Category Archives: wine


New ideas for summer wine drinkers

For those of you looking to branch out beyond whites, roses, and heavy reds (for BBQ), here’s a good list: Chilled Red Wines to Drink All Summer – Bon Appétit.

Beaujolais is the obvious choice for Gamay, but lots of new world producers make wine with that grape. For Carignan, you may have to look around: if you can find a place that stocks a good selection of French wine, look in the Midi section. Also check out the Spanish wine section. The challenge there is it can sometimes (often times?) be blended with heavier reds. Ask the staff for help if you want something lighter. As for Zweigelt, the challenge there is finding it at all. If you can, get some.

If you want to know more about carignan, check out this from

Stop drinking pinot grigio! Drink this instead

I love this: Why You Love Pinot Grigio So Much — And Why You Need To Move On because I am very much against Pinot Grigio. There is so much good wine in the world, and if you are a pinot grigio fan, it’s time for you to move on. Now you may think: but I like Pinot Grigio! If you do, read this article so you can make baby steps away from that wine to some better varietals like Vermentino.

Once you’ve done that, consider other whites that deliver more taste. If you hate Chardonnay (some do), then try shift to Sauvignon Blanc, Chenin Blanc, Fume Blanc or one of the greatest whites of all: Riesling.

What’s wrong with wine by the glass, and pinot grigio

Beppi Crosariol has a good article in the Globe and Mail arguing against ordering wine by the glass. I know what he means: once, I ordered a glass of red from a good restaurant and it was warm because the bottle was sitting on the bar fridge! Ugh! That went back.

If you want to order by the glass, see and order what was recently opened, and try and stick with fresh whites. (What is true for glasses also goes for 1/2 litres and anything that comes from an opened bottle. Although in some cases, if it’s a recently opened red, you may get the benefit of the wine opening up a bit.)

See for yourself by reading this: Wine by the glass? I’ll pass

P.S. He also had a nice, snarky comment (on this varietal) that I love:

“(Hey, if you’d wanted a white wine with no flavour, you’d have ordered a pinot grigio.)”

There are some pinot grigios that do have flavour, but why chase them around when there are so many other white varietals that do have taste?

(flickr photo from sunnyUK photostream)

Toronto, beer and BeerBistro

The blog has a really good review of a great bar/resto in Toronto: Beerbistro. I highly recommend this place to both visitors and residents of our city.

One thing they neglect to mention is the great pairings they do with beer and food. They make it easy to forget about wine. And if you love mussels, you MUST go here. Not only will you find a diverse selection of beers, but you will find different ways of preparing mussels to go with those beers.

Wanting to move up from cheap wine at the LCBO? Look to Matthew Sullivan for advice.

Matthew Sullivan has a great idea for a wine blog. His blog, the Short Cellar, is all about:

“….offering some advice about the joy of aging wine as I build my own cellar from the ground up, detailing what is going in, when it comes out, and what happened to it along the way. My emphasis will be on wines that are easily available in Ontario and that only take a year or two before developing into something special. Who has time to wait 10 years? I’m patient, but not a saint. There’s a perception that having a wine cellar implies expertise or money. This is a myth. You’re never too young, dumb, or soaked in debt to want a better bottle of wine. It’s true that a cellar takes some foresight and knowledge, but only enough to guess what you are going to have for dinner three years from now, and the knowledge that you’ll want something extraordinary to wash it down. You can spend any amount that you wish on wine, but the sweet spot is between $15 and $25. At that level, there are some exceptional wines that will mature marvellously, but there’s no guilt in drinking them at any time since, litre for litre, they are still cheaper than a latte.”

Sounds like a great idea. See The Short Cellar for more.

In 2008, wine is going to get cheaper at the LCBO (good news for under $10 fans!)

The has an article on how the LCBO will now stock cheaper wine in 2008. Fans of wine under $10, take heart! 🙂

Some highlights from the Beppi Crosariol article:

– Wine drinkers in Ontario may soon notice a strange trend taking shape at their local liquor stores: more shelf space given over to bargain imports. (Why is this strange? -bm)- Portugal is likely to be a key source of some of the best buys. The LCBO has reduced its minimum selling price for wines from that country to $6.95 for a 750-millilitre bottle, down $3 from last year’s minimum price of $9.95. Similarly, wineries from South Africa and Australia, two other low-cost regions known for abundant bargains, can now submit products for consideration priced as low as $7.95.

– The new $6.95 threshold also applies to “cellared in Canada” blends.

– Bargain wines acquired under the new purchasing program issued this week … are expected to reach shelves over the coming year, starting as early as April.

– The LCBO also sells a rotating selection of limited-release premium products through Vintages… may also choose to source under-$10 deals…

– Chris Churchill, president of Churchill Cellars Ltd., which represents such popular Australian brands as Banrock Station and Hardys, said quality at all price points has improved significantly during the almost 20 years he has been travelling to wine fairs around the world and that $8 and $9 no longer means a gamble with mediocrity. “With better-trained winemakers and better technology, it’s now difficult to find really bad wines, even in the less-than-$10 category.”

– Ontario would still have miles to go before catching up to bargain-wine trends in the United States, where mass-produced brands such as Barefoot Cellars often sell in … for as little as $4 a bottle (which are $9.95 in the LCBO! 😦 -bm))

See the article here with the misleading title of LCBO flips anti-plonk policy, since all LCBO outlets have always had alot of plonk on it shelves that never seems to shrink. Low cost wine isn’t synonymous with plonk.

P.S. for more on some of the fine, award winning and non-plonk wine from Barefoot, see here and here for some good examples.

Why you should not buy cheap wine from the LCBO (or any place)

I’ve blogged about good / cheap wine under $10 at the LCBO. You can find that article here.

There are lots of reasons to go with wine at this price, but it doesn ‘t mean you should only buy wine at low prices. For example here are some good reasons why you should not buy cheap wine:

You won’t get the same flavours you will get from a better bottle of wine. On average, more expensive wines will have more flavour, either now or in the future. Not always of course, but most of the time. If you want a good glass of everyday wine, something under $10 will do nicely. But to experience what wine can be, you will want to spend more.

You only occasionally drink wine, if at all. If you only have a glass / bottle of wine on rare occasions, why not drink something better? If I only drank wine from time to time, I would drink champagne or Californian chardonnays or Australian shiraz or New Zealand Sauvignon Blancs. Pick a price point you feel comfortable with and ask the good folks at LCBO for help.

You are going to a special event. In that case, make the wine indicate you appreciate you are going to a special event. A bottle of wine under $7 doesn’t really say that.

You don’t like wine (taste, alcohol, cost) or prefer other beverages (beer, tea, soda, water) instead. If you like other beverages better, why not stick to them? You don’t have to drink wine! 🙂

(Image from Henry of Pelham, who make fine wines, include a truly delicious Baco Noir that I find is great year after year. Nice people who work there, too.)

More on good, cheap wine under $10 from the LCBO and other places

The has been good enough to set up a searchable database of wine recommendations based on Beppi Crossariol’s wine columns found regularly in their paper. You can search the database in a number of ways, including wines under $10 (you will find around 20 bottles). Some of them are wines I mentioned earlier (like Corten from Moldova) but others are new to me (including some tetra pak ones, no less).

The other nice thing about this is that you can find the wine, and then go to the article. Beppi’s a good writer with good and varied taste: the articles are worth a read, too.

Check outThe Wine Butler

More on cheap wine

If you want regular updates on value wine in Ontario, check out the excellent Billy’s Best (Value) Bottles. Always great advice. For example, one wine I forgot is the the Italian Merlot from Cesari: $6.20! A steal.