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Best LCBO Wine Reviews: Vintages Ratings May 30

Natalie Decants - May 28, 2020 - 11:13am

You can access the 107 wines that I reviewed as a text wine list with my complete tasting notes, scores, food matches. If you are a Paid Member, you can add my wine picks to your custom shopping list with one click and access that list on your smartphone to find the stock for each wine in your closest LCBO store. You can also see my wine reviews for May 16. These are just some of the benefits of supporting out wine community as a Paid Member. Inventory stock numbers are usually posted online a day or two before the […]

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Categories: Wine

Video: How to Pair Wine + Quarantine Snacks

Natalie Decants - May 28, 2020 - 10:52am

Anyone can pair a juicy steak with a Cabernet, but which wines should we drink with our favourite quarantine snacks?   On Global Television’s Morning Show, I share my insider tips: What’s the key in terms of flavour, pairing a snack and a wine? Do you want opposite flavour profiles or similar? (ie: creamy snack, creamy wine or creamy snack, acidic wine)? What’s one important thing that people tend to forget when they pick a wine/snack pairing?   Okay, let’s dive into these pairings! Which wine do you suggest pairing with pretzels and why?             […]

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Categories: Wine

How Online Wine Classes Are Changing The Course of Wine Appreciation

Natalie Decants - May 27, 2020 - 8:23am

On CTV News, Leanne and I chat about how more and more wine lovers are turning to online wine classes, not just because we’re in quarantine, but also because they offer many advantages over physical courses: You don’t have to drive, find parking or a babysitter and then drive home after drinking Many couples take the course together as date night (a two-for-one benefit because they only pay one course fee) Family members of drinking age can also do this as it’s often a lot more fun than monopoly My students meet wine lovers around the world, they develop friendships […]

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Categories: Wine

Why are Nova Scotia’s Tidal Bay and L’Acadie Blanc Signature Wines?

Natalie Decants - May 27, 2020 - 2:58am

Introduction What do you need to know about Nova Scotia’s signature grape, L’Acadie blanc? What is Tidal Bay and why is it Canada’s first stylistic appellation? Why is one Nova Scotia winery burying barrels of wine underground? Which travel tips should you keep in mind when you visit Nova Scotia wineries? In this episode of the Unreserved Wine Talk podcast, I’m chatting with Amy Savoury, a certified sommelier and instructor of culinary and tourism studies at the Nova Scotia Community College. You can find the wines we discussed here.     Highlights Why can you taste many different fruit flavours […]

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Categories: Wine

Oregon’s Peak Destinations for Food, Wine and Golf

Natalie Decants - May 23, 2020 - 1:42pm

Nestled in a pastoral Oregon valley between the Cascade Mountains and the Coastal Range lies some of the best cool-climate wineries in North America. While some would say the terroir of the Willamette Valley rivals that of Burgundy, that claim can only be tested when tasted. There are seven American Viticultural Areas (AVAs) in the Willamette Valley and these diverse areas are home to over 800 wineries with the vast majority in the hills of the north. For the most part this region is best known for its Pinot Noir and Chardonnay varietals with a growing reputation for Pinot Gris, […]

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Categories: Wine

Support Ontario Wineries: Buy Direct and Ship to Your Home (Video)

Natalie Decants - May 22, 2020 - 8:50am

On CTV News, Leanne and I chat about how Ontario wineries are particularly hard hit by Covid-19, what they’re doing to pivot and how you can help support these local businesses: – Tasting rooms are closed as are major clients, restaurants in general – Most wineries didn’t have wines in the LCBO to begin with because they don’t produce enough wine to fill that channel – The majority of the 180 wineries have fewer than 20 employees – Many are turning to direct shipping   You can get free shipping and other deals here: nataliemaclean.com/niagara   When you buy a […]

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Categories: Wine

How to Pair Wine with Any Hamburger (Video)

Natalie Decants - May 22, 2020 - 7:44am

On Global Television’s Morning Show Thursday, we paired wine with many types of hamburgers. Nothing says summer like a juicy two-fisted burger and beer – it’s casual and a good pairing. But what if you want wine with your patti? Wine is also a great pairing, but we think it’s too fancy for the backyard and burgs. However it’s not, and it has a wide range of flavours and styles for the imaginative burgers we have here today.   The Daniel – Vegan Patty Grilled onions, lettuce, tomatoes, pickles, crushed hot peppers, spicy vegan sauce. In the beginning, Shant Mardirosian, […]

