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.

Fall 2014 092 Fall 2014 090

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.

Fall 2014 078 Fall 2014 100

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.

Fall 2014 119

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”

Summer 140 Summer 142

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.

Summer 134

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

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

My thoughts on Organic Wines

Posted in Wine & Food on May 24, 2014 by darmyers

Organic 1

I have been reading a lot about organic food lately, and I get asked about organic wine quite a bit.   Everyone is trying to eat as healthy as they can, and we are reading about how organic is not only healthy for us, it’s healthy for the environment and it’s just all around good.  So it just makes sense, as a Sommelier in training, that we get asked about organic wine quite frequently.   Organic wine is made according to organic farming principles  which typically is grown without the use of artificial pesticides, herbicides or fertilizers.   Legal definitions can vary from country to country.   And because grape growing is the farming of grapes, it makes sense to have guidelines in place.  There is a lot of information out there, and here is a website that I found to be very informative.   http://www.organicconsumers.org/Organic/OrganicWine.cfm  Here is a link to an article called ‘Clearing up the Confusion on Organic Wine’ and it’s very good.

Devil label  Casillero chard label  Las Black labelCatena MalbecDada label

And many of you may not know that many wines from Chile and Argentina are grown without pesticides.   The vineyard pests like Phyloxxera never survived in Chile and was caught so quick in Argentina, that many vineyards do not have to use pesticides.  And although they are not labeled organic, many of your favorite wines could be grown with less pesticides, and that’s becoming a very important issue in the food world as well.

Sokol

Here’s a delicious wine from Oregon that is certified organic.  Sokol Blosser Pinot Gris.  I should tell you that all of Sokol Blosser’s wines are organic because the entire vineyard has certified organic status.   This gorgeous wine has apple, fig, and spicy notes that would go hand in hand with your favorite Vegetarian dishes.  I also like this with salads and Asian cuisine.

Santa Julia    santa julia red

Santa Julia is the largest family owned vineyard in Argentina and half of the vineyard is certified.  The Chardonnay on the left is certified organic and is a delightful medium-bodied dry white wine with apple and pear flavors.  The Malbec on the right is not certified organic to the best of my knowledge, but is a very tasty red and you know the vineyard practices are top notch.  Spicy romantic flavors in this Malbec make it a great red wine that goes with just about everything.

L'Acadie

And from right here in Nova Scotia, here’s a local favorite.  L’Acadie Vineyards L’Acadie Blanc.  For those of you not familiar with L’Acadie Blanc, it is a Canadian wine grape variety that is a hybrid of Cascade and Seyve-Villard 14-287 and is often referred to as ‘Nova Scotia’s Chardonnay’.  This crisp light version with citrus flavors is a local favorite for lobster, seafood, and oysters.

Would love to hear what your favorite organic wine is!

Till next week, Cheers

Darlene

 

 

 

 

 

 

Long Weekend Wines!

Posted in Wine & Food on May 17, 2014 by darmyers

Long weekend 2

So here in Canada we have a long weekend this weekend, it’s the Victoria Day Weekend.  Next weekend, our friends in the United States celebrate the unofficial kick-off to Summer.  And yes, I’m wearing white pants.  I love a long weekend and it’s sunny and 21-degrees today and I love that too.  So this is the weekend for BBQ’s and wine.  And here are a few wines you could enjoy on your long weekend.

Burge label

So here’s the wine I kicked off my Long Weekend with.  Grant Burge Hillcot Merlot, I had the 2011.  It went perfectly with my barbecued chicken, but I also enjoyed it while grilling.  It was smooth, aromatic with ripe fruit like raspberries, and on the palate all those gorgeous plum and cherry flavors.  Easy to drink and the oak was well-integrated and not over-powering.  This wine is from the Barossa Valley in Australia, and apparently Grant Burge was somewhat of a pioneer with Merlot in Australia.  It’s probably my first Merlot from Australia, but it won’t be my last, it also won’t be my last Grant Burge wine, I was very impressed.

heritage label

Here’s another wine I’ve had recently.  Now it was a gift from some very good friends, and a gift it was.  It was a treat wine, so a little on the pricey side, but we all have special occasions that we are looking for a special wine and Chateauneuf du Pape is definitely a special wine.   I love the story of Chateauneuf du Pape.  Back in the 1300’s the Pope was Pope Clement V, who was the former archbishop of Bordeaux.  Needless to say our Pope loved his French wine, especially those of Bordeaux and Burgundy.    The next Pope, John XXII, also loved his wine, and because of that wine in this certain region of the Rhone, became known as Vin du Pape, what we now know as Chateauneuf du Pape.  Pope John XXII also erected the Castle that is the famous sign for the Chateauneuf du Pape appellation.   I don’t know if there is a wine that says quality and finesse like Chateauneuf du Pape.  Probably because there is no ‘bargain bin’ version of this wine, it still remains special.  And we have our friend Robert Parker to thank for helping to promote this fabulous wine and giving it worldwide appeal.   When you are drinking Chateauneuf du Pape, you’re drinking mostly Grenache.  What I love about this one is the Syrah that’s added.  It gives this wine a spicy and peppery edge with a hint of truffles that I just loved.   This wine was smooth, yet complex and full of flavor.  It will go with EVERYTHING!

Bachelder Chard label

I love cold wine in warm weather.  Which means as many white wines for me, as reds.  Here’s one I’ve had recently that I just loved.  Thomas Bachelder makes wine in Burgundy, France, Oregon and the Niagara region of Ontario.  Thomas Bachelder is a wine icon and this Niagara Chardonnay is one of my new favorites.  This complex wine has flavors of apples, pears, cinnamon, smoke and vanilla.  Now… picture this wine with my Sweet and Smoky Barbecued Chicken…. hmmmm.. this wine will go beautifully with any grilled chicken dish.  This is the wine you’ll want to serve when BBQ’ing chicken this summer.

Here’s my recipe for Sweet and Smoky Chicken… Again I apologize for no ‘exact’ amounts of each ingredient, it’s not the way I cook.

Sweet and Smoky

- Chicken Thighs or Breasts… I used thighs

- Frank’s Hot Sauce

- A little bit of Maple Syrup

- A spicy or Dijon mustard  (I used Maille Old Style mustard.. here’s the picture.. this is the best mustard I have ever had)

Maille

- Pepper

- A dash of liquid smoke

- Some Barbecue Sauce

Mix all those ingredients together and marinate the chicken for as long as you can.  Set some aside to use as the sauce while grilling your chicken.

** Very important part.  Pour yourself a glass of wine while you are grilling your chicken and enjoy.  Life is good.

Till next week, enjoy the long weekend if you live here in Canada, and if you are a resident of the United States, I hope next weekend and every weekend is fabulous.

Cheers

Darlene

 

 

 

 

 

Mom’s Favorite Wines

Posted in Wine on May 10, 2014 by darmyers

Mom

What better way to celebrate Mom than with a good bottle of wine.  After all, chances are, you are the reason she drinks.  My mom loves wine… makes sense.  She enjoys both red and white, like her daughter, however now she leans more towards Chardonnay.  And here are a couple of my Mom’s favorite Chardonnay wines.

Casillero chard label    Lohr Chard Label

The Casillero del Diablo Chardonnay from Chile is Mom’s go to wine.  Under $15, no one enjoys good value like a senior citizen.  Ripe fruit, a little oak, and a well rounded well-balanced wine.  Salmon, chicken and cheese are just a few of the foods begging for this Chardonnay.  The Chardonnay on the right is out of Monterey California.  A beautiful Chardonnay and one of my favorites.  Mom just loves it when I buy this wine.  J. Lohr Chardonnay is almost a piece of art.  With a process called ‘Malolactic Fermentation’, which gives a Chardonnay that creamy smoothness.  Malolactic Fermentation is a process that removes the harsh malic acids from a wine and replaces them with the softer smoother lactic acid.  So you get all that gorgeous fruits flavors of apples and pears and the vanilla toastiness from the process and really good oak barrels from France, America and Hungary.

Devil label  Devil bottle

I love finding good deals and sharing them with you.  This is my latest.  It’s under $15, yep, that’s not a typo.  It’s the Casillero del Diablo Devil’s Collection from Conchay Toro in Chile.  (Say that 3 times really fast!)  This is a blend of Cabernet Sauvignon, Carmenere and Syrah.  Hello BBQ.  I don’t live in the same province as my mom, but I’m having my sister and her family over for Mother’s Day and I’m doing the cooking.  Well, I’m doing the grilling.  I don’t mind saying it, I am the BBQ Queen of Nova Scotia.  And this will become a staple in my wine rack.  You don’t need a special occasion to drink this wine.  At $14.95 a bottle you can crack open a bottle any night of the week.  It’s full-bodied, well structured, spicy, peppery and flavorful.  You can tell by the blend of the three grapes that this is a beauty with a BBQ .   On their own, all 3 go great with BBQ foods…. now just imagine all 3 together.  Devil’s collection?  More like heaven!

Benziger Merlot label   J. Lohr Merlot label

Another red wine that will go with just about anything you serve for Mom on Sunday is a nice juicy Merlot.  These are two that I have had recently and they are both out of California.  Both are under $25 and both are beautiful.  The Benziger sold out of my favorite Liquor Store, that’s how good it is.  Subtle, rich with gorgeous spicy notes.  The J. Lohr is a little more full-bodied, still just as juicy and flavorful and on both wines the oak is so subtle, it doesn’t over-power anything.

Favorite child

I had to end on a funny note.  Neither of my sister’s drink wine, so it’s my only chance to toot the favorite child horn.  This year I just get to talk to my mom on the phone.  I hope you have a wonderful day with your Mom

Till next week, Cheers

Darlene

 

 

 

 

 

 

It’s Time To Change Your Mind About Canadian Wine

Posted in Wine on May 3, 2014 by darmyers
Unhappy

Yesterday, a colleague at work, told me she hated Canadian wine.  Before I could open my mouth, she said ‘you’re going to disagree with me’.  Yes, I am.  To say you don’t like Canadian wine is saying you don’t like Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Riesling, Chardonnay and many more.  There is more to Canadian wine than Ice Wine.  There are some beautiful Canadian wines being made and today I’m going to ask you to get over your stigma about Canadian wine and try one.  I have a few recommendations.

Howard Soon 039 & Darlene Howard Soon 040

Let me introduce you to one of the nicest winemakers you will ever meet.  Howard Soon has been chief winemaker at the gorgeous Sandhill winery in the Okanagan of BC since 1997.  He’s not only a nice guy…. he makes fabulous wine.   I had the opportunity to meet him recently and sample some of the fantastic wines from Sandhill.   I also liked how he told us of the relationship with the growers, and how important it is.

Sandhill Pinot Gris  Sandhill

Two of the wines I tried that day was the Sandhill Pinot Gris.  This beautiful crisp and fresh Pinot Gris will be a summer favorite for me.  I loved the flavors of melon, pineapple and peach blossom.  Perfect acidity and well-balanced, this wine would pair so well with seafood, pork and chicken just to name a few.  One of the reds from Sandhill I tried that day was the Syrah.  I love a good Syrah, and this had gorgeous aromas of cedar, spice, and vanilla. Velvety tannins and a smooth finish would make this wine welcome at any BBQ you plan to have this summer.

Bachelder

Another beauty I have had recently, studying Canadian wine in my Sommelier training is the Bachelder Chardonnay.  Thomas Bachelder is another icon in the wine industry and does a beautiful job on this full-bodied rich Chardonnay.  Apples, pears and mineral notes make for a complex and tasty Chardonnay.  Any chicken dish you serve will stand up on the plate and ask for this wine.

Inniskillin  Clos Pinot

Pinot Noir, as many of you know, is one of my favorites.  This is a cool climate grape, and if there’s one thing Canada has a lot of, is cool climate.  We have them ranging in price from $16.98, like this Inniskillin Pinot Noir from the Niagara region to the $83 price tag of the Clos Jordanne Le Grand Clos Pinot Noir.   The Inniskillin Pinot Noir boasts of strawberry and plum flavors with a floral note, and when I lived in Newfoundland this bottle was a common sight in my wine rack.  The Clos Jordanne on the right, also from Ontario, I think is one of the best Pinot Noir wines I have ever tasted and in my opinion, rank up there with some of the best Burgundian Pinot Noirs I have had the chance to taste.  It’s elegant and flavorful with beautiful flavors of mashed strawberries, raspberry and roasted oak.

merlot2009_small    Mission Hill merlot reserve label

Canada is putting out some first class Merlot, and here are two of my favorites.  Both are from the Okanagan region of British Columbia.  The Burrowing Owl Winery is spectacular and I order wine from this winery on a regular basis.  The Merlot is gorgeous with plums, blueberries, sage, and other wonderful spices.  The Mission Hill Merlot is full-bodied, rich and supple with beautiful flavors of plums, spices and a hint of mocha.

screenshot2012-02-10at8-19-20am

When you think of Canadian wine, and the first images that pop up are Baby Duck or fruit wine, then head to your favorite wine store and pick up a first class Canadian beauty.  I guarantee you won’t be disappointed.

Till next week, Cheers.

Darlene

 

 

 

 

Try A New Wine Today!

