Special Features

The Wines of Puglia

by Susan Desjardins

Eleven wineries from the southern Italian region of Puglia were recently showcased in Ottawa, Montreal and Toronto, hosted by Ottawa’s DiVino Wine Studio. It was an outstanding opportunity to discover the range and quality of wines being created in this less-celebrated region. The winery principals displayed pride in their region and wine. They’re firmly rooted in the fundamental practices of agriculture with great depth of history and tradition. In the 3rd century B.C., the capital of ancient Greece was located in Puglia. Ancient amphoras from the 1st century B.C. have been excavated near Brindisi—wine has a long and illustrious history here.

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So, what's new? Ontario Wines

by Susan Desjardins and Vic Harradine

Susan Desjardins, intrepid traveler, visited two VQA Ontario wine regions and three fledgling wineries to bring you a peek into the future. You can get ahead of the curve by trying these wines now, before they become mainstream. Susan’s tasting notes follow. Lailey winemaker, Derek Barnett, sat with Vic offering a number of his recent bottlings from 2008 and 2009. Vic’s tasting notes follow.

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Good Wine and a Worthy Cause – wines that make you feel good before uncorking!

by Vic Harradine

Invisible Ribbon CampaignThis logo and The Invisible Ribbon Campaign is a public, grassroots demonstration of support for Canadian military personnel and their families. The clear plastic lapel ribbons, fastened with a Canadian flag, symbolize the 'invisible uniform' worn by spouses who are part of the military way of life.

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Yiannis Paraskevopoulos

by Vic Harradine

He began, “The world doesn’t need another Chardonnay.” That answered the question most of us were asking in our mind—why put up barriers to people drinking your wine by using grapes most wine drinkers haven’t heard of and can’t pronounce. And we’re not talking Viognier or Gewürztraminer; it’s Agiorgitiko, Moscophilero and Assyrtiko.

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Rutherglen ‘stickies’ (Liqueur Muscat and Liqueur Tokay)

by Vic Harradine

It’s a pity there’s a challenge finding these wines, and it’s not because they’re expensive or sell quickly. They occasionally filter through the LCBO, quietly purchased by canny wine lovers. Wine critics Robert Parker Jr. and Jancis Robinson rave about them. At least one deserves a spot on your wine-tasting bucket list.

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More from Victoria

by Vic Harradine

The following wraps up a tour and tasting at nine carefully chosen Victoria, Australia wineries. The first four—BlackJack, Blue Pyrenees, Mitchelton and Stonier were published in the Victoria, Australia feature with the February 20 issue of winecurrent.

The purpose was to discover and share with subscribers tasting notes and comments regarding wines from small and medium-sized, possibly lesser-known, cool-climate wineries producing wines with finesse, sense of place, complexity and structure. The final five follow.

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Victoria, Australia

by Vic Harradine

Australia – As a global wine exporter whose image is dominated, many argue tarnished, by commodity wines marketed at low retail prices, one might think the will or the ability to make fine wine has been lost or abandoned. Most argue these mass-produced commodity reds have no sense of place, finesse or structure. Vic’s there now, tasting and reviewing wines from smaller cutting-edge wineries in lesser-known wine regions—in the previous winecurrent issue it was Tasmania. If you missed it - Read it now. Those from Tasmania and the following from Victoria, are producers who are part of the movement toward cool-climate, terroir-driven fine wine that showcases balance, flavour and structure.

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Tasmania Sparkles

by Vic Harradine

Tasmania is the smallest state in Australia by area and population, yet arguably produces Australia’s finest sparkling wine. The first vines were planted in 1823 and cuttings from these were used for the initial plantings in the states of Victoria, South Australia and New South Wales making Tassy the oldest producing wine region in Australia. However, in less than 75 years the vines were grubbed up and fruit orchards grew in their stead. Not because of phylloxera, the entire state is phylloxera-free, but because of winery hands heading for the gold fields of Victoria and the banning of production of fortified wines.

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Victoria Rises

by Vic Harradine

Eight intrepid Victoria, Australia wine principals, shepherded by a representative of the Victorian government, trekked from Vancouver to Ottawa and winecurrent was there to taste the wines, learn about the region and to now share with you. The state of Victoria has a population of some six million with the capital city of Melbourne accounting for 4 million. Two of the wines tasted and reviewed below—from Blackjack—are available now in the LCBO.

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Quick! What do bicycles, gaggles of geese and burritos have in common? Viña Cono Sur, of course!

by Vic Harradine

However, you may know them better for their Pinot Noir, they’re one of the world’s largest producers of the ‘heartbreak grape’. They have 4 wines listed in the LCBO product range with 3 of them reviewed below—Pinot Noir, Merlot, Shiraz—plus the Viognier having been reviewed previously in winecurrent; it’s a big favourite. The name ‘Cono Sur’ is Spanish referring to their geography, not a slick knock-off for the French ‘connoisseur’. They’re located in the ‘southern cone’, a prosperous geographically shaped area in southern South America.

Read more: Quick! What do bicycles, gaggles of geese and burritos have in common? Viña Cono Sur, of course!