New Zealand In A Glass

Posted in Wine with tags , , on May 23, 2015 by darmyers

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I recently had the pleasure of attending a Master Wine Class and Trade Show on New Zealand wines.  Wow!  Did you know that New Zealand is now exporting 1 million bottles of wine to the Canadian market?  They started with 27,000 bottles and this year hit 1 Million!  Another Wow. There were some excellent wines that day and I would like to share a few with you.

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At the Master wine class there were 4 very informative winemakers from New Zealand, including the Cheers from our friend Kyle Thompson, from the Saint Clair Family Estate Vineyard.  Let’s start with a Sparkling.

Oyster Bay Cuvee

I swear my friend Rayell is going to have me loving Sparkling wine.  I wasn’t always a fan, and lately I have been trying sparkling wines that I really like, including this one.  This is the Oyster Bay Sparkling Cuvee Brut NV.. it comes in at around the $25 mark and is a great aperitif wine.  Beautiful citrus blossom flavors and a nice finish.  Bring out the appetizers and this wine, and you’ll be a star.

Wither Hills Pinot Gris

Another great white wine from that day was the Wither Hills Pinot Gris.  This wine is from the Marlborough region, and the region is known for Sauvignon Blanc and Pinot Noir.  But they make also make one of the nicest Pinot Gris wines I have had in a while.  Pinot Gris is a white wine, and the word ‘gris’ means grey.  It’s a clone of Pinot Noir and the grapes have a blue-grey hue, and that is where it gets its name.  The clone of Pinot Gris grown in Italy is Pinot Grigio.  So they are related, but not the same.  This beauty was an off-dry style and had gorgeous pear and honeysuckle flavors.  It had great acidity and the time spent in French oak barriques gave it a great texture.

Ara single estate

You can’t visit New Zealand without talking Sauvignon Blanc.  The Ara Single Estate Sauvignon Blanc we had was crisp and fresh and had gorgeous grapefruit flavors and a great finish.  I found this particular wine to be extremely vibrant on the palate.

Pegasus Bay Pinot

Another Pinot Noir I had that day that I really enjoyed was the Pegasus Bay 2012 Pinot Noir.  From the Waipara Valley region, this had a beautiful strawberry nose and intense fruit flavors on the palate.  Beautiful character in this wine and Pinot Noir is such a food friendly wine, it goes with practically everything.

Elephant Hill Syrah

And last but not least, a very pleasant surprise.  When a person thinks of Syrah, New Zealand may not be the first place that comes to mind.  This Elephant Hill 2013 Syrah was a real bright spot for me.  It was elegant, bright and supple.  Lots of spice along with the fruit and black pepper was very evident for me.  I had never tried a wine from Elephant Hill before and I loved it.  Treat yourself to this wine the next time you have a BBQ, I think you will love it as much as I do.

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Discover something new this weekend in your glass and visit the New Zealand section of your favorite wine store.

Till next week, Cheers

Darlene

 

 

 

Saint Clair Family Estate Winery – New Zealand Pioneers

Posted in Wine on May 16, 2015 by darmyers

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I recently had the pleasure of meeting and chatting with Kyle Thompson, Red Winemaker from the Saint Clair Family Estate Winery in the Marlborough region of New Zealand.  The mission of this winery is to create world-class wines that exceed their customers’ every expectation.  If you haven’t had a Saint Clair wine yet, I encourage you to give one a try.  The COO of the Radio Station I work for introduced me to Saint Clair wines a couple of years ago, and now they are a staple in my wine rack.

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One of the most interesting things I heard Kyle say is that he uses neutral yeast because he likes to see wine inherit the flavor from the soil, not the yeast.  Let’s start with one of my favorites…. Pinot Noir..Kyle says the Pinot Noir vines in New Zealand are getting older and they are getting better at making Pinot Noir.   Another really interesting note he told us was that picking day was key when making Pinot Noir.

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This is the 2011 Premium Pinot Noir.  It’s an intense flavorful Pinot Noir, with lots of complexity and I loved the finish.  I love it when a wine stays on the palate.  Gorgeous flavors of strawberry with  hints of blueberry and spice.  People often ask me, in my opinion, what is the most versatile red wine for food?  And I always tell them Pinot Noir.

Pioneer Block 5

The Pioneer Block line of Pinot Noir wines are special.  Each number is a different parcel of land, and the Pioneer wines are numbered by block, and known for the individual terroir characteristics from each specialized site.  The Pioneer Block I tasted this week was #5.  The grapes grown in this block are in the Omaka Valley, which has warm days and cool nights, which helps contribute to the intensity of the berries.  This wine was extremely aromatic, had great structure, with intense fruit driven flavors and some spice and oak flavors.

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This was my first time tasting the Saint Clair Riesling and we had the 2011 vintage.  Light bodied and fresh, I loved the grapefruit flavors and beautiful acidity.  It had good texture and loving Riesling the way I do, I couldn’t wait to have this wine with Szechuan food.

Saint Clair Sauvignon Blanc

And last, but certainly not least, you cannot do a New Zealand wine tasting without having a Sauvignon Blanc.  You read other wine blogs and wine reviews on this wine and one thing is clear.  Saint Clair is making a Sauvignon Blanc that stands out above the rest.  What I loved most about the  Saint Clair Sauvignon Blanc was that it was not so much gooseberry and asparagus, but more tropical fruit and passion fruit.  Summer is almost here, and here’s the wine for your favorite Summer Salad.

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As you can see from the above picture, Rayell, Heather and myself had a grand time visiting with Kyle Thompson.  Next week I’m going to tell you about the ‘New Zealand In A Glass’ show, we had the pleasure of tasting some great wines there as well.  But in the meantime, I promised to tell you about the 2014 vintage of Nova 7 by Benjamin Bridge

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The 2014 vintage is my favorite to date.  Even my sister, who has never liked wine in the past, had 2 glasses and loved this wine.

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Effervescent,  crisp with a lively palate, gorgeous flavors of grapefruit and orange blossom, and a hint of sweetness.  This wine is the perfect expression of Nova Scotia terroir and is so food friendly, we enjoyed it on Mother’s Day with our Chinese food. There are a ton of food pairings for this beauty, and if you haven’t tried the 2014 vintage yet, pick up a bottle.  It’s somewhat different from the vintages in previous years, and absolutely delicious.

Till next week, Cheers

Darlene

 

Thank God It’s Fermented

Posted in Wine on May 9, 2015 by darmyers

Wine TGIF

I saw this yesterday and chuckled.  TGIF can be every day when the ‘f’ stands for fermented.  Don’t get me wrong, I was also grateful it was Friday.  So in honor of TGIF – Thank God It’s Fermented, here are a couple of new wines I have tried in the past few weeks.

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A couple of fine Italian wines top the list and we will start with the Illuminati Riparosso Mont D’Abruzzo DOC from the region of Montelpulciano.  It’s a gorgeous deep cherry color with cherry and plum flavors, some spice and oak flavors.  A medium to full-bodied wine and not heavy.  This wine was easy to drink and priced at about $16, this is a wine to enjoy any night of the week.

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Another Italian beauty I have discovered in the last couple of weeks is the Moi Primitivo Puglia. (pronounced Pool-ya!)    Primitivo is the close 1st cousin of Zinfandel and regular readers know how much I love Zinfandel (and Primitivo).  This wine is 100% Primitivo from the Puglia region of Italy and has all those delicious plum jammy flavors, spices, and notes of licorice.  Now that we are into BBQ season, this is a great BBQ wine, and priced at under $15, you’ll be looking for a reason to kick start the BBQ.

Red Rock

Speaking of great BBQ wines, this Red Rock Winemaker’s Blend from California contains 3 grapes – Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and Petite Sirah.  All 3 grapes on their own make for great BBQ wines, but put them together the way Red Rock did and it’s damn near close to perfection.  The grapes came from 2 regions in California – San Luis Obispo & Sonoma County, so you can rest assured you’re getting quality grapes.  Dark rich fruits, a hint of vanilla from the oak aging and some spice.  I really enjoyed this wine and love the fact it is under $20.

Confuzion

Here’s another great BBQ wine… as if you needed more.  This wine, called Confuzion, is anything but.  From Argentina, it’s a blend of Malbec and Cabernet Sauvignon.  Great structure in a full-bodied wine that will compliment any piece of beef you are throwing on the grill.  Delicious and another great steal at just $16.99 a bottle.  I love finding good wines at great prices, and this is one of them.

Well, that’s it for this week.  Till next week, please drink responsibly and if you are imbibing, take a cab or stay home.  Please don’t get behind the wheel.

** Next week I’m going to tell you about the 2014 vintage of Benjamin Bridge’s Nova 7, by far my favorite vintage yet.  Stay tuned

Darlene

 

Mother’s Day Wine Suggestions

Posted in Uncategorized on May 2, 2015 by darmyers

Next Sunday, May 10 is Mother’s Day.  Who doesn’t have a soft spot for their mom.  I definitely do!  She just turned 80 recently and looks great.

Mom #1

This was us walking at Christmas time, days before her 80th birthday.  She’s very active.  And she loves wine.   Like Mother, like Daughter.  Chardonnay is her wine of choice.

J Lohr Riesling

This is one of her favorites.  And I have to admit I love it too.  J. Lohr Riverstone Chardonnay out of California.  We were sitting around playing cards one evening, and my other sister was there.  She doesn’t drink wine, and Mom and I were enjoying a glass of this Chardonnay.  And my sister says ‘I smell apples, green apples’.  The grapes for this wine is grown on loam soils with underlays of “riverstones”, which is where the name comes from.  Green apples, a citrus note and gorgeous vanilla flavors from the 6 to 10 months it spends aging in oak.

Nova 7

Another white wine my Mom loves is Nova 7 from Benjamin Bridge right here in Nova Scotia.  This is a real treat for my Mom because it’s not available for sale where she lives, so she only gets to enjoy it when she comes to visit me.  This is our Sunday afternoon sitting on the patio, loving every ounce of Summer wine.  Nova 7 is a wonderful expression of the province I currently call home, Nova Scotia.  It is crisp and refreshing, elegant and food friendly all mixed into one.  I love Nova 7, and I always have a bottle of it in my wine rack.   And no matter what is on the menu for the Mother’s Day meal, chances are Nova 7 will pair beautifully.

Mom #2

Mom and Dad are always smiling.  Another great picture from when they came visiting last Summer.  If your Mom is a red wine drinker, well I have a few suggestions  for you.

Pio Cesare Barolo

Here’s another beauty from the wine show I attended a little over a week ago.  The Pio Cesare Barolo has grapes grown from 5 different locations in Piedmont.  This is another favorite from that wonderful Italian show.  Made 100% from the flavorful Nebbiolo grape, this very dry wine with its great structure and dried fruit flavors is a must if you are serving lamb on Mother’s Day.

My new wine of the week this week…. (hint – something a little different)

Zin Cab

A Zinfandel Cabernet blend.  What?  ( I know… I said the same thing)  We have a few independent wine stores in Halifax, and I love visiting them.  (Sorry Rayell)  And this was one of my finds.  And it was good.  You don’t hear a lot about wines from southern Italy but this one from Puglia was a blend of Cabernet Sauvignon, Zinfandel and some Pinot Gris.  (yes, that’s a white grape).   It will probably come as no surprise when I tell you it has a deep rich color.  Zinfandel and Cabernet will do that to a wine.  This was full-bodied and velvety.  Coming in at $16.99 this is a great BBQ wine, no matter what night of the week.

Me and Tigger

So to all the Mother’s out there, whether you have 2 legged babies or like myself, 4-legged babies, have a great day.  As a daughter, I can’t express my gratitude enough to my wonderful Mom.

Till next week, Cheers

Darlene

 

 

Now That’s Amore!

Posted in Uncategorized on April 25, 2015 by darmyers

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I had the pleasure this past week to attend the Istituto del Vino Italiano di qualita Wine Show here in Halifax and had the opportunity to taste some exceptional Italian wine.   A big thank you to my friend Rayell for the invitation.   It was a fabulous set up with delicious Italian breads and cheeses and even more delicious wines

It was next to impossible to pick a favorite, so I’m going to call this one of my top favorites from the show.

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The Radici Taurasi Riserva by Mastroberardino!  It was well structured, deliciously savory and an all around very well made wine.  Rich dark fruits and cherry flavors, with black pepper notes.   Rayell used the term ‘great depth’ which I loved.  It comes from Campania in Italy, in which the name itself means ‘fertile countryside’.   This area of Italy also boasts the Amalfi Coast and Mount Vesuvius, so you know it’s a gorgeous part of Italy.   The Wine Advocate gave this 2007 wine 94 Points, and I would have to agree.

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From the same vineyard comes the 2014 Lacryma Christi del Vesuvio Rosso.  (Many of these Italian wines have names that are full mouthfuls).   Being a 2014, this wine was young and in my opinion, needs some aging.  But it had delicious candied aromas on the nose and a really juicy palate.  It had very good structure though for a very young wine.

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From Tuscany, this is the Cabreo Il Borgo 2011 Toscana, a Super Tuscan wine.  What do I mean by a ‘Super Tuscan?  In the 70’s a group of wine producers felt the restrictions were too limiting in Tuscany.  There was a long list of restrictions, and one of them was they were not permitted to use traditional grapes like Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon.  Antinori, one of the great vineyards in Italy, was the first to create a Super Tuscan wine, a Sangiovese Cabernet Sauvignon blend in 1971.  Because they didn’t abide by these restrictions, they had to label the wine as ‘vina da tavolo’, which means table wine.  Well, these producers wanted to set the wine apart from the generic table wine, because they felt their wine was a better quality.  They coined the phrase Super Tuscan.   This Cabreo Il Borgo Toscana is also a Sangiovese Cabernet Sauvignon blend.  The world Borgo refers to the small village of Montefioralle, which overlooks the vineyard.  It was velvety rich and had good tannins.  It was a great match to the Italian cheese Padano I was enjoying.

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Pictured with Rayell, is a great wine taster, my friend Jeff Pinhey.  I always tell him I need to take his picture to boost ratings!  We were all together when we tried this fabulous Barbera wine.  The Le Orme 2012 Barbera d’Asti.

Le Orme

My picture turned out a bit blurry, it’s not easy to snap photos and drink wine all at the same time.  This was another one of my favorites that topped my list.  It was rich and robust and was well structured on the palate.  Nice cherry flavors and earthy tones.  And from the same vineyard of Michele Chiarlo, came my most pleasant surprise.  The Nivole 2014 Moscato d Asti.

Moscato

My palate fell in love with this Moscato.  It is the perfect Sunday afternoon Summer wine.  This fabulous sweet slightly sparkling wine had lush honeyed flavors of peach and apricot and the perfect amount of effervescence.  It was a beautiful expression of Moscato.  I can understand why they named the wine ‘Nivole’, which is the Italian word for clouds.

It was a great week for some great wine.  Till next week, Cheers

Darlene

 

 

Malbec World Day

Posted in Uncategorized on April 17, 2015 by darmyers

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Today is Malbec World Day.  On April 17, we celebrate the Malbec grape to commemorate the day when president Domingo Faustino Sarmiento of Argentina officially made it his mission to transform Argentina’s wine industry.  He asked French soil expert Michel Aime Pouget to bring new wine vines to Argentina, and one of them was Malbec.  Malbec flourished in Argentina, and it’s a good thing… several years later France suffered a terrible freeze which wiped out a lot of the Malbec vines.  So in honor of this wonderful wine, here are some of my favorite Malbec wines.

Las Moras

Malbec is recognizable by it’s dark purple color.  Easy to spot in most blind tastings.  This Las Moras Black Label Malbec is one of my go-to Malbec wines and deserved the frist spot on the list.  Coming in under $18, it’s no wonder this wine is so popular.  It’s a beautiful inky purple color in the glass and your nose will detect chocolate and spice.  Juicy bold fruit flavors, more spice on the palate that lead to a great finish.  A great wine for barbecue meats.

Chateau

Although Malbec is becoming known around the world as Argentina’s grape, Malbec actually originated in France.  It is one of the grapes allowed in Bordeaux, and can make up a small amount of a Bordeaux blend.  If you see a wine labeled Cahors, then it’s a Malbec.  Because France labels the wine by regions, and not grape varietal, it may be a little harder for you to know a French Malbec.    Well, here’s a delicious example of a Malbec wine from Cahors.  The Chateau de Haute Serre is a full-bodied Malbec with gorgeous dark luscious fruit flavors, spice and a hint of mint.  Grilled beef, grilled lamb, grilled pork… I think you get the picture.  BBQ meat is a great match.

Privada

Here’s another one of my favorites.  The Norton Privada Malbec from Argentina, is Argentina Malbec at its best.  Malbec loves the heat and maybe that’s why it found its home in Argentina.  The Norton Privada combines plum and blueberry fruit flavors, again some spice, and a toasty vanilla flavor from well done oak aging.

Argento

And last but not least, if you want an easy to drink Argentinian Malbec that is easy on the palate and easy on the wallet, try this Argento Reserve Malbec.   I know I have a bottle and I paid $15.99 for it.  Great price, great wine.  Black cherries, vanilla, spice, and a rich dark color, this is a Malbec you won’t feel guilty about opening any night of the week.

My new wine of the week…. it may surprise you….

La Capitana

Carmenere.  I don’t drink a lot of Carmenere but on the suggestion of my friend Rayell, I tried this La Capitana Carmenere from Chile.  It was lovely.  A hint of a cigar box aroma on the nose, rich dark plum fruits, and chocolate notes.   Carmenere is a good sturdy wine which comes from the Cabernet family.  The word originates from the French word crimson.  In the past, it has been mistaken for Merlot.  Personally I find Carmenere a little dryer than Merlot, but this was exceptionally good, and under $19, made for great  value.

Malbec

So in honor of World Malbec Day, enjoy a Malbec this weekend and discover a great grape you may have been missing out on.

Till next week, Cheers

Darlene

 

Where is Spring?

Posted in Uncategorized on April 11, 2015 by darmyers

Spring come soon

I went out for a jog this morning, and practically froze to death.  I had two long sleeve layers on, including a fleece, and it was cold.  It dawned on me that’s why the snow hasn’t been melting,,, it’s too cold.   It’s almost the middle of April and it’s too cold for the snow to melt. This time last year I had my snow tires off.  So what do you do… drink wine, it will keep you sane.   I have been trying a few new wines lately.   And I like getting out of my wine rut every time I find myself reverting back to my old favorites. Here are a few.

Butcher

Hardy’s Butcher’s Gold is a blend of Syrah and Sangiovese.  It’s a great wine for when BBQ season finally arrives.  It’s a gorgeous deep rubycolor with plum and cherry flavors and there’s a great balance between tannins and acidity.  The Syrah adds great structure and the Sangiovese adds a softness that makes this wine very food friendly.

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Here’s a new California Red Blend I tried this past week.  The Whiplash Red Blend is an exotic blend of Zinfandel, Barbera and Syrah.  Sweet black fruits, with gorgeous plum flavors and a hint of chocolate.  It is not an overly sweet wine, but there is a kiss of sweetness that will have you wanting more.  Perfect BBQ wine if BBQ season ever arrives!

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This was a great find, because I love finding really tasty Spanish wines at reasonable prices.  This wine is a Tempranillo done in the Crianza style, which means it was aged for 18 months before release, and 6 of those months were in oak.  This is an easy to drink wine with strawberry and cherry notes, and a bit of vanilla spiciness from the oak aging.  And I paid under $15 for this wine.  Win – win all around.

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This was my absolute favorite find of the past week.  It is a Syrah out of Chile called Signos de Origen.  And it is completely organic wine.  It is 97% Syrah and 3% Viognier.  And the Viognier adds a touch of zip that made me go ‘Wow’ when it hit the palate.  This fantastic find is under $20 right now, here in Nova Scotia.  Gorgeous flavors of blueberry, black pepper and nutmeg.  It’s full-bodied, smooth and has tremendous structure.

So that’s it for this week.  Till next week, drink responsibly and enjoy a glass of wine.