Posted in Wine on April 26, 2014 by darmyers

New wine

Because there are so many good wines out there….. and chances are you’re not trying them.   I’m not pointing fingers, I’m looking into the mirror.  We are all creatures of habit and I have a tendency to go back to my favorites.  Guilty!  They’re our favorites for a reason.  We love them!   One of the great things about taking the courses and training to becoming a Sommelier, is that each week our Instructors bring in different wines.  I also have a fantastic relationship with my local NSLC store staff, (probably no big surprise there) and get to try many fantastic wines there.   Here’s a couple of new wines I have tried recently, and they are all reasonably priced, so it won’t hurt the wallet to try something new.

Bin 2  Bin 407

The Penfold’s Bin Series.  I jokingly thought there was 100 of them, with the 407, I’m now wondering if I wasn’t wrong.  I may have written about the Bin 2 before as this has become a staple in my wine rack.  This wine was originally $43, but my local wine store has re-released it at under $25.  Wow.  This wine was first vintage in 1960 and is a delicious blend of Shiraz and Mourvedre.  Most wine drinkers know Shiraz, a great structured wine with flavors of pepper.  If Mourvedre is new to you, it’s very well-known around the Chateauneuf du Pape area of France.  A wine that adds tannins and spicy herbs to a blend, as we are approaching BBQ season in Canada, hopefully, this wine will go beautifully with anything you put on your grill.  The Bin 407 is a Cabernet Sauvignon.  Developed by Penfolds  chief winemaker John Duval, he designed it to be drinkable now and able to age well in a cellar.  So on Monday, I tried the 2008 and could have swooned at the gorgeous bold dark fruits, licorice, smoke and hints of cigar box.  It was rich with structure, and the words our Instructor used was ‘not goopy’.  I love him… I thought it was perfect.

Dearly beloved  Deadbolt label

The next one I’m telling you about for two reasons.  I loved the name of the wine, and some times I only talk about wine I absolutely love.  I didn’t love this wine, because I found it a little sweet.  But you may love it, and that’s why I wanted to tell you about it.  If you love Apothic Red, and I know many of you do, you have to try this wine… you’ll love it too.  It wasn’t quite as sweet as Apothic, or that was my opinion.  I’d love to hear yours.    Hey, wedding season is on the horizon, and although the label reminds me of something from Halloween, it is a cool name wine.  A blend of many different grapes, it is juicy, and a little sweet.  Also from California is the Dead Bolt.   I made a mistake writing about this wine two weeks ago and called it a Cabernet Sauvignon.  There is mostly Cabernet in this blend, but it contains many of the same grapes, without the sweetness.   This is a wine you are going to want to have on hand for the summer.  Easy to drink blend of Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Zinfandel, Petite Sirah just to name a few, it’s juicy, structured, and perfect for sipping on the patio or food friendly as well.

Mt difficulty  spy valley

A couple of weeks ago we studied New Zealand.  And regular readers will know what a fan of New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc I am.  We tried a couple of new ones, and I discovered New Zealand also makes great Riesling.  Nobody had really heard of New Zealand wines before the early 80’s and by the 1990’s they were established and respect.  Zero to hero in a decade.  And here are a couple of reasons why.  The Mt. Difficulty Riesling on the left had gorgeous aromas of honeysuckle and apricots and none of that petrol flavor associated with new Riesling.  It was lively and vibrant and very food friendly.  On the left is the Spy Valley Sauvignon Blanc.  New Zealand wears the crown for Sauvignon Blanc in my opinion, and here’s one of the reasons why.  Gorgeous mineral flavors, bell peppers with a hint of citrus.  People tend to eat more salads in the summer, and this is the wine for it!  Serve it nice and chilled and you’ve got a wine to be enjoyed on every patio.

You Can't buy happiness

Well, that’s it for this week.  In the past week alone, we tried 22 wines, and 20 of them were new to me.  Like I said, I found some new favorites and staples for my wine rack.  Get out of that wine rut, and try something new today.  You won’t regret it.

Till next week, cheers

Darlene

 

 

 

My Favorite Easter Wines!

Posted in Wine & Food on April 19, 2014 by darmyers

Roasted turkeyRoasted Ham

Spring usually means the arrival of Spring – fingers are still crossed on that one.  And it’s a chance to get together with people you love, enjoy the long weekend, and have some great food.  And for me, with great food, comes great wine.  Let’s take a look at a few great wines that would go with your Easter dinner.  Whether you’re having turkey, ham or some other delightful dish, there will be a wine for you here.  We’re having both turkey and ham – some big eaters in my family.

turkey with wine  tureky with red wine

Now, my rule of thumb is, you can drink any wine you like with any food you like.  If you’re drinking red, for me personally it’s pretty easy – Pinot Noir.  Pinot Noir tends to be light to medium bodied, so it won’t over-power the turkey.  It’s a juicy vibrant wine which will enhance the succulence of the turkey.  And Pinot Noir is so elegant and food friendly, it goes with everything you serve with the turkey.  There are great Pinot wines that start in price from $15.  I love a Pinot from Burgundy France and Oregon in the United States are putting out first class Pinot Wines.

Viognier Vouvray

Robert Mondavi Fume BlancSaint Clair label

I love white wine with turkey.  I love a bunch of different white wines with turkey.  Turkey is like a blank canvas in the white wine world, so many options, so little turkey.   Here are a few of my favorites.  Vouvray is a Chenin Blanc based wine that’s vibrant and crisp and a perfect partner for turkey.  As is Viognier.  It’s not sparkling, but can have some effervescence which pairs divine.  And then, there’s Fume Blanc, which is Sauvignon Blanc based with some Semillion for smoothness, or a straight up Sauvignon Blanc.  This crisp white wine is known for its citrus-based flavors that can be surrounded by herb or mineral undertones, making it a prime pairing candidate for turkey and mashed potatoes.

Roasted Ham Gnarly Head label Predator

There are so many options to go with ham.  Another blank slate when it comes to wine selection.  A couple of my personal favorites are Zinfandel and Merlot.  The Gnarly Head and Predator are two of my favorites.  And neither is overly expensive.  One sells for just under $20 and the other sells for just over $20.  Juicy, jammy, spicy and full of flavor.  Regular readers will know that this wine is one my favorites for BBQ foods, but it will go just delightful with Easter ham as well.

Angels Gate Merlot bottle Dada label

Concha y toro  Beringer Merlot bois pertuis

For the Merlot selection, I picked from Canada, Argentina, Chile, California and France.  Fine Merlot wines are being made around the world at very reasonable prices.  Merlot wine goes beautifully with pork.  Merlot wine is plummy, smoky with hints of cocoa flavors.   And it’s my favorite wine to go with pork.  For the same reason, it will complement your ham.

Gaspereau riesling         Ara Pinot Gris

For my white wine drinking friends, you can have a lot of fun here.  If you’re ham has a glaze with any amount of sweetness, you can have a wine with some sweetness in it, because it will compliment the food.  The sweetness in the ham will take away from the sweetness in the wine.  I know it sounds contradictory, but trust me on this one.  Try a nice dry Riesling, the one pictured is from Gaspereau Vineyards right here in Nova Scotia, and it would be a fantastic choice for your Easter dinner.   In my opinion, and that’s what the blog is called, Gaspereau is doing a spectacular job with this Riesling.   Another great choice for white wine would be a nice Pinot Gris.  This Ara Pinot Gris from New Zealand is one of my favorites.  It will remind you of orchard fruit and with a little sweetness and crisp gorgeous acidity.

Happy Easter

I hope each and every one of you have a wonderful Easter weekend. Till next week, Cheers

Darlene

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Starting from Scratch – What’s In Your Wine Rack?

Posted in Wine on April 12, 2014 by darmyers

wine rack

A friend of mine asked me to start from scratch with a new wine rack.  I was allowed to fill it with one of each varietal, and he wanted to know if I could pick just one of each, what would be in my wine rack.  So here’s a little bit of a fun exercise, and I would love to hear your feedback on which varietal you would choose.

Let’s start with the Reds:

Mondavi ReserveDeadbolt

For Cabernet Sauvignon, I would head straight to California.  Since I visited the Napa Valley in 2001, I have been a California Cab girl.  And I wouldn’t have one of the lesser priced, nope, I would go for the high end Reserve Cabernet.  Given 95 points by Wine Advocate, this rich wine is full of dark fruit flavors and vanilla toasty oak.  A brand new California Cabernet is the one on the right.  Dead Bolt Cabernet Sauvignon is a blend of Cabernet, Merlot, Zinfandel, Petite Sirah and Syrah.  Love it!  Full of dark gorgeous flavors and this one comes in at about $20.  With Summer around the corner, this is the wine for this year’s BBQ season.   Can you say hamburgers!

thorn MerlotHeating things up in January with Great Wine!

For a Merlot, I would travel to Washington State or Australia.  The one pictured is a Thorn Clark Terra Barossa Merlot.  Merlot is my BBQ pork wine, whether it’s stuffed pork tenderloin or a grilled pork chop.  The smoky plummy flavors of this fantastic Merlot with a hint of pepper,  would be welcome at any of my BBQ parties.  This wine is as succulent as the meal you’d serve it with.  Tempranillo – you Spanish lovely.  The wine on the right is still my all time favorite Tempranillo from Rioja.  I can’t get it here in Nova Scotia, but a trip home to Newfoundland means a visit to the NLC and a bottle of Marques de Riscal Rioja.  Most of the tempranillo grapes are grown in vines that were planted in the 70’s, so they have that smooth old vine taste.  It’s a Reserva, which means something in Spain.  It means it was aged for 3 years, and at least 1 year in oak.  Full-bodied and tasty, if you can get this wine in your area, try one today.

Calera label   Savigny label

Because Old World countries label their wine by region, I could have two Pinot Noir’s in my new wine rack, and most people wouldn’t know the difference.  The Pinot on the left is from winemaker Josh Jensen and Calera Vineyards, one of my favorite to come out of California.  Oregon also makes world quality Pinot Noir, but I had to choose one from the New World.  The wine on the left is a Burgundian red wine, and for those that know and love the wines from Burgundy France, you’ll know it’s also a Pinot Noir.  Pinot Noir is probably my favorite wine.  It is, in my opinion, the food-friendliest wine on the planet.  It goes with seafood, chicken, pork, turkey – just about anything.

Le Clos Jordanne Chardonnay   Saint Clair label

For Chardonnay, my go to region is California, but if I was only allowed one Chardonnay it would be this one.  Le Clos Jordanne le Grand Clos.  Smooth, creamy, flavorful and crisp – all rolled into one delectable wine.   My favorite chicken wine in the whole world.  Check out my blog with my Maple Dijon chicken recipe and this wine, and give it a try if you want to send your taste buds to heaven.  You can find it here.  The blog was called ‘Wine, Happiness, Chicken and Sommeliers in Training!”  One of my personal favorites.    I love Sauvignon Blanc, but I would have to head to New Zealand if I picked one.  One of the things I love most about  Sauvignon Blanc from New Zealand is that they are so aromatic.  Citrus and vibrant with great acidity, so many good New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc – so little time.

 

Robert Mondavi Fume BlancNova 7

Another favorite white wine of mine (that sounds like it could be a song!) is the Robert Mondavi Fume Blanc.  Now, a little cheat note here, because this Fume Blanc is a blend of Sauvignon Blanc and Semillion.  I love Semillion when it is blended with Sauvignon Blanc.  On its own, it could be a little waxy, but it’s very easy to cultivate, so it is grown a lot in France and Australia, but mostly used as blends.  Robert Mondavi did a fantastic job with the blend as well and called his Fume Blanc.  Crisp white wine – try it, you love it.  If I had to pick one Nova Scotia wine, I would pick Nova 7 by Benjamin Bridge.  (Although I would probably find a spot for the Borealis Ice Wine from Benjamin Bridge too! – Every girl needs a little sweetness in her life)   And since Nova 7 is a premium sparkling wine and Borealis a dessert wine, I should be allowed both in my new wine rack.    The Nova 7 2013 vintage just got released on Thursday, however, I haven’t tried it yet.  Last year’s was a beauty.  Beautiful salmon color in the glass, effervescent, and delicious.  Made from 8 different grapes, and all grown here in Nova Scotia – this wine is one of our provincial treasures.

BorealisRoyal tokaji

From Benjamin Bridge, the Borealis wine is named after the Aurora Borealis, also called the Northern Lights, a spectacular display of dancing lights in the sky.  Beautiful.  As is the wine.  Dried apricots, peach and sweet cream.  It’s your very own taste of heaven in a glass.  Another favorite dessert wine of mine is Royal Tokaji out of Hungary.  Luscious honey and apricots help make this one of my favorite desserts – I would take it over chocolate any day.

Whew, we’ve covered a few wines.  If you got a brand new wine rack, what favorites would you put in it?

Please feel free to comment, would love to hear from you

Till next week, Cheers

Darlene

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Let’s Try a Blended Wine!

Posted in Wine on April 5, 2014 by darmyers

Blends

A good friend of mine at work asked me the other day if I buy blends.  I said ‘Of course, and chances are, so do you’!   He didn’t realize all wines from Bordeaux were blends.  Many wines are blended, even if it only says a single varietal on a label.  For example, if a wine from California says Cabernet Sauvignon, only 85% of that wine has to be Cabernet.  Winemakers add little amounts of other grapes for complexity, diversity and flavor.  Oregon has some of the strictest regulations in North America, the wine must contain 90% of the varietal on the label.

