CBC Radio One “Fresh Air”interview on managing Vacation Tensions

This link will take you to Mary Ito’s interview with me broadcast Sunday July 10.

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Fresh Air Interview, Sunday July 10

You can hear me talk about managing vacation conflict Sunday morning between 7:30 and 8:00 am on CBC Radio One’s province-wide show Fresh Air, hosted by the charming Mary Ito, who will be doing her last show next weekend after seven years hosting the series.

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Canadian Wines Entering the English Market

This link will take you to a piece about the UK firm Bibendum taking on representation of Canadian wineries Norman Hardie and Stratus.  Our products are getting out there!

Bibendum PLB adds Canadian agencies

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In America, they Went West. In Italian Wine, I Go South

The contents of my wine cellar vary widely over time, but you’ll always find a clutch of wines from southern Italy in my cupboard. These products offer high quality, interesting character, and very fair prices.  The grapes used to craft them are from unusual indigenous often ancient varietals.  The reds are palish and often garnet-tinged with rich (but rarely fat) ripe fresh and dried red fruit, pungent gravel or volcanic mineral notes, and enchanting sweet spices.  The whites are full-ish but fresh with perfumed noses and pear-ish or tropical fruit.   

At the 20th annual Italian Wine Fair’s visit to Toronto last November, several dozen local wine folk were treated to a tasting of wines from Southern Italy.

Dr. Attilio Scienza (yes, he’s really named ‘Dr. Science’), professor of viticulture and oenology at the University of Milan, was on hand to illuminate tasters.  Wine man Jamie Drummond acted as emcee, keeping things moving along nicely while providing both information and entertainment.  If you can’t find the specific bottlings noted below, look for others from the same regions or producers.  You won’t go far wrong. 


Salento Rosso IGP—Rosso Camillo 2011 Pirro Varone Società Agricola S.R.L.($24.05, score 89+): From the heel of the Italian boot, this wine is a pretty medium scarlet colour with delightful ripe black cherry blackberry and black current fruit and dusty sweet spicy and floral notes.  It’s fresh and finely grippy with a long well-fruited finish.

Primitivo Salento IGP, Cantine Due Palme 2013 ($15.95, score 89+):  Primitivo is the same grape as California’s Zinfandel and it shows in this deep dark cherry red wine.  It flaunts big fresh and dried raspberry and red cherry fruit with an earthy farmyard note and a metallic nuance.  It’s fresh and velvety with dep sweetly ripe fruit and grace notes with a long, fruity mouth-watering finish.

Cirò Rosso Classico Superiore Riserva DOC 2012 Duca San Felice, Librandi Antonio E Nicodemo SPA ($17.95, score 89+): This Calabrian wine is vinified from the Gaglioppo grape.  This medium-pale wine has a mineral nose with luscious mixed red berry and blackberry fruit with sweet spicy lilac notes.  Its texture is grippy velvet with fresh acidity to carry the sweet ripe berry fruit through a lively finely tannic finish.

Melissa Rosso Superiore Mutrò DOC Val di Neto SRL 2008 ($24.95, score 89+): From the southern part of Cirò, this wine adds 25% Greco Nero to the Gaglioppo.  Despite its age it’s still a glass-staining wine with a lovely fully mature nose of pungent minerals and dried cherry fruit.  The velvety tannins and plush fruit persist through the long finish.

Etna (Trecastagni—districts of Ronzini and San Nicolò, Catania) Outis 2013 ($44.50, score 89+): The Nerello Mascalese and Nerello Cappucio (identified as Carignan) blended into this wine grow on volcanic soils around Sicily’s Mt. Etna which endow it with a pungent minerality.  The lovely perfumed nose also has bright red cherry fruit with root beer, floral and sweet spicy notes.  It’s very soft with fresh flavours and a gentle refreshing bitter note through a long finish.



Taburno Falanghina di Montagna, Masseria Frattasi di Beniamino Clemente 2014 ($19.95, score 89):  Falanghina is named for the falanga, a Roman battle spear, acknowledging the varietal’s tall vines.  This wine has an aromatic nose with mango and pear fruit, acacia, and mineral and sweet spicy notes.  It’s sweetly ripe and freshly acidic on the palate with a creamy texture and a refreshing bitter finish.

