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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

  • 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.
  • Etiquette should be top of mind at wine festivals

    I’m excited! Tonight is the annual Rotary Westman Wine Festival at the Victoria Inn. And it’s always such a delight to taste a variety of wines brought to us to enjoy here in the comfort of our own home (town). The festival has grown both in size and popularity over the years, and I expect fun will reign supreme this evening as it always does at these events.
  • Brazos de los Andes blends a pleasant change of pace

    I’m a creature of habit. I’d like to think I’m not — that I can be spontaneous and open to anything that presents itself, ready to go with the flow whatever comes along, whenever it does.
  • Errazuriz Wild Ferment Chardonnay a stunning wine

    It was while searching for information about a wine I was about to try that I stumbled, quite by accident, upon the name of another from the same vintner that made my heart beat a little faster than usual. I’d been looking up the Errazuriz line from Chile, knowing I was going to be tasting one of its Carmeneres — a single vineyard Carmenere, which usually means a great-tasting wine (and it was — spicy and chocolaty and wonderfully peppery, with the typical, albeit even better than usual, bell pepper notes topped off by black fruit and tobacco — a beaut, and what you’d expect for $23.99) — when I spied another listing in the Errazuriz line.
  • Royal de Neuville bubbly rosé a perfect food companion

    I always enjoy rediscovering and retrying a wine I’d forgotten about. Especially if it’s a wine I really like. And while I know that bubbly is not everybody’s cup of tea (as it were), that and the fact that this particular wine is pink, and medium-dry, which means it’s semi-sweet, might have some folks turning up their noses before they’ve even given it a try.
  • Westman Wine Festival is only four weeks away

    It’s that time of year again. The Westman Wine Festival is just around the corner.
  • These bargain wines over-deliver for the price

    I’m not really sure where I got it. But wherever it came from, I’m just glad it did!
  • Whiplash Zinfandel is a slightly sweet treat

    Never has the name of a wine so accurately portrayed my initial reaction to it. But before we go there, I must say this: I love Zinfandel. Period. Regardless of the brand, it goes well with everything.
  • Expensive experiment reveals marvellous money-saving Malbec

    I couldn’t believe I was doing it. I can’t believe I did it!
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