Here’s some of my favorites:

Corbiere bottle

Here’s a new blend I have recently discovered and thoroughly enjoy.  It’s the Corbieres Syrah, Grenache and Mourvedre from Abbotts & Delaney.  Corbieres is an appellation in the Langeudoc region of France.  Normally, you’ll see GSM on the label (Grenache, Syrah and Mourvedre) but in this particular wine the Syrah is dominant.  Wines from France can be tricky to buy for the average consumer, as it is normally labeled by region, and not varietal.  But I think these guys were super smart and put the Syrah, Grenache and Mourvedre on the label.  This particular blend is spicy and smoky and full of flavor with peppery notes.  I just love it.

cupcake

Here’s another yummy blend, this time from California and under $20.  Cupcake Red Velvet is a great name for this velvety delicious wine.  A blend of some of my favorite grapes including Zinfandel, Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon and Petit Sirah.  This rich opulent wine has flavors of ripe red fruits, chocolate and a hint of coconut.  Each grapes adds richness, a distinct flavor and structure.   Bring this baby to any BBQ and you will be the toast of the town.

Sandhill

Here’s a beauty from Canada.  Sandhill has made this delicious blend of Cabernet and Merlot.  Winemaker Howard Soon is coming to Halifax to speak and  I can’t wait, I have a ticket.  Here’s what he had to say about this wine!

Winemaker Notes:

“Our Sandhill Cabernet Merlot from our estate vineyard in Oliver is a smooth, well-balanced wine, with excellent fruit quality and good structure.  This blend shows the classic synergies of Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and Cabernet Franc, which have proven successful all over the world.”

 

Bordeaux 1 Bordeaux 2  bordeaux 3 Bordeaux 4

 

And the above wines are all wines from Bordeaux France.  And although they don’t say the grape varietals on the labels, they are all blends.  Either Cabernet Sauvignon dominant or Merlot dominant, one thing is certain, they are all blended.

Oh… and they are delicious too.

What’s your favorite blend.  I would love to hear from you, and Wine – In My Opinion is also on Facebook, and this is where I share wine articles I have read that I want to pass along, and some humor as well.  You can find the link here

https://www.facebook.com/pages/Wine-In-My-Opinion/223994754407204

Thanks for coming along on the journey

Till next week, Cheers

Darlene

 

New World Wine in Old World Styles

Posted in Red Wine on March 29, 2014 by darmyers

Halifax storm 2 BBQ in storm

So last week’s wine blog was about Spring…. and how many people tend to have their first barbecue of the season right about now.  Well, this is what Wednesday,  March 26th looked like in Halifax, the left being a view outside of the Radio Station I work at, and the second my poor BBQ tied down so it didn’t blow away in 120 kmh winds.   We’ll try the BBQ and wine matching blog again a little later on in the Summer.   Spring in Atlantic Canada… come on California.

New world vs old world

Speaking of California, I’ve been doing a fair bit of research lately on New World Wine done in Old World Style.  I’m doing a presentation for my wine school as part of my journey to becoming a Sommelier.  So I thought I would share some of what I’ve learned and share some really unique tasty wines from New world Countries done in Old World Style.

Bordeaux 1 Napa 2

Quick run-down on what I mean by Old World and New World.  Old World wine regions have been making wine for a thousand years or more and include countries like France, Italy, Spain, Portugal, Germany – just to name a few.  When many people think of Old World they think of European countries.  New World vineyards have been making wine for under 200 years, and many of them, including California and Canada, just finding their stride in the last 50 years or so.   Old World wine regions tend to be revered by many, and make their wine with terroir in mind and tend to be bound by tradition.   New World wine, not so much.  However, don’t get me wrong, I love New World wine.  Wines from New Zealand, Australia, California, Oregon and Canada rank among some of my favorites.  And I especially like their attempts at making New World Style Bordeaux.  I know many are going to disagree with me on this, but the blog is called ‘In My Opinion’ for a reason – what can I say I like them.

Burrowing Owl Meritage label

So, a Bordeaux wine is always a blended wine using allowable grapes.  The allowable grapes include Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Cabernet Franc, Petit Verdot, Malbec and Carmenere.  In the New World, a wine done in the style of Bordeaux is called Meritage.  This one from Burrowing Owl in the Okanagan is one of my favorites.   This wine, meant for aging, has delicious aromas of plums, cassis, cherry and cocoa.  And on the palate – smooth and elegant with big juicy flavors of plums, cherry, raspberry and spice.  This is a beautiful wine to go with roast beef, or once it warms up, anything done on the grill.

Mondavi meritage

Here’s another Meritage, this one from Robert Mondavi in California.  At $20 a bottle, this is a great wine at a great price.   Robert Mondavi was inspired to create this wine after travelling abroad and tasting the wines.  Lots of beautiful ripe fruits on this wine that can be enjoyed now or it can be aged if you so choose.

Claret

When Eleanor of Aquitane married the King of England, Bordeaux was under English rule.  It didn’t take long for the English to fall in love with wines from Bordeaux, and put the name Claret on them.  (not Clar-ay – .. Clar-it is how it’s pronounced)  I have written about one of my favorites – the Francis Ford Coppola Black Diamond Claret out of the Napa Valley.  This Cabernet Sauvignon dominant wine is full-bodied, well structured and full of flavor.  It’s a big wine that will hold its own against any meat.

And it’s not just Bordeaux that get’s copied.  Oregon is on the map as some of the finest producers of Burgundian style Pinot Noir.  And they are doing Riesling, a wine that many people think of Germany when they think Riesling,  in fine style as well.

Firesteed RieslingFiresteed Pinot

Here are two examples.  The Firesteed Riesling and the Firesteed Pinot Noir.   The Riesling is a gorgeous example of a Riesling from Oregon.  Full of aromas mandarin orange, lemon zest, and melon.  This is one of my favorite wines to have with spicy food, Asian cuisine or Chinese food.  It can also be paired very well with chicken and a whole array of other dishes.  If you’re reading this, please feel free to share your favorite Riesling dishes.  The Firesteed Pinot Noir with its vibrant flavors of cherry and spice will feel like your first taste of summer.  And heaven knows we all need a little summer.

If you have been dumped on this week by snow or cold temperatures – hopefully some of the wines mentioned will help warm you up.  If you’re enjoying Spring like temperatures, please share with the rest of us where you live!

Till next week, Cheers

Darlene

 

 

 

 

 

Spring is Here

Posted in Wine & Food on March 22, 2014 by darmyers
Spring Wine
After the longest winter in history, or that’s what it seemed like, Spring is finally here.  It’s longer days, sunny skies and birds.  It’s also the time when many people dust off the barbecue and fire up the grill for the first time in months.  (Not me, I’m a year round griller myself!)
 it
BBQ #1
When people tend to see my BBQ, mouths tend to gape.  Yeah, it’s a big one, holding 43 hamburger patties, and I love it.  Last night for example, it was +6 degrees, so I barbecued a stuffed butterfly pork chop  with a hot and sweet mustard sauce and I did wings.  I love wings… And one of my goals in life is to make the best wings.  And I never BBQ, without a glass of vino in my hand.  It’s not the same.  So I have found some fantastic wines to go hand in hand with your favorite BBQ foods.   Just in case you’re thinking of kick-starting the grill this first weekend of Spring.
pork chop  Predator
So this is the wine I had with my pork chop last night.  It’s the Predator Old Vine Zinfandel out of California.  Central California is known for its Old Vine Zinfandels’ and this is one of my favorites.  This wine is sourced from vines that are 50+ years old, and the older the vine the sweeter the fruit.  You can quote me on that.   Smooth, velvety texture, with a hint of spice.  This spice and the rich round smoothness of the wine make for a very food friendly wine.  One of my friends, Jayme, told me this past week she often wonders why she likes a particular wine as much as she does.   That’s the beauty of  having so many choices, there is a wine for everyone.  Jayme and I have very similar tastes in wine, so Jayme, I hope you try some of the wines in this weeks blog.
Mondavi Zinfandel
Here’s a new Zinfandel I tried this week, and at $12.99 a bottle, it offers a tasty Zinfandel at an amazing price.   The Woodbridge Mondavi Zinfandel is full of personality with flavors of black pepper, plums and baking spice.   Quite a nice surprise from the price point, but I recommend for everyone to try it.
Cook with wine
Tomorrow night I am having my sister and her husband over for dinner, and I promised George that I would grill him a steak.   George is a meat-loving guy.  And I have a few different wines in my wine rack at the moment that will go well with the wine.
Steak
The first wine that comes to mind for me is Cabernet Sauvignon, and it’s hard for me to talk about Cabernet Sauvignon with steak and not mention Carnivor Cabernet Sauvignon.
Carnivor  Errazuriz Cab
From California, known for making Cabernet Sauvignon the “King of Cabernet”, this big meaty Cabernet would probably be one of the reasons why.  It full-bodied and bold, a big wine with big flavors of jam, chocolate and spicy tannins.  This wine is a mouthful, and it should be.   The other Cabernet I chose is from Chile.   If you want to try some new delicious full-bodied Cabernet Sauvignon, head to the Chilean section of your local wine store.  Chile is the new up and coming producer of Cab, and they are doing it incredibly well – at incredibly good prices.  The Maipo Valley in Chile is leading the way in Cabernet and this one from Errazuriz is juicy with black pepper flavors and a subtle toasted oak flavor that will compliment the wine, not over-power it.
mashed potatoes cilantro sour cream
My friend Jayme, is also the friend responsible for my latest addition, cilantro flavored sour cream.  We buy it at our local farmers market and this stuff is amazing.  I have tried to make it, not quite making it so good, but I’m going to keep trying.  So, I am thinking of making this cilantro flavored mashed potatoes for my dinner tomorrow night with the steak.     I know, it’s going to be fantastic.  Because of my choice of sides, there are many more wines that will pair well with this steak.
hot to trot white Sterling Chardonnay
For all the white wine loving friends, there are several that are big enough to stand up to steak on the grill.  The 14 Hands Hot to Trot white blend is predominately Chardonnay with Pinot Gris and Semmilion from the wonderful state of Washington.   White stone fruit and citrus make for a vibrant twist on a Classic Chardonnay.  Flavors of lemon zest and crisp acidity will match well with those mashed potatoes.   The wine next to it is a wine I tried in a tasting this past week.  Classic California Chardonnay at its best.  Medium to full-bodied, flavors of apples and pear, and a smooth as silk finish makes this a great pairing for your BBQ.
Las Black label
Other wines that I could serve at this BBQ is the Las Moras Black Label Malbec from Argentina.  Argentina makes an amazing Malbec, and I encourage you to try one soon.   This award-winning Malbec is full of rich flavors of coffee, smoke and ripe red fruit.   It can also be served with lamb and pasta and a myriad of other dishes.
Whiz label  Audrey bottle
It would be a crime for me to talk about the grill without bringing out a Shiraz…. and when I think of great Shiraz, I think of Australia.   The Whiz Bang is a beautiful expression of a Shiraz from the Barossa Valley in Australia.  Raspberries, plums, white pepper and spicy vanilla toasted oak will have you asking for a second glass… (maybe even a third).  And the next wine is the Audrey Wilkinson Shiraz, and I mentioned this one for two reasons.  One, it’s a fantastic wine, and two, the winemaker, Jeff Byrne, is from right here in Nova Scotia.  He makes a beautiful Shiraz that packs a punch of gorgeous flavors and subtle oak.  I have one in my rack I’ve been saving, and I think I found tomorrow night’s wine.
Wine Happy woman
And that’s it for this week… Yes, a happy woman is a woman with wine.  I love hearing from you, so if you have a suggestion for your favorite wine with BBQ foods, please drop me a note.
Till next week, Cheers
Darlene

I Wish They All Could be California…..

Posted in Uncategorized on March 15, 2014 by darmyers

Musical Note

Wines!!   On my quest to becoming a Sommelier, our current studies have been on California and its gorgeous wines.  I love my classes, and just to prove it, I have been doing extensive homework with a wide variety of California wines.  And if the Beach Boys thought the California girls were great, just wait till you taste the California wines.

Dancing bull bottle

Let’s start with this baby.  At under $15, it’s a fabulous deal and full of fantastic flavors.  (My, that’s a lot of F words – and not the ones I usually use)   Black cherries, raspberry, vanilla and spice make for all things nice in a wine.   I had it with a BBQ, which won’t come as a surprise to my regular readers, but it does go very well with grilled food.

Predator bottle

Here’s another one of my favorite Zinfandel’s from California.  It’s the Predator Old Vine Zinfandel.  A little higher up in the price scale, but just a gorgeous expression of Zinfandel, with rich flavors that can only come from an old vine, and in this case the vines are 50+ years old.   Juicy and spicy with hints of bacon (hello!) and chocolate – what’s not to like.   And it goes down like velvet.

Mondavi himselfMondavi vineyard

You cannot talk about wine in California, without talking about Robert Mondavi.  He was a leading California winemaker, many say he was ‘the’ leading California winemaker, responsible for bringing Napa Valley wines to worldwide attention.  His was the first vineyard built in the Napa Valley and with his smart technical improvements and savvy marketing skills history was made.

