Tag Archives: Riesling

Aboriginal Wine

Recently I spent 1 week on Vancouver Island with my daughter.  Beautiful.  Honestly considered not coming back and sending for the rest of the family to pack up and join us there instead.  Did you know they can grow fig trees on the island?  For some reason that excited me.

Also, what excited me was when M found us a bottle of Nk’Mip wines – Canada’s first Aboriginal owned and operated cellar.  We drank the Dreamcatcher – a blend of Riesling and Chenin Blanc. It was dry, crisp, with lemon and melon notes, and just a touch of sweetness at the end from the ripe fruits. I’ve never had an Aboriginal wine before – and if you think of it, who knows how to work the land this country better? The Okanagan people have been growing crops here for centuries.  The wine was beautiful – like the Island. Seriously, look a this photo and for the love of sweet baby bacchus somebody tell me why i didn’t send for the rest of the family and just stay there.


Nk’Mip Dreamcatcher

Home base on Van Isle

Home base on Van Isle


Fig trees! Told yaIMG_1392


A funny thing …

A funny thing happened at the Farmers Market last Saturday. There was wine for sale! So I bought some – a Gewürztraminer Riesling from Pilletteri estates- and then made a delicious risotto for dinner with asparagus, brussels sprouts, and zucchini that I also bought at the farmers market.

The wine was a great blend of dry Riesling and the Gewürz perfume and honey – one of the best R-G blends from Niagara that I’ve had.

The proof is in the photos. I’m sure you can do the same this week. Thanks to the Government of Ontario for recognizing that this is an important part of farmers markets! In the words of Yakov Smirnoff – “What a country!”


Pillitteri line up of wines


Me drinking a little G-R while doing food prep


My French copper pot and ladle from the Paris market helped make my risotto



Oh yeah

Riesling for Masai – The Godfather of Wine

This Saturday May 24th anyone who lives within a gas tank’s drive of Guelph has an opportunity to do the following …

  1. Do something good by raising $$ for the Bracelet of Hope
  2. Drink the queen of Ontario wine – Riesling
  3. Meet the Godfather of Ontario wine – Donald Ziraldo, Order of Ontario, Order of Canada ! [I don’t have either one of those – do you?]

My man Orest, at the Scottsdale LCBO, is running another of his brilliant tasting events Saturday from noon – 4 pm. For $10 [donation to Bracelet of Hope] you get to try samples of Ontario Riesling, meet owners and wine makers, eat delicious food, meet the Godfather, and shake hands with the irrepressible Orest Poluch [once you meet him you’ll see why he can’t be repressed]. Here’s some of the information that you may need to convince you to tell one and all and make it to this event.

Orest has named this event the 8th Annual Ontario Consumer Riesling Challenge despite me lobbying him to rename it Riesling for the Republic or alternately Ziraldo’s Here! Get Your Butt On Over

Confirmed wineries below: if looking at #15 doesn’t get you excited about next Saturday then nothing will.

1. BURNING KILN WINERY  ( wine maker present )





6. FEATHERSTONE ESTATE WINERY & VINEYARD ( winemaker/owner present )

7.  FOREIGN AFFAIR WINERY  ( owner present )




11. ROSEWOOD ESTATES WINERY   ( winemaker present )

12. SUE-ANN STAFF ESTATE WINERY     ( winemaker present)



15. ZIRALDO ESTATE WINERY  ( owner present ) Donald Ziraldo, Order of Canada, hon Doctorate Brock U


Local food purveyors involved:

Ouderkirk & Taylor will be providing cheese/preserves

Rheo Thompson from Stratford providing chocolate.

Bread by (Quican Inc. ) Quentin William Johnson

Greek Olive oil from TITHOREA a new retailer dealing specifically in olive oil from Greece.

A new southwest French inspired  bakery in town called Eric the Baker will provide sweet and savouries.

And Guelph’s own Planet Bean (100% Organic, Fair Trade coffee). Showcasing a new coffee from Congo.

Still Coping

Canada’s recent gold medal haul is certainly helping me cope with the polar vortex. I guess if it’s cold here we might as well get outside and skate on short tracks and get the gang together for some coed moguling.

Having neither the inclination to go upside down on skis, nor the knee cartilage to land safely on my feet, I have found my own way to come to grips with a long cold winter.


Nothing says “summer is around the corner” like a crisp Niagara Riesling.

Also, I’ve been making cooking videos and posting them on YouTube. My daughters do the filming and the eating. Check out my food videos here – because who doesn’t need more offal in their life?

