Wine me good!

CAFE IRUNA, Pamplona, Spain

CAFE IRUNA, Pamplona, Spain

Flash this! 

Okanagan spring 2014 wine festival in British Columbia, Canada.

Toronto: Gourmet Food & Wine Expo, Toronto, November  14 – 17, 2013. Metro Toronto Convention Centre.  Sample over 1,500 fine wines, beers and spirits from around the world. Annual event.

One of the most prestigious and biggest wine
competitions in the world, “The Great MUNDUS VINI International Wine Awards“, wins awards for Altos de
Corral Barrel Fermented 2008
GRAND GOLD Medal and the special distinction of Best Red Wine Rioja.

Canada: Mission Hill Family Estate (British Colombia’s Okanagan Valley) took on the best in the world and won top honours as ‘World’s Best Pinot Noir’ in the under £15 category at the Decanter World Wine Awards in London, England.

I was totally shocked when I learned that our Pinot Noir was named best in the world,” said Mission Hill’s Proprietor Anthony von Mandl, O.B.C. “I am still in awe that a wine from the still emerging Okanagan Valley could win against the best Pinot Noir in the world from Burgundy, Sonoma Country, Oregon, and New Zealand. This is a seminal moment for the entire Canadian wine industry!”

Results from the 2013/14 competition, including Gold, Silver and Honours award winners, a selection of top-value wines and a spotlight of the Top 15 producers of the competition are featured in the InterVin Awards edition of VINES Magazine.

InterVin medallists will be widely celebrated as part of the Gourmet Food & Wine Expo, November 14-17 at the Metro Toronto Convention Centre. Expo guests will have opportunities to sample and experience winning wines during the four-day event, which includes a special InterVin Gold tasting Thursday, November 17 at 7 p.m. Visit for details.

Nova Scotia wine festival ends Oct. 14, 2013.

Pamplona, Spain is known for its annual bull run in July. Yup, this is the same bull run Ernest Hemingway wrote about in some of his famous novels.  Cafe Iruna in Pamplona is the same bar Hemingway put on the map. Inside the bar/restaurant is a life-size bust of Hemingway. Once you pay Cafe Iruna a visit you may not want to leave as the ambiance is festive. Inside these walls history comes alive with a wonderful long bar made of ornate carved wood. Spain: women in red on bikes  Information on wine tours.

Experience the Wine Routes of Spain this Fall

Itineraries for less than you think !  (3nts/$238*)

Tel: (416) 534-8891 Toll Free: (800) 387-6731 (800) EUROPE1 Email:

New Zealand must-attend 2013 wine event! 

Happens only every three-years!  Next up is 2013 in Wellington, New Zealand.  Wednesday 30th January will be the evening Pinot Noir NZ 2013 opens its doors to Pinot lovers for a casual tasting of wines from New Zealand’s five Pinot producing regions. It will be the opportunity to meet the country’s best winemakers and try over 100 of our best Pinot Noirs, many of which are no longer available in the marketplace. The organisers anticipate a full house on the famous Wellington Waterfront.

Wellington, New Zealand was recently (November 2012) the location of The Hobbit world premiere.

Sail away to the other side of the world with Holland America Line to enjoy wine and a touch of fantasy!  I say it’s a pairing made in heaven. Pinot Noir NZ 2013 tickets: email or Facebook:

Gourmet Food & Wine Expo, Toronto, November  14 – 17, 2013.  Metro Toronto Convention Centre.  Sample over 1,500 fine wines, beers and spirits from around the world. Annual event.

Gangnam Style with wine!

Gourmet Food and Wine Show. Annual event in Toronto.

Gourmet Food and Wine Show. Annual event in Toronto.

Try this wine with Italian meats. 2011 Symphony Obsession. Award winner.

Try this wine with Italian meats. 2011 Symphony Obsession. Award winner.

