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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

  • Portugal's Altano Douro over-delivers for the price

    Surprises are wonderful things. Well, I should qualify that. Good surprises are wonderful things. Good, as in, “Oh, wow! This is really great!” as opposed to “Oh, no! This is really terrible!”
  • Bubbly wine a great summertime choice

    Pinot Gris and Pinot Grigio. Sauvignon Blanc. Rosé. These are considered by many to be the quintessential wines of summer.
  • Pinot Gris and Grigio and a cool Canadian blend

    It’s always nice when someone else echoes your thoughts, or feels the same way about something as you do. At least it is for me. And that was certainly the case a couple of weeks ago when I was reading my colleague Ben MacPhee-Sigurdson’s wine column in the Brandon Sun’s sister paper, the Winnipeg Free Press. The headline read, “This Summer, Why Not Punt The Pinot?”
  • Rodney Strong never fails to impress

    Oh, Rodney! Ever since we first met, you’ve been my favourite. I mean, there are others I really enjoy, but you — all of you — warm my heart. When I arrive home at the end of the day, and my lips embrace you, I’m transported. I’m never bored, always enchanted and thoroughly satisfied.
  • Revisiting an old Italian friend, and finding a new Aussie one

    Have you ever had a friend that you really loved, who you hung out with all the time, and then, as life intervened, you started to see him or her slightly less often, then eventually, sadly, not at all? That was the scenario that came to mind last weekend when I tasted a wine that I’d adored for years, and had never gotten tired of, but had sort of, well, to be honest, forgotten about.
  • 'A bottle of white, a bottle of red, perhaps a bottle of rose instead'

    It was like drinking liquid velvet. The creaminess of the 2013 Michel Picard Vouvray is almost magical. Named after a French Region of the Loire Valley, this off-dry Chenin Blanc is fresh and delicate and yet lush at the same time (I think that impression has to do with its oh-so-smooth texture).
  • White before night? Red before bed? Really?

    “White before night, and red before bed.” That self-created “rule” is how a close friend determines when he’s going to drink what colour of wine.
  • Meiomi chardonnay will take your breath away

    Wow. That was it.
  • If it costs twice as much, it should be twice as good

    I think it’s only logical that if one product costs twice as much as another product, it should be twice as good. If you agree with that statement, then does it follow through for you that if something costs four times as much, it should be four times better?
  • Check the alcohol content in the wines you drink

    It was a pleasant Sunday a few weeks ago, and I was reading a novel while sitting on my living room couch. When I came to a chapter’s end, I noticed the sun was over the yardarm (well, not technically — I noted it was after 5 p.m.) and decided a glass of wine would further enhance my reading experience. So I went downstairs to my wine fridge, and since I was taking a lazy day to relax and be indulgent, I decided to REALLY treat myself and open a bottle of wine I’d been given as a Christmas present from a close friend.
  • Pinot Grigios ideal for summer sipping

    Tastes change. I know that’s not a revelation to anyone. My tastes have certainly changed over the years. I used to be a huge fan of big, oaky — REALLY oaky — Chardonnays. And while I always enjoyed the unoaked ones, too, my taste has done a total 180. Now anything with more than the most delicate whiff of oak, and I’m not enamoured. Instead, I’m seeking out Chards that have no oak, since I find them — at least for now — much more to my liking.
  • Citra wines a great deal for less than $10 -- a litre!

    My memory isn’t what it used to be. I realize I’m not alone in that situation, but honestly, it gets frustrating if not downright ridiculous sometimes.
  • True Lemon, True Lime are this cook's best friends

    There’s something about citrus that just tastes like summer. And while I’m not a huge fan of citrus fruits on their own (to be perfectly frank, they make me burp), or citrusy wines, I do love to use citrus in cooking.
  • Grab some Malbec and join in the fun

    Today is Malbec World Day. (Why it’s not called World Malbec Day is beyond me, but Malbec World Day is what it is, so I’ll run with it.)
  • Making more of many Malbecs

    It has never been my favourite. The furthest thing from it, actually.
  • Bargain whites sure to delight Easter feasters

    It’s always especially thrilling when somebody does something for you that’s particularly delightful and wonderfully thoughtful and completely unexpected. That’s what happened to me a couple of weeks ago. My new friend Heather bought a particular wine especially for me to try, and as if that wasn’t sweet enough in and of itself, I ended up really liking it! And that’s the crux of my story, as you’ll see.
  • A Belgian peach beer for the spring thaw

    It’s crazy to think that only three weeks ago, the weather was brutal and ice cold. Now it’s essentially spring. In this kind of weather, I tend to prefer lighter, sweeter and citrusier beers over dark beers. Belgium is full of sweet and tasty beers that are best enjoyed on the patio in the springtime.
  • These South African reds should be great with Easter dinner

    Easter came early to my house this year. Well, OK — that might be stretching it just a tad.
  • A few more for those who like sweet wine

    I’ve made it abundantly clear over the years that unless a wine is dry, it’s definitely not my thing. But here’s a slight caveat: I do appreciate a sweet wine, like a German Riesling, with a salad that has a sweet dressing. Or a Gewurztraminer with spicy curries. Or almost any Port (in a storm?) at the conclusion of a meal, as long as there’s blue cheese or Stilton to accompany it.
  • Some thoughts for aspiring wine drinkers

    “Do you have a favourite wine?” That was the first question asked of me during an introductory Q and A with a new-to-me group of students in my media and human communication class at Assiniboine Community College a few weeks ago.
  • Italian whites (and reds) offer a palate-pleasing change

    I love Chardonnay. I think that has been made clear many times — maybe too many times — in this space. But when it comes to white wine, Chard is my favourite. No ifs, ands or buts about it. I like that it’s great with food. I like that it can be great on its own. Heck, I just LIKE it!
  • Zinfandel perfect pairing for red meat

    “You like Zinfandel?” a friend asked me during a recent celebration. “I thought it’d be way too sweet for you.” “Really?” I replied. And then it dawned on me. He thought I was talking about White Zinfandel. Based on that premise, he was right — I’m not a huge White Zinfandel fan, since it’s usually light, sweet and uncomplicated, and I liked things a little more gutsy, dry and layered.
  • Happy frugal Valentine's Day

    Last weekend, precisely a week before Valentine’s Day, my husband and I accompanied some friends for dinner at one of the chain restaurants in town. I hadn’t been to this particular establishment for years — honestly, I hadn’t been particularly enamoured in the past. But the gang was going there and I was invited along, so I thought, “What the heck?” and eagerly joined in.
  • Alamos Cabernet is smooth, supple and scrumptious

    It was about eight years ago, and it was a joyous occasion. The rehearsal party, in Winnipeg, for the wedding of two dear, young friends. The dad and stepmother of the bride were hosting, and we out-of-town guests, as part of the effort and monetary investment we’d expended to be there, were invited. And while the inclusion in the rehearsal party was not at all necessary, it was very much appreciated.
  • When pairing wine, be adventurous, but trust what you know

    I never really think of myself of as stubborn. Tenacious, maybe, but not stubborn. However, in this case, I suppose I was. Even though I knew better, I still thought I knew better.
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