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News, Stories, and Tips

On a recent trip to the liquor store while perusing the wines displayed in front of me I overheard a customer ask a store consultant "What is a good wine for aging?" After a moment of contemplation the consultant responded with "That depends" and proceeded to give the customer a crash course on cellaring wine. As I walked away I looked back at the customer and could see they were somewhat overwhelmed with the answer.

Cellaring wine does not have to be an undertaking costing thousands of dollars nor does one have to evict their first born so you can turn their bedroom into a climate controlled storage area. One does however need to be aware of a few important aspects of wine storage.

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Canada is a country made up of many different cultures and as a result Christmas is really a multicultural occasion with people celebrating the day in a multitude of different ways. With this in mind it can be a challenge to define a traditional Christmas dinner as it's different for everyone.

As far as traditions go most of us have probably grown up with the customary Christmas menu of roast turkey with stuffing and all of the trimmings. Christmas dinner can also be a maple glazed ham, roast leg of lamb, prime rib of beef or roast goose.

If you are adventurous enough to explore new culinary territory, then the following tips and suggestions for Christmas dinner wine pairings may be of interest. There are two approaches to wine and food pairing.

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The Germans call it glühwein. The French, vin chaud. In Croatia it is known as kuhano vino. In Nordic countries it is referred to as glögg, and in most English speaking countries we know it as mulled wine. What ever you call it the result is the same. Spiced red wine sometimes fortified with brandy or other spirits and served warm. This traditional winter drink is served the world over and is very popular at Christmas time when visiting with family and friends.

The main ingredients are red wine, sugar or honey and spices such as cinnamon, cardamom, ginger, cloves and orange zest. Stronger spirits such as vodka, akvavit or brandy can be added if desired. White or rosé wine can be substituted if red is not to your liking. All ingredients are combined and heated to approximately 150-160 degrees. Be careful not to over heat or boil the mixture. Since alcohol evaporates at 172 degrees which is much lower than water you would be left with a non-alcoholic version of mulled wine and that defeats the purpose.

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When enjoying a bottle of wine with company, more often than not the bottle is consumed, eliminating the need to store the remainder for another day. But what if you want to enjoy a glass of wine and save the rest for a later date?How do you store the wine and how long will it last? The key to extending the shelf life is to remove or reduce the amount of oxygen in contact with the wine. Oxygen can be a double edged sword when it comes to wine. Open a bottle and let it breath for an hour and the wine can improve, leave it for a few days and it can turn to vinegar.

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