Central Coast label  Mondavi Reserve

The wine on the left is from the Robert Mondavi Private Selection and is great value.  It sells for about $20 a bottle and is a favorite of good friends of mine.   The Robert Mondavi on the right was a birthday gift to me from those friends that are fans of Robert Mondavi.  It’s on the other end of the price scale.  The wine on the left is delicious with flavors cherry and spices.  The wine on the left is heaven in a bottle.  Deep, dark and full of complex flavors.  I know I talked about it last week, but in case you missed that, it was elegant and full flavored and one of the best Cabs I have ever had.

Central Coast labelWoodbridge

I found it very interesting that Robert Mondavi himself is not a big fan of the lower priced wines that carry his name.  In 2003, Mondavi criticized his sons for the business strategy that emphasized the inexpensive lines.  He said it allowed the company name to lose its association with the fine wine it was known for in the past.   Robert Mondavi started his vineyard in 1966 and his goal was to produce wines that would rival the finest in Europe.    And in the Grand European Jury Wine Tasting of 1997, the Robert Mondavi Chardonnay Reserve was ranked number one.   What many don’t know is that the family no longer owns the Robert Mondavi winery.  3 days before Christmas in 2004, there was a controversial takeover by Constellation Brands.

Opus oneerrazuriz

In 1979 he partnered with Baron Phillipe de Rothschild of Chateau Mouton Rothschild, of Bordeaux fame, to create Opus One Winery, which you may recognize, and also has joint ventures with local partners in Europe, Australia and in South America with the Errazuriz name.  Although Robert Mondavi died in 2008 at the age of 94, following the sale of the company, Mondavi partnered with his youngest son Tim Mondavi and daughter Marcia to make a single wine from a single estate at the highest level. The family partnership Continuum Estate is still run by Robert’s son Tim, daughter Marcia and grandchildren Carissa Mondavi, Chiara Mondavi, Carlo Mondavi and Dante Mondavi.

Chateau st JeanBeringer Single vineyardDreaming Tree Crush Calera label

California has a wine for everyone.  Many great wines come out of California, and not just the Napa Valley.  Think Cheateau St. Jean, Beringer, Dreaming Tree and Calera just to name a couple that are available here in Nova Scotia.  Josh Jenson became a pioneer by wanting to find the perfect spot to grow the heartbreak grape Pinot Noir, and rival the finest Burgundian Pinot Noir.   This is a quote from the Calera website:   Even Robert Parker is convinced: “Calera is one of the most compelling Pinot Noir specialists of not only the New World, but of Planet Earth.”   Believe me, I have tried and enjoyed Calera Pinot Noir from the Central Coast line.  And they are right!  Compelling is a great word to use.  I also like balanced, rich and goes with everything food friendly.

I could  probably spend the next month writing about California wines.  I really enjoy them, and visited the Napa Valley in 2001.  I spent 8 glorious days enjoying the many wines of the Napa Valley that we can’t get in Canada.  It’s a beautiful spot with rolling hills of vineyards and the people are fantastic and nice.   I still want to move there one day.

Till next week, Cheers.

Darlene

 

 

Wow Wines for When You Want To Treat Yourself!

Posted in Uncategorized on March 8, 2014 by darmyers
This past week, I have had the opportunity to sample and enjoy some spectacular wines.  And although many of my wine blogs are about great wines at reasonable prices, this week I thought I would delve into the wonderful world of higher priced treat wines.  After all, we all love a treat every once in a while and heaven knows we deserve it.
Beringer Single vineyard Beringer Private reserve
The wine on the left is the Beringer Steinhauer Ranch Cabernet Sauvignon out of California.  Named after long-time vineyard Manager Robert Steinhauer, this Cabernet comes in at about $90, and greets the palate with gorgeous flavors of jammy plums, chocolate, a hint of coffee and lots of mouth-watering spice.  Anniversary?  Special Birthday?  Grill a steak and pour a glass of this wine for that special someone.  The wine on the right is also from Beringer.  It’s the Private Reserve Cabernet coming in at a smooth $120 a bottle.  A gorgeous big bold wine with rich flavors of berries, and a beautiful persistent finish that just stays with you.  I found the tannins on this wine softer and this wine was the epitome of a smooth Cabernet for me.  Probably one of the best ones I have ever had.
Mondavi Reserve
When I turned 50, special friends of mine gave me a very special bottle of wine.  Robert Mondavi Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon 2007.  A beauty that carries a price tag over $150 and I opened it the other night with a very special friend.  Elegant, full flavored and one of the best Cabernet’s I have ever tasted, this has received the highest of reviews.  Generous flavors of blackberry, cassis, toasty vanilla,  and sage made for a wonderful evening.  We enjoyed every sip of this wine and I recommend it to everyone.
Le Clos Jordanne Chardonnay
I can’t do a wine blog about treat wines without writing about my all time favorite white wine.  From Canada, we produce this gorgeous Chardonnay from le Clos Jordanne Le Grand Clos that is soft, subtle and complex all at the same time.   Honeyed fruit and hints of pepper with great minerality, this is my favorite Chardonnay in the world.  It comes in at about $85 a bottle.   It has a sister,  Le Grand Clos Pinot Noir, which I thought I was going to have the chance to try it 2 weeks ago when we studied Canada in my quest to become a Sommelier.  Our instructor had ever intention of bringing it, but he couldn’t find it in the cellar.
For those of you that are new to my weekly wine blog, last summer wine writer Natalie Maclean interviewed myself and Le Clos Jordanne winemaker Sebastian Jacquey.  Here is a short video of that 3-way conversation.  Natalie had named the segment “Wine, Happiness, Chicken & Sommelier’s in Training and that’s what I named the blog to follow.  You see I thought Le Grand Clos Chardonnay was the perfect wine with chicken and apparently so did many other people across Canada, in the Great Canadian Wine Match.
Wine, Happiness, Chicken & Sommelier’s in Training
 
When I was first asked, I was so nervous I almost cancelled.  I am so glad I didn’t cancel, these two talented individuals know so much about wine and I enjoyed every second of the conversation.  And we got to enjoy a glass of the beautiful Chardonnay together.
Well, that’s it for this week.  Thank you so much for reading and sharing with your friends.
Till next week, Cheers
Darlene

Wines of Portugal- Give One A Try

Posted in Uncategorized on March 1, 2014 by darmyers

 

Aren’t these pictures  beautiful?  They are pictures of Portugal and although I haven’t been to Portugal yet, in the past couple of months, I have had a couple of fantastic wines from Portugal.  We recently studied Portugal when I took Old World Wine and we tasted a number of wines, and I’ve also had a couple of bottles of Portuguese wines given to me lately.   So today we are going to venture to Portugal – a country that has fantastic wines, yet it amazes me when I talk to people, how few have tried the wines from Portugal.  So here’s hoping today’s wine blog has you going out and trying a wine from this country.

Alianca with salad

I took this picture last night.  I was having my Buffalo Chicken Southwestern Salad for dinner (after having a big lunch) and I have found the perfect wine to go with anything spicy and/or anything salad.  This wine went together with the Buffalo Chicken like a long married couple.  I love hot and spicy food, including Thai food, Indian cuisine, you name it.  This is perfect, and perfectly affordable.

Alianca label

The wine is Alianca Vinho Verde from Portugal.  Fresh, crisp with the perfect amount of acidity.  The citrus and tropical fruit flavors together with some effervescence make this wine refreshing and fun to drink.   Don’t get effervescence confused with sparkling.  It is not a sparkling wine, but there’s just enough spritz to really bring out the flavors.  Another Vinho Verde I have tried recently while studying about wines in Portugal is this one.

Quinta vinho verde

The Quinta Da Avaleda is a little dryer, but still tasty nonetheless.  Those light fresh citrus notes are there  along with some minerality and I understand this is a great wine that goes with mussels and oysters.  As most of you know, I am allergic to most seafood, so I’m taking the word of people smarter than me on this subject.  Another find from Portugal for all my red wine drinking friends, is this one.

Borba bottle

This beauty from Portugal is under $20 as well, and it’s full-bodied, rich and has gorgeous fruit flavors mixed with notes of chocolate.    What’s not to like about this wine?  It’s big and bold and will complement any beef dish you would want to serve.

When people think of Portugal, they may be thinking just Port.  There is much more to Portugal than just Port.  Wines from Portugal are yet to be discovered by many people, and this is a country where wine and food are so important to the people.  Known for hearty portions and big meaty dishes, Portugal offers a wide variety of wines from different regions, all focusing on the strength of that region.

Callabriga

Here’s one more I’ve tried recently.  Made from Tempranillo and Touriga Nacional, this heavy duty baby can stand up to anything you put on a grill.  With its fruit driven flavors and hints of wood and herbs, this was meant for meat.  Touriga Nacional is a local grape variety from Portugal and many people believe one of the best, as it adds body and structure to wines.

When I started my journey to becoming a Sommelier, I promised I would bring you along with me, by sharing what I’ve learned about different wines from around the world.  Portugal was fairly new to me until recently but if you want great wine at reasonable prices, head to the ‘Wines from Portugal’ section of your favorite wine store.  You won’t be disappointed.

Till next week, Cheers

Darlene

 

 

 

Welcome to the World of South American Wine!

Posted in Wine on February 22, 2014 by darmyers
In my quest to become a Sommelier, I have just recently studied wines from Chile & Argentina, and let me tell you… you can discover some beautiful wines at very reasonable prices.
Let’s start with Chile.  Although wine has been made in Chile for 500 years, the wine industry is young and fresh.  They did get a burst of international attention in the mid-19th Century when Phylloxera devastated the vineyards in France.  French wine makers came over looking for work and Chile welcomed them with open arms.  It wasn’t long before Chilean wine was wanted locally and abroad.  However, with 2 World Wars and decades of state protectionism, it wasn’t until the 1980’s that Chile started to enjoy  a resurgence.  Chile now exports wine to 100 countries and there are some beautiful wines available from this country.
Here’s a Pinot Noir I had the other evening.  First time ever trying a Pinot Noir from Chile and I really enjoyed it.  There was a time wine-drinkers would tell you to stay away from a Pinot Noir under $20, however, this one is only $18.99 and it’s a beautiful expression of a Pinot Noir.  From the Casablanca region of Chile (isn’t that a romantic name for a wine region), it is medium-bodied with notes of cherry and delicate spices.  It is aromatic and food friendly and I enjoyed it thoroughly.

 

      
Three of the biggest names in Chile are  Concha Y Toro, Errazuriz and Santa Rita.  The Casillero del Diablo wine is the mainstay of the winery Concha y Toro, and has a fabulous story.  The rumor that the wine cellar was haunted by the devil gave this wine its unique name and now comes in 10 different varieties.   The Merlot, which is pictured here, along with the Carmenere from Errazuriz, has a unique history in Chile as well.  Carmenere was once mistaken for Merlot, even though it looked different and ripened 2 – 4 weeks later than Merlot.  These two varietals were harvested and bottled together, which sometimes gave Chilean Merlot a green unripe taste.  In 1994, through DNA testing, Carmenere was identified as a varietal on its own.  Now Chilean Merlot, like this one from Concha Y Toro, is smooth and rich with lush flavors of plums, black cherry and chocolate.  Carmenere is now known as Chile’s grape, never finding its proper home in Bordeaux France.  The Errazuriz Carmenere elicits gorgeous flavors of dark fruits, coffee and spice.  And both of these wines are under $20!
According to legend, 120 patriots, exhausted after a long, hard battle during the fight for Chile’s independence, reached the land belonging to Santa Rita. On that fateful night in 1814, these forces of liberty found refuge in the estate cellars.  The Santa Rita Chardonnay sells for under $17 where I live, and is a full-bodied beauty with flavors of vanilla and tropical fruits.
Separated by Chile by the majestic Andes Mountain Range, Argentina is the biggest wine producer in South America and the 5th largest in the world.   You cannot talk about wine in Argentina, without talking about Malbec.   It is the flagship of wines in Argentina and the biggest producer of Malbec in the world.  Originating in Bordeaux, it was used to pigment wines, but it has a starring role in Argentina.
Privada
This Norton Privada Malbec is a big winner in my eyes.  This is a big bold full-bodied wine.  Full of ripe fruit and bold spice, this baby can take on any grilled meat, steak or roast.   This wine was made for beef.
Catena Malbec
Of the 210,000 hectares of vines planted in Argentina, 156,000 of them are planted in the region of Mendoza.  The biggest wine region in Argentina, offers a wide variety of wines, and again Malbec shines.  This Catena Malbec is gorgeous, dark and rich.  Spice, chocolate and vanilla flavors complement this wine, and again it’s under $20.
Chile and Argentina offer a wide variety of delicious wines in both red and white.  I didn’t even get to discuss Brazil.  Check it out at your favorite wine store and discover a whole New World of wine!
Cheers
Darlene

Gold Medal Winning Food & Wine Combos

Posted in Uncategorized on February 15, 2014 by darmyers

Sochi logo

The Winter Olympics are still on and Canada is doing so well.  It makes me feel like cooking!  And cooking is something I have been doing…. and in my house, when you cook – you pair it with wine.

I have posted a recipe for Caprese Chicken before, but this is my own twist to the recipe.  So, I am calling this one my own… and it tastes as good as it looks.

