Canadian Wines for Victoria Day

Americans are heading into the Memorial Day weekend today (stay tuned for some holiday beach wine reviews), but Canadians celebrated their national holiday this past Monday.

Neither I nor my British husband had ever heard of Victoria Day. They don’t observe it in the U.K – I guess the Brits aren’t as excited as the Canadians about that particular monarch.

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Maple leaf lanterns festooned Orlando’s Victoria Day celebration

But that didn’t stop us from celebrating with Orlando’s Canadian community at a heck of a party organized by our friend Faiyaz Kara, food critic for the Orlando Weekly  … and proud Canadian.

The event – which benefited Orlando chef Kevin Fonzo‘s charitable foundation – pitted local chefs against each other to see who had the best take on Canada’s national specialty, poutine.

For the uninitiated (or un-Canadian), poutine is a dish comprised of french fries drenched in gravy, topped with cheese curds. The chefs at this event added meat and a whole lot more. This was not a low-fat affair.

But what excited me most – as you might imagine – was that the evening’s festivities also included a tasting of five Canadian wines, all from the Niagara region! We don’t get many Canadian wines this far south of the border, so this was a real treat. And no, they weren’t all icewines!

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Bodegas Valduero – Transcending Spanish Wine

Winemaker Carolina Garcia Viadero refers to the wines she creates for Bodegas Valduero in Spain’s Ribera del Duero region as “little pieces of art.” 

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Carolina Garcia Viadero with her Valduero 12 Anos

I don’t drink a lot of Spanish wines, but when I do, the ones from Ribera del Duero in northern Spain are often my favorites.

So I was thrilled to be invited to meet Viadero and sample some of her most prized masterpieces at a recent tasting for wine collectors and wine professionals in Orlando.

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Massaya rosé: Perfect porch sipper and versatile food wine

I don’t know what the weather is like where you live, but here in Orlando, it’s well into rosé season.

Of course, I don’t really believe in rosé season. I’m a huge rosé fan – some might even say an evangelist – and I’m happy drinking the sunset-colored liquid any time of year. But there’s no denying that it pairs particularly well with a porch, deck, or pool on a warm Florida spring day like today.

I’m partial to Provencal rosés – like a lot of rosé lovers, I consider them the gold standard – but I was intrigued a few weeks ago when Tim’s Wine Market Orlando featured the 2014 Massaya rosé from Lebanon’s Beqaa Valley. It’s made mostly from Rhone varietals – 40% cinsault, 30% syrah – plus 30% cabernet sauvignon.

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