Darlene

 

 

Happy Easter

Posted in Uncategorized on April 4, 2015 by darmyers

Easter bunny wine

I would like to take a moment to wish all my readers a very happy Easter.  I hope you have a fabulous long weekend, and that there is some fabulous wine in store for you.  As you know, I spent last week in Newfoundland taking care of my two nephews.  As someone with no kids, it was awesome to spend the week with them.  As someone with no kids, it was awesome to enjoy a glass of wine once I got them to bed.

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So there was 12 year old Riley (pictured on the left), and 16 year old Brady.

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And then of course my co-pilot wherever I went that week, their beautiful dog, a Westie, Bailey.   We had a lot of laughs and I tried a few new wines.  And the funny thing was, I couldn’t find the one corkscrew my sister owned, so I literally was shopping for only wines with screw tops.

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This was my favorite new find of the past week.  Two Tracks Pinot Noir from the Marlborough region of New Zealand.  Gorgeous raspberry and plum flavors.  It had some spice on the palate with a hint of chocolate.  This was a very delicious wine, and not available here in Nova Scotia.  It really is too bad, because this was a great Pinot Noir at a great price, around the $22 mark.  I am really looking forward to enjoying this wine again on my next trip back to Newfoundland.

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Again, not many California wines have a screw cap yet.  So I picked up the Full Circle Red Blend, a delicious blend of Merlot, Zinfandel, Carignane, Petite Sirah and Syrah.  Just from the blend, you can imagine how juicy and fruit-forward this wine was.  Merlot and Zinfandel make it plummy and berry rich with hints of vanilla and chocolate.  It had great structure too, thanks to the Syrah and Petite Sirah.  Great BBQ wine, and yes there is still a lot of snow on the ground, but my deck is snow free and BBQ ready.

March 2015 032  Lattitute

This was the priciest wine I tried last week, and I apologize for the blurry picture, so I thought I would post a stock picture.  As you may remember, the Stoneleigh Sauvignon Blanc is one of my favorites.  And I love Pinot Noir from New Zealand.  This one didn’t disappoint.  At about $30, I want a nice Pinot Noir from New Zealand.  This was soft and silky with Mocha notes and well integrated toasted oak.  I was curious about the Lattitude Pinot Noir.  Stoneleigh makes a Pinot Noir that looks like this

Stoneleigh Pinot

What’s with the Lattitude?  By the way, I have not tried the above wine, but I have it picked up and plan on it this weekend, so I can compare.  I have discovered the Lattitude grapes come from a strip of land known as the Golden Mile.  It’s a very fertile strip of land known for producing extraordinary grapes.  It also won a Silver medal at the International Wine and Spirits Competition.  The difference in price point is about $5.  I’m looking forward to trying the above wine and comparing it to the Lattitude.

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Much to my dismay we had a few snowy days while I was home.  And by few, I mean more than 2.  I did, however, get to go skiing a couple of times.  When life gives you lemons – make lemonade.  In this instance, when life gives you snow, go skiing!

Spring is coming…… right?

Till next week, take care and enjoy your wine responsibly.

Darlene

 

 

TGIS – Thank God It’s Spring

Posted in Uncategorized on March 20, 2015 by darmyers

While many people are planning a trip down South this spring, this is where I am flying on the first day of Spring.

CB Snow 1

This picture was taken in Corner Brook Newfoundland on Friday March 13th, by a friend of mine who lives a few houses up from my sister.  Since then, the West Coast of Newfoundland have had one more snowstorm with an additional 20 cms.  As I fly home to take care of my two nephews, 16 & 12, while my sister and her husband takes a trip, I’m thinking… yes, there will be wine… lots of wine.  I figure this will be me a few times this week

Fireplace

Hey, when life gives you lemons made lemonade.  Or in this case make a cozy fire and pour a glass of wine.  I’m looking forward to trying some of my favorites from Newfoundland that either you can’t get here in Nova Scotia, or I haven’t found them yet.

Liberty School Zinfandel  libery school cabernet sauvignon

While here in Nova Scotia I have enjoyed the Liberty School Cabernet Sauvignon and the Chardonnay, in Newfoundland they carry the Zinfandel.  I LOVE Zinfandel.  Lots of plum and cherry flavors.  Liberty School makes great wines all around, so it shouldn’t come as any surprise how yummy this Zinfandel is.

Chateau Merlot  Chateau Pinot

And while here in Nova Scotia, this lovely Pinot Noir is on sale right now, and is a great wine to always have in your wine rack, I get to enjoy the Chateau St. Jean Merlot while I’m home.  Gorgeous flavors of blackberry jam and chocolate and my Mom’s baked pork chops.  It doesn’t get any better than that.

Heating things up in January with Great Wine!

The NSLC carries the Marquis de Riscal in white, but this has always been one of my favorite wines.  The Marques de Riscal Rioja is Tempranillo at it’s finest.  It’s a Reserva wine, which means aged at least 3 years and a minimum of 18 months in oak.   I have introduced many people to this smooth beauty, and it comes in a half bottle size too… so I’ll be bringing some back for friends to try.

New wine of the week…

Petite Sirah

A new wine from a familiar favorite winery.  It wasn’t my first time enjoying McManis wine, it was my first time enjoying the Petite Sirah.  I don’t know of any other winery that does a 100% Petite Sirah wine.  I have had it many times in a blend.  But this was by itself, and it was spectacular.  Full-bodied tannins, this is a big bold wine with lots of great fruit, blackberry and cherry jam.  Definitely a wine I’ll be having again, and under $20.

 

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So here I am with my two nephews when we visited Pearl Harbour a few years back on a vacation to Hawaii.   We are going to have fun.  They are busy boys of 16 and 12 and participate in many sporting events.  It should be an interesting week.

Till next week, Cheers

Darlene

 

 

 

Hardy’s Wines – 5 Generations of Food Friendly Wines

Posted in Uncategorized on March 14, 2015 by darmyers

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Last Saturday I had the pleasure of meeting Bill Hardy from Hardy’s Wines in Australia, and tasting some new wines.  This is a vineyard that started  producing wine in 1857 with Bill’s great great-grandfather, Thomas Hardy.  William Hardy (I’m going to call him Bill in this article because he asked me to) is a 5th generation family member that creates food friendly wines.  He talked about that when  he visited the NSLC store in my neighborhood.

Hardy's Stamp

Like many of you, this was my first introduction to the  Hardy line of wines.  When I first started drinking wine, many many years ago, the Stamp series was my first introduction to Australian wine.  How many of you experienced the Stamp series of wines?  I was in the line at the NSLC yesterday evening and there was a gentleman behind me buying a bottle of the Stamp series.  If you have never tried this wine, you should!  It’s a nice little wine at a great price.

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Last Saturday we were tasting the William Hardy range of wines.  These wines were created to celebrate Bill’s 40 years in the family business.  Bill believes wine is made for food, and that’s how he designs the wines.  The first I want to tell you about is the Chardonnay.

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I loved this Chardonnay from the Adelaide Hills region because in my opinion, it was done in the Burgundian style of Chardonnay.  It was refreshingly crisp with citrus notes, lemon and a hint of peach.  The oak was subtle and this beauty would pair perfectly with shellfish, salmon or chicken, just to name a few.  Actually there is a long list of foods this wine would compliment.  A list of foods this wine wouldn’t pair well with would be a lot shorter.

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My apologies for the fuzzy picture, but I have to highlight this Riesling.  It’s the HRB D653 Riesling.  Regular readers of my blog know how much I love Riesling and that it is my favorite wine for spicy food, as well as Asian, Indian and Szechuan cuisine.   Gorgeous citrus, green apple and lime flavors and a perfect balance of acidity and will have you wanting to try this Riesling.

hardy Cab Sauv March 2015 017

I told Bill that I was planning to have a steak that night, and he showed me this.  A lovely 2012 Cabernet Sauvignon from the Connawarra region.  As he said, a clean cut of beef and a classic Cabernet Sauvignon go hand in hand.  I ended up having my steak last night instead, and enjoyed this beautiful Cabernet Sauvignon while I was grilling and eating my steak.  Great structure, good tannins, and lots of flavor.  I followed every bite of my tenderloin steak with this wine, and it was heavenly.

FEb 2015 023

And last but not least, the Tintara.  Again, apologies for the fuzzy picture.  I was excited about meeting Bill, and guess I couldn’t stand still long enough to take a decent picture.  There’s a great story behind this wine.   Located in the McLaren Vale region of Australia, the Tintara Vineyard Vineyard was bought by Thomas Hardy and Sons in 1876.  (Bill’s great great-grandfather)  Today, the winery holds the distinction of producing the oldest surviving bottle of Australian wine, an 1867 Tintara Vineyard Claret.  This Claret earned the distinction when the previous record holder, an 1864 bottle of Pewsey Valey Cabernet Sauvignon was accidentally broken by an office cleaner at Christie’s Auction House.  Ouch!  Tintara is an indigenous aboriginal term for Orion’s Belt.

Well that’s it for this week.  Drink responsibly and enjoy a great wine this week.

Cheers

Darlene

 

 

Wines That Put A Spring In My Step

Posted in Uncategorized on March 7, 2015 by darmyers

Daylight savings

It’s here…. Daylight Savings Time, as the clocks go ahead tonight and we mark the arrival of Summer Time!  I know, while it still cold enough here to freeze a monkey’s cajingles, it is officially daylight savings time.  That tells me that Spring is on its way, and the thought of that puts a spring in my step.  I thought I would share a few wines that could also put a spring in your step.

Ridge Lyyton

Here’s a wine I haven’t written about in a couple of years, mostly because our liquor stores discontinued it.  It was a fabulous wine though, Ridge Lytton Springs Zinfandel.  I was lucky enough to snag a couple of bottles when they were clearing them out.  A combination of Zinfandel, Petite Sirah, Carignan and Mourvedre, this California beauty has layers and layers of rich fruit flavor and smoky notes.  A superb food wine.

Waipara

Another wine sure to put a spring in your step is the Waipara Springs Sauvignon Blanc from New Zealand.  A classic New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc with crisp acidity and bright flavors of grass and citrus that will have you thinking of Summer.  By the way, has anyone seen grass lately?

Cava

If you are in the need of a serious pick-me-up, try a Spanish Cava, like this Freixenet Elyssia Gran Cuvee.  Cava is Spanish Champagne.   Unless the wine is made in the Champagne region of France, it cannot be called Champagne.  However, this wine is made in the traditional Champagne style.  This sparkling beauty is made from both Chardonnay and Pinot Noir grapes and has delightful melon flavors and a crisp finish.

Lucente label

Remember this wine from the Wine Show in the Fall?  I wrote about it a few months back, and had to bring it up again.  The label reminds me of sunshine, and unless you’ve been down South, us Canadians are in desperate need of sunshine.  This is the Luce Della Vite Lucente 2011 vintage, and it’s as bright as it looks.  One of my favorite wines from the 2014 Port of Wines show, it was lush and seductive and the flavors had a magnificent finish.

Napa 2

I love this sign.  When I visited the Napa Valley in 2001, this sign reminded me I was in one of the most beautiful places on earth.  In the past 6 weeks, we have seen -25 wind chills way too many times, and my mind often wanders to the beautiful days in California.    Which brings me to my new wine of the week

J. Lohr Merlot label

I have written about the J.Lohr family of wines many times, loving their Chardonnay, Riesling and Cabernet Sauvignon.  But the Merlot was recommended by this ray of sunshine!

Rick Martell

My good friend Rick is the Manager of the NSLC on my street, and I asked him yesterday for a new Merlot.  Both he and I were shocked I hadn’t tried this one yet, and it didn’t disappoint.  This wine is 84% Merlot with Malbec and Petite Verdot added.  The addition of Malbec adds to the fruit, and many of you may have not heard of the Petite Verdot grape.  It was offered in Bordeaux blends but ripened so late in France, it fell out of favor.  It ripens much better in the heat of California and adds flavor, tannins and structure.  Gorgeous rich plump fruits and hints of cedar and cocoa had me shaking my head as to why I hadn’t tried it before.

So… funny story.  As many of you are planning trips down South this Spring, this is where I’m heading in 2 weeks time.

Corner Brook

My hometown of Corner Brook has received about 200 cms of snow in the past 5 weeks.  And I’m going home for a visit.  Thankfully, there will be wine…. lots and lots of wine.

Till next week, Cheers

Darlene

 

 

 

Wine and Soup – A Match Made In Heaven

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , on February 28, 2015 by darmyers

Hello march

While Icemageddon has us in its tight grasp, and doesn’t seem to want to let go…. we had a bit of fun at work with the ultimate comfort food!  Soup!  We have had about 5 weeks of flash freezes and snow storms, so we did a soup cook-off at work.  And they were all delicious, but let’s pair some wines with these soups, as they were all very different.

004

There were 5 fabulous selections, and each one very different.  The winner was a Tequila Taco Soup.  Yum!  Even though I made soup to compete, this was the hands down winner for me as well.  And here’s a picture of our lovely winner.

Sue discovers Riesling

Sue was the winner.  And regular readers of the blog will remember Sue from a wine blog this past Summer when she discovered Riesling.  Riesling Sue we’ll call her.  She made the Tequila Taco Soup with all the fixings includes a lime wedge, sour cream and the corn chips.

Tequila Taco Soup

Many people will tell you that a beer is the ultimate match for this soup, a red or a white wine would pair well also.   Here’s a rule of thumb to remember.  The spicier the soup, the sweeter and colder the wine.   So for a very spicy version, I would try a Riesling, like this Wakefield from Australia.

Winter 2015 006

Crisp, fresh and delicious.  This wine goes well with many Mexican food dishes.  However, Sue didn’t overload the spice.  So there could be many wine options for this soup.  A Beaujolais, chilled, would be another fun wine to have with this soup.

Brouilly

Like this George DuBoeuf Brouilly Beaujolais from France.  For those of you not familiar with Beaujolais, it is made from the Gamay grape and comes from the southern part of Burgundy France.  The Beaujolais region is the largest region in Burgundy, and produces about 12 million bottles a year.  This is a light bodied wine with candied aromas and very light fruity palates.  Wine critics have been known to say ‘it’s the only white wine that’s red’.  You serve a Beaujolais chilled and would be a great wine for this soup.

Jalapeno corn chowder

2nd place went to the winner of the chili cook-off, Tom Bedell.  This delicious soup was a Jalapeno Corn Chowder and I had to have two bowls.  The above wines would work for this soup too, but another wine to consider would be Mersault, which is a Chardonnay from the Burgundy region of France.  Here’s one of my all time favorites.

Pierre Andre Mersault

If you are not familiar with Mersault, or it’s a little pricy for the budget, any Chardonnay would go great.  Or try a Chardonnay blend, like the Conundrum white.

Conundrum

This delightful wine is a blend of Chardonnay and Sauvignon Blanc and has gorgeous tropical flavors with a hint of vanilla.  If you haven’t tried this wine yet, you should.

Baked potato soup

My soup came in 3rd place and was a Baked Potato Soup with cheese and real bacon on top.  This is a thick and hearty soup with lots of cream.  So, a great soup to pair with red wine.  My personal choice would be a Pinot Noir.  But there are so many options available.  Typically, your favorite wine would probably match this soup.  Here’s a couple of my favorites.

bl 14 DrsCk Pinot-front Whitehaven

The Saint Clair Family estate with their Pioneer Block Pinot Noir and the Whitehaven Pinot Noir are both from the Marlborough region of New Zealand.  And the region is producing some lovely Pinot Noir wines.  Food friendly, easy to drink, and flavorful.

pasta soup  Viognier

Kate made a delicious pasta soup with lots of veggies.  Another great soup that would go with red or white.  A white like a crisp Sauvignon Blanc or a Viognier would go well.  I have the Stags Leap Viognier next to it.  A great red would be a Tempranillo, and here’s my latest favorite Tempranillo.

Anciano

And last but certainly not least, Rich made a delicious Thai chicken with sweet potato soup.  Dear Lord this was good.

Thai chicken soup Gaspereau RieslingRobert Mondavi Fume Blanc

For me… I was enjoying this soup yesterday wishing I had a glass of Riesling.  Match made in heaven, like this Riesling from Gaspereau Vineyards.  But if you don’t like a sweeter wine, again Sauvignon Blanc, the versatile white that goes with any appetizer.   And of course Fume Blanc, which is Sauvignon Blanc made by Robert Mondavi,  would be perfect as well.

006

Here is a picture of the other cooks, minus the winner, who had to run to a meeting.  We had a lot of fun, and are having another cook-off the end of March.

Before I go, my new wine of the week is… Conundrum Red Blend.

Conundrum red

Conundrum white has been out for a while and winemaker Charlie Wagner has released a red blend.  And here’s the thing, he’s not telling anyone what varietals are in it.  He said as a kid, he used to watch his father blend wines at the kitchen table all the time.  But he’s staying mum on the varietals, encouraging people to try it on their own.  I definitely detected Zinfandel, with it’s jammy berry flavors and a bit of smoke on the palate.  I also detected chocolate and even a bit of smoky bacon.   It was very tasty, however, with the second glass it got jammier.  A little thick on the palate, and personally, I have to question the $26 price point.   Don’t take this as a negative, it’s just my opinion.  Anyone who loves the big bold California blends like I do, will really like this wine.

Till next week, Cheers

Darlene

 

Wines To Keep You Warm!

Posted in Uncategorized on February 21, 2015 by darmyers

Lucy in the Snow

Is anyone else sick of Winter yet?  For those of you who don’t know, I live in the Maritimes.  And the Maritimes is receiving a lot of press lately, across Canada.  Sadly, it’s because of all the snow we’ve been receiving.  And although Prince Edward Island and New Brunswick are receiving it in batches of 70 and 80 cms, Halifax is still receiving its fair share.  And the problem is that it usually melts in between snowfalls.  Not this time.  I’m ready to hibernate.  And here are some of the wines I would take with me on a winter hibernation.

hot to trot whitehot to trot

Anything with the word ‘hot’ will be sure to make my wine rack this February.  Hot to Trot makes a white and a red blend, from 14 Hands.   14 Hands is a vineyard in Washington State that is putting out some fantastic wines, and they are named for the wild mustang horses that run free in the State of Washington.  The white blend consists mostly of Chardonnay with some Pinot Gris and Semillion.  Gorgeous flavors of pears and melon with a fresh crisp acidity.  I love this white wine.  The red blend is basically Merlot, Syrah and Cabernet Sauvignon.  A fantastic blend with plump juicy fruits and some baking spice.  These are fun easy to drink wines that come in under the $20 mark.

SandhillSandhill Pinot Gris

I could go for some sun and sand right now!  Who’s with me?  So I had to include a couple of my favorites from Canada’s Sandhill Vineyard.   The Cabernet Merlot is a full-bodied blend that packs a punch with plums and cassis flavors.  The Pinot Gris is one of my favorite Pinot Gris wines.  Apples, melons and pineapples.. wow!  Winemaker Howard Soon does a fabulous job on this Pinot Gris.

Kate Pinot Gris

Here’s the Kate Radburnd Sun Kissed Pinot Gris.  Made in Hawkes Bay New Zealand, it’s light and fresh and a perfect summer time beverage.  (insert daydream that involves the sun here)

Place In the Sun

South Africa produces the Place In The Sun Shiraz.  This is a medium bodied Shiraz with ripe berry fruit flavors and a hint of smoke on the palate.

All this talk of the sun makes me want to book a vacation.  Right now, I would like to tell you about my new wine of the week…..

Bell Echo Pinot

It’s this gorgeous Pinot Noir from New Zealand, Bel Echo by Clos Henri.   Made by the Bourgeois family, this Pinot Noir is a terroir driven wine and in my opinion reflects the Burgundian style of Pinot.  The family were growing wines in the Sancerre region of France, and decided to make the move to the New  World.  After checking out California, Chile, Australia and South Africa, they settled in New Zealand, because of the climate and the terroir.    This beauty had gorgeous flavors of red currant fruits, a bit of a floral note and hints of smoke.   Last night, after a freezing cold day, I came home, had a hot bath and enjoyed every sip of this beautiful wine.  It was a great Friday night treat.

