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Valtellina, this is a lip sync for your life we need to see your lips

As a west coast Canadian native, it slightly hurt to miss the GuildSomm seminar on Ontario wines after having snagged a ticket to slightly make up for missing last year's Canada-themed Vancouver International Wine Festival. I also missed the first half of the Lombardia and Emilia-Romagna seminar for this week's Italian Wine Scholar class because of things. I'm missing some marks, y'all. I didn't get to cry my tears of Canadian Riesling, but I did get to cry tears of Lambrusco. I'm also not afraid of disrupting the middle of class to pour myself a glass of Franciacorta. Bitch, I paid for this course. Give me that fuckin' yeast. The week also involved a day of packing and moving to a new apartment. Huzzah! Come through, gaybourhood. I don't...

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Swiping left and right on flavour profiles, 2017 edition

Fourth year at the Wine Bloggers Conference and I still haven't tapped out of the speed blogging portion, you guys! The chaos was unbeknownst to me during my first year in 2014 and I was confused why people chose to skip the session and eat fries at the neighbouring restaurant instead. The rules to this WBC mainstay are simple: the wine representative has five minutes to pour you wine and talk about it. At the same time - and if you're playing the game to its fullest - one takes notes, snaps photos, and maybe thinks of something witty about the wine to tweet in that moment. There are ten rounds in total. Speed dating! If this is Tinder for wines, is there a Grindr for wines? Is...

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Putting the Rain in Monterey’s Thermal Rainbow

It's a partial shame that I was in the USA for Canadian Thanksgiving and in Canada for American Thanksgiving. I didn't get my fill of holiday food - and I'm not headed back to Canada for the big holiday extravaganza (much to the discontent of my colleagues and family) - so I'll have to make do, and I'm not mad at that. Huzzah! Maybe my mind will change (it won't), but nothing sounds better than eating take-out, drinking an entire bottle of Champagne, and binge-watching feel-good movies. But yes, Canada: I'm perpetually unafraid of rocking my combination of short overalls and thick plaid jacket, but I was greeted with all of Vancouver's rain: I realized my mistake during my ride-share to the San Francisco airport....

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On Sonoma and my 4th Wine Bloggers Conference

I vigorously decided not to attend the Wine Bloggers Conference this year (in Santa Rosa) until the very last minute. Why not go? I live in San Francisco, and the theme for the previous Tuesday's California Wine Appellation Specialist class was, well, Sonoma. A sign. Even though I missed all the early bird discounts, I decided that I would be absolutely insane not to attend. After some nudges from fellow wine attendees and comforting caresses to my bank account, I clutched the part of my chest that encased my liver and headed up. I can't believe it's already been my fourth year! I still remember my first, which brought me to the relatively nearby Santa Barbara region after I earned a scholarship to attend. What a blast,...

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Napa’s 2017

Napa. Its seemingly daunting wine is made up of relatively simply shaped sub-regions. The clean-cut sixteen seem well-fit into a geographical puzzle compared to the overlapping Russian nesting doll appellations of every other region in California, and I am 100% here for that. I finally ended last week's mental tug-of-war on whether or not to attend the Wine Bloggers Conference in neighbouring Santa Rosa, and I've decided to go but with as much cost-cutting as possible. Though it was super fun, one of the most interesting sessions was the discussion on the recent wine country fires: the panel included George Rose, photographer; Patsy McGaughy, of Napa Valley Vintners; and Pierre Bierbent, winemaker of Signorello Estates. The descriptions and statistics of the damage were heartbreaking, including 75,000 total acres burned and 652 homes...

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Mendocino’s medicine-o

What terrible timing it was for the recent fires in California to start wreaking havoc around the same time as I started the California Wine Appellation Specialist course. It's so unfortunate that a recent masterclass helped surge personal interest in a wine region that went relatively ignored during my WSET diploma studies, only for the terrible news to ensue. I hope that by learning more about the region I'm doing a part to support them - and thusly I may also retract my decision to not attend this year's Wine Bloggers Conference in Santa Rosa? Sigh. We'll see. Testing my just-in-time schedule, I rushed out of the door from work to make it to class, being the last of the group that was on time,...

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Sissy That Wine: Trixie Mattel and Katya

My current journey has led me to San Francisco's tech world, where the constant and profuse flow of genius rarely wanes. This city has drilled its tech life into me so viciously that I regretfully find myself trying to turn every non-work situation into a slightly more productive one. Did I buy a bottle of Dolcetto to enjoy before going to see Trixie Mattel's drag show, only to force myself to write a detailed draft blog post on the grape? Possibly. Did I hand out two sets of business cards to four people I met in line for Katya's drag show? Maybe. Did I use the 60 seconds I had, meeting Trixie and Katya, to ask what their favourite wines were? A strong and unabashed "perhaps". Thusly, enter: drag queens...

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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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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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