Wine Book and Bottle Pairings for the Holidays: CTV News at Noon

In the first of our two-part conversation, Leanne Cusack, host of CTV News at Noon, and I chat about six terrific book and bottle pairings that you can give as a gift set this holiday … don’t forget to treat yourself too! Here’s part two of our conversation, with more pairings, later today.

Veuve Clicquot Non-Vintage Champagne Chardonnay Pinot Noir Pinot Meunier, A.C. Champagne, France

Notes of green apples, orange zest and white peach on the nose with toasty goodness through the core and finish. Try the ultra-shabby chic combo here between French Champagne and a bucket of KFC chicken. Why wait for New Year’s or a wedding before you pop open bubbly when it’s so tasty? The bonus is that it’s just about the best partner for fried food on the planet: it’s mouth-watering acidity and bubbles wash away the fat, making you want more of course. Pair with: potato chips, fried food, sushi, seafood, vegetarian dishes. Drink: 2008-2008. 563338 12% D 750 mL $68.00 Score: 91/100.



The Widow Clicquot: The Story of a Champagne Empire and the Woman Who Ruled It

by Tilar Mazzeo



Henry of Pelham Estate Winery Cuvee Catharine Brut Sparkling Wine Rosé, V.Q.A., Niagara, Ontario

A lovely bubbly with notes of ripe field strawberries, fleshy raspberries and white roses. Medium-bodied and bone-dry with terrific persistence of flavor on the palate. Is there anything prettier than strands of pink pearls gliding up the side of your glass? Float a fresh strawberry or raspberry on top for an extra festive feel. Perfect for all those celebratory moments in life. Serve well chilled. In my Drinks Matcher tool, I’ve paired this bubbly with a wide variety of dishes. Pair with: grilled salmon, salads, vegetarian dishes, mild curries, shellfish, duck, veal, nachos (why not?!). 83139 12% D 750 mL $29.95 Score: 90/100



The Best Of Roald Dahl

by Roald Dahl




Le Clos Jordanne Village Reserve Chardonnay 2009, V.Q.A., Niagara Peninsula, Twenty Mile Bench, Ontario

Something inside me melts every time I taste this wine, a slow dissolving to sensory bliss. Full-bodied, opulent, buttery and peach-apricot aromas. Pair with: crab cakes, grilled tuna steaks. Drink: 2011-2016. 33936 13% XD 750 mL $30.00 Score: 92/100


Shut Up and Eat: Tales of Chicken, Children and Chardonnay

by Kathy Buckworth





Norman Hardie County Unfiltered Pinot Noir 2010, V.Q.A., Prince Edward County, Ontario

Hello cherries! Wake up senses, pinot noir calling. Silky smooth, vibrant, mouth-watering and medium-bodied. Drink: 2012-2016. 125310 11.90% XD 750 mL $35.00 Score: 90/100



A Fool And Forty Acres: Conjuring A Vineyard Three Thousand Miles From Burgundy

by Geoff Heinricks



Inniskillin Wines Vidal Icewine 2007, V.Q,A., Niagara Peninsula, Ontario

A rich, honeyed nectar of ripe apricots and peach preserves. A mouth-filling definition of delectable. Pair with: triple cream and blue veined cheeses, rich savoury pates, seared scallops, onion soup, fruit-based desserts especially pear flans and apple crisps. Drink: 2010-2015. 551085 9.50% S 375 mL $49.95 Score: 91/100.



My Canada Includes Foie Gras: A Culinary Life

by Jacob Richler




Yalumba Organic Viognier 2011, South Australia, Australia

A fragrant and floral viognier with notes of lime blossom and baking spices. Full-bodied yet not heavy. Pair with: mushroom risotto with truffle oil, Moroccan lamb tagine, roast pork stuffed with prunes and dried apricots. Drink: 2012-2015. 288217 13.50% D 750 mL $16.95 Score: 88/100.



Drinking Diaries: Women Serve Their Stories Straight Up

Editor: Caren Osten Gerszberg, Leah Odze Epstein




Lingenfelder Bird Label Riesling 2010, Q.B.A., Pfalz, Germany

Light-bodied with delicate pear and peach aromas. The moderated sweetness makes it a divine aperitif or companion to many dishes from glazed ham to Asian and spicy. Pair with: lightly spiced Thai, Indian cuisine. Drink: 2012-2016. 568634 11.5% M 750 mL $13.95 Score: 89/100.



Feeding a Yen: Savoring Local Specialties, from Kansas City to Cuzco

by Calvin Trillin







Unquenchable: A Tipsy Quest For The World’s Best Bargain Wines

by Natalie MacLean

Posted with permission of CTV News.

Wine Book and Bottle Pairings for the Holidays: CTV News at Noon

Leanne: Natalie MacLean has a really tough job as a wine writer. She’s forced to travel the world, to taste samples, right about them and when you’re on the plane you have to do a lot of reading before you get to a place.

Natalie: It is constant research. Even the wine cart can’t go unsampled.

Leanne: Hence, this segment. She’s sharing some of her favourite flavours and some of her favourite words for your Holiday season. This is a great idea … especially for book clubs.