Grumpy Cold

Till next week, stay warm… and Cheers

Darlene

 

Wines That Say I Love You

Posted in Uncategorized on February 14, 2015 by darmyers

Wine Valetines

Happy Valentine’s Day everyone.  I hope everyone has a great day, a wonderful Valentine’s weekend and a great bottle of wine.  Here are a couple of fun wines that show the special person in your life how sweet they are.

Dreaming Tree Crush  Dreaming Tree chardonnay

If you’re dreaming of your special Valentine, there’s no better place than the Dreaming Tree.  This wine is owned by musician Dave Matthews and Steve Reeder.   The passion they share for fun and easy to drink wine had them collaborate to create the Dreaming Tree line of wines.  I love that the labels are made from recyclable paper, the corks are recyclable and the bottles are made lightweight so they burn less fuel when being shipped.  The red Crush was a staple in my wine rack all BBQ season with the yummy smoky berry flavors, and the Chardonnay has gorgeous peach and pear flavors with a hint of citrus.

Manage a trois botle  Midnight

Not sure what Valentine’s Day has in store for you, but this Menage a Trois is a delicious blend of 3 grapes, Zinfandel, Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon.  So you know it has great structure, juicy berry flavors and the spice and smokiness of the Zinfandel.  And now they have come out with the dark and mysterious Midnight Menage a Trois.  Perfect for Valentine’s Day.  Since I haven’t tried the Midnight yet, I am going to quote their website on this one.

“It’s our most intense expression yet, a passionate red blend bursting with dusky aromas, an extraordinarily deep color, and rich, ripe black fruit. Don’t be shy—turn out the lights and savor the pleasures of the dark. ” 

Wine Happy woman

I’m told by the guys I work with that they stress all the time about keeping their woman happy.  That’s not a bad thing, I just don’t think it’s as hard as what they make it out to be.  Treat her kindly, with respect, and add wine!  Easy.

Mollydooker

Here’s a fun wine for Valentine’s Day.  The Mollydooker Carnival of Love Shiraz.  And I’m willing to bet you’ve never had it before.  I have to be honest, I haven’t either.  It’s not available in Nova Scotia, but it is available throughout other parts of Canada.  It’s an Australian Shiraz, a special event wine, coming in at over $100 per bottle, but it has been given high ratings, like 95 Points across the board.

My new wine of the week.. Well Actually, I have two.  This wonderful Pinot Noir from  Hahn Vineyards in California.  I have written about their GSM previously, a delicious blend of Grenache, Syrah and Mourvedre.  This Pinot Noir didn’t disappoint as well.  It was absolutely lovely.  Gorgeous flavors of black cherry, plums and all spice.  I loved it!   And the wine on the right is a wonderful Italian wine that my friend Rayell suggested I try.  The 2009 Talamonti Kudos is a blend of 70% Montepulciano D’Abruzzo and 30% Merlot.  Price point comes in at $27 here in Nova Scotia, but worth every penny.  If you are under the impression Italian wines are really really dry, this will have you loving Italian wine.  It was juicy and flavorful, a perfect amount of structure and an impressive finish.  This wine is so food friendly, pasta of course, but also steak and any other hearty meat dish.

Hahn Pinot  Talamonti

Grumpy Valentine's 2

And although everyone’s favorite grumpy feline is not a fan of Valetine’s Day, I hope you have a good one.  Me, I’m going to curl up and watch a movie.  And definitely pour a glass of wine.

Till next week, Cheers

Darlene

A Fond Farewell in Fine Wine Style!

Posted in Uncategorized on February 7, 2015 by darmyers

Jayme

This gorgeous lady is my friend Jayme.  We will be friends forever, but up until yesterday we also worked together.  She is pursuing another exciting opportunity and we threw her a farewell party last night.  Some of the work gang got together to say goodbye.  There was wine, there was lots of wine.

Jayme's party

Did I mention there was wine?  Our friend Kate kicked off the night with a great wine from Portugal.

Altano

The Altano Douro 2012 from Portugal has been voted one of the top 25 wines from Portugal.  It’s a tempranillo, organic and at under $13, has been called a ‘brilliant bargain’ by many websites.  Made by Symington, the largest organic wine farmers in the region, this beauty from Douro is medium to full-bodied, earthy and all kinds of flavors.  It was a winner.

Anciano

Another tempranillo has me dubbing this wine the best value in the store right now.  This is the Anciano Gran Reserva tempranillo.  We enjoyed several bottles of the 2006 last night, and I do mean several.  It’s aged at least 7 years, with a couple of years in mellow oak to bring out the best flavors of the wine.  This wine is on sale right now for $12.99 and it’s a great wine.   At 9 years of age, its a mature tasting wine, it has a softness that comes from aging and fresh strawberry fruit.  I love this wine and have bought several more bottles.

Wee Angus

Anyone familiar with Angus the Bull wine will appreciate the baby brother… Wee Angus.   Sue bought the 2011 Wee Angus, which is a Cabernet Merlot blend and everyone at the party that tried it – loved it!  How can you not.. all the great tannic structure of the Cabernet and the juicy plumpness and flavors of the Merlot.   A subtle touch of vanilla oak made it a hit at the party.

Jayme 2

So although I can’t peek over the rim of her cubicle for a quick chat anymore, we are still going to enjoy Thai food and Riesling together.

New wine of the week..

Romeira

The Romeira Vinho Tinto Regional Alentejo Colheita Seleccionada.  Try saying that 3 times fast… who am I kidding, try saying it once.  It’s a mouthful… both on the tongue and on the palate.  This is another beauty from Portugal with a tempranillo grape as well as Alfrocheiro Preto added in.  Now that’s a new grape for me… the Alfrocheiro Preto is a grape from Portugal added for its rich dark color.   It was delicious for a wine under $15 with its earthy flavors and hints of plum.

Next weekend is Valentine’s so we will be featuring Wines that say I love you!

Till next week, Cheers

Darlene

 

Wines Perfect For The Super Bowl!

Posted in Uncategorized with tags on January 31, 2015 by darmyers

the big game

So the big game is on Sunday, and it’s day where the food is flowing and although you may think beer is the beverage of the day, I can guarantee a few bottles of wine will be consumed as well.  My friend Lisa asked me last night what was a great wine to go with chili.  Let’s take a look at some of the most popular foods and pair them with a great wine.  And let’s start with Chili.

Chili Smackdown 007  Jan 2015 014

On Friday, we had a Chili Smack-down at work.  6 of us whipped up our favorite chili recipes, and we had a dozen judges or so, do a blind taste test.  Congratulations, to Tom Bedell for winning, and I was proud to tie for 3rd place with my good friend Anthony.  We both put red wine in our chili, and understandably I liked our two the best.  LOL  Each of the 6 chili recipes were delicious, and each so very different.  Unless it’s a vegetarian chili, chili has a meat base.  So you can pair a big heavy wine like a Cabernet Sauvignon or Merlot to a nice Chardonnay if you’re a white wine drinker.  Here would be a couple of options for wine that would pair great with Chili.

004 Koonunga hill Vina Chardonnay

The Godwin Merlot is a great Merlot and food friendly.  A Shiraz, like the Penfold’s Koonunga Hill pictured in the middle, has some spice which I especially love with Chili.  And for white wine drinkers, this Chilean Chardonnay is perfect.  Chili is putting out first class Chardonnay wines and they are reasonably priced and delicious.

Wings

If spicy wings are your menu for Sunday, or any other day of the week, my pick for a wine would be a Riesling.

Winter 2015 006  Kung fu Riesling

Here are a couple of my favorites.  This Wakefield Riesling from Australia has yummy flavors of green apple and lime zest with a nice acidity.  And the Kung Fu Girl Riesling from Washington State in the U.S. has been 90+ points from many wine reviewers across the board.  I especially love the apricot and nectarine flavors in this wine, making it very easy to drink.  And not only spicy wings, for all spicy food, but Riesling is also a great wine if you’re planning on having a fondue.

Pizza

I’m sure there will be a scattered pizza ordered on Sunday.  You know what’s great about pizza, other than the taste.  Easiest food to pick wine with.  No matter which wine you have in your wine rack, it will go with pizza.

Arboleda Carmenere Brazin

I have a brand new Carmenere I’ve recently tried pictured on the left and an Old Vine Zinfandel on the right.  The Arboleda Carmenere is a great wine that comes in at about the $21 mark, and has juicy fruit, good structure and hints of spice.  The Brazin Old Vine Zinfandel, is food friendly and goes with just about everything.   Great picks for pizza if you love red wines.

490 Chardonnay  Sandhill Pinot Gris

A Chardonnay, like this 490 meters Chardonnay from Australia, and the wine on the right is a Canadian Pinot Gris.  Very similar to Pinot Grigio, I find this Pinot Gris has a very rich mouth feel.  Good acidity makes for a good pizza paring.

And now it’s time for my new wine of the week………

Jan 2015 004

I was at a friend’s house on the weekend, and the first bottle he cracked open was this one.  From the same vineyard, Fowles in Australia, that produces the 490 Meters Chardonnay, comes this interesting Shiraz.  This rich tasting Shiraz has dark rich fruit with a smoky flavor and good tannic structure.  We had steak done on the grill, no problem. It was a great wine.

January 2015 006

Rayell and I sitting on the big display they made at my favorite NSLC store.   Have a great Super Bowl Sunday, and I’ll be watching the game with some friends, and I will probably be the only person drinking wine, but that’s OK.  It’s my beverage of choice.

Till next week, Cheers

Darlene

Cold Temperatures, Comfort Food & Great Wine

Posted in Uncategorized on January 24, 2015 by darmyers

Halifax Winter

What is with the wonky winter weather?  Last weekend it was -29 degrees on Saturday and +6 degrees on Sunday.  I don’t know about you, but for me cold temperatures means comfort food and comfort food means great wine.  I have been super adventurous so far this year in my wine selections.  Remember at the beginning of the year I promised to have one new wine each week… Well, I’m on a new wine kick… and here’s a few of my latest finds.  All of these wines will pair perfectly with your favorite comfort food.

004

I’m going to start with one of my favorite finds this week.  This 2006 Godwin Merlot from the Sonoma Valley is a treasure.  Dick Godwin and his wife bought the property in 1980 and farmed and put out their first wine in 2001.  This 2006 Merlot is Merlot done right.  Done in Bordeaux style from Pomerol, this wine is luscious and rich and has lots of lovely layers.  This will keep you warm on any chilly night.

002

So the other evening, I was having chicken and decided to try a brand new Pinot Noir.  So I tried the 2012 Pinot Noir from ‘The  Show’.  I have had the Cabernet Sauvignon from this vineyard, so I was looking forward to trying the Pinot Noir.  Grapes are sourced from both Mendicino and the Sonoma Coast along the Pacific Ocean.  These locations grow Pinot Noir grapes which are elegant and have gorgeous flavors of truffles and spice.  It was once said to never trust a Pinot Noir under $20… I’m telling you, this wine is under $20 and a beauty of a find.

003

And speaking of great discoveries at great prices, try this Novas Gran Reserva Syrah Mourvedre blend from Chile.  The blend is comprised of the strong and spicy Syrah and the deeply colored and aromatic Mourvedre grape. Together the two varieties form a blend that is rich in texture and full bodied on the palate.  And this baby is under $15.  Any time you find a great wine under $15, you have to share it with your friends, right?  It would be a shame not to, so there you have it my friends!

Pezat 1

And last but not least the Pezat Bordeaux.  A combination of Merlot and Cabernet Franc make for a dynamic wine.  You get the plump rich juiciness of the Merlot Grape and the structure from the Cab Franc.  This is a new wine for me and it was quite enjoyable.

Well that’s it for me for this week.  Have you tried a new wine so far in 2015?  If so, I would love to hear your latest find.

Till next week, Cheers

Darlene

It’s Award Season for Wine too!

Posted in Uncategorized on January 17, 2015 by darmyers

Golden globes Oscar

You can’t turn on your television these days without knowing we are smack dab in the middle of Award Season.  I love Award Season.  I’m a huge fan of movies and last Sunday evening I sat in my chair with a glass of wine and watched the glitz and glamour of the Golden Globe Awards.  I was one of the first to find out who got nominated for an Oscar.  I too was outraged that Jennifer Aniston didn’t receive a nomination for Cake…  And I’ll be seeing who wins the Screen Actors Guild Awards, the Directors Guild Awards, and every other Guild who puts out awards this time of year.  Well, did you know they pass out awards for wines too!

Award winning wine

Ever notice those small circles on the wine labels?  Well, they tend to be awards given to the specific wines.  And it’s not just expensive wines that get awards.  I am going to share with you a couple wines under $20 that have received many awards.  Take for example the Las Moras Black Label Malbec from Argentina.  It’s won more awards than Meryl Streep has in nominations…

Las Moras

This is a great wine for under $20 and the 2010 vintage won the Silver Medal at the World Wine Championships and the 2011 Vintage won the Gold at the same Championships.  Hints of mocha, caramel, and toasted nuts are some of the subtle favors you will find in this medium – to – full bodied wine. A great example of an award winning wine that won’t break the bank.

bl 14 DrsCk Pinot-front  2012 Block 3 43 Deg front

Here’s  red and a white from a family vineyard in New Zealand that have racked up a few awards.  Move over Katherine Hepburn, the Saint Clair line of Pioneer Block wines have a pretty impressive amount of awards as well.  The Sauvignon Blanc is crisp and fresh and one of my favorite wines for appetizers and the Pinot Noir is heaven in a glass.   I wrote about these two wines wine previously in a blog called ‘Favorite Family Vineyards.

Winter 2015 006

Look at the awards this Wakefield Riesling racked up.  This is one of my favorite Rieslings, and Wakefield also makes a delicious Shiraz, really spicy.  You can find the Wakefield line of wines in the Australia section, and they are all around the $20 mark, so very reasonably priced.

Winter 2015 004  Greg Label

Composer Alan Mencken has won the most Academy Awards with 8, and I guess I would probably have to call Wolf Blass the Alan Mencken of the wine world.  His website boasts 100 pages of awards… that’s right, 100 pages of awards.  Here’s one I had this previous week, the Gold Label Shiraz.  And one of my favorites is from his luxury line, the Grey Label Shiraz.  This is the perfect steak wine.  Seriously, sometime this year treat yourself to a steak and a bottle of Grey Label.  (Unless, of course, you’re a vegetarian. – you’ll still love the wine, just with a different dish)

Winter 2015 005  Raza 2

And last but not least, this wine comes under two categories, award winner and a new wine I had never tried before.  Last week was the wonderful Malbec from Cahors, this week it’s a wonderful Malbec from Argentina.   The picture on the left I took, and I couldn’t get the whole label, so on the right is a picture of the full bottle.  This wonderful wine is the Raza Gran Reserva Malbec for under $16 and sports a very aromatic nose.  Ripe dark fruit,  plum,  a hint of chocolate and yummy spices.   It was a really warm evening here in Halifax, so I fired up the grill and I had this wine with BBQ chicken.  Delicious.  This is one of those great wines that you say to yourself ‘This is really only $15.99″ followed by a ‘Wow’!

Well that’s it for this week.  Lots more award shows coming up before the big one… the Oscars on February 22nd.  I watched the Grand Budapest Hotel the other evening, it’s up for Best Picture and it was really good.  Before the big night, I hope to watch all the Best Picture nominees so I can cheer on my favorites.  I will give you my predictions before the big night.

Till next week, Cheers

Darlene

 

 

 

My Wine Year’s Resolutions!

Posted in Uncategorized on January 10, 2015 by darmyers

 

2015

Welcome to 2015.  I love the start of a New Year.  It’s like a blank canvas and we get to fill in our own canvas with the exciting year ahead.  Many people make all kinds of New Year’s Resolutions, some will succeed, other’s not so much.  It’s easy to keep a New Year’s Resolution when it involves wine.  Agree?   One of the things I enjoy doing, is watching for trends.  So what’s on the horizon for 2015.

Zinfandel!

Many forecasters are predicting a rebirth in Zinfandel as a major marketing force in 2015.   And why not!!  It’s a people pleaser, a fabulous food wine and just fun to drink any night of the week.   Regular readers of this blog know how much I love Zinfandel.  I like my Zinfandel wine big and bold, so a few of my favorites include

7 Deadly Z‌ins Brazin Predator

All 3 of these wines originate from California, which dominates the production of Zinfandel.  To the far left, 7 Deadly Zins, then the flavorful Brazin’, and last but not least my go to BBQ wine – Predator.   I met a gentleman at the NSLC last evening, asking me about Zinfandel.  He had enjoyed the 7 Deadly Zins at a local restaurant, and because our local NSLC doesn’t carry it, I suggested Predator.  One of the things I hear the most when it comes to people asking about Zinfandel is that 1) it’s a Rose wine, and 2) it’s a wimpy wine.  Both statements couldn’t be further from the truth.  Zinfandel can be full-bodied, flavorful, exotic and aromatic.  I will issue a word of warning.  If you are trying Zinfandel for the first time, look at the alcohol content.  I have tried several that have been boozy and the alcohol dominates the wine.  Look for ones that have 14% or under.  If you get up around 15%, you may find the flavor over-powered by the alcohol.  Zinfandel’s can also be medium bodied and fruit forward.  These are easy to drink versions of Zinfandel and here’s a couple of consider. These are the Gnarly Head Old Vine Zinfandel and the Cline Old Vine Zinfandel.

Gnarly Head label  Cline Old Vine

In Italy, Zinfandel is known as Primitivo, so if you are shopping in the Italian aisle, look for that name.

Sparkling

The Napa Valley Register said that wine sales grew only 0.3% in the U.S. and that growth was due to a 5% increase in the sales of sparkling wine.  And leading the way…. Italian Prosecco.

Luna Argenta Prosecco

Here’s a delicious Prosecco for under $20.  Prosecco is so versatile.  It’s fun and bubbly and is absolutely wonderful with food.  This one has gorgeous flavors of pear and honey and a light floral note.  It is the perfect wine for just about any appetizer, including anything with seafood, salad or even asparagus (which is very hard to pair wine with).  Enjoy it with food or all by itself.

Corks are on the way out

Wine guru Robert Parker predicts that wine with corks will be a minority by the end of 2015.  So get rid of all those stigmas regarding screw caps.  95% of the world’s wine is meant to be consumed in 3 or 4 years, and Parker believes the exception will be wines meant to be aged 20 or 30 years.

Malbec Will Make it Big

Parker also says 2015 is the year for Malbec.  He’s predicting a dramatic rise in Malbec from Argentina, and I agree with him 100%.  Argentina is producing some fantastic Malbec wines, and reasonably priced.  However, on that note, I want to introduce you to my new find.  This is the wine I had last night, a Malbec, but from France…..and it was yummy.

Christmas 2014 043

One of my personal New Year’s resolutions is to try a new wine each and every week.  Now, I’m pretty good at this, but we all tend to go to our known favorites.  So this was my new wine this week.  Chateau de Haute Serre is a Malbec from the Cahors region in France.  It’s ripe and alluring and has been given ratings up to 92 by some of the best.  I had this wine with a steak done on the grill, and boy did it go great.  No longer will Cabernet Sauvignon be the ‘go-to’ wine for steak.  There are many others that can stand up to a good slab of beef, and this is one of them.  It had structure, good tannins, lots of flavor, a hint of cocoa with its dark rich fruit and an all around delicious wine.  I enjoyed each and every sip.

So do you have any Wine Year’s Resolutions?  I would love to hear them.

Till next week, Cheers

Cheers

Darlene

 

 

2014 in review – Thanks for Reading

Posted in Uncategorized on December 30, 2014 by darmyers

Happy New Year everyone.  On this, the 1st Saturday of 2015, I would like to post my annual report of my weekly blog, “Wine In My Opinion”.  I would like to take this opportunity to thank everyone who have read and shared the blog.  It is a hobby for me, and one I enjoy very much.  And I am extremely grateful, in a time where everyone is so super busy, that you take the time to read my blog.  It is very much appreciated, and the reason I sit down every Saturday to write one.  Here’s to a fabulous 2015 as we continue our journey to discovering great wine.

