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On pairing wines with moods: Keber 2015 Bianco Collio

I suppose pairing wine with a mood is sort of like pairing wine and food, where you can either complement the atmosphere, like a melty and indulgent oaked Viognier for a broken heart - or contrast - like a taut and high-acid sparkling Riesling to slap you in the face and tell you to get your shit together. There are classic pairings, though, like oysters and Muscadet, and pairings like Champagne and merriment weave together well enough that their sales correlate with the average American income in the following year; wines like vintage port seem fitting as a pensively cerebral way of celebrating a journey involving arduous efforts. What a surprise, then, that this wine from northeast Italy was an unintentional complement to the previous night, providing cologne-like florals, gentle intrigue,...

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Demière-Ansiot Champagne Blanc de Blancs Grand Cru Brut

I'm not going to pretend that an ill-planned day involving a rideshare vehicle arriving at the same time as an unexpectedly delayed train deserves a bottle of wine, but I'm going to go ahead and say that it does because my standards are low this week. Maybe they usually are? Part of me wonders whether watching all three seasons of The Great British Baking Show on Netflix counts as doing something productive on my spare time - though a friend unquestionably defeated me in that domain by finishing up the first season at the gym. I've convinced myself that kneading dough burns calories though, or maybe I'm just doing it wrong: one particular odd spark of inspiration on a Monday involved my regular two pans of cauliflower pizza followed...

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On Vinebox and vials

What entices me about wine startup Vinebox is their potential solution to my half-concerns on purchasing full bottles of wine. (I get that you might be scoffing - not at the their idea, but at the notion that I have genuine concerns about sipping every last drop out of a bottle like a greedy sink drain.) The concept is simple: Vinebox sends you a flight of three wines they've sourced from different producers, catered to the wine colour of your preference and the kind of wine drinker you are - "adventurous", "classic", or "newcomer" - that way, you can have your own alcoholic Dating Game experience and possibly re-order the ones that tickled your fancy in all of their tubular glory, since the leading facet appears in the form of a patented...

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Gambero Rosso Tre Bicchieri 2017: Franciacorta, the other other other sparkling wine

I've always been a bubbly enthusiast - bar the brief phase as a neophyte, vehemently denouncing the region of Champagne out of myopic unfamiliarity ("why would you pay hundreds of dollars for sparkling bread water?!") - but for some reason the ember has recently been amplified for at least a modicum of time. It struck me as a bit odd, since the grandes marques of the wine world are the opposite of the dark horses I like to champion, but I've popped open a bottle of Piper-Heidsieck's non-vintaged brut (it was on sale, obviously), as I pound away at a daunting spreadsheet covering what I've deemed are the 70-or-so most important Champagne houses, everything down to oak regimes, house styles, or whether or not they were fucked over during an acquisition. Fascination...

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On Nova Scotian bubbles, mature Friulano, and aged Californian Chardonnay

It's an odd feeling - I've spent a decent spoonful of my adult life working outside of Canada, enough that I have to think twice about which boxes and lines I have to fill out on forms. Also very real: living through the lengthy process of waiting at the DMV, and wondering whether I should list my height in centimetres to throw the workers off, only to realize that it's probably best not to potentially risk going back to the end of the line. Can Fahrenheit not? Wine availability, politics, and markets are markedly different in Vancouver compared to San Francisco, and keeping my nose close to both is a bit of a challenge, especially with the constantly evolving wine scene in Canada. During a visit back home, my mission of going to...

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God damn it, Riesling.

If Tyra banks were a Riesling (spoiler alert: she probably is, but like a Californian one or something), she - and I, for that matter - would be yelling at wine consumers à la Top Model cycle 4's Tiffany. Alas. We coerced the masses to join the Church of Riesling and tried to convince the world that it was everyone's undiscovered main bae: I did my best to promote the versatile berry, including the times I poured the gamut down the throats of university students during multiple hilarious post-secondary stints, or the time I shared some with a friend out of a thermos in the library while studying mathematical proofs. I've often dubbed Riesling a Millennial gateway grape (I'm talking about you, Sean) since it's famed for...

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Gambero Rosso Tre Bicchieri 2017: On Prosecco, Italy’s power bottom

I have no real desire to flesh out this (very real) analogy to fruition, but should it end up inadvertently educating you, my job here is done! I have even less desire to write another several paragraphs about how much I think people should ditch the tank method Italian sparkling for something yeastier and Maillard-esque. Sorry, guys: sometimes Prosecco is exactly what you need when you're recording a drag podcast at 11AM on a Monday with your friend who's in Barcelona (his clock: 8PM). Stop telling me to ditch pears for dough, and soft padding for the sting of overinflated volleyballs. Which were never passed to me in high school gym class, anyways. It's obvious that the suited sommeliers don't flock to bottles of Prosecco at...

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If Austrian wines could soothe sunburns

When you plan a brunch date that unexpectedly turns into a day at the beach and a breathtakingly kaleidoscopic art show. If there were a handful of wines that could pair with the sun and simultaneously be soothing enough to cure slow-forming sunburns on one's bald head, Austria's take on Sauvignon Blanc would be one of them. C'mon, sunscreen! I forgot Austria did Sauvignon Blanc. Master Sommelier Matt Stamp describes the style of having a mint-like character throughout; the Wine Grapes tome states that the best producers "typically combine the refreshment of Sancerre with the creaminess of a rich white burgundy"; Oz Clarke's Grapes & Wines describe the style as having "classic nettly, blackcurrant-leaves fruit, while from the Sudsteiermark region come Sauvignon Blanc wines...

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A swooner for Grüner

Picture a terrible ear infection, whose arduous journey towards remedy and eventual demise is almost immediately followed by a fucked up ankle on the same side of the body, condensing some of the worst parts of childhood and the least sexy parts of 2015's Europe trip in one go. God damn it, body. If this is biology's way of saying calm down, I refuse to listen. These are the thoughts I have after dripping two sets of medicine in my right ear and heading to work early so that I can comically hobble my way to The Progress, where an Austria-themed masterclass hosted by GuildSomm and Master Sommelier Matt Stamp awaits. Of course, one half of my head can't hear anything,...

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Zweigelts and Blau-jobs

TFW you're at work on a Saturday evening and continue with some extra writing because you're motivated during stupid hours of the night, only to be invited out to an event starting at 2:30AM on the night we jump forward for the wretched anti-event of Daylight Saving Time. The next day brought about a cornucopia of beers, jello shots, wine, wine, hot tubs, wine, vodka, and musical numbers. My level of verve is that of a flowery warm-climate Viognier lazily draped on a tongue-shaped couch, unlike Austria's zesty Zwiegelt and Blaufränkisch, both who have demanding spirits that seem like they're trying to convince you to like them. C'mon, energy! I haven't had much Zweigelt, Austria's most widely planted grape and lovechild of Blaufränkisch and Saint Laurent - the only ones that come to mind are Canada's attempts. Styles...

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