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For peat’s sake… a whisky-lover’s dream

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If my absence from the blog had you thinking I haven’t been drinking wine as of late, you’re sadly mistaken.

Apologies for the lack of blogging as of late - I’ve been trying to get all my proverbial ducks in a row before I head to Chile for nearly two weeks on Saturday. I have, in fact, been tasting wine at a tremendous clip, trying to blast out three columns under my belt before making my way south of the Equator.

I did manage to churn out one more installment of GrapeNutTV, which I’m looking to move to this site when I get home on the 28th. In the meantime, check it out here. It’s a little goofy, but I figured it would be a fun way to taste wine and while viewers become privy to just how big of a loser I am. I also hope to somehow strip away some of the pretentiousness that is (too often) associated with wine tasting - of course, if you’d like to see me tackle anything here or via the vlog (video blog), please let me know. It’s also worth mentioning that I’m on Twitter (a short message-type social networking site), although it’s not strictly wine-related.

Oh yes! In case you’re interested, here’s what’s open today (Remembrance Day): Liquor Marts (as of 1 p.m., except for Cityplace), some private wine stores (also as of 1 p.m. - call ahead), and likely most beer vendors as well as some lounges.

If you want to attend something that promises to be quite cool, you may still be able to pick up a ticket for a whisky dinner hosted by Glenfiddich Chair Peter Gordon this Friday (November 14) at Bergmann’s on Lombard. A variety of whiskies (whiskys?) will be paired with successive dishes, including a rare 1977 Glenfiddich. Tickets are $195, and there are only 44 spots, so contact Trish Brown at 926-5524 or tbrown@moosehockey.com soon to reserve your spot. Proceeds benefit the Manitoba Moose Yearling Foundation.

If you’re thinking about going and aren’t sure, let me tell you - Peter Gordon is one of the kindest, most down-to-earth people I’ve had the privilege of speaking with about any beverage. He was traveling across Canada around the time the Grey Cup was last held in Winnipeg, and I met him at the Radisson to nose a few of his products. Members of one of the teams (Montreal?) milled about in the lobby, and a CFL merchandise kiosk looked to be doing brisk business. Peter declared a great interest in Winnipeg, as one of his ancestors (his grandfather, I think) spent some time here periodically as he pushed his product across western Canada. He had old letters written on stationary from hotels long gone, and was hoping to connect some of the proverbial dots while in town.

Proclaiming myself to be a total whisky novice, he walked me through how to nose whisky (it’s called ‘nosing’ rather than ‘tasting) and was very patient and gracious as we did so. I even got to try a 1967 single malt… it was heavenly. When he returned home, he wrote me a letter by hand thanking me for taking the time to meet with him. I wish I could see him again when he comes to ton this week, but a combination of trip preparation and a family dinner (hint: it’s a certain wine writer’s 33rd birthday on the 13th… no gifts, please) meant I had to send my regrets. If the charity doesn’t get you on board for this event, you should attend for the fabulous whisky and a very kind, genuine individual.

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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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