Wines to Pair with your Favorite Super Bowl Foods

Posted in Wine & Food on February 6, 2016 by darmyers

super bowl sunday

Well tomorrow is Super Bowl Sunday and I know what you’re thinking.  All the favourite football foods will be coming out.  Here at work, we had a “Bring Your Favorite Game Food to Work” for a buffet lunch on Friday.  Wow, what a feed. A day later and I’m still full!

The first beverage that probably comes to mind for Sunday would be beer.  But if you’re like me, and not a big beer drinker, wine can pair really well with all your football food favorites.

Pizza

How many pizzas do you think will be ordered tomorrow?   Well I did a little checking and its the biggest day of the year for Pizza shops, followed by New Year’s Eve.  And pizza delivery drivers could see their tips go from $2 to $20.  It’s a great day for pizza and pizza delivery.   And there are so many delicious wines that pair well with pizza.   Here a couple of examples.

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The Gerard Bertrand Tautavel’s blend of Grenache, Syrah and Carignan make for a fantastic pizza wine.  Tautavel means the Cradle of Humanity and is a village in France.  Intense fruit on the palate with spicy notes will go hand in hand with the pizza.  When in doubt, go Italian.  Like this Cabreo Il Borgo Toscanna, which is a blend of Sangiovese and Cabernet Sauvignon.  The region of Chianti makes wine perfect for aging or for enjoying right now.  This wine enjoys 91+ ratings across the board, and  is a perfect match for pizza

Wings

Wings… 1.3 Billion Chicken wings will be consumed in the U.S. along on Sunday!   1.3 Billion with a ‘B’. Can you believe that?  That’s a lot of wingless chickens.  There are  many Sommeliers who will tell you that the perfect beverage for spicy food is beer.  And I’m not saying they are wrong… I’m saying there is a wine that pairs great with spicy wings…. Riesling.

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Here are a couple of my favorites.  The Riesling on the left is locally made right here in Nova Scotia from Gaspereau Vineyards in the Annapolis Valley.  Gorgeous flavors of apple and lime and a bright acidity makes it one of my favorite Rieslings.  The Kung Fu Girl Riesling is an American product from Charles Smith Wines.  And this too is a fan favorite of me and my friends.  Peach, apricot and apple flavors and I love the acidity on this wine as well.  These two great wines will not only go with wings, but other foods such as Thai Food, curried dishes and a host of other spicy foods.

Chili

Here’s another easy pairing, Chili.  Ground beef, tomatoes, beans and cheese.  Any red you choose for pizza would also go with Chili.  Really,  there aren’t too many reds that doesn’t pair well with chili .  Take a Cabernet Sauvignon for example.   Excellent wine to pair with Chili.

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Here are two great Cabernet Sauvignon wines.  The Beringer Knights Valley Cab is a wine I can’t stop gushing over.  I have recommended it to my closest friends.  Deliciously smooth and very food friendly.  The wine on the right is a Cabernet out of Australia.  It is the William Hardy Coonawarra Cabernet which was designed to celebrate Bill Hardy’s 40th year in the family business.

And last but not least my new wine of the week….

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The 2009 Falesco Umbria Merlot from Italy.  This is a 92 Point wine from Wine Spectator and the critic from Wine Spectator called it one of the best Merlot’s he had ever tasted.  I also give it a big two thumbs up.  Smooth and supple,  this mysterious beauty has rich fruit, smoky tobacco notes and hints of vanilla.  It stays with you on the palate with a great lingering finish, it’s full-bodied and food friendly.  Coming in at the $25 mark, it’s a winner.

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If you’re like me, and probably won’t be watching the big game, I hope you celebrate the day with a great wine.  And I’ll be watching a great movie so Cheers!

Till next week,

Darlene

 

 

 

 

2016 Wine Trends

Posted in Wine on January 30, 2016 by darmyers

2016

Last year around this time I wrote a wine blog on what the wine trends were looking like in 2015.  I thought I would take this opportunity to revisit those, and look at the trends in the wine industry for 2016.

Zinfandel:

An explosion of Zinfandel was expected in 2015 and our local wine stores stepped up to the plate.  There were more choices than ever when it comes to this people pleasing grape.

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These are just 4 of the new Zinfandel’s I tried in 2015.  All 4 were spectacular in their own way and range in price from $20 for the Sebastiani, to $50 for the Gallo Black Label on the right.  California still dominates as the hot spot for producing Zinfandel, and of course Italy for producing Primitivo, which in 1972 was declared identical to Zinfandel.

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Here are a couple of the great Primitovo wines I have tried recently.  Fantastic wines and extremely food friendly.  And really inexpensive.  The wine on the left is under $19.  One of my favorite pairings with Zinfandel are BBQ ribs.  A match made in wine heaven.

Corks Are On The Way Out

Wine guru Robert Parker projected that real cork would be a minority by the end of 2015 and if my local wine stores are any indication, this is one projection that came true.   More and more vineyards are using screw caps, or artificial corks.  I had a bottle of wine the other evening with natural cork and it had gone funky.   This is the main reason natural cork is on its way out!

So let’s look at a couple of expected wine trends for 2016.

People Are Talking

Tracy Byrnes from ‘Wine On The Street’, says her favorite trend is that people are talking about wine.  People are no longer intimidated by Sommeliers and are reading up on wine on the web, as well as enrolling in Sommelier classes.  This is great for wine and wine drinkers all around.  I believe personally, wine is the social gathering drink of choice.  And different people can have different opinons on wine, and no one is wrong.   Keep it up.

Syrah May Be The New King

Tracy, a very smart lady when it comes to wine, says Syrah, or Shiraz may be the new king of the hill, replacing Cabernet Sauvignon.  Syrah / Shiraz is a big bold red and incredibly food friendly.  It’s great with meat dishes, and regular readers of this blog know I am a huge fan of the BBQ, so this wine is always in my wine rack.  And it tends to cost less than Cabernet.  Here are a couple of my favorites.

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My apologies for the blurry picture of the Tintara from Hardy’s, but this Shiraz to celebrate Bill Hardy’s 40th year in the family business was a great treat.  Australia is putting out some spectacular Shiraz wines, so I couldn’t leave the Shiraz Mourvedre blend from Penfolds out.  You would be hard pressed to find a bad Penfold’s Shiraz.  And in the middle is the Genesis Syrah from Washington State in the U.S.A.  So many countries are putting out a great Shiraz or Syrah.  In the French section look for a Cote du Rhone, or anything from the Rhone region, as you will be drinking Syrah.

More and More Wine By The Glass Options

This is probably my favorite trend of 2016.  There was a time not so long ago, that if you wanted a decent glass of wine at a restaurant, you had to order the bottle.  Because the only thing they sold by the glass was the ‘house wine’.  That is slowly but surely changing, and right here in Halifax I have noticed that restaurants are constantly expanding their wine by the glass options.  It has expanded here to the point if I only see one ‘by the glass’ option, I’m really surprised.  And that brings a smile to my face.  Many times at a restaurant I only order one glass of wine, so I would really like it to be a decent wine.

And my new wine of the week…

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This is a fabulous find, and new to our liquor stores.  The Botter Gran Passione Rosso from Italy is a keeper.  It’s got the word Passion right on the label.  This is a beautiful blend of Merlot and Corvina.  Merlot and what?  Corvina is an Italian grape that is widely planted in Italy and is known for being blended with Valpolicella and Amarone.  Known for its flavors of sour cherries, that flavor really works being blended with the Merlot grape.  Along with cherries it has chocolate notes, and this wine would be very food friendly.   And the best part $16.79 a bottle.  I’m not kidding.  Try it.  At that price you have nothing to lose.

That’s it for me for this week… till next week, Cheers

Darlene

 

Comfort Food & Wine

Posted in Wine & Food on January 23, 2016 by darmyers

 

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Every year in the dead of winter when temperatures plummet, I like to do a wine blog on comfort food and wine.   Let’s face it, this is the time of the year we are craving and making our favorite comfort foods.  As we all know, nothing goes better with comfort food than a cozy fireplace and a glass of wine. It’s a match made in heaven!

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So here are a couple of pictures of some of my favorite comfort foods… beef stew, ribs and pasta.  Have I mentioned how much I love comfort food… (and wine)  Well I tried a new wine this past week that will go with any comfort food you can dream up.

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This is the Chateau Tour De Buch Bordeaux and I enjoyed the 2010 vintage last Saturday evening with a steak.   Bordeax is one of those classic great wines.  Always a blend, this wine has 60% Cabernet Sauvignon, 38% Merlot & 2% Petite Verdot.  This  particular wine hails from the Medoc region on the Left Bank of Bordeaux.  Lots of dark rich fruit, blackberry, herbs and subtle oak.  I really enjoyed this wine and it’s a great price for a Bordeaux, around the $20 range.

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Like you, this is the time of the year I probably use my crock pot the most.  How can you not love a slow cooker.  What I love about this unit is that it does all the work, and fills your home with yummy aromas.  On the menu this weekend, beef tips in a red wine sauce.  I know.. yum!  Which wine to serve with this meal?  I can go a couple of different routes.  If I was serving white, it would be this Chardonnay.

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The Mer Soleil Reserve Chardonnay from the Santa Lucia Highlands in California was one of my favorite Chardonnay finds from 2015.  This wine is golden, buttery and oh so rich.  A perfect compliment to the beef tips for all my white wine loving friends.  If I’m serving red, it’s probably going to be one of these two.

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Both wines are from Beringer and both are super rich, super flavorful and were made for beef tips in a red wine sauce done.  The wine on the left is the Waymaker red wine blend from Paso Robles, a fairly new offering from Beringer.  A blend of Syrah, Cabernet Sauvignon, Petite Sirah and Mourvedre, it’s full-bodied with peppery notes that is a great wine for any beef dish.  The Beringer on the right is the Knights Valley Cabernet Sauvignon and is my new favorite Cab.  Flavors of mocha, licorice and dark fruits, it is a spectacular wine that is supple and versatile and a great find.

My new wine of the week….

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Is an Italian wine, the Urceus Primitivo Di Manduria from Puglia in the southern part of Italy.  Primitivo, being first cousins with Zinfandel, is a great comfort food wine.  This new find is a great value, coming in at $18.80 a bottle, but tasting like a $30 bottle.  Rich and flavorful with smoky notes and hints of pepper, a great comfort food wine.  And one that I will be buying again because of the great value.

Wine and winter

Yes, I know I said this was going to be me last Saturday night.  Well, they are calling for some nasty weather tonight, so I think I will do it again.  Put on my fireplace, pour a glass of wine and enjoy the warmth of my home.

Till next week, Cheers

Darlene

 

 

Storm Wine!

Posted in Uncategorized on January 16, 2016 by darmyers

Well most of Atlantic Canada got pummeled by a snow storm this past week.  And they are calling for another one today!  So I was thinking, it’s only the middle of January – it probably won’t be the last one.  You know what the best part of a snow day is?  Storm wine!  That’s right, you can take your storm chips – I will take Storm Wine any day of the week.  And this past week I tried a few beauties.

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I have gone ahead and fallen in love again.  This time it’s with the Peachy Canyon Incredible Red Zinfandel.  This wine has  The perfect description right in the title – Incredible.  And incredibly rich and delicious it is.  It has smoky bacon notes but this is very important.  The smoky bacon notes do not overpower the taste of the wine like some Zinfandel wines.  They are very subtle, as a matter of fact I found the tart cherry flavors and notes of mocha the more interesting part of this wine.  I loved it, and its my new favorite Zinfandel.

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You’ve heard of OMG!  Well this is OVG – Old Vines Garnacha!   You may know it as the Grenache grape, but this wine is from Spain, the grape is called Garnacha.  This is the perfect wine for a storm day, or any other day of the winter.  It’s full-bodied and flavorful with lovely raspberry, dark cherry and pepper.  This is a great wine for your favorite comfort food.  Beef stew, lamb, pork – any hearty meal – this is the wine.  And a great value at around the $20 mark.

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This is the great value find of the week.  I loved this wine.  This Chilean blend of Carmenere, Grenache and Merlot from Santa Carolina is rich and full-bodied.  Lots of juicy flavor on the palate with notes of coffee.  This wine is so good I photocopied the picture and brought it around to my wine loving friends in the radio station.  AT $16.99 this is going to be a staple in my wine rack, so you should give it a try.

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And my new favorite find of the week is a wine that I still have a hard time pronouncing.   It is the Trinca Bolotos Alentejo.  Say that after a couple of glasses.  A blend of Alicante and Touriga Nacional, this delicious wine from Portugal is earthy and dry and just a great wine for beef and pork.  Alicante, also known as Alicante Bouschet was widely planted in California during Prohibition, and because of its high yields and low maintenance has been adopted by other countries including Bordeaux and of course Portugal.  Touriga Nacional is considered Portugal’s finest grape.   It has low yields, but is still used in many blends as well as in Port wines.   This wine was really interesting, extremely tasty and a great value at under $20.