Caprese

Darlene’s Caprese Chicken: 

  • Butterfly Chicken Breast (baked)
  • Olive Oil (buy a quality one)
  • Balsamic Vinegar (you can even use a flavored one)
  • Baby plum tomatoes – the small and sweet ones
  • Mozzarella Cheese
  • Garlic
  • Fresh Ground pepper
  • Freeze dried onion flakes
  • Salt is optional, I don’t tend to cook with it
  • Fresh basil and parsley

Cook your chicken breast.  In a small frying pan combine the olive oil, balsamic vinegar, onion flakes, garlic, mozzarella cheese, the baby plum tomatoes and salt and pepper.  Sautee for a couple of minutes and pour on top of the chicken and garnish with the basil and parsley.

Guaranteed to wow family and friends.  Now for the wine!

Here’s a match made in Valentine’s Day heaven.  Kim Crawford Pinot Noir out of New Zealand.  From the cooler regions of New Zealand, this Pinot Noir is flavorful and food friendly.  Earthy tones with fruity black cherries and raspberries this wine would compliment, and not compete with all the flavors in the Caprese chicken.   I decided to have a little fun with my original Caprese chicken recipe, and this is the wine I matched with it.

 Dreaming Tree Crush

Drinking white with this dish?  You can’t go wrong with most of the Chardonnay’s out of California.  This one is from Dreaming Tree, getting a lot of good reviews about its Chardonnay, and the winery as a whole, co-owned by musician Dave Matthews.  Beautiful citrus notes, apples and some spice, this is another great wine that won’t compete with the flavors of the dish, but will go hand in hand.   I have a friend at work, Cassandra who loves the Dreaming Tree Red Crush.   This would go with the Caprese Chicken as well.   The Red Crush contains some of my favorite grapes in the whole world, 55% Merlot, which gives it those gorgeous smoky berry plum flavors, and rounded out with Zinfandel, Petite Sirah and Syrah.  Fruity, smooth but with great structure from the Syrah, this wine can stand up to just about any dish.    For those that have never hear of Petite Sirah, it’s a different grape variety from Syrah, which is also known as Shiraz.  Petite Sirah orginiated in France, as a clone with Syrah as the Daddy plant and Peloursin as the Momma plant.  Petite Sirah is late to ripen, so it didn’t do well in France.  It thrives well in California, where you will see many wine makers include it in a blend to add a deeper color, more distinct tannins and a velvety texture.

I had my sister over for supper this past week.  She takes care of my Tigger when I travel.  And she loves my stuffed Butterfly pork chops.  So here’s the recipe.  Thanks to my friend Jay Lawrence for passing along what has become one of my favorite recipes.
Stuffed Butterfly Pork Chops:
Butterfly Pork Chops (ensure they are thin)
In a bowl, combine:
Bread crumbs
Feta Cheese
Real bacon bits
Onion
Apple slice, cut up
Cranberries add a nice touch, but are optional
Savory
A dab of butter
Make stuff and put the stuffing on one side of the pork chop.  Fold over and secure with tooth picks.  I like to grill them, but you can do them in the oven.   I like to serve them two ways, one with a spicy mustard, or a curried pickled relish.
Now the wine:
Riesling…. Even if you are not a white wine drinker, try this delicious Riesling from Germany.  Even if you have tried a Riesling and didn’t like, spend the couple of extra dollars and try this one.
Rheingau Riesling label
The Balthasar Ress Hattenheim Riesling from Rheingau.  Now there’s a mouthful.  You may want to take a picture or write that one down before you head out to your favorite wine store.   This premium German Riesling has a touch of sweetness, great acidity and mouth-watering flavors of apples, pear and honey.  Hello!  What’s not to like.   It will be like a sweet kiss with this sweet pork dish.
If you just drink red, a nice smoky Merlot.  And because I like Merlot so much, I’m going to recommend a couple of my favorites.
Dada label
One of the best deals in the liquor store right now is DaDa out of Argentina.  At under $16, this fabulous juicy plump Merlot is full-bodied and made with no sulphur additions.  Gorgeous Merlot.  I always have a bottle or two in the wine rack.
Benziger
Another gorgeous Merlot is this Benziger from Sonoma County in the Napa Valley.  Not to be confused with the Beringer Family, although they make really good wine too.  This is  a nice rich plummy wine with a hint of vanilla from the oak aging.
Bois Pertuis
Another good deal is this Merlot-dominant Bordeaux out of France.  Under $17, and this Bordeaux will surprise you.  Of course being Bordeaux, it’s a blend, there’s some Cabernet Sauvignon and Cabernet Franc in there as well.   Oh, and since the Olympics are on, this wine won a Gold and Silver Medal in competition.   Medium bodied with plum and cherry flavors, a hint of vanilla and its been aged in French oak for 8 months.  To use expensive French oak (each barrel ranges from $800 to $1200) and sell the wine for under $20, that’s a good bargain.  And its very food friendly.
Have a great week, enjoy the Olympics, but more importantly, enjoy some great wine this week
Cheers
Darlene

 

Gold Medal Winning Wines

Posted in Uncategorized on February 8, 2014 by darmyers

Sochi logo

Well, the 2014 Winter Olympics have just started in Sochi Russia, and it got me to thinking of Gold Medal Winning wines.  There are many different wine competitions throughout the world, including the International Wine Challenge based in Britain, the International Wine Competition based in Brussels, and what is believed to be the oldest and longest running wine competition ‘The International Wine and Spirit Competition’.   It started in 1969 and is considered to be one of the most prestigious wine competitions in the world.  

Let’s start in Canada.  The See Ya Later Ranch, what a great name for a winery, has won many awards dating back to 2007 on their website.   See Ya Later Ranch

But in 2013 the Syrah VQA from the Okanogan Valley vineyard won the Gold Medal.  The panel of judges had this to say “The nose is like opening a tin of maturing ginger cake.  Sploshed with baked plum, blueberry coulis and a grind of pepper. The mouth entry is a confident start, plenty of fruit and firm supportive tannin structure.  The acid and the spice notes chase each other through the palate.  This is a big mouthful, lots of personality and verve.  It balances itself beautifully.   Very good cellaring potential.”

   
With our frigid Canadian winters, especially this one, if there’s one thing Canada knows how to do well is make great Ice Wines.  And 4 of our Canadian Ice Wines have won Gold Medals.  Peller Estates 2011 Ice Wine, Inniskillin 2011 Riesling Ice Wine, Jackson Triggs Grand Reserve Riesling Ice Wine 2008 and the Mission Hill Family Estate Riesling Ice Wine of 2011 have claimed the prize.  I recently had someone tell me they opened a bottle of Ice Wine, but found it too sweet to drink.  I came to discover he poured it in a regular glass, and went about drinking it as if it was a Pinot Grigio.  My friend is recently getting into wine, and as I told him, my favorite time to enjoy a dessert wine is after a big meal, when I want something sweet, but don’t have room for cake or any of the other desserts.  An ice wine, or a dessert wine as it can be called, is just that…. dessert!
Angove family vineyards has a reputation for putting out spectacular wines at very good prices.  This Angove Family Crest Shiraz  is available in my home province of Newfoundland, at around $36 a bottle.  The NLC carries a wide range of Angove products, but this one is a Gold Medal Winner.  With its rich aromas of spice, pepper and red cherries, this full-bodied Shiraz with its gorgeous flavors of dark chocolate and rich fruit would be welcome at any dinner table, especially one serving BBQ foods.
Gnarly Head label
Now this is a wine you have seen me write about before.  I am a huge fan of Old Vine Zinfandels, and this Gnarly Head is easy to drink and beautifully priced.  This gold medal winner, which I enjoy on a regular basis, is available for under $20.   Here’s what the judges had to say
“Medium dark ruby.  Ripe, dark roasted coffee, black pepper, hints of coconut, jammy strawberry and apricot aromas.  Medium bodied, deliciously ripe red plums and strawberry compote,  wonderfully balanced with soft, bright,  fresh fruit flavors.
I hope you enjoy the Olympics and a big Good Luck to all our Canadian athletes.  We will be cheering you all on, with our own Gold Medal winners in our wine glass.
Till next week, Cheers
Darlene

Favorite Family Vineyards

Posted in Uncategorized on February 1, 2014 by darmyers

Last week I had a family emergency and had to fly home in a hurry.  Thankfully everything ended up Ok, but it got me thinking a lot about Family. And as I visited my wine store last night I was looking at the shelves at some of my favorite family vineyards

7034f-2009_francis_ford_coppola_diamond_collection_claret

Here is a favorite of mine, as many of you know. The vineyard owned by Francis Ford Coppola and his family was a winery I visited a few years ago.  They put out many great wines, including this Black Diamond Claret, based on a Bordeaux style blend is Cabernet Sauvignon based.

 Here’s another favorite of mine from California.  The McManis family has been farming in California since 1938 and in 1990, 4th generation Ron McManis and his wife Jamie started the vineyard.   They put out some of my favorite California wines including a great Cabernet Sauvignon (pictured), a delicious Merlot and a juicy Zinfandel.

Australia has a group of wine makers called ‘Australia’s 1st Families of Wine”, an initiative created by 12 family owned Australian wineries spanning 16 different regions in Australia.   Together they have over 1200 years of winemaking experience, and although I haven’t tried all of them, some of the ones we can get in Canada are delicious.

Yalumba for example, makes a spectacular Viognier.  I love Viognier, and has become my favorite wine to accompany turkey.  Yalumba was started in 1849 by Samual Britch and the word ‘Yalumba’ is aboriginal for ‘All the Land Around”.   Not only do they make a great Viognier, they also grow a Tempranillo in Australia.  I love Tempranillo, however, I haven’t tried this one yet.

Another one on the list which is familiar here in Canada is the De Bortoli Family name.   Reasonably priced, easy to drink wines from Australia.  The Shiraz pictured below is juicy and jammy with gorgeous flavors of raspberry and is under $13.  Wow.

New Zealand has a spectacular Family vineyard, called Saint Clair Family Estate.  The Wines are available here in Canada and the Pinot Noir is so good it will bring you to your knees.  I have tried two of the wines from the Saint Clair Family Estate.

The Sauvignon Blanc was the first Saint Clair wine I tried, and I loved it.  Light bodied  and crisp with gorgeous flavors and aromas.  This is a beautiful expression of a Sauvignon Blanc wine from New Zealand.

The Pinot Noir is so good, you will sit in your home with a glass, and just smell the wine for a while.  OK, I did that.  First of all, Pinot Noir is probably my favorite wine of all time.  Like Paul Giamatti’s character in the movie Sideways, I am captivated by the flavors and aromas of this finicky heart-break grape.  (Unlike Paul’s character in the movie, I happen to love Merlot.)    I guess Pinot Noir is hard to grow, and that I can really appreciate what the vintner goes through.  Hints of cherry and raspberry greet your nose, and you will detect it was aged in French oak.  A beautiful mouth-feel with a toasted spicy tobacco note.  Serve it with any white meat, your house guests will love you.

Peller Estates

I would be remiss without mentioning a family owned Vineyard from Canada.  And Peller Estates, which started in 1927 by Andrew Peller, is run today by his grandson John Peller.   It’s been over 50 years since Andrew Peller’s first vintage, and I’m proud as hell that this vineyard is located here in Canada.

Peller Estates makes an award-winning ice wine, as a matter of fact, they make several award-winning ice wines.  Located on the Niagara Peninsula in Canada, the summers are warm enough to grow grapes and the Canadian winters are cold enough to make ice wine.
Family Series Cabernet Merlot 2012
I have also had the opportunity to try the Peller Estates Cabernet Merlot, which has 48% Merlot, 27% Cabernet Franc and 25% Cabernet Sauvignon.  Full-bodied with flavors of plums and blackberries, with spicy oak.  Makes for a great wine for anything you want to throw on the BBQ.
There are many more family owned vineyards throughout the world, and I have just touched on a few of my favorites.
What are your favorites?
Thanks for reading, have a great week
Darlene

More Great Wine – More Great Recipes

Posted in Wine & Food on January 18, 2014 by darmyers

 

A big thank you to the huge amount of you that shared and read last week’s blog on comfort food.  I had tremendous feedback, especially from some non-wine drinkers who really enjoyed the recipes.   (Lisa, again thanks for the great idea)…Are we on to something here?  Or is winter bringing out the comfort food in people?  It doesn’t matter, here are a few more of my favorite recipes with some of my favorite wines and some new wines I have discovered since the holidays.

   Caprese Chicken

Nothing irritates me more than making a recipe, and it doesn’t come out looking like the recipe.  I guarantee, if you try this recipe, it will come out looking like the picture above.  Also, it is so easy, both my cooking-challenged sisters could make this recipe, and it would still come out looking like the picture.  I had this recipe last night, so I thought I would share it today.  EASY!

Caprese Chicken (5 easy ingredients)

* Chicken Breast * Mozzarella Cheese *Balsamic Vinegar * Tomato * Sun-dried Tomato Salad Dressing *Basil

- Cook the chicken in the Sun-dried Tomato Salad Dressing till almost done

- Slice real Mozzarella cheese and place it on top

- Lay a slice of tomato (or 2) on top

Finish cooking, till the Mozzarella cheese has started to melt down the sides

Remote from heat, and drizzle Balsamic vinegar over the chicken.  Sprinkle with Basil, and I love fresh Basil.