2011 Symphony Obsession won “Silver” in the 2013 San Francisco Chronicle International Wine Competition.

Big bash annual wine and food event held in Whistler, British Columbia — about a two-hour auto drive north of Vancouver, BC.   This couple did it their way!

Frances Mayes, author of Under the Tuscan Sun, says that Unquenchable “introduces you to many winemakers who could be in novels, to out of the way places you want to add to your travel list, and, most of all, to an appreciation of vino as integral to the joy of living.”

Meet Natalie MacLean, one of the world’s great wine writers, on a Canada coast-to-coast wine tour (2011) as she meets her fans with her new wine book: Unquenchable: A Tipsy Quest for the World’s Best Bargain Wine. Here’s Natalie in her own words:  “I am so excited about meeting you, my fellow wine lovers, this fall! Come out and raise a glass (or three) with me during the tour for my second wine book, Unquenchable: A Tipsy Quest for the World’s Best Bargain Wines.” Natalie’s award winning book on her quest for the world’s best bargain wines makes for the ideal house warming, birthday, celebration of any kind, or BBQ gift!  “UNQUENCHABLE” cannot be beat!  Anchor Canada and Random House publishers.

Named the World’s Best Drink Writer at the World food Media Awards, the Canadian journalist and sommelier Natalie is just back from a whirlwind trip to uncover the world’s best bargain wines and share them with you.

Natalie will also share stories about fascinating winemakers and gorgeous, remote vineyards with her quirky humour and insider smarts that made her first book, Red, White and Drunk All Over, the only wine book ever to get on the national bestseller list. The Globe & Mail also named it one of the best books of the year.

Niagara-on-the-Lake pastry chef Catherine O’Donnell of Willow Cakes & Pastries will be working with many of the wineries again in 2013.  Her team will create over 50,000 delectable sweet savory dishes infused with chocolate and other local ingredients during the month-long event.  Stocking stuffer idea:  a pair of touring passes. Touring passes are $35 per person (plus HST) and Designated Driver passes are $25 (plus HST, limit one per purchase).  Both can be purchased now either online at or by calling Tourism Niagara-on-the-Lake at 905.468.1950.

Chocolate Trail, Stratford, Ontario, Canada

You gotta do Stratford’s chocolate trail ’cause wine and chocolate go hand-in-hand.  Two-hours drive west of Toronto. VIA Rail has train service Toronto to Stratford.

Savour Stratford Tutored Tastings – Scotch & Chocolate

Local Scotch enthusiast, Esther Brown has put together a tasting of single malt scotches that have been paired with a variety of chocolates from Rheo Thompson Candies selected by owner Kristene Steed.  You’re sure to enjoy the tales and delicious notes that this pairing hit!  Learn about the wonderful combination of Chocolate and Scotch.  An interesting partnering of flavours.  The experience will walk you through the various flavours of cocoa and Scotch from the different regions of Scotland.  SOLD OUT.   Cost: $30/Per person plus HS,php  Trailer! 2013 wine reviews just for summer BBQ fun.

New Zealand

DUNEDIN, New Zealand / Taieri Gorge train journey

DUNEDIN, New Zealand / Taieri Gorge train journey

In 2010 I took a cruise with Holland America Line on the m.s. Volendam of the South and North Islands of New Zealand. We stopped at the port of Napier, a community founded in 1856 by Sir Charles Napier, a British official in India. A lively musical band and antique automobiles greeted us at port. Cher took a stroll along a black sand beach in the morning while I myself toured some of the top vineyards of Hawke’s Bay: Mission Estate; Brookfield’s Vineyards; and Church Road Winery. The vineyards are so lovely an entire week in the area wouldn’t be too much.

At Church Road Winery, founded in 1897, I ventured deep inside the original concrete wine vats that now offer an intriguing wine museum. Brookfields Vineyards conduct an excellent wine tasting.  A bottle of wine was given away for the correct answer to a question on wine. I didn’t win. Mission Estate Winery, founded in 1851, is a vast estate ideal for weddings, fine dining and wine tastings with a landscape that undulates in green waves all about. Mission hosts an annual concert on its generous grounds.  Sting with a 50-piece symphony orchestra and his band performed in February 2011. Check out Holland America’s website for a chance to win a cruise! Or book your own wine cruise with Holland

New Zealand wine event must-attend!