Natalie: Absolutely, I think book clubs are often wine get togethers in disguise. The book stays on the table but the wine does not.

Leanne: I’ve heard them described as book a group of people with a drinking problem?

Natalie: With a drinking problem or the other way around.

Leanne: Or drinking clubs with a reading problem.

Natalie: One or the other, they go well together … books and bottles.

Leanne: We’re going to start with a classic.

Natalie: Absolutely. Veuve Clicquot classic Champagne. There’s actually a book been written about her life by Tilar Mazzeo. She’s an academic. She’s a professor in Maine, in the US and she’s done a wonderful job. Her specialty is profiling great women like Coco Chanel. Veuve Clicquot’s story is fascinating because at 28 she was left widowed with a daughter who was about 8 or 9 years old. During the Napoleonic years, she started running the Champagne house and built it into one of the biggest ever.

Leanne: So if you know someone who likes their bubbles, this is a perfect pairing.

Natalie: Yes.

Leanne: It’s story and a very beautiful Champagne.

Natalie: Absolutely.

Leanne: You say the Canadian Sparkling wines really have come of age and this is a Henry of Pelham.

Natalie: It’s Catharine Brut and I love this Champagne or I should say, Sparkling wine. It’s a Rosé so it has those fleeting aromas of raspberries. The reason I paired it with a book by Roald Dahl, he wrote Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, a collection of short stories called  ‘Someone Like You’. The first story in this book is called “Taste” and it’s all about a blind tasting where the wine expert tries to guess the name of the wine. I think that kind of blind tasting is parlour tricks. It’s a very silly way to prove expertise but I challenge you to taste the Henry of Pelham Rosé Sparkling and not mistake it for Champagne.

Leanne: That’s fabulous news and for anyone who’s wondering and wanting to write down the titles and the names of the wine, we’re going to send you to Natalie’s website so you’ll be able to get all of your information.

Natalie: Absolutely.

Leanne: Absolutely. The Chardonnay?

Natalie: This Chardonnay is Le Clos Jordanne from Niagara. It’s a beautiful luscious, buttery Chardonnay. I’ve paired it with one of my favourite Canadian writers, Kathy Buckworth … Shut Up and Eat. The subtitle is Tales of Chicken, Children and Chardonnay. She also wrote the BlackBerry Diary. She’s a Toronto writer who writes about motherhood. I’m a mother, too, and I call my 5 o’clock wine, Mommy’s Little Helper, and so does she.We all know that a glass of wine can really help some of those days.

Leanne: If you have a gal on your list who loves Chardonnay, that’s a great pairing for her.

Natalie: It is.

Leanne: Now what about this Pinot Noir?

Natalie: This Pinot Noir is from Prince Edward County as we know it’s one of our closest wine regions. It’s developing some terrific Pinot Noirs. This book is also from a writer and wine producer…

Leanne: Jamie Kennedy.

Natalie: Well, Jamie Kennedy the Toronto chef, endorsed it.  The author is Geoff Heinricks and it’s A Fool and Forty Acres. I put those together because I believed that Geoff is one of our best wine writers in the country and Pinot Noir from Prince Edward County, I think, has the greatest promise for Pinot Noir.

Leanne: Terrific and it’s always so great to support our own region.

Natalie: Absolutely.

Leanne: Right, now you’re doing that again with Jacob Richler’s book … which is?

Natalie: Yes.

Leanne: My Canada Includes Foie Gras. People may not be all over the title but his story is his journey through Canadian culinary circles.

Natalie: Yes, this is a new book out and I’m really excited about it because Jacob is a terrific food writer. He’s also a restaurant critic, based in Toronto.

Leanne: You’ve paired it with a dessert wine.

Natalie: Exactly.

Leanne: Nice wine.

Natalie: In the traditional pairing for Foie Gras or other salty dishes is a Bordeaux Sauterne but try Canadian Ice wine. It goes with desserts but also at the front of the meal with richer, salty dishes.

Leanne: Natalie always being so many conversation pieces as well. Her book is a great conversation piece and is now available in paperback.

Natalie: Absolutely, Leanne.

Leanne: We’re going to get back with that in the next segment. Let’s talk about this organic wine, produced by an Australian woman.

Natalie: It’s a lovely floral, beautifully aromatic, complex white and I’ve paired it with a new book, The Drinking Diaries: Women Serve Their Stories Straight Up. It’s all about women and their relationship with alcohol … some light some dark but it’s interesting and it’s complex just like this wine.

Leanne: Now a complex character perhaps, its Calvin Trillin he has a Nova Scotian connection, he summers near Lunenburg.

Natalie: Lunenburg, yes, where my mother is actually …  a maritime connection…

Leanne: Two Nova Scotian girls.

Natalie: I’ve paired it with a German Riesling. This Riesling is a terrific bargain. It is only $14. I should mention that one is only $16.  Again, I have posted everything on . The reason why I paired it with Calvin Trillin’s book is he has an appetite for many dishes. He loves Kansas City barbeque and he loves Asian, spicy dishes. German Riesling is a go to for all of those flavours.

Leanne: German Riesling’s a go to wine but we have to go, right now. We’re coming back after the break with some more great suggestions to read and to taste.



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