Welcome to Second Ferment! Wine pairs well with life ... and food, travel, people, work and play. Grab a glass and join me as I explore the wine scene in Ottawa, Canada, and beyond. Love hearing from my readers, so please leave a comment or drop me a line. Cheers! - Bethany

Saturday, December 31, 2011

December Thirty-First, Two Thousand Eleven

Score's 3-2 for Canada, 4.4 seconds on the clock of the third period. There's a bottle of Trius Brut (Niagara) in the fridge and I'm comfortably ensconced in my pyjamas. Who needs a big party? (I won't lie, I've got a live cam feed from Times Square on the go as I write ...)

These last few hours of 2011 have been perfect for reflecting on a year replete with great wine, fantastic experiences, delicious mouthfuls and wonderful people.

There were new Ontario wineries to discover, like Domaine Perrault, Pondview, Lighthall and Greenlane. Gatineau's Clos Baillie and several other Quebec vignerons opened my eyes to their impressive and continuously improving line-up of well-crafted hybrids; Nova Scotia's Benjamin Bridge sent their delightful bubbly, Nova 7, to Ontario, where it sold out in no time flat and left me wanting more.

Speaking of other provinces' success in wine, the Second Ferment Wineaux of the Year Award (totally NOT a real prize) goes to Dan Albas, MP for Okanagan-Coquihalla, who introduced Bill C-311, An Act to Amend the Importation of Intoxicating Liquors Act. If Dan gets his way, winemakers across Canada will be able to ship their wares inter-provincially. The bill is at the committee review stage; you can follow its progress here. Just imagine: ordering a case of wine from the likes of Blasted Church or Wild Goose and having it delivered right to your door.

Food-wise, the culinary experiences of 2011 were plentiful. Outstanding meals at Absinthe, the Stone Soup Truck and the brief but marvy Murray's Market, right here in Ottawa; on the road, I found myself in foodie heaven at Blumen Garden Bistro in Prince Edward County, at L'Échaudé in the Ville de Québec, and all the way down in Florida at VINES Wine Bar. My sweet tooth (not my waistline) would like to thank Geek Sweets, Koko Chocolates, the Cupcake Lounge and Stella Luna Café for unforgettable noms. But the hands-down winner of the Second Ferment Good Eats Award (again, a wholly imaginary accolade) goes to The Brigadoon, in Oxford Mills.

All of this was broadcast in rapid-fire, 140-character bursts from Twitter, my new favourite addiction and totally awesome networking hub for foodies and wineaux. I've 'met' some fab folks here, tweeting from such handles as @foodieprints, @projectpricelss and @brianofPP, @delrollo, @mariepayton, @thegoudalife, @gagdetgirl_ca, @mbosc, @themagicfridge, @ellegentsia ... just to name a few. And my own feed, @2ndferment, just cracked 200 followers! wOOt!!!

In between those moments of nibbling, writing, sipping and sampling, life carried on the way it does. One child started grade school, the other had a first birthday. Hubby and I both hit the 10-year mark at our respective places of work. We travelled some, most notably to the Happiest Place on Earth, which made for the Happiest Kid on Earth, without a doubt. We said goodbye to some of our nearest and dearest, celebrated beginnings and milestones, and laughed so much we did a spit-take.

It was a good vintage.

Almost midnight. The brut has been poured. I raise my glass in a friendly toast: all the best to you and yours in 2012.

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