similarities to iconic Champagne – but they are rarely encountered and cost equally as much. P: Interesting. As a not-so-experienced taster, I doubt I’d be able to […]

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Prosecco with Lemon Sponge Cake, Lemon Curd and Raspberry Ice Cream

Bottles & Bites by Shari Goodman Natalie’s Challenge: Find a bottle. Pair with bites. My Goals: Bottle must be under $25. Bites must be delicious. Lemon Sponge Cake, Lemon Curd and Raspberry Ice Cream Sun meets bubbles in this pairing of bottle and bites. With a light but refreshing drink and dessert combination, this is sure to cool you off in the middle of a heat wave. I love bubbles in the summer. And Prosecco was made for summertime sipping. This Italian sparkling wine (Santa Margherita Brut Valdobbiadene Prosecco Superiore, $18.95) is a light, refreshing and affordable alternative to French […]

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Discover the World of Brunello Wine with Marchese Lamberto Frescobaldi

Lamberto Frescobaldi Experience the World of Brunello with an unforgettable, intimate dinner with Marchese Lamberto Frescobaldi, President of Tenuta CastelGiocondo – one of Tuscany’s most storied estates, owned by one of Italy’s most revered wine families. Join us Tuesday, October 24 at 7pm at Aria, 25 York St., Toronto. An evening built for true wine lovers and foodies, the Marchese Lamberto Frescobaldi will lead guests through an intimate and engaging, 5-course, wine-paired dinner. Wines to include the debut of Frescobaldi’s new rosé, a Rosso di Montalcino, a vertical flight of three Brunello di Montalcino vintages, and Frescobaldi’s premium top-tier, single […]

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What is Wine’s Role in Modern Madness? Finding Our Humanity Drop by Drop

​Editor’s Note: I wrote this magazine piece on wine and civility two months after 9/11. However, the search for civility in everyday life has more resonance than ever, with the riots in Ferguson, ISIS, Jian Ghomeshi, Gamergate, unfettered consumerism, and the mysogenous micro-aggressions that women face daily on social media. I welcome your thoughts here: never loose your voice. In Vino Civilitatis The trouble with moderation is that it’s hard to get excited about it. Until now. After September 11, moderation seems to be rarer than a California cult cabernet. Finding the moderate and the civilized in everyday life has […]

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