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Vine Lines

About Diane Nelson:

Diane Nelson is a long-time journalist and former Sun staffer who really likes wine. A lot. Chat with her online at www.vinelines.ca

  • Sweet wines galore for those who love them

    As regular readers of this column know, I’m not fond of sweet wines. I don’t know why, exactly. Perhaps my disdain for such beverages has accompanied my now-many-decades-long non-enjoyment of most sweet foods.
  • Castillo de Almansa perfect potable to pair with pizza

    I love pizza and hamburgers. Relatively easy to prepare — or, in the case of the former, have delivered! — these are comfort foods, meals that were treats in childhood days that have become standbys in my adult years, due to their convenience, deliciousness and lingering aura of indulgence.
  • William Hill Chard a beautiful, buttery delight

    It might sound overly dramatic, but it was one of those wine-tasting moments I won’t soon forget. I was at the Corral Centre Liquor Mart, specifically to sample the William Hill Chardonnay from California. It wasn’t a vintner I’d heard of before — of course, there are tens, if not hundreds, of thousands I haven’t heard of before, so this wasn’t an unusual experience.
  • You're no April Fool if you indulge in these wines

    A young friend of mine shared a story with me recently about having a glass of wine at a friend’s place, thinking it was good — but just good — and then being shocked to discover what she’d been served was a beverage that was $150 a bottle. She and I had a long discussion about my contention, stated more than once in this column, that a wine that’s $20 should taste twice as good as a $10 one, and a $50 wine should darn well taste twice as good as a $25 one, and so on. So I’d expect a $150 bottle should be six times as good as a $25 bottle. And honestly, that rarely happens.
  • Argentinian Cuma wines: Triple threat at a good price

    You could have knocked me over with a feather. Because I’m fairly picky, meaning REALLY picky, when it comes to wine. In some circumstances, the people I’m with and the surroundings and the tone of the room and the mood I’m in and what I’ve eaten ahead of time might all affect how I perceive a particular libation. And I think that’s the case for everybody.
  • Malamado Malbec offers an interesting spin on this varietal

    Malbec. What comes to my mind when I see or hear the name of that grape varietal isn’t always pleasant.
  • Angostura, El Dorado rums worth running for

    I have a friend. Let’s call him Rob. Rob likes rum.
  • More Cabernet Sauvignons to sip and savour

    “King Cab.” No, I didn’t forget the ‘R’ in the delicious sea creature that is one of my favourite foods.
  • Six Cabernet Sauvignons all worth trying

    Organizers of the Brandon Wine Society have outdone themselves this year. They decided that for the 2015-16 season, the seven tastings would pit, for lack of a better word, Old World wines against New World wines. And the idea was a fabulous one!
  • Is the Gran worth an extra $5?

    So how often do you get to compare two incarnations of an almost identical wine with a $5 difference in price? Not often, at least not in these parts.
  • A bottle of white, a bottle of ... rye?

    If anyone ever suggested I’d be writing a Valentine’s Day wine column on whisky, I’d have said they were nuts. But I’d have been wrong, because that’s exactly what I’m doing.
  • More bargain Chardonnays worth trying

    What the heck is with all these South African Chardonnays? I mean, I know the Chardonnay grape was initially associated with France, and that it’s flexible, malleable and a good reflector of terroir. It can be oaky or not, buttery or not, minerally or not, it can be anywhere from light- to full-bodied, and it can be acidic or not, and have flavours of citrus and green fruits, or rich figs or lush tropical fruit. And I know it’s grown all over the world, and consequently can boast all these different characteristics and still be called the same thing.
  • Two reds to help stave off the winter blues

    Even though the weather has been anything but a typical Manitoba winter, my taste has really turned toward red wine. Although I love to sip on whites, particularly Chardonnays, and still usually have a glass of white before a meal that I’m pairing with red meat — the likes of beef, pork, lamb, anything with a tomato sauce (pizza, lasagna etc.) — I’ve really been on a red kick lately, even foregoing my usual white as an aperitif and going red all the way.
  • Try a little liquid Bon Courage

    I had a column on red wine all ready to go for today. But with the weather being so balmy for most of this past week — balmy for this time of year, I should stress — it’s got me thinking that spring might not be so far away after all! I’m sure there’ll be a painful comeuppance for that sort of foolishness, but I’m willing to take the risk. And then the red wine column will have a place to live after all.
  • File The Archivist in your wine collection

    Oh. My. Gawd! I couldn’t stop myself.
  • Di's favourite wines of 2015

    I drink a lot of wine in a year. That won’t come as a surprise to anyone who knows me well, or probably to anyone who reads this column.
  • Bubbly wines for a sparkling New Year's Eve

    This never happened to me before. And I mean never. If it comes down to a choice between a couple or a few items, I will invariably pick the most expensive of the lot. That goes for just about everything in my life, and it’s definitely applicable where wine is concerned.
  • Where are the New Year's parties?

    “What Are You Doing New Year’s Eve?” That song, written in 1947 by Frank Loesser, posed a question that has been asked musically by dozens of artists on hundreds of recordings over the last almost 70 years.
  • Some bargain wines to celebrate the season

    Ah, Christmas. A time when families and friends gather, usually in good spirits, to share food and drink.
  • Montes Alpha wines definitely worth a try

    “Well, no wonder!” That was the phrase I uttered the Monday following the weekend during which I first tasted the Montes Alpha Carmenere from Chile.
  • Varietal-specific wineglasses from Riedel make great gifts

    If I hadn’t seen it for myself — or in this case, tasted it — I wouldn’t have believed it. But there was absolutely no question about the results. And to say they were impressive would be a massive understatement.
  • 'Tis the season to be … bubbly!

    While I’ve often said sparkling wine is appropriate any time, there’s just something about festive occasions that seem to beg for bubbly. And since that season is upon us — holiday parties are now in full swing (I have two to attend this weekend — yay!) — it seems a perfect time to offer details about some of the new bubblies on the market.
  • Favourites from the Westman Wine Festival

    There are always a few. Well, thankfully, I suppose, there are always a lot!
  • Bonterra Chard and Cab are great wines

    I made a new friend a few weeks ago. And not surprisingly, the relationship began over a glass of wine. I was seated at one of the three Manitoba Liquor & Lotteries tables at the Rotary Westman Wine Festival Gala Dinner. The witty, brilliant and oh-so-charming Peter Wilk, retail sales event co-ordinator for MBLL, was the host at our otherwise all-female table, which was peopled by wine representatives and two ladies from the community who just happened to be seated in our company.
  • Wine festival dinner a culinary coup

    It was, in a word, exceptional. The pairings were positively perfect. The meal was marvellously magnificent. The wine was whimsically wonderful.
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