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2016 was questionable, so here are 20 wines to pair with 2017

I ended a past blog post - themed: a review of 2015 - with the words "Welcome, 2016. I will cut you." Though I feel like I did personally make some substantial dents in this crunchy titanium can of a year, the general consensus seems to be that we created a blueprint for goodness, but then said blueprint was stolen, lit on fire, and then puréed with an unwashed beige-coloured towel embroidered with the words "~fUcK yOu~", styled in Comic Sans MS. I won't fill this post with hopes for 2017 so that I don't build myself a bigger bowl of disappointment, but instead will list wines that remind me of an upwards trend of hope, a vague connection to the vapid consolation of Pantone's Color of...

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Gamay Noir: the Sansa Stark of Wine Grapes

(The night is dark and full of small spoilers. Tread carefully past the picture for the wines!) I mention Beaujolais to people - in the same way that I might bring up Sansa Stark in a Game of Thrones discussion - and I watch as faces crinkle before I make my case for the dark horses. Gamay is a red grape that hails from the Beaujolais region in France (and Sansa hails from Winterfell, but you knew that), and it's fashionable to dislike Beaujolais. The ditzy Beaujolais Nouveau variations of the 1970s and 1980s - all laden with pear drops, banana, and bubble gum flavours from carbonic maceration - once represented half of all Beaujolais sold. It's since dropped to around a third, but I...

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Josh Likes Paris

I've unapologetically become my parents when it comes to travelling, which primarily means that I like to arrive at airports hours and hours before I realistically need to. Combine that with what Erin and I decided to drink the night prior, which was all of Cava, fresh hop beer, and bourbon. Why?! But the morning turned out fine, and we had shitty mimosas and beer at the airport to satisfy the unending ghosts of the night prior. The short layover in Montreal slowly eased us into our French-speaking modes, followed by a decent 7-hour flight to Paris. I sheepishly told the flight attendant that I would like the chicken option for dinner, which really just means I muttered "poulet". I don't remember what in-flight movie I...

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Josh tastes 118 wines at Top Drop

If there was one unforgettable takeaway uttered by a wine god during this year's Wine Bloggers Conference, it was the keynote speaker Karen MacNeil (author of the Wine Bible) who opined - and I'm paraphrasing, here - that people should pay more attention to tasting the wines during such events. Of course, I was thrilled, because that gave me even more validation to ignore people. Ha! Key advice when the militant goal is to taste every wine during a well-curated tasting, but it's harder than it sounds because I guess I like to wave and flail at people. A regretful ode to the few tables I did not get to visit: Anthonij Rupert, Badia a Coltibuono, Elio Altare, Giusti, Latta, Montenidoli, Orofino, Scribe, Spottswoode Estate,...

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JOSH IS ALONE IN NEW YORK CITY: Day 2

Before the Wine Bloggers Conference in a couple of days, I thought it would be a great idea to change it up from the previous night and hang out in New York City by myself for a bit - and perhaps I would meet up with the rest of my Vancouver crew for dinner if I didn't end up crying by a NYC alley in the fetal position (TRICK QUESTION: Manhattan doesn't have alleys). Just a few days ago I signed up for this thing called the Free Tours By Foot: it's essentially a themed tour in a listed city where you pay however much you think the tour is worth at the end. I'm sure there's some sort of reverse psychology witchcraft that goes on where you guilt yourself into...

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“Hot & Bothered” – Oh Land: Jean Foillard 2011 “Côte du Py” Morgon

It's strange for it to be introduced in class as our benchmark example of Beaujolais, with this eccentric combination of raspberry lambic beer, garden soil, a mouthful of red fruit, and a hint of spice and dirty socks. I've heard this described as a wine that would get hipsters in New York hot and heavy. I'm not sure if that's a positive thing but I'm into it....

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2014 Vancouver International Wine Festival – Wine Tour de France Seminar

This year's wine fest kicked off with me doing the blind tasting challenge on the Wednesday - the rest of my day consisted of lunch with colleagues, errands involving heavy lifting, and then seeing the new Lego movie. I didn't get as much sleep as I wanted, which is an obvious call for trouble: the next day started off with a France-themed tasting at 9:30AM; the big, busy, and irritating trade tasting at 2:30PM; and an exciting Bourgogne-themed tasting at 5PM. A day full of constant mouth stimuli. Since this was one of the trade tastings (opposed to a consumer one), there were lots of familiar faces. But I shamelessly admit that any human interaction is personally difficult and gruelling before...

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