The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2014 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

A New York City subway train holds 1,200 people. This blog was viewed about 4,900 times in 2014. If it were a NYC subway train, it would take about 4 trips to carry that many people.

Click here to see the complete report.

Favorite Wines of 2014

Posted in Uncategorized on December 28, 2014 by darmyers

2014

Can you believe we have less than a week to go before 2014 comes to an end and we are starting a brand new year.  It’s been a great year in the world of wine.   I finished New World Wine and started the Sommelier Management.   I have discovered some new wines that I found to be delicious.  So, I’m going to take this opportunity to look back at some of the fantastic wines I discovered in 2014.

Dec 2014 054Dec 2014 053

This is my friend and colleague Anthony McNutt.  Regular readers of my blog will be very familiar with Anthony, and I finally got a photo with him.  This is he and I enjoying one of the best finds in 2014.  This is the Sea Smoke Southing Pinot Noir, a spectacular Pinot Noir.  Southing refers to the South facing bluffs found on the estate vineyard in the beautiful Santa Rita Hills in California.  It’s a complex and elegant Pinot Noir with hints of smoke on the nose and aged in 100% French Oak, and 55% of the barrels are brand new.  What a treat…. I am so grateful that Anthony shared his wine with me.

Anthony has just started writing his own blog and you can check out Anthony’s blog here Rookie Wine Review

 

Wakefield Riesling Wine Birthday Me

2014 will be remembered as the year I fell head over heels in love with Riesling.  Was never a ‘sweet’ wine person, but this versatile beauty is delicious with food or all by itself.  One of the my favorites I discovered this past year was the Wakefield Riesling out of Australia.

Iphone pictures 396    Gerard bertrand bottle

This is my friend Jeff Pinhey and he is holding one of my favorite finds from the 2014 Port of Wines show.  It’s a fantastic price, and all the grapes are hand picked! Ripe dark fruits, licorice and some spice had this wine was of my favorites during BBQ season.

November 2014 007

This is, of course, Rayell Swan, the wine guru of NSLC on Larry Uteck and wine rep Kim.  Kim introduced me to a few beauties this year, including a fantastic wine at the Port of Wines.  But on this particular Fall day in 2014 he was tasting two gorgeous wines both from Grant Burge.

Grant Burge labelNovember 2014 008

One was the Grant Burge Hillcott Merlot and the other was the Filsell Old Vine Shiraz from the Barossa Valley in Australia.  The Merlot is juicy and plump and explodes with flavor in your mouth.  The Old Vine Shiraz is complex and spicy and every sip is a delight.  Definitely the best Shiraz I had in 2014.

Howard Soon 040  Sandhill Pinot Gris

In May of 2014, I also had the pleasure of meeting Chief Winemaker Howard Soon from the Sandhill Vineyards in British Columbia.  I loved his Sangiovese but I’m going to give the nod to the Sandhill Pinot Gris for this blog.  Tropical fruits including pineapple and melon with some green apple and a real rich mouth feel.  Chicken, seafood, pork. this is a very versatile food wine.

Pierre Andre Mersault Bachelder

Two Chardonnays made the cut.  The Pierre Andrew Meursault I tried a few weeks ago was  heaven in a glass.  And the Bachelder Chardonnay from the Niagara region in Canada couldn’t be left off the list.  One is a Chardonnay from Burgundy France, and the other is a Canadian Chardonnay done in a Burgundian style.  Both are over the top delicious.

2015

Well, ready or not, here it comes…. 2015.  Thank you to each and every person who took the time out of their busy schedules to read this blog.  I’m humbled.  Here’s to a fantastic 2015

Cheers

Darlene

 

Twas The Week Before Christmas

Posted in Wine on December 20, 2014 by darmyers

darmyers:

This is a wine lover’s take on The Night Before Christmas. I did it last year, I hope you enjoy it

Originally posted on Wine-In My Opinion:

Twas the week before Christmas and all through the wine cellar, not a wine was stirring, not even the house.  (house wine that is!)  The wine glasses were hung in the wine rack with care, in hopes a Corkscrew would soon be there!
The bottles were nestled, all snug in the rack
With visions of Merlot, Cabernet, and Sack.  (Sherry!)
Papa with his white, and me with my Red
Decided to share a glass before we went to bed.
When out on the lawn, arose such a clatter
I spilled my wine to see what was the matter
Away to the window I flew like a flash
To see Santa Claus in a mad dash
The moon on the face of the newly poured wine
Gave the lustre of Merlot a beautiful shine.
When, what to my wondering eyes should appear,
But a miniature sleigh, and eight tiny reindeer.
With…

View original 276 more words

Are you Ready?

Posted in Uncategorized on December 13, 2014 by darmyers

too busy

I almost pulled one of these today.  I am so far behind getting ready for Christmas, I think I’m in the front of the line.  I was saying to someone at work the other day, normally I’m all done by December 1st, so that the only stores I have to go into is the grocery store and the wine store.  Not this year.  Not even half way there.  How about you?  Are you ready?

naughty or nice

I was reading an article the other day about easing some of the pressures of the holiday season.  One of the things it mentioned, was creating a list and sticking to it … here’s what my list looks like.

* Merlot

* Cabernet Sauvignon

* Pinot Noir

* Chardonnay

All i Want

 

Only kidding….

But I’m hoping this helps with the wine lover on your list.

For that sporty person your list – try a Sauvignon Blanc.. like the Saint Clair Family Estate Sauvignon Blanc.

Saint Clair label

This is one of my favorites from New Zealand.  It’s crisp and vibrant and is a perfect match for the sporty person on your list.

Do you have an adventuresome person on your list?  Try a Cabernet Sauvignon… I tried a brand new one last night, and it was awesome.  I’m all about trying new wines, and so will that adventuresome person on your list.

libery school cabernet sauvignon

I talked about the Liberty School Chardonnay a few weeks back and last night had the Liberty School Cabernet Sauvignon.  It was delicious.  Rich and dark with hints of vanilla.  Reasonably priced and delicious, that will help ease the financial stresses of Christmas.

For that extra sweet person on your list…. Riesling of course!

Wakefield Riesling

This is my new favorite, Wakefield Riesling out of Australia.  My friend Anthony loves the Wakefield Shiraz and I wrote about that not too long ago.  Well the sweet sister in the family is this Riesling.  Tropical fruit with some citrus, this wine is elegant and will make a great gift.  And it won’t break the bank either.  Very important this time of year.

Down to Earth?  Why Merlot, thank you.  And if you’re a regular reader, you know we have discovered some beauties recently.

Candor MerlotGrant Burge label

So many good Merlot wines, so little time.  Here’s two of my favorites, the Candor Merlot and the Grant Burge Hillcott Merlot.   Again, rich dark fruit, plums, earthiness and a hint of wood.

And finally for that fun-loving sunny personality?  Pinot Gris!

Howard Soon 039 & DarleneSandhill Pinot Gris

And for that fun-loving sunny personality, you should try the Sandhill Pinot Gris, if you haven’t already.  It’s made by winemaker Howard Soon who is as fun-loving as they come, with the most bright sunny personality, as evident as this picture of him when I got to meet him.

Well that’s it for this week, this blog was fun to write.  And with all the hecticness of this holiday season,  (my speller is telling me hecticness is not a real word – but I’m sticking with it anyway) I hope you make some time to relax and enjoy a glass of your favorite wine, whatever that may be.

Till next week, Cheers

Darlene

 

 

I’m Dreaming of a White Wine Christmas

Posted in Wine & Food on December 6, 2014 by darmyers

With visions of red dancing in my head… (thanks Rick!)

And although many of our friends throughout Canada has seen snow, and sometimes lots of it..

Canada in winter

Halifax has no snow yet.. (knock on wood)

Halifax at night

So when I say I’m dreaming of a white wine Christmas, I’m OK with no snow for now.  I’m sure I will see lots of it when I go home to Newfoundland for Christmas.

 

White wine

Yup, that’s me.  Red or White.  And although I tend to lean a little more towards the red wines, I do love white wine as well.  Christmas is the perfect opportunity to enjoy both red and white with food.

Roasted turkey  glass of white wine Viognier

Let’s start with the turkey… Last year I served a Viognier at our Christmas dinner.   We had this gorgeous Viognier from Stags Leap in California.  It was perfect.  Turkey is a blank canvas when it comes to matching with wine.  There are so many options.   I am going to mix it up this year.  My mom prefers Chardonnay, but here are some other options.  The Alianico Vinho Verde from Portugal is one of the best values you’ll find for Christmas dinner.  And it’s crisp and refreshing and will compliment that turkey in an amazing way.

Alianca label Robert Mondavi Fume BlancAra Pinot Gris

Some of my other recommendations include the Robert Mondavi Fume Blanc which is a Sauvignon Blanc based wine, mostly Sauvignon Blanc with some Semillion mixed in for that smoothness.   And another beauty I tried this year was the Pinot Gris from Ara.  Sandhill Vineyards from British Columbia also makes a spectacular Pinot Gris.  If you’re a red wine only drinker, pick a Pinot Noir.  Related to Pinot Gris, Pinot Noir is one of my favorites because its full of complex flavors.

Roasted Ham

Growing up in our house, on Christmas Eve we had ham.  And then we had the leftovers for breakfast the next morning on Christmas Day.  My older sister still carries on this tradition, but my younger sister has opted for the Chinese Food on Christmas Eve, and that’s where I’ll be this year.  I miss this tradition, ham on Christmas morning was one of my favorite parts of the day.

Candor Merlot Grant Burge label Bogle Merlot wine

If ham is your Christmas Eve or Christmas Day tradition, now is the time to try a Merlot.  It’s all about the Merlot when it comes to smoked baked ham.  For me anyway.  Here are some of my favorites from this past year.  From left to right, is Candor Merlot, then the Hillcott Merlot from Grant Burge and then the Merlot from Bogle Vineyards in California.  All three are in that $20 – $25 price range, and the perfect Christmas wine.  Why?  Christmas has sugar plums, all 3 of these Merlot wines have rich juicy plum flavors, a bit of oak and lots of lasting flavor.  Try a Merlot today.  If you want to try something different with the ham, try a Zinfandel.

Predator  Lohr Chard Label

The Predator is one of my favorites.  And an old vine Zinfandel just means a more intense flavor.  The vines are older and the grapes are sweeter.  Don’t be confused, this is not a sweet wine.  My friend Sue said she always though Zinfandel was pink and bubby.  The Zinfandels I love are full bodied and full of flavor.  If I were to open a white wine with the ham, it would be a Chardonnay.  And because my mom loves Chardonnay so much, believe me, I have tried a lot of Chardonnay wines.   The J. Lohr Chardonnay from California is delicious and it won’t break the bank.

Pierre Andre Mersault  Le Clos Jordanne Chardonnay

However, if you’re like me and you’re all about the treat wine at Christmas, and it’s the one day of the year you treat yourself to a really nice bottle, here are a couple of my favorite options.  The Pierre Andre Mersault I wrote about last weekend knocked my socks off, it was so delicious.   French wine can be intimidating for some, and this is 100% Chardonnay and worth every penny.  The next one is the Le Clos Jordanne Grand Clos Chardonnay.  Made by winemaker Sebastion Jacquey, this darling Chardonnay is from right here in Canada.

BENJAMIN_BRIDGE_BOREALIS_ICEWINE_Glass_600  Criollo

And what’s Christmas dinner without dessert.  I said to my friends at the NLSC on Larry Uteck last night, don’t let me go to Newfoundland without my dessert wine for Christmas dinner.  I’m not a chocolate fiend, I’m not that big on desserts, but I will finish my meal with something sweet, and here it is.  The Borealis Ice Wine from Benjamin Bridge.  It’s rich and opulent with flavors of carmelized apples.  My mouth is already starting to water.  And, Rick Martell, the Manager of the NSLC on Larry Uteck introduced me to a new yummy liquor yesterday.  The Criollo is made with the Criollo cocoa bean which gives it a yummy chocolate flavor enhanced with sea salted caramel.  Oh my God, can you say ‘hello Christmas’.  At $16.99 a bottle, you won’t mind sharing with your friends.

Well that it’s for me this week…

Till next week, Cheers

Darlene

 

It’s Beginning to Look A lot Like Wine-mas!

Posted in Uncategorized on November 29, 2014 by darmyers

Wine Xmas

December is almost here… and it’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas.. So many opportunities to enjoy some great wines.  Decorating the tree, putting up lights, Christmas cooking.. no matter what you’re doing to get ready for the holidays, here are some of my favorites.  Remember though, please do not drink and drive.  This is only for chores around the house, when you know you are home for the night.

wine christmas tree  Wolf Glass Gold Shiraz

Looking for a wine while you’re decorating the Christmas tree?  Here’s a new wine I tried this past week.  The Wolf Blass Gold Label Shiraz from the Barossa Valley in Australia.  This is on for a fabulous price right now where I live, but even if it’s not on sale, pick it up, you won’t be disappointed.  I just went back and got two more.  The Barossa Valley and Shiraz seem to go hand in hand, and here’s one of the reasons why.   It’s elegant, well-balanced and full of flavor with rich fruit and some spice.   Some people don’t like Shiraz because of the spice.  Those people should try this wine, as the spice doesn’t dominate the wine.  An Australian Shiraz is also a wine I like with grilled pork, pork tenderloin, pulled pork and a whole variety of meat dishes other than pork.  And who am I kidding?  This wine was delicious all by itself.

Koonunga hill

Here’s another Australian Shiraz I’ve tried recently.  Koonunga Hill from Penfolds.  I love Penfolds wine and this attractively priced Shiraz is so easy to drink, it will become a regular in your wine rack.

Christmas cookies  Villa Wolf

Do you have Christmas cooking to do?  Christmas cookies to bake? Well, do I have the Riesling for you.  Tried this Thursday evening, with my friend Rayell.  The Wachenheimer Riesling from Villa Wolf.  This Riesling comes from a single-vineyard site, called Königswingert (“King’s Vineyard”), but is labeled only with the village name.  I dare you to have a couple of glasses of wine and say Königswingert three times fast.. heck, say it once fast.  When I pick a Riesling, I have to confess I don’t normally head to the German section.  I love Riesling, and I’ve recently picked up the Wakefield Riesling from Australia, and I’m looking forward to trying that one.  Some German Rieslings tend to be a little too much petrol for me.  This one I really liked.  A little petrol on the nose, but no sign of it on the palate.  It has a real good full mouth feel, its elegant, and very yummy.

Christmas cooking   Pierre Andre Mersault

Every once in a while, a wine comes along that blows my mind.  I had such a wine this past week.  It’s the Pierre Andre Mersault.  This is from the famous Cote de Beaune region of France, and is composed of 100% Chardonnay grapes.  I looked at Rayell when I bought the wine to my nose and said ‘Wow, that is aromatic’.  Rich intense aromas of peaches, lemon and a hint of vanilla.  From my reading, I learned that 80% of this wine spent 13 months in French oak.  No one does subtle oak quite the way the French wine makers so it.  They have mastered the art of subtle oak that enhances a wine.  And my favorite part was the persistent finish, this wine stayed on the tongue and I kept enjoying it for moments after.  Treat yourself this Christmas to this wine.  You’ll be happy you did.

Merry Christmas wine clerk

I saw this sign this past week, and had to share it with all my friends at the Larry Uteck NSLC.  I thought it fit me perfectly.

That’s it for this week, I love a week when there are all new wines.  And as the regular readers can tell, I do drink more red than white, especially in the winter, so a wine blog featuring mostly whites is nice.

Drink responsibly and have fun.  Till next week, Cheers

Darlene

 

 

Writer’s Block, Not Wine Block

Posted in Wine & Food on November 22, 2014 by darmyers

Writers block

This is my 252nd wine blog, so it’s understandable sometimes I get writers block.  What will be the theme of this week’s wine blog.  There’s never a shortage of fantastic wine to write about.   And such is the case this week…. I can’t think of a theme, so I called it Writer’s Block, but not Wine block.  I have some fantastic wines to write about.

November 2014 007

You all recognize my friend Rayell from the NSLC on Larry Uteck.  With her is a familiar face in the Larry Uteck store, Kim.  It’s the first time I’ve seen Kim since the Port of Wines, as he recently lost his 92 year old mother.  He told me they celebrated her life in fine style.  Thoughts and prayers are with you Kim.  Kim is holding last nights pleasurable selection of wine. It’s the Grant Burge Filsell Old Vine Shiraz from the Barossa Valley Australia.

November 2014 008  Applewood smoked bacon mustard

Oh my God, if you want to open a bottle of heaven, this should be your next choice.  I believe Kim said the vines were 60 years old, and the wine was aged in oak for 20 months.  This wine has won 24 gold medals, 49 silver medals and 58 bronze medals in competitions.  And its won over 100 medals for good reason.  It’s vibrant, complex, has lots of flavor and with every sip you discover something new.   Lots of gorgeous fruit and vanilla notes from the oak.  I had this with a grilled stuffed butterfly pork chop.   I stuffed it with a dressing made from bread crumbs, apples, carrots, garlic, pepper, and onion powder.  On the chop itself I brushed applewood smoked bacon mustard on both sides.  (Yes, they make such a mustard!  You can’t make that stuff up ) To say I matched it with the perfect wine, would be an understatement.

Grant Burge label

Grant Burge is the winemaker behind the Hillcott Merlot.  Kim was tasting that last night as well.  I had written about this wine back in May of this year.  Read the blog here.   I had kicked off my long weekend in May with this beauty.  It was smooth and I loved the aromatics on this wine.  The oak was well integrated and not overpowering at all.  Ahh, another week where we highlight a great Merlot.

Butchers gold

Here’s a wine I tried this past week.  At a great price point, it’s a nice little wine to open any night of the week.  It comes in at around $13 and is 80% Shiraz and 20% Sangiovese.  It’s full-bodied, meaty and nice tannic structure.  It pairs well with food, however, my friend and I had no trouble finishing the bottle after the meal.

Larry Uteck Gang

Before I go, I have to give a shout out to these fine people, they are the staff at the NSLC store on Larry Uteck.  Over the past couple of months, I have bought several friends to the NSLC location on Larry Uteck here in Halifax.  And every single friend leaves the store saying they have never had an NSLC experience quite like this one.  This group of people continue to wow customers every single day!   So hats off to the people who put up with me every week, and always have a fine recommendation.

Till next week, Cheers

Darlene

Drink The Wine You Love!

Posted in Wine on November 15, 2014 by darmyers

Love Your Wine

I love this wine…. what do you think of it?  In the end, does it really matter?   I read a quote recently that said “Love the Wine You Drink and Drink the Wine You Love”.   My friend Judy always says, ‘Life is too short to drink cheap wine”!  I like to say ‘Life is too short to drink bad wine’.  Price tags are irrelevant – if you like the wine… drink up.

Wine drink the good stuff

No wine critic, reviewer, Sommelier, or fellow wine drinker, can tell you if a wine is good.  If you like it, it’s good.  When asked can I recommend a good wine, my first question tends to be ‘what wine do you currently like?’  This will give me a general idea of which grape and which country you are currently enjoying.  And if you’re anything like me, I have ‘fads’.  For example, this summer, you couldn’t get me out of the California section.  I go through a California phase every once in a while.  Recently, it was 2 months of Australian wine.  As I headed to the wine store yesterday evening, I had no idea what I was going to come home with… but I wanted to try a wine I had never had.  Here’s the result!

Fall 2014 Part 2 064

The Valdivieso 2010 Reserva Merlot from Chile.  The reason I chose this particular wine, I had never had it before and I believe its relative won the Best of Show at the Port of Wines last year.    Correct me if I’m wrong.  So this is what I popped open last night.  Earthy is the first word that came to mind.  First of all, let this wine sit for a while, after you open it.  I didn’t at first, and the oak overpowered the wine a bit.  As it sat for a while, it mellowed and I could enjoy the wine.  However, it never lost its earthiness.   At around $25, another Merlot I have had in the past week I found to be much better.

