Friday, October 8, 2010

Wine Worries: Reds and Whites for Thanksgiving Dinner

Wayne writes...
Hi Taylor,

I need some red and white suggestions for Thanksgiving dinner. I will have at least one discerning wine class guest amongst the diners so I don’t want to depend on my own selections.


Wayne, good to hear from you!!

Your first worry...?

So it has a lot to do with how the bird is prepared, and even more with the side dishes.

Are you a root vegetable (potatoes, yams, beets, etc) kind of guy? If so look for "earthy" wine to match with the earthy vegetable. Pinot Noir and lighter Italian (Tuscan) wines show the right kind of earth and are also light enough to go with the white meat of the turkey.

When I'm working with Cranberry sauce and rich stuffing (I do a serious Blue Cheese stuffing and baste all day) I reach for red Zinfandel or even Shiraz. I find this richness goes much better with dark turkey meat. Rich with rich.

You know those huge Butterball Turkeys? How about a big buttery Chardonnay with that? Chardonnay is a favourite of mine, I don't care what people think! My good buddy Danny rubs a serious amount of butter under the skin....too much? Just enough. Beamsville Bench, Niagara Chard is great local stuff. Don't get me started on Prince Edward County!

In closing I'd like to say that thanksgiving time is a time for richness! Even if you are not rich, we can all afford to be for one or two meals of the year!

Best regards,


Thursday, September 23, 2010

Wine worries: Pairing rum with food at a dinner party

Kevin writes...

this may be a bit outside of "wine", but i hear you know your spirits as well.

i am hosting a dinner party, and i have a few different aged, caribbean rums that i would like to serve neat. what appetizers and small plates would you recommend pairing with the rum?



Hey Dude,

Think Caribbean: some nice chicken skewers or spiced lamb would be great.

Thanks Kevin, worry not.


Have a wine worry of your own? Winetaylor can help.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

The Path Towards Sommelier

Lia writes...
I heard about you from iyellow wine school when I proceeded to take my boyfriend to his 1st tasting; California reds. We had a great time by the way, thanks again.
This may not be the right place for this, but i'm truly hoping you can help me. You see I have decided with all my heart that I want to become a sommelier. However, I have been having a ton of touble finding out where to begin. One person told me I need wines 1 and 2 from george brown to begin, then i found courses through CAPS then ISG... and now im unbelievably confused and a little stressed out. Can you please please please give me any information on where to begin?!?!?! Not to mention people keep telling me about level one sommelier... what is that and where would I study it?
I do not know why I am having so much trouble but I want to start as soon as I possibly can and im tired of running in circles! I would be eternally grateful if you could help me out!

Thank you so much,


It's hard to say. I would start out with the wset. I find they work better from the get go.

Glad to hear it! You have made the right choice!


Saturday, January 30, 2010

Valentine's Day wine pairing

Rebecca writes:
I bought the Tawse Cabernet Sauvingnon ice wine and it was delicious! A really nice balance of sweet, acid and juicy flavours.

My boyfriend gave me a lovely Sauternes for Christmas and I want to pair it for a Valentine's dinner. What would you suggest to cook for a main course? Dessert will be some lovely blue cheeses and dark chocolate.

Nice! Glad you liked it.

Your sweet Bordeaux can act a dessert wine, or you can pair it with appetizers. You're right on track with the blue cheese--the combo of strength is exactly what you want. Some other classic pairings are fois gras or prosciutto wrapped around asparagus.

If you reduce the wine a little in a sauce pan untill it's thick and syrupy, it can act as a nice drizzle on whatever you eat.

Thanks for asking!


Thursday, January 14, 2010

Sweet for the Sweet

With Valentine's Day just around the corner, pairing wines with sweets for your sweet can be of great importance. Be sure the wine is sweeter than the food, or a good relationship could get quite bitter.

Here's a suggestion, get a bottle of red ice wine (Cabernet Franc is good) and pair it with some dark chocolate. Better yet, cut up some strawberries and dip them in a chocolate fondue for a perfect paring. Red ice wine loves to be paired with chocolate in general. Add strawberries to capture the flavor of strawberries in the wine.

Enjoy Lovers!


Friday, December 18, 2009

Wine Worries: Interesting $50 Wine

Hey Taylor,

I'm looking for an interesting red wine for just under $50? I was
thinking of a Bordeaux, maybe a Merlot, but I'm really open to any
suggestions you might have!

Thanks, Laurent

A bunch of great Penfolds wine was just released.

I suggest the Bin 128 Shiraz and the Bin 389 Cabernet/Shiraz. These wines both show great value and are ready to enjoy or can be aged for 10 years easy.

I hope these work!


Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Keeping it Fresh

The Christmas season is upon us and it’s time to crack open some of the good stuff! Sometimes an open bottle of wine won't be finished the same day it is opened. Particularly if it’s a nice bottle, you’d like to keep it as fresh as possible.

For whites, it’s easy--keep them in the fridge. A white can keep in the fridge for a week or so, and you should be able to finish it by then.

For red wine, the same. It won’t last as long as the white, but keeping it cool slows the effects of oxidization. Just take it out 20 minutes or so before you will continue to enjoy it. Better to cool and warm up than to keep warm and stagnant.

For the Bubbly, there are many closures that work. They can be found in many home stores, LCBO stores, and online (see below). If you don’t have one, just put a spoon handle first into the wine bottle and let the miracle of science preserve your bubbles. Don’t use a cork: it will explode out of the bottle in the fridge!