Peter Rockwell

Beyond your comfort zone

Though no slouch in the unique grape varieties or colourful winemaking characters departments, South African wines still get the short end of the corkscrew from consumers.Some of it is South Africa’s fault (it never put forward a public personality for its wines) and some is Canadian wine buyers’...

Friday, January 20, 2012, 5:30 AM

The anatomy of scotch

Though he admits to never having tasted gasoline, I have a friend who imagines the closest thing to it he’s had in his mouth is scotch.I’ve tried to turn him around by explaining that to understand it, you need to know that there are three key Scottish varieties.Blended scotch is a mix of malt and...

Friday, January 20, 2012, 5:30 AM

Wine sipping on a budget

A New Year brings many things. None of which are more thrilling than those post-holiday bills dropped off by your friendly postman.While coming to grips with how much you spent making your Christmas merry may be enough to drive you to drink, finding a bottle of something decent you can pay for with...

Friday, January 13, 2012, 5:30 AM

Falling for a hint of sweet

Whoever thought up raking leaves needs a good talking to. Not that I couldn’t use the exercise, it’s just that the whole exertion thing really detracts from the enjoyment of my favourite time of year.I love fall, and even though mid-November can be a bit dreary, this calm before the pre-Christmas...

Friday, November 18, 2011, 5:30 AM

Falling for a hint of sweet

Whoever thought up raking leaves needs a good talking to. Not that I couldn’t use the exercise, it’s just that the whole exertion thing really detracts from the enjoyment of my favourite time of year.I love fall, and even though mid-November can be a bit dreary, this calm before the pre-Christmas...

Friday, November 18, 2011, 5:30 AM

Down under’s most delicious

Canadian writer Natalie MacLean is a liquid media juggernaut whose just released Unquenchable: A Tipsy Quest For The World’s Best Bargain Wines (Doubleday Canada, $29.95) is a smart, fast-paced chronicle of her adventures looking for cheap vino and meeting industry celebs along the way.Arguably the...

Thursday, November 10, 2011, 5:30 AM

Masi Agricola’s innovations

When it comes to superstar producers, the Italian wine industry has almost as many as a Justin Bieber album. There’s Piedmont’s Angelo Gaja, Tuscany’s Giovanni di Piero Antinori and Veneto’s Sandro Boscaini.I recently had lunch with Boscaini — the President of Masi Agricola — and got a chance to...

Friday, November 4, 2011, 2:04 AM

Drink and be very scary

While Justin Timberlake and the guys from The Lonely Island are today’s golden boys of Saturday Night Live, I remember when Dan Aykroyd ruled. I met Mr. Ghostbuster and he’s a cool guy with a knack for marketing — especially when it comes to booze.Though available all year long, his hard liquor...

Friday, October 28, 2011, 4:30 PM

Fall for this orange tipple

You have to love Europeans and their ritual of pre-dinner drinks that makes booze a natural companion to their dining culture.They do it best in Italy. Order a glass of appealingly bitter Campari ($20.99 - $27.49) and soda at any resto and you’ll get a nod from your waiter that he knows you know...

Friday, October 21, 2011, 4:30 PM

Complement Chinese food

Even though it’s been making wine since around 5,000 B.C., as a culture China’s always been about the food, so its population never embraced the art of combing liquids and solids with the enthusiasm of their counterparts elsewhere.Since Chinese food is a combo of sweet, sour and spicy, finding...

Friday, October 14, 2011, 4:30 PM

A toast to the side dishes

If you’re into wine, you have to love Thanksgiving. There’s no gifts, no egg hunts and no dressing up. Thanksgiving is about food, family and a good bottle of vino.Though roast turkey is the star, it isn’t your main concern when it comes to a liquid marriage with your festive feast. Side dishes...

Friday, October 7, 2011, 4:30 PM

Wine’s kosher side

With Rosh Hashanah next week, the sales of kosher wines are sure to increase. Kosher wines are made with Sabbath-observant Jews present during all aspects of the wine’s creation. To be approved as a kosher wine for consumption during Passover, the same applies but there can’t be any dough, bread or...

Friday, September 23, 2011, 4:30 PM

Honouring Star Wars

I remember when I saw Star Wars. I was a kid on vacation with my parents and we went to a theatre to witness what would arguably become the biggest revenue generating stream in movie history. This walk down memory lane is brought to you by today’s release of the Blue-ray versions of all six Star...

Friday, September 16, 2011, 1:10 AM

The signature drink of Bermuda

Believe it or not, sometimes I travel without a liquid reason — well, sort of. As you read this, I’m hanging out in a small pub in Bermuda with a large cocktail in hand.Though there are lots of opportunities to buy wine on the island, fermented grape juice is definitely not the national drink. That...

Friday, September 2, 2011, 4:30 PM

Red wine that's ready for the grill

If I learned one thing during my travels in South America, it was that the Argentineans love their barbecue.They call it asado and in the wineries (especially those throughout its primary grape-growing region of Mendoza), the red wines have been crafted to match the charred influences of meats...

Saturday, August 27, 2011, 2:29 AM

South Africa in a wine glass

One of the questions I get asked the most is which wine producing country I?enjoy visiting. Winemakers have a habit of growing their grapes in pretty interesting places, so it’s tough to answer.I’ve had adventures in Italy, Spain, Argentina, California and, most recently, France. That said, my time...

Friday, August 19, 2011, 2:29 AM

A barbecue wine lesson

Even though I treated my barbecue with kid mitts, last weekend saw the passing of my nearly five-year- old gas fired girl. Sadly, modern grills seem to have the staying power of a Jennifer Lopez marriage so I had to say hello to a shiny new addition to my back deck.I like nothing better than a...

Friday, August 12, 2011, 4:30 PM

Ideal grilling season grapes

Though I don’t work magic in the kitchen as much as I used to, I’m still a cookbook fan. Culinary text and images never fail to inspire me to nag my wife to recreate whatever catches my eye.One of my favourite recent releases is Jeff Potter’s Cooking For Geeks (O’Reilly, $43.99): A macho tome that...

Friday, July 15, 2011, 4:30 PM

Coolers for the mature crowd

If you’re over 30, you probably await the arrival of new coolers with the same enthusiasm you reserve for the release of a Britney Spears album.Influenced by popular flavours of the moment, their sweet personalities are aimed at a younger crowd.That said, some producers woo a mature crowd with...

Friday, May 27, 2011, 5:30 PM

When boy meets grill

I’m a bit of a barbecue weenie. At my house, boy meets grill until mid-fall. Then I wheel my gas-fired girl into the garage until Victoria Day.She’s ready to make her 2011 debut this long weekend, and when it comes to picking a wine to match grilled meats, I look for juice that can hold its own...

Friday, May 20, 2011, 5:30 PM