Candor Merlot

My friend Rayell from NSLC tells me I had this wine after the Port of Wines last year.  I didn’t attend the Port of Wines last year, as I was visiting my parents in Newfoundland.  But she was confident I had this wine before.  Well shame on me for waiting a full year to buy it again.  Except for some Right Bank Bordeaux wines, this one was probably one of the best Merlot wines I have ever had.  At $25 it’s a winner.  This Merlot is exceptionally rich and voluptuous, and although has seen oak, the oak in no way dominates the wine.   When I was enjoying this last weekend, I was thinking Right Bank Bordeaux.  It comes from the Hope Family of wines which also has the Liberty School series of wines.

LIberty School Chardonnay

Rayell told me she had this wine this past week, and it was fantastic.  I am going to give it a try this coming week, it’s the Liberty School Chardonnay, and I will write about it next week.  She tells me it’s 90% Chardonnay, 5% Viognier and 5% Marsanne, and the blend is perfect.  I am really looking forward to trying it.

Bogle Merlot wine

If you don’t want to spend $25 on a wine, here’s one I’ve written about a few times before.  A fantastic wine, from California, and  comes in at about $22.  One of my favorite Merlot wines.  Again, it’s rich and voluptous and so easy to drink.   With either of these two wines, I found them fantastic with food, or all by itself.

Wow, it’s been all about the Merlot this week.   Take that Paul Giamatti from Sideways.  We are drinking the Merlot this week.

Have you tried a new wine this week?  If so, I would love to hear about it.

Till next week, Cheers

Darlene

 

 

Wine & The Movies!

Posted in Wine on November 11, 2014 by darmyers

darmyers:

I’m not sure why, but many people can’t find this post, so I’ll try re-blogging it

Originally posted on Wine-In My Opinion:

Wine step aside

I posted this on the Wine In My Opinion Facebook page yesterday and got some great feedback and likes.  On a Friday afternoon, after a long week at work, I thought it was fitting.  Most Friday nights, especially the hectic ones leading up to Christmas, I look forward to a relaxing glass of wine and a movie.  Thinking about it, wine plays a significant role in many movies.  Let’s look at a few

Sideway

A blog about wine and movies has to start with Sideways.  I loved this movie so much I went out and bought it.  I like this movie for several reasons.

1.  I love the acting of all four of the central characters.  Paul Giamatti, Thomas Haden Church, Virgina Madsen and Sandra Oh are brilliant.

2.  It contains one of my favorite lines ‘I’m not drinking any f**kin’ Merlot“… or “If anyone orders Merlot, I’m leaving”. …

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November Wines

Posted in Wine & Food on November 1, 2014 by darmyers

 

November

Hard to believe November is here!  People I work with are starting to put on their winter tires and I bought my first pack of Christmas cards the other day.  Yes, November is here, with its cool days and chilly nights.  And although right now, it looks like the top picture here in Nova Scotia.  It’s won’t be long before it will look like this.

Halifax storm

Yes, November is here.  And for me it means comfort food and great wine!

Wondering which wines works with your favorite comfort food?  Here are a few of my favorite comfort foods and the wines I love to have with them.
 Lohr Chard Label
1.  Chicken Pot Pie & Chardonnay
Chicken pot pie tops the list because it’s on the menu for this weekend.   And for me, nothing compliments a delicious chicken pot pie than a creamy California Chardonnay.  The buttery flavors that usually go with a California Chardonnay and the hint of oak, combine to make a great pairing, but it still has enough acidity to cut through the creamy sauce.  You won’t want to come out of your comfy pajamas and this could become your favorite winter combo.
Roast beef Wine & Food Beringer Knight
2.  Roast Beef (Beef Stew) and Cabernet Sauvignon
Funny story.  My mother makes the best beef stew ever.  The meat is tender and the gravy in the stew is to die for.  Her pot roast on the other hand, is so well cooked and dry that it flakes.  Go figure, same meat – totally different outcomes.  Here’s a pairing that works two ways… first of all, any roast beef recipe is enhanced when a good Cabernet Sauvignon is added.  And then it’s the perfect wine to enjoy the roast beef with.  I love a good flavorful California Cabernet Sauvignon as well, and the one pictured is a new one I have tried this week.   It’s the Beringer Knights Valley Cabernet Sauvignon and it is so good.  Knights Valley is land about 17 miles from the Beringer vineyards that they have been farming for years.  And top quality soil means exceptional Cabernet Sauvignon.  Gorgeous rich flavors of blackberry, blueberry, nutmeg and maple.  This wine has comfort food written all over it.
Linguine 1 Lucente label Sandhill Sangiovese
3.  Pasta & a Wide Variety of Italian Wines.
The pasta on the left is a linguine that I make with a homemade green olive paste and 4 cheeses.  Oh, and did I mention there’s real bacon in there too… yeah, it’s one of my favorite.  The Lucente wine you may remember from my blog a few weeks back when I wrote about the Port of Wines show… it was one of my favorites from the show.  Glossy tannins, great structure and an exotic finish on the wine.. this wine is the reason I want to visit Tuscanny one day.  The other wine is a Canadian wine but a grape with Italian origins.  It’s the Sandhill Sangiovese from the Okanagan Valley.  Winemaker Howard Soon, who I wrote about after seeing him in Halifax, makes a spectacular Sangiovese.   Here’s what winemaker Howard Soon had to say about this wine
“Our Sangiovese is the first Sangiovese grown and produced as a VQA wine in Canada. We did this to prove the value of the Sandhill site – intense heat, dry desert conditions, and sandy soil. Use of traditional Brunello yeast, classic winemaking methods, and aging in small French oak barrels all contribute to a special wine experience. Bottle aging for 1 to 2 years should reveal even more subtle complexities.”
If you haven’t tried this Sangiovese, I highly recommend it.
Wine Time finally
I would love to hear what’s on your menu this first weekend of November?  And which wine you are pairing with it.  Please feel free to drop me a message.  Or you can join me on Facebook.  Find us here Wine In My Opinion
Till next week, Cheers
Darlene

Spooktacular Wines Just In Time For Halloween

Posted in Wine on October 25, 2014 by darmyers

Halloween

Halloween is coming up and I thought I would have a little fun this week matching appropriate wines for the special occasion.

curious 2Curious 1

Here’s a must have…. the Curious Beasts California Red Blend… the picture on the left is the unique goth like packaging it comes in, and the picture on the right is the bottle inside.  But what’s inside the bottle is where the real enjoyment comes.  Fresh and fruity, rich and dark, with spicy dark plum flavors and hints of chocolate.  What’s not to love.  The packaging itself will be a conversation starter at the Halloween party.

Ghost 3 Ghost 2

What’s Halloween without a good ghost?  And this is one of the best tasting ghosts you’re going to find.  The Ghost Pines Merlot on the left was a Christmas gift from my friend Maureen, and I loved it.  What I loved about this Merlot was its great structure and luscious fruitiness.    I mean, sometimes you have to love a good lush.  Both French and American oak is used so it has that humidor aroma mixed with dark black cherries.  A delicious combination.  The Chardonnay on the left is a beauty.  I do love a rich California Chardonnay and this one has undergone the ‘sur lies aging’  and malolactic fermentation, which is the process of removing the harsh malo acids and bringing out the creamy lactic acids.   Both of these processes make for a rich full-bodied flavorful Chardonnay.

Hat Trick Red

If ‘Trick or Treat’ is the question, then Trick should be the answer.  This Hat Trick Red Blend is made right here in Canada in the Niagara region of Ontario.  Reasonably priced under $15 and boasts cherry and blackberry flavors with a touch of pepper to finish.

Apothic Dark

Fans of Apothic wine will be thrilled to discover that they have released an ‘Apothic Dark’ just in time for Halloween.  It’s in stores now.  I have to say I like this one a lot more than the Apothic Red.  It’s not as sweet, and it’s dark.  You cannot see through the glass.  This is a deep dark wine with smoky berry flavors, and I know will be a big hit with the many Apothic Red fans out there, and based on the tasting station at my favorite NSLC store, a big hit with people who weren’t fans of the first one.

Devil label

Another devilishly good wine for the upcoming holiday is the Casillero del Diablo Devil’s Collection.  This little devil is very reasonably priced at under $17 and is a blend of Cabernet Sauvignon, Carmenere and Syrah.  The Devil’s Collection packs a punch of flavor with great structure and a spicy finish.  Love this wine, and a great BBQ wine under $20.

19 Crimes

And last but not least there is the 19 Crimes family of wines.  This line of wines has an interesting story.  From the 19 Crimes website, I quote:

“Felons, running roughshod over London town, were menacing good people, wreaking havoc and, caught by the scores, clogging every jail in the kingdom. A civic dilemma of colossal proportions.  Meanwhile, two oceans away, a newly claimed and virgin continent was in dire need of subjects to bring civilization to bear. Yet the voyage was endless and brutal, the rewards meager to nil.

The savagely elegant solution: Punishment by Transportation. 

A list of 19 Crimes was drawn. Conviction meant a torturous journey to an unknown and unforgiving land.

Australia, thus, was born.”

This is how this dark brooding delicious wine was started.  And a criminal’s picture is on every label.  How very macabre for Halloween.

Well, that’s it for me….

Had to share this picture on Halloween, and hopefully a smile this week

Grumpy Halloween

Have a safe Halloween, and till next week Cheers

Darlene

 

 

 

Enjoying New Wines Internationally

Posted in Wine on October 18, 2014 by darmyers

Fall 2014 067

On Saturday October 4th, my sister and I jetted off to Aruba.  We try to get together every year for a week or 10 days, and some of our excursions have included Hawaii, Florida and Turks and Caicos.  A great chance for two sisters who don’t live in the same city or the same province,  to catch up.   We had the best vacation ever.   Aruba is clean, and gorgeous with friendly people, great food and good wine.

Fall 2014 069  Fall 2014 076

To start our vacation we paid the extra money and upgraded to first class.  Ahh, first class on a plane is so civilized.  First of all there’s a menu.  And yes, the wine comes in glass.  My international wine tasting began on the plane.  The wine I am enjoying with my pasta, is the Paso a Paso Tempranillo from Spain.

Paso a Paso

I really enjoyed this wine, and its gorgeous flavors of blackberries and plums.  There is some oak, but the French oak barrels are 2 to 3 years old and the oak is not overpowering.  It was dry with a really good tannic structure.  I had more than one glass.

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Aruba was breathtakingly beautiful and clean and we felt very safe.  It was one of my all time favorite destinations and my sister found it to be one of her best vacations as well.  We stayed at the Occidental Grand and it was pretty.

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The picture on the left was the view from our room, and the picture on the right is the pool area at the resort we stayed at.  The resort was an all inclusive and I have to say I really enjoyed the house wines.  One of the house Reds was Vina Maipo Merlot from Chile.

Vina Maipo

I enjoyed this red with many of my evening meals.  I really enjoyed the wine.  I do like a Merlot and who knew Chile was producing such tasty ones.  I love many Chilean wines and this one just got added to the list.  I honestly have no idea what a bottle of this wine would cost.  Here’s what Natalie Maclean had to say about this wine when she did the review.

“Aromatic Merlot with tons of red fruit, spice box and blackberry aromas. Dry with lots of fruit and oak but in perfect balance as both elements are strong enough to completely complement each other. Medium-bodied with a substantial fruit/oak finish. My note: Loaded with blackberry goodness, blackcurrant and peppered plums. Absolutely terrific!”

Vina Chardonnay  Vina Sauvignon Blanc

Vina Maipo also provided the house white wines.  While I was there I enjoyed the Vina Maipo Chardonnay as well as the Vina Maipo Sauvignon Blanc.  I enjoyed the Chardonnay with a Honey Mustard Chicken Salad and it was delicious.

Honey Mustard chicken salad

The tropical fruits of the wine with its pineapple and toasted oak flavors complimented the slightly spicy honey mustard dressing that they poured over the salad and chicken breast slices.  A smooth buttery texture with crisp acidity has me recommending this Chardonnay.  The Sauvignon Blanc has the gooseberry and citrus notes that complimented my appetizer salad one evening, in which I had an olive oil and balsamic dressing.  I love Sauvignon Blanc with salad.

Fall 2014 113  Blackstone Merlot

We ate off the resort as well, and the wine I am holding in my hand is the Blackstone Merlot from California.  One of my favorite things to do while travelling is try different wines that I can’t buy here in Nova Scotia.  The Blackstone winery calls this ‘America’s Favorite Merlot’ and it was very good.  Merlot, as I have said in the past, took a bit of a s*!t-kicking after the movie ‘Sideways’ came out.. (even though I still love Paul Giamatti).  Merlot is making a comeback.  This luscious fruity goes-with-so much wine deserves a place on the dinner table.  This one was rich, with gorgeous plum flavors and notes of toasted vanilla.  Yum.

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Well that’s it for this week.  Not sure where my sister and I are escaping to next year, but guaranteed it will be fun.  If you see her and she starts to tell you a story where I fell in the pool, or my chair went flying ass backwards with me in it….. don’t believe it!

Till next week Cheers

Darlene

 

Port of Wines Festival

Posted in Wine on October 3, 2014 by darmyers

Iphone pictures 370 Port of wines

I had the pleasure of attending the annual Port of Wines Festival this past weekend with my good friend Rayell Swan.   What a fantastic festival, and boy, did I taste some fantastic wines.  Too many to write about in one blog, this may take a couple of weeks.  So many great wines, so little time.

Iphone pictures 388 Mettler Label

This is the 2011 Mettler Old Vines Zinfandel, which won best Zinfandel at the show.  Regular readers of this blog know how much I love Zinfandel, and I’m always willing to try a new one.  So much so that I bought this one at the show before trying it.  I did end up sampling the wine, which comes from a 50-year old vineyard located in the ‘epicenter’ of Lodi’s Old Vine Zinfandel district.  Lots of flavor in this one.  Jammy fruits, vanilla and a hint of mocha.  It does have 15.4% alcohol, tread lightly.

Iphone pictures 396   Gerard bertrand bottle

This is my friend Jeff Pinhey, a great lover of wine here in the Halifax region.  And the bottle of wine he is holding is the 2011 Gerard Bertrand Corbieres.  This wine, in my opinion, was the best wine at the show under $20.  The Wine Advocate gave it 90 Points for a good reason, it’s a great wine at a great price point.  It’s a beautiful blend of Grenache, Syrah and Mourvedre from the Languedoc-Roussillon area of France, with lots of complex layers  Full bodied, great structure,  spicy and a great wine to go with everything from wild game to pizza to your favorite burger.

Lucente label

Although France was the featured country in this year’s Port of Wines, the festival features wines from all countries.  From Italy, this was one of my favorites.  The 2011 Lucente from Luce vineyards in Tuscanny is a blend of Merlot (75%) and Sangiovese (25%) and they got it right with the blend.  .  Lots of juicy plum flavors, some black cherry, and spice come together for a velvety wine with lots of good structure.  Oh, how this would go so well with pork, as well as charcuterie plates, or even hamburgers.   I’ve always wanted to visit Tuscanny, this makes me want to go there even more!  Great wine.

Iphone pictures 364  Jolie pitt

And probably the most famous wine at the show comes from the most famous couple in the world.  The 2013 Jolie-Pitt & Perrin Miraval Cotes de Provence Rose AC.   The Miraval bottling, made in a partnership with the Perrin family of Château de Beaucastel, is a blend of red grapes Cinsault, Grenache and Syrah and white grape Rolle (aka Vermentino).   And it was very very good.  Not just another celebrity wine, this one has won the critics over.  It was dry in a good way, clean and had lovely flavors of strawberry with floral notes.

Hawaii 32

The reason I am putting this week’s wine blog out early is that tomorrow morning I am running away!  Only for a week though.  Every year my sister and I run away some where together and this year we picked Aruba.  We are gone for 8 days and its a great chance to catch up with the sister who still lives in Newfoundland.   The above picture was taken when we were in Pearl Harbour in Hawaii.

I’m sure there will be a story…..  there always is!

Till I return, Cheers.

 

 

 

 

 

Comfort Food – Comforting Wines

Posted in Wine & Food on September 27, 2014 by darmyers

Corner brook fall

This is a picture of my home town…. Corner Brook Newfoundland.  A gorgeous place to be in the Autumn of the year.  Last week we welcomed the Fall with some comfort food and great wines.  And I said I would expand on that again this week.  So, as I sit in my sunny den looking at sunshine and temperatures of 24-degrees, it feels more like Summer than Fall.  As a matter of fact, I have used my air conditioners more in September than I did in July.  But regardless of what the thermometer says, it’s still Fall, and I’m going to enjoy the summer-like temperatures while I can, because I know before too long, it will look like this.

Halifax storm

The annual Port of Wines Festival is taking place this weekend in Halifax.  I’m going tonight and I’m really excited, because I was visiting my hometown this time last year and missed this great wine festival.

Port of wines

As you can see, this year they are celebrating France, and the theme is ‘A Place for Every Taste’.   I am so excited to be tasting some new wines from France.  My friend Anthony told me yesterday he stays away from France, because he never knows what it is he is buying.  And I have to admit…. France can be very confusing if you don’t know the signature grapes from each region.  But my goodness, they have been making wine for a very long time and they are so very good at it.  In my next wine blog I’m going to be sharing the new wines I discovered at the show, but for this week I thought I would share some of my favorites in every price range.

patiesserie

In case you missed last week’s blog, this great wine for the great price of $16.99 is a beautiful blend of Grenache, Syrah and Merlot.  It’s a flavorful medium bodied wine that goes great with BBQ ribs, chicken done on the BBQ and although I don’t eat duck, for those of you that do, I understand this wine to be a great match.

Saint Emilion bottle

Here’s a new wine from France that I tried this past week.  Yum.  First of all, I love wines from the Right Bank of Bordeaux.  They are Merlot dominant.  Bordeaux is always a blend, and if from the Left Bank tends to be Cabernet Sauvignon dominant, with Merlot added most times.  Right bank – Merlot dominant and usually some Cab added as well.  Bordeaux produces some of the most expensive wines in the world, but this reasonably priced beauty comes in at $23.99 and packs a flavorful punch.  Plum and vanilla flavors, it has some complexity which will go well with any pasta dish you want to serve.  And when I think comfort food, I think pasta.  Yum

Chateau Famaey

If you love Malbec as much as I do, you’ll love this one.  Know that if you are in the French section, and the red wine is from Cahors, it’s a Malbec.  This beauty from Chateau Famaey is grown on older vines, is shown special care by being handpicked, and is aged for 2 full years in French oak.  This wine has layers and definitely a wine I would decant.  This is a great wine to go with that tasty beef stew you have in the slow cooker or any steak you throw on the grill.

Bachelder

If you’re buying a red wine from the Burgundy region, unless its Beaujolais – which would be labeled as Beaujolais, it’s Pinot Noir!  And Burgundy produces some of my favorite Pinot Noir wines.  However, if you’re picking a white wine, you are buying a Chardonnay.  This Burgundian Chardonnay from Thomas Bachelder is rich and dreamy and the perfect accompaniment for seafood or poultry.  I can’t eat seafood, allergic, so that’s why I’m not great at pairing wines with seafood, except what my training has taught me.  But chicken… let me tell you, I know chicken!  And everything from turkey to roast chicken, to your favorite chicken dish in sauce, this wine will match very well.

Well, that’s it for this week.  Next week will feature all brand new wines, that I’m trying for the first time tonight.

Till then, Cheers

Darlene

 

 

Fall Into Some Great Wines This Month

Posted in Wine & Food on September 20, 2014 by darmyers

NS Fall

Well it’s Fall, my most favorite time of the year.  I love the Autumn here in Nova Scotia, with its gorgeous colors and cool crisp temperatures.  I love the great night sleep I get… and I love the comfort food that goes along with this season.  And with great comfort food, comes great wine!  Here are some new ones I ‘ve discovered recently.