Riesling for a good cause

Want a chance to drink Riesling and support a charitable organization?  That’s like a gift with purchase at the cosmetic counter – except that you get a couple of samples of Riesling instead of an obscure lipstick colour.

Saturday May 25 at the Scottsdale LCBO the 7th Annual Ontario Consumer’s Riesling Challenge takes place [noon – 4 pm. Put it in your iPhone calendar now!] with proceeds going to the Bracelet of Hope Foundation. That sounds like a good deal to me for the following reasons …

  1. My man Orest [Vintages Specialist at the Scottsdale LCBO] throws a great party.
  2. Riesling is Ontario’s finest white wine varietal [in my opinion – an opinion shared by people more knowledgable than me].
  3. Noon is the perfect time to start drinking white wine.  Unless the doors open at 11 am.
  4. 14 participants are bring their best Riesling for you to try.
  5. $10 gets you 4 samples [and maybe more if I know my wine makers and sales reps].
  6. The collected admission goes directly to Bracelet of Hope.
  7. The Featherstone winery uses roaming sheep to prune their vines [the call it “Sheep Labour“] and will be there with their Black Sheep Riesling.
  8. Fact #7 is darn cute!
  9. There will be free food
  10. My man Orest is worth the price of admission [seriously]

Featherstone’s Sheep Labour

The Butcher told me to …

If you buy meat from your butcher – and why wouldn’t you – do you ask him how to prepare it?

I bought a rabbit Saturday.  “Domestique?” you may ask? “UN LAPIN” I would reply with a loud French accent – while making that kissing your fingers movement that somehow signifies delicious food.  It came cut into pieces which is nice since bunnys are cute and I was too hungry to have second thoughts about cooking my first rabbit.

I asked Andy (said butcher) how to cook it and he suggested braising it for 3 hours in white wine. I chose a Riesling from Alsace for my Rabbit  – it was delicious – thanks Andy.

Riesling for my Rabbit

Cool thing about the wines of Alsace – There is a legal requirement for bottling Alsace wine in tall bottles commonly called flûtes d’Alsace.  

Disclaimer – if you have a pet rabbit don’t let them drink Riesling.  It’s not good for them. Besides that, rabbits prefer beer – you know because of the hops.

VINTAGES 11452 |  Price: $ 15.95
12.0% Alcohol/Vol.
Made in: Alsace, France
By: A. Willm

Red Brick Café – Spring Menu

J’aime le printemps – and I love the Spring menu at the Red Brick Café.  The new food is fantastic – Jessica’s bruschetta is a creation of tomato and herbal magic (but not like the registered trademark herbal magic). Likewise her paprika hummus with veggies is mouth wateringly mouth watering (thanks to Peter Mayle for that one).

Try all three wines any night for $10 – then go buy them at the LCBO.

LCBO 145136 | Price: $ 13.95 Okanagan Valley, BC 12.5% Alcohol

This wine has aromas of lime and peaches and has a nice long finish – much longer than a typical Riesling.  It is best served cold, for maximum coldness.  The producer’s tasting notes mention hints of fennel and honeysuckle. You will taste the honeysuckle more as the wine warms up.

Larch Tree Hill stands well on its own and would make a great apéritif – it reminds me of the Olympics – probably because I drank it during the Olympics.  I’m just guessing.

NERO D’AVOLA Cusumano 2007
LCBO 143164 | Price: $ 9.95 Siciliy,  14.5% Alcohol

This is why trattoria’s were invented – or why Nero D’Avola was created – its hard to say.  Let’s just say that we considered renaming the Café to Red Brick Trattoria and Ristorante after this went on the menu.  “Never match wits with a Sicilian when death is on the line” (Princess Bride) but bet  your life that people will enjoy this at your next party. At this price you should buy a case. And don’t EVER call this an Italian wine – appearantly both the Italians and Sicilians object to being confused for each other.


Y Series SHIRAZ VIOGNIER Yalumba 2007
LCBO 624494 | Price: $ 14.95 South Australia,  13.5% Alcohol

Yalumba Y Series Shiraz Viognier. They have won several environmental awards including the Climate Protection award from the US Environmental Protection Agency. How cool is that – the freekin’ EPA!  A blend of Shiraz and a small percentage of white Viognier wine that turns a tough “John Wayne” manly Shiraz into a sensitive 21st century “I’m not afraid to cry at a romantic comedy” wine with softer tannins and interesting floral hints.


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