Wine and winter

If you’re like me you probably prefer flip flops over winter, but hey, if you live in Canada, you might as well make the most of it.. and this will be me tonight.  Glass of wine in front of the fireplace.  Like I said, making the most of it.

Till next week, stay warm and Cheers

Darlene

 

 

A New Year of Wine!

Posted in Uncategorized on January 9, 2016 by darmyers

Happy New Year

I would like to take this moment to wish all my readers a very happy and healthy new year.   I love the beginning of a new year because it’s full of opportunity and fun new experiences.  It reminds me of a blank slate, and you get to fill in the picture.  It also means another year of trying and enjoying new wines.  I thought I would start this new year off with some new wines I tried recently.

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You might recognize this one from my list of favorites of 2015.  I went home to Newfoundland for the holidays and regular readers know how much I love Zinfandel.  Well, I had the opportunity to try several new ones.  Sliding in, just in the nick of time, what a treat this was.  The Dry Creek Vineyard Heritage Vines Zinfandel.  A fantastic Zinfandel with great tannic structure and a gorgeous palate.

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Here are 2 more Zinfandel wines I had the opportunity to try.   The Zinfandel on the left is from Seghesio in the Napa Valley.  I had the 2013 vintage, and this was a great wine.  This wine has to breathe though.  When I first opened it, I tasted it, and was a little disappointed because it tasted boozy.  But then I got busy and let it sit for a while, and wow, spectacular.   Luscious fruit and spicy notes makes for a great wine in my mind.  I’ve seen reviews on this ranging from 90 Points all the way to 94 points.  Worth a try.

The next one, the Sebasiani Zinfandel, also from California, is a great value.  Coming in at around $20, this Zinfandel also contains small amounts of Petite Sirah, Syrah and Malbec.   Easy to drink, food friendly and I loved the white pepper notes on this wine.  Keep this one in mind for the barbecue.

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I also got to try a couple of new Merlot wines.  Both from California, the Merlot on the left is from Rodney Strong, one of the pioneers of the wine scene in the Napa Valley.  This is a warm climate Merlot, so it would taste different from those grown in a cooler climate, like Canada.  This wine was rich and dark and had notes of chocolate, plum and dark cherries.  A fantastic wine that came in under $30.   The next one is the Callaway Merlot, coming in under $20, and making for great value.  Very food compatible and easy to drink, I loved the smoky notes and flavors of black pepper on this wine.  It was a nice unique Merlot at a great price.

My favorite wine I discovered over the holidays….(hint, it wasn’t in Newfoundland)

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I have to thank my friend Rayell for introducing me to this local beauty.  The Lightfood & Wolfville Rose from right here in Nova Scotia.   This is a new vineyard that specialize in handcrafted small lot wines, with individual vineyard block bottlings.   I got to experience the 2014 Rose, which is Pinot driven – both Pinot Noir and Pinot Meunier, and L’Acadie, with small amounts of Geisenheim and Frontenac Rouge.  Now there are 2 grapes I don’t write about often.  Geisenheim originates out of the Geisenheim Breeding Institute in Germany, and is a cross of Riesling and Chancellor, and is said to be like biting into a crisp green apple.  Frontenac is another hybrid grape.    Light and refreshing with strawberry, peach and citrus flavors, makes for one very interesting wine.

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Part of my Christmas holiday was spent here, at my sister’s cabin.  And she and her husband gave themselves a new hot tub, so that was fun too.  Thank you to all the readers of my blog from 2015 and here’s to another great year of wine in 2016

Cheers

Darlene

 

 

 

My favorite wines of 2015

Posted in Wine on December 31, 2015 by darmyers

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I missed my wine blog last Saturday.   I was home visiting my parents for Christmas and they don’t have Internet services so I spent 10 days disconnected.   That’s a different feeling.   I’m doing this wine blog a few days early because this is the last day of 2015.   Tomorrow we embark on another new year full of hope opportunity and great wine.  I’d like to take this moment to wish all my readers a very happy new year.   And I’d like to share with you some of my favorite wines from 2015 .

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I’m going to start with this fantastic wine that I recently tried for the first time while visiting Newfounfland.   From Dry Creek Vineyard in Sonoma county Napa Valley comes the Heritage Vines Zinfandel 2012 edition.    This well-balanced beauty has great tannins, good structure, lots of great fruit and a persistent finish.  I had it twice while I was in Newfoundland and enjoyed it as much the second time as I did the first.  To all my friends in Newfoundland at $35 a bottle, this is a great wine to bring in 2016!

Anciano

I think this was one of the best values I found in 2015.  I absolutely love this wine and I love the fact that you can drink it any night of the week guilt free.   At $15 a bottle, this Spanish wine is a steal.  It is easy to drink, delicious, fruit forward and very food friendly.  It was one of my favorite finds from the past year and I always have a bottle in my wine rack.

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I went to an Italian wine show in the spring of 2015 and this was one of my favorites from that show.  The 2011 Toscana IGT is  A blend of Cabernet Sauvignon and Sangiovese from the Chianti region of Italy.  Another beautifully structured wine with rich flavors of cherries, cedar and tobacco.   A great wine to go along with any meat dish you were serving.

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This years Nova 7 from Benjamin Bridge right here in Nova Scotia was another favorite of mine from 2015.   A hint of sweetness on the palate and crisp citrus and tropical fruit flavours, a great wine  that I enjoyed with appetizers, salads and  I also enjoyed it on the patio all summer long!   Originally designed to be the perfect seafood complement,  since I’m allergic I will have to take their word for it! LOL

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I think this was my favorite new Merlot that I found in 2015.   The Seven Falls Merlot from Washington state was a ripe and juicy wine with notes of smoke and mocha.   A true winner at $25 a bottle.

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I’m going to feature two wines because they are both Beringer wines and they both top my list of favorites from 2015.   The first one is the Knights Valley Cabernet Sauvignon.    This exceptionally vibrant Cabernet with notes of vanilla and smoke is my favorite Cabernet Sauvignon.  It’s cousin, the Paso Robles Waymaker red wine is a blend of mostly Syrah grapes with some Cabernet Sauvignon for structure.  Paso Robles is a warmer area of California so the wine tends to be richer in the glass.   A great wine for a winter barbecue.

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And my favorite white wine of 2015 was this beautiful Sancerre from France.   Crisp and refreshing with delicious citrus notes, this 100% Sauvignon Blanc is not only a great way to ring in the new year, chances are it will go deliciously with anything you’re planning on serving!

Blends

Last year I made the pledge that I would try at least one new wine a week and share it with you!  I am proud to say that is one resolution I kept for 52 weeks.  Because there were at least 52 new wines, I had many to choose from as my favorites from 2015.

Wishing all of you a very happy prosperous 2016!  Here’s to discovering more great wines  in the coming year!

Cheers

Darlene

 

 

2015 in review

Posted in Uncategorized on December 30, 2015 by darmyers

Thank you to everyone who has read my wine blog over the past year

The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2015 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

A New York City subway train holds 1,200 people. This blog was viewed about 5,000 times in 2015. If it were a NYC subway train, it would take about 4 trips to carry that many people.

Click here to see the complete report.

Christmas Wine… yes please!

Posted in Wine on December 19, 2015 by darmyers

White wine

I want to take this moment to wish everyone a very Merry Christmas.  I want to thank you for reading my blog, whether you catch it each week, or if a particular topic catches your interest.  For this week’s blog, I thought I would pass along some fabulous wines you can enjoy over the holidays whether you like white or red.

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Like this amazing Sancerre from France that I tried recently.  I fell in love with crisp beauty that is Sauvignon Blanc done to perfection.  The gorgeous citrus flavors and minerality make it a perfect wine for appetizers, for salads or just for enjoying on its own.  It would also be a great wine for the turkey dinner.  The Chateau De Fontaine-Audon Sancerre is my new December love!

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I was wrapping presents the other night, and I had the Christmas lights on and the tunes going…. and it was the perfect opportunity to enjoy this red wine.  This was my favorite new find last week.

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The Carne Humana Napa Valley Red Blend comes from the same people who brought us the Elouan Pinot Noir from Oregon that I wrote about a couple of weeks ago.

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Remember I said it was made by California winemakers?  Well those winemakers also made the Carne Humana which is a very interesting blend of Petite Verdot, Petite Sirah, Zinfandel, with definitely some Cabernet Sauvignon.   Named after the 1841 Upper Napa Valley land grant, this is a gorgeous wine has some of the best fruit flavors.  I tried to describe this wine to a colleague and I used the words clean and crisp, which is not normally how a red wine is described.  And although you will get cedar, licorice and cinnamon flavors, nothing over-powers that fruit.  Great Christmas present to myself.

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The previous two wines are between the $35 and $40 mark, and if that’s a little pricey this season, here a good deal for under $15.  The Mine Chilean Carmenere is bright and easy to drink.  A medium bodied wine with flavors of cherries, plums and pepper.   This wine is one you can enjoy guilt free over the holiday season.

Grump Cat Put me down

I do love me Grumpy cat at Christmas, so I had to include one of her pictures.

My wish for you is a safe and happy holiday season.  Thanks for sharing my wine journey with me.  Please drink responsibly this Christmas.

Coming up soon I will be taking a look at my 2015 favorites.

Take care, till next time Cheers

Darlene

Christmas Wishes

Posted in Wine on December 12, 2015 by darmyers

Wine liquor store

Everyone has a Christmas wish this time of year….  I don’t have many.  I am extremely grateful for having a roof over my head and food in my refrigerator.  And if I had one wish it would be that others would be so blessed.   Now don’t get me wrong, I love a good bottle of wine.  So this wine blog is going to be about my Christmas Wine Wishes.

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The last couple of weeks I have been on a bit of a Primitivo kick.  I have tried a couple of fantastic Primitivo wines, in different price ranges.  Primitivo, being first cousin to the Zinfandel grape,  it should come as no surprise I love it as much as I do.

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You probably remember this one, from a couple of weeks ago.   The $20 Amastoula is great value and a great Primitivo wine.   Last weekend I tried another end of the spectrum.

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Allow me to introduce you to the Farnese Vigne Vecchie Primitivo Manduria.  Try asking for that one at a wine store. A spectacular Primitivo from the Puglia region of Italy, this wine features overly ripe grapes which brings out a big juicy wine with a hint of sweetness.  Now when I say sweetness, I’m not referring to dessert wine sweetness here.  Flavors of cherries, tobacco, and a minty spiciness stands out on the palate.  This wine is great with any meat dishes.  At just over $40, treat yourself and give it a try.  Worth every penny.

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Here’s a new California Cabernet I tried this week.  A local wine boutique here in Halifax has it $10 off, so this was a steal of a deal at just $26.98.   This is a really neat company who donates $20,000 of sales each year to Napa land preservation and education programs.  And they make spectacular wine.  Smoky black cherry and blackberry flavors combine with great tannic structure and a robust flavor that asks to be paired with a steak.  No kidding, if you put your ear to the bottle, you’ll hear it asking, you’ll hear it ask for steak  LOL

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Here is the lovely selection I had last night.  My good friend Rayell got me onto this one   It is a beautiful French Gamay Pinot Noir blend.    This is no ordinary Pinot Noir.    In 2012 a new appellation was created in France that allowed winemakers to use grapes from any region in BUrgundy including the Beaujolais area.   The appellation is called Coteaux Bourguignons    If you go out looking for this wine I would just ask for the Louis Jadot Gamay Pinot Noir   It has soft juicy fruit flavors with soft tannins and a nice lingering pallet.   This wine is 70% Gamay and 30% Pinot Noir and half of the Gamay grapes come from the region called Beaujolais.    Very food friendly. If you were having guests over for a Christmas party this will go with anything you put on the table.

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Well that’s it for me for this week     If you’re anything like me you might have a little explaining to do to Santa LOL    Have a wonderful week

Cheers

Darlene

 

It’s Beginning To Look A Lot Like Christmas

Posted in Wine on December 5, 2015 by darmyers

All i Want

It’s one of my favorite times of the year… December.  I love December.   The whole month.   First of all, I start my Christmas shopping in June, so I don’t have a lot of shopping to do this month.  I get to enjoy the pretty lights and sites without getting too stressed.  I love the fact I get to see my family in Newfoundland, and I get together with friends I haven’t seen in a while.  And it will probably come as no surprise, I love the wine often enjoyed at these get-togethers.

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Here’s a new local wine I’ve tried recently.  The Blomidon Estate Winery has this lovely unoaked Chardonnay.   I loved this crisp clean version of a Chardonnay, it was almost Burgundian, but it was also uniquely Blomidon.  Simon Rafuse is the talented winemaker at Blomidon, and I had the pleasure of meeting him about a year ago.  I’m also excited because the next portion of my quest to become a Sommelier involves working with Simon in his vineyard for a couple of days this coming Spring.  Gorgeous peach and apple flavors, and since it did not undergo malolactic fermentation, it has a wonderful fresh acidity.  If you love Chardonnay but not the oak associated with so many of them, this is the wine for you.

