Winnipeg Free Press - ONLINE EDITION
Bargain bottles and judging judges
I think for the time being I'll sidestep the increasingly heated debate in the Freep about the place of government (in our case, the government-run Manitoba Liquor Control Commission) in the sales of wine, beer and spirits, and just lob a couple of softballs out there for your consideration...
Manitoba's Liquor Marts are blowing out some of their slower-moving stock, and I'd suggest you get there while the gettin's good. Like so many other retail outlets, the discounts here didn't start and stop with Boxing Day/Week, and my quick scan of the delisted wines (those that won't be carried by Liquor Marts anymore) indicated there are some good deals to be had. Stock will likely vary from Liquor Mart to Liquor Mart, so check around while supply is good.
I found an interesting article on wine judging and the inconsistencies among judging panels on similar wines here. I've been lucky enough to judge at a few wine awards/competitions, and while my experience with wine judging leads me to believe a well-trained palate can often pick out consistently sub-par/excellent wines, there are always wines that wow you once and fall flat the next time you taste them. I like to think there are some base characteristics of a wine that can be determined objectively, while many others are subjective and/or depend on the taster's mood, time of day, context of the wine being tasted, etc.
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More on the public-versus-private debate later, and a report back on delisted wines sooner... and if I have time, I may shoot another lo-fi episode of GrapeNutTV ...
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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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