Happens only every three-years!  Next up is 2013,  28th to 31st January, in Wellington.  CEO Philip Gregan says Pinot Noir NZ is a springboard for overseas visitors to experience the whole of the New Zealand wine story as they often continue their New Zealand trip to absorb other regions and grape varieties.

Recently I had the opportunity to taste a 2010 Pinot Noir, The Abyss from Churton Wines.  Wine Advocate gives the ruby-purple Pinot Noir 91 points. I had never tasted anything like this red wine. I spoke with the supplier about hints of something I couldn’t put my finger on. Was it mulberries? I tasted this but there was something else and I liked it. I was asked if it was anise. I said “no” because I knew what I was tasting was something else.  It was as if I’d tasted this “something” before but not in a wine.  I’m no expert wine taster so…. I pressed on.  Later I read the wine’s taste notes.  Oolong tea.  Yes! This was it. The wine should be in the bottle for another 18-months. I’d like to try it again in 2020 or later.

Looking for fine Canadian cheese to pair with New Zealand wine?

  I recently had the opportunity to taste three new cheeses at a New Zealand wine tasting event in Toronto. The over-crowded room wasn’t my idea of enjoying a glass of wine with cheese, but what’s a gal to do when in a time crunch? La Belle-Mere. Fromagerie Medard, Saint-Gedeon, Quebec. Five generations family cheese farmhouse.  This semi-firm washed rind cheese aged for 3 months is produced from the family’s herd of Brown Swiss cows.

Tomme des Demoiselles. Aged 6 – 8 months. Firm washed rind cheese made with thermalized milk from a single herd of Canadienne cows. The fodder grown on the Iles-de-laMadeleine, Quebec islands gives the cheese the distinctive salt water-influenced taste.

Mountainoak cheese from the van Bergeijk’s dairy in New Hamburg, Ontario is produced from the family’s herd of Holsteins. This premium Dutch-Aged Gouda uses fresh raw milk. Hint of sweetness and nutty on the tongue.

Looking for award winning cheese?     Several years’ ago when in Banff, Alberta I tasted a remarkable Gouda from Sylvan Star Cheese Ltd., Alberta. Ask for Grizzly Gouda ’cause it’s fabulous.

For more information visit  or you can follow @PinotNoirNZ on Twitter or Pinot NZ on Facebook.

Taieri Gorge train journey / Dunedin, New Zealand

Taieri Gorge train journey / Dunedin, New Zealand

On a Holland America Line shore excursion in Dunedin, New Zealand with m.s. Volendam ship we enjoyed a train journey on the Taieri Gorge line. There’s nothing else like enjoying stunning scenery glass of excellent wine in hand to put one in a relaxed mood.

In Picton, originally called Waitohia, at the head of Queen Charlotte Sound, we were presented with a tiny nosegay of fragrant Old-fashioned roses when we got off the ship. The still floating hull of what is believed to be the ninth oldest ship in the world is that of the East Indian Edwin Fox. See it near the museum and the ferry wharf.

We enjoyed a private lunch of unbelievably delicious-tasting and locally caught river salmon at Barewood Garden with Peter and Vai Yealands after touring Yealands Estate.

Yealands Estate winery is located 25 kilometres south of Blenheim, in the Awatere Valley and is the single largest vineyard in the country under private ownership with 1,500 hectares.

Peter Yealands is a local fellow who looks very much like a charming character straight out of a period swashbuckling Hollywood film — gray beard and hair in somewhat need of a trim; but highly knowledgeable when it comes to wine and the environment.  Vai Yealands is a petite woman with clear bright eyes, beautiful skin, and a kind smile; she is a soft-spoken woman with an obvious passion for the land. I would be more than honoured to visit Yealands by the sea once more to taste what they’re up to.

