Wining About January

Posted in Wine & Food on January 16, 2021 by darmyers

Does anyone else feel like this is the 76th of January? I don’t usually start my blog with something on the negative side, but I have to say, I’m feeling some of the January blahs. It feels like weeks since I took my Christmas decorations down and in reality, I only took them down the 3rd of January. It’s the 16th of January and honestly, it feels like the 76th of January. And this is a little strange for me. I don’t normally mind January, especially when the weather has been as mild as it has been. May I have to stop watching so much news about the Looney Tunes down South, and his Vice Poodle, and doing more things that make me smile. Exercise, reading, puzzles and cooking! Here’s the book I’m reading now, and it is excellent.

I love Harlan Coben

Excellent, can’t put it down, I can clean that tomorrow kind of book! I also just finished this puzzle that I got for Christmas.

And my friend Sharon gave me this awesome meat thermometer as a Christmas gift

I’ve needed one so bad

One of the things I’m doing to help blast away the January blahs is walk with my friend Beth, and eat better. Remember the chicken skewer recipe I told you about last week, one of my new favorite all time recipes. Well it goes with salad too.

The salad dressing is made right here in Halifax. It’s one of only salad dressing I don’t make myself. This is made by an awesome group of kids here in Halifax called ‘Hope Blooms’. If that name seems familier, you may have seen them on the Dragon’s Den.

Hope Blooms Lemon Smoked Caesar

The Hope Blooms Lemon Smoked Caesar is one of my favorites, and they also carry a Maple Balsamic, a Basil Pesto and many more. This is an amazing organization and you can check them out at www.hopeblooms.ca

I have a couple of friends that do Dry January every year, and my friend Anthony posted the other day saying ‘If you think you’re January seems long, try doing Dry January’. So, there’s that. Let’s talk some wine.

January is all about trying something new. And why not extend that to your wine palate. One of the things we do really well in Canada – Ice! Why not try an ice wine. Canada produces some of the finest Ice wines in the world, because if anyone can produce a frozen grape, it’s us here in Canada. As a matter of fact, Peller Estates, who have been producing wine here in Canada for 50 years, has an ice wine tasting room.

How cool is that

Peller Estates makes a beautiful Ice wine from the Vidal grape, and guess who else has the cooler weather to grow the Vidal grape and make a great Ice wine? You guessed it, Nova Scotia.

Grand Pre Vidal Icewine

This is the Grand Pre Vidal Ice Wine from right here in Nova Scotia, and it’s a gorgeous dessert wine, with the excellent price tag of $24.99 Most of them start at about $50 a bottle. Ice Wines are beautiful after you’ve had a big meal, you would like something sweet, but don’t want a heavy dessert. They are served ice ice cold, and in a small sipping glass. It is a delicious satisfying way to end a great meal.

Looking forward to wine tastings again

And now for my wine of the week.

I’ve been craving a steak. It’s not something I have often, so when I do, I really really enjoy it. So, I’m seeing one in my future. Because I don’t have steak that often, I do tend to treat myself to a nice cut of meat. Here’s the wine I think I will go and buy to have with it. I love Kenwood Estates. They make a fantastic Zinfandel, and they don’t disappoint with this Cabernet Sauvignon. The Sonoma County, which stretches from the Pacific Coast to the Mayacamas Mountains, plays a huge role in the terroir and the unique taste of this wine. Full-bodied and firm, this beautiful wine has gorgeous rich flavors of black currant and fig. Please excuse the wine stain on the picture, I spilled a little and then took the picture.

That’s it for this week. Let’s take a moment to wish Betty White a Happy 99th Birthday. You Go Girl!

Till next week, Cheers

Wine Trends for 2021

Posted in Wine & Food on January 9, 2021 by darmyers
2020 was an interesting year

For many many people, 2020 was a challenging year, me included. Don’t get me wrong, it wasn’t all bad. I re-discovered my love of cooking, new recipes and new wines. I also read some great books, rediscovered a love of jigsaw puzzles and appreciated every minute I got to spend with family and friends in my bubble. But there is hope, with the introduction of 2 vaccines and more on the way, we can see the light at the end of the tunnel. While we are in the tunnel, it’s a great opportunity to catch up on some reading, including some things to watch out for in the wine world for 2021. The first of the year, I tend to do a wine blog on the upcoming wine trends. Here we go!

  1. Rose Wine continues to be hotter than ever.
Mionetto Rose Prosecco

Last year I read that you will see a Rose Prosecco in 2020, however Covid slowed that down. But Food and Wine magazine says it’s coming in 2021. I have had Mionetto Prosecco several times, it’s a great sparkling wine to take to wine tastings. Mionetto has produced a DOC certified Rose Prosecco, unfortunately, it’s not available here yet. Once it is, you have my word, I will buy a bottle and try it. Rose wine sales increased 43% in the Summer of 2020 over the previous Summer. 43%! Wow. Keep in mind, more people were staying close to home this past Summer worldwide, drinking on their patios, and from the looks of it, many were enjoying Rosé wine.

