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Out with the old, in (and out) with the new

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Well, it's been a while since I last blogged... my absence is mainly due to the "in (and out) with the new" part of this blog's title — namely, the arrival of our son Owen one week ago. He (and Frances, our 2.5-year-old daughter) have been keeping my hands full, both literally and figuratively. But, of course, it's totally worth it. Moving right along...

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Lots of feedback re: this past Saturday's column having to do with preserving wine/open bottles of wine. One reader noted that former Winnipeg Free Press wine columnist Andrew Sharp (who passed away in 2000) suggested wine could be frozen then thawed for consumption later. I'm not crazy about that idea solely because the molecular structure of wine will change as the wine freezes and thaws, and it'll never taste just like it did when it was opened. Also, there is a risk that the bottle could crack or the cork could be pushed out if there's still a fair amount of wine left in the bottle.

Another reader sent me a couple of links to products that are available in town that, like the Private Preserve I had mentioned, uses inert gases to replace the oxygen in the top of an open bottle of wine. Preservino, however, is a much nicer-looking device, comes with stoppers, and has replacement cartridges of argon available for purchase. The Private Preserve is just a can and nozzle, and once it's empty it goes in the garbage... more waste. Anyhow, check out the Preservino website for a video demonstration and lots more information about the device. There was also the ReServe wine system which, like Preservino, uses a custom stopper and inert gas to preserve wine. It looks slightly more complicated (there's a demo video on their website as well) and it's not as visually appealing as the Preservino, but it appears to do the trick as well.

Check around private wine stores (apparently G.J. Andrews Food & Wine Shoppe carries one or both), kitchen shops, etc. for these systems - I may have to find a Preservino for myself. Looks nice.

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Oh yes, the "out with the old" section of the blog title refers to the fact that Manitoba's Liquor Marts have discontinued a whole slew of products. Some of them were likely brought in for the Winnipeg Wine Festival, while others just simply didn't sell. Stock varies from store to store, so poke around to find some gems for cheap. For example, there are a few icewines for sale that may tickle your fancy - either for you or as a gift. I picked up a couple of bottles of the Heartland Stickleback White for under $10, which I've tried a few times and know to be a great value white from Australia's Ben Glaetzer. 

I went out on a limb and picked up the Rymill 2003 MC2 Coonawarra, a red blend of Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc and Merlot. 2003 was a great vintage in Coonawarra, so I was hopeful I had snagged a gem at around $14. Turns out the Rymill is past its prime: light in colour and on the palate, brown around the edges (indicating it's over the hill), mellow fruit, moderate acidity, etc.

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I'll have more in the blog tomorrow, including a tasting note on a very special bottle of bubbly. I'll also have news on an interactive cocktail machine making the rounds in town, as well as news on both the Winnipeg Wine Festival and Wine Stage Manitoba, the wine fest being organized by the Independent Specialty Wine Stores of Manitoba. Now if you'll excuse me, I have a diaper to change...

 

Follow my updates on Twitter: www.twitter.com/WFPuncorked

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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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