Sicilia DOC—Donnafugata SurSur Grillo 2014 ($24.95, score 89+): This white features pear fruit and intense aromas of acacia blossoms with a grassy herbaceous note.  It’s fresh, creamy and sweetly ripe in the mouth through a long finish.

[For more information about Italian wines email Natalia Banoub of energy PR at natalia.banoub@energipr.com]






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Gigondas: A Leading Producer’s Take on a Beautiful Southern Rhône

Gigondas Amadieu image.JPGThe southern Rhône valley has been an agricultural paradise at least since the Phoenicians. Grape growing has benefited from the region’s sunny Mediterranean climate, varied soils and a range of altitudes and exposures.  The modern wine industry in the area produces high quality fairly priced white, rosé, sweet and sparkling wines, but it’s their red wines that take the prize.  These bottlings are blended from Grenache, Syrah, Mourvedre, Cinsault and nine other red and white varietals, although the first four are the most widely used.  They’re characterized by delicious mixed ripe red and black berry fruit with earthy, leathery, licorice root and herbaceous notes.  Their tannins are fine and acidity fresh.  The best can age usefully for decades.

Basic Rhône wines, often mixtures of juice from a number of the region’s communes, are classed as “Côtes du Rhône.” Those from a particular named commune are more distinctive and, often, higher in quality (and price.)  The best known (and costliest) come from Châteauneuf du Pape, where such examples as Beaucastel, Rayas and Vieux Telegraphe have achieved vinous superstar status.  The next most renowned is Gigondas.

The name Gigondas is derived from the Latin “jocunditas,” meaning joy or pleasantness. It was applied to a Gallo-Roman village where life was good, as were the wines produced there.  The vineyards are arrayed on the foothills of the striking Dentelles de Montmiraille where altitude can mitigate the intense summer heat, allowing for preservation of fresh acidity and focused fruit flavours.  Red Gigondas will serve as “the monarch of the feast,” partnering beautifully with roast or braised meats.  Good bottlings will age to mushroomy gingery glory over twenty years.  Prices begin in the $25-$30 range!

Pierre Amadieu is among the most highly regarded wineries in Gigondas. Last fall Pierre’s grandson, Henri-Claude Amadieu, presented a seminar in Toronto to show off three different Gigondas red wines (and a Vinsobres red from another southern Rhône commune) made by his house.  They were fairly priced delicious specimens.

Gigondas Romane Machotte Rouge 2012 ($28, score 90+) has a nose of deep black cherry and black berries fruit with wet stone note and rose petal nuances. The tannins are fine, firm and ripe with fresh acidity framing dep elegant fruit through a very long fruit and tannic finish with a mild bitter note and a faint oaky note on the finish.

Gigondas Domaine Grand Romane Rouge 2013 ($40, score 91+) has a very perfumed bouquet bright mixed black berry fruit with slightly pungent mineral and licorice root notes. It’s plush and velvety on the palate, fresh, and flaunts elegant luscious focused fruit with an elegant note.  The finish is fine, long and astringent.

Gigondas Le Pas de L’Aigle Rouge 2012 (~$30, score 91) has a seriously dusty pungent mineral nose with mixed black fruit and licorice root peeking out. It’s mouth-watering, with fine firm ripe tannins, fresh acid and deep ripe fruit harmonized with mineral notes. They all coast through a long finely astringent finish with a toasty note at the end.

Vinsobres Les Paillats Rouge 2012 ($21, score 89+) was slightly rustic with focused black cherry blackberry fruit, a touch of black currant and faded rose petal and elegant mineral notes. The tannins are fine, firm and ripe with fresh acidity.  The fruit is rich but serious.  Fruit and tannin persist on the very long finish with a late kiss of oak.

[You can contact Ontario agent Trilogy Wine Group at info@trilogywinegroup.ca or Henri-Claude Amadieu at henri.amadieu@pierre-amadieu.com for more information about Amadieu Gigondas.]



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Let Someone Else Push the Plunger

This link will take you to a column I wrote for the January 24, 2016 Sunday Sun.  I discuss my objection to assuming that doctors will be the ones to actually end patients’ lives in exercising their right to die.  Our role should be accurate careful diagnosis.  Others should carry out the ending of life.


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Paleolithic Wine and Food Matching

Alain Laliberté's photo.
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