Crock beef  Bone Shaker bottle

One of my favorite foods this time of the year is beef done in the crock pot, or slow cooker.  I am not a big beef eater, but I have to say this is my favorite way to have it.  And normally, out comes the Cabernet Sauvignon.  But recently I tried a new Zinfandel called Bone Shaker, and I’m telling you, this wine is big enough to handle the beef.  So many people think Zinfandel as light and fruity or medium bodied at best.  Not all Zinfandel wines are created equal.  This one is big, bold and intense.  There is a little bit of Cabernet Sauvignon added, it gives it some structure.  But this is no wimpy wine.  Fermented in French oak, this baby delivers flavors of blackberry, plums, chocolate, licorice and an oak finish.  Not for the weak of heart.

Pulled pork patiesserie

I make a mean pulled pork sandwich.  I love pulled pork done in the crock pot, especially this time of year.  Found a new wine in the past couple of weeks that will go great with it.  Patiesserie Grenache, Syrah & Merlot blend.  Now if you love GSM, which is normally Grenache Syrah and Mouvedre, like I do, then you will love the combination of Grenache, Syrah and Merlot.  It’s got all the great structure of the Grenache, the spiciness of the Syrah, and the Merlot not only softens the Grenache like Mourvedre, it also adds a plump juiciness and flavor that I immediately fell in love with.  With pull pork, you have the BBQ sauce and the hickory smoke flavoring, so you know what that means, this wine is also a great wine for BBQ ribs or any other BBQ dish.

Lasagna  69335-image_048 Sandhill Pinot Gris

Last weekend I made a full lasagna from scratch.  I know it’s Fall when I make lasagna.  I don’t make it that often, because I live alone, and you can’t help but make a lot of lasagna.  So it’s always a little nerve-wracking when I do make it, but I got to say, it turned out excellent.  I love pairing pasta with wine, because there aren’t too many wines that don’t go well with pasta.  Now, quick rule of thumb.  Pick a wine from the country the food comes from, so Italian pasta, Italian wine…. in either red or white.    I love a Valpolicella with lasagna.   From the Verona area of Italy, this is also the place where Amarone originates from and of course Valpolicella Ripasso.   The Valpolicella Superiore, as pictured here, is more full bodied than your average Valpolicella, which can be a lighter wine.  The reason being Superiore is aged at least one year before being released and the alcohol content is at least 12% .  A Pinot Grigio or a Pinot Gris, as pictured here, would also be a great fit for my white wine loving friends.  This particular Pinot Gris is not made in Italy, it’s made right here in Canada and the Sandhill Winery in British Columbia.  Pinot Gris is a clone of Pinot Grigio, which originates in Italy.  I love the spiciness of a Pinot Gris wine, and Winemaker Howard Soon makes a beautiful one at Sandhill.

Well that’s it for this week.  If you would like any of my recipes from the dishes mentioned in this blog, yes, I cook them all by scratch, by all means contact me.  Next week let’s have more fun with comfort food.  What’s your favorite comfort food?  Let’s have fun matching some wines.

Till next week, Cheers

Darlene

Road Trip Part 2

Posted in Uncategorized on September 13, 2014 by darmyers

 

Road trip

You remember the 4 fabulous ladies from last week.  We hit the Anapolis Valley in Nova Scotia and visited Blomidon.  And we continued our journey over to Benjamin Bridge Winery

 

Summer 154  Summer 138

I am a huge fan of wines from Benjamin Bridge Winery, so you can imagine what a treat it was for me to visit the winery on Labor Day and meet winemaker Jean Benoit Deslauriers.  Jean Benoit came to Benjamin Bridge in 2008, releasing the increasing popular Nova 7.    He’s worked with some of the greats, including Raphael Brisbois and Peter Gamble, and it is evident in the quality of wines produced from Benjamin Bridge.

Nova 7

Interesting story I learned while visiting Benjamin Bridge.  When they first released Nova 7, they released 200 cases, and this past vintage they released 11,000 cases.  That’s how much it has grown.   I have had this wine twice in the past week, and on both occasions have introduced new friends to what I call ‘Nova Scotia’s signature wine’.   The first time I enjoyed the wine this past week, it was a hot summer evening and Nova 7 proved to be the perfect patio wine.  The second time, again it was enjoyed immensely,  was at dinner, and it complimented the food perfectly.  The effervescence, hint of sweetness and gorgeous flavors of green apples and mango make it the perfect ‘any occasion wine’.

BB Tidal Bay

While there, we had the opportunity to try their Tidal Bay.   It was so aromatic and weighty in the mouth, with a tinge of residual sweetness.  It was soft on the palate, and very refreshing.  For new readers, Tidal Bay is Nova Scotia’s own appellation and is a reflection of our terroir.  Many of the Nova Scotia wineries put out a Tidal Bay and this is one of my favorites.  A great wine to go with seafood.

BB Brut  2004 BB blanc

One of the biggest treats that day was that we got to taste the 2008 Benjamin Bridge Brut.  It was given an A+ rating, which is the highest rating and only 2000 bottles were released.  Also, we had the 2004 Blanc de Blanc, retailing at $280 a bottle, and it’s completely sold out, so what a treat.  Pure and elegant, this vineyard is producing benchmark bubby wines.

BENJAMIN_BRIDGE_BOREALIS_ICEWINE_Glass_600

And regular readers of the blog will recognize my favorite.  The Borealis Ice Wine from Benjamin Bridge.  Heaven in a glass.  I feel the cool climates of our region make for perfect conditions for fabulous ice wine, and here’s the proof.   Here’s what head winemaker Jean Benoit had to say on their website about this wine.

“In the glass, a deep golden colour with a subtle orange hue. On the nose, the wine displays a myriad of dried apricot, peach confit and sweet cream. On the palate, the wine is opulent, with notes of honeydew, lemon tart and a hint of caramelized apples. Like its celebrated predecessors from the ’04 and ’07 vintages, this icewine remains surprisingly bright and elegant despite a most decadent personality. Drink now through 2018.” Head Winemaker Jean-Benoit Deslauriers”

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A very big thank you to Jean Benoit Deslauriers,and the staff at Benjamin Bridge for a fantastic visit.  I am so very appreciative of your hospitality.

Till next week, Cheers

Darlene

 

A Boutique Estate Winery called Blomidon

Posted in Wine on September 6, 2014 by darmyers

Summer 100

On Labor Day, I was honored to be invited along with these fabulous ladies from the NSLC (Nova Scotia Liquor Corporation) for an NSLC Appreciation Day at the Blomidon Estate Winery.  Rayell, Meg, Kim and myself had a fabulous day touring and tasting at two wineries.  I will tell you about the other one next week, because this week I want to share the knowledge and great wines we tasted from Blomidon Estate Winery.   Blomidon is located in the beautiful Annapolis Valley near Canning and is about an hour’s drive from Halifax.   The views are breathtaking and the wine is quite good too!

Blomidon view

Blomidon uses 100% Nova Scotia grown grapes in their wines and have recently been honored with the prestigious Lieutenant Governor’s Award of Excellence for it’s Cuvée L’Acadie, 2010.   Now owned by the Ramey family, Blomidon’s chief winemaker is Simon Rafuse, and I was thrilled for the opportunity to listen to him speak about his wines.

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Simon joined Blomidon in 2009.  He’s a native Nova Scotian, but has extensive experience in New Zealand and France, just to name drop a few of the impressive places he’s worked and studied.  And now he’s doing impressive things at Blomidon…. not just winning awards, but making award worthy wine.   He also helps out teaching us CAPS students.

Summer 110 Summer 120

Kyle Gallant is the viticulturist at Blomidon and researched ‘Sustainable Nutrient Management Practices in Vineyards’ for his Masters thesis.  His discussion on the nutrients, weather hazards and rots were very interesting as well.   Some of his challenges include phylloxera and downy mildew.

Blomidon Tidal Bay  Summer 129

But let’s get to the wines.  The first one I want to tell you about is the Blomidon Tidal Bay.  Tidal Bay is Nova Scotia’s signature wine reflecting the terroir of our province, and many of the Nova Scotia wineries produce a Tidal Bay… each one a little different than the other.   The Tidal Bay from Blomidon is a blend of L’Acadie Blanc, Seyval Blanc and New York Muscat.  It’s a dryer style, which I really liked.  It was crisp and refreshing with gorgeous citrus notes and a real nice light mouth feel.

Blomidon Brut

This year the 2010 Blomidon Cuvee Brut was not only the winner of the Lieutenant Governor’s Award of Excellence in Nova Scotia wine, it was also voted “Best Sparkling Wine” at this year’s Atlantic Canada Wine Awards… which I poured for.  And for good reason.  It’s dry and crisp with some lovely pineapple flavors.  A gorgeous wine which deserves every award it receives.

Dar's Pictures 116  Dar's Pictures 117

But my absolute favorite of the day…..the Blomidon Vidal Ice Wine.

Blomidon ice iwne  Summer 126

 

Rayell and I took many of the CAPS program together.  She is finished though and is now a very accomplished Sommelier.  Both Rayell and I tried this one and both agreed it was heavenly.    That’s the one word that comes to mind when describing this luscious ice wine with it’s rich sweet flavors of honey and apricots.  It had some great acidity as well as a beautiful lingering finish, and I can’t wait to have it again.

Summer 123

It was a great vineyard experience and I have to thank Simon, Kyle and the entire staff at Blomidon for their hospitality.  They even cooked a wonderful BBQ for us!  And a big thank you to Meg, Kim and Rayell for inviting me along.

Next week, I will tell you about our journey to Benjamin Bridge where we will meet winemaker Jean Benoit Deslauriers.

Till next week, Cheers.  And wherever this wine blog may find you, I hope you pick this week to try a local wine.

Darlene

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Wine – A Labor of Love

Posted in Wine on August 30, 2014 by darmyers

Labor Day

It’s the Labor Day long weekend, and it got me thinking of how much love goes into making a bottle of wine.   When we enjoy our favorite red, white or sparkling beverage this weekend, let’s take a moment to salute the labors of multitudes of hard-working people.  From grape growers, viticulturists, vintners,  field workers, to  bottlers, distributors, and of course retailers just to name a very few.

Wine grower 1 Wine grower 2

Wine grower 4  Wine grower 3

Right here in Nova Scotia, there are 22 grape growers and almost two dozen wineries.  They contribute 196 million dollars to the Nova Scotia economy and we have an Atlantic Wine Institute based at Acadia University.  On a national level, the wine industry contributes 6.8 billion dollars to the national economy.  I bet you never realized how much you were helping the local, provincial and national economy by opening a bottle of wine, did you?  Well now you can feel even better about enjoying your favorite beverage.

BENJAMIN_BRIDGE_BOREALIS_ICEWINE_Glass_600

Canada is one of the premier producers of ice wine, getting renowned for ice wine internationally.   Ice wine is made from grapes that have frozen on the trees, and harvest is usually done in late fall, or even as late as January, when temperatures have dropped below -10 degrees.  And then the grapes are pressed while frozen to produce a sweet concentrated piece of heaven.  One of my absolute favorites is an ice wine from right here in Nova Scotia.  The Borealis by Benjamin Bridge is a little piece of heaven.  Gorgeous amber color in the class and rich sweet flavors of apricots and peaches.  It’s elegant and I would rather have this for dessert than any chocolate convection.  I’m not kidding.  And for this Labor Day weekend, I am thrilled and super excited to be visiting this vineyard and meeting the winemaker.  That’s  how I’m celebrating Labor Day and I couldn’t be happier.

Avondale Tidal bay

Before I move on, I have to salute another local wine, that I tried yesterday for the first time.  It’s from Avondale Sky winery, and it was their 2013 Tidal Bay.   For those of you that don’t know what Tidal Bay is, it is Nova Scotia’s signature wine.  Tidal Bay reflects the terroir, coastal breezes and cooler climate of its birthplace.  And each one is different.  The wineries have guidelines that they have to follow, and a list of grapes they can use, but essentially each one is different.  Each Tidal Bay is also a signature of the winemaker from each winery.  My friend Dan told me he recently tried a Tidal Bay and loved it and then the next night tried a different one, and didn’t like it.  I love the fact each one is different.  This one from Avondale Sky was rich in the mouth and crisp and bright all at the same time.  Beautiful flavors of apple and peach and some warm toastiness.  I loved it.   Here’s what the winemaker had to say and you get to appreciate how each Tidal Bay is unique:

“This wine is a blend of nine separate ferments. A complex combination of different yeast, different fermentation vessels (96% Stainless, 4% Barrel fermented), different levels of natural sweetness, different terroirs, and of course different grapes were used to build as much complex character into this wine as possible.”

Here’s what I have on my menu this weekend

1c97e-ribs

And this is the wine I’m going to be having with it

Pierre Amadieu label  Pierre Amadieu Bottle

You know how much I love discovering new wines.  Especially great wines with great price tags that don’t break the bank.  The Pierre Amadieu Cote du Rhone is a fantastic blend of Syrah and Grenache.  One of the surprising things I learned on my journey to becoming a Sommelier, was that the poorer the soil, the richer the wine.  And the grapes for this wine were grown in soil that was poor and stony.  Well it produced a great wine, and at $17.99, (yep, under $20) makes me love it all the more.  Rich plums and blackberries with a hint of oak.  No matter what you plan to throw on the grill this weekend, this could be your wine.  Pierre Amadieu is a family owned and worked winery in the Cote du Rhone region of France, and have produced a wonderful wine.  Hats off to them this Labor Day weekend.

goodbye summer

Long weekends and wine go hand in hand together.  And this long weekend, stay safe and drink responsibly.  But do take a moment to enjoy your favorite beverage as we say goodbye to Summer.  (sniff sniff!)  And salute all the people who were responsible for bringing that beverage to you.

Till next weekend, Cheers

Darlene

 

But I Thought I Liked This Wine!

Posted in Uncategorized on August 23, 2014 by darmyers

Sue discovers Riesling

You remember Sue from a couple of weeks ago.  In a blog about the wonderful undiscovered Riesling, my good friend Sue had Riesling for the first time with Chicken Pad Thai, Sushi and a couple of other spicy dishes.  She loved it!  Guess what?  Sue went out to the same restaurant, had a different dish, ordered the exact same Riesling, and hated it!  So she says to me “I had that same wine again last night and hated it”…. “How is that possible”.  Through further investigation, I discovered that Sue had a ‘sweet dish’, and that she didn’t like the sweetness of the Riesling with the sweet dish.

So many times I have heard, “the first time I had that wine I really liked it, and not so much the second timeOR ” I tried that wine before and I didn’t really like it, but now it’s very good”
Guaranteed, each time this happens, somewhere along the way food was involved.  I understand when someone just doesn’t like a wine.  But when you like a wine one time, and don’t like the same wine at a different time, chances are something in your mouth is clashing with the wine.
blue cheese
Personal preferences and palate differences have a huge impact on if you like a wine with certain food.  I know people who don’t like wine and cheese.  Personally, I love wine and cheese together.  One of my instructors in the Sommelier training I am taking,  do not like wine and cheese together.  He says the salt and fat in the cheese do not make a good combination for him with wine.  So I am going to give some examples of clashing food and wines, but keep in mind, this is my opinion, and you may actually enjoy the pairings.  No one is right and no one is wrong when it comes to wine… it’s all personal preference.
Asparagus and Wine:
Asparagus     spy valley
Vi fume blanc  Summer Salad
Asparagus is a very tricky food to match with wine, as is many green vegetables, including salad.  The trouble with asparagus, and some salads, is that they are very vegetal (grassy), as well as acidic and strong.  Some times when speaking about asparagus, people use the word urine.  Now it just so happens, that when some people describe Sauvignon Blanc, they use words like cat’s pee and grassy.   Sauvignon Blanc or Fume Blanc (the American version of Pouilly Fume).  the French Pouilly Fume and Fume Blanc are both made entirely of Sauvignon Blanc grapes.  And these wines can cut through that grassiness with its crisp acidic flavors.  Pair acidic with acidic.   So if you don’t like the wine in your glass, I would look at the vegetables on your plate.
Spicy food
I have heard a few Sommeliers say, if you’re going to have spicy food, drink beer.  Well that doesn’t work for us non-beer drinking people.  I want wine.  And for the regular readers of this wine blog, you know my go-to wine for spicy food is the beautiful Riesling.  I did a whole blog on it a couple of weeks ago.  The touch of sweetness in the Riesling is the perfect match to the spicy food.  However, if you are a ‘red only’ wine drinker, choose Pinot Noir.  It’s not sweet, but it’s so soft and subtle that it doesn’t clash with the food.  Or a Beaujolais.  The hint of sweetness in that red, and it’s served a little more chilled than most reds, would fare well.   Residual sugar in wines cools down the spice and creates a balance.  Remember ‘Sweet with Heat!”
Kung fu Riesling Gaspereau Riesling
 Here are some of my favorites.  A couple of great Rieslings that I wrote about a couple of weeks ago.  Check out the blog ‘The Gorgeous Undiscovered Riesling’ on this subject.
Beaujolais Cote de Beaune
Here’s a nice Beaujolais available all over.   Beaujolais is made entirely from the Gamay grape and comes from the Burgundy region of France.  All other Burgundian reds are Pinot Noir, this is made from Gamay.  12 million bottles of Beaujolais are made and sold each year.  This is a popular wine.  This one by Louis Jadot has gorgeous flavors of candied cherries, raspberry and is light and fruity.   And speaking of Pinot Noir wines from Burgundy, the wine on the right is one of my favorites.  I love Pinot Noir and love the French Burgundian style.  On a side note,  I love what Oregon is doing with Pinot Noir as well.   The wine on the right is a beautiful Pinot Noir from Joseph Druin.    It’s medium bodied with lots of earthy flavors, spice and gorgeous bright vibrant fruit.  This wine goes with anything and everything.   Even if I didn’t know what was on the menu, if I had to choose one white and one red that was the most versatile, I would choose Chardonnay for the white and Pinot Noir for the red to put on the table.
Wine Time
I don’t know about you, but my hand is up.  Thanks for reading, till next week – Cheers
Darlene

Wines I’m Enjoying While On Vacation!

Posted in Uncategorized on August 16, 2014 by darmyers

Mom and Dad

So here’s a picture of my mom and dad, they are up visiting from Newfoundland.  Dad will be 84 very soon, and my Mom will be 80 on her next birthday.  They are in great shape, and we are having a lot of fun.   From a previous blog, you may remember that my Mom is a Chardonnay drinker.  Here’s a new one we discovered this week and we both loved it.

Morgan Cellars Chardonnay

It’s the Morgan Bay Cellars 2012 Chardonnay.  And it’s delicious.  It not only comes in a great price tag of $16.99, but it’s produced under Agrobiological principles and sustainable development.  And did I mention it’s delicious.  Gorgeous flavors of apples, pears, cinnamon and a touch of vanilla, make this a wine rack staple.   The picture is a little blurry, but then again the bottle is empty.

Wolf Blass Premium

We had a steak dinner the other night.  We went and got some beautiful local beef, had tremendous beef tenderloin from certified humane beef and I thought it was a great time to crack open a good bottle of wine.  This is the Wolf Blass Premium Shiraz from 2010 and this sells for about $28, but totally worth it.  It was a great steak wine with gorgeous dark rich fruits, black pepper, hints of chocolate and a nice oak smoothness, which in no way over-powered the wine.  I love an Australian Shiraz with a steak and this wine was a match made in heaven.

Chapel Hill Shiraz

Here’s another Shiraz I have enjoyed while on vacation.  Now while on vacation, we went to visit friends in New Brunswick.  And on the way back stopped at a Liquor outlet depot.  I know!  An outlet store for liquor.  And one of the tremendous values they were featuring was this Chapel Hill Shiraz from the spectacular McLaren Vale region of Australia.  This sells for $18.99 in my home province, and we got this wine for $9.99.  Do you know what the saddest part of this story is?  I only bought 2 bottles.  I had this as we barbecued burgers, and it’s a great burger wine.  That beautiful Australian Shiraz with flavors of licorice, blueberry, black pepper and oak notes.  What’s not to love!

vacation 2

Well, that’s it for now.  I have tried more wines, all new, while on this vacation, and I will fill you in during a later blog.  Got to go enjoy some more of my vacation.

