8 Perfect Gift Wines and Spirits for Your Holiday List (Video)

As the holidays approach, we look forward to entertaining friends and family. Here with her tips and sips is Natalie MacLean, who offers Canada’s most popular online wine classes at nataliemaclean.com.   What’s a good drink to serve to guests when they arrive?   Sparkling wine is the drink of celebration, especially at this time of year. I’d recommend these two:           Queenston Mile Brut Blanc de Noirs St. David’s Bench, Niagara Peninsula, Ontario V.Q.A., Canada                     Cupcake Vineyards Prosecco Veneto D.O.C., Italy         […]

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6 Best Wine Gifts and Gadgets (Video)

A great bottle of wine is an obvious first choice for the wine lover on your gift list this holiday. But what if you want to pair that bottle with a useful and imaginative wine gadget? Here with her tips and sips is Natalie MacLean, who offers Canada’s most popular online wine classes at nataliemaclean.com   Welcome Natalie. What is the first useful gadget you recommend?   Unless you have a wine closed with a screw cap, the most essential gadget is a corkscrew. This is called the Waiter’s Friend Corkscrew.         It’s named that because it’s […]

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6 Best Proseccos, Cavas and Sparkling Wines versus Champagne (Video)

On The Social, we chat about terrific sparkling wines for the holidays. Most people think of champagne as the drink of choice for this season. But when the price of an entry-level bottle starts at $ 60, you might want to consider other bubblies, which offer great taste for a fraction of champagne’s price.   Natalie, let’s start with what’s the difference between champagne and other sparkling wines?     Although champagne only comes from the Champagne region of France, almost every other region of the country and many other countries around the world produce sparkling wines, often using the […]

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Pairing Bestselling Books With Best-Cellaring Wines

We’re back with Natalie MacLean. You can watch our first segment on book and bottle pairings here.  This time we’re going outside the wine category of books with these pairings. What do you have for us first? We’re starting with one of my favorite authors, Candace Bushnell, who wrote this book, Is There Still Sex and the City? a fantastic follow-up to her blockbuster hit, TV series, several movies and now a theatrical production.         I’d pair this book with this Rosé sparkling wine from La Marca because it’s just fabulous, as the four women in the […]

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Label Gazing: How to Read a Wine Label

The hosts of CTV’s The Social and I had lots of fun decoding wine labels to find the secret info you can use to buy better wine. Admit it. You’ve probably bought a wine based on nothing more than a beautiful label.   Q: Presentation is a big thing when it comes to wine. When I’m picking out a bottle, I look for a pretty label and pay attention to the name of the wine but that’s about it. Is the aesthetic of the label usually indicative of the taste? · Not at all ;) · However, most people do […]

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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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Festive Wines with the Globe & Mail’s Christine Sismondo

Introduction In this episode of the Unreserved Wine Talk podcast, we’re chatting with Christine Sismondo, writer, teacher and barfly who, when not teaching literature at York University, is tracking down the city’s best drinks and the bars in which they’re served for her columns. She also writes wine and cocktail articles for the Globe and Mail, Canada’s largest national newspaper. Enjoy!   Highlights Why shouldn’t you lump Cava, Prosecco and Champagne together? Why did Lambrusco have a bad reputation in the 70s and 80s? What is the Charmat Method for producing sparkling wine? How did Lambrusco become popular in North […]

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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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Which Wine Pairings for turkey, fruitcake or cheese?

The holiday countdown is on and Canadians are scrambling for last-minute gifts for their hosts and loved ones. Wine and food seem like a natural option at this time of year, but with thousands of bottles lining the shelves at liquor outlets, where does one begin? “I’d start with pairing the wine that you’re going to bring to go with the dinner. Wild guess, might be turkey,” says sommelier Natalie MacLean, editor of the wine review site nataliemaclean.com. She suggests a sparkling wine like Cava from Spain, a Pinot Noir from New Zealand, a dry rose from France or a […]

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5 Dynamite Bubblies for a Sparkling Holiday and How to Find Wonderful Wines to Celebrate

By Melissa Pulvermacher ‘Tis the season for family, food and sparkling wine. Every year I feature my favourite bottle of bubbly before New Year’s Eve. This year, I decided to write about my top 5 picks to make sure everyone can ring in the new year with bubbles. To help you navigate the intimidating selection, all you need to know is the basics. Mostly you need to be able to navigate whether a bottle is traditional method or tank method and the level of dosage (sweetness added to the wine by concentrated grape juice). 1. Traditional Method This is the […]

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