2. Online Sales of wine will continue

More and more people started buying wine online in 2020. This statement probably comes as no surprise to anyone. Most people I know started buying online for the first time, thanks to the lockdown provided by a global pandemic. Bloomberg says we are going to see this trend continue, people liked the convenience and the delivery. Wine stores, who started doing deliveries in 2020, will probably need to continue with that trend.

How I ended 2020 and started 2021

3. Hard Seltzers will continue to gain popularity

East Coast Lifestyle Rum Soda
White Claw Mango Seltzer

Many local brewers from Nova Scotia and around the world are producing these sparkling water based drinks. Sparkling water with a boost of alcohol, and many food and wine magazines are calling them hard seltzers. Many wine lovers are not huge fans from the reviews I’ve read, but I really like them. They are refreshing and tasty and they are perfect for Summer. The top picture is the East Coast Lifestyle Rum Soda from right here in Nova Scotia, and the bottom is the White Claw mango hard seltzer from the U.S.. I have a palate that likes many different kinds of drinks, and I love these drinks, especially the low sugar ones.

Before I tell you about my wine of the week, I have to share my new favorite recipe. I love a show on television called Watt’s On The Grill, featuring Chef Spencer Watts. It’s filmed right here in Canada. He also has a show ‘Watt’s Cooking At The Cottage’. On one episode he made these chicken skewers. Oh. My. God. They are so good, and easy.

First I cut up the chicken breasts and marinated it for 8 hours. Over night works well, even 3 or 4 hours. You really should marinate.

Brown Sugar, sesame oil, soy sauce, garlic, & Worcestershire sauce.

5 easy ingredients for the marinade. Then I grilled them on my BBQ. About 3 – 4 minutes per side for me.

Set some marinade aside to baste with

I set aside about 1/4 of the marinade to baste while they cooking. Flip, baste and repeat. Then he recommended this sweet thai chili mayo sauce that I have made twice and have even used this mayo on a sandwich and it’s heavenly.

1st night I basted with the mayo sauce
It’s also great on pork

The mayo sauce has equal parts Mayo & Sweet Thai Chili sauce, garlic, and cilantro. He calls for fish sauce, but I’m allergic so I used Hoisin sauce, which is like molasses meeting soy sauce. You can use any green fresh herb you like, I happen to have cilantro, because I make my own salsa. It’s awesome. His recipe is here.

And now for my wine of the week..

Silvia Cellars Three Barrels blend

I’m going to start this description by telling you that this wine is $7 off right now at the NSLC on my street. It’s a great wine for $23, it’s spectacular for $16, which is what I paid for this wine yesterday. Sylvia three barrel blend is a blended wine of Cabernet Sauvignon, Syrah and Zinfandel. Beautiful and full-bodied.

I have the 2011 vintage last night, and I will give this tip. Either let it sit, or decant it. Cabernet Sauvignon, Syrah , and Zinfandel tend to be higher alcohol wines all on their own, around 14%. This wine has been sitting in its bottle for almost 10 years, so the first thing you may taste if you open and try it right away, like I did, would be alcohol. Once I decanted it, it was amazing. Full-bodied with flavors of toasted oak and candied orange peel’s, I’m going up today to buy another one or two!

Priorities

Have a wonderful week. Thank you for reading

Darlene

My Top 10 of 2020!

Posted in Wine on December 26, 2020 by darmyers
Bye Bye!

Revised! Welcome to the first Saturday of 2021! This blog almost didn’t get written today, because I forgot what day of the week it was LOL. A common occurrence I’m sure this time of the year. I know that many people are looking forward to seeing 2020 in the rearview mirror. It was not an easy year for sure, and this Christmas I am in Halifax, not with my family, as travel was not recommended. Some good did come out of this year though. Personally, I slowed down a bit, I rediscovered the joys of puzzles and good books, I learned how to make homemade bread, and I found some great new wines. Let’s have a look at some of them.

10. Canyon Road Cabernet Sauvignon

Canyon Road Cabernet

For the most part my wine blogs are all about finding good wine at reasonable prices. I always say, good wine doesn’t have to be expensive. This is a prime example, of a wine of the week. Canyon Road Cabernet Sauvignon is a surprising $10.99 and has become a staple in my wine rack, and in the wine rack of several of my friends. This is a smooth easy to drink medium bodied Cabernet. It’s not oaky and the tannins are not over-powering.

9. Rhone To The Bone

It was back in the Summer when I found this delightful Rose wine from the Cotes du Rhone region of France. Rhone to the Bone is made from the Grenache grape, which is the same grape used in making Chateauneuf du Pape and Syrah. As a matter of fact it is 80% Grenache & 20% Syrah. Two full-bodied red grapes, with limited skin contact, because that’s where all the color in red wine comes from. This fresh crisp rose was a favorite of mine this Summer and comes in at under $18.

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is no-toilet-paper.jpg
I was ready for 2020

8. Caliterra Tributo Chrdonnay

2020 started out like any other year. Winter months, comfort food and great new discoveries that go with our favorite comfort food. The Caliterra Tributo Chardonnay was one of those great finds. A delicious Chardonnay from Chile, that was priced suprisingly under $18 and a great compliment with roast chicken.

7.

