How the Gruner Stole Christmas: Austria’s White Wine is a Holiday Treat

By Melissa Pulvermacher It’s the most wonderful time of the year… to eat, drink and be merry! When stocking up for those holiday parties, we all have our usual go-to wine selections, but with so many options, it may just be worth your while to venture out and try something new. For this holiday, consider looking to Austria for new selections. Austria is really hitting the world stage with quality wine production and while they may not be producing mass amounts, we are now seeing more and more in our market here in Ontario and the wine is certainly worth […]

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A Wine Waltz through Austria’s Weinviertel Region

By Rebecca Meïr-Liebman of Chef & Somm In North America, many of us are entranced by commercialism, shopping, the latest must-have piece of tech, and novelty. Sometimes, it feels as if we’ve lost touch with our history and our past. This is especially true you have an opportunity to compare and contrast our values with those of another culture, as I have recently. Then you gain insight into a culture that very much holds on to, and celebrates, its history, music, art and architecture, fashion and food. This contrast became vivid when I visited Austria, courtesy of the Austrian Wine […]

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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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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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Natural Born Beauty in a Bottle: Wachau Wine

By Rebecca Meïr-Liebman of Chef & Somm One of the most wonderful aspects of wine is that it allows us to travel the world without leaving home. From anywhere in the world, we can taste the terroir of Bordeaux, Sonoma, or the Mosel, especially when we successfully pair the cuisine of a particular region with its wine. But can we truly grasp the complexity of a wine and its terroir without actually going there, without touching the land, breathing the air and getting to know the regions’ style, tradition, and philosophy? At the risk of coming off as elitist, I […]

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Tasting the Cool Climate Wines of Argentina’s Secreto Patagonico

By Melissa Pulvermacher Another tasting during my time at the 2016 i4C Cool Climate Chardonnay Celebration was with Secreto Patagonico’s Production and Sales Manager, Tomas Groppo Parisi. Secreto Patagonico is in the southern hemisphere in Patagonia, Argentina. A lot of us immediately think of Mendoza, heat and Malbec when we think of Argentina, which may leave us a bit confused with the relevance to cool climate wines in this situation. Patagonia is actually in the south of Argentina and remember that in the southern hemisphere, the south is a lot cooler than the northern regions. Mendoza, the Malbec-famous region, known […]

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Gerard Bertrand’s Cool Climate Wines Blend in A Spiritual Component

By Melissa Pulvermacher Gérard Bertrand, a name we all recognize in the wine industry certainly has a diverse portfolio, but after sitting down with JP Turgeon, Canada’s Gérard Bertrand Portfolio Director, I was given the opportunity to taste the ‘cool climate’ options in our market. JP shared his story, his attempt at the gruelling Master of Wine exam and how he is incredibly proud to be working with this portfolio of quality wine from Gérard Bertrand. Gérard Bertrand is represented in Ontario by Family Wine Merchants and has several wines currently available here in the LCBO. The winery currently owns 650 hectares […]

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Henry of Pelham’s Paul Speck on Cool Climate Chardonnay

By Melissa Pulvermacher To kick off the annual International Cool Climate Chardonnay Celebration (i4C) in Niagara, Ontario, I visited Paul Speck of Henry of Pelham Winery on the Short Hills Bench in St. Catharines. The Henry of Pelham winery has been owned by the Speck family since 1988. While tasting the wines, we explored this concept of cool climate viticulture. Ontario’s weather can be somewhat unpredictable from year-to-year, which is why our local wines tend to have a lot of vintage variance. Beginning with some of my favourite Niagara bubbles, the 2011 Cuvee Catharine Carte Blanche had me salivating right […]

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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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