Yealands Estate is currently undertaking Carbon Neutral certification and keeps to a minimum the use of chemicals. Green technology allows for the saving of energy.

Peter gave us a tour of the vineyard which overlooks Clifford Bay…so lovely a place this is I found myself longing to live here forever. The development of wetland areas on the vineyard has resulted in the regeneration of native flora and fauna. Here you’ll find a home to species such as the Black Swan, the rare Teal Duck, White Herron, and the endangered “Muritai” tree.  (twitter account: @yealands).

Yealand’s CO2 emissions are reduced by 161 tonnes per year withe the advent of the purpose-built boiler which uses vine prunings as fuel for heating at the winery.  Vine prunings are burned and the resultant energy generated used to power water and the glycol pumped around wine tanks to stabilise interior tank temperature.

Yealands  Estate wines is not only about producing sustainable wines but also about reducing carbon footprint. Yealands is considered today the most ambitious family-owned and operated vineyard in New Zealand.  You’ll find New Zealand’s world renowned Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc to premium Bordeaux Varietals from Hawke’s Bay in Yealand’s wine group collection of premium brands.   Here are just two wines of interest: Yealands Estate Sauvignon Blanc, Marlborough 2012, $21.95 PO.  Crossroads Milestones Series Syrah, Hawke’s Bay 2011, $27.95 PO.  Viticulturist Gareth Goodsir is Marlborough born and bred. Chief winemaker is Tamra Washington who grew up in Marlborough and received her viticulture degree at Lincoln University. Tamra has earned her stripes in Napa Valley, California, Australia, Sicily, Puglia, Tunisia and Italy’s northern Veneto region.

The Ritz London holds monthly Champagne Dinners with guest experts in the field. At The Ritz London you’ll find Krug Grande Cuvée by the 15oml glass. “There is champagne and then there is Krug” offers Rémi Krug.  Krug Clos d’Ambonnay 1995, 75cl (bottle) is £4250 the last time I looked.

Spain wins another wine award.

Spain wins another wine award.


wineSpainDonJacabo)_20130418_065157La Rioja region is highly respected on the international stage for its wine.  Situated in northern Spain, the city of Pamplona is a wonderful starting point from which to travel towards the wine region of La Rioja.  But first a visit to the Old Monastery of San Juan de la Pena   and the New Monastery of San Juan de la Pena where you may wish to stay overnight.  The view to the Pyrenees mountains is breathtaking. When you are ready, travel towards Najera, in the region of La Rioja. Want to travel a wine route? Check here:

Senorio de Villarrica, Wine art for sale

Logroño (La Rioja) Don Jacobo vineyards in Spain.  Tour the spectacular vineyards on horseback and afterwards return to the tasting room.  Accommodation is available in the immediate area.  10 suites, 5-star hotel

Tour vineyards on horseback in Spain  Senorio de Villarrica vineyards in the village of San Asensio, Spain. Tastings and courses at Senorio de Villarrica vineyards in Spain.

Best airfares to Spain at wholesale prices. Traveling there? Call us for a quote at 1-800-387-6731. We are a Canadian Tour Operator specializing in all different types of tours in Spain plus we offer great airfares since 1973.Visit us online at  Iberia Plus card allows for an expert or a novice to enter the world of wine.  Just ask your cabin crew about the Iberia Plus card.  Wines selected  by Custodio L. Zamarra  —  member of the Todo Vino Guide’s Tasting Committee; Sommelier of Zalacain in Madrid; and winner of the National Gastronomy Prize  —  to be enjoyed at 30,000 feet on Iberia Airlines.  I agree with Custodio and enjoyed an excellent Tinto/Red from Navarra: Gran Feudo Viñas Viejas Reserva 2004.  An excellent white with grassy notes and fruity on the palate is Montespina Verdejo 2008 from the Avelino Vegas winery.

