A word from Bill — February 2011

How can you not like a city that embraces the winter and turns the cold, windy days and nights into a celebration! February is here and that means instead of regressing into a cocoon wine aficionados are busy at a number of diverse events.

For many Guild members the celebration started last Saturday night at the Guild Gala held at the NAC. Check out our Past Events column for all the details. Chef Blackie and the NAC staff hosted an event that I believe was one our best ever. The food and wine pairings were truly remarkable due to Richard Thibodeau’s creativity with each wine showcasing the chef’s dishes. I would like to thank Richard and Sylvia for the hours of hard work and planning that went into making an enjoyable evening. A further thanks to Rod Story and our friends at Jordash for providing the glassware.

The following Monday, Judy and I spent the day at the first Canadian Celebrity Chef event also at the NAC. The day portion of the event was broken into eight sessions— each one paired two chefs with similar cooking and creative philosophies. MC’d by Kevin Brauch (The Thirsty Traveller), together they assembled a variety of dishes as we looked on from our theatre seats. From this vantage point we could see how the dishes were being cooked and assembled; with each dish having a suggested wine pairing. The wine pairings were Canadian with local offerings from Navan and Prince Edward County supplemented by wines from Niagara, Nova Scotia and BC. The evening session gave us a chance to taste the dishes, speak with the chefs and enjoy the plates with the wine pairings. The organizers hope to make this an annual event and in speaking to a number of Guild members in attendance this will be something to look forward to in 2012!

February is time for Winterlude festivities including LCBO’s Taste of Ontario and the Zen Kitchen Taste of Winterlude Dinner. Later in the month will have our regular “Have Your Say” VPR featuring Cabernets.

Two very special events, presented by long time Guild member and Governor Phil Nicholson, are coming in March. Phil has two passions—Sherry and cheese. “Sherry all the way” will be held at Guild Governor Steve Beckta’s Play Food and Wine. The cheese event will be held (with limited seating) upstairs at Bekcta’s. We’re excited about these two events that will be hosted at Steve’s fabulous venues.

We’re also hard at work planning our monthly VPR’s; finalizing a portfolio tasting of Tawse wines; a Cabernet Madness event with Robert White; and a South Africa tasting with Guild Governor Peter Collis and Guild VP Maureen Murphy. In conjunction with the Argentinean Embassy we’re also invited to celebrate International Malbec Day in April. On April 6th, the California Wine Show comes to Ottawa featuring 110 producers and 450 wines. Follow the links in our newsletter to register to one or more of these upcoming events.

Have you renewed your membership yet? You can easily do so by following the link in our newsletter or by visiting the Guild’s website. Lots of good events coming up but if you have any suggestions or ideas please don’t hesitate to let us know.

Bill Ellis President