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I’ve written about Kim Crawford wines in the past, and this past week I discovered they have a Merlot.  And I loved it!  I haven’t had a lot of experience with Merlot wines from New Zealand, but this won me over.  Smooth and juicy with all kinds of berry and plum flavors, it also has delicious spicy notes on the palate.  The next time you have pork, give this a try, I think you will love it as much as I do.

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My new favorite find of the week.  Hailing from Oregon, but crafted by California winemakers,  this beautiful Pinot Noir is from Copper Cane and is called Elouan.  I think I may have found my Christmas gift to myself.  Coming from 3 different regions of Oregon, including the famous Willamette Valley, the winemaker says the diversity of the regions is reflected in the wine, giving it a deep intensity but not losing any of the acidity.   The delicious blueberry and spice flavors will pair with chicken, lamb,  duck, cheese, not to mention Christmas wrapping, Christmas decorating or sitting in a chair procrastinating about all the work that needs to be done for Christmas.  This wine goes with everything.

Wine fireplace

I have a lot of work to do today including wrapping and getting ready for Christmas.  But this will be me later this evening… fireplace on, feet up, glass of wine in my hand.

I know this is a busy time of the year and we can easily get stretched to our limits.   Don’t forget to take a moment for yourself.  The work will still get done, it always does.

Enjoy the entire month, not just the one day.  Till next week, Cheers

Darlene

 

Out with the Old, In With the New!

Posted in Wine & Food on November 28, 2015 by darmyers

As we approach the end of this year, after all Tuesday does mark December 1st.   I love this time of year for many reasons, I love Christmas, I love the lights and pretty decorations, and I love the sense of renewal I get with a brand new year on the horizon.  At the beginning of 2015, I vowed that I was not going to get into a ‘wine rut’ by drinking the same favorites all the time, and I made a pledge to my readers that I would try at least one new wine every week.  And I am happy that I have kept that promise.  With that in mind, all the wines in my blog this week, are new to me wines.

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The logo on the bottle looks familiar because of the Gerard Betrand Corbieres I wrote about several times last year.  I thought it was one of the great finds from the 2014 Port of Wines show, so I was very excited to try this Tautavel.  A blend of Grenache, Syrah and Carignan, the grapes are planted in the south of France near the village of Tautaval, and produces a perfectly balanced red wine.   Grenache leads the blend and so it has that good structure and rich plum flavors, I also noticed notes of mocha, black olive and pepper.  Fantastic wine at a fantastic price.

Fortant

Here’s another super interesting find.  Carignan is normally used in blends, as in the first wine I talked about.  Usually blended with Grenache and Syrah, with the Fortant Carignan Grand Reserve, it stands on its own, and does so brilliantly.  My friend Anthony told me about it, liked it so much he has had it twice this week, and I had to try my first stand alone Grenache.  As I was learning about this wine, I discovered that the grapes are grown in the foothills and sometimes grapes have a hard time maturing, but when they do it’s magical.  The wine tends to be complex and elegant, and that’s exactly what you’ll find with this wine.  Lots of spicy notes on the palate with dried fruit, herb flavors, and rich blackberries.

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My apologies for the dark picture   But what you’re looking at is the wine I had last night  it is the Heracles Primitivo from the Tommassi family.  What a fantastic deal,  coming in under $20.   Named after the son of Zeus this wine is 100% Orimitivo grape from Italy.  Almost identical to the Zinfandel grape,  this one has all the yummy characteristics.  Juicy, full-bodied with chocolate and smoky bacon flavours.  It was 14°C here yesterday so this wine went fantastic with the barbecue I had.   When it’s 14°C on November 27th, how can you not barbecue?

Wine rules

Well that’s it for me this week!   Have a great week as we head into the month of December.

Cheers

Darlene

 

Scotch, Sailor Jerry & Great Wine!

Posted in Wine on November 21, 2015 by darmyers

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My quest to becoming a Sommelier is bringing a wide range of interesting drink choices to my lips.   I’m sure the title of this week’s wine blog raised a few eyebrows. This past Sunday I studied Scotch, Rum, Tequila and Saki!  Plus, this past week I have had the opportunity to try a few fantastic wines.  So let’s take a look!

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I’m not much of a hard liquor drinker… I drink water, coffee and wine.  Not always in that order.  So this was a new experience for me, and not an unpleasant one.  Of all the hard liquors I had to taste this past Sunday, Scotch was one of my favorites.  We had to drink it straight, and then with 25% clean water added.  I liked Scotch with a little water added, I think it bought the flavors of the Scotch to the forefront.  Did you know Whiskey contains an ‘e’, unless it is Scotch Whisky, and then there is no ‘e’.  Irish Whiskey and others use the ‘e’.  The reasons why continue to be debated.

Chivas

Of the 5 I tried, this was one of my favorites.  A nice golden color, oak aromas with smoky flavors.  The 12 years of aging really adds to the smoothness, and like I said, I really liked it with a tiny bit of water added. I know some Scotch drinkers are rolling their eyes right now.

Jerry

I have to say one of the more flavorful rums I have ever tried was called Sailor Jerry’s, and in a blind taste test it was the favorite of many of us in the room.  Gorgeous vanilla flavors with hints of warm smoky dried fruit.  I’m confident when the words Sailor Jerry’s showed up in the title, a lot of people were thinking to themselves “Who is Sailor Jerry?”

But now it’s time to tell you about a couple of new wines I tried this week, because as I have said, I won’t be giving up wine any time in the near future.

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I hope you can see this picture OK.  It is one of the great wines I have tried this past week.  Amastuola Primitivo from Italy.  I loved this wine, not only because Primitivo is the Italian Zinfandel, but because it was smooth, tasty and priced under $20.  Gorgeous flavors of cranberries and red licorice with notes of smoke and spice.  Easy to drink and super food friendly and perfectly priced.  What’s not to love.

Dada 3

You’ve heard me talk about Dada 2 in the past.  Well, recently our NSLC have bought in Dada 1 and Dada 3 in a beautiful gift basket, and I just had to have one.  At $41.99 for all 3 bottles, this is a beauty of a gift.    Dada 2 has  been available here for a while and is a Merlot with some Syrah and Cabernet Franc added in  Rich, juicy mocha flavours  Dada 1 is a blend of Malbec and Bonarda and it too is rich with lots of mocha and vanilla on the palate. Dada 3 also is the spicy sister  Shiraz, Syrah and Cabernet Sauvignon.   Full bodied, rich and a great price at $14.99.

That’s it for this week

Till next week Cheers

Darlene

 

 

Beer Anyone?

Posted in Wine on November 14, 2015 by darmyers

A wine blog titled ‘Beer Anyone?’.  Darlene, what’s up with that?

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Regular readers of this wine blog will know I am very close to my quest to becoming a certified Sommelier.  As part of the Sommelier program, you study beer and spirits and last Sunday, I spent 7 hours with the very talented certified Cicerone Angeline MacLennon learning about beer.   A Cicerone, is a beer Sommelier, and this lady knows her beer.

Angeline

We covered a wide variety of styles and flavors, and I thought I would share a few.

Lambic

This was one of the most unique styles I tried that day.  The Lindeman’s Belgian Framboise Raspbeery beer, with raspberry juice added to the beer.  Apparently before hops were added to beer, fruits were added for flavor and the acidity of lambic beers pair well with raspberry.  While regular beer is fermented using brewer’s yeast, lambic beers are produced by spontaneous fermentation, being exposed to wild yeast strains.  This beer was very unique and full of flavor.

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Another unique beer we tried was the La Saison du Tracteur ale.  Loved the citrus flavors of this beer and the carbonation was well done.  This beer has won a ton of awards like “World’s Best Bière de Garde” at the 2012 World Beer Awards, and a silver medal from the European Beer Star Competition.  Started in Quebec, Canada by a group of beer-loving friends, it originated with the friends taking classic beers and adding a New World nuance.

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But for this wine-loving gal, I think the beer I enjoyed the most was a pilsner.  I don’t drink a lot of beer but I like the crisp style, and I like it ice cold.  I do enjoy a cold beer on a hot sunny day.   I encourage everyone who says they don’t like beer, to wander outside the box of everyday lagers, and try something different.  You may surprise yourself.

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You needn’t worry about me ever straying from wine, and so I bring you my new wine of the week.  And I apologize for the blurry picture, believe me, I took this picture before I started drinking the wine.  However, I tried this great Pinot Noir in the past week.  From the Williamette Valley in Oregon, makers of fantastic Pinot Noir, the Cloudline Pinot Noir is one every wine lover should try.  It’s a treat, and if any reader of this blog is a white wine lover, but would like to delve into the red, this is your wine.  Gorgeous flavors of cherry and cola with hints of spice, make it way too easy to drink.  It’s a winner.  I love the clean Burgundian style of Pinot Noir and I think that’s why I live Oregon so much.  They are doing a great job of making those clean classic styles of Pinot Noir.

Wine full of shit

Well, that’s it for me this week.   This coming Sunday I learn about spirits, so I will be sharing some of that with you.  Till next week, Cheers

Darlene

 

 

Change Leads The Way

Posted in Wine on November 7, 2015 by darmyers

Canada's 23rd prime minister

Canada got a new leader this past week, as Liberal Leader Justin Trudeau was sworn in as our 23rd Prime Minister.   I think for the most part Canada is very excited about the change, and we should be.  A sea of red swept Atlantic Canada, so this week I dedicate my wine blog to change, and some beautiful new red wines.

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Here’s a fantastic new wine I tried this past week.  The 2011 Torres Gran Coronas Cabernet Sauvignon.  This vineyard is 130 years old, and commands the famous Penedes wine region.  This wine features gorgeous intense wine flavors of plum and coffee flavors, and has a nice silky palate.  A fantastic wine at a fantastic price, comes in at about $22.

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Canada has not only captured the world’s attention with its new leadership, it’s also leading the way with some great wines.  This Thirty Bench Red from Beamsville Ontario is a great example.  Built around Cabernet Franc this wine has great structure, rich fruits and hints of cedar and smoke.  A great Canadian wine that I thoroughly enjoyed.

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The first time I ever tried a Rosso wine was in the Summer of 1995 when I had the pleasure of visiting Francis Ford Coppola’s vineyard in the Napa Valley   I loved it  His was a blend of Zinfandel, Cabernet Sauvignon and Syrah  He suggests you try this wine with Mama Coppola’s meatballs   It’s also a great pizza wine   So when I tried this Rosso last night, I was excited   Especially to learn the Rosso di Napa won double gold at the San Fransisco Wine Chronicle Wine Competition.  This is a gorgeous blend of Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Zinfandel and Petite Sirah   This wine was full-bodied , tasty,  it had great structure  and paired perfectly with the beef tenderloin I had last night.   It just became available here in Nova Scotia and comes in at a wonderful price around the $20 mark.  It’s  my new favorite wine of the week !

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Here I am with my friends Rayell and Evelyn   They are both wine Sommeliers   And tomorrow my education to become a wine Sommelier continues    On Sunday I start the beer and spirits portion of the CAPS program.  We kick start the program with a Cicerone, which is a Sommelier of beer.

I will tell you all about that next week!  Til then Cheers

Darlene

 

 

 

Teaching An Old Dog New Tricks!

Posted in Wine on October 31, 2015 by darmyers

New Tricks

This past week I have dis-proven the old adage ‘You can’t teach an old dog new tricks’!  Well this old dog says “Yes, you can!”  And I’m living proof.   For years I have been saying ‘I don’t like South African wine’!  With the exception of this one…

Diesel

The Diesel Pinotage is fantastic, but it is also in the $70 price range.  I wasn’t a huge fan of some of the South African wines I have tried to date,  I found them to be a little earthy for me.  Well, this past week, a colleague of mine asked me to try a new wine from South Africa.

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The Big Easy from Ernie Els.   Coming in at $21, what a pleasant surprise this wine turned out to be.  When I first opened the bottle, I poured a glass and took a sip.  I found it be good, but tasted some earthiness.  Then I got busy, so the wine sat for about 30 minutes.  What a difference.  Let this bottle of wine breathe, and you have one of the best wines I have ever tasted out of South Africa.  It’s a beautiful blend of Shiraz and Cabernet Sauvignon with some Grenache, Mourvedre and Viognier.  This blend works.  It was very rich tasting and had a very silky feel on the palate.  I enjoyed it with pasta, but I would also have a steak with this wine.  I very much enjoyed it, and my friends at the Liquor Store almost passed out when they saw me buying a wine from South Africa.  It was a big wine, but it was an incredibly smooth wine.

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Speaking of big wines… allow me to introduce Imperfecto, from Trapiche in Argentina.  A blend of Malbec and Cabernet Franc, when you pour this wine the first thing you are going to notice is the dark inky color.  And then, pow, it is an explosion of flavor on the palate.  Dark rich fruits, spicy, mocha and very dry.  I would really enjoy this wine with food, enjoy it with grilled meat or wild game.  It’s a big wine with intense flavor.  Comes in around the $52 mark.

