CheckMate: Anthony von Mandl’s Master Class in Terroir Curation

Checkmate Artisanal Winery: 4799 Wild Rose Street, Oliver, Okanagan Valley, BC CheckMate doesn’t boast a high-end, architecturally inspiring winery – yet. What it has, instead, is a chessboard of ten, site-specific, small-lot vineyards in the southern region of the Okanagan Valley that provide a fabulously distinct range of Chardonnay and Merlot fruit. If you are a…

Wine-making Canadians in Napa – Meet Ray Signorello Jr.

Over the holidays, I had the pleasure of reading Canada’s #truepatriotlove poster boy, Mike Myers. His memoir, Canada, is the former SNL funnyman’s unabashed love letter to Canada and his critical take on what traits define our country. A “bastion of progressive ideals”, “a country where I am my brother’s keeper”, the “heartland of civility”…

Hooked on Hunter Valley – Part 2

  After a glorious morning of tasting, we enjoy a lovely lunch at the Bimbadgen Winery. On the ridge below, half a dozen kangaroos lounge in the mid-afternoon heat, indifferent to our presence. I can’t get over the fact these creatures are everywhere – including between the rows of vines – and their  disinterest reminds…

Hooked on Hunter Valley

In my books, Hunter Valley Semillon from New South Wales Australia is liquid gold. It’s one of those quiet, under-stated whites that’s a poster child for cellaring. I tasted a 2007 Tyrrell’s Vat 1 Semillon in wine class last year and it made quite an impression. We were studying “crisp racy whites” except the Semillon…

Waiheke – The Island of Wine

I’m en route wine region #4 here in stunning New Zealand. (I’m all out of adjectives to describe this country’s beauty….feel free to help. Also, region numbers are strictly based on my travel itinerary) To date I’ve been razor focused on the South Island’s viniferous offerings specifically from regions Waipara, Central Otago and Marlborough. Now…

Marlborough Country

We’re en route the Marlborough wine district via Kiwi Rail’s Coastal Express. The journey is celebrated as one of the jewels in New Zealand’s tourism crown. The utterly bucolic route takes us along the east coast of the South Island via a rugged sheep and cattle strewn tract of land. The train makes its way…

Waipara Valley Terroir

    You can’t drink wine and not consider the geography, botany and geology of the place that goes into your glass. Wine descends from the surface soils, bedrock, aspect, slope, winds and the geological cocktail of minerals and nutrients that feed the viticulture in the region. Most of us tip, pour and drink and…