Guest Wine Writers

  1. RECIPE - Homemade Wine Ice Cream for Mother's Day!

    RECIPE - Homemade Wine Ice Cream for Mother's Day!

    Today, we have UK photographer and foodie Veronica Shah sharing a special ice cream recipe that you can make yourself – oh, and it’s made from wine. This is a recipe that is sure to impress any wine-loving Mom!

    This ice cream is simple to prepare and can be made in the comfort of your own home, without using an ice cream maker. It’s the perfect treat for celebrating Mother’s Day! All you need is a good wine (today we're sampling some gems from Sperling Vineyard - offering you free shipping all week long), some basic ingredients that you can find at your local grocery store, and a few common kitchen utensils. 

    Keep Reading
  2. Canadian Winery Spotlight: Benjamin Bridge

    Canadian Winery Spotlight: Benjamin Bridge

    The recent accolades for high quality traditional method sparkling wine from Atlantic Canada is not just a fluke or an anomaly. Traditional method sparkling producers in Nova Scotia have risen to five wineries: L’Acadie Vineyards, Benjamin BridgeDomaine de Grand Pré, Blomidon Estates, and Avondale Sky - and more are on the way! And the trend has even flowed across the border to New Brunswick - which now has two.

    Keep Reading
  3. Canadian Winery Spotlight: Ridge Road Estate Winery

    Canadian Winery Spotlight: Ridge Road Estate Winery

    As the story seems to go with most great wineries, it all starts with the fruit. In this case, the fruit was an orchard. In 1994, Sean and Jayne Douglas decided to buy a fruit farm from Jayne’s grandmother that had been in the family for over 100 years.

    Keep Reading
  4. Ageing Nova Scotia Wine

    Ageing Nova Scotia Wine

    There is a perception in most of the Canadian wine community that Atlantic wine is a new thing - the industry actually started in the late 70s - and there is not much knowledge outside the region about the ageworthiness of the wines. Few restaurant cellars in Toronto, Montreal, Calgary and Vancouver

    Keep Reading
  5. Christmas Morning Alert! Brunch Wines

    Christmas Morning Alert! Brunch Wines

    It’s pretty much a universal given; Brunch is the best meal of the day. Heck, I’d even give Sunday brunch bragging rights to of Meal of the Week. It takes many forms, from formal tea service to all-you-can-eat buffets to lazy late breakfast in bed. Whatever the time, attire or menu, it’s a special event - and - one most often accompanied by booze.

    Sanctioned drinking in the morning/noon/early afternoon!

    What could be better? (nothing)

    What could go wrong? (lots)

    We’ve all heard it: “This would be a great brunch wine.” But what does that mean? Part of brunch’s charm lies in its variation – from eggs benny to Moroccan tagine to kale quinoa salad to pulled pork sandwiches to fruit and cheese platters. So what do people mean when they refer to a great brunch wine? And what should you be looking for?

    First, remember that even though you may have fallen into bed just a few hours earlier, it’s daylight, and there are still hours of possible productivity to get through. Most wines suited for brunch are lighter, fresher, lower in alcohol and generally quaffable. It’s not the time of day to be decanting and downing 16% alcohol tannic reds, no matter how long a siesta you plan on taking after. Bright, lively, pure-fruited whites like Tawse Sketches Riesling 2013 will waken the palate, while lighter, lower tannin reds like Meyer Family Vineyards Okanagan Valley Pinot Noir 2012 can take on proteins without putting you to sleep.

    Just like brunch bridges the breakfast / lunch space, rosés are the bridge between white and red. No coincidence that rosés are perfectly suited for brunch, combining the freshness and brightness of a white with the tannins and berry fruit of a red.

    Keep Reading
  6. BC Crowns New Sommelier of the Year

    BC Crowns New Sommelier of the Year

    In March 2013, French Canadian Véronique Rivest became the 2nd best sommelier in the world. The entire country was proud. But how do you get this title? Why is it that in BC, where we have tremendous wine talents, we had no ways to participate, not even at the Canadian level?

    The world competition

    Keep Reading
  7. Moncton’s “World” Wine & Food Expo Turns 24

    Moncton’s “World” Wine & Food Expo Turns 24

    Moncton’s World Wine & Food Expo enjoyed its 24th iteration in 2014, running from October 25th to November 1st. What used to be a wine tasting has grown into a full week of dinners and seminars leading up to the Grand Tastings on Friday and Saturday, making it the largest festival of its kind in Atlantic Canada.

    The big dinners this year were as extravagant as ever, and all for charity, featuring celebrity chefs Jamie Kennedy - who was in town to promote a new cookbook - and Moncton’s own Matt Pennell, who won his episode of The Food Network’s Chopped Canada and manages the kitchen at the Moncton Coliseum Complex, the site of the show.

    I had a chance to experience Pennell’s work at a Torres wine luncheon/seminar during the week. He prepared several dishes to match white and red Spanish selections, fashioning some pretty authentic tapas.

    The ‘big’ events are typically the Friday and Saturday night Grand Tastings, although this year Friday was quiet, due to it being Halloween. Wine lovers made up for that by showing up en masse for the Saturday afternoon and evening events.