This puzzle of classic games revived my love of puzzles

7. Unconditional Pinot Noir

You’re probably not surprised there’s a Pinot Noir on the list

Anyone who knows me won’t be surprised there is a Pinot Noir on the list, and Oregon is one of my favorite places for Pinot Noir. And you can’t have a Top 10 without having a couple of treat wines on the list. This is a Pinot Noir from one of my favorite regions for Pinot – Oregon. Given 93 Points, it’s actually quite surprising this wine is just $33 a bottle. It’s incredibly smooth and the 2016, which I had, produced low yields that year, which meant more intense fruit. I loved it.

6. Stemmari Grillo

Stemmari Grillo

I don’t believe you can get this wine in Nova Scotia, but you can get it in other parts of Canada like Ontario. My friend Arla bought this back from the U.S. when she returned in March, and it’s a Sicilian white made with the Grillo grape. Although Grillo might not be well known in Canada, it is actually the most important white grape in Sicily. It also received a Gold Medal at the Berliner Wine Tasting. I think she said she paid $9 for this in the States, however, here in Canada it’s about $14, which is still a great price for a great wine.

I learned how to make homemade pizza

5. Ava Grace Merlot

I love Merlot. It’s a plump juicy full-bodied Grape and this one from Ava Grace, which I discovered in Newfoundland, was a favorite. Mocha, vanilla and spice flavors, and to all my Newfoundland friends and wine-lovers, this wine is on for $15.28 at the moment. Go out and buy a couple.

4. Zonin Prosecco

Zonin Prosecco

Two years ago, my #1 wine of 2018 was a Zonin Ripoasso that was given 96 Points, and it cost under $20. I think that’s the first time I saw that high of a rating at that price point. This year I bought its sister wine, the Zonin Prosecco a few times. It’s a great sparkling wine with New Year’s Eve just around the corner. It’s even fun in a holiday cocktail.

Prosecco, Cranberry & Lime Flavored Sparkling Water

3. La Vielle Ferme Blanc

This wine is also made in red, but the white has become one of my favorite white wines. La Vielle Ferme was bought to a small dinner party of people in my bubble, back when we were allowed to have 10 people. My friend Arla introduced us to this one, and we were all trying it for the first time. I was absolutely blown away by the wonderful tropical flavors in this wine. At $14.49 a bottle, you can see why it’s one of my favorites.

2.

Beef Bourguignon

When the pandemic put us in lockdown in March, many of us tried new recipes for the first time. And why not, restaurants were closed and we had a lot of time on our hands. I tried some new recipes including this Beef Bourguignon recipe.

2. Argyle Pinot Noir

Before the pandemic hit, I had the opportunity to do a couple of wine tastings in the beginning of 2020. In previous years I probably did 30 a year. I loved meeting new people and introducing them to some new wines. When I do a tasting, I always bring a treat wine, and this was my favorite treat wine of 2020. Argyle Pinot Noir from Oregon This is a perfectly balanced Pinot Noir with wonderful aromatics and a nice lingering finish. It’s $52, but worth the treat.

  1. Chateau Souverain Cabernet Sauvignon

This was my wine of the year because it’s a $20 Cabernet Sauvignon that tastes like a $75 bottle of wine. This wine was a pioneer in the success of Napa Valley wines back in the 60’s. This big bold Cabernet Sauvignon from Chateau Souverain delivers with mocha and vanilla flavors balancing tannins with easy drinkability. It was my favorite new find of 2020.

I want to thank each and every one of you who have joined me on wine journey of discovering great wines at affordable prices. I wish you and your family a happy healthy 2021. Thank you and Happy New Year.

Darlene

I’m Dreaming of.. Travel!

Posted in Wine on December 19, 2020 by darmyers
Looking forward to travelling again

I know what you were thinking…. you thought I was going to say, I’m dreaming of a White Christmas. We got that on Thursday, when you live in Canada, we don’t have to dream about White Christmas, they happen most years! I’m pretty confident I’m not the only one looking forward to taking a trip again. I didn’t take one in 2019, so I haven’t gone anywhere, other than Newfoundland, since 2018. Hopefully in 2021, definitely in 2022. I’ve been very blessed, as I have seen many beautiful parts of the world. Here are a couple of my favorite destinations and the wines I enjoyed while there.

  1. Hawaii
My sister Jackie & I at Pearl Harbour

A few years back, I took a trip to Hawaii with my sister Jackie and her family in Hawaii. I loved it. 11 days was not nearly long enough. I loved the beaches, I loved the sights, I loved how relaxed people were, and of course, the great prices on American wines.

Jackie & Her Husband Craig

We had rented condos in Waikiki, and we would go out to dinner most nights, but on a few nights we stayed in. We used to buy wine from the Convenience store on the corner, and I was amazed at the great prices. People think you pay high prices for wine in Hawaii, but like the other states, you really don’t. We pay high prices here in Canada, unfortunately. We drank a lot of Robert Mondavi Cabernet in Hawaii.

Not exactly as shown

At this Convenience store, very close to Waikiki Beach, and about 20 steps from our condo, we used to buy bottles of Robert Mondavi Cabernet Sauvignon for $10 American, and the wine sold in Newfoundland for $25 at the time. The wine, not the label as shown, I couldn’t find a picture of the reserve Cabernet Sauvignon we used to buy. Keep in mind this was 2008. Labels change all the time.