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It’s a week of new wines and big wines.  Here is the Schug (pronounced Shoog) Pinot Noir from the Sonoma Coast in California.   I had this wine twice this week and it’s funny because I notice on the Liquor Store web page it’s referred to as light and fruity.  I have to disagree with that one… Rich and decadent is how I describe it.  A gorgeous Pinot Noir which my friend Anthony had this week and he described it as rich as well.  It has smoky cranberry flavors and an unbelievable finish on the palate.    This one stays with you.

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I normally do a new wine of the week, but since they are all new, I am going to share my new favorite.  The Antinori Chianti Classico from 2011 was spectacular.  A Chianti is dry, but I loved every sip.  Flavors of cloves, cedar and other spices mixed with the berry fruits.  This is a blend of Sangiovese and Cabernet Sauvignon.  Sangiovese can be light, but in this case the Cabernet adds bold flavors and great structure.  I am planning on having this one again soon.

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Well this old dog is signing off for another week.  Till next week Cheers.  If you try any of the new wines featured this week, I would love to hear what you think

Darlene

 

 

 

Climbing Everest

Posted in Wine on October 24, 2015 by darmyers
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This coming Sunday, November 1st, I will be climbing Everest for the 3rd time.
Not this Everest
Mount Everest 1
But this Everest… Virtual Everest!
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Virtual Everest is an event put off by the Arthritis Society to raise money and awareness.  And this will be by 3rd year participating.  It’s one of my favorite charitable events, and I always finish my accomplishment with a hot bath and… (you guessed it)…a glass of wine.   There are many wines to choose from when you finish climbing Virtual Mount Everest.
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Of course Mount Everest is the King of Hills!  So what better way to celebrate than Penfold’s Koonunga Hill Shiraz.  A great value at under $20, and a nice spicy flavorful Shiraz from Australia.
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Mount Everest is 29,029 feet above sea level, and every time I see the world sea, I think of the Sea Smoke Southing Pinot Noir that my friend Anthony and I shared last Christmas.
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Sadly, our local liquor store hasn’t had it back in stock since, but I’m keeping my fingers crossed.  Hands down, the best Pinot Noir wine I have ever tasted.  Southing refers to the South facing bluffs found on the estate vineyard in the beautiful Santa Rita Hills in California.  It’s a complex and elegant Pinot Noir with hints of smoke on the nose and aged in 100% French Oak, and 55% of the barrels are brand new.  I rated it as one of my favorite wines from last year.
Edmund Hillary
Speaking of Pinot Noir, Edmund Hillary is credited as being the first person to successfully climb Mount Everest, and here he is pictured with his Sherpa Tenzing Norgay, after reaching the Summit on May 26, 1953.   Hillary is from New Zealand and as many of you know, New Zealand puts out some spectacular wines, especially Pinot Noir and Sauvignon Blanc.
Whitehaven
One of my favorites is the Whitehaven Pinot Noir from Marlborough.  This is no wimpy Pinot Noir, it is robust with flavor.  Gorgeous aromas and flavors of dark cherries and charred oak, this super food friendly wine comes in under the $25 mark.
Saint Clair Sauvignon Blanc
Here’s a beautiful Sauvignon Blanc from New Zealand and the Saint Clair Family Estate vineyard.  I love this particular Sauvignon Blanc, because there are not so much of the green asparagus flavors you find one some Sauvignon Blanc wines, but more tropical fruit and passion fruit flavors.  I love this, and had the chance to meet the winemaker this past year Kyle Thompson.
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My new wine of the week is…..
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A Canadian beauty… the Angel’s Gate Merlot from the Niagara Peninsula region.  Even if you don’t think you like Merlot, you should give this a try.  It’s not dominated by juicy plump plum flavors, it has more tannic structure and spicy notes.  Winning double gold at the All Canadian Wine Championships, you’ll understand why with its beautiful fruit flavors enhanced by subtle oak.
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Well that’s it for me for this week.  Sharing some pictures from last year’s event.
Till next week, Cheers
Darlene

Wines To Help You Get Through Election Night

Posted in Wine on October 17, 2015 by darmyers

Monday, October 19th is a big day in Canada, it’s Election Night.  At 78 days of campaigning, it has been the longest election in Canadian History.   Thought I would share a few wines that can help you through the long evening and celebrate and/or commiserate the results.

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Confused on who to vote for?  This is the wine for you!  Confuzion Red blend from Argentina is a blend of Malbec, Cabernet Sauvignon and Bonarda.  It has the structure of the Cabernet and the spiciness of the Malbec.   Very fruit forward and is a great wine for beef, and BBQ fare.  So reasonably priced at under $17, you can afford two!

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A 78 day campaign is enough to give anyone whiplash!  So, you might as well enjoy this delightful blend of Petite Sirah and Cabernet Franc with its gorgeous rich flavors of blackberry, blueberry and notes of spice.  It’s from the U.S.A. and is bold and full-bodied and I just loved it.

Burrowing owl Meritage

You can’t have a Canadian election without featuring a really good Canadian wine.  And there are many, but here is one of my favorites.  From the Burrowing Owl Vineyard in B.C., the Meritage is a classic Bordeaux Blend.  It’s gorgeous and rich, (did Justin Trudeau not just come to mind!)  Rich fruit flavors, cocoa, spice and notes of cedar – this Bordeaux inspired wine is a great steak wine.

My new wine of the week…..

Buried hope

The Buried Hope is a Spanish tempranillo from the Port of Wines Show and my fantastic find of the week.  Coming in under $20, this wine is so easy to drink.  Gorgeous black fruit and raspberry flavors and spicy notes, it’s a beautiful dinner wine.  But honestly, I enjoyed this wine sitting  back watching Scandal episodes on Netflix!  This wine goes with everything.

So that’s it for this week.  I am going to sign off encouraging everyone to get out and vote October 19th.  It is so important… if you don’t vote, you are giving someone else a double vote, and it may be someone you don’t agree with.
You can change the world, by getting out to vote.
Till next week, Cheers
Darlene

 

 

Wine to be Thankful For!

Posted in Wine with tags on October 10, 2015 by darmyers

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This was my view one day last week, as I was out for a run. You see last week I headed home for a week.  Pretty, isn’t it?   My father had to have a hip replacement and I went home to give my Mom and Dad a hand, after he got out of the hospital.

Corner brook autumn

I hail from the west coast of Newfoundland in Eastern Canada in the prettiest spot called Corner Brook.  I love going home…. who doesn’t?  I love seeing family and friends, and Newfoundland has quite the wine selection in its stores, and I love trying new wines.  Here are a couple of new ones I tried last week.

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I was so excited to see this new Zinfandel at the NLC.  I had never tried this one before, and was even happier when it turned out to be so delicious.  This was flavorful, rich and full of raspberry fruit flavors.  There were also notes of white pepper and spice.  My Dad was housebound pretty well the entire time I was home, so to help fill the time I played cards with him….. a lot!  This is a great wine for food, or as I discovered, perfect for playing cards.

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As many of you may know, my Mom is a Chardonnay lover, and this is a beauty we shared one day last week.  I have written about the Chateau St. Jean vineyard before, the Pinot Noir is a staple in my wine rack.  This was my first time trying the Chardonnay and it did not disappoint.  Well-priced at around the $20 mark, this rich Chardonnay had beautiful flavors of lemon cream and mango, and the mild oak gave it an elegance in the finish.

Chateau Merlot

And from the same vineyard, while I was home I tried the Merlot.  Here in Nova Scotia we can get the Pinot Noir and the Cabernet Sauvignon, so I was excited as well to try the Merlot.  Loving Merlot as much as I do, I found it fabulous, and was quite sad to learn I can’t have it again until I return to Newfoundland at Christmas time.  Vibrantly rich with an abundance of cherry and red plum flavors.  Notes of baked pie and chocolate and a rich lingering finish make for the perfect wine to have with pork, or any meat you would like to throw on the grill.

Thanksgiving wine

This weekend in Canada we are celebrating our Thanksgiving.  I know I find it easy to be very thankful for so many blessings in my life.  I have a wonderful family, great friends, a nice roof over my head, food in my fridge and wine in the wine rack. I am very lucky indeed.  Here’s hoping you can find something to be thankful for, and have a great long weekend.

Till next week, Cheers

Darlene

 

 

Port of Wines Festival 2015

Posted in Uncategorized on October 4, 2015 by darmyers

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All I can say is Wow!  What a great Port of Wines Festival this year and I had the honor of pouring some terrific wines.  Remember from last week’s blog, one of my favorites from last year was the Corbieres from Abbotts & Delauney.

Gerard bertrand bottle

Well, you can imagine what a thrill it was to not only meet the winemaker, but to spend 3 hours with him.

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This is Frederic Carrerre, part of the Father/Son winemaking duo at Chateau Prieure Borde Rouge located in the Languedoc region in the southern part of France in the very heart of the Corbieres region.  What a lovely man.  Funny and witty, and a great winemaker.  In the past, Corbieres was a 3 grape blend, Syrah, Grenache and Carignan.  However, we were pouring the 2013 vintage, and Frederic told me it was just Syrah and Grenache.  A big bodied wine with great tannic structure and from the man himself, a great wine with a beef stew.

Minervois

Here is another wine we were pouring, the Mivervois Reserve from Frederic’s vineyard.  A super smooth wine, I really enjoyed this.  I found it easy to drink and although Frederic says its great with any type of meat, it can also be enjoyed all by itself.  40% of the wine has been aged in oak and 60% in stainless steel, so it’s not overly oaky at all.  Hint of chocolate accompanies rich fruit flavors and a hint of thyme make for a beautiful wine.

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For my white wine loving friends, Frederic is holding one of the most interesting wines I have ever tasted.  Definitely one of the most interesting white wines.  It’s a blend of Chardonnay and Viognier.  It was spectacular and my favorite find from the show.  It was a rich Chardonnay with the great acidity and vibrancy from the Viognier.  Gorgeous flavors of dried pear and dried banana, I loved this wine.

And last but certainly not least….

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The Zinfandel at this year’s show was spectacular and one I’ve never tired before.  From the Gallo Family of California, this wine was given 91 Points by Wine Spectator and 92 from Natalie Maclean.  This is one of the best Zinfandel wines I have ever tasted.  Gorgeous rich and hedonistic!  Blueberry flavors with spice and smoky bacon.  At $50 a bottle it’s a treat wine for sure, but what a treat it is.

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Me and my wine-loving friend Anthony who is also a wine blogger.  You can check out his blog, Rookie Wine Reviews, here at Rookie Wine Reviews.

Till next week, Cheers

Darlene

 

Port of Wines Excitement

Posted in Uncategorized on September 26, 2015 by darmyers

Port of Wines

The Port of Wines show is on in Halifax this weekend, and I have the honor of pouring for one of the brands.  I thought I would take this opportunity to reflect back on some of my favorites from last year.

Gerard bertrand bottle

This is one of the wines I personally will be pouring this weekend, and was one of my favorites from last year.   A fantastic value, coming in under $20, and a great tasting wine.  I’m excited about being able to talk about this wine, a blend of Syrah, Grenache and Mourvedre.  It’s full, rich and dark with hints of pencil shavings, tobacco and spice.

Lucente label

Here’s another of my favorites from last year.  La Vite Lucente 2011 is a complex and subtle Italian red wine.  A rich blend of Merlot, Sangiovese and Cabernet Sauvignon so it has those gorgeous blackberry flavors with notes of smoke and cedar.  Let it breathe for an hour and this wine is good to go.

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This was probably the most famous wine at the Port of Wines show last year.  It was definitely the wine that had the most press internationally.  The 2013 Jolie-Pitt Perrin Miraval Cotes de Provence Rose was actually very good.  Given 90+ points or higher across the board, critics were probably even a little more critical when trying this one, as they can be when reviewing celebrity wines.  However, every review said this one hit the mark.  Gorgeous flavors of strawberries with a floral note, this wine has great acidity.  Delicious on its own, it would also make a great wine for appetizers and nibbling cheese.

My new wine of the week…….

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Petite Sirah has been known for being a great wine for blends, California has started a surge of Petite Sirah wines that stand alone, and I am loving it.  McMannis Family Vineyards makes a great one, and this is a new one I’ve tried this past week.  The Crusher Petite Sirah is grown east of the Napa Valley and the cool nights and hot days make for a deep concentrated wine.  Crusher also uses wild yeast for this wine.  What is wild yeast you may ask?  They use yeast that is naturally present in the environment and has not been modified in any way.  This helps make a wine that is a great expression of local terroir.  Perfect wine for BBQ, pork or wild game meats.

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Had a great time at the Port of wines last year with my friend Rayell, and I’m looking forward to this year’s festival as well.

I will tell you all about it next week.  Till then, Cheers

Darlene

Fall Into Some Great Wines!

