Bottoms Up: News from around the wine world

By now you’ve probably heard all the talk about interprovincial wine shopping in Canada. Or should I say ‘non-interprovincial’ wine shopping!

An obscure 1928 Prohibition-era law presently makes it illegal for consumers to transport even a single bottle of alcohol across provincial boundaries. How archaic you say? Darn right! The original idea of this law was to give each province a monopoly over its alcohol sales and thus a source of tax revenue. In other words, it was a trade barrier set up to simply protect each province’s own interest.

Hello! This is the 21st Century. Let’s get with the times. We are not at war with other provinces. It’s all the same country here. I don’t think the government realizes how much of a major challenge this law is to Canadian wine makers who already fight for shelf space against cheaper, international brands in our market. It’s also a key factor in why Canada’s wine industry has not grown as fast as it could. But now at last people are ticked off.

Consumer and industry groups, especially those in the vineyard regions of Ontario, British Columbia and Nova Scotia, who are unable to get hold of many award-winning Canadian wines, are putting pressure on the government to change this law. You should too. Contact your local MP and let them know how you feel.

Best Bubbly in the World from Britain
Think you’ve heard it all? Well check this out. A few months back, Britain won the trophy for the World’s Best Sparkling Wine beating out traditional producers like Italy, Spain and especially France. Hard to believe a bubbly made in the U.K. could even challenge, let alone top a French Champagne! The wine was the 2008 Pinot Noir Brut from the Camel Valley Vineyard, near Bodmin, in the Cornish countryside. The competition, the Bollicini del Mondo wine awards in Verona, Italy!

The winery is no stranger to awards. It already holds the title for the Best Sparkling Rosé in the World as well as winning gold medals for its sparkles at the 2010 International Wine Challenge in London. The 2008 Camel Valley Pinot Noir Brut is currently being sold as a special edition that is numbered and displayed in a presentation box along with two designer glass flutes, a bottle saver and a certificate of authenticity signed by the winemaker. The cost, a mere £59.95 (approximately $95 CAD)! If there’s any still available, shall I order you a few?

Chocolate and Wine – A Marriage Made in Heaven
All right you chocoholic, wine-loving folks out there! Who says chocolate and wine don’t mix? For years now the thinking has been that the coating action of chocolate is simply too much for wine and overpowers it. Well hang tough because if you play it right, you can satisfy your choco-vino cravings and have the best of both worlds…together. Try milk chocolate with a rich, buttery Chardonnay, especially from the New World, like Australia, California or Chile. Here the caramel notes of the chocolate mesh with the buttery texture of the wine. Dark chocolate lovers will want to match it to a rich, slightly tannic red wine because of the chocolate’s bitter note. Check out Cabernet Sauvignon and Amarone or a big fortified wine like Port or a fruit wine like Framboise. If white chocolate is your thing, then make friends with late harvest Riesling or a dessert Muscat. The sweetness and fruit of the wine will make love to the vanilla and creamy flavours of the chocolate. Like nuts or raisins in your chocolate? Then vie for a medium-sweet Madeira or Tawny Port. And if you’re an aficionado of the new chocolate/chili sensation, then an Aussie Shiraz combo will blow you away.

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