2. Italy

Enjoying the Wine of Tuscany

In 2017, when I became a Certified Sommelier, I had the pleasure of going to Italy with three other amazing women. We had a wonderful time, we ate some spectacular food, and we drank some amazing wines! One of my favorite wine tours was at the Banfi winery.

In the wine cellars of Banfi

Banfi is located in the Brunello region of Tuscany and is a family owned winery, wines that we can buy here in Nova Scotia and Canada. This was probably my favorite.

Banfi Rosso di Montalcino

And although we paid about €12 for this wine in Italy, and it sells for $29.99 here in Nova Scotia, it’s still worth every penny. Known as a Baby Brunello, because it Sangiovese grapes made from younger vines in the same vineyards that make the Brunello di Montalcino. By the way, Brunello di Montalcino is Italy’s highest DOCG Classification, so this is great wine, grown and made extremely well. Delicious, full-bodied and a perfect pairing with steak, or pasta. Yes, steak. It’s that good.

3. Aruba

Aruba

The first time I visited Aruba, I was on a cruise ship. The second time, I was with my sister Jackie, my favorite travelling companion. She would put Aruba as #1 on her list, I put Hawaii. I did love Aruba though and would love to return one day.

Beautiful beaches in Aruba
Jackie enjoying a Cosmopolitan
Can’t go wrong with Merlot

One of my favourite wines that I enjoyed at the resort that year was this Merlot from Chile, Vina Maipo. Unfortunately, I can’t find this wine in Nova Scotia, but it was a delicious full body Merlot with notes of cherry and plum. And you can’t go wrong with Merlot.

Speaking of Cosmopolitans, I picked up a beautiful Prosecco and did a take on a Christmas Cosmopolitan.

I took Prosecco, unsweetened Cranberry juice, I added a little sugar, which I wouldn’t have done if the cranberry juice wasn’t unsweetened, a splash of sparkling water and a few cranberries. Put a lime wedge on the glass, a squeeze of lime juice in the cocktail and voila. Had a couple of friends in for dinner last weekend, from my bubble, and we enjoyed this holiday delight before dinner. Everyone really enjoyed it, and it was super easy to make.

And now for my wine of the week….

Cuvee Saint Pierre

Although I am from Newfoundland and Saint Pierre Miquelon is off the coast, this wine hails from France. And yes, if it looks a little big, it’s because it’s a Magnum, which is two bottles in one. So, if you’re having a group in, this is a perfect wine in the perfect size. Fresh, light and fruity, this wine is under $22 for the Magnum, so it’s a great way to serve a group.

Many people ask me how to sign up for my wine blog to get it in their Inbox.

Look for the Follow button

On the right hand side of the blog, there is a Follow button, and a place to put your email address. Then, once I hit publish, you will get it in your email.

Well Christmas is less than a week away. And I know it’s going to look very different this year. I can’t home to Newfoundland this year, and I know most people can’t travel to see loved ones. I hope you stay safe, and I hope you find some joy in this year.

Next week, is my Top 10 finds of 2020. Merry Christmas.

Darlene

Twas The Wine Before Christmas

Posted in Wine & Food on December 12, 2020 by darmyers
Christmas chuckle

Twas the week before Christmas, and all through the cellar,

The bottles were resting, the tannins becoming mellower

The wine glasses were hung by the fireplace with care

In hopes Santa & a corkscrew, would soon be there

The bottles were nestled snug in the rack,

Waiting for a guy holding a red sack

Papa with his white, me with my red,

Enjoying a glass before we headed to bed

When out on the lawn, arose such a clatter

I spilled my wine, to see what was the matter

I ran to the window, I flew like a flash

In time to see Santa in quite the mad dash

The Moon on the face of a newly poured wine Gave the luster of Merlot a beautiful shine

Gave the luster of Merlot a beautiful shine

When what to my eyes, should suddenly appear

But a miniature sleight and 8 reindeer

With a Jolly driver, so lively and quick

I knew in a moment, it must be Saint Nick

I ran to get a glass, so happy he came

When one by one, he called them by name.

Now Dancer, Now Dasher, Now Prancer and Vixen

On Comet, On Cupid, On Donner, On Blitzen

Out to the porch, I gave him a call

Red or white I called out, you can have it all

I’ll be happy

It looked as if this wasn’t his first stop of the night,

His purple stain teeth proved I was right

He came in and headed directly to the glass,

And asked if I had anything from Alsace

He filled all the stockings, and turned with a jerk,

He gave a big smile and returned back to work

And I heard him explain as he drove out of sight

Merry Christmas to all, and to all a good night

A little bit of fun with a classic. And now it’s time for my Wine of the Week…

Bouchard Aine & Fils Beaujolais Superiore

Last week I told you about an easy to drink great-priced Pinot Noir from Bouchard, Aine & Fils. This week, I had the opportunity to try its sister wine, the Beaujolais Superiore. My small bubble of 3 other friends get together Tuesday evenings for a games night. Because my friend Angie & I both drink red, so we take turns bringing the wine. This is the wine Angie bought this week, and it’s so funny, because I have a friend Nancy who gave me a bottle as well, that’s still in my wine rack.