Posted in Wine with tags , , , on September 19, 2015 by darmyers

Autumn

By far, my favorite time of the year is Fall.  I love the cool crisp temperatures, I love the colors of the season, and I love a good glass of wine on a chilly Autumn evening.  And since the first day of Autumn is coming up this week, I thought I would share some great wines you can enjoy this season.

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The first wine I would like to share with you this week is in celebration of Earth Day.  The Adobe Vineyard out of Chile releases a group of limited edition organic wines to celebrate Earth Day and the Cabernet Sauvignon I had this past week is one of those wines.

They also make a Sauvignon Blanc for all my white wine loving friends.  I had the opportunity to have the Cabernet Sauvignon this past week, and not only is it an outstanding value at just $14.99, it’s a great wine.  It was named one of the top 20 wines for under $20, and for a good reason.  It has a lot of depth and complexity for an inexpensive wine, great structure and bold fruits.  I loved it, and will buy it again.

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Another wine I tried new this past week makes the Top 20 for under $20 list on a regular basis.  Broquel puts out many great wines, all under $20 and a new one I tried this past week was the Cabernet Franc.  Now I have to be honest, my only experiences with Cabernet Franc tend to be Bordeaux blends, where many French winemakers traditionally include Cabernet Franc as part of their blend with Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot.  This varietal all by itself was surprisingly delicious.  Full-bodied and spicy, with a good solid tannic structure.  Not unlike it’s relative, Cabernet Sauvignon.  I’m originally from Newfoundland, and with Moose season here, this is the perfect wine for wild game and any red meat.

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I tried a bunch of new wines this week, and here’s another one.  The Rio Madre Rioja from Spain featuring the Graciano grape.  I have to tell you, this is not a familiar grape to me, but the wine was delicious.  The Graciano grape is well known to Spanish winemakers though, used to add a floral note and complexity to their blended wines.   This wine was first introduced in 2010 and since then have been given 90+ points across the board, including a 91 from the man himself, Robert Parker.  I love the fact the grapes are hand harvested and only the best non-bruised grapes are used for this wine.  Rich dark fruits and a great wine for pizza and pasta.

Last but not least, is my greatest find this week…..

Beringer

The Beringer Knights Valley Cabernet Sauvignon is worth every penny of the $35 I paid for it.  Grapes for this wine were harvested in October, which is late.  And what that did was add a full-bodied sweet note to the Cabernet.  Dark rich fruits, spice, sweet licorice with a silky finish makes for a spectacular wine.  Treat yourself!  You work hard, you deserve it.  And this wine will put a smile on your face.

Well, that’s it for this week.  Enjoy the season, and thanks again for reading.
Till next week, Cheers
Darlene

 

 

What I Did On My Summer Vacation!

Posted in Wine on September 12, 2015 by darmyers

Summer vacation

Last week I wrote a blog called ‘Bye Bye Summer!’  This week I wanted to share some of the great times I had this Summer, and some of the new wines I had tried along the way.

I have been blessed with many great friends, and one of them is my friend Dan, who I have been Sea-doing with this Summer.  Talk about fun, and as you can tell from the pictures, the Halifax Waterfront makes for a beautiful views and fun times.

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There’s nothing like a great day on the water, and there’s nothing like finishing that great day with a great glass of wine!

Here’s a beautiful wine at a great price…

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The Mallee Rock Shiraz Cabernet Sauvignon blend hails from the Limestone Coast in Australia and priced under $15, you will want to put this one on your wish list.  Dark rich blackberry fruits, with spicy notes from the Shiraz and great tannic structure from the Cabernet.  It also has hints of mint that will have it pair lovely with a pork roast or a pork tenderloin.

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Dan has also started running with me, and the best way to cool off after a run is in his beautiful pool.   So we’ve done a fair bit of running, and I like to reward a great run with a great glass of wine.

Kangarilla

Regular readers of this blog will know I just love Zinfandel.  Up to now, the Zinfandel wines I have tried have always been from California.  Well here’s a new one from Australia!  I know, right!  Australia?  It’s high in alcohol, and you can taste it!  15% can really pack a punch.  Has those cherry and plum flavors with vanilla, but honestly, I think California still does it better.  Sorry Kangarilla!  You were good, but California has been making Zinfandel wine since about 1850 and 165 years makes for great practice.   It came to California as part of the California Gold Rush, when these miners looking for gold bought Zinfandel with them to enjoy.  By the end of the 19th Century, it was the most widespread variety in California.  I never knock a wine in this wine blog, but if I were to be completely honest with readers, I would suggest a California Zinfandel.  Plus, this one comes in at about $38.99 and you can get a premium Zinfandel out of California for about $25!

Summer Fun 011

I also went to an outdoor concert of Journey with my sister, who you remember just started drinking wine.  And her favorite is

Jacob's moscato

Jacob’s Creek Moscato, which happens to be Dan’s favorite wine too.  Crisp, refreshing and a hint of sweetness, this is a great Summer wine.

And my new favorite find of the past week is…….

Pata Neera

My fabulous find of the week is also one of the most confusing wines I have had lately, but also one of the more delicious wines.  I thought it said “Pata Neera”, well apparently that second ‘e’ is a ‘g’, and it’s Pata Negra.  This Tempranillo from Spain is a 2006 Gran Reserva and super smooth on the palate and coming in at just $16.99 a bottle, makes it a wonderful value.  Don’t you love finding great deals on great wine?  I do, it’s one of my all time favorite things! It’s won more medals than us Canadians at the last Pan Am Games, and that’s a lot of medals.  This wine has rested in the barrel for 5 years and that makes for a great structured wine, with hints of oak and vanilla, and a smoothness that comes with barrel aging.

Wine Fall

Well that’s it for me this week.  We are entering my favorite season… Autumn.  I love the pretty colors and the cooler temperatures.  And of course wine.

Till next week, Cheers

Darlene

Bye Bye Summer!

Posted in Wine on September 5, 2015 by darmyers

Bye Summer

Apparently I blinked, and now Summer is over.  Short but sweet, I hope everyone enjoyed their Summer.   I would like to take a moment to reminisce on some of my favorite wines from this past summer.

August 2015 025

This was a spectacular new find… The 2011 Seven Falls Merlot from Washington State.  Given 90 Points by Wine Spectator, this beauty has the juicy dark fruit you’d expect from a Merlot, but more oomph.  It’s a little more full-bodied for a Merlot, aged 18 months in oak, and has more structure than the average Merlot.  So much so you could enjoy this wine with a steak, as well as pork or anything else you would want to put on a grill on a grill.   This could be my favorite burger wine of the Summer.

August 2015 028

This is Steve, who is sampling some of the Skinny Girl line, holding up the Skinny Girl Pinot Grigio… the perfect patio wine.   Crisp and refreshing, with tropical fruit flavors so yummy you’ll forget it’s only 100 calories per serving.  I called it the perfect patio wine but it’s also very food friendly and will pair nicely with seafood or just snacking on cheese and crackers.

Skinny girl 1Skinny girl 2

Skinny Girl also has come out with a line of lemonade spritzers that are 90 calories a pop, and are super refreshing.  I tried the Key Lime one on Thursday and with this being a long weekend, a great time to stock up on these refreshing delights.

August 2015 026

Here’s another new wine I’ve tried in the past week.  A gift from a friend, I love wine from the Saint Emilion region of France.  Merlot dominant with Cabernet Franc added, this Bordeaux has good density, ripe fruit, smokey flavors and hints of chocolate.  Very food friendly.

And last but not least this beauty…. I had it last night and what a way to start the long weekend….

Liano

The Liano Sangiovese Cabernet Sauvignon.   A delightful combination of mocha and rich plum fruit with hints of chocolate.  It’s full-bodied from the Cabernet and soft and smooth from the Sangiovese.  And if you don’t want to take my word for it, this gorgeous wine won a Gold Medal at the Sélections Mondiales des Vins in Montreal and Natalie Maclean gave it 92 points.  It’s a winner!

Long weekend

It’s Labor Day weekend so as we salute the working class of this great country,  stay safe, drive carefully and enjoy some great wine

Till next weekend, Cheers

Darlene

 

Which Wine Personality Are You?

Posted in Wine on August 22, 2015 by darmyers

Wine Personality 2

I know I said I was going to take a break this week from blogging, but Mom and Dad are resting and I thought I would jot down some thoughts.  3 1/2 Years ago I wrote one of my very first wine blogs on the personality of a wine, and how it resembled the personality of some of my friends.  The wine was strong and subtle and a little mysterious.  I had a lot of fun with that blog and it got a great response.  I always meant to do it again.  On social media, I have been noticing lots of ‘wine and personality quizzes and tests’.  For example, here’s one “What Kind of Wine Are You?”

Wine rules

In one quiz I was a Chardonnay, which is odd because 80% of the wine I drink is red.  But I do love me a Chardonnay and I covered some favorites last week with my blog about my Mom’s favorite wines.  In another quiz I was a Cabernet Sauvignon.  Big and bold with lots of layers… that’s me! LOL.  Well here are a few of my favorite Cabernet Sauvignon wines.

Quantum

I can’t talk about Cabernet Sauvignon without visiting sunny California.  This Beringer Quantum from the Napa Valley is one of the best ones I have tried.  A little pricier, but a great treat wine.  Gorgeous rich flavors of dark fruit, coffee, spice and hints of vanilla from oak aging.  Beringer makes a beautiful expression of Cabernet Sauvignon.

G7 Cabernet

Let me tell you who is putting out some fabulous Cabernet Sauvignon wines…. Chile!  Flying Winemakers are wine makers who travel to different areas of the world either for expertise or to partner with local wine makers on vineyards.  For example, Robert Mondavi started investing in Chile in 1995 and lent his expertise.  The wines that are coming out of Chile are fantastic and a fantastic price.  Like this G7 Cabernet Sauvignon, a full-bodied wine that has hints of clove and spice.  Named because they are 7th Generation wine makers, at just $15.99 it’s a steal of a deal.

Wine drink the good stuff

I have different wines for different moods.  Do you?  If I want to sit back on a Saturday night and sip a glass (or 2) while watching a movie, I’m going to pick something medium-bodied like a Pinot Noir.

May 2015 013

Like this one from Saint Clair Family Estate.  I have one more bottle of this 2011 vintage in my wine rack, and I’m saving it for a very special occasion.   If I’m into cooking and there’s lots of meat involved, I’m into something a little heavier, like a Zinfandel, a Cabernet or a Cabernet blend.  Like this one

Charles

This is a great wine at a great price.  Charles & Charles Cabernet Sauvignon / Syrah blend comes in at just $18.99 and it’s full-bodied with those nice spicy pepper flavors from the Syrah.  I love this wine, and it’s a great BBQ wine.  We’ll also call it my new wine of the week for this week.

Wine Good for you

Well that’s it for this week.  A big thank you again for taking time out of your busy lives to read my wine blog, it is very much appreciated.

Cheers

Darlene

 

 

Mom’s Favorite White Wines

Posted in Uncategorized on August 15, 2015 by darmyers

 

Christmas 2014 028

I’m so excited, my Mom and Dad are coming for a visit.  My Dad is not a wine drinker, but my Mom loves her Chardonnay and a few other white wines.   Here’s what I’ll be shopping for in the Wine Store this week.

Wine 001

You might remember this one, it’s my new favorite Chardonnay, and I’m sure Mom is going to love it.  From the Santa Lucia Highlands this yummy Chardonnay is full of tropical flavors and smooth on the palate.  I know she hasn’t had it yet, and I’m looking forward to sharing a glass with her.

Alianca with salad

My mother loves salads and here’s a wine she is going to love when she comes to visit.  The Alianca Vinho Verde is off-dry and fruity with citrus flavors and a crisp acidity.  Perfect wine for appetizers or patios.  This will be a treat for her, as I know she has never had it, and it’s perfectly priced to fit any budget.

Bachelder

I have a bottle of this Bachelder Chardonnay from the Niagara region in my wine rack and it’s going to be a huge treat for her.  She is not a lady who likes to spend a lot of money on wine, but loves the good stuff.  So it’s fun to spoil her every once in a while.  This is a gorgeous Chardonnay made by Thomas Bachelder, smooth and rich.  We’ll save this one for a special meal.

Conundrum

Here’s another great wine I’m sure she will love this.  Conundrum White blend from Caymus Vineyards in California is rich and full and delicious.  They are keeping the blend a secret, but there is definitely some Chardonnay in there.  Gorgeous rich flavors of peach and honey and it’s a great seafood wine.

Dreaming Tree chardonnay

And last but not least, the  Dreaming Tree Chardonnay remains one of her favorites.  Dave Matthews and his partners at Dreaming Tree vineyard know how to do Chardonnay right.  And in case you didn’t know the labels are organic, the bottles are lighter to cut down on shipping costs and they are very conscious in their winemaking practices.  I love this vineyard and the wine that they are producing.

My new wine of the week… is a red!

