Cider House Rules: Cider Food Pairings, Cocktails, Serving Tips (Video)

On CTV’s The Social yesterday, we had fun chatting about all things cider, from serving it (glassware, temperature) to pairing it with food; from cocktails to fascinating historical trivia. St. Patricks Day is this weekend and if you’re looking for an alternative to beer, why not have some cider instead? With so many different types, there’s sure to be a cider that will please your palate! Here to break them all down for us is Natalie MacLean, who offers Canada’s most popular online wine classes.     HISTORY OF CIDER Tell us a bit about the history of cider and […]

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What to Ask the Sommelier with Lesley Brown, Canadian Association of Professional Sommeliers

Introduction Lesley Brown has been a part of the Canadian Wine Industry for the past 17 years and works with several high profile wine agencies. She holds an International Sommelier Diploma and has taught wine courses to hundreds of students. Lesley is currently the BC Regional Sales Manager for The Bacchus Group and she also sits on the board of directors for the Import Spirit and Vintners Association and has recently taken over as the President of the Canadian Association of Professional Sommeliers (CAPS) BC and the Vice President of the CAPS National Board.   Highlights How did Lesley’s travels […]

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Bottle of the Sexes: Women versus Men on Wine

Introduction Are men from Bordeaux and women from Burgundy? In my 20 years of studying and writing about wine, I’ve encountered a lot of differences in how men and women approach the subject. There are also several studies that show the same thing. In honour of International Women’s Day this week, I’m diving deep into “women’s wines”, whether they’re actually any good and how wines marketed to women are affecting the industry.   Highlights Are the “chick wines” on the market any good or are they simply marketing gimmicks? What are my thoughts and tasting notes for three of the […]

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Video: The Ultimate Guide to Pairing Wine and Chocolate

The hosts of CTV’s The Social and I shared lots of scandalous laughs this week pairing wine and chocolate for Valentine’s Day. Click on the arrow above to play the video.  What’s you favourite pairing? We love chocolate not just for its taste, but also for its sensual texture. Cocoa butter, one of its main ingredients, melts close to body temperature, so sliding a piece into your mouth and feeling it seep out to coat your tongue can almost be orgasmic. Maybe that why’s the eighteenth century Venetian womanizer Giacomo Casanova drank chocolate daily as an aphrodisiac. Sadly, scientists have […]

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Wines for Seduction: A Vine Romance for Valentine’s Day

Introduction Do you want to seduce someone this Valentine’s Day? Forget the lingerie, lipstick and silk-tie handcuffs – just share a glass or two of wine with your amour. Just in time for V Day, I’m going to share with you my favourite wines for seduction, including some melt-in-your-mouth pairings with chocolate.   Highlights Why do almost 60% of women prefer wine over candy for V Day? Why has Champagne, in particular, has long been the drink of romance Why is Pinot Noir called the “heartbreak grape”? How can you avoid ruining your wine with chocolate? Is chocolate an aphrodisiac […]

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Scandalous Wine Women on TV

Introduction I have to confess: I am obsessed with Alicia Florrick, the successful attorney on The Good Wife, and Olivia Pope, the high-powered Washington D.C. “fixer” on Scandal. In this episode, I’m going to share with you my secret obsession with the wine drinking habits of these women on television and what I believe that says about our cultural relationship with wine.   Highlights How have alcoholic beverages featured with women on TV changed over time? What do Alicia Florrick and Olivia Pope have in common with Philip Marlowe? How does wine act as a key plot device on Scandal? […]

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Video: Which Wines for Turkey, Cranberry Sauce and Pumpkin Pie?

CTV’s Your Morning Host Ben Mulroney and chat about which wines to pair with your holiday turkey dinner, from appetizers and the big bird to side dishes and dessert. Click on the arrow above to play the video. Happy holidays! Natalie Start with an aperitif As the heady aroma of the turkey wafts through the house, and sounds of Miracle on 34th Street come from the livingroom, offer family and friends an aperitif. This pre-dinner drink will whet their appetites before they sit down to the table. An excellent choice is a chilled dry sherry. Its nutty flavours go well […]

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San Pedro Tasting Past and Present

Photo: Andrea Shapiro Jane Staples Wine, Food &Travel Writer,Accredited Sommelier Viña Tarapacá and San Pedro 1865 Winetasting at ZOE’S LOUNGE Exciting things are happening in Chile’s winemaking industry! The world is recognizing the fine craftsmanship and distinctive personality of Chilean wines. Chile is also becoming a world leader in organic and sustainable viticulture. I recently attended a tutored tasting with two award-winning winemakers, Sebastian Ruiz from Viña Tarapacá and Matias Cruzat from San Pedro 1865. Our team of wine writers happily gathered at the comfortable Zoe’s Lounge in Ottawa’s Chateau Laurier. Matias Cruzat Photo: Jane Staples Each winemaker led highly […]

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Pairing Wine and Halloween Treats (Video)

 Lots of laughs on CTV’s The Social this week! Click the arrow above to watch the video. The hosts chose the theme of a Royal Halloween, so Lainey dressed as Prince George, Cyn was Daenerys from Game of Thrones, Mel was Megan Markle and Marci was Queen Ramonda from the Black Panther movie. I channeled my inner (royal) wine witch and brought my broom shtick to the show. What a hoot we had together! Here are the tips, tricks and wines we discussed … Something a bit scary happens on Halloween: we’re surrounded by lots of treats, but will […]

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