This is a great wine for Christmas, because it’s so food friendly. This wine pairs well with charcuterie boards, cheese, cold cuts, fish dishes like salmon and chicken and turkey as well. Bouchard Aine & Fils have been part of the wine trade in Burgundy and Beaujolais for over 200 years, so you know they make a good Beaujolais. Beaujolais is a medium-bodied easy to drink wine with notes of cherry and candied bananas. The Superiore means the grapes were picked at the height of ripeness, thus making it ‘superior’. This wine is also an amazing deal. Are you sitting down? It’s $16.99 a bottle here in Nova Scotia. A reminder this is not a wine that is meant to be aged. Drink it within 2 years for best results.

A friend of mine Sandra, has a kitty cat, Bidou, who will only drink his water out of a wine glass. I have the proof on video, and was hoping to share it. However, the file size was too big, the blog wouldn’t accept it. It is the cutest thing I’ve ever seen.

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

Darlene

Wine – Gift Giving Made Easy!

Posted in Wine & Food on December 5, 2020 by darmyers
I’m easy to shop for

I’ve always said, I’m the easiest person in the world to shop for. Head to the closest place that sells wine, and you’re my new best friend. Don’t think for a minute that wine lovers look at a gift of wine wine as an ‘easy’ gift. For me, it’s a great gift, of which I am very appreciative. And when I’m enjoying that particular wine, I always think fond memories of the person who gave it to me. 2020 has been has been stressful enough. So I’m going to give you some great gift-giving ideas for the wine lover in your life.

When I became a Certified Sommelier in April of 2017, I started doing a lot of wine tastings. I did them for small and larger groups, and I always bought a sparkling wine. Did you know there are still so many people that believe sparkling wines are sweet. This Mionetto Prosecco was a crowd favorite.

Mionetto Prosecco

It is such a great time to buy Prosecco right now. I was at the NSLC the other day (surprise surprise!) and so many are on sale, including this one from Mionetto. Prosecco makes a great gift because even if you don’t feel like drinking a sparkling wine, there are so many cocktails you can make with Prosecco. Mionetto has been making Prosecco since 1887, when Francesco Mionetto opened a winery just north of Venice, Italy. It’s a great wine, a great gift, and it’s under $18 right now.

Another great wine for the white wine lover on your list.

Gianmaria Cesari

A couple of years ago I had the privilege of meeting Italian winemaker Gianmaria Cesari, the son of Umberto Cesari, when he spoke in Halifax a couple of years ago. He introduced me to one of my favorite white wines and I have been bringing it to wine tastings ever since.

Moma White

Moma white is made from the Trebbiano grape, with Sauvignon Blanc and some Chardonnay, and comes from the Emilia Romagna region of Italy, known more for Balsamic Vinegar and Parmesan cheese. This winery is also making some spectacular wine. This delicious elegant white wine features flavors of apple and pear, and is priced under $18. A perfect party pleaser.

Here’s a fun side dish for any holiday entertaining you are thinking of doing.

Roasted Garlic Butter Parmesan Potatoes

So I posted this recipe on my Facebook page, saying I was going to make the potatoes last Sunday. The potatoes I had in my pantry had gone a little wonky, so I decided not to make them. I had almost 100 people reach out to see how they turned out. So I made them mid-week. I did mine on the BBQ, but you know you can use your BBQ like a hot oven as well.

My finished version

I have to say, they turned out pretty darn good. One difference, the recipe calls for 6 cloves of garlic, I used 3 cloves of fresh garlic, and they were lots garlicky! You may want to be careful with this recipe if you’re planning a passionate evening, unless both of you are eating the potatoes. You can get the recipe for the Roasted Garlic Parmesan Potatoes here.

Melted butter, garlic, Italian seasoning, salt & Pepper

I parboiled them at first and then coated them in this marinade of goodness. Cooked them, and in the final minutes melted more butter, added chopped up bacon, and more parmesan. A delicious and different side dish. God I love potatoes, they are so versatile and you can have them so many different way. Let’s get back to the wine. I’m so excited to tell you about the new wine I tried this week.

My Wine of the Week….

Pinot Noir Perfect

You know me, I love Pinot Noir, it’s probably my favorite grape. And I love finding great wines at great prices. This one hit the jackpot. The Bouchard Aine & Fils might be a mouthful to say, but its also a mouthful of flavor. It’s a French Pinot Noir from the Languedoc-Roussillon region of France, which is known more for GSM’s, Grenache Syrah & Mourvedre wines, but this Pinot Noir is delightful.

Bouchard, Aine & Fils Pinot Noir

It’s a great light to medium-bodied easy to drink wine. This is a great wine for white wine drinkers, who want to dip their toe in the red wine world. And it’s so affordable right now. It’s on sale here in Nova Scoita for $13.99, which makes it an unbelievable value. This wine is also a perfect pairing for food this holiday season. From appetizer snacks like cheese, fruit and crackers, to your main meal of ham, chicken or fish. At this price, don’t walk to the liquor store, run!