June 2015 086

The Chateau Ste. Michelle Indian Wells Red Blend is a gorgeous wine.  Merlot, Syrah, Malbec, Grenache, Petite Verdot, Cabernet Sauvignon, Mourvedre and Cab Franc.  I know, sometimes when winemakers add too many different kinds of grapes, it doesn’t always come out great.  Well this vineyard had it turn out spectacular.  It is a great full-bodied fruit driven wine with all the lusciousness you would expect with Merlot being dominant.   I enjoyed this wine last night with a BBQ burger and it was heavenly.

Mom and Dad

My mom and dad are here for 12 days so I may take a wine blog holiday next week.  This picture was taken last year when they visited Halifax.  Hope everyone is enjoying their summer.

Cheers

Darlene

Common Wine Questions

Posted in Wine on August 8, 2015 by darmyers

Wine FAQ

Since I started my quest to become a Sommelier, I get asked wine questions quite frequently, and I’m always happy to be of assistance to people about the topic of wine.  After all, I am very passionate about my hobby, and even more passionate about drinking it.  Please keep in mind, the blog is called ‘Wine – In My Opinion’, and some readers may have different answers to the questions featured.  And that’s OK!  Everyone has a different palate and opinion when it comes to wine, and that’s one of the things that makes the subject of wine so interesting.

Which wine should I serve with Dinner?

This is one of the most common questions I get.  What to serve with what.  Here’s what I would do.  For a white wine I would serve Chardonnay and for red wine I would serve Pinot Noir.  The Chardonnay grape is very neutral which makes it a great fit for a wide variety of dishes.  There’s a reason it is the most popular white wine in the world, because it’s so versatile.  Although Cabernet Sauvignon is the most popular red wine variety, it’s a full-bodied heavy wine with powerful tannins and can over-power some dishes.  Pinot Noir on the other hand, is a medium bodied wine with medium tannins, balanced by a great acidity.  So it doesn’t over-power food, but rather compliments it.

 Wine 001 Mac Murray wine

Here are my current favorite examples of a Chardonnay and Pinot Noir.  The Mer Soleil Reserve from the Santa Lucia Highlands in California is super tasty with tropical notes.  And the Mac Murray Pinot Noir from Sonoma County in the Napa Valley is one of the smoothest examples of Pinot you will find on the shelves.

What temperature should I serve my wine?

It still amazes me how people serve their red wine… too warm!  For some reason people still serve the wine at ‘room temperature’, even if the room is 25 degrees Celsius.  NO!   The notion of room temperature started with the temperature of the old underground wine cellars, which were about 15-degrees Celsius.  (55 degrees Farenheit)   Cool that red wine down people!  You will enjoy it so much more because the flavors will be enhanced.  Red wine too warm is too jammy and wine too cold numbs the flavors.  Put your wine in the refrigerator for half an hour before serving, or you can keep it in the fridge and take it out 20-30 minutes before serving.  Big bold red wines like Cabernet Sauvignon can be served a little warmer, but no warmer than 18-degrees Celsius.  White wines should be served anywhere from 9 – 11 degrees Celsius.

Summer 3

What makes a good wine?

When I visited the Napa Valley in 2001, I remember visiting a lot of vineyards and asking this same question.  And I get asked this a lot, and I always quote the guy pouring the wine at Francis Ford Coppola’s vineyard in Sonoma…”A good wine is a wine that you like”.  And it’s as simple as that.  As I said at the beginning of the blog, everyone has a different palate when it comes to wine, so it makes sense we all like different wines for different reasons.

New wine of the week:

Summer Fun 027

I love discovering fantastic wine at fantastic prices.  This is part of the 90+ program going on right now.  Wines with ratings of 90 or more that are all priced under $30.  Well this gem is priced under $18!  The SR Secret Reserve Red Blend is from Santa Rita in Chile and is my superstar wine of the week.  A blend of Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Syrah, Petite Verdot and Carmenere combine for one delicious yummy blend.  Full-bodied, juicy and rich, this has barbecue written all over it.  $17.99 and 90 Points make this a winner.

Wine Happiness

Till next week, I hope you find your inner happiness.  Cheers

Darlene

Great Wine Great Prices! 90+ Program

Posted in Wine on August 1, 2015 by darmyers

90 Points

Who doesn’t love a great bargain, especially when it comes to wine.  I love this time of year, the 90+ Program is out.  The program have wines that have all been given ratings of 90 or higher and they are all priced under $30.  There are some beautiful wines.

Tempranillo

Here’s a returning favorite.  The Finca El Encinal Crianza is a gorgeous Tempranillo wine from Spain.  You’re greeted with toasty oak on the nose, but it disappears and doesn’t over-power the wine.  The dark berry fruits are what stands out with this wine and with some earthy notes that make it a great wine for game, grilled lamb, lamb chops and beef.   This wine has been given ratings as high as 94% by some critics and sells here in Nova Scotia for just $22.99

Wine 006

Here’s a new entry into the 90+ Program for under $30.  This is a fabulous Chilean Pinot Noir that sells here for $21.99 and worth every penny.  Pinot Noir is such a finicky grape and is sensitive to extreme weather conditions, like droughts and extreme heat which can both be found in Chile.  This vineyard is equipped with a drip irrigation system that services the grape’s unique needs.  What we have is a delicious wine with cherry and prune flavors, rich on the fruit side with good acidity for a perfect balance.  As many of you know, Pinot Noir is my favorite food wine.  it goes well with just about everything

Wine 004

The Orestiadi Ludovico Rosso Sicilia IGT 2008 vintage is a mouthful to say and a mouthful of brilliant winemaking.  Named after a man known for simplicity and elegance, that was the goal of the two winemakers when they set out to make this wine…. and they succeeded!  With 90% Nero d’Avolo and 10% Cabernet Sauvignon, it’s full-bodied, intense and flavorful.  Rich fruits, good tannic structure and leather and tobacco notes, this wine sold out of the NSLC pretty fast.  If you can find it your area, buy a bottle like I did, and hold on to it.  Save it for a special meal, it’s that special of a wine.

Wine 003

Here’s another wonderful value.  At just $18.99 this Tempranillo Crianza from Spain is already 5 years old and super smooth.  It not only made the Top 100 list last year from Wine Spectator, they also gave it 90 Points.  A medium-bodied wine with lots of fresh fruit flavors, baking spices, vanilla and oaky notes.   Great wine and great value.

Wine 001

And for my new favorite find of the week, our white wine loving friends will thank me for this one.  This is one of the best Chardonnay wines I have had in a while.  The Mer Soleil Reserve Chardonnay is full-bodied and rich with notes of tropical fruit and a buttery toastiness from impeccable oak aging.   Living in Atlantic Canada, I personally can’t eat lobster, but for my friends that can, try this wine with it.

Wine Good for you

Well that’s it for me this week… thanks for taking the time to read my wine blog and till next week, Cheers

Darlene

 

Ribfest & The Perfect Wines

Posted in Wine, Wine & Food with tags , , on July 25, 2015 by darmyers

Summer 2015 014Summer 2015 013

Halifax just hosted its first ever Ribfest!  OMG, have I ever told you how much I love ribs.   A group of us from work went down to the Halifax waterfront to enjoy some mouth watering ribs from professional ribbers from both Canada and the United States.   But don’t wait once a year for Ribest, you can learn how to make your own perfect ribs on your own BBQ.

1c97e-ribs

Do you know what goes great with ribs… you guessed it, wine!  Here are some of my favorite pairings if you plan on firing up the grill and having a rack of ribs this week.

Predator

One of my favorite wines tops the list for best rib wine.  Last week I called the Predator Old Vine Zinfandel the ultimate BBQ wine… it’s the ultimate rib wine.  Zinfandel, if you’ve never had it before, is a juicy full-bodied wine with lots of jammy fruit flavors and a hint of smoky bacon.  You can see how it’s a perfect match for BBQ ribs.  If it’s a little too pricey, check out these other Zinfandel wines.

Cline Old VineGnarly Head label

The Cline Ancient Vine Zinfandel is another beauty, and some of the vines are 100 years old.  It packs a punch at 15% alcohol, but the alcohol doesn’t over-power the taste of the wine.  On their webpage the #1 food to pair it with is BBQ pork.  Coincidence.. I think not!  The other Old Vine Zinfandel is Gnarly Head, a tasty flavorful Zinfandel and great with ribs.

Bogle Essential

I’m also a big fan of having Zinfandel in a blend, like this Bogle Essential Red which is a Zinfandel Syrah blend.  The Syrah really ads a hint of spice to the Zinfandel and I love the match.  If you’re like me you probably like to add a bit of spice to your ribs, whether it’s black pepper or a spicy BBQ sauce.  The spice of the ribs goes well with the spicy notes in the wine.

Dada label

Do you know what also goes great with ribs?  Merlot.  Like this Dada Merlot out of Argentina.  And at just $15.99 a bottle you’ll be cooking ribs any night of the week.  This is also an organic Merlot wine and really delicious.  Argentina is putting out some first class wines at fantastic prices.

Dreaming Tree Crush

I also love Merlot in a blend, like this Dreaming Tree Crush from California.  This is a Merlot and Syrah blend, and again the Syrah adds a touch of spice to the plump juicy Merlot.  This vineyard is owned by musician Dave Matthews and they are making incredible tasting wine.  I also really like the fact his labels are made from recycled paper and he makes his bottles lighter to cut down on shipping costs and fuels.  Plus the wine is delicious, so why wouldn’t we support this wonderful venture.

Bachelder Chard label

For my white wine loving friends, I would go with something rich like a Chardonnay.  This Thomas Bachelder would fit the bill perfectly.  Rich fruit, apple flavors and a hint of wood from the oak aging with make this a great wine for smoky ribs.

I’ve been told I make great ribs.  It’s the one thing my parents and my nephews ask me to make, so here’s my recipe.

Dar’s BBQ Ribs

– Start with a rack of Baby Back Pork Ribs.  Pre-heat your oven to a low temperature like 300-degrees, or use a slow-cooker.  Slow cooking the ribs for 1 1/2 – 2 hours before you put them on the grill with ensure fall of the bone ribs.

– In a bowl combine half a bottle of your favorite BBQ sauce, brown sugar, bourbon, garlic, cayenne pepper, chili powder, hot sauce (I use Frank’s), fresh ground pepper, a dash of salt and a squeeze of lime juice.  Don’t worry about the hot sauce and spices, the heat will cook off and the flavor remains.

– Cook the ribs for two hours on low (3 – 4 if you are using a slow-cooker) and then heat up the grill.  Turn the burner that the ribs will be over completely down and keep turning and basting with BBQ sauce for another 45 minutes.  You’ll have those yummy grill marks and the additional basting makes for great flavor.

– Have fun and practice makes perfect.  And think of how much fun you’ll have practicing and eating the ribs.

You Can't buy happiness

Till next week everyone, enjoy Summer cause it’s passing us by way too quickly.  And fingers crossed Ribfest is back next year.

Cheers

Darlene

 

Birthday Wine Wish List!

Posted in Wine on July 18, 2015 by darmyers

Wine Birthday

It’s that time of year again.   My birthday is coming up this week, and I figure I am one of the easiest people to shop for.  Head for a store that sells wine… Done!    One of the most common phrases I hear is that ‘I wanted to buy you a bottle of wine, but I didn’t know what to get you’.   Let me solve that problem right now.  Here are a list of some of my favorite wines.

Predator

I love California wines, and I love Zinfandel.  This is my favorite and I’ve tried all of them… even the $50 ones.  This one comes in at $25 and still makes the top of the list.  The Predator Old Vine Zinfandel is the ultimate BBQ wine, and named after the ladybugs that provide eco-friendly protection from aphids and other vineyard pests.  The vines are over 50 years old and provide a rich dark fruit, smoky bacon flavors, spice and hints of oak aging.  I have not found a better wine to enjoy with BBQ ribs.

Double Decker wine Red Rock Manage a trois botle

I also love a California Blend… and here are 3 of my favorites.  Double Decker is a blend of Cabernet Sauvignon, Petite Sirah and Barbera so it’s a robust, yet smooth wine.  The Red Rock Winery combines Petite Sirah, Zinfandel and Cabernet Sauvignon.  It’s plump, juicy and has gorgeous plum flavors with toffee notes.  And the Menage a Trois California Red have 3 of my favorites, Merlot, Zinfandel and Cabernet Sauvignon.  All of these wines are around the $20 mark.

Mac Murray wine

I also love Pinot Noir, and I mean I love Pinot Noir.  This is the latest find.  The Mac Murray Pinot Noir from Sonoma County in California is one of the more full-bodied Pinot wines I have tried.  With classic raspberry, cherry and sandalwood flavors and smooth oak aging, it’s a great wine.  At $30, a little pricier than some, but worth it.  If that’s out of the price range, head to New Zealand, where they are putting out some spectacular Pinot Noir wines.

