Festive Wines with the Globe & Mail’s Christine Sismondo

Dec4th

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 America?
  • Why are we seeing a resurgence in the popularity of Lambrusco?
  • What is Christine’s approach to wine and tasting?
  • Why shouldn’t you be intimidated by the range and diversity of Lambrusco?
  • Why does Christine prefer Cava to Prosecco?
  • What are the characteristics of Franciacorta?
  • Why is Franciacorta more expensive than Prosecco?
  • Can you expect to find Italian sparkling wine at the LCBO?
  • What foods can you pair with Lambrusco and Franciacorta?
  • What has caused Sherry’s recent comeback?
  • What is a raw Sherry?
  • Which foods can you pair with En Rama Sherry?
  • What is a Pisco Sour Cocktail?
  • How is Pisco related to Grappa?
  • What flavour notes can you expect when tasting Pisco?
  • Why did Christine want to write about Pisco for her Globe and Mail column?
  • How is Pisco different from other spirits?
  • What does the “proof” tell you about a spirit?
  • Which grapes are used to make Pisco?
  • Should you pair Pisco with food?
  • Why should you explore more wines from emerging wine regions?
  • How did Christine’s Italian heritage lead to her early exposure to winemaking?
  • When did Christine develop her taste for wine?
  • Why was Christine so blown away by her experience at the Bodega Catena Zapata winery?

 

About Christine Sismondo

Christine Sismondo is a professor of English literature at York University and she writes about wine and spirits for the Globe & Mail, Canada’s largest national newspaper. She’s also written regularly for the Toronto Star, the Report on Business Magazine and The Grid, and has won a National Magazine Award for her work.

She’s the author of Mondo Cocktail: A Shaken and Stirred History and wrote a six-part podcast series on Prohibition for Wondery’s American History Tellers based on the book. Her most recent book is America Walks Into a Bar: A Spirited History of Taverns and Saloons, Speakeasies and Grog Shops published by Oxford University Press.

 

Resources

 

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Transcript & Takeaways

Welcome to episode 53!

The holidays are fast approaching: are you looking for some new wines to give as gifts or to treat yourself?

How about lesser-known wines like like raw or natural Sherry from Spain?

Then there’s Franciacorta, an Italian sparkling wine that’s less well-known and quite different from Prosecco.

And finally, how about Pisco, the grape based distilled spirit from Chile or Peru that makes the perfect holiday cocktail?

In today’s episode I’m chatting with Christine Sismondo, a professor of English literature at York University and she writes about wine and spirits for the Globe & Mail, Canada’s largest national newspaper.

She’s also written regularly for the Toronto Star, the Report on Business Magazine and The Grid, and has won a National Magazine Award for her work.

She’s the author of “Mondo Cocktail: A Shaken and Stirred History” and wrote a six-part podcast series Wondery’s American History Tellers based on the book. Her most recent book is “America Walks Into a Bar: A Spirited History of Taverns and Saloons, Speakeasies and Grog Shops” published by Oxford University Press.

I’ll also put links to Christine’s website, books and social media handles in the show notes at nataliemaclean.com/53.

If you haven’t had a chance to watch my brand new online wine video class called The 5 Wine & Food Pairing Mistakes that Can Ruin Your Dinner and how to fix them forever, please save your spot at nataliemaclean.com/class. This class is free and you’ll learn about that plus about my new in-depth, paid course called The Wine Smart Course: A Full-Bodied Framework to Taste, Pair and Buy Wines like a Pro.

Also in the free-why-not category is my Ultimate Food & Wine Pairing Guide. If you want a copy, just email me at natalie@nataliemaclean.com and let me know what you like about the podcast and what I can do to improve it for you.

On with the show with Christine Sismondo who joined me from her home in Toronto.

 

You can also watch the video interview with Christine that includes bonus content and behind-the-scenes questions and answers that weren’t included in this podcast.

 

Well, there you have it! Here are my takeaways from this terrific discussion with Christine:

  1. It’s interesting how much Lambrusco has changed compared to the 1980s, with more varieties and styles, including becoming drier and more refined as a sparkling wine. Given its red colour, it makes it a festive choice at this time of year.
  2. Franciacorta, the elegant Italian white sparkling wine that’s made like Champagne, using the same grapes, is also another must-try. As Christine says, it pairs beautifully with holiday turkey as well as salumi, antipasto, cured hams and prosciutto.
  3. Then there’s Sherry, the Spanish fortified wine making a comeback, especially with raw and natural versions tapping into the natural and organic wine movements, not to mention tapas themselves as a terrific pairing partner now that we’re all into small plates. I’m intrigued to taste the buttery richness that those extra little bits of protein that the flor cap imparts.
  4. Pisco sour cocktail with lime, egg, white sugar and of course, Pisco, the grape-based distilled spirit from Chile or Peru sounds divine with its frothy top, dry tannins and punchy acidity, as Christine describes it. It would be perfect on its own or perhaps with some hard cheese like Manchego.

You’ll find links to Christine’s website, books and social media handles in the show notes at nataliemaclean.com/53. I’ve also posted a link to the video version of this interview.

What was your favourite tip or quote from this episode? Share that with me on Twitter or Facebook and tag me @nataliemaclean, on Instagram I’m @nataliemacleanwine.

If you liked this episode, please tell a friend about it, especially one who would enjoy Christine’s recommendations for these delicious, festive drinks. My podcast is easy to find, whether you search Google on its name Unreserved Wine Talk, or on my name.

Finally, if you want to take your ability to pair wine and food to the next level, join me in a free online video class at nataliemaclean.com/class.

I can’t wait to share more wine stories with you next week.

Thank-you for taking the time to listen to this one. I hope something great is in your glass this week, perhaps while you’re reading Mondo Cocktail or America Walks into a Bar!

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