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by Tyler Morrison

The idea of changing the wine you drink with the season, just as you change your diet and your wardrobe still meets some resistance. People tend to ‘like what they like’ when it comes to wine, drinking the same bottles right through the year. The more pronounced acidity and palate weight of lighter wines may not be to your taste, but try them with the right kind of food and you’ll see how perfectly tuned they are to the flavors of spring. And although it may not seem like it, spring is coming eventually.

Sauvignon Blanc and Sauvignon blends

What more is there to say about Sauvignon Blanc? There is much more variety than ever before and that quality seems to be on an unstoppable upward curve. Try those from South Africa if you’re not familiar with them. And revisit white Bordeaux and other Sauvignon-Semillon blends.

Best food pairings: goats’ cheese, asparagus, grilled fish and other seafood, dishes flavored with coriander and dill.

Grüner Veltliner

No sign of the Grüner bandwagon slipping off the rails. It’s still every sommelier’s darling - less demanding than Riesling, more sophisticated than Pinot Grigio. Drink young. These can often be found at little expense.

Best food pairings: Light Asian flavors e.g. Asian accented salads and noodle dishes, Vietnamese spring rolls.


Another fashionable option, Spain’s feted seafood white, which comes from Galicia in the North West of the country, has the intensity to cope with most light fish preparations. A good wine to choose in fish restaurants. Make this wine very welcome at a fish fry.

Best food pairings: shellfish, light fish dishes, spring and summer soups e.g. gazpacho, tomato salads.

Chablis and other unoaked or lightly oaked Chardonnays

If you’re a Chardonnay drinker, time to change the register from oaked to unoaked or at least subtly oaked. (Those rich buttery flavors will overwhelm delicate vegetables and seafood unless they’re dressed with a rich butter sauce.) Faced with competition from the new world, Chablis is better quality than ever before and a good own brand buy from supermarkets. Watch out for offers.

Best food pairings: oysters and other seafood, poached chicken, creamy sauces, fish and vegetable terrines, sushi

Dry Riesling

Riesling tends to polarize wine drinkers - some love it, some hate it. There’s no denying though that its crisp, fresh flavors and modest levels of alcohol it makes perfect spring sipping. If it’s the sweetness you’re not sure about stick to Alsace Riesling, German Kabinett Riesling or Clare Valley Riesling from Australia. If it’s the typical kerosene flavors it can acquire with age, stick to younger wines, unless that’s your thing.

Best food pairings: Smoked fish especially smoked salmon, crab, trout, smoked chicken, salads, Cantonese and lightly spiced south-east Asian food.

Pinot Grigio

The tide of insipid, cheap Pinot Grigio has given the wine a bad name but the best examples (mostly from the Alto Adige) are elegant minerally whites that deserve a place on your shelf.

Best food pairings: antipasti, light seafood pastas, and risottos, fresh tomato-based pasta sauces.


The Veneto’s utterly charming sparkling wine, softer and more rounded than Champagne. It mixes particularly well with fresh summer fruits such as peaches and raspberries as in the famous Bellini.

Best food pairings: A perfect spring aperitif alone, or to sip with panettone.

Light rosé

I say light because so many rosés now are little different from reds in their levels of alcohol and intensity. Not that that style doesn’t have a place (it’s a great wine to drink with barbecues, for example) but it can overwhelm more delicate flavors. At this time of year try the lighter, less full-on styles from Provence and elsewhere in the South of France or from the Rioja and Navarra regions of Spain.

Best food pairings: Provençal-style dishes such as salad Niçoise and aioli (vegetables with a garlic mayonnaise), grilled tuna, mezze.

Light Loire reds

Well, actually not so light if you look at the 2015 vintage but in general Loire reds which are mostly based on the Cabernet Franc grape are light and fragrant, perfect served cool. Examples are Chinon, Bourgeuil, and Saumur-Champigny.

Best food pairings: Seared salmon and tuna, grilled chicken, goats' cheese.

