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Wine 101: Oi Oi Oi

In: Charge It, Nic

In honor of our fellow English-(kinda’)-speaking brothers on the opposite side of the world, Wine 101 brings you a treat for Australia Day.

I’ve spent a fair share of time in Aus and have been back and forth between there and Canada for the last seven years, but I hadn’t been fully involved in the wine industry until the last time I was down there just over a year ago today. To the annoyance of some, I couldn’t pass a wine store without a sneak and peek, and never left without a bottle. Although my budget was a little lower than I would have preferred, I did come across some amazing Riesling through my travels.

Riesling originates from Germany, and is done in quite a couple of styles, sweet or dry, but more classically, is categorized by ripeness in it’s home country. Depending on when the grape is picked from the vine determines, not always but mostly, how sweet it will be. So in Germany there’s a way to tell what kind of Riesling you’re going to get out of the bottle if you can read or understand gigantic German words.

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Wine 101: Beyond South America

In: Charge It, Nic

Last week I gave you an option for a great Malbec blend from Argentina. Although South America is very well known for this particular grape, Malbec, due to popularity, has been coming out of the woodworks from other countries. One country producing small but delicious quantities of Malbec is Australia.

The Potts family, out of the Langhorne Creek area in South Australia, have been making wine since the mid 19th century starting with Frank Potts. This makes Bleasdale the second oldest vineyard in Australia. Recently, Bleasdale Vineyards has been known for their sparkling Shiraz, a bubbly RED wine, that both reads like a true Shiraz, but is meant for chilling. Fortunately for us though, they’ve also planted and succeeded in cultivating and making great Malbec. Obviously Australia is quite hot year round, perfect for the growth of some varietals, but…

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I was just forwarded a shocking link to a petition to STOP “Corrective Rape” in, but not limited to, South Africa. You can read the short blurb on the website, or read what’s posted below.

‘Corrective rape’, the vicious practice of raping lesbians to ‘cure’ their sexuality, is a crisis in South Africa.

They need your help. In just a few weeks they’ve gotten 150,000 signatures. After 500,000 signatures, they will send it to South African activists. states:

Although persecution of gays and lesbians is on the increase, very few victims are prepared to speak publicly about the attacks because of the stigma surrounding the issue of homosexuality.

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“Agokwe” At The Cultch

In: Nic, Random Reads, The Arts

Currently playing at The Cultch in East Van, Agokwe has come to town, with a powerful message.

For those of you that haven’t heard of this production, it’s the award winning story of homosexuality in the Native community. I can’t remember seeing something that touched these issues in this arena before, but Waawaate Fobister, writer AND performer of this one man production, obviously saw a niche for a story that needed to be told.

“Agokwe” (agoo-kway), means two-spirited, and refers to someone of gay orientation, having both the male and the female in them. The story teller Nanabush fills us in on the history of the two-spirited, and how they were revered (pre post-war Christ-warrior saturated America) instead of feared, and sought after as great leaders and nurturers in one. Nanabush then introduces us to the story of Jake and Mike, two present-day, closeted teenagers, confused about their emotions, and unable to be themselves. Fobister carries the play sole handedly, giving us Mike’s mother, Jake’s eccentric but homophobic cousin Goose, and a handful of other characters that help the story, and help entertain.

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Luciana’s New Single: “I’m Still Hot”

In: Music, Nic

“Dirty-Electro Queen”, and friend of Homorazzi, Luciana, HAS A NEW SINGLE! And it doesn’t disappoint.

I’ve been a fan of Luciana for years now, discovering her infectious beats and MANY “ft. Luciana” singles when I lived in Australia. This British club anthem starlet rocked with Bodyrox, had a great tune with Super Mal, nailed it with Mark Knight, and most recently had back to back summer anthems with Richard Vission and Static Revenger. Luciana’s been featured countless times on Ministry of Sound Annuals, and remixed to the nth degree.

Point is how excited am I every time she comes out with something new? CLEARLY.

I had a great time chatting with Luciana back in October about her North American takeover, and her definition of Dirty-Electro. With a great sense of humor, an infectious laugh, and the talent to back it up, Luciana won over my heart. She loved the name Homorazzi and promised me and the crew that we would have a cocktail and party next time she finds herself in Vancouver….after a bit of begging to have her come visit us. *Bats Eyes*.

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Wine 101: Colome, Argentina

In: Charge It, Nic, Random Reads

Just a quick disclaimer. Due to last weeks comments on Wine 101, I thought it necessary to let the general wine drinking public know that I’m not getting endorsement for any wine promoted in this column. Hell, if someone wants to make a deal, bring it on. Until then, being in the wine industry for quite a few years now has helped expose me to some pretty cool varietals, regions, and wines. Be assured, that I am only writing about a wine because I enjoy it, and for no other reason. Hopefully you are getting a good wine from my recommendations, and not a bottle of questionable quality due to endorsement of any kind. ON WITH THE WINE!

Argentinian wine has become really popular in the last five or so years. Well, South American wine in general thanks to the influx of interest in Malbec, an easy drinking, fruit-forward red wine. Although Chile was the first country to really take off with this varietal in North America here, Argentinian wines have become a close second in popularity now, and are continuing to gain notoriety.

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Just ruled by Saskatchewan‘s highest court, marriage officials are officially not allowed to deny marrying same-sex couples. You’d think this was a given considering same-sex marriage is completely legal in Canada, but apparently there has been problems.

Two proposals were presented, giving the option that marriage officials COULD deny marrying same-sex couples if it contrasted with their personal religious beliefs. But this isn’t holding any water with the court. The court has stated officially that they are appointed to marry in non-religious ceremonies, and that it would be a human rights violation to deny conducting the ceremony in the same way a couple wouldn’t be denied due to THEIR religion, beliefs, or race.

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Wine 101: A Bubbly 2011

In: Charge It, Nic

After the festivities of Christmas and New Years, it’s still a Champagne time of year! So what better to tell you about than beautiful bubbles?

A lot of people describe any bubbly wine as Champagne, but Champagne only specifically comes from a small region in France 160km east of Paris of same name. Unless it’s from here, from grapes grown in this soil, it’s not technically Champagne. The prestige, production, and historical aspects of this region make for a higher price point than Baby Duck, or really any other bubbly from anywhere else in the world. Although there are great bubbly wines from other places, showing up with a bottle of Champagne means a little more to the wine world, and to future guests.

There’s actually only three different grape varietals used in the blend of Champagne: Pinot Noir, Chardonnay, and Pinot Meunier. This is the law of the area, and the wine can only be made from these. Although the world tries to mimmick  this blend, trial and error and a long history of production gives France the reigning title of bubbly-making. So what’s good?

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