Austria   Interesting article written by Jancis Robinson in the Financial Times.

Le Bernardin restaurant,  New York City. 3-Star. Chef /Co-Owner, Eric Ripert

Le Bernardin restaurant, New York City. 3-Star. Chef /Co-Owner, Eric Ripert

Austrian Moments

Le Bernardin in New York: The highest rated restaurant in the city provided the crème de la crème of the international wine scene with several good reasons to toast. “Austrian Monuments: Four Decades of Great Grüner Veltliner.”  The vertical tasting  at Le Bernardin in October 2013 featured 31 Grüner Veltliners and a high-profile panel that included Jancis Robinson MW (Financial Times), David Schildknecht (The Wine Advocate), Aldo Sohm (Le Bernardin) und Terry Theise (Michael Skurnik Wines). The tasting was moderated by Willi Klinger, general manager of the AWMB. Aldo Sohm emphasized the versatility of Grüner Veltliner in the restaurant: “There are very few varieties that can be matched so incredibly well with such a wide range of foods and cuisines.”

The team at Le Bernardin restaurant demonstrated how service is implemented at the 3-Michelin-star level. The Grüner Veltliner tasting concluded with Chef Eric Ripert serving three of his special creations and Head Sommelier Aldo Sohm matching each of Ripert’s creations with the perfect wine – all from the repertoire of what is recognised as the best fish restaurant in the United States.
“Eric Ripert conjured up dishes like no one else, and paired them perfectly with Grüner Veltliner from the 2010, 2009 and 2007 vintages,” said an enthused Willi Klinger. “This is truly a great compliment for Austrian wine.”


As a serious lover of mature Austrian white and red wines, I consider it a real
stroke of luck for the wine culture in Austria that part of an incomparable
collection of great Austrian wines will be made available through an auction at
the renowned Dorotheum in Vienna.

Palais Dorotheum Dorotheergasse 17 1010 Vienna, Austria Tel +43-1-515 60-0 Fax +43-1-515 60-443

Auction Date

Friday, Sept. 27th 2013, 10:00 and 14:00

Austria’s domestic wine sector reached yet another historic record in 2012. According to the figures, the total volume of exports reached 47.4 million liters with a total value of € 132.2 million, each reflecting an increase of approximately 5% over last year’s totals.

Fine Beers from around the world.

Fine Beers from around the world.

More Gift Ideas for Even More Drinking Pleasure

Choose the perfect glass for wine.  A good wine deserves the right ambiance, which includes the right people and the right accessories. The perfect Austrian glass culture à la Riedel – such as beautiful glasses, carafes and decanters – enhance the pleasure of wine and add to the range of gift giving ideas.  Travel with Wine! Austrian Wine Christmas Wish



Lorsbacher Thal Apple Wine tavern

Apple wine has been popular since the time of Charlemagne, some 1,200-years-ago.  You’ll find the highest quality apple wine ( ebbel wei) in Frankfurt, GermanyLorsbacher Thal is in the Sachsenhausen (original parts of the city) section of Frankfurt.  It is here at Lorsbacher Thal that apple wine is made from the finest apples from Frankfurt apple orchards.  Frankfurt is known as the “City of Apple Wine“.  The original 0.3L diamond-encrusted designed glass is used at Lorsbacher as it has been for over one-hundred-years in Germany.  The diamond-design allows for a better grip on the glass.  I tried it and it works, especially after eating delicious apple strudel with my eager fingers. Williams Christ Pear Schnaps is perfect at the end of a meal.   Desserts at Lorsbacher Thal are as tasty as any I’ve ever encountered in the finest European restaurants and use only the finest ingredients.  You won’t find imitation whipped cream here. The outside garden terrace with leafy canopy is perfect on a sunny day.  Seats about 12o guests.  Extremely high quality food in impecable surroundings. Average price of main-course: € 8,00

