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Great Estates of Niagara
Old Ont. chard surprise
Golden state greats
Great cab, great price

Good Excuse for a Party

Raise a glass at Cuvee 2015

The swanky annual affair in Niagara used to be a formal awards ceremony honouring the best wines in major categories, but in the last couple of years it has morphed into "a prestigious celebration of Ontario wines". 

Over 50 wineries will be showcasing two of their best wines for the hundreds-strong crowd.  

Cuvee has also morphed into a major culinary event in Niagara, with plenty of innovative, high quality dishes presented by chefs from around the region. This year they have "upped the cuisine ante" by inviting three Toronto restaurants to join in. 

The wine and culinary showdown happens at Fallsview Casino in Niagara Falls on February 27 from 7:30-10:30, with an apres-Cuvee party until midnight, at which point the winemakers and industry pals fan out to the bars in the hotel complex or stop in to the Casino. 

Find out more about Cuvee 2015. If you can't make the Friday night gala in the Falls, check out Cuvee en Route, which features special events at participating wineries over the weekend of Feb. 27 - Mar. 1. 

Tasting Notes

Value VQA Cab-Merlot

I was once told that it's extremely difficult to get a bottle of VQA wine to market for less than $12, and a look at the pricetags bears that out. So finding a good Cabernet Merlot blend at $13.75 is great news for VQA fans. 

The first Reif Estate vines were planted in the late 70s and the winery opened in 1983. They've recently released their 2012 Cabernet Merlot, a ripe, fresh crowd pleaser with plenty of fruit. 



Icewine is for pairing

Sales of the sweet wine in the skinny little bottles continue to rise. Canada is now the world's number one producer and - unique among Canadian wine styles - about half of all sales are exports.

It's not often on the list, but some restauranteurs are having success with pairings. Read my story in Foodservice and Hospitality magazine


Sweet and sparkly in the Golden State

Here's a summary of 2014 wine trends from America's number one producer of wine. The rise of off-dry red blends is the biggest trend, but there's growth in sparkling and white wines too. In Canada's restaurants, however, reds still dominate to a huge degree. 

Read my story in Foodservice and Hospitality magazine. 

Try This!

Argentine Malbec Mimics Bordeaux

Sort of. Actually in some ways it's better than a lower-priced Bordeaux because the fruit is so nicely ripe. Bodega de Los Clop has been making wine in Mendoza since 1880 is family-run. The Los Clop is a terrific, smooth malbec that feels more Old World than New World. Excellent quality/price ratio too. 



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