Every time I make this for guests, they are super impressed, and  honestly, it’s my week-day go-to chicken dish, because it is so easy.

Now the fun part….. matching the wine!

This is the wine I had with it, it’s a Pinot Noir from Burgundy.   Oh, to say they were good together would be an understatement.   It was divine.   It was a 2006 Savigny Les Beaune from the Burguny region in France.  So flavorful and smooth, there is not a drop left in that bottle this morning.

 

The wine next to it  is a new wine I have discovered this past week, and it would be a great wine to go with those delicious chicken flavors.  A blend of Syrah (55%), Grenache, Mourvedre and Petit Sirah make it complex enough to stand up to all those unique flavors in the Caprese Chicken, but won’t over power it.  Winemaker Austin Hope has created a delicious fruity wine with flavors of smoke and violets.  I have to stop recommending wine to people, I went back to buy more at my favorite store and it was sold out.  As was this one….

The DaDa 2 from Argentina, which is 100% Merlot, was sold out as well.  This wine would also go excellent with the chicken, and at just $15.99 a bottle, this is a staple in my wine rack.  I have everyone at the Radio Station I work at (the job that pays for the wine) drinking this wine and loving it…. I have to stop that.. (only kidding).  Plump, juicy and flavorful, this wine goes great with most chicken and pork dishes.

        
A Chardonnay would also go perfect with this chicken dish, and this is a new one I got this week.  490 Meters Chardonnay is fresh and fruity with flavors of peach, fruit salad and citrus.    And it comes in under $20.  Another choice for Chardonnay, would be the Dreaming Tree Chardonnay from Dave Matthews’ Vineyard in California.
And because Caprese Chicken is Italian, an Italian Pinot Grigio would be awesome together.   A good rule of thumb is that a wine from a region on many occasions will go with food from the region.  In all my wine courses I am told, ‘Match the wine of a region to the food of the region’.    So many wines, one chicken dish.
BBQ Ribs  ( I knew that would get your attention!)
My Dad says that I make the best BBQ Ribs he has ever had.  And every time he comes to visit, or I go home to visit, he asks me to make my ribs.  Like the picture below I separate my Baby Back Ribs bone by bone as well.   This recipe isn’t hard either, but it does take some time.
So you start with my marinade.  As you can tell with many of my recipes, I don’t use measuring spoons, so just toss it in a bowl.
* Brown Sugar * Vinegar * Worcestershire Sauce * Lime Juice * Fresh Ground Pepper * Chili Powder * Garlic * Paprika * Bottle of BBQ Sauce.
I like to marinade them for 6 hours, or even overnight.  Then I put them in my crock pot, and slow cook them for about 3 hours.  Your house will smell delicious.  Then I fire up the grill and finish them off to get those nice grill marks, and a little more BBQ sauce.   Low heat, as they are cooked and you don’t want them to burn.
Here’s the beauty about making BBQ ribs.  You enjoy wine while cooking the ribs on the grill,  and you enjoy wine while eating the ribs.  It’s win-win really.
Having an Old Vine Zinfandel with BBQ ribs is like having the love of your life serenade you with a love song.  It’s just makes your heart skip a beat.  Gnarly head is one of my favorites and under $20, another win-win situation.  An old vine Zinfandel makes a statement, and a delicious one.  Flavors of spice, plum, vanilla and toasted oak, this wine goes with any food you want to put on the grill.
A California Cabernet Sauvignon would also go hand in hand with BBQ ribs and McManis makes a gorgeous award-winning Cab.  Dark berry fruits, a hint of smoke, and toasty oak screams for BBQ ribs.  Also a great wine with BBQ steak.  I am a huge fan of the full line of wines from the McManis family.  Check them out, and let me know what you think.

On that note, I thought this was good advice to leave you with.  Live Simply, Laugh Often and Wine A Lot!  Thanks for sharing with your friends, it’s greatly appreciated.

Till next week, In Vino Veritas  (In Wine there is Truth)

Darlene

Comfort Food – Comfort Wine!

Posted in Wine & Food on January 11, 2014 by darmyers

Every once in a while, I get writer’s block.  For the past 3 years, I have consistently wrote a wine blog on Saturday mornings, and I never want to skip a Saturday, because I really appreciate the people who tell me that they enjoy sitting with a cup of coffee and reading the blog.  So a big thank you to my friend Lisa Peach Butt, who gave me the idea behind this week’s blog.  I put it out on the Wine – In My Opinion Facebook page (shameless plug here – https://www.facebook.com/pages/Wine-In-My-Opinion/223994754407204) and she told me one of the things she’d like to know is which wine to serve with which food.

And since most of Canada and much of the United States is in the middle of a polar vortex, and we are having one of the worst winters in a few years…. I thought back on the food I’ve been cooking and eating these past couple of weeks.  I’m not only going to write on  Comfort food, and which wine goes best with your favorite comfort foods, but I’m going to share some of my favorite comfort food recipes.

This is what I had last night, with some honey roasted potatoes.   It’s a Spicy Honey Chicken.  Simple and easy to make.   Combine honey, paprika, garlic, cayenne pepper, vinegar, (I used balsamic), chili powder and some salt and pepper.   I added some Frank’s Hot Sauce, because I like spicy food, but it wasn’t in the recipe.   Mix it all together, and pour it over your favorite chicken.  Last night I used thighs.  Bake it in the oven till the chicken is done, or you can do what I did, and take advantage of +1 degree weather, and BBQ’d it.  I used an aluminum foil pan from the dollar store, and did it on the grill.

 

And this is the wine I had with it.   A brand new Pinot Noir I tried from the Marlborough region of New Zealand.  And it didn’t disappoint.  Winemaker Brent Marris created a beauty with the perfect amount of acidity and a light touch of oak that came in under $20.  Any Pinot Noir will do because the soft vibrant flavors of the wine don’t compete with the taste of the dish, and even a nice Zinfandel.   Pictured is one of my favorites, 7 Deadly Zins, which I always have in my wine rack.   For my white wine loving friends, because of the spiciness of the chicken, a crisp Sauvignon Blanc or a Pinot Grigio.  You can go with Chardonnay for a chicken dish, but the spiciness of this particular dish, I think, pairs well with something a little more crisp.    Here are a couple of my favorites, which come in around the $20 mark here in Canada.  The Sauvignon Blanc is from New Zealand, and the Pinot Grigio is from Italy.  Both wines are light and crisp won’t overpower the chicken, but compliment it.

 

Also this past week, I made Bowtie Chicken Alfredo Pasta.  You know, the weight scale wouldn’t groan as much as it does, if there wasn’t decadent delicious foods like this pasta dish.

I know…. right?  Mercy, it was good.  I got this from a website called ‘The Pioneer Woman’.  Ree Drummond is my hero.  She can cook like no man’s tomorrow.  She has a show on the Food Network and a wonderful website.  What I like most about the website, The Pioneer Woman, is that she breaks down the recipes step by step, and shows pictures along the way.  Here is the link to the recipe for Bowtie Chicken Alfredo.  The only thing I added, because with the heavy cream and real butter I was worried  it may not have had enough calories, (groan!)  I added real bacon bits.  I cooked a couple of strips of maple infused bacon, and made bacon bits.

http://http://thepioneerwoman.com/cooking/2012/12/bowtie-chicken-alfredo/

This dish has ‘have a glass of wine with me‘ written all over it.   A Chardonnay would go hand in hand beautifully.  The rich creaminess of a nice Chardonnay would compliment the rich creaminess of the pasta dish.  Here are a couple of my favorites.  One comes in under $20, the other… ah, not so much.
    
Red wine also goes beautifully with the Bowtie Chicken Alfredo.  So many red wines.  because of the richness of the dish, a nice smoky Merlot or a nice Cote du Rhone from France, or a GSM, which is a blend of Grenache, Syrah and Mourvedre.   Here are a couple of my favorites.  The Velvet Devil Merlot is from Washington State and is under $20, and the Cote du Rhone is from France.  (bet you guessed that one) and it comes in under $15 – and a great value.  The GSM is from the U.S.A and is about $21 here.
  
Another big dish this week I think many people enjoyed, was Shepherd’s Pie.  Nothing says comfort food like Shepherd’s Pie.  Ok, maybe for some homemade Mac and Cheese.  But for me, its pasta and/or Shepherd’s Pie.   Or how about a nice beef stew… yeah!
 
Any dish with all this meat, gravy, potatoes and veggies, a big bold Cabernet Sauvignon.  There are so many good Cabernet Sauvignon wines that come out of California for under $20. we don’t have the time or the room to talk about them all.  So let’s pick a couple.  You can’t go wrong with Robert Mondavi, he has spent years perfecting Cabernet Sauvignon.  The other one is a Beringer, but really, anything Cabernet Sauvignon would go with Shepherd’s Pie or beef stew.
 
For all my white wine loving readers, a well-oaked Chardonnay would be perfect.  As well, I have heard of a Viognier.  A Viognier is one of my favorites with turkey.  And I’ve heard for the reason, it can cut through fatty red meat.    And this is my favorite, from Stags Leap.  They make a beautiful Viognier, complex, well-balanced and vibrant.  Me, I still like a red with my beef.
Well that’s it for this week.  I have to go walk off some of this comfort food I’ve been eating.  Enjoy the recipes and enjoy the wine.
Till next week, Cheers
Darlene

 

 

Hello New Year

Posted in Wine on January 4, 2014 by darmyers

Here it is again, the beginning of a brand new year.  I always look at this time of the year as a clean slate.  It’s exciting, we get to write what we want 2014 to look like.   There’s a quote that says, and I’m not sure who said it, but it goes something like this… “Never too old, never too bad, never too late, never too sick to start from scratch again”.   And although I am not one to make resolutions, I do have some ideas of what I would like to do in 2014, especially as it relates to wine!

As most of you know, I take a big trip every year, and this year I have the opportunity to travel to Tuscanny.  A group of new friends I met through my Old World Wine Class this past year are going on a guided trip, headed by our teacher.  Mark DeWolf is the President of the Canadian Association of Professional Sommeliers, and he also owns a company called By The Glass, which does guided tours through Italy.  It’s a fantastic opportunity and the only thing I have to check on, is because most meals are included, I have to see how much seafood fare is on the menu, as I am allergic.   But there are 9 winery tours lined up – how exciting will that be!

That trip is for one week in the beginning of May.  And at the same time, a couple of friends of mine are going to be visiting the Amalfi Coast in Italy for 3 weeks.  Since I would like to stay longer than one week in Italy, and see more of Italy, I am going to take the train down to the Amalfi Coast for a few days and tour around with my friends.   Hello dream vacation of a lifetime.
I would also like to continue my wine education in 2014.  Still awaiting on my mark from Old World Wine, but I am seriously considering taking New World Wine through the CAPS program this year.   That would be very exciting for me, as I am a huge fan of New World wines.   United States, Australia, New Zealand, and Canada (just to name a few)… I would love to discover new wines from these regions.   That’s one of the things I enjoyed the most from the Old World Wine course, was the new wines I discovered, that I probably wouldn’t venture out and buy unless I had the chance to try them… For example a $76 Pomerol from France.  It was a beauty though.
And how about a Tokaji – I would never have discovered the luscious taste of Tokaji without taking a wine course.
Royal Tokaji Wine Company 5 Puttonyos Aszu
And of course every time a person takes a new course, there’s always the interesting people you meet.  And it doesn’t have to be about wine.  Take a course in anything that interests you, and I guarantee you will meet a new friend… or two!  It’s also a fantastic way to break up those long winter months.
And then of course there are the new wines waiting to be discovered in 2014.  I follow several wine blogs, and wine loving people on Facebook and Twitter, and I love when they throw out a recommendation on a great new wine.   Just recently on twitter, I had someone send a great soundtrack to enjoy while enjoying a glass of wine.  Would you believe there are many people who read this blog that I have never met in person?  Yet we have become friends through social media and our love of wine.  And I am always learning from these wine loving, haven’t met yet, friends.
I love to eat almost as much as I love to drink wine, and look forward to discovering new recipes and experiences in 2014 as well.    So there you have it, some of the many reasons I am excited about 2014.  I would love to hear from you, what are you excited about in 2014?
Till next week, Cheers
Darlene

 

Best of 2013

Posted in Wine on December 29, 2013 by darmyers

It’s hard to believe another year has come to an end.  In a few days we will ring in 2014, and I swear, the older I get, the faster the time goes.  It was a great year in many ways.  I have settled into the city of Halifax very well, and I love this city.  I have also furthered my education into my journey to becoming a Sommelier.  And I got to be interviewed along with Sebastian Jacquey, winemaker at Le Clos Jordanne, along with Natalie Maclean.

Here is one of the highlights of my wine year.

Darlene  Le Clos Jordanne Le Grand Clos Chardonnay 2007  Sommelier’s in Training

Another highlight in my wine year, was I got to taste a wide variety of wines, thanks to the CAPS program, Old World Wine, Module 3.  I fell in love with Tokaji wine.  Before this year, I didn’t know what Tokaji was, let alone that Hungary made this luscious beauty, out of grapes I have never heard of.  Have you ever heard of Furmint?  or Haarslevelu?  Those are the grapes that contribute to this beautiful wine.