If you enjoy castles and wine then Hornberg Castle will be well worth your visit as it rises up from the steeply terraced vineyards above the Neckar near Gundelsheim. Hornberg Castle is considered to be the oldest and largest castle complex on the Neckar and houses the oldest wine estate in beautiful Baden-Württemberg, and the second-oldest in the world.  The castle is believed to date much before 1184 upon recent discovery of Roman artifacts from the 4th century. Many of the castle’s rulers grew grapes.  Johann Wolfgang von Goethe based his famous drama, Goetz von Berlichingen on the Imperial Knight Götz von Berlichingen who purchased Hornberg Castle in 1517. The castle has been in the hands of Reinhard von Gemmingen’s family since purchased in 1612. When in Germany I did not have time to visit the castle; but, I understand the 131 foot long and 20 foot high vaulted cellar is a must-see on the wine tour. Lord  of the castle himself presides over the vinification. The castle is open year-round. Entrance fee €3

Apple Strudel at Lorsbacher Thal  beer garden, Frankfurt

Apple Strudel at Lorsbacher Thal beer garden, Frankfurt

Thorsten, owner of Lorsbacher Thal beer garden, Frankfurt

Thorsten, owner of Lorsbacher Thal beer garden, Frankfurt   Ride the Frankfurt Apple Wine Express in Old Town Centre.

German Wines

Wine has shaped the history, culture, art and, not least of all, the people of Germany themselves. A friendly, nearly Southern European cheerfulness sets the tone not just in the vineyards, but in the cities as well. Freiburg in the Black Forest  (Baden wine region) is famous for its “Spätburgunder” (Pinot Noir), Müller-Thurgaus and “Grauer Burgunder” (Pinot Gris) especially. Koblenz nestled in the corner where the Rhine meets the Moselle brings together two of Germany’s oldest wine areas, the Moselle and the Middle Rhine,  famous for their Rieslings. Mainz on the northern tip of Rhinehessen is where the Silvaner reigns supreme  among other stalwart whites including Rivaner and Rieslings. Trier lies in the heart of the westerly wine region, the Moselle River, which is  home to many fine whites and particularly the fruity Riesling and the  crispy Elbling; Wiesbaden in the heart of the Rheingau harvests well-regarded Rieslings and Pinot Noirs; while Würzburg in the northern Bavarian region of Franconia, offers mineral-rich but light Rieslings. Each of these cities provides a unique combination of culture and wine,  and they are perfect for the individual traveler. They are all  convenient to Frankfurt Airport, reachable by train and still offer a  refreshing change for all of the senses.

If you are interested in a canopied-forest ambiance while you enjoy excellent wine and a memorable meal you should head over to where many of Frankfurt’s financial movers and shakers enjoy dining. Römerbrunner in Bad Homburg is about a twenty-minute drive outside of Frankfurt. Römerbrunner is situated in Kurpark…a 99-acre park straight out of a fairy tale story-book landscape. Only the highest quality ingredients are served.  Dine on the outdoor covered terrace or indoors in the main dining room. The floor-to-ceiling window seating takes full advantage of a spectacular park view. Traditional Mediterranean, Dalmatien and Istrian style cuisine (some of the best I’ve tasted). Hours –  lunch:  noon to 14:30     Dinner:  18: pm to 22:30  Kurpark in Bad Homburg, Germany.

Romerbrunner Restaurant, Bad Homburg

Romerbrunner Restaurant, Bad Homburg


I recently enjoyed Moselland Goldschild 2011 Riesling (white grape) Feinherb from Moselle, the wine region surrounding the Moselle, Saar and Ruwer rivers is believed to be Germany’s oldest grape producing area. 5,000 wine growers in 125 wine villages tend the 9,000  hectares that line the Moselle from Perl to Koblenz. Moselle…riesling at its best. For information on wine tours in Germany please contact:

Join us for the first 2012 “31 Days of German Riesling” promotion in Canada!