A trip to Bordeaux, France

I want to invite all of you to join us for a free webinar on Wednesday, December 9th. You’ll learn about River cruising and the trip to Bordeaux in 2022. We all need something to look forward to after this year. We’re going to have a sip of wine (of course), talk about a wonderful trip, and did I mention it’s free. You can sign up here.

A big welcome to all the new followers this week of this blog. Welcome to the wine journey.

Darlene

Better Late Than Never

Posted in Uncategorized on November 29, 2020 by darmyers
Money well spent

I had a few technical difficulties yesterday morning, and wasn’t able to get my blog done. Thank you for your patience, and for this week, hopefully you’ll enjoy this Sunday read. Again this morning I am having trouble doing my blog on WordPress, between yesterday and today it’s taking me between four and five hours to get this blog out. I can’t be doing that every week, so if anybody has any suggestions for blog sites, could you pass them along. The site keeps producing an error message on my laptop, and it’s more difficult on my iPad because I can’t edit pictures or link in any way. Let’s talk some wine!

December is almost upon us, and with December comes a ton of opportunities to enjoy some wine. Christmas cooking, putting up the lights, putting up the tree, or gathering with friends, (only 5), wine can bring joy to many of these occasions and chores. A friendly reminder to not to drink and drive.. please! This is for the chores at home, when you know you are home for the evening. And let’s face it, with the second wave of the Covid-19 pandemic hitting us here in Nova Scotia and across Canada, most of us are staying very close to home.

At least 14 times

Do you have any Christmas cooking to do this year? Well, have I got a Riesling for you? And it’s made right here in Nova Scotia!

Gasperau Vineyards Riesling

I’m a big fan of Riesling’s, even though I don’t tend to imbibe in many German Rieslings, which is the country many people think of when they think of Riesling. I love Canadian and American Riesling wines, they don’t tend to be as sweet, and I really enjoy the crisp acidity. This medium dry beautiful Riesling comes from Gasperau Vineyards right here in the Anapolis Valley of Nova Scotia and it’s delicious. In my opinion, this is a true classic Riesling, beautiful apple and floral flavours, and the grapes are grown in 3 different regions right here in Nova Scotia.

Red or White, great holiday colors

It’s the most wonderful time of the year, even though it gets dark early everything is lit up with a pretty Christmas lights . Inside, everything is so warm and cosy. I normally have my Christmas decorations up by December 1, but because it’s 2020, I had them up a few days early.

I love greeting this guy as I come in the door

And a great wine to enjoy while doing your inside Christmas decorating? Every year I do a wine blog that features my Top 10 finds of that year. In 2018, a Ripasso from Zonin was the number one spot and you can read about it here

Zonin Prosecco

Zonin has an easy to drink Prosecco that is perfect for holiday entertaining. It’s on sale right now here in Nova Scotia, and hopefully where you live too. From Veneto in Italy and featuring the Glera grape, it’s crisp and light and perfect for any nibbles you are putting out.

And now for my wine of the week…..

A new wine my friend Angie and I discovered this past week . I have never seen it before at the liquor store so I picked it up for our game tonight. If you think Australia is only known for Shiraz, let me introduce you to the Magic Box Cabernet Sauvignon. It’s a full body, a beautiful deep purple color, with fantastic flavours of smoke, plum, and rich fruit. If you’re like us here on the East Coast of Canada, and enjoying some unusually mild weather for this time of year, it’s a great time to get that barbeque going and here’s your wine for it. And the only thing better than the taste, is the price tag, because right now it’s on sale for $14.99.

Essentials

Well that’s it for mr for this week, till next week’s blog, Cheers and stay safe.

New to Wine (Part 2)

Posted in Wine & Food on November 21, 2020 by darmyers
Lots to choose from

There was such an overwhelming response to my wine blog last week, New to Wine, Maybe I can Help, that I decided to expand on that. One of the things I always try to do with my wine blog and with my wine tastings, is take the intimidation out of buying and trying wine. Most people who read this blog already like wine on some level, but if you know someone wanting to dip their toe into the wine world, pass along this blog. If you are just getting started, here are a few wines to start your wine journey. And for those readers who love wine already, if you haven’t already tried these 5 wines, you should give them a try.

Bolla Prosecco – $17.99
  1. Prosecco

Prosecco has done such an amazing job of winning the Sparkling wine world over. It’s a beautiful crisp dry sparkling wine (not sweet) that is not expensive. It is delicious all on it’s own, perfect with appetizers and hors d’oeuvres, or you can turn it into a holiday cocktail.

Cranberry Pomegranate Cocktail

Check out this Cranberry Pomegranate holiday cocktail, you can get the recipe here.

The remaining 4 wines that critics and wine lovers feel you should try, are 2. Chardonnay

3. Pinot Grigio

4. Pinot Noir and

5. Cabernet Sauvignon.

Personally I recommend you try something lighter than a Cabernet Sauvignon or a Shiraz, if you are just starting out in the wine world. Here’s the wine I always get people to try when they want to try red wine, or are white wine drinkers but would like to try red, or even new to wine. I present ‘Beaujolais’.

