Palate Practice

tasting with intention

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How to Have an Awesome Wine Festival

This past weekend I had the pleasure of attending the Wine and Spirit Festival in Toronto. It was a great time! The crowds weren’t too big, the vendors all had lots of product for us to enjoy, and there was event a grocery store there giving out free snacks. It also made me wonder if these kinds of events are intimidating or a bit of a mystery to people who’ve never gone to one.

I’m a festival veteran at this point, well versed in the art of getting what you came for and having a great time in the process. Here are my tips for navigating a wine (or beer or food or whatever) festival.


But first, can we talk about how I got my very own MEDIA PASS?? Thanks so much to Drink Ink for hooking this wine lover up.

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5 Ontario Rosés You Should Drink This Summer

I’m going to be honest here, I’m not really a fan of summer. I’m pretty sure that when most people think of summer they think of BBQs and swimming and road trips and cottages. I love those things too, but usually when I think of summer I think of sweating from places I’d rather not be sweating from and humidity so high I can barely breathe. And I don’t even have lung problems!

But one thing that can make the oppressive heat and constant sticky-skin-feeling better is indulging in one of my favourite summer treats – rosé wine. A perfect summer day for me would involve a nicely chilled glass of rosé enjoyed on a quiet waterfront dock or leafy, shaded backyard somewhere.

Lucky for me Ontario’s rosé game is on point. Here are some ones I’m particularly looking forward to sipping over the next few months.

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Noble Grape Challenge – Riesling, the Wine Lover’s Grape

It’s time for the next installment of the Noble Grape Challenge. Last time around we began the second half of the challenge by getting to know Pinot Grigio. Now it’s time to move on to one of my favourite white varietals – Riesling!

About the Noble Grape Challenge

Let’s refresh ourselves on what’s going on here – Wine Folly created the Noble Grape Challenge as a way to learn the spectrum of flavours and characteristics found in red and white wines. Taking nine reds and nine whites and going through them from lightest to darkest, we’ll learn about the key characteristics and flavours of each.

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A County Wine Tour

Over the recent long weekend I got to do something I’ve been meaning to do for a while – I went on a wine tour of Prince Edward County. A couple of family friends have started a new company out in the County and invited me on their ‘dry, not so dry run’.

Let me tell you – it. was. AWESOME.

Our small group got inside access to three of the best wineries in the county, complete with tastings and food pairings created just for us. And, as if that wasn’t enough, at each stop we got to meet and talk to either the winery owner or the head winemaker! We were completely welcomed an immersed into the world of each winery. It was such a cool way to go behind the scenes and really learn what each winery is all about.

Here’s where we went.

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Wine Websites Across the Internet

It’s probably no surprise that when I’m not learning or writing about wine I’m often reading about it. Yes, I’m a little obsessed! But there’s so much to know!

These are some of the places I’ve found online that keep me coming back again and again. They consistently have great stories and information and some of them are written by people I know. If you’re looking to branch out in your wine reading, take a look at these websites.

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What’s the Deal With Niagara and Syrah?

Lately I’ve been noticing something interesting coming out of wineries in Niagara. It’s something I honestly never thought about, though now that I think about it makes perfect sense. Maybe you’ve noticed it too, in adventures to wineries or wanderings through the LCBO.

They’re making Syrah.

I know. You’re probably thinking, ‘Why is this so surprising? Wine is wine, isn’t it?’ I mean, yes. It is wine. But also, it’s Syrah! One of the most prized French grapes! And a grape that Australia has already taken and completely turned on it’s head! What does Niagara think it’s doing here?

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A Friendly Challenge to Re-Stock

A few weeks ago my friend Danielle told me about an article she’d seen in the star where the writer offered some wines to re-stock your wine rack for under $100. If I remember correctly, her exact words were “you could do a much better job”. Well, Danielle, thank you for the compliment and challenge accepted!

In the original article the writer offers five wines – one rosé, two whites and two reds. I suppose the rosé snuck in there because the article was published in March and maybe the writer wanted to prime us all for rosé season. But I think rosés are too seasonal and ethereal to go in a list like this, so instead I’m offering you a sherry.

With a theoretical $100 to spend, here is what I would choose.

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Entering the Second Half of the Noble Grape Challenge

It’s time for the next installment of the Noble Grape Challenge. This time around we begin the second half of the challenge – nine whites await us! Last time I reflected on the first half and the nine reds I worked through, and today we get to know our first white, Pinot Grigio.

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