    There is always a good selection of wines at the show, some of which were awarded Wine Show medals from a judging held earlier in the year. This said, the number of Canadian wines was not impressive this year. Of the 350 odd wines featured at the show, only 23 were Canadian, from only five participating wineries: Pelee Island and Andrew Peller from Ontario, and Jost, Benjamin Bridge and Ferme Bourgeois from Atlantic Canada. We really should be better at getting our wines sold all across the country.

    Ferme Bourgeois was the only New Brunswick winery, which is curious as the number of local producers has grown recently. They have had great success winning medals for their fruit wines - particularly apple, raspberry, cherry and pear - at national co

    Keep Reading
  8. Hey, Teach...

    Hey, Teach...

    Pedagogy. I’ve always been curious about this word, starting with how to pronounce it. Pedago-gee (as in gee-whiz)? Pedagogy (with a hard ‘g’ as in girl)? Dictionaries define pedagogy as the art, science or profession of teaching, and when I was little, I had no idea that I would have any part of it. I had actually planned to be a kid’s doctor or a UN translator or to study monkeys. But I realize now that somehow a pedagogue is what I have become, and I couldn’t be happier.

    I came to wine via a circuitous route, as most of us do, but when the vinous bug bit me, it chomped savagely. I leapt into every course I could, studying and tasting (and yes, sometimes drinking) like a fiend. Years ago when working at the lovely little Vancouver boutique cooking school known as Dubrulle (since morphing into the Art Institute, but not before graduating a generation of chefs including Rob Feenie, Ned Bell, and Makoto Ono), I had the opportunity to begin teaching the Wine and Spirits Education Trust (WSET) and International Sommelier Guild programs to culinary students and budding wine professionals. What followed was almost a decade of relentless traveling to American cities (LA, Las Vegas, Denver, Portland, Seattle, and Phoenix were among my weekly stops) where I met talented and passionate students, shopped from a big world of wine and accumulated millions of air miles.

    Teaching teaches you a thing or two: this is where the pedagogy comes into the equation. There is a science to education, and understanding different learning styles is fundamental to being an effective teacher. Never losing sight of the learner’s point of view matters enormously. Trying to experience wine like a beginner keeps you humble, fresh and constantly engaged. Having recently taken over the responsibility for wine education at the Pacific Institute of Culinary Arts, I am thrilled to be reunited with a respected colleague from Dubrulle days, Chef Julian Bond

    Keep Reading
  9. Postcard From Wolfville

    Postcard From Wolfville

    While on a recent trip throughout Atlantic Canada, I had the pleasure of roaming Nova Scotia’s Annapolis Valley, visiting many of its wineries. This is a beautiful part of our country, situated around the picturesque town of Wolfville, a bed and breakfast community that offers great restaurants, stunning scenery, and some very serious wineries. It’s become quickly apparent that Nova Scotia’s variety of choice is the hardy and very Canadian hybrid L’Acadie Blanc. This complex hybrid was developed at the University of Guelph and is a combination of eight different Vitis genus species. Only a small percentage belongs to Vitis vinifera, of which almost all the world’s wine is produced. Of course, primarily chosen for its early ripening and ability to survive Nova Scotia’s frigid winters, I believe its continued success is due to its versatility of style.

    Here are some of my favourites:

    DOMAINE DE GRAND PRÉ - L’Acadie Blanc 2012

    A great combination of racy acidity and rich body. Dominated by citrus and grapefruit flavours, it’s rounded out with aromas of cut grass and herbs. It’s a leaner example of L’Acadie Blanc that’s bone dry and lively.

    AVONDALE SKY - Burlington L’Acadie Blanc 2012

    With a month in oak and aged with some lees stirring, there’s some great weight on the palate, showing plenty of sweet spice and baked apples with underlining flavours of wet stone and vanilla. The length is long, sustained by palate-extending acidity.

    L’ACADIE VINEYARDS - Prestige Brut Estate 2008

    Keep Reading
  10. A Mid-August BC Vintage Report

    A Mid-August BC Vintage Report

    Summer is a glorious time to be in wine country. The vines are full and green, berries are just starting véraison (colour change) and we’re still on friendly terms with the bees and birds. I spent the last week driving through the Okanagan and Similkameen, with plans as casually laid out as my wardrobe (read only sundresses & flipflops) and chatting with winemakers about how 2014 harvest is going so far.

    It’s not just the grapes that are happy – the hot summer is great for tourism, and nearly every second license plate was from AB traffic. Last week’s announcement that the Okanagan Valley was voted the second best wine region to visit amongst 20 worldwide nominees by the USA Today Readers' Choice 2014 Awards will certainly only bump those numbers up in future.

    During my weeklong visit, temperatures spiked to 39C during the day and cooled to 15C in the evening, winds were gentle and the skies were dry and bright. Late spring rains have provided a little buffer for vineyards to see through this heat, though in certain places, the high temperatures have hindered more than they’ve helped. When some grapes get over 32/35 C, they shut down and effectively go to sleep, meaning in a super hot summer, there may be delayed maturity. David Paterson, winemaker at East Kelowna’s Tantalus Vineyards predicts that there will be many “green wines” in 2014 because the grapes aren’t getting the time to fully mature during their afternoon siestas. If this hot spell continues, he expects more tropical notes in the Riesling, and hopefully be fully finished vintage (well, save for their unique syrah icewine) pre-Thanksgiving.

    A little further south, in Okanagan Falls,

    Keep Reading