Rioja Bourdon and on...
Baby Got Middle
Icewine is for pairing
Raise a glass at Cuvee 2015
Sweet and sparkly in the Golden State


Frame-up: The Beer Store, beer tax and beer prices

Upon announcing the signing of the “framework” agreement on revised beer retailing laws, Premier Wynne specifically mentioned that one of the objectives of was to keep Ontario’s beer prices “among the lowest in Canada”. The Beer Store’s spin on deregulation also argues that it keeps prices "low". But how true is that? 


Published Articles

Pinot grigio beats chardonnay!

Well, not in my wine cellar that's for sure, but the continued growth of the crowd-pleasing white from Italy - and now just about everywhere else - means it has now taken the number one spot in white wine sales in Ontario, slightly nudging out the usual favourite, chardonnay.

In my Bar Report for Foodservice and Hospitality magazine, I look at wine trends in Canadian restaurants  - California cabs remain big in reds, as does malbec. In spirits, gin is (still) in and spiced dark offerings are jazzing up the moribund rum category. Whiskies, especially American ones, are also still doing well. 

Craft beer continues its upward march even as the beer category as a whole declined last year.

And your spirits tip for 2015: Mezcal from Mexico - the cool kids on the west coast are boosting its so far modest sales in Canada. It's made from agave, like tequila, and different parts of Mexico make it in different styles. This is the Mexican spirit that can sometimes include a worm, and it's got a long history.  


Beer bust

Beer in grocery stores could be seen as a holiday present that many people in Ontario have been waiting for for a long time, and that wait is over.”

Kathleen Wynne, Sept. 23, 2015.

The real Christmas present was under The Beer Store's tree: a raft of restrictions on a limited number of supermarkets with a very slow rollout process.


Tasting Notes

A classic cab franc from Niagara

Cab franc is cab sauv's poor cousin... in Bordeaux it is very rarely the main grape in the blend and the pure cab francs from Loire Valey appellations like Chinon remain inexpensive afterthoughts. Have you ever even seen a California cab franc? 

While it lacks the power and fruit of cab sauv, cab franc performs well in a cooler climate - like here in Ontario. Now, for a low price you can get a classic example of cool climate cab with its distinctive bell-pepper green note. It's from Chateau des Charmes. 


Tasting Notes

Cool California Pinot

Sonoma Coast is touted as a cooler climate zone, and it is by California standards. La Crema's pinot noir from the area is a fine example of a restrained California pinot.



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