Canadians will have the opportunity to experience German Riesling as they have never had before this summer – restaurants across the country will pledge to serve German Rieslings in at least one of the following ways:

Starting in July, the web site will host a fabulous contest!  Restaurants customers will be invited to the site to enter a contest to Win a Long Weekend for Two in Berlin by sending their photo enjoying a glass of German Riesling at one of the participating restaurants. Each participating restaurant will be put into a draw for a member of their staff to win a free educational wine trip to Germany, too. Contest starts on July 1st, 2012 and ends on September 30th, 2012, at 11:59 pm.  Check out the 2013 contest!

So raise a glass to “The 31 Days of German Riesling” – a new habit you’ll never want to break!

Further information on wine tours in Germany:   Please call toll free (USA/Canada): 1.800.817.8137 or international: +49.6475.911.023


Whistler, British Columbia, Canada

Araxi restaurant for fine dining in Whistler Village (1 hour north of Vancouver, BC). Araxi hosts several summer outdoor dinner events at its organic North Arm Farm in Pemberton, BC.  During the Whistler Film Festival in the fall, Araxi hosts a 5-course dinner, wine tasting and silent auction. Executive chef James Walt designed the 2011 shindig.    This couple did it their way!

Lakeshore district in Kelowna, British Columbia

The Canadian Tourism Commission recently chose SUMMERHILL PYRAMID WINERY as a top tourism experience. I’ve not visited the winery; but I trust the CTC review. Summerhill Pyramid Winery and Sunset Organic Bistro are two of Canada’s best tourism experiences,  according to the organization that markets Canadian tourism to the world. The Canadian Tourism Commission (CTC) has added the winery and restaurant to the Signature Experiences Collection®, used by the CTC in its international marketing efforts. The Collection now includes 115 adventures from coast to coast to coast, some of which I hope to write about for my readers over the coming months.

Salt Spring Island, British Columbia is internationally recognized for its food and wine festivals, drawing celebrities and regular folk from around the world.

Indulge in wines from Veneto, Italy and Puglia, Italy

Indulge in wines from Veneto, Italy and Puglia, Italy

Italian Wines

MionettO Prosecco D.O.C. Treviso extra dry sparkling white wine from  the small village of Valdobbiadene, located just north of Venice, is delightful with seafood or as an aperitif…or, better yet, anytime you want a refreshing wine.   The Prosecco grape is one of the oldest grapes in Italian history, having begun its origins in Roman times. Its origin and name can be traced back to the town of Prosecco in Trieste. Prosecco grapes are transformed into sparkling wine using the Charmat method in which stainless steel tanks and yeast are utilized to produce a natural second fermentation. Prosecco is traditionally a dry wine with hints of apple and citrus.

Another white wine I recently enjoyed was a 2012 Chardonnay from Veneto, Italy.  Reasonably priced under $15. Canadian. I did not taste the red wine from Puglia (image) but heard several people say the wine was excellent.

…a message on Italian wine from Le Sommelier :

One cannot talk about Italy’s most important producers without including Bruno Giacosa. A living legend, this third-generation winemaker has been making worldclass wine since the 1940s! He has been described as the “Genius of Neive” and his wines have been referred to as the “Romanée-Conti of Piedmont.” Dante Scaglione, Giacosa’s long-time enologist, compares the 2007 & 2008 vintages, “the 2008s are more classic and fresh and will have a longer life. But they’re very young today. The 2007s were more drinkable at the same stage.”

Due to the anticipated response, wines are available on a first come, first served basis. These wines are only available by ordering directly through Le Sommelier, and will not be made available through LCBO Vintages. Wines are shipped in hand-made wooden cases of six bottles. Prices include HST. Sincerely,Bernard Stramwasser

Le Sommelier 416.603.7026

p.s. you may wish to try this white wine from Lazio, Italy.  It’s not an expensive wine; so, it is ideal for everyday enjoyment.  Colli Albani DOC Superiore Bianco is a light white wine that pairs well with white meat and fish and mild tasting white cheese.  The light and fruity taste makes this bianco perfect for a green salad with just a hint of oil and lemon dressing.  Of course a cheese and fruit plate (cherry, strawberry, raspberry, mango slices, blueberries) is another option.