Kim Crawford Pinot Noir  May 2015 013

This is the wine I had last night, and it’s on sale right now.  Kim Crawford Pinot Noir is $3 off coming in at about $20.  Great value for a great wine.  With earthy black cherry notes, this wine is incredibly food friendly, and take it from me, tastes fabulous while you’re cooking too.   And the wine on the right is from the Saint Clair Family Estate winery, and they are putting out some fantastic Pinot Noir wines.  I have a bottle in my rack now signed by winemaker Kyle Thompson.  I don’t want to open it to drink it, so another one would be greatly appreciated.. LOL!

Bogle merlot  Anciano

I also love Merlot and this delicious wine from Bogle made the list last year, and is still one of my favorites, so I’m putting it on the list again this year.  This lovely Merlot is a staple in my wine rack and I just love it.   The wine on the right is the Anciano Tempranillo which has been aged 7 years and at $14.99 makes this one of the best finds in the liquor store.  Smooth and food friendly, you can’t go wrong with this one.

BENJAMIN_BRIDGE_BOREALIS_ICEWINE_Glass_600 Royal Tokaji

And last but not least, I do love a dessert wine, and here are my two favorites.  The Borealis from Benjamin Bridge is made right here in Nova Scotia.  Named after the Northern Lights, winemaker Jean-Benoit Deslauriers waited for the perfect moment to create a most perfect wine.   And the other wine pictured is the Royal Tokaji Aszu 5 Puttonyos and is one of the most highly rated Tokaji wines.  Tokaji originates out of Hungary, and is rich and decadent and its sweetness is balanced by crisp acidity.  Gorgeous flavors of apricot, citrus notes, grapefruit and tropical fruit, it has an incredibly long finish and each sip is a moment to savor.

Birthday George

I share a birthday you know with this little cutie, Prince George.  He’s probably not getting a lot of wine for his birthday so feel free to send his my way.

Next week we are going to be reviewing the 90+ Program.  Wines that have been rated 90 or more and comes in under $30.

Till then, Cheers

Darlene

Wine & Jazz – A Match Made In Heaven

Posted in Wine on July 11, 2015 by darmyers

 

Halifax Jazz

Our beautiful city of Halifax is hosting the Jazz Festival this week.  I love listening to Jazz music and enjoying a glass of wine.  They go hand in hand like spaghetti and meatballs.  So if you’re getting your Jazz on this week, here are a couple of my favorite wines to go with the tunes.

Jazz 1

 

If you love Miles Davis, Billie Holiday, Louis Armstrong and John Coltrane like I do, you have to love the smoothness of a Pinot Noir.  Here are some of my favs!

bl 14 DrsCk Pinot-front

The Pioneer Block Pinot Noir from the Saint Clair Family Estate Winery is spectacular.  This winery is putting out some of the best, and each Block has unique characteristics.  I have tried several of the ‘block’ Pinot Noir wines, and I have not been disappointed.

Dec 2014 054Dec 2014 053

This is my friend Anthony and I enjoying one of our all time favorite Pinot Noir wines, the Sea Smoke. Hailing from the Santa Rita Hills in California, this beautiful wine is aged exclusively in French oak for 16 months, of which 55% are new barrels.  I loved the wood on this wine along with rich fruit, spices and a smokiness that greatly enhanced the wine.

Calera labelWhitehaven

And my final two are two more favorites.  Calera, Josh Jensen’s California Pinot Noir that literally has my mouth dancing.  And my go to favorite when it comes to Pinot Noir – Whitehaven from New Zealand.  Both, like  my favorite jazz tunes, are super smooth, sexy and feel good wines.  Heightened flavors of fruit, strawberry and spicy wood.

Jazz 3

White wine drinker?  Stay with the Pinot family and enjoy a great Pinot Gris.

Sandhill Pinot GrisAra Pinot Gris

Here is a Canadian favorite – from the Sandhill Vineyard in British Columiba.  Crisp and refreshing with gorgeous citrus flavors… a great Summer wine.   Next to it is the Ara Pinot Gris.  I shared this wine with a friend visiting from Moncton last Summer, and we sat on the patio and enjoyed every sip.  From New Zealand, it was vibrant and aromatic and it’s a wine that pairs great with food as well.

And now my new wine of the week…. and it’s a beauty!

Iscay Malbec

This is the Iscay Malbec and Cabernet Franc blend.  And oh how delicious it is.  Nothing adds elegance to a wine like Cabernet Franc and the distinct aroma greets your nose.  This is mixed with the distinct aromas from the Malbec including blackberry fruit and cola.  It is rich and full-bodied and has delicious spices and this will go with beef, lamb, game meats but I loved it drinking it all by itself.  At $45 it’s a bit of a treat, but we all deserve a treat and oh what a treat it is!

Jazz 2

Well that’s it for me this week, I have to go enjoy more of our Jazz Festival.  Don’t you just love weekends in Summer?  What’s on your agenda this weekend?

Till next week, Cheers

Darlene

 

Summer Lovin’!

Posted in Wine on July 4, 2015 by darmyers

 

Summer Lovin'

I don’t know about you, but here in Eastern Canada we had one heck of a winter.  A bad one!  So, with the arrival of July, everyone seems to be in a good mood.   Summer is a glorious time, isn’t it?  Sunshine, warm temperatures, patio parties and lots of wine flowing.  I’ve found a few new wines recently that will help make Summer even better.

Mac Murray wine

This is my favorite new find.  The Mac Murray Pinot Noir from the Russian River Valley in Sonoma County in California.  If you’re one of those people that think all Pinot Noir wines are wimpy, move over!  I had the 2012 vintage, which had an extended growing season.  This extended growing season gave the grapes a full-bodied richness.   This spectacular example of a Pinot Noir has classic raspberry and cherry flavors with a hint of oak aging.  It’s so smooth and rich, this Pinot Noir would even pair well with beef.  I can’t wait to have this one again.

Matt Slaney Double Decker wine

This is my colleague at work, Matt Slaney.  Matt is my adopted son… I love to cook, and he loves to eat so it works out great for both of us.  He’s mid-20’s, lives on his own, and got a full time job.  Hey, I know when to adopt!!  LOL.  Anyway, recently Matt gave me a few bottles of wine from California, and this was one of them.  It was the first time having this particular wine, and I loved it.  The Double Decker California Red Blend is a gorgeous blend of Cabernet Sauvignon, Petit Sirah and Barbera.  This is the perfect barbecue wine, it will go with anything you put on the grill.  With blackberry and plum flavors, this would be the absolute perfect wine to have with BBQ ribs.

Fetzer Cab

Sorry for the blurry picture, but with warm temperatures, don’t you find yourself firing up the grill more often.  If steak is on the menu, here’s a new find that will pair well, and at under $17, you can fire up the grill any time the mood hits.  Last summer around this time, I wrote about the Fetzer Zinfandel, another great wine for barbecue food.  This time I tried the Cabernet Sauvignon.  This is a beautiful Cabernet with flavors of blackberry, mocha, toffee and vanilla notes.  Great wine, great price.

Wolf Blass Chardonnay

And for my white wine loving friends, look no further than the Wolf Blass Chardonnay out of Australia.  This gorgeous rich Chardonnay is the perfect Summer wine, whether you are barbecuing or just sitting on the patio.  Citrus and peach flavors with hints of spice, it’s a rich and full-bodied white wine and very food friendly.

Wine drink the good stuff

I will close this week’s blog off with a great piece of advice… Life is too short, drink the good stuff now.  Growing up my mom would save the good dishes, good glasses and all the other good stuff for ‘special occasions’.  Not me… every day is a special occasion and I use the good linens, the good wine glasses, and I drink the good wine now!  Enjoy every minute

Till next week, Cheers

Darlene

 

 

Happy Birthday Canada

Posted in Wine on June 27, 2015 by darmyers

 

 

Happy Canada day

This coming Wednesday marks Canada’s 148th Birthday, and in honor of Canada Day I thought I would share some of my favorite Canadian wines.

merlot2009_small Burrowing owl Meritage

One of my favorite Canadian vineyards is the Burrowing Owl Estate Winery in the beautiful Okanagan Valley in British Columbia.  I have to special order in this wine, and it is worth the wait.  The Merlot is done superbly with blackberry and plum flavors and a hint of sage that makes it really stand out.  Burrowing Owl was also the vineyard that introduced me to Meritage, which is a Bordeaux style blend.  Merlot and Cabernet Franc, with Cabernet Sauvignon, Malbec and Petite Verdot added in makes for a smooth full-bodied wine with smoky tobacco notes and rich dark fruit.  Great steak wine.

Le Clos Jordanne Chardonnay

One of my favorite Chardonnay wines comes from Canada… the Le Clos Jordanne Chardonnay from the Niagara region of Ontario.  Beautifully rich, this wine won best chicken wine in the Great Canadian Wine Match.  Green apple flavors with a hint of oak, winemaker Sebastian Jacquey makes a classic Chardonnay.

Howard Soon 040

I can’t celebrate Canadian wine without mentioning the Sandhill Winery in British Columbia, and winemaker Howard Soon pictured with me above.  I had the pleasure of meeting Howard in 2014 and taking his master class when he visited Halifax.  The Sandhill Winery is putting out some fabulous wines, including a Pinot Gris and the Cabernet Merlot.

Sandhill Pinot Gris Sandhill

I recently picked up another bottle of the Bachelder Chardonnay from the Niagara region.  Thomas Bachelder is making wine in Burgundy France, Oregon and the Niagara region of Canada, and making great Chardonnay.  This family is originally from Quebec, and became, in their words, wine gypsies, and got the opportunity to work in all 3 regions.  They make spectacular wine.

Bachelder

And I can’t honor Canadian wines without touching base here in Nova Scotia.

Nova 7 Borealis

The Nova 7 wine encompasses the terroir of the province I now call home.  It is crisp and effervescent with gorgeous citrus flavors.  I love this wine.  Benjamin Bridge also makes one of my favorite dessert wines, the Borealis… named after the Aurora Borealis (Northern Lights!)   Luscious and rich, this is, in my opinion, the best way to finish a meal.

Happy Canada day 2

However you plan on spending our nation’s birthday, play it safe and have some fun.

Till next week, Cheers

Darlene

 

Wines Dear Old Dad Will Love

Posted in Wine with tags , , on June 20, 2015 by darmyers

Mom #2

Sunday is Father’s Day and my Dad will be 85 years old on his birthday and still looks and feels great.  In a tribute to our Dad’s, here are some wines that I think your Dad will appreciate any day of the year.

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Here is my new wine of the week, and it tops the charts.  Given to me by my good friend Matt Slaney, the Double Decker Red Blend from California is a great wine if your Dad plans to barbecue.  This is a brand new blend for me, Cabernet Sauvignon, Petite Sirah and Barbera.   Barbera is very common in Italy, being the 3rd most planted grape, but also grown in California, Australia and now Argentina.  Delicious.  Gorgeous flavors of blackberry, plum and cherry with a hint of oak.  A wonderful wine made by the Wente family of California, who are certified sustainable.  I can’t wait to have this wine again.

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Here’s another fabulous wine I have tried for the first time recently.  I love Meritage wine, as it is Canada and the U.S.’s version of a Bordeaux wine.  The Red Rooster Reserve Meritage is a hardy blend of Cabernet Sauvignon and Cabernet Franc from right here in Canada.  And boy, did they get it right.  If your Dad wants a steak for Father’s Day, here’s a great wine for that.  Bold flavors, full-bodied and delicious smoky notes with full fruit flavors.  Roast beef, braised ribs or even wild game… here’s the wine.

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Here’s a new Italian wine that I found to be utterly delightful.  The Tommasi Surani Heracles Primitivo from the Puglia region of Italy.  Primitivo – Zinfandel… you know how much I love Zinfandel.  This is rich in fruit flavors, medium to full-bodied with some spicy notes.   This wine will pair well with anything from pizza to popcorn to whatever you’re serving for supper!

Jacob's Moscato Rose

Remember the sister that didn’t like wine, and then discovered Nova 7.  Here’s another discovery she made, that she thoroughly enjoyed.  And I tried it, and found it to be a great summer drink.  It’s the Jacob’s Creek Moscato Rose.. slightly effervescent, cool summer shade of pink, lots of berry flavors and so refreshing.  For me, a great drink for the patio and a great appetizer wine.

Johnny & Bailey

So here’s another picture of my Dad, this time with my sister’s Westie named Bailey.  They just love each other, as you can tell.  To all the Dad’s, Step-Dad’s, Adopted Dad’s, and Dad’s to the fur-babies, have a wonderful day and thank you for all that you do.

Till next week, Cheers

Darlene

Wines To Get Your Groove On!

Posted in Wine on June 13, 2015 by darmyers

Johanna

This past week a little girl named Johanna became an Internet sensation when a video of her dancing to Aretha Franklin’s Respect was uploaded.  This gorgeous girl and her 2 friends captivated the world with cuteness.  You can watch that video here Dancing to Respect

And it got me to thinking.  You know when you have a couple of glasses of wine and you think your dance moves are as cute as the ones in the video?  Yeah, not so much.   If you’re like me, you probably look more like this.

