New Zealand Wine: An Unexpectorated Journey

Awatere River vineyards Photo: David Skinner   By David Skinner When Peter Jackson decided upon his native New Zealand to serve as middle earth for his rendering of the Hobbit and the Lord of the Rings, nationalistic nepotism served him less than the splendor of the rich and varied landscapes found in his home islands. The films depicted rugged terrain and lands carved from the mountains by the relentless influence of wind and water and there is still a sense of that primal constitution to the landscapes that now support modern viticulture in the “Shaky Isles”. Marlborough The South Island […]

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A Dionysian Tasting with Thornbury Wines Winemaker Simon Fell

Recently, Canada’s top wine writers gathered in the nation’s capital for a comprehensive tasting of Thorbury wines with head winemaker Simon Fell. You can watch our Live Video Wine Tasting on Facebook right here.     David Skinner Wine & Travel Columnist, Outdoor Magazine   In New Zealand the wine trail always seems to lead to one of Villa Maria’s cellar doors. The flagship brand is represented by over 60 labels but founder, Sir George Fistonich, has been adding other great regional wineries to the family with quality and diversity driving his search for excellence. Thornbury, one of the more […]

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Oregon’s Path to Pinot Perfection (and beyond)

By David Skinner Nearly 15 million years ago, nature exploded in a maelstrom of chaos that cast a blanket of molten rock upon the marine-rich land where a receding ocean once lay. As the newly born volcanic terrain matured, the hillsides softened and westerly flowing flood waters receded enrobing the land in nutrient-rich soil. It would take until 1965 for winemakers to begin transforming the gentle slopes of the Willamette Valley from woodlands to the now familiar landscape lined with rows of vines eager to yield some of the best quality vinifera grapes anywhere. Since then, more than a dozen […]

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Cirque du Soleil is a Mind-Bending Blend with Kim Crawford Wines

    Cirque du Soleil’s forty-first production, Volta, was a thrilling circus for the senses, blending athleticism, artistry, acrobatics, lights and laughter. The show’s name Volta is a nod to both a quick about-turn or pivot in the present, as well as to a return to the past. It also seemed to refer to high-voltage, given the show’s energy and a dazzling displays meant to jolt us out of our everyday lives. If there ever was an event to undo ordinary, this is it. Our team was graciously hosted by Kim Crawford Wines for an evening under the big top […]

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Pairing Wine & Creative Grilled Cheese Sandwiches (Video)

Carolyn, Jeff and I chat about pairing wine and grilled cheese sandwiches for Canada Day on the national edition of Global Television’s Morning Show. These aren’t your ordinary grilled cheese sammies: step it up on July 1 or 4, and create one of these for yourself and for your guests. Loblaw’s Executive Chef, Mark Russell, created these terrific grilled cheese sandwich recipes. The accompaniments are part of Loblaw’s From Our Chef line. Here are my favourite Canadian wines that I’ve tasted recently, plus wines from around the world in the spirit of international peace and diversity through food and drink!         Baldersen Extra […]

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Tasting Wine Out in Left Field with this New Zealand Winery

Last night, we were joined by special guest winemaker, Richard Painter of Te Awa Wines, helping us pair food with New Zealand wines. Click the arrow on the video above to watch ​our chat. P.S. ​Want to know when we go live next Sunday with our special guest? Tune in here for our Facebook Live Video Wine Tasting: www.nataliemaclean.com/live Click on the “Follow” and “Like” buttons on this page to get notified when we go live. We’ll be simultaneously broadcasting on Facebook Live, YouTube Live Stream and Twitter Live Video via Periscope. You’ll find upcoming and past Live Tasting Videos […]

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Surprising Pairings for Villa Maria Wines from Antipasto to Steak

Canada’s top wine writers and sommeliers gathered in the nation’s capital for a comprehensive tasting of Villa Maria wines from New Zealand.   Terry Jeans Wine Writer, Ottawa Wine Guide   What an elaborate tasting! We had the chance to have an amazing tasting with one of the viticulturists from Villa Maria– Ollie Powrie, who presented us with an insightful session of tasting over a dozen wines from one of the only New Zealand owned and family operated wineries. Founded and owned by the venerated Sir George Fistonich, a real icon of the wine industry, who has been part of […]

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Domaine Drouhin Wines Express Oregon Terroir

By Melissa Pulvermacher Carrying on the cool climate conversation, I had the pleasure of sitting down with Arron Bell, the winemaker of Domaine Drouhin, a winery in the cool climate region of Willamette, Oregon. The most popular varietals produced in Oregon include Pinot Noir, Pinot Gris, Chardonnay and Riesling. We recognize most of these varietals for their ability to grow well in cooler climates. Oregon produces incredible expressions of these varietals, two of which I had the pleasure of tasting with Arron. Video: Meet Arron Bell “I didn’t know what to do after college. So what do you do? You […]

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The 31 Most Difficult Wine and Grapes Names: How to Pronounce Them

On CTV News, Leanne and I chat about the most difficult wine and grape names to pronounce. Click the arrows to watch the videos both above and below. As anglophones, we find many of these names difficult since their origins are often European, with accents and inflections that are new to us. Tip: often e and i are pronounced in the reverse when in the middle of a word, and an e at the end of a name often sounds like a long a. Why bother? We often overlook these terrific wines, and don’t ask for them in liquor stores […]

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Villa Maria Wine Tasting Reveals Regional Surprises

In the video above, Villa Maria Winemaker Josh Hammond shares an amusing story about his quest to pair ever more fresh scallops with his wines when diving for them with his brother. Click on the arrow to play the video. Canada’s top wine writers and sommeliers gathered in our nation’s capital for an extraordinary tasting of New Zealand’s Villa Maria wines recently at The Shore Club. They share their insights and recommendations here. Cherie Cole Accredited Sommelier & Wine Blogger Gracing us with his knowledge and passion for wine, along with a great sense of humor, fifth generation winemaker, Josh […]

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