Taking life one sip at a time

Okanagan BC wine

The 100 point Little Pawn Chardonnay.

Just a few years into its relatively short life, CheckMate Artisanal Winery in British Columbia’s Okanagan Valley was the first Canadian winery to earn perfect 100-point scores in back to back vintages for one of its Chardonnays. How do they meet the immense expectations from critics and wine consumers as a result? Like any good chess player, it starts with a plan to ensure your always thinking a few steps ahead.

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Winery sign Okanagan BC

Black Hills Estate

Black Hills Estate is one of British Columbia’s most famous wineries having set the bar in terms of quality and consistency in the Okanagan Valley for the past two decades. Their new winemaker is currently harvesting his second vintage with them and already proving that the winery is in extremely capable hands.

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Washington’s Leonetti Vineyards during the wildfires of 2015.

This September has been horrible for pretty much all of the winemaking regions in California, Oregon and Washington. Wildfires are burning in each of those states and pose considerable danger to this year’s harvest and to the vineyards and the people living and working in those regions. British Columbia’s Okanagan Valley may face risk as well. The physical danger posed by these fires is very real and our hearts go out to all those affected; they are in our thoughts and we are sending up our wishes for their safety.

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Veuve Clicquot: Extra Brut Extra Old

Veuve Clicquot: Extra Brut Extra Old

Posted on Sep 2, 2020

Veuve bottle cork

Veuve Clicquot Brut Champagne

The Champagne house Veuve Clicquot might just be the region’s most recognizable name. Its distinctive yellow/orange label is the envy of every marketing grad across the world as Veuve Clicquot’s brand identity is unsurpassed. Now a part of luxury brand owner LMVH, Veuve Clicquot is a marketing powerhouse within a marketing powerhouse.

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Frank Gigliotti

Cavallo is the latest project of Frank Gigliotti, the record executive turned management consultant who decided to drop his business career and focus on the two things he loves most: wine and music. Frank is a high-energy entrepreneur who has a passion for everything he does, especially when it comes to making wine.

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Chile: A Primer

Chile: A Primer

Posted on Aug 19, 2020

apalta valley colchagua valley chile

Montes Winery in Chile.

Winemaking in Chile dates back to the 16th century where at that time production was largely by way of unsophisticated techniques that resulted in simple wines meant to be enjoyed young, with little thought to cellaring. As a result, the country became well known for decent value wines, but it was a rarity to see a Chilean bottle within a fine wine collection. That started to change in the 19th century when wealthy businessmen travelling to Europe started bringing Bordeaux varieties back to Chile to plant on their properties. They also brought with them French winemaking techniques that has since transformed Chile’s wine reputation from quaffable to world-class.

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spring mountain napa valley

The gorgeous view at Barnett Vineyards on Spring Mountain.

For the past two decades, we’ve been visiting the Napa and Sonoma Valleys almost annually. The two Valleys run parallel, separated by the Mayacamas Mountains in northern California. Both are terrific tourist destinations and among the top wine regions in the United States. While Sonoma is much larger in terms of vineyard area and variety of wines produced, Napa is the better-known region of the two with a world-class reputation built on Cabernet Sauvignon. For years, wine enthusiasts have debated the difference between the Cabernets produced on the Valley floor versus those produced from fruit higher up on the mountainsides.

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Napa Valley Wine

The 2001 BV Georges de Latour Private Reserve.

The term “cult cab” gained great currency in the late 1990s and early 2000s. It was really a California phenomenon, though certainly other regions have their iconic wines. The California cult wines were predominately Cabernet Sauvignon and mostly came from Napa. The cult wines were so-named because of a nearly fanatical group of wealthy collectors who would pay huge prices to obtain bottles in a cult-like devotion to a group of small, quality-focused wineries.

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