Beaujolais

It’s not only fun to say, it’s fun to drink. On the 3rd Thursday in November, considered World Beaujolais Day, the year’s wine crop is released to the world. Beaujolais is consumed as new and fresh as possible to keep those candied fruit flavors. There are 5 regions of Burgundy (Bourgogne) and Beaujolais is the southern most tip. It also produces more wine than all the other 4 regions combined. Wine expert Karen McNeil says Beaujolais is ‘the only white wine that is red in color’. You also serve this wine very chilled, and it goes great with salads, picnics and appetizers. The Bel Air Beaujolais I have here is one I haven’t tried yet, but bought it yesterday and I’m looking forward to it. Beaujolais is not expensive and tends to be under $20 a bottle.

And now for my wine of the week…

But first, I have to tell you about my new BBQ.. yes the knobs light up for BBQing in the evenings when its dark (Yay!)

I love the fact the knobs light up
It has a rotisserie
Had both the BBQ & the Traeger Grill going

And yes, that is a glass of red wine between the two. You can’t be barbecuing and grilling without a beverage to keep you company.

And what was in that glass?

It’s on sale right now

Whenever I see this wine on sale, I absolutely have to have one. And its on sale this week! Meomi Pinot Noir is one of the richest Pinot Noir wines I have ever tried, and it’s complex flavors of mocha and cherries from winemaker Jason Becker gives it this week’s wine of the week. If you don’t think Pinot Noir can stand up to big grilled meats, you have not tried Meomi. The grapes come from 3 regions, Sonoma, Monterey and Santa Barbara, and you’ll be bringing all the classic and dramatical flavors from the California coast, without the price tag that usually accompanies that.

This is why I’m single

Well, that’s it for me for this week. Have a great week, and thanks for reading.

Till next week, Cheers

Darlene

New to Wine? Maybe I Can Help

Posted in Wine on November 14, 2020 by darmyers
Wine is always the answer

One of the things I have missed about 2020, were the wine tastings I was doing. I loved doing the wine tastings for a couple of different reasons. I really loved meeting new people, and fellow wine lovers, One of my most favorite parts were getting people to try new wines. Wine is not cheap, so most of us are not too adventurous in the wine store. It’s way too expensive to take the chance on something you may not like. At the wine tastings, I’ve also met several spouses that ‘weren’t into wine’ but sipped along. These were fun, because most times they would end up finding a wine they really liked. Are you fairly new to wine? Let me help take away some of the mystery and hopefully make it a little easier to enjoy my favorite beverage.

This is true

When I do a wine tasting, I tend to bring 6 wines, in different styles. I always bring a sparkling wine. Did you know that most people think sparkling wine is sweet. It seems here in Canada, our first introduction to sparkling wine was Baby Duck.

Baby Duck

I don’t know about your house, but in my house, it wasn’t Christmas Dinner unless Mom & Dad bought out the Baby Duck. How many of us had this as our first taste of wine? Launched in the 1970’s, it once dominated the sparkling wine market. Not any more. Sparkling wine doesn’t have to be an expensive Champagne, it can be a crisp, food-friendly foray into deliciousness. Take this one for example.

A Spanish Cava

When starting out with Sparkling wine, start with an Italian Prosecco or a Spanish Cava, like this Hola wine. You never tend to pay more than $20 for a bottle of this wine, which is made in the same method as traditional Champagne. These delicious wines are a great way to start any get together or dinner party. They are perfect with appetizers, whether you are serving, cheese, oysters or a salad. You would have a hard time finding an appetizer that doesn’t pair well with a good dry sparkling wine.

A great white wine

Most people dip their toe in the wine world by starting with white wine. Great wine doesn’t have to be expensive and this wine is proof of that. This is one of my favorite white wines, La Vielle Ferme is a French white wine that comes in under $15. I know buying French wine can be a little intimidating, because they don’t always put the grape varietal on the label. For whites, Chardonnay is a big heavy wine, tends to be aged in oak. Something like a Pinot Grigio is lighter, crisper and hasn’t seen oak.

Going from White to Red?

So many people I meet, who drink white wine, would also love to expand into red wine. Here’s the biggest complaint I receive about red wine from white wine drinkers. The temperature. People tend to serve their red wines at ‘room temperature’. Well, in the Summer, the room temperature in my house tends to be about 26 degrees, and that is way to warm for any wine. On average, our rooms temperatures tend to be in the 20’s. Still way to warm for any wine. Room temperature was designated as the room temperature of the underground wine cellars, which were about 55-degrees Fahrenheit, which is about 13 – 15 degrees Celsious. Put your red wine in the refrigerator. And if it’s there a little long, take it out 20 or 30 minutes before serving. You’ll be amazed at how many of your friends will ‘love’ red wine once its served at the proper temperature, or even a little chilled. Start light with a Pinot Noir, or a Beaujolais (Gamay grape) or a Valpolicella and then work your way to the heavier reds of Cabernet Sauvignon or Shiraz.

My wine of the week was a big bold Shiraz. So, a cute story to start

Loves her I do!

My sister Jackie and her husband came for a visit this past week. We had such a great time. She lives in my hometown of Corner Brook, Newfoundland. Her son is going to St. FX University here in Nova Scotia, so I am getting to see her more often. Her husband Craig, did some chores for me.