Till next week, Cheers

Darlene

 

The Gorgeous Undiscovered Riesling

Posted in Wine on August 9, 2014 by darmyers

Red and White

I have a confession to make!  I have a shameful confession to make…. Before I started my journey into becoming a Sommelier, I only drank red wine.   I didn’t start tasting and enjoying white wines until I started this journey 3 years ago.  And now, I hear friends saying the same thing ‘I only drink red wine’.  Recently, I had two great friends, Sue and Jayme Lynn, who I had the pleasure of introducing to Riesling.  On separate occasions, we went out to lunch, had Chicken Pad Thai and Sushi, and they let order the wine.  I ordered Riesling.  I love Riesling.   And Chicken Pad Thai is just one of the reasons.

I love Riesling

One of my instructors and President of the Atlantic Division of the Canadian Association of Professional Sommeliers, loves Riesling.  And he brought this love affair to class and shared it with us, and now I’m on the Riesling bandwagon.  And even if you have tried Riesling and didn’t like it for some reason, try a different one.  It comes in dry and sweet, (personally I like a little sweetness to off-set spicy food), it’s light, fruity and floral.  Some aging Rieslings have that petrol aroma, which I’m not overly fond of, so I like the newer fresh fruity Rieslings.  Here are some I’ve had lately that I loved.

Wine Birthday Me

I know you’ve seen this picture of me enjoying Riesling before.  Look at the pure joy on my face, and why wouldn’t you think ‘I want me some of that joy’.   Here’s the Riesling I was enjoying that day.. the J. Lohr Riesling from California.  Yummy.

Here’s a picture of my friend Sue discovering Riesling for the first time… Look at that joy

Sue discovers Riesling

 

J Lohr Riesling  Kung fu Riesling

Here’s a Riesling that I’ve enjoyed recently and it was fabulous!  Kung Fu Girl Riesling is reasonably priced at around the $20 price range, has gorgeous stone fruit flavors like apricot and peach, is perfectly balanced in my opinion, between sweetness and acidity and an overall a great value.  Kung Pao shrimp or Kung Pao chicken, this is your wine.  All Asian, Indian and spicy fare.  And you know, the food doesn’t have to be spicy.  I love Riesling all by itself, and with chicken.  This is a very versatile white wine.  Here’s a local beauty from Nova Scotia and Gaspereau Vineyards.

Gaspereau Riesling

I love love love this Riesling.  Gaspereau Vineyards does an awesome job of balanced Riesling and at $17.99, this vibrant Riesling is one you should try if it’s available to you.  It’s made right here in Nova Scotia, and I love the fact I can get this wine.

I know this week’s blog is short and sweet… I have the folks in town… but I’m begging you… please please please try a Riesling… especially with food.  You’ll love it

Till next week, Cheers

Darlene

 

Wine Basics – The Wine Tasting

Posted in Wine on August 2, 2014 by darmyers

Basic wine

There’s rarely a day goes by that I don’t get asked an opinion about wine and I always feel honored and a little humbled that people respect my opinion about wine that much.  Recently a very good friend of mine said she would love to take a wine course to learn some basics about wine, but she couldn’t afford it right now.  So from that, I decided to pass along some basic wine knowledge – free of charge!

wine camp

Let’s Call it Boot Camp for Wine!  And let’s start with a basic wine tasting.

The first step in wine tasting is to identify color and clarity.  The color is the easy part.  It’s either red, white or rose!   However, different grapes tend to be different shades of red, white etc.  For example, is your red wine maroon, purple, ruby, garnet, red, brick or even brownish?   Is your white wine pale yellow, straw-like, light green, golden, amber or brown in appearance?   Next… look at the clarity.  I find this step very important.  I like a wine clear, without cloudiness, especially in my whites.  Is the wine dull or brilliant?  If it’s a white wine that you drink on a regular basis, and you find this particular bottle cloudy… it’s probably been compromised.   Certain reds can have sediment, not every winemaker filters the wines.  These wines should be decanted, gently, leaving a bit of the wine along with the sediment in the bottom of the bottle.

The first of the senses to enjoy wine, other than sight of course, is the olfactory sense.  Your nose.  Very important.  It will usually tell you if a wine is ‘off’.  And by off, I mean if it has been compromised in any way.   With the invention of screw caps, this is happening less and less.   Also, in our training to become a Sommelier, we use our nose to identify a wine in blind wine tastings, and it’s confirmed by tasting it.   I always smell a wine.. and you don’t have to be an expert to do this, and people won’t think you’re a wine snob.  I love Pinot Noir, and one of the things I love most about Pinot is the array of aromas.  They are earthy – and I love closing my eyes and actually picturing the vineyard, the soil and the grapes growing.
wine swirling
Most people will smell, then swirl, and smell again during a wine tasting.   Why?  Because the initial smell will give us those up front and most prominent aromas, and then by swirling you vaporize some of the wine’s alcohol and then the subtle aromas come to life.   If you’ve seen this process, you have probably seen a person stick their nose in a glass, so that the rim of the glass circles their face.  This is so aromas don’t escape through the glass.  The smell of a wine is one of the reasons I like a big bowled glass that narrows in at the top.   The big bowl allows the wine to aerate.  After all, it’s been stuck in a bottle for a few years, especially if you are drinking red, and swirling just released all those yummy aromas and flavors.

Then comes the best part… the tasting!  Most people will swirl it around in their mouth because it allows you to take in all the components of the wine.  The tannins, that which makes the mouth water, acidity, alcohol content and residual sugar.  If one is out of whack for you (not exactly a wine term) then you may not find the wine balanced.  One of most desirous traits in a wine, is that it is balanced, and that term can mean different things for different people.   My definition of a balanced wine is where the concentration of fruit, the tannins,  and the acidity are all working together to make a wine delicious.   Balanced wines are symmetrical and tend to age gracefully.  It’s important to me one does not over power the other, unless, it’s what I want.  For example, if I’m eating a big juicy steak, or pasta with lots of cream sauce, I want a wine that is a little heavy on the tannic side.  See what I mean?  I am personally not a fan of wines where the alcohol is over-powering.  Other people love the burny taste in their throat.  Everyone has different things they love about wine, and that’s the beauty of wine.  We all like different things.

Blends

And last but not least, it’s the finish.  And what I mean by a ‘finish’ is how long the flavor of the wine lingers after you’ve swallowed it.  You may have read wine reviews or heard people say ‘nice lingering finish’.   This is a very important trait to many people.  You want the beauty of the wine to stay with you for seconds after you swallow it, to continue to enjoy it.   In some wines, as soon as you swallow the wine, a second later the flavor is gone.  And that’s OK too.  It doesn’t mean you don’t like the wine.

Wine home

Here’s what I always say when someone asks me if something is a ‘good wine’!  If you like it, it’s a good wine.  I’ve had people say in the comments section of this blog that I need to improve my taste in wine.  But really, if I like it, I think it’s a good wine.  And the truth of the matter is, I could write about expensive wines all day long, but I like to write my blogs about wines we drink every day.

Till next week, Cheers

Darlene

 

 

 

 

 

Birthday Wine – Part 2

Posted in Wine on July 26, 2014 by darmyers

Wine Birthday

I had no intention of writing a birthday wine follow up blog, but I was blown away by the amount of people who had read the birthday wine bucket list (I get results through Google Analytics) and by the amount of people who said they were looking forward to seeing what I had on my birthday.   Thank you so much.  Actually the wines I had on my birthday and the days following the birthday, in which I was still celebrating (it’s been a great week), were all brand new to me, and they were all fabulous.   So, here we go.

001

While Prince George received some clothes and a bottle of Pinot Noir from the people in New Zealand, I received Bogle Phantom Old Vine Zinfandel from my friends Rick, Rayell, Heather, Brenda and all the gang at my favorite store on Larry Uteck.   It’s a blend of % Old Vine Zinfandel, 47% Petite Sirah and 2% Old Vine Mourvedre.  What a treat.  Gorgeous flavors of black cherry, tobacco, pepper and spicy oak.  Now although I didn’t actually enjoy this on my birthday, it was a gift that I enjoyed last night.  I had a Friday night BBQ with a stuffed pork chop, some spicy wings, and some vegetables and this was perfect.  So perfect in fact, there is none left in the bottle this morning.   Thank you!

Wine Birthday Me

So this picture was taken on my actual birthday.  My friend Sue took me to lunch in the beautiful neighbourhood called the Hydrostone here in Halifax, which is an English style garden suburb, which was completed in 1920 and one of my favorite places in Halifax.  On the menu that day was Sushi and Chicken Pad Thai on the patio and that gorgeous wine in my hand is a California Riesling.    The J. Lohr Riesling from California to be exact.

J. Lohr Riesling

Regular readers of my blog know that I have written about J. Lohr wines many times before.  They make a spectacular Merlot, a fantastic Cabernet Sauvignon, and my Mom’s favorite Chardonnay.  I had never had the Riesling before, but it was perfect with lunch.  The perfect compliment of sweetness with the spiciness of the Chicken Pad Thai.   Flavors of apricot and peach and even my friend Sue, who said she did not like any sweetness in her wine, loved this one.  And loved it with her spicy food.

Me and Dan  Peller Estates merlot

This is a picture of me and my friend Dan.  The night following my birthday he took me to his restaurant, East Side Mario’s for a delicious supper of pasta, which included wine of course.  Duh!  We had the Feta Brushetta to start, which was amazing.  And for my meal had the Basil Chicken & Fettucine Pomodoro which was so good, and there was enough left over to have for lunch the next day.  With this meal, I had the Peller Estates Merlot.  This Canadian wine from the Niagara region is easy to drink, medium bodied, fruity with flavors of plums and cocoa.

Elaine with the folks

This is a picture of my sister Elaine with our parents.  The parents are coming to visit in a couple of weeks, but on Sunday my sister is throwing me a BBQ to celebrate my birthday.  I’ll be responsible for bringing the wine, cause that’s not her beverage of choice, and since we are grilling burgers, I am having a hard time deciding which wine.  There are so many great red wines that go with BBQ burgers.   Here are some of the choices in my wine rack at the moment.

Manage a trois botle   Etude Cab

The Menage a Trois is a blend of Zinfandel, Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon.  Now if that doesn’t say BBQ burgers, I don’t know what will.   The wine next to it is the Etude Cabernet Sauvignon, a gift from friends of mind.  However, with the $76 price tag that comes along with that wine, I’m going to save that for a steak.   And no, I wasn’t drunk when I took that picture.. LOL  (laugh out loud!)

Curious Beasts Trapiche Single Vineyard

Here’s a couple of more options.  The Curious Beasts Red wine from California is a Merlot, Syrah and Zinfandel blend … again perfect for the BBQ.   But the last wine here may be the winner.  I bought this back in January and it’s a single vineyard Malbec from Cristina y Bibiana and the Trapiche vineyard in Argentina.   Trapiche makes 3 different single vineyard Malbec wines, each sourced from 3 unique grape growers in the region.  Really looking forward to drinking this wine.

Blomidon Avondale  Blomidon    Blomidone domaine

Before I go, a shout-out and big Congratulations on 3 local Nova Scotia wineries who have received the inaugural Lieutenant Governor’s Award for Excellence in Nova Scotia Wines.  Avondale for its Martock, Blomidon for its Cuvee L’Acadie and Domaine de Grand Pre for its Riesling.   This award is pretty special since it recognizes the exceptional quality of locally sourced and produced wines and honors the dedication and passion of those involved with Nova Scotia’s wine industry.   Yay for Nova Scotia wines.

Till next week Cheers

Darlene

 

 

 

Birthday Wine Bucket List!

Posted in Wine on July 19, 2014 by darmyers

Birthday wine

So I have a birthday coming up this week.  On July 22 – and we’ll just leave out the year.  Some other people celebrating a birthday on the same day as me are

Birthday Danny   Danny Glover

Birthday David   David Spade

Birthday Oscar    Oscar De La Renta

And probably the most famous birthday of all, the son of Prince William and Kate Middleton, this little cutie….

Birthday George   Prince George.

So while the cute little Prince celebrates his first birthday on Tuesday, he’s probably going to be receiving some elaborate gifts fit for a royal.  Me…… I’ll be wishing for … wait for it…

Birthday wine 2

Wine!

On the one hand, I’m very easy to shop for.  And you don’t have to go far, as there is a Liquor store on every corner.  Easy right?  I’m going to make it easier for you, by giving you my wine bucket list.

Claret

Still one of my favorites after all these years.  Francis Ford Coppola Black Diamond Claret is a Cabernet Sauvignon wine based on a Bordeaux style blend, with some Merlot, Malbec, and Petite Verdot.  Gorgeous flavors of blackberry, cassis, and roasted expresso make this the perfect treat wine.   Sadly it’s not available at the NSLC, but we can get it locally at Bishop’s Cellar, and I may just have to treat myself to a bottle as I turn another wiser.

Predator

There’s no bucket list of mine that doesn’t include an Old Vine Zinfandel, and this is one of my all time favorites.   As a matter of fact, I was at my favorite NSLC store last night and was telling the manager, my good friend Rick, and Rayell that I have tried every Zinfandel in the store, and this is still my favorite.  The Lodi Appellation in California’s Central Valley is known for Zinfandel wines and this one does not disappoint.   Smoked bacon, chocolate, mocha and cherry flavors combine to make one yummy wine.  Probably my all time favorite BBQ wine still.  But easy to drink all by itself.

Bogle Merlot wine   Pomerol

The wine on the right is a very expensive, very tasty Bordeaux wine.  It’s a smooth, richly delicious Merlot dominant Bordeaux wine from Pomerol St. Emilion in France.  It sells for around $78 a bottle, and I’m thrilled to say I have had the opportunity to enjoy it.  Fabulous wine.    The wine on the left is a $22 bottle of Merlot from Bogle Vineyards, and it is rich delicious as well without the rich price tag.  I was telling my friends Rick and Rayell yesterday how it was one of the best Merlot wines I have ever tasted.   Rich, smooth, juicy with soft round tannins and lots of flavor.

Calera label  Quelat

I do love a Pinot Noir, and the Calera Pinot Noir from California is one of my favorites.  Josh Jenson is the winemaker and owner of the vineyard who set out to make a spectacular Pinot Noir in California.  He search for the perfect place and found it.  And created Calera while creating beautiful Pinot Noir wines.   Smooth and spicy this is probably my favorite Pinot Noir.  I also love the one on the right, and this one comes in under $20.  A beautiful Pinot Noir from Chile, who are putting out fantastic wines at very reasonable prices.  What I love about Pinot Noir?  It is, in my opinion, the food friendliest on the plant.  Goes with everything!

 

Le Clos Jordanne Chardonnay    Casillero chard label

As most of you know, I drink mostly red wines.  But since I started my quest to become a Sommelier, I have experienced some fantastic white whites, and now find myself drinking about 30% whites.   Bucket list white… this gorgeous Chardonnay from Clos Jordanne right here in Canada.  It’s the Grand Clos, which comes in at about $84 a bottle, but hands down the best white wine I have ever had.  This was my birthday gift to myself last year.  This is heaven in a glass with rich smooth creamy flavors of apple and pear and deliciousness.  (Is that a word… let’s make it a word!)  The wine on the right is another example of Chile stepping up to the plate and hitting it out of the ballpark.  A delicious Chardonnay from Chile with yummy flavors apples and pears and a great wine to go with chicken.

Dreaming Tree Crush  Dada label  Deadbolt Manage a trois botle

The above wines are all under $20 and all delicious.   I know.. I’m making it very easy to shop for me for my birthday.  However, if you’re still a little confused, head to the NLSC store on Larry Uteck Boulevard, and look for these two people, Rick or Rayell.  Just give them my name, and they’ll point you in the right direction.  I know, I’m even chuckling as I’m typing.   Yep, I’m that good of a customer.    FYI, Rayell is blond now.  (This was taken a couple of months ago.)   You can also ask for Heather or Brenda or Kim, fabulous staff at that store.

Rick Martell Rayell

Rick                                             Rayell

So that’s it for me for this week.  I hope you have a fantastic week, enjoy some fine wine, and fine friends.

Till next week, Cheers

Darlene

 

 

 

Summer Wine

Posted in Wine on July 12, 2014 by darmyers

Summer wine

Summer Wine is a song written by Lee Hazlewood, and although it was first recorded by Suzi Jane Hokom and Lee Hazlewood in 1966, it was actually Nancy Sinatra that made it famous when she teamed up with Lee Hazlewood in 1967.   Although that song is about a guy who meets a woman, drinks too much wine, and wakes up hung over and missing his wallet, this writing is just about the wine part.  And I’ve discovered some new ones lately that have to be added to the list of favorites.

Bogle Old Vine Zin

One of my all time favorite wines is an Old Vine Zinfandel.  I just love it, served slightly chilled, and it goes with all things BBQ!  Let me re-phrase that, it goes with everything and nothing.  You can enjoy it with weeknight take out, your favorite eat in meal, or all by itself.  So when my favorite wine store got in another new Old Vine Zinfandel, I was the first person to put my hand up and say ‘I’ll try it’!  It was delicious.  Small concentrated clusters of grapes and old vines between 60 and 80 years old like the ones at Bogle produce a fabulous rich and intense wine.   Lively red cranberry flavors with hints of pepper and juicy ripe fruit – what’s not to love.

Bogle merlot

While we are visiting the Bogle vineyard in California, I had the privilege to have their Merlot.  Now… I love a good Merlot.  I know Merlot took a beating after the movie Sideways came out in 2004, when Paul Giamatti’s character Miles kept repeating “I’m not drinking any f***in’ Merlot.  But don’t let that stop you from enjoying a Merlot.  If you’ve never tried Merlot, let this beauty be the first.  Summer plums and sweet cherries make for a decadent silky smooth wine.  The toasted vanilla at the finish just makes you want another sip.  Pork or pasta – this is your wine.

Eradus

Love white wine?  Love a crisp refreshing delicious white wine?  Try this beautiful Sauvignon Blanc from Eradus in New Zealand.  This top rated wine has been given 91 points and is under $20.  Gorgeous citrus, bell pepper and herbal notes make this the perfect wine for summer salads.  And here’s another one.

wine and salad

I took this picture last Saturday evening during post tropical storm Arthur.  I had this gorgeous Chardonnay chilling in fridge, and decided to enjoy it with my summer salad and chicken I had barbecued the evening before.  The 490 meters Chardonnay is fresh and fruity which made it a perfect match with this meal.  By the way, I had tried a new dressing.  I make 99% of my own salad dressings and this one was especially tasty.  Take olive oil, white vinegar, some grainy mustard, maple syrup, a dash of honey and pepper.   It’s my new favorite salad dressing for Summer.

Grey carmenere

My friend Anthony told me to try this Carmenere, that it was absolutely fantastic.  And try it I did!  Given 92 points recently, this delicious wine comes in at a delicious price, at just under $25.  Anthony was telling me about the layers and I was pleasantly surprised by how complex and layered this wine was.  Oak on the front, and then layers of dark rich fruit, smoke, and herbal notes.  A nice finish with good tannic structure, this Carmenere also has some Syrah and Cabernet Sauvignon, so it’s no surprise to me how good it was.   I continue to be awed by the wines coming out of Chile.  They are producing first class wines at affordable prices.

Wine step aside

So that’s it for this week… some new favorites added to the list.  Hope you can find the time this week to give some of them a try.

Till next week, Cheers

Darlene

 

 

Enjoyable wines during a Hurricane!