Mr bean

All the dancing that took the world by storm this week, got me thinking… here are a few wines that will have you looking good on the dance floor.

Dancing Bull

What better way to kick off a blog about wine and dancing than the Dancing Bull Zinfandel.  This is a light to medium bodied Zinfandel, very reasonably priced at around the $15 range, and features yummy strawberry and cherry flavors with toasty vanilla notes.  Great for when you BBQ chicken, or want to dance like one!!

Swing  Evans label

Here’s a fun wine with an equally fun name.  Swings & Roundabouts Chardonnay, an Australian wine from the Margaret River region.  I love Chardonnay from the Margaret River region, and this one is delicious and fun to drink.  Medium bodied with melon fruit flavors, nectarine and vanilla from the oak aging.  Although this wine is not available here in Nova Scotia, it is available through the LCBO and was my fun find the last time I was in Ontario.  However, if you live an area and can’t get Swing’s and Roundabouts, try a Chardonnay from the Margaret River region, like this Evans and Tate Margaret River Chardonnay.

Jacob's moscato

You can’t talk about dancing and wine without bringing up the fresh and lively Moscato.  My sister was over for supper the other day, and she discovered she liked wine.  So she cracked open this fresh Moscato from Jacob’s Creek in Australia.  Floral and citrus flavors with honey and a bit of sweetness along with some effervescence.  We both really liked it, and I ended up dashing on a little extra hot sauce because I love the combination of spicy food and Moscato.  We had fun drinking this wine together.

Dance

Here’s great advice for this week, dance like no one is watching.

Till next week, have a little fun

Darlene

Anniversary Wine

Posted in Wine on June 6, 2015 by darmyers

Mom #2

On Friday, June 5th, my parents celebrated their 57th wedding Anniversary and my sister and brother-in-law celebrated their 28th wedding Anniversary.

Jackie & CraigJackie & Craig 1

Lots of love, lots of tears and laughter, and lots of wine.  Do you have an Anniversary coming up soon?  Here are some great wines for you to celebrate the special day or to give as a gift to someone you know celebrating a special Anniversary.  Let’s start with some bubbly!

Carpene Prosecco

If you associate bubbly with a special occasion, but don’t want to fork over the money for champagne, you need to get acquainted with Prosecco from Italy.  This is a Prosecoo I had a few weeks ago at an Italian wine show I attended.  It is a beauty that won’t break the bank.  The name is a mouthful, Carpene Malvolti 1868 Extra Dry Prosecco Superiore.  It’s a mouthful on the palate too.  Playful and fun, I like dry Prosecco, and this one is extra dry.  It has those gorgeous pear flavors and hints of cider with mineral notes.  You will want to crack this one open any time you entertain and at around the $20 mark, you can make any event a special occasion with this Prosecco.  It’s also a great wine for appetizers.

Bachelder

Here’s a wine I picked up last weekend.  What a beautiful Chardonnay from Thomas Bachelder, the man who calls himself and his family “wine gypsies”.  Growing and making Chardonnay in Burgundy, Oregon and the Niagara region of Ontario, this particular beauty came from the Niagara region.  The hands and technique stay the same, the only thing that changes is the terroir.  I have had this wine several times, and its one of my favorite Chardonnay wines. Apples, peaches and toasty oak make for a delicious partner with roast chicken.

Latour Valmoissine Calera label

The wine on the left is the wine I had last night and it’s also my ‘new’ wine of the week, never having had it before.  The Louis Latour Domaine de Valmoissine is a Pinot Noir from the Burgundy region of France.  This vineyard is located at the site of an ancient monastery and University in Valmoissine 500 meters above sea level.  This guarantees sunshine during the days and cool nights.  This wine saw no oak, it was aged in stainless steel vats.  It’s a light-bodied wine with beautiful flavors of cherries and strawberries.  It had a really nice finish that stayed with you, and went perfectly with the stuffed pork I had last night.  However, if you like more body to your Pinot Noir, I would recommend the wine on the right.   One of my favorites, the Calera Pinot Noir, from winemaker Josh Jensen, does Pinot in the Burgundian style, but a little more meatier.  I find the Calera to be medium to full bodied with intense fruit forward flavors.  It spends about 11 months in French oak, and I have to be honest, I find it gives it that extra oomph of flavor.  Great texture and great balance.

Meritage

Knowing my brother-in-law, he’s grilling a big steak for his Anniversary and enjoying a big bold red wine.  This is a new wine I’ve tried recently, the Red Rooster Reserve Meritage from right here in Canada.  Meritage is a name California and Canadian producers use in a Bordeaux style wine.  This is a blend of Cabernet Sauvignon and Cabernet Franc and has the big bold fruits, smoky and tobacco notes and a hint of wood, for a delicious wine done in a Bordeaux style.

Happy Anniversary

A big Happy Anniversary greeting to my sister and my parents, and to any reader of my weekly wine blog.  Have a fabulous day and a fabulous glass of wine.

Till next week Cheers

Darlene

 

 

 

It’s BBQ Season!

Posted in Wine & Food on May 30, 2015 by darmyers

New BBQ

I can’t tell you how many people I’ve heard this week saying they are starting the BBQ for the first time.  I don’t know about you, but I am an all-year round seasoned BBQ’er!  Here is my latest BBQ, put together by my 2 nephews and my nephew’s fiancée.   My chrome baby is not only used to grill meat, but veggies, wings, sweet potato… you name it, and I can cook it on a BBQ.  And my favorite way to BBQ is with a glass of wine and some great tunes.

BBQ & Wine

I could write a year’s worth of blogs on great wines that go with BBQ food, and have touched on the subject before.  The reason I am bringing it up again is that I have had some new wines lately, and they are perfect for BBQ season.

Wine pictures 005

Here’s a fantastic wine that I have tried recently.  The Alfredo Second Pass Shiraz.  I can honestly say this is the first time I have tried a ‘second pass’ Shiraz, to the best of my knowledge anyway.  Second pass is very similar to Ripasso, and Ripasso means ‘repassed’.  It is Valipocella grapes that have been passed through Amarone must (skins, seeds and some juice) for flavor.  It helps add to the body of the wine.  The second pass is pretty much the same thing, this time with a Shiraz grape.  The wine has been ‘passed’ through pomace to beef up the body of the wine and add to the complex flavors.  I’ve never had one before, but I have to say I liked it. Dark and rich, with cherry flavors, a hint of smoke and vanilla and chocolate notes.  At $16.99, this one was a winner – so much so I bought two more bottles yesterday.  Second Pass Shiraz and any BBQ meat – a great match.

Wine pictures 006

This is another great wine for a great price.  Luccarelli Negroamaro from the Puglia region of Italy.  Negroamaro is a grape variety native to southern Italy, and although Amaro means bitter in Italian, there is nothing bitter about this beautiful wine.  This wine comes in under $15, and you will love it.  Gorgeous plum and cherry fruits, with spice and vanilla.  It’s easy to drink and you won’t feel guilty for opening up a bottle any day of the week.  Begs to be paired with BBQ ribs.

Wine pictures 009

Let’s leave Italy and head to France, and more specifically the Cotes du Rhone region.  The Cotes du Rhone is known for spectacular Syrah wines, and this little gem comes in under $20.  Medium bodied, raspberry and plum flavors, with notes of tobacco and spice.  Great for ribs done on the BBQ, or a spectacular pizza wine.

Those all are new wines I have tried lately.  I love experimenting with new wines.  However, I can’t do a wine blog on BBQ season without mentioning some all-time favorites.  And for that we have to head to sunny California and Washington State.

Predator  hot to trot

Nothing goes hand in hand with the barbecue like an Old Vine Zinfandel.  I am confident I have tried every single one at the NSLC and this is my favorite.  From the home of Old Vine Zinfandel, Lodi California, Predator comes from vines that are at least 50+ years old.  The fruit from these vines are very concentrated and very complex.  Vanilla and smoke flavors, and even a hint of bacon, makes this my favorite wine for both the grilling and the eating.  The wine on the right, the 14 Hands Hot to Trot Red Blend is named after the wild Mustang horses that at one time roamed Washington State.  They were smaller, only measuring 14 Hands, and I think it makes for a great name for a vineyard.  The Hot to Trot red blend is predominantly Merlot with Syrah and Cabernet Sauvignon blended in for complexity and flavor.

BBQ Love

Well that’s it for this week.  I hope you get a chance this weekend to fire up the grill and enjoy one of the wines, or even let me know what your favorite BBQ wine is.  I’m all for trying new wines.

Till next week, Cheers

Darlene

 

 

 

New Zealand In A Glass

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

May 2015 020

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

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

Oyster Bay Cuvee

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

Wither Hills Pinot Gris

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

Ara single estate

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

Pegasus Bay Pinot

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

Elephant Hill Syrah

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

May 2015 019

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

Till next week, Cheers

Darlene

 

 

 

Saint Clair Family Estate Winery – New Zealand Pioneers

Posted in Wine on May 16, 2015 by darmyers

May 2015 009

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

May 2015 008

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

May 2015 013

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

Pioneer Block 5

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

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

Saint Clair Sauvignon Blanc

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

May 2015 015

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

May 2015 004Nova 7

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

May 2015 006

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

Till next week, Cheers

Darlene

 

Thank God It’s Fermented

Posted in Wine on May 9, 2015 by darmyers

Wine TGIF

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

May 2015 185

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

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

Red Rock

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

Confuzion

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

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

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

Darlene

 

Mother’s Day Wine Suggestions

Posted in Uncategorized on May 2, 2015 by darmyers

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

Mom #1

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

J Lohr Riesling

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

Nova 7

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

Mom #2

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

Pio Cesare Barolo

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

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

Zin Cab

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

Me and Tigger

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

Till next week, Cheers

Darlene

 

 

Now That’s Amore!

Posted in Uncategorized on April 25, 2015 by darmyers

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

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

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

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

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

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

Le Orme

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

Moscato

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

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

Darlene

 

 

Malbec World Day

Posted in Uncategorized on April 17, 2015 by darmyers

Malbec 2

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

Las Moras

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

Chateau

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

Privada

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

Argento

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

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

La Capitana

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

Malbec

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

Till next week, Cheers

Darlene

 

Where is Spring?

Posted in Uncategorized on April 11, 2015 by darmyers

Spring come soon

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

Butcher

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

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

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

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

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

Darlene

 

 

Happy Easter

Posted in Uncategorized on April 4, 2015 by darmyers

Easter bunny wine

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

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

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

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

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

March 2015 032  Lattitute

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

Stoneleigh Pinot

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

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

Spring is coming…… right?

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

Darlene

 

 

TGIS – Thank God It’s Spring

Posted in Uncategorized on March 20, 2015 by darmyers

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

CB Snow 1

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

Fireplace

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

Liberty School Zinfandel  libery school cabernet sauvignon

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

Chateau Merlot  Chateau Pinot

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

Heating things up in January with Great Wine!

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

New wine of the week…

Petite Sirah

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

 

Hawaii 30

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

Till next week, Cheers

Darlene

 

 

 

Hardy’s Wines – 5 Generations of Food Friendly Wines

Posted in Uncategorized on March 14, 2015 by darmyers

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

Hardy's Stamp

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

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

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

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

hardy Cab Sauv March 2015 017

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

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

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

Cheers

Darlene

 

 

Wines That Put A Spring In My Step

Posted in Uncategorized on March 7, 2015 by darmyers

Daylight savings

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

Ridge Lyyton

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

Waipara

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

Cava

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

Lucente label

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

Napa 2

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

J. Lohr Merlot label

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

Rick Martell

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

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

Corner Brook

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

Till next week, Cheers

Darlene

 

 

 

Wine and Soup – A Match Made In Heaven

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

Hello march

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

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

Sue discovers Riesling

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

Tequila Taco Soup

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

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

Brouilly

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

Jalapeno corn chowder

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

Pierre Andre Mersault

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

Conundrum

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

Baked potato soup

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

bl 14 DrsCk Pinot-front Whitehaven

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

pasta soup  Viognier

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

Anciano

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

Thai chicken soup Gaspereau RieslingRobert Mondavi Fume Blanc

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

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

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

Conundrum red

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

Till next week, Cheers

Darlene

 

Wines To Keep You Warm!

Posted in Uncategorized on February 21, 2015 by darmyers

Lucy in the Snow

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

hot to trot whitehot to trot

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

SandhillSandhill Pinot Gris

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

Kate Pinot Gris

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

Place In the Sun

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

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

Bell Echo Pinot

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

Grumpy Cold

Till next week, stay warm… and Cheers

Darlene

 

Wines That Say I Love You

Posted in Uncategorized on February 14, 2015 by darmyers

Wine Valetines

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

Dreaming Tree Crush  Dreaming Tree chardonnay

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

Manage a trois botle  Midnight

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

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

Wine Happy woman

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

Mollydooker

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

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

Hahn Pinot  Talamonti

Grumpy Valentine's 2

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

Till next week, Cheers

Darlene

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