I had lots of projects for him

My brother in law Craig was kept very busy, so on Wednesday evening, we were going to do a big feed, and Craig wanted a glass of red wine. I was saving this wine to share with someone special, and couldn’t have picked a better person.

Wolf Blass Gold Label 2008 Shiraz
Signed by the man himself!

In 2012, just before I was transferred to Halifax, I had the opportunity to meet Wolf Blass, as he was visiting St. John’s, Newfoundland. I bought a couple of bottles of 2008 Gold Label Shiraz, two I gave away as gifts, and two I kept for a special occasion. I had opened one not long after this. It was very good. And I saved the other one. This was worth the wait! I was waiting for an opportunity to open it and share, and this seemed like the perfect day. So, this wine had a screw cap, had been bought 8 years ago, and was actually bottled 12 years ago. Living proof a screw cap can age a wine, some say as good as a cork does. The wine was aged in both new and seasoned French oak, and because of the high tannin content in Shiraz, that is a wine that ages very very well. This was spectacular, and if critics gave this wine 93-points after a couple of years, aging it turned it into a 95 or 96 point wine. Spectacular. If you see a Gold Label in the wine store, buy one or two, and keep one for a few years. You’ll love it.

Happens all the time

Have a great week. Cheers

Darlene

Cruise With Me to Bordeaux France

Posted in Wine on November 7, 2020 by darmyers
A Taste of Bordeaux River Cruise

Join your hosts, Richard Arnold of Atlantic Tours & Travel and Sommelier Darlene Myers for your Taste of Bordeaux cruise adventure. 
*Book before December 30, 2020 and receive Complementary Onboard Gratuities, an Early Booking Savings, in addition to “Travel Waiver Plus Protection” valued at $175 per person , there are free gratuities right now and an early booking bonus. Total combined Savings of almost $800 per person*

I’m taking a trip to Bordeaux, France in 2022, would you like to come with me? In a previous blog, I had mentioned I have partnered with Atlantic Tours and AMA Waterways for a River Cruise through the spectacular region of Bordeaux in April of 2022. I had met one of the owners of Atlantic Tours at a wine tasting in 2019 and we became friends. He came up with the wonderful idea of working together on some wine trips. YAY! Who doesn’t love a good wine trip. And after 2020, we all need something to look forward to.

Richard Arnold of Atlantic Tours

We are still hoping to do a wine trip to the Niagara region of Ontario in June of 2021, but we will have to see how things are with the global pandemic. I am still hoping this wine tour goes ahead, because it would be spectacular. Check out the details here.

And here’s a snap shot of where we are staying at Niagara Falls. I mean, you know you want to come with us!! We are doing a stop in Old Quebec City, we are doing a tasting at Caves Du Chateau Montmagny Winery, and the 1000 Islands Dinner Cruise, all part of this trip. Wineries we will be visiting include Wayne Gretzky’s & Trius, just to name two. Fingers crossed it’s a go.

HILTON NIAGARA FALLS/FALLSVIEW HOTEL & SUITES $64 ($̶1̶2̶8̶) - Updated 2020  Prices & Reviews - Ontario - Tripadvisor
The Hilton Niagara Falls

But back to Bordeaux, we are having a sip and sail Webinar. It’s free to register and you can register here. You’ll find out about River Cruising, which I have never done before. You’ll also find out about this particular River Cruise to Bordeaux. And we will probably enjoy a sip of wine in the process. What have you got to lose? It’s a free webinar, it will be informative and fun, and we’ll drink some wine, all at the same time.

Let’s talk some wine!!

A great Italian value

I tried this wine a few weeks back, but never got a chance to include it in a previous blog. I really want to, because it’s not often you can find enjoyable wines under $11. The La Baldoria Sangiovese from Puglia, known as the bread basket of Italy, also known for its Olive Oil, is 100% Sangiovese grapes and a great match for anything tomato sauce. Whether its pizza or pasta, if you are serving up some Italian food that features a tomato sauce, this wine is definitely worth trying.

Speaking of bread…

I’m making homemade bread

I grew up in Newfoundland, and my Mom made the best homemade bread in the world. We always had homemade bread, and being kids, thought store bought bread was a treat. Years after moving away, one of my biggest regrets was not learning how to make homemade bread from my Mom. So, there’s nothing like a pandemic to change all that. I started making bread, and consulting with my Mom over the phone. The first couple of loaves were a little crumbly, but bit by bit, I’m happy with the results. There really is nothing like the taste of homemade bread

My bread with beef barley soup

If I get home for Christmas though, I will take a lesson from the master! She will be 86 years old in January and doesn’t make bread anymore. But she does buy it from a wonderful local bakery. Yes, that’s my bread with a batch of beef barley soup I made in the slow cooker for the first time. That recipe is here. Cost efficient delicious soup, perfect for the cooler weather.

Now for my wine of the week…

Smoking Loon Cabernet Sauvignon

I was watching the election results from the U.S. with some friends Tuesday evening, and we opened this wine. I have had the Smoking Loon Zinfandel, and I love it, but tried the Cabernet Sauvignon for the first time. We really enjoyed it. Usually it’s $17 a bottle, but right now it