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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

  • Dreaming Tree Crush a dream of a wine

    I’m late to this party. Really late. I know that. I just didn’t expect there was going to BE a party. But for about the millionth time in my life, I was wrong.
  • Big, grippy bargain reds to warm up a cold winter's eve

    So since even Ukrainian Christmas and New Year are behind us now, I think it’s safe to say the festive season is officially over. And with that somewhat dreary declaration, I guess it’s time to move on toward the bulk of our winter, with the encouraging notion that while the holidays are over for this year (or last year, depending on how you like to word it), the days are getting longer, which means summer is getting closer.
  • Portuguese wines a delightful treat

    Off in a tiny, tiny little section of France, you’ll find Portugal. No, I’m not geographically challenged. Well, truthfully, I AM, but that’s not what this is about.
  • Souverain Chardonnay the wine pick of 2014

    Last year — 2014 — seemed to be the year of Chardonnay for me. When I had white wine, I drank Chard almost exclusively. Not that there’s anything unusual about that — it’s par for the course for me — but for some reason, it just feels as if 2014 was all about that grape.
  • Cleanup tips for holiday mishaps

    If I hadn’t seen it with my own eyes, I wouldn’t have believed it. Heck, if I hadn’t been helping DO it, I wouldn’t have believed it.
  • Every wine is better in a clean, glistening glass

    During a celebratory glass of wine last week at Blü Kitchen and Bar — we were enjoying the lovely Quail’s Gate Chardonnay from Canada’s Okanagan Valley, which sells for $19.99 at the Liquor Mart and is multi-layered, boasting creamy, buttery notes, with toasted oak, peach and orange blossom aromas and flavours finished with caramel (and would be great with Christmas turkey, or chicken or even fish if you’re so inclined) — I glanced over at the bar. I was ultra-impressed by what I saw.
  • Bargain wines offer a holiday budget break

    “Any white wine.” That was the response of a great friend to a question I’d posed at the conclusion of the dinner portion of a small party I’d hosted. We’d moved from the dining room to the living room and more comfortable seating when I asked if I could get her anything else. Which was when I received the above reply.
  • G. Marquis worthy of noble ranking

    It was an ordinary weeknight, onion-baked pork baby-back ribs were on the menu, and I had no merlot on hand. And I really like merlot with pork. A lot. I prefer it to all other reds with that particular meat.
  • The Dock offers city's best deal on house wines

    It seems to start earlier and earlier every year, and 2014 is no exception. Although it’s not yet December, the holiday party scene is already in full swing. In fact, I talked to a few folks a couple of weeks back whose workplace get-togethers were slated to take place in early to mid-November! My husband and I will be attending our first gathering of the festive season tomorrow, and are really looking forward to it. And while this is a BYOB, open-house event, it got me to thinking about the parties that take place in licensed establishments around the city.
  • Vacuum pump between glasses -- and clean those aerating corks!

    I’m not happy to admit it, but I was wrong. Again.
  • Perfect wine pairings key to any successful meal

    There’s nothing like a wine-focused dinner prepared — and pre-paired — by professionals to really show how important choosing wine to complement your food — or in this case, food to complement your wine — can be. And that ability was beautifully displayed during the Rotary Westman Wine Festival’s Gala Dinner a few weeks ago.
  • Try 1914 Honour and Valour this Remembrance Day

    I’m sure I’m not the only one for whom Remembrance Day has taken on a special meaning this year. With the recent tragic deaths of Warrant Officer Patrice Vincent in Quebec and Cpl. Nathan Cirillo in Ottawa, I’m really feeling the significance of Nov. 11 intensely. I’ve enjoyed a 25-year career in journalism, and my beloved job included countless interviews with veterans of several of the conflicts in which our country has participated. Their stories have always informed, inspired and moved me.
  • Red wine a Boo-delicious addition to Halloween

    It’s scary. Really, really scary. Somewhat like a penance.
  • Wonderful wine week in the Wheat City

    So the Rotary Westman Wine Festival has come and gone for another year. As usual, there were many impressive beverages on offer. And as usual, hundreds of folks came out to enjoy what is easily one of the best nights of the year in Brandon. But rather than one night, I’ve come to think of the festival as sort of ‘Wine Week in the Wheat City.’ With the gala dinner being held on Wednesday, and my good fortune this year to be included in a private tasting on Thursday, then the public tasting on Friday, followed by the Brandon Wine Society’s regular tasting on Saturday night (this has nothing to do with the wine festival, except that the society contributes by buying four tickets to give away at our first gathering in September), I was pretty much wined out by the time Sunday rolled around.
  • Folie à Deux a fabulous find

    Sometimes good things can turn out to be bad things. And vice versa. And other times, it’s a combination of the two.
  • Cellared in Canada not always a bad thing

    This is not the sort of wine I usually advocate. And I’ll get to it shortly. But before that, a couple of definitions are in order.
  • Bargain bubbly worth a try

    It’s ludicrous to say this, but I’m going to anyway: You never know what’s going to happen at any minute of any day. Take, for instance, the dinner party I hosted a few weeks back. Two couples, really good friends, were coming over for dinner, so I had a selection of plenty of wines that I loved and knew these folks would like — all from California, incidentally.
  • Vine Lines - Spanish wines provide great value

    Thanks to some encouragement, prodding and recommendations from the MLCC’s Jeff Wolfe, Cindy Rousseau and Kevin Kotyk, I’ve really become a fan of Old World wines. And while I now enjoy Italian wines, particularly because they go so well with Italian cuisine of which we eat a fair amount, and really like French wine as well, my favourite Old World wine country — at least currently — is Spain.
  • Where there's a grill, there's a braai!

    Today is the second annual Canada Braai Day. If you didn’t know that, or don’t know what it is, don’t feel badly. I didn’t either. Until, that is, I was informed by a marketing agent who specializes in South African wines. Coincidentally, or perhaps not so coincidentally, her wines are Two Oceans and Nederburg, both of which are the presenters of this event.
  • Be cautious when ordering wine by the glass

    I’ve never been a glass-half-empty kind of gal. I just fill it up again!
  • Anniversary anecdotes and some wine along the way

    Today is my 28th wedding anniversary. And while it’s not one of those round-number ones that everybody thinks is worthy of a big celebration, it still means something. A heck of a lot, as a matter of fact. A friend said recently, after I told her I’d be having a semi-milestone birthday in September, “Woot! Time for a party!”
  • Ice adds quick cool factor to white wine -- but proceed with caution

    I know the very idea of this appalls many purists. And while there are some caveats to what I’m about to suggest, I know lots of people do this on a regular basis. And they do it unapologetically, unreservedly and unbowed by the sniffs of disapproval that might meet their action.
  • Séguret a stunning example of fine French wine

    It had been a long, long time since I’d had anything like this. And I loved every bit of it.
  • Cans are convenient and cost-efficient

    It’s the long weekend. I’m sure that’s not a bulletin for anybody, but to me, long weekends speak of fun, frolicking, friends, and no fuss. Because it’s likely you want to be outside, if possible near a large body of water. You want to visit. You want to entertain or be entertained. And sure, you want to eat and drink well. And truthfully, you’ll perhaps do a bit too much of both.
  • Funky bottles containing good wine make great gifts

    Summertime generally means wedding season is in full swing. And with next weekend being the long weekend, and with long weekends being extra-popular with lovebirds looking to bring family and friends together from near and far to celebrate, I thought this might be an ideal time for some suggestions about gifts of wine.
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