Posted in Wine on July 5, 2014 by darmyers
 
This morning I had to go out and detach my BBQ from the side of my patio, look at the damage it had done to the siding, and think ‘Is it too early to start drinking wine’?   I am writing this blog on a Saturday morning as Halifax gets walloped by Hurricane Arthur.    So it got me thinking on a play on words, and as we sit through the first Hurricane of the season, here are some wines that may do us well throughout the fall.
DE_BORTOLI_WINDY_PEAK_PINOT_NOIR_Glass_600
From De Bortoli in Australia, comes this lovely Pinot Noir called Windy Peak!  Very fitting for today.  And very fitting if you’re serving chicken or pork this evening.  A great Pinot Noir from Australia with vibrant cherry flavors, soft tannins, and a very well-balanced wine.  It’s light to medium bodied, so it’s perfectly fine to drink as you sit and watch your barbecue go flying across your patio.
Whiz label
From Australia once more comes a more full-bodied wine to enjoy during Hurricane Arthur.  Many of us woke up this morning with things going bang!   Ooops, did I forget to tie down those patio chairs.   Whiz Bang Shiraz from the Barossa Valley in Australia is one of the best around that $20 mark.   Full rich fruit, with hints of vanilla, cherry, spice and some oak.   If you’ve got Pulled Pork in the crock pot today, here’s your wine.  This is one of my favorite BBQ wines, because it will go well with any piece of meat you throw on the grill, but that’s probably not happening today.
  Dreaming Tree Chardonnay Dreaming Tree bottle
Here’s a couple of great wines from the same family.  Dreaming Tree, fitting, as many of us sit here dreaming those trees don’t come crashing down.  These wines are from a vineyard owned by the great musician Dave Matthews.   The Dreaming Tree Chardonnay is a rich full-bodied white wine, buttery and creamy, with notes of citrus and spice.   This Chardonnay is one of the food friendliest wines in my wine rack.  And the red is one of my favorites.  A blend of Merlot and Syrah, it’s full-bodied with gorgeous round flavors of plums, spice and a hint of mocha.  My God this is a great BBQ wine as well, and since tomorrow is calling for sunny skies and temperatures around the mid-20’s, you may want to pick up a bottle.
ARthur
And last but certainly not least, I couldn’t do a wine blog about Hurricane Arthur without the Arthur Metz Brut Prestige Cremant D’Alsace from France.  A dry sparkling wine to enjoy on this windy day.  It a delightful blend of Pinot Blanc and Pinot Gris and was named as one of the Top 10 sparkling wines at a competition recently.  Apple and pear flavors with a gorgeous effervescence, sparkling wines go great with a list of foods.  Smoked salmon, all fish and shellfish, and one of the very few wines that go well with popcorn and potato chips.
Wine funny 3
Till next week, stay safe and enjoy some great wine.
Darlene

 

 

Celebrating Canada Day with Great Wines

Posted in Wine on June 28, 2014 by darmyers

Canada flag 

This is the 147th year that we celebrate Canada Day, which honors the anniversary of Confederation, when Canada became a country separate from the British Empire.   It was known as Dominion Day until 1982, and Newfoundland has a beer called Dominion Ale.

Dominion ale

But today we are here to talk about wine!   Are you grilling this Canada Day?  Regular readers know what a huge fan I am of Old Vine Zinfandel and I found a new one.  It’s call Brazin!  Yep, that’s not a typo… Brazin.  I had it last night with my BBQ chicken, and thought I would start my long weekend celebrations a little early.

Brazin

Big bold flavors of mocha and spice with lots of ripe fruit on the palate.  Little hints of chocolate and vanilla with a nice long finish.  I’ll be having this one again!  Perfect as well with BBQ ribs, if that’s on your Canada Day menu, or a juicy steak with pepper… heaven!

Jimmy Shiraz bottle

Here’s another great BBQ wine for your long weekend.  Jimmy Shiraz, from Australia, which comes in under $20.   This 100% Shiraz has those gorgeous plum and spicy peppery flavors.  Grapes were picked late season so they are very ripe and luscious, and this wine will go with anything you put on your grill.  Also a great wine to go with Mom’s roast.

Genesis Syrah

Using the same grape, Syrah, this wine from Genesis is another great BBQ wine.  This is from the Columbia Valley in Washington State, just south of British Columbia and this region is putting out some fantastic wines.   If you haven’t tried wines from Washington State or Oregon, try one this weekend.  This Genesis Syrah has rich flavors of cherry, blackberry, nutmeg and a touch of vanilla.    And for the white wine lovers, here’s the bottle I have in the refrigerator right now, to enjoy this evening.

490 Chardonnay

490 Meters Chardonnay is what’s on my menu this evening.  A great way to celebrate Summer with this fresh fruity Chardonnay with lip-smacking flavors of fresh fruit salad and peaches.  Some citrus notes and a good clean finish.  Love a nice chilled Chardonnay on a gorgeous summer day.

Wine Happy woman

I am one happy woman this weekend.  4 days off, the weatherman is calling for sunshine for all 4 days and of course there will be wine.  Enjoy your Canada Day, till next week – Cheers

Darlene

 

It’s the 1st Day of Summer!

Posted in Wine on June 21, 2014 by darmyers

Summer 1 Summer 2

It’s finally here!  The 1st day of Summer!  There were days this past winter that I’m sure some of us thought this day would never come.  But it’s here, and we all know what that means.  Sunny skies, shorts and flip flops… and of course our favorite wines enjoyed on patio decks.  As you can tell, I love Summer.

Summer 3

So, when the temperature outside heats up, I like the temperature in my wine glass to go down.   But that’s just me.  So here are a few of my favorite Summer wines.

Pinot Grigo f0d2e-2011-menage-a-trois-pinot-grigio

Pinot Grigio… the quintessential summer wine.  Here are a couple of my favorites.  The Gabbiano on the left is from Italy.  Light and crisp with citrus and pear flavors, perfect with summer salads, chicken and or all by itself on the deck.    The Menage a Trois Pinot Grigio is also light and crisp with great acidity and a great food wine.

Alianca with salad Portuguese style chicken

Here’s another great wine for Summer.  The Alianica Vinho Verde from Portugal, and this  picture is taken in my house, enjoying a Buffalo Chicken Southwestern Salad.  This wine and salad go hand in hand.  It’s also a great wine to pair with those spicy dishes you like, found in Asian or Indian cuisine.   And made for the Portuguese style chicken called Peri Peri.

Lohr Chard Label  Casillero chard label

I’m a Chardonnay girl, and I love California Chardonnay.  It’s my mom’s favorite wine as well, so it’s going to be a staple in my wine rack this Summer.  J. Lohr Riverstone Chardonnay is full-bodied and rich and full of gorgeous mango and apple flavors.  This is also one of my favorite chicken wines.  No matter how I do chicken, a Chardonnay seems to be perfect with it.   Another country making kick-ass Chardonnay is Chile.  This Casillera del Diablo is fresh and fruity and a beautifully made Chardonnay at a very reasonable price.

Bachelder Chard

I have also fallen in love with the Chardonnay wines from the Burgundy region in France.  Thomas Bachelder is making wines in Canada, Oregon and France, all in the Burgundian style.  I love how the fruit shines through, even though the Canadian version spends about 17 months in oak, it doesn’t over-power the wine.   I love Bachelder Chardonnay wines, and if you haven’t tried one, you should.

Predator  Tempranillo

I just can’t do a wine blog about Summer wines without touching on my favorite summer reds.  The regular readers of this blog know I love Old Vine Zinfandel and Predator is one of the best.  I just love it.  The wine on the right is a new find, and quickly becoming a summer staple.  The Finca El Encinal has been given 94 Points, and I wrote about it last week.  Delicious Tempranillo wine that loves grilled food and pork.

wine optimist

Till next week, please drink responsibly.  And here’s hoping your glass is always half full this Summer.

Cheers

Darlene

 

 

90+ Points That Won’t Break The Bank!

Posted in Red Wine on June 14, 2014 by darmyers

90 Points

I know some people aren’t a big fan of wine scores, but I am.  And here’s why.  Wine scores make it easy for the average consumer to buy a decent wine without having to be a Sommelier.  Most people when they go to their favorite wine store or liquor store, it can be confusing to buy wine, especially from countries that do not label by grape varietal, but by region.  A rating system makes it easy for them.  Allowing for the fact that not every person likes every grape variety, however if you like a Shiraz, and you see one at 90 points or more, you don’t have to be a wine expert to figure out that, the 90+ wine could be a pretty decent wine.   There are other scales some critics and wine associations like to use the 1 to 5 scale.  Me, I like the 100 Point System designed by Robert Parker.  As a Sommelier in Training, Wine Blogger, Wine Writer and Wine lover I like the easy to understand language of the 100 Point System.  When I say to someone at work, 92 Points, they know I really really like the wine.

Blends

Once a year, our local NSLC store puts out the 90+ list.  I love this time of the year for discovering new wines, new wines that are at least 90 points, and I especially love it if they come in for a great price.  Like this one…..

Santa Rita Reserve Syrah

The Santa Rita Reserve Syrah was given 92 Points by Wine & Spirits and it comes in at the delicious price of just $16.99.  I can’t remember if I have ever seen a wine at 92 Points for $16.99, so of course I had to buy it and try it immediately.  Fantastic wine.  It’s my new best deal at my local Liquor store.  Santa Rita is one of Chile’s historic wine estates, founded in 1880.  So they have been making wine for a very long time, and they hit it out of the ballpark with this one.  This 100% Syrah beauty is flavorful with ripe dark fruits and some spice.  Great wine for BBQ season, and will also pair well with pizza, pasta and OH, does it not scream out for pork!  This has become a new staple in my wine rack.

Tempranillo

Here’s another beauty.  94 Points by Wine & Spirits and under $20!  That is not a typo.  $19.99 for this gorgeous Finca El Encinal Tempranillo.  It’s the stuff dreams are made of.   Here’s what Wine & Spirits had to say

  Pay no attention to the toasted oak scents that introduce this wine, because they soon leave the scene. Fix your attention instead to the generosity of its fruit, voluptuous and smooth. This is richly layered in flavors (some closer to meat than fruit), with a density that traps and wraps in a lovely way. All in all, a complex wine and an astonishing value. Finca El Encinal is a project from the traditional bodega Franco Españolas de la Rioja” 

And here’s what I have to say.  I had this wine last night with a creamy pasta dish I made.  It’s a kick-ass pasta dish if I do say so myself, with a homemade green olive paste and four cheeses baked in the oven.  I know!   There are a lot of complex flavors in that pasta dish with the different cheeses, olives, garlic and different spices.  And this wine went perfectly with it.

Finca Antigua label  Finca Antigua white

Here’s another Spanish beauty that rated 90+ and came in at under $20.  The Finca Antigua Crianza made from a blend of grapes that will tantalize your senses.  Tempranillo (50%), Cabernet Sauvignon (20%), Merlot (20% and Syrah (10%)  It was then aged in French oak for 12 months .   The grapes were also harvested a little later than usual, in late September and early October.  You know what that means…It will be rounder and fuller and  it’s a fantastic wine for any meat you would want to serve…can you say BBQ !   It also comes in a white variety at an even better price.. $16.99 here.  Made from the yummy Viura grape, one of my favorite white grapes in Spain.  It’s a light-bodied white with fruit and citrus flavors and moderate acidity.  The vineyard, Finca Antigua, was named after the old vines growing on the estate when the Bujanda family bought the vineyard,  in the middle of the La Mancha, which is known for being one of the best wine sites in Spain.

Charles and charles label

Another 90 point rated wine that came in at $18.99 was the Charles & Charles Post 35 Cabernet Sauvignon Blend.   It’s a blend of 58% of Cabernet Sauvignon and 42% Syrah from the beautiful Washington State and will go with everything from steak, to meatballs,  and from pasta to burgers.  This is a big chewy wine that will stand up for itself no matter what hunk of meat your man puts on the grill.  Dark berry fruit with a hint of spice and some chocolate, let’s sit back and enjoy this wine while the men do the cooking.

Wine Time

You know it’s wine time when you get these fantastic wines at decent prices.  Enjoy, and I would love to hear your feedback on these wines.

Until next week, Cheers

Darlene

 

 

 

The Wonders of South African Wine

Posted in Uncategorized on June 7, 2014 by darmyers

I have a confession to make.  Before I started training to become a Sommelier, my experience with South African wines were limited to say the least.  I  had tried one of the ‘manipulated Pinotage wines’ from Bertus ‘Starbucks’ Fourie, you know, the ones that overwhelm you with coffee and mocha flavors.  Not a fan.  My other experience was with another wine I had served that was so earthy, it felt like I was licking soil.   So I kind of had it in my head, I didn’t like South African wines, and I really didn’t like Pinotage.   My friend and colleague Anthony, loves South African wines and loves Pinotage.  I just didn’t get it…. And then…. a few beauties came along.

 

Diesel

Meet Diesel.  He was the beloved dog of Beyerskloof winemaker Beyers Truter, who passed over the Rainbow bridge in 2006, I believe, and after whom the wine is named after.  Beyers Truter makes a spectacular Pinotage, a classy full-bodied version offer gorgeous flavors of spice, plum, cherry and cedar.  Oh My God, I love a South African Pinotage.

Barista

This is my friend Anthony’s favorite wine.  Barista Pinotage, under $20 and one of those manipulated Pinotage wines from South Africa.  Very pronounced flavors of mocha,  coffee, chocolate, plums and mulberry.  Aromatic and full of all those flavors.   I like it, however, I prefer the Beyerskloof Diesel Pinotage.

New world vs old world

Although South Africa is considered ‘New World Wine’, the winemaking dates back to the mid 1600’s.  A Dutch surgeon planted vineyards and made wines starting in 1659 to help sailors who were travelling the ‘spice route to ward off scurvey.   And later Simon Van der Stel started the Constantia wine estate, and for a while the dessert wine that came out Constantia was considered to some of the best in the world.  However, when Van der Stel died the estate fell in disrepair.  When someone did buy it, wine makers grew high yielding – low quality wines.  So for the next few hundred wines the world didn’t know or really didn’t like South African wines.  There was a wine glut.   In 1918 the cooperative known as KWV was formed with help from the South African government to help control the growth and secure the prices with the government.  What started out as a cooperative grew in power very quickly, when they recommended that the extra grapes be used for brandy.  It wasn’t long before they controlled the entire winemaking industry in South Africa.   In 1973, 70% of grapes were used for brandy and by 2013 that number had reversed – 70% of grapes were being used for wine.  And the reputation of good wines coming out of South Africa grows with each year.

Nederburg label

South Africa can still provide good wines at very reasonable prices.  My guess would be because they are still trying to grow their reputation on the international market.  Take this beauty for example, a steal of a deal at under $15.  Nederburg is constantly winning awards for high quality wines, and in 2011 chosen as Winery of the Year in Platters South African Wine Guide.  This beautiful Winemakers Reserve Shiraz from 2011 is complex with good tannic structure and full-bodied flavors of plums, spices, chocolate and hints of oak.  I enjoyed it with my BBQ steak but it would go well with a wide array of foods including lamb, beef and pork dishes.

2 Oceans Pinot label

For my white wine loving friends, try the Two Oceans Pinot Grigio.  It will become your favorite new wine for summer and will pair perfectly with your favorite summer salad.  Named after a place on the Southern tip of Africa where the Indian Ocean and the Atlantic Ocean meet, this Pinot Grigio is crisp and refreshing.  Complimented by gorgeous flavors apricot, peach and some floral notes, this is also a great wine to go with all your favorite seafood dishes.

Wine Happy woman

And on that note, I’m going to say Cheers – till next week.

Darlene

 

 

 

 

The Great Canadian Wine Match BBQ Edition

Posted in Wine & Food on May 31, 2014 by darmyers

TGCWM_BBQ_logo concepts

Last Summer Wine writer and blogger Natalie Maclean launched the Great Canadian Wine Match.  Great Canadian wines featured across the country.  I was thrilled to be asked to participate and even more thrilled to learn my nomination won in the chicken category.   It was Clos Jordanne Le Grand Clos Chardonnay.  It is one of my ultimate treat wines and one of my favorite chicken wines.

 

If you haven’t seen the video with the 3-way conversation with myself, Natalie Maclean and winemaker Sebastian Jacquey.    Here it is

Wine, Happiness, Chicken & Sommelier’s in Training

Recently, Natalie has launched the BBQ Edition of the Great Canadian Wine Match, featuring wines under $25.  You can vote for your favorite wines here.

Great Canadian Wine Match BBQ Edition

Now I pride myself on being a bit of a Grilling Queen, and have called myself the Grilling Queen of both Newfoundland and Nova Scotia.  I BBQ on average 4 times per week.  I love it.  I have a beautiful patio that over looks the water, and I am there with my glass of wine in hand, some great tunes, and great food.

So I wanted to take this opportunity to encourage you to vote, and to share a little information on the wines I have nominated.

Village reserve  Village reserve

I love a Chardonnay with chicken, but I also love  Pinot Noir.  And because we had to keep it under $25, this summer for chicken I nominated Le Clos Village Reserve Pinot Noir.  I just love how Sebastian Jacquey makes wine, and Pinot Noir is so food friendly, it goes with everything, especially chicken.  It reminds me of a beautiful expression of a Burgundian Pinot Noir with its subtle fruit and spicy flavors.   Please go on and vote for this wine now.

Mission Hill merlot reserve label   Burrowing Owl Cabernet

Here’s the wine I have nominated for best BBQ pork.   I love a good Merlot with BBQ pork, whether it’s a stuffed pork tenderloin or chops on the grill.  Gorgeous flavors of rich dark fruit, chocolate and spice.  A very sophisticated Merlot.  I am in love with Merlot wines from the Okanogan region of British Columbia.  They are making some very fine Merlot wines.  I didn’t nominate a wine for beef because one of my favorites was already taken.  It is the Burrowing Owl Cabernet Sauvignon.  I still have one left in my wine rack, as we have to bring the wine in from BC.  It’s very good, and nominated by Jim Coady out of P.E.I., so go on and vote for that one as well.

Gaspereau riesling    Nova 7

I’m leading in this category for the region, so get on and vote now!  LOL  In the category of vegetables, I nominated the Gaspereau Vineyards Riesling from right here in Nova Scotia.  This is a darling of a wine, with gorgeous vibrant flavors.  The lime, citrus and green apple flavors come alive in the glass and make it a perfect counterpart for vegetables.  This is also one of my favorites to go with Indian and Asian cuisine.   There’s also another beauty nominated, that if I don’t wine the category, I hope the Nova 7, also from Nova Scotia wins.  I love this effervescent beauty.   The flavors of orange zest and honeysuckle make it perfect for summer time patios as well.

Sandhill Viognier    Luckett Ortega

Now my family and friends are going to surprised if they go on to vote, to see me nominate a wine for fish.  I am allergic and can’t eat fish.  However, in my training to become a Sommelier, we spend a lot of time on food pairings.  Recently I had a wine tasting with winemaker Howard Soon from Sandhill, and I got to try this Viognier.  I love a Viognier with roast turkey as well, but this would go well with the oily fishes too.  Honeyed peach and crisp grapefruit flavors have this beautiful Viognier wine come to life.  Another wine is in the lead for the Atlantic region, and that is the Luckett Vineyards Ortega, also out of Nova Scotia.  I have a bottle of this wine in my wine rack, but haven’t had the opportunity to try it yet.  Adam Bower out of Nova Scotia nominated the wine, and I’m sure this man knows a thing or two about seafood.

Borealis  Nova 7

I couldn’t nominate one of my favorite Canadian dessert wines in the category, because it’s over $25.  But so worth it.   It is the Borealis Ice Wine from Benjamin Bridge, and it is heaven in a glass.  Rich flavors of honey and sweet apricot make this the perfect after meal dessert all on its own, or the perfect accompaniment with your favorite dessert.  Personally, I like this wine as the dessert.  No chocolate necessary.  Because I couldn’t nominate Borealis, I have been voting for its sister.  Nova 7.  The perfect balance of sweetness and acidity will make it a winner in this category I’m sure.

So once again, here’s the link

Great Canadian Wine Match BBQ Edition

You can vote in each category once a day, and its fun and interesting to see the different wines.  This is a fun wine match, so please, I encourage all of you to participate.

Take care and till next week, Cheers

Darlene

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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