Mont Tremblant Resort, Quebec, Canada

When on a ski holiday at world renowned Mont Tremblant Resort, a fine dinner with excellent paired wine is the order of the day!


Aux Truffes Restaurant, Mont Tremblant, Quebec

Aux Truffes Restaurant, Mont Tremblant, Quebec

Recently, I was for the first time at one of Canada’s famous all-season resorts in Quebec. Mont Tremblant Resort is about 1.5 hours’ drive north of the city of Montreal, Quebec in the Laurentian mountains and just 75 minutes’ flight with Porter airlines from the city of Toronto, Ontario, Canada. My tour group dined at in the heart of Mont Tremblant Resort village.  Aux Truffes restaurant is but a few minutes’ stroll through the resort village from the Westin Resort & Spa. Big, soft and fully flakes of white, white snow fell over the resort as we dined on seafood, venison and sweetbreads and enjoyed much excellent wine.  A white wine from Alsace (France) I had not tasted before the evening, went down with aplomb…well, what can I say…. I adore this wine.  I highly suggest your giving this 2010 Pinot Gris a try; it pairs well with meats and seafood, so it is heaven sent to enjoy alone or with food.  The red wine we enjoyed was a 2010 vintage as well but from a blend of grapes grown in the south of France in the Rhone valley. Saint-chinian Donnadieu Cuvée Mathieu et Marie is a spicy and robust Syrah with the distinctive peppery taste of Syrah and enables just about any meat dish to taste even more enviable. Saint Chinian takes it name from Anham, the Benedictine monk who founded the Saint Laurent monastery in 794 on the left bank of the River Vernazobre in France.

Mont Tremblant Resort, Quebec, Canada

Between September 25 and December 3, 2013, book the perfect getaway at Tremblant and get:

  • 30% off a 4-night stay or longer
  • 25% off a 3-night stay
  • 20% off a 2-night stay
  • Visit Tremblant website for full details on this offer.



Chile has one of the best and most diverse conditions for wine production in the world. De Martino’s vision is to reinvent Chile as an innovative and one of the top wine producing regions in the world with an eye to the environment.   2011 De Martino was chosen as “Winery of the Year” by the Association of Wines of Chile.   In 2010 De Martino Legado Syrah was on the cover of Wine Spectator magazine.There are fourteen wine growing regions in Chile:  Limari Valley; Casablanca Valley; San Antonio Valley; Colchagua Valley; Maule Valley; Bio Bio Valley; Malleco VAlley; Elqui Valley; Choapa Valley; Aconcagua Valley; Maipo Valley; Cachapoal Valley; Curicó Valley and Itata Valley.

Try a 2008 De Martino single vineyard old bush vines “La Aguada” from the Maule Valley —  about $35. Recently I had the honour of sampling and enjoying very much a 2011 Oveja Negra single viney6ard Carmenére from Maule Valley. This wine wine was splendid. About $15.95  LCBO #302646 at Ontario wine outlets.

California — Napa Valley

Wine gives back to society in a big way!  $16.9 million

Queen Mary 2 / Veuve Clicquot Champagne Bar

Queen Mary 2 / Veuve Clicquot Champagne Bar

Wine Voyage

Sail the open seas with Cunard Line for true luxury and pampering.  The Grills experience enjoys the finest Cunard offers in accommodation, services and dining.   Travellers can expect a truly excellent and memorable experience”   Queen Mary 2’s Experience rated five-star by Douglas Ward, Berlitz Guides  Queen Victoria Anniversary Offers! December 6 – 10, 2012

Up to $555 Savings + Upgrades + up to $500 On Board Credit + Reduced Deposit + Complimentary Wine!


If you go:

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