Ottawa Citizen columns
Penfolds wines, from medicine to luxury
Wednesday, 25 July 2012
I was recently in Moscow for the unveiling of a $175,000 bottle of wine. Actually, it wasn’t a bottle; it was an ampoule, a handcrafted glass container holding 750 mL of wine (a standard bottle), enclosed in an elegant hand-blown vessel. The wine was 2004 Penfolds Bin 60A, a cabernet sauvignon made from grapes growing on 150-year-old vines, probably the oldest cabernet vines in the world. (I was at the Moscow event as a guest of Penfolds.)
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A little early to celebrate open wine trade between provinces
Wednesday, 18 July 2012
A few weeks ago, Parliament passed a law enabling Canadians in one province to purchase wine from another. Until then, it was illegal for, say, a resident of Ontario to bring a bottle of wine back from another province. You could bring two bottles duty-free from any place outside Canada (more that two if you paid the duties), but not from another Canadian province. And you couldn’t order wine for delivery. Now we can ... maybe.
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Revolutionizing France’s wine
Thursday, 12 July 2012
July 14, which falls on Saturday, is probably better known as Bastille Day (France’s national day) than for being my birthday. The date, of course, commemorates the 1789 seizure of the Bastille, a royal prison in Paris, by an armed force from the city. It’s conventionally (though mistakenly, I think) thought to be the beginning of the French Revolution.
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Wine fraud throws light on the market
Wednesday, 04 July 2012
A serious case of wine fraud that recently came to the fore in the U.S. is throwing light on aspects of current wine culture. It involves an Indonesian, who seems to have been under a deportation order, but who changed his name and claimed to be a member of a wealthy family. Quite how he got his financial start in the U.S. isn’t clear, but for about five years he was a major buyer, seller and consumer of some of the most expensive wines on the market.
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Think pink as the temperature soars
Wednesday, 27 June 2012
It’s time for the annual rosé column, when I urge you to drink pink. But fewer and fewer people need to be urged these days: rosé has been steadily increasing in production and sales over the last five years.
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How transparent should wine blends be?
Thursday, 21 June 2012
What do today’s wines have in common -- and not only in common with one another, but with many other wines? The answer is they might or might not combine one or more grape variety.
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You may be surprised who drinks the most wine
Wednesday, 13 June 2012
Guess who, of all the world’s peoples, consumes the most wine? It’s interesting to watch trends, as consumption rises in some countries and falls in others, and to speculate about the reasons in each case. In Canada, per capita consumption of wine has been rising slowly and steadily for years, as wine has become a lifestyle choice for many people, especially in the younger (20s and early-30s) age-groups.
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Sauvignon blanc across the spectrum
Wednesday, 06 June 2012
I spent a week last month in the Loire Valley, and had a chance to taste a good number of sauvignon blancs. It’s the white grape of Sancerre, one of the few Loire appellations that’s widely known (the other is Muscadet), and also an important variety in less-known Loire regions like Touraine, Pouilly, and Menetou-Salon.
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Pairing wine with food should be fun, experimental
Wednesday, 30 May 2012
Last week, I was at a wine and beer taste-off at the Mill Street Brew Pub. About 60 people paid for a four-course meal, each course paired with a beer (Mill Street, of course) and a wine (from Niagara’s excellent 13th Street Winery). People voted after each pairing, and the final result was a victory for the wine. I was there to help lead the cheering for wine, but in a couple of cases I thought the beer was as good, or almost as good, a partner to the food.
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From lean to luscious, this grape is cool
Wednesday, 23 May 2012
It doesn’t seem right, does it, to describe chardonnay as “cool.” It’s the world’s most popular grape, it’s grown in almost every wine-producing country, and wine store shelves groan with bottles of it.
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