Royal Tokaji Wine Company 5 Puttonyos Aszu

Tokaji Aszu is a full-bodied dessert wine that has gorgeous flavors of honey and apricots, balanced with sweet richness and uplifting acidity.  This is the wine I had after my Christmas turkey dinner.  I wasn’t in the mood for the cake dessert, but wanted something a little sweet.  I served it ice cold, and savored every moment.  It’s a bit of treat, as are all Tokaji wines.  They are labor intensive and worth every penny.

I also discovered the world of Bordeaux France this year.  I didn’t know a lot about French wines, and I was thrilled to be able to try so many this year, thanks to my course.   Left Bank is Cabernet Sauvignon dominant, and Right Bank Merlot dominant.  I discovered beautiful Pomerol and St. Emilion wines.  This was one of my favorites that I got to try this year.

At $76 a bottle, it was a great treat.  A blend of 85% Merlot and 15% Cabernet Franc, was a beautiful silky expression of a Pomerol from Bordeaux France.  Robert Parker gave this wine a 92 Rating.  It is beautiful.  I also discovered the joy of Burgundian wines.  A French Burgundy red is Pinot Noir (unless it’s Beaujolais), and regular readers of this blog know I just love a Pinot Noir.

Bouchard Pinot Noir 

Who knew that some of the vineyards in Burgundy are so small, as small as 10 acres, that they can’t afford to go to market with their wines, so they use a Negociant.  Pinot Noir offers smooth flavors of red cherries, great structure and fine tannins.  I love the food friendliness a Pinot Noir offers, it goes with everything.

 

Here’s the wine from Italy that took top honors from the Port of Wines Show in Nova Scotia.  Taurasi was a new discovery for me as well and the Vesevo Taurasi was one of the best.  Deeply colored wine and bold flavors of plums, licorice and spices, this wine is known as the Barolo of the South.  Using the Aglianico grape, I recently had the opportunity to try another one.  The Piano Cerro Aglianico Reserva is another gorgeous expression of Aglianico.  I have the opportunity to go to Italy in 2014 and I’m pretty sure that’s where the vacation will be this year.

A note to say Happy New Year and thank you so much for taking the time out each week to read the blog, and to share it with family and friends.

Here’s to a great 2014.

Cheers

Darlene

Twas The Week Before Christmas

Posted in Uncategorized, Wine on December 21, 2013 by darmyers
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 a little old driver, so lively and quick,
I knew in a moment it must be St Nick.
I ran to get a glass, so glad that he came!
And he whistled, and shouted, and called them by name!

“Now Dasher! now, Dancer! now, Prancer and Vixen!
On, Comet! On, Cupid!  on Donner and Blitzen!
Out to the porch, I gave him a call!
Offering red or white, you can have it all !”

He was dressed all in fur, from his head to his foot,
And his clothes were all tarnished with ashes and soot.
His eyes-how they twinkled! his dimples how merry!
His cheeks were like roses, his nose like a cherry!
It looked as if this wasn’t his first of the night
And his purple stained teeth, proved I was right
He spoke not a word, but went straight to the glass,
And politely inquired if I had any Alsace.
And filled all the stockings, then turned with a jerk.
He took a big sip and went back to work
And laying his finger aside of his nose,
And giving a nod, up the chimney he rose!He sprang to his sleigh, to his team gave a whistle,
And away they all flew like the down of a thistle.
But I heard him exclaim, as he drove out of sight,
“Happy Christmas to all, and to all a good-night!”
A little fun with a Christmas classic.  I hope each and every one of you have a great Christmas, and please drink responsibly.  I would like to take this opportunity to thank you each and every one of you for accompanying me on my journey with wine.
Darlene 

Mrs. Claus’ Favorite Wines Part II

Posted in Red Wine on December 14, 2013 by darmyers

Mrs. Claus 2

Last week we told you about some of the Mrs. Claus’ favorites wines, however we only got a few countries covered.  We did Canada, the United States, Chile, and Argentina.  Now it’s time to go across the pond and tell you about Mrs. Claus’ favorite wines from a few other places.  Let’s travel to New Zealand, where they are famous for Sauvignon Blanc and Pinot Noir.

 

Above is the Saint Clair Sauvignon Blanc, and like all Sauvignon Blancs from New Zealand, this is a beautiful crisp white wine, with refreshing acidity and loaded with flavors of citrus and a hint of tropical flavors.  This is Mrs. Claus’ all time favorite wine with a salad, and it goes great with Sushi as well.  The next one is Kim Crawford Pinot Noir.  Kim Crawford Winery has been winning awards for their Pinot Noir wines and Sauvignon Blanc wines, and is one of Mrs. Claus’ favorites vineyards in New Zealand.   Many wine critics are saying New Zealand Pinot Noir can compete with the best from Burgundy, France.  Mrs. Claus likes the vibrant fruit flavors with spicy and herbal notes.  She thinks it’s one of the best wines that go with most dishes she serves the jolly red fellow.

When Santa leaves New Zealand, he usually heads to Australia, and while’s he’s there he knows he better pick the Mrs. up a bottle of wine from Wolf Blass.   Wolf Blass has been make great wines since 1966, and if the truth be known, Mrs. Claus has a little crush on Wolf, rascal that he is.

 

Most places around the world, people leave out milk and cookies for Santa.  Wolf knows to leave out a bottle of his Platinum Label Shiraz for Mrs. Claus.  A great representation of the terroir, Mrs. Claus loves the big bold flavors of blueberries, spice, dark chocolate with a hint of coffee.   I have a feeling this will be on many people’s Christmas list this year, it’s spectacular.

 

Santa heads up to France, never forgetting to pick up a special dessert wine from Sauternes.  After a big meal, sometimes Mrs. Claus doesn’t want a big heavy dessert, but loves this 2007 dessert wine from Chateau de Myrat.   Luscious full-bodied flavors of apricot, toffee and a slight raisin flavor makes this wine of her favorites.   And he also treats her to a Bordeaux, from Pomerol on the Right Bank of Bordeaux.  This Christian Mouix Pomerol has gorgeous plum flavors and good structure.  It’s a good value for a Bordeaux wine from the region of Pomerol, some of thse can get quite expensive.

And last but not least, on his stop in Italy, he picks up a Masi Amarone.  Mrs. Claus just loves the rich, opulent,  mouth-watering feel of a good Amarone.  Dried fruit, cinnamon, and cherries on a full-bodied palate with a great finish.   This is one of Santa’s favorites with pasta.

Well, Santa gets pretty tired after all his travels on Christmas Eve.  And while he rests, Mrs. Claus tries to decide which wine to open first.

Merry Christmas everyone, and please drink responsibly this holiday season.  A cab is the easy way to go.

Cheers, Darlene

Mrs. Claus’ Favorite Wines!

Posted in Wine on December 7, 2013 by darmyers

Everyone knows behind a strong man, is even a stronger woman.  And Santa is no exception.  So this week I am paying tribute to Mrs. Claus with telling you about her favorite wines.  Mrs. Claus gets to enjoy wines from around the world, as her husband travels the globe once a year.   So here are a few of her favorites from around the world.

 

Let’s start right here at home in Canada.  Mrs. Claus loves wines from Canada, and 2 of her favorite vineyards in Canada are Burrowing Owl in BC and Le Clos Jordanne in Ontario.

Burrowing Owl Merlot with its exotic flavors of plums, raspberry, spice and sage with its delicate oak treatment makes those cold northern nights much better.  Burrowing Owl also makes a spectacular Cabernet Sauvignon and a Platinum award-winning Meritage.   The Chardonnay from Le Clos Jordanne is a real treat for Mrs. Claus.  Buttery smooth creaminess this fantastic wine is smooth, round and complex.   With gorgeous aromas and flavors of apples, pears, some herbal notes and a soft touch of oak, this wine is a favorite chicken wine for both her and Santa.
As Santa leaves Canada to head south to our neighbors in the U.S.A., Mrs. Claus is dreaming of The Velvet Devil, and I don’t mean Santa.  This is a fabulous expression of a Merlot, and gets much the same weather conditions as the Burrowing Owl Merlot, as Washington State is right next to BC.  Dark Cherries, pipe tobacco, and cedar make for a wine that pairs well with pork or duck.
As Santa heads a little further south into California, Mrs. Claus is not dreaming of sugar plums.  Instead she is dreaming of Robert Mondavi and his estate Cabernet Sauvignon.  California is known for making amazing Cabernet Sauvignon and Robert Mondavi probably still leads the pack.  Full bodied, fruit forward and toasty oak make for a great wine.  Santa really works up an appetite Christmas Eve so he likes a good steak, and this is one of his favorites.
CARMEN GRAN RESERVA CARMENÈRE 2011
Santa finds Chile a little warm with that furry red suit, but while he’s there, he knows to pick up a bottle of the Carmen Gran Reserva Carmenere for Mrs. Claus.  Carmenere was originally planted in Bordeaux France, but has become Chile’s home grape.  Chile makes great wines at great prices and this Gran Reserva Carmenere is no exception.  It starts with dark chocolate, and then delves into dark and sour cherries with a smoky under-current.  This is a brilliant example of a Carmenere and built for BBQ meats.
As Argentina comes into view Santa is thinking which wine to buy for the Mrs.  There are so many to choose from and all at such good value.  Take for example the Don David premium Malbec.   It’s a bold Malbec with juicy plum flavors, licorice and herbs –  complimented by fine tannins and perfect acidity.   Then there’s Trapiche – one of the biggest names in wine in Argentina.  They make delicious full bodied wines in a variety of price ranges, literally something for everyone.  The Trapiche Malbec Single Estate Escobar is luscious with concentrated flavors of fruit and  pepper that has a great length that will stay with you.
Well, that’s a lot of information for one week.  Join us next week as we take a look at Mrs. Claus’ favorite wines from France, Italy, Australia and New Zealand, as Santa makes his way to the other side of the world.
Till next week, enjoy every moment of this season, and please drink responsibly.
Darlene

Wines That Make Decorating Easier!

Posted in Wine on November 30, 2013 by darmyers
Well this weekend, like many of you, I will be decorating for the holidays.  I thought I was smart and put up my outside Christmas lights a few weeks ago while the weather the warm, with the intention of turning them on December 1st.  However, Mother Nature had a good chuckle over that one.  We had a near hurricane here Wednesday night pass and well, I will be outside repairing, cleaning, re-attaching and replacing the bulbs broken during the 110 km/hr winds.
I will also be putting up my Christmas Tree this weekend.  I light to have it all done by the 1st, and next weekend is our Christmas party, and I like to have people over before to enjoy a nice glass of wine.   There’s nothing like a glass of great wine to help with the holiday decorating.  Wine and Christmas music just seem to go hand in hand with the Christmas decorating.
Here’s a new one I have tried recently that I really enjoyed.   I heard someone say recently they didn’t like Merlot.  You are not trying the right ones.  This one by Beringer, made in California, is a juicy vibrant expression of a Merlot.  Tasty with a Capital T!  Dark plums, black cherries and a hint of cocoa, make it the perfect wine for Christmas decorating.  Someone needs to write a song about that… And when it comes in at under $20, you can decorate a lot of rooms with a wine like that.
Well, if you would like your mouth to come alive with flavor try this Canadian gem.  Mission Hill 2012 Pinot Grigio is on the shelves now, and it’s gorgeous.  This unoaked wine boasts flavors of honey, stone fruits and a hint of ginger.  Crisp acidity and delicious on the palate, you will want to have a few in the wine rack this season, as this delicious wine is perfect for sharing with friends and will go with any meal, even the turkey.
I have to take a few minutes to tell you about a local gem I have just discovered.  I have written about Benjamin Bridge Nova 7 before, well this is a hearty red from the same vineyard here in Nova Scotia.  Winemakers Peter J. Gamble and Jean-Benoit Deslauriers have hit it out of the ball-park with this delicious red wine.  For the notes I am going to quote the winemaker, as he says it beautifully.
“An opaque purple colour so deep it borders on pure black. On the nose, a very earthy bouquet gains complexity from hints of black cherries, oregano and rose petals. On the palate, the wine shows great concentration and density, while remaining elegant and sophisticated.” Winemaker Jean-Benoit Deslauriers
What a great wine to serve this Christmas at a gathering.   And what a great story to go with it.  Taurus, the bull, is a symbol of strength, and that’s where the name of the wine came from.  And grown here in Nova Scotia using the Maréchal Foch grape, it really is a beautiful expression of our terroir.   You hear wine people use the term ‘terroir, and what it means is that the wine is a true expression of the place it came from.  Things like soil and climate are unique to an area and contribute to the personality of the wine.
A quick reminder to ensure you have everything you need before you uncork that wine.  Please don’t drink and drive this holiday season, and more importantly drink responsibly.
And have fun decorating.  We tend to put too much stress on ourselves this season, instead of enjoying each moment.
Cheers, and thanks for reading
Darlene

Which Wine Should I Serve?

Posted in Wine & Food on November 23, 2013 by darmyers
First, leave it to Grumpy Cat to bring in a lot of readers.  Thanks to everyone for reading and sharing last week’s blog.  I hope you enjoy this one as well.  With the Christmas Season, comes Christmas parties.   I’m sure the majority of people reading this blog, will host at least one get together this season.  And this time of the year, the biggest question I get asked, is ‘What wine should I serve?”
Also, keep in mind the blog is called ‘In My Opinion’, and I welcome all feed back and suggestions on the topics.  You may choose different selections than me, and that’s OK.  I would love to hear from you.
 
