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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

  • Luscious reds for summer barbecues and beyond

    Some people drink only white wine. Some people drink only red wine.
  • Prairie Firehouse wine -- and prices -- are fabulous

    I finally made it to the Prairie Firehouse for lunch a couple of weeks ago. And the waiting was on purpose, as I usually like to give any new place a few months to sort out the inevitable kinks that occur during the opening days of its existence. Anyway, I’d heard mostly good things, and the reports grew increasingly more positive as time progressed. So when a friend suggested lunch out, I said, “Sure. Let’s go to the Firehouse.”
  • Tanqueray No. Ten a glorious gin

    I have a pair of close friends who really enjoy gin and tonic in the summertime. Come to think of it, I have other friends who indulge in what they call gin and Titonics (they use ice cubes shaped like the Titanic — it’s actually very clever!) all year long. And while I quite like gin, I usually prefer not to have it with tonic because tonic’s too sweet for me. If I do have a G and T, and it’s very seldom, I usually cut the sugary intensity of the tonic with some club soda. And some fresh squeezed lemon juice (thanks for that tip, Bob) makes it a lot better, too.
  • Gnarly Head Zin a gnarly deal

    We’ve all likely heard the saying, “If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is.” And I’ve usually found that sentiment to be pretty accurate. But what I’m about to tell you is the exception.
  • Now is a fine time for rosé wine

    With apologies to John Lennon, this is the time of year most wine writers are urging their readers to give pinks a chance. While some fabulous rosés are being created all over the world, there still seems to be a steadfast reluctance on the part of the wine-buying public to embrace these blush-toned wines. Perhaps the stigma (for lack of a better word) of White Zinfandels, which are generally sickly sweet and are pink, not white, still turns some people away from what can be a truly marvellous beverage, especially in the summertime.
  • Las Vegas you've gotta eat and drink here!

    So. Long story short. In April, I was in Las Vegas on business. I focused on media education during the day. But in the evenings, I focused on my other business, namely wine and food. This is the final instalment in my wine and food guide to the tiny bit of Vegas I’ve managed to discover in six years of going on an annual basis.
  • Fine food, fab wine enhance Vegas experience

    In last week’s column, I began a dining and wining travelogue of my recent visit to Las Vegas. While I was there for business — a global media conference — the off-hours provided, as they always do, a wonderful opportunity to try some of the incredible food and wines on offer in that city’s many restaurants and lounges. Because there are so many options, and despite the fact I was there for a week, there’s truly so little time. So I’m always in a bit of a panic to sample as much food and wine as I can. And last Friday’s Vine Lines only got us through the first day — a travel day to boot!
  • Las Vegas: A foodie and winer's paradise

    For five of the past six years, I've been extremely fortunate to attend, through my day job as an instructor in the interactive media arts program at Assiniboine Community College, the National Association of Broadcasters conference in Las Vegas. This year, more than 103,000 people from around the world descended upon that desert city, which is global Media Mecca for the four-day run of the event. The technological displays are astonishing, the speakers are inspiring, and the innovations that are taking place daily and showcased at this event are mind-boggling.
  • Slightly sweet or off-dry wines to please particular palates

    In last week’s column, I presented a rather exhaustive list of sweet wines for those who enjoy a more sugary component to their favourite beverage than do I. I compiled the list because I realized I’d been ignoring, or at least downplaying, this particular type of potable, and when I considered that tons of sweet wines are sold in this market and others around the world, I figured it was time to get with the program and cater to those with sweeter tastes for a change.
  • 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.
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