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Peters, Pinots and precious pours

It's been a busy couple of weeks over here in my little wine world; last week I met with Vancouver-based Peter Lindenlaub of California's Caymus/Belle Glos wines out of California. We tasted through the latter winery's incredible portfolio of Pinot Noir, which more than made up for the hit-and-miss Chilean Pinot Noirs I tasted for last weekend's column. More on these elegant Pinots very soon.

Then on Wednesday I flew to Vancouver for a luncheon and tasting with Australia's Peter and Margaret Lehmann. Before coming to Canada for a couple of weeks, the Lehmanns raided their cellar, bringing bottles of their wines with vintages going back to 1958. It was an incredible tasting with two extremely humble, personable Aussie wine legends. I'm finishing up a blog post (including tasting notes) with my thoughts on this very special event, and will have it up here early next week. The highlight wine for me was the Saltram Sweet Wine, a white dessert wine bottled in 1973 but with juice dating back to the 1920s. It was literally one of the greatest wines I have ever tasted. 

Pouring with pumpkin pie

This weekend's column is all about trying new and off-the-beaten-track pairings with Thanksgiving dinner, so I suppose I should also let you know where you can actually pick up wine this long weekend. Manitoba's Liquor Marts are open from noon until 6 p.m. on Thanksgiving Monday, with the exception of the cityplace, Steinbach and Killarney locations (all closed). Private wine stores will likely operate regular holiday hours, which will vary - call before heading down to pick up your turkey wine. Licensed establishments and beer vendors are also able to open on Thanksgiving Monday - again, call ahead for hours.

Pouring around the province

There are a whole pile of wine events coming up across the province later this month, all of which are raising money for good causes. Let's start with the 19th Annual International Wine Festival of Manitoba, presented by The Forks Market and Fenton's Wine Merchants. It takes place from October 15-17 in the Centre Court of The Forks Market, and will feature wines from over 250 wineries as well as some cognac, both of which you can buy on-site.

Admission is free, with tasting tickets costing fifty cents each. Proceeds from the festival (which also includes music, wine seminars and more) go to Winnipeg Harvest. Check it out on Friday from 5:00 - 9:00 p.m. or Saturday and Sunday from noon - 6:30 p.m..

And now, a whole pile of rural wine shows, in chronological order:

Pine Falls Wine Tasting - Thursday, October 14, 2010
Location: Pine Falls Curling Club, 7:00 - 9:30 p.m.
Benefactor: Pine Falls Recreation Facility Project
Tickets: $20 (taxes included), available at Pine Falls Liquor Mart

Westman Wine Festival Gala Dinner - Wednesday, October 20, 2010
Location: Brandon Victoria Inn, Brandon MB (Reception 6:30pm, Dinner 7pm)
Tickets: $125/person, available by calling (204) 724-6576
Business/Formal Dress

Russell Wine Tasting - Thursday, October 21, 2010
Location: George P. Buleziuk Centre, 7:00 - 9:30 p.m.
Benefactor: Russell Regional Multiplex Project
Tickets: $20 (taxes included), available at Russell Liquor Mart

Westman Wine Festival Public Tasting - Friday, October 22, 2010
Location: Brandon Victoria Inn, Brandon MB, 7:00 - 10:00 p.m.
Benefactor: Elspeth Reid Family Resource Centre
Tickets: $25 (taxes included), available at Brandon Liquor Marts

Dauphin Wine Tasting - Friday, October 29, 2010
Location: Parkland Recreation Complex, 7:00 - 10:00 p.m.
Benefactor: Dauphin Rotary Club projects
Tickets: $25 (taxes included), available at Dauphin Liquor Mart

Neepawa Wine Tasting - Saturday, October 30, 2010
Location: Viscount Cultural Centre, 7:00 - 9:30 p.m.
Benefactor: Viscount Cultural Centre
Tickets: $25 (taxes included, available at Neepawa Liquor Mart

For the latest on wine and what I've been up to, be sure to follow me on Twitter.

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About Ben MacPhee-Sigurdson

When he wasn't bashing on a drum kit in local punk rock bands, Ben spent the mid '90s hucking cases of wine around to pay for two English degrees. Now he's the Winnipeg Free Press wine columnist and blogger.

The extent of Ben's wine experience in the mid-90s was memories of accidentally leaving a bottle of White Zinfandel in the freezer overnight, and the ensuing mess he was left with. Between 1996 and 2005 Ben absorbed all he could about wine while working at wine shops to pay for school. Meanwhile, he was churning out papers for his BA and MA in English (from the Universities of Winnipeg and Manitoba, respectively).

Ben became the Winnipeg Free Press' weekly wine columnist in 2005, and two years later joined Wine Access magazine as a contributor, a member of their national tasting panel and a judge at the Canadian Wine Awards and International Value Wine Awards until the magazine closed up shop in 2013.

In 2013 Ben joined the Winnipeg Free Press as a copy/web editor.

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