First, keep a selection of both red and white wine on hand.  If you are a read wine drinker, for the whites choose a Chardonnay and a Sauvignon Blanc.   A Chardonnay is smooth and silky, the Sauvignon Blanc crisp and fresh.  When offering your white wine drinking guests, ensure you tell them your selection.  They will have a favorite.  If you want to add a 3rd, I would choose a Pinot Grigio.  All 3 wines are very food friendly and also great sipping wines.  Your guests will not be disappointed.
I think it may get a bit trickier if you are a white wine drinker, and you’re wondering which red to serve.  I’m told by my white wine loving friends that picking out a red wine can be intimidating.  Even my own sister uses the phrase “I don’t know what you like”!   It may surprise you, but most of us red wine loving people – you would be hard pressed to find a wine I didn’t like.  There are some, but red wine drinkers are much easier to please than you think.  If you were going to pick two, I would pick Cabernet Sauvignon, it’s the most widely planted red grape variety.  You can’t miss.  And for the second one have a Merlot or a Pinot Noir on hand.
 
All the wines I have mentioned are food friendly, and will go with a wide variety of foods.  Whether your get together is finger food only, or a full sit down meal, you won’t go wrong with the choices.  You can even add a light sparkling wine to the mix.  Sparkling wines tend to be crisp, refreshing and fun.  And can go with a full range of food choices as well.
What are your favorites choices for serving at a party?  As always, would love to hear from you.
Till next week, Cheers
Darlene

Wine Season!

Posted in Red Wine on November 16, 2013 by darmyers

Grumpy Xmas

Well folks, unless you’ve hiding under a rock, the Christmas stuff is out.  And if you are a customer of certain stores, you’ve been looking at Christmas ornaments since July.   So I have decided to share my Christmas Wish List.

  
Le Clos Jordanne
For those that know me, know I love Le Clos Jordanne, Le Grand Clos wine.  I haven’t tried the Pinot Noir yet, but I would love to, so it’s going on my wish list.  And the Chardonnay is liquid gold.   I enjoyed a bottle this year on my birthday, and this elegant complex wine would go with anything you are serving for Christmas this year.  When I spoke to winemaker Sebastian Jacquey this summer, I asked him what I could expect from Le Clos Jordanne Le Grand Clos Pinot Noir, and he told me I could expect an ample wine with a hint of limestone, and soft tannins.  A very elegant expression of Pinot Noir.  I’ve been a good girl Santa, and I would love one of these wines.  Ok, maybe I’ll buy it myself.
I get asked all the time about my favorite wines, and this is one that is in the top 5 for sure.  And I think I’m missing it more and more, because I don’t have access to it in Nova Scotia.  It was a regular treat when I lived in Newfoundland, but alas, I haven’t had it in a while.  However, since I am going home to Newfoundland for Christmas, this will definitely be on the wine list.  This winery was awarded European winery of the Year for 2013 by Wine Enthusiast magazine, and if you’ve ever tasted this wine, you would understand why.  A beautiful Tempranillo wine from Rioja that feature aromas and flavors of rich dark fruits, spices and toasted oak.  It looks elegant with the gold netting, and a beautiful gift to give or receive.
Another favorite of mine that I can’t get in Nova Scotia, and will definitely be enjoying when I go home for Christmas.  When Eleanor of Aquitane married the King of England, Bordeaux France came under British rule for 200 years.  The British fell in love with Bordeaux wine, and called it Claret.  (the ‘t’ is not silent, as in most French words.  It’s a British word so it’s pronounced “clar-ette).  This is Francis Ford Coppola’s version of the Cabernet Sauvignon based Bordeaux.  This gorgeous blend has not only Cab Sauv, but also Merlot, Cabernet Franc, Petite Verdot, and Malbec.  Can you say flavorful!  And full-bodied!  Smooth tannins meet succulent wild berries and plums.  Finished by a little toasty oak.
This is the Wolf Blass Grey Label Shiraz.  Did you know Grey Label was the first wine Wolf Blass made?  This gorgeous wine still reflects the Wolf Blass winemaking philosophy of quality, character and consistency.  And fun.  I had the pleasure of meeting the man in Newfoundland a year ago, and this is a man who loves what he does.  And his fun-loving spirit is reflected in his wines.  This is my favorite steak wine but will go with so many dishes and comfort foods for this upcoming holiday season.
And to get you in the holiday season, my friend Natalie Maclean is hosting the Great Holiday Match.  I have 6 wines nominated, I encourage you to vote and have fun.  Check it out here
Till next week, don’t be a Grumpy!  Enjoy every minute of the season and the time leading up to it.
Darlene

Honoring Our Military

Posted in Wine on November 9, 2013 by darmyers

This is the Remembrance Day weekend here in Canada, and Monday, November 11th is Remembrance Day.    I am humbled by those men and women that have given the ultimate sacrifice for their country and I am in awe of all those that are serving in the military today.   We live in a country where we can all voice an opinion, and not be afraid of persecution.   Today there are still people in the world that can end up in jail for expressing an opinion that the government deems wrong.  I don’t think we should ever take these freedoms for granted.

So as my way of saying thank you to the men and women that defend our country and serve in our military, here are a few of my favorite wines in your honor.

Beringer Private Reserve Chardonnay:

I love a California Chardonnay and this was one of my favorites.  Silky rich with flavors and aromas of fresh fruit, some floral notes and vanilla toasted oak.  It has very crisp acidity so it doesn’t weigh heavy in the mouth.  This balanced wine will compliment any chicken dish you might be having this weekend, and just about anything you are serving food wise.

Chateau La Commanderie Cru Bourgeois Saint Estephe

This full-bodied wine from the Left Bank of Bordeaux is ripe and has distinct tannins.  It bursts of flavor of black currants, savory spice, caramel  and oak.  It will make a commanding presence at any BBQ this long weekend and any beef dish.

Eric Chevalier MusCadet 2010

This is a gorgeous breezy white wine that has a bit of sweetness.  It is a light bodied wine with crisp acidity and gorgeous flavors of lemon and lime.  Aged in glass, so for all my wine drinking friends that are not big fans of oak, this is a beauty.  This wine will perform perfectly with seafood, including this seafood chowders.

Captain‘s Walk Winery:

In Green Bay, Wisconsin, there is a beautiful little winery called Captain’s Walk Winery.  This gorgeous property offers wine tasting in a laid back atmosphere.  A great place to experience award-winning wines in casual environment.

Bottle of Captains Walk 2006 award-winning merlot

This is the Captain’s Walk Merlot.  This, or pretty much any Merlot will go deliciously with any pork dish you are serving.  I love a nice smoky Merlot with pork tenderloin or grilled pork.  Medium bodied wine with soft tannins and big juicy plummy flavors.

On this very special day, I ask that this be more about, just another long weekend.  This is a day of remembrance for those who fought and the many who died for our country.   I also personally acknowledge our current serving members of the military.  And if you see a veteran this weekend, please say thank you and shake the person’s hand.  It’s the very least we can do

Take care

Darlene

 

Get Out of Your Wine Rut!

Posted in Wine on November 2, 2013 by darmyers

When was the last time you tried a new wine?  One of the things I hear most, is that people buy the same wine over and over because it’s easy.  It’s not stressful.  And they know they will like it.   And hey, who wants to take the chance of not liking it?  It probably doesn’t surprise you that people buy the same wine over and over again – you may be one of them.

Take a look at this guy’s face.  That is the look of utter contentment.  My goal for this blog is that you go out this week and buy one wine that you’ve never had before.  Here are some things you may want to consider.

1.  What is your favorite wine?  What is the grape varietal?  Is it Merlot?  Cabernet Sauvignon?  Chardonnay?  There’s your starting point.  If you like a certain grape varietal – try one from a different country.  I love many different wines.  My two favorites reds are probably Merlot and Pinot Noir.

Here are a few of my favorite Merlot Wines, each from a different country.

      

Some of my favorite go-to Merlot wines, and they are all under $20.  The first one is from the USA, the second from Bordeaux France, the third from Italy and the 4th from Argentina.  The Barone Montalto was a brand new find this week for me.  A dandy Merlot with flavors of blackberry and plum with vanilla and chocolate.  And it’s $16.99.  That’s not scary.   All the above Merlot wines are flavorful, food friendly and easy to drink.  And they are all under $20, so they are easy to buy.

2.  What country is it from?  Are you a lover of an Australian Shiraz?  or a Sauvignon Blanc from New Zealand?  Or a California Cabernet Sauvignon?  Then try different wines from your favorite country.    Here’s a few of my favorite Shiraz wines from Australia.

    

Do you have any idea how many great Shiraz wines come out of Australia?   If you’re putting a steak on the barbecue, or having a great pot roast, try one of these wines.  Shiraz wines from Australia, especially these from McLaren Vale and the Barossa Valley are full-bodied, structured, fruit forward and probably have seen oak.   Now for my white wine loving friends, here are some of my favorite Sauvignon Blanc wines from New Zealand.

 

Sauvignon Blanc, especially from New Zealand are refreshing crisp white wines.  They have gorgeous flavors of citrus and is the only wine I would serve with a salad with an olive oil and balsamic vinegar base.

Now being in a wine rut is probably not the worst place to be, because many of you may argue you like your favorites.  However, you are missing out on many great new wine discoveries.  Did you know if you drink the same wine time and time again, your palate may become dulled, and even your favorite won’t have that great taste you once loved about it.

3.  Another way to get out of your wine rut – you could read a wine blog.  And thank you for choosing that way.  Or you could look up wine reviews or the favorite wines of wine writers.  Afraid to try a California Cabernet?  I had a new one this week, so I’ve put it here along with a couple of previous favorites.

 

So there you have it for this week.  Put down the old wine favorite.  Venture a little further down the aisle, or in a brand new section.  Discover something new today.  I would love to hear about your experience.  Carpe Diem – seize the day.

It’s an exciting time for wine from all around the world.

Till next week, Cheers

Darlene

The 100 Point Rating System

Posted in Wine on October 26, 2013 by darmyers

Did you know the 100 Point Rating system in wine was created by wine critic Robert Parker in the 1970’s?   And it’s very commonly used today.

It is essentially a 50-100 point rating system which correlates to an ‘A-F’ grade on the wine.   Anything with an 85 or higher rating was considered an above average or good wine with a 90+ Rating considered outstanding.   Not only was this rating system popular with consumers, as it made buying good wine easier, it was also popular with Wine retailers and merchants, who had a great Marketing tool in their hands
In my opinion, it is the name of the blog – this man is genius.  If you enjoy wine, but don’t know much about wine, going into a Liquor Store or Wine store to purchase wine, it can be an intimidating thing.  I hear this all the time from people.   And, because French wine tends not to be labelled by their grape, but by region, it can make French wine a little more difficult.  This man, Robert Parker, made buying a good bottle of wine a little easier.   Good for him.   The average person can walk into a store, see a bottle of wine with a 90+ Rating, and feel that they are getting a decent bottle of wine.
Not everyone is a fan of the 100 Point Rating System.    Many critics say it is flawed because it downplays the influence of terroir and tradition – what some consider to be two very important guiding influences in the making of Old World Wine.  Terroir is the influence of soil, slope, elevation, exposure and climate.  Tradition relates to the traditional ways of making wine still being used in France and other parts of the world.
Bordeaux is divided between the Left Bank and the Right Bank.  The Left Bank still uses a Classification system that originally was devised for the 1855 Paris Exposition.  Because of this rating by vineyard, Bordeaux experienced great prosperity and the price of the wine increased because of it.   However, Bordeaux has had its ups and downs since then.  Crops wiped out, frost ruining crops, add World War 2 to the equation and you have a bleak economic condition in Bordeaux.  People weren’t buying the wines.   Then came the vastly over-priced 1972 vintage which caused the entire Bordeaux market to crash.  People were not buying Bordeaux wines even though prices were slashed
It took an American wine critic to change things.  Imagine how the French felt about that.  Along comes Robert Parker, an American Wine writer, that gave Bordeaux a much-needed boost in the World market.  Parker predicted the success of the 1982 vintage and a whole new game was in play.  Higher prices and new customers in new markets soon followed.   It is said he likes a particular kind of wine, full-bodied with lots of oak.  And many critics like to refer to it as the ‘Parkerization’ of wine.   Mr. Parker has said he scores wine on how much pleasure they give him.  You see,  with the 1855 Classification system, it was the position and reputation of the ‘Chateau’ that determined how much they charged for a bottle of wine, dating back unchanged from 1855.   Parker noted with the obscurity, corruption and other problems of this system, his ‘consumer-oriented’ approach was made necessary.
And although Robert Parker is not responsible for all the changes, as consumer demand and fame started to grow in Bordeaux, Robert Parker’s fame grew with it.  And I would like to thank him.  I am training to become a Sommelier and learning about the regions of France, and let me tell you first hand, it can be confusing.  Robert Parker made buying good wine easier for all of us.  Cheers Mr. Parker.
Till next week, I hope you enjoy a bottle of wine that Robert Parker has given a good rating!
Darlene
Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 794 other followers