Young Pinot Noir

I stress young because you want that bright, intense, pure raspberry fruit rather than the slightly funky notes you can get with Pinot (especially red burgundy) that has a couple of years’ bottle age. The most reliable place to find it currently is in the Marlborough region of New Zealand. Chile, California, and Oregon have some appealingly soft, fruity Pinots too, though again, watch the alcohol and serve lightly chilled.

Best matches: Seared duck breasts, salads that include fresh or dried red berries or pomegranate seeds, seared salmon or tuna.

If there is anything in this list that land a bit outside your comfort zone, find an excuse to give it a try. Even if you don’t love it, you can strike it from the list of adventures you're undertaking this year. What have you got to lose? The worst case scenario is that you drank some wine.



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by Diane Larson


“The Academy Awards, also known as the Oscars, are a set of 24 awards for artistic and technical merit in the American film industry, given annually by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences (AMPAS).


In a 1927 dinner party at the home of Louis B. Mayer, those present would begin a discussion “about creating an organized group to benefit the film industry,” according to After that first discussion, another gathering of 36 invitees from all the creative branches of the film industry was brought together to hear a proposal that would establish the International Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences.


Next, articles of incorporation were presented and officers elected. Douglas Fairbanks became the first president of the Academy in 1927 and held that position until 1929.


On May 16, 1929, the first Academy Awards were held at the Hollywood Roosevelt Hotel in the downstairs Blossom Ballroom.


Guests paid $5.00 a ticket to attend and were treated to a dinner of fillet of Sole Saute au Beurre and chicken. A convenient venue, since the Academy President at the time, Douglas Fairbanks Jr, was one of the financiers of the hotel.


Of the 90 awards ceremonies that have been held over the years, this inaugural event is the only one that was not broadcast in any form. It is also that only one that would include silent films. Even that night the big topic of conversation, according to The Telegraph, was ‘talking pictures’.


A trifling 270 guests watched a ceremony that honored films released from August 1, 1927, to July 31, 1928. This first ceremony lasted 15 minutes. According to Wikipedia fifteen statuettes were awarded that night. Three months earlier the winners had been announced to the media, this practice changed the very next year.


For the next several years, a list of Academy winners were given to the newspapers at 11:00 am on the day of the ceremony. However, this practice was changed when the Los Angeles Times announced the winners before the ceremony began. The sealed envelope that contains the winners' name has been used since 1941.


A few years after the first Academy Awards the statuette became known (unofficially) as ‘Oscar.’ Film historian and host of Turner Classic Movies, Robert Osborne explains that there are three people who claim to have nicknamed the statuette.


The nickname occurred in about the seventh or eighth year. One of the persons claiming authorship of the nickname was Sidney Skolsky, who was a Hollywood columnist. According to Osborne, Skolsky “got tired of writing about ‘the gold statue of the academy.’” He began calling it Oscar after a vaudeville joke involving the name.


Second was Margaret Herrick, who was the Academy librarian and later executive director. She named it after an uncle of hers. The last one, and possibly the most well-known story is Bette Davis. The story, according to Osborne, is that Davis said that the statuette reminded her of her husband when he got out of the shower in the morning.


Regardless of who or where the name Oscar came from, in 2013 the Academy Awards were officially rebranded as simply The Oscars.


Today, the movie industry has become, to say the least, big business. The Oscars is no exception. In 2016 the Academy spent “$44 million on the Academy Awards ‘and related events,” said The Guardian.


Some of those costs, according to The Guardian include the gold-plated bronze statuette costing around $900 each. The host’s fee is $15,000, which is union minimum. Security cost them $250,000. Red carpet is $1.50 for square foot. Needing 500 feet x 33ft the total comes to $24,700.


This year The Oscars will be televised on March 4th at 6:00 pm MST on ABC. Jimmy Kimmel will host the 2018 ceremonies, which makes him the first person to host back to back since 1997 and 1998 when Billy Crystal hosted. 



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