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Categories: Wine

The Use (and Abuse) of Wine Scores with Vino Mike and Pete on That Wine Pod

Natalie Decants - May 20, 2020 - 2:58am

Introduction How does the 100 point scale make wine scores easier for you to interpret? How can you drink better wines by finding a wine critic whose style you like? How does grade inflation affect you as a wine lover? Why is taking an online wine course often better than an in-person course? In this episode of the Unreserved Wine Talk podcast, I’m sharing a conversation I originally had with Pete & Vino Mike on their podcast, That Wine Pod. You can find the wines we discussed here.   Highlights What’s my take on the best wine? Why should you […]

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Categories: Wine

Best LCBO Wine Reviews: Vintages Ratings May 16

Natalie Decants - May 15, 2020 - 8:20am

You can access the 86 wines that I reviewed as a text wine list with my complete tasting notes, scores, food matches. If you are a Paid Member, you can add my wine picks to your custom shopping list with one click and access that list on your smartphone to find the stock for each wine in your closest LCBO store. You can also see my wine reviews for May 2. These are just some of the benefits of supporting out wine community as a Paid Member. Inventory stock numbers are usually posted online a day or two before the […]

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Categories: Wine

Wine Girl Reveals the Wine World’s Dark Side and Hope for the Future with Sommelier Victoria James

Natalie Decants - May 13, 2020 - 2:58am

Introduction What’s it like serving wine to celebrities like Mariah Carey, Jay-Z, Beyonce and Miley Cyrus? How is being a sommelier different when you work at a Michelin-starred restaurant, especially when you’re just 21 years old? Why is the wine world still largely an old boys club and how does that impact the wines you drink? Which shocking ingredients might you find in some non-organic wines? In this episode of the Unreserved Wine Talk podcast, we’re chatting with Victoria James, author, restauranteur and the youngest person in the world to pass the certified sommelier exam with the Court of Master […]

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Categories: Wine

Niagara Vine Laureate Klaus Reif: Ontario Wine’s Future

Natalie Decants - May 6, 2020 - 2:58am

Introduction What profound impact does buying your local wine have on your economy? Why will supporting the “Free My Grapes” campaign improve your choice and access to wine? How have Ontario wines changed since the 80s? What are the biggest challenges facing the Canadian wine industry? In this episode of the Unreserved Wine Talk podcast, we’re chatting with Klaus Reif of Niagara-on-the-Lake’s Reif Winery. You can find the wines we discussed here.   Highlights How is the younger generation of Ontario winemakers impacting the industry? How has the perception of Ontario wines changed since the 80s? What are the four […]

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Categories: Wine

Best LCBO Wine Reviews: Vintages Ratings May 2

Natalie Decants - May 3, 2020 - 3:23pm

You can access the 103 wines that I reviewed as a text wine list with my complete tasting notes, scores, food matches. If you are a Paid Member, you can add my wine picks to your custom shopping list with one click and access that list on your smartphone to find the stock for each wine in your closest LCBO store. You can also see my wine reviews for April 18. These are just some of the benefits of supporting out wine community as a Paid Member. Inventory stock numbers are usually posted online a day or two before the […]

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Categories: Wine

Dr. Laura Catena on Malbec, Wine’s Health Benefits and Winemaking in Argentina

Natalie Decants - April 29, 2020 - 2:58am

Introduction Have you tasted an Argentine Malbec? Which foods pair best with Malbec? Why is Malbec more like Pinot Noir than Cabernet? What are the health benefits of wine? In this episode of the Unreserved Wine Talk podcast, we’re chatting with Dr. Laura Catena, a fourth-generation Argentine vintner, physician and author. You can find the wines we discussed here.   Highlights How does Laura’s scientific approach to winemaking improve the taste of the Malbecs you drink? What is the significance of the pyramid-style of the Catena winery? Why is Malbec the flagship grape of Argentina? What differences can you see […]

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Categories: Wine

Celebrating Mother’s Day with the Great Women of Champagne

Natalie Decants - April 28, 2020 - 7:20am

On CTV’s The Social yesterday, we chatted about the top Champagnes made by women for Mother’s Day. (Click on the arrow above to play the video.) They were all young women whose families owned the great champagne houses at the turn of the 18th and 19th centuries. When they lost their husbands to war or illness, they didn’t sell the businesses or remarry. They took control of the chateaus to produce some of the most prestigious wines in the world. In an era when few women were in business at all, these women headed what were, at the time, some […]

