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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

  • 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.
  • 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.

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