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Categories: Wine

Mother’s Day Brunch Wine and Champagne Pairings

Natalie Decants - April 28, 2020 - 5:49am

Jeff and I had such fun chatting about wines for Mother’s Day gifts on Canada AM, especially champagne for brunch. There’s even a “live action” shot with uncorking a sparkler. (Okay, not so much.) Here are my Top 20 Wines for Mother’s Day, either made by women or named for them. Often the latter were originally made by women. You’ll also find more suggestions in my Mother’s Day wines for Epicurious as well as for More Magazine. Jeff: It’s Mother’s Day, of course, on Sunday, and if you are planning on taking her out for brunch, you might want to […]

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Categories: Wine

Gifts for Mother’s Day: Wine Trumps Flowers (and Tastes Better)

Natalie Decants - April 28, 2020 - 5:14am

My wine column in the May issue of More Magazine, with more than 500,000 thirsty readers, features three wines to celebrate Mother’s Day as gifts: three spectacular bubblies. A toast to Mom! The cover features an actress whom I admire for her depth, strength and guts, Julianna Margulies (The Good Wife, Canterbury’s Law, ER). I also love that she’s often drinking a glass of wine as she reviews her legal briefs in the evening at home. (Guess that doesn’t play so well in the ER.) At the start of the season, it was white wine, but I notice that it’s […]

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Categories: Wine

Video Interview: “Wine Girl: The Obstacles, Humiliations, and Triumphs of America’s Youngest Sommelier” author Victoria James

Natalie Decants - April 24, 2020 - 8:33am

My guest is Victoria James, the author of two books, her most recent, a gripping memoir called Wine Girl, which has been on the national bestseller list for four weeks. She’s also the youngest person in the world to pass the certified sommelier exam with the Court of Master Sommeliers at just 21 and has worked in Michelin-starred restaurants ever since. Today, she’s the partner and beverage director at New York’s Cote Korean Steakhouse restaurant. Her journey to this stellar position, however, was a difficult one as the sub-title of the book alludes: The obstacles, humiliations, and triumphs of a young […]

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Categories: Wine

What Happens to Wine with Salt or Lemon?

Natalie Decants - April 24, 2020 - 7:30am

One of my students recently told me how much he misses going out to restaurants right now, and asked if there was anything fun and educational that he could try at home with wine. My mind immediately went to the salt and lemon taste test. You can try this too at home to see just how profoundly these two ingredients or garnishes can change the taste of your wine. Doing this tasting will also give you terrific insight on how to better pair your wine with a variety of dishes. These are the kind of tips that I teach in […]

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Categories: Wine

Stave & Steel Wines Aged in Bourbon and Canadian Whisky Barrels

Natalie Decants - April 23, 2020 - 1:27pm

Steve & Steel Winemaker James Foster was raised on a family farm, the historic Roseland Plantation in Eufaula, Alabama, where they farmed peanuts, hay and cotton.   James FosterWinemaker   Although James grew up in Alabama, his father worked in the California wine industry, and James began to follow in his footsteps.           Stave & Steel Bourbon Barrel Aged Cabernet Sauvignon 2017 California, United States             Great pairings include grilled burgers, ribs, steak and charcuterie.           Curious about the winemaking process and inspired to learn more, he […]

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Categories: Wine

Slow-Basted BBQ Ribeye Recipe Paired with Slow Press Cabernet Sauvignon

Natalie Decants - April 23, 2020 - 12:48pm

SLOW-BASTED BBQ RIBEYE Thick-cut boneless ribeyes are seasoned with cocoa, sea salt and ground pepper, then basted in a Slow Press Cabernet Sauvignon BBQ sauce for juicy taste and smoky-sweet-savory flavor. PREP TIME: 5 minutes COOK TIME: 15 minutes PORTIONS: 4 SERVING SIZE: 1 beef ribeye steak INGREDIENTS: ½ cup Slow Press Cabernet Sauvignon4 12 oz. boneless ribeye steaks½ cup smoky style BBQ sauce2 tsp. unsweetened cocoa powder2 tsp. coarse ground black pepper2 tsp. sea salt METHOD: Prepare the Slow Press Cabernet Sauvignon BBQ sauce: Place Slow Press Cabernet Sauvignon and bbq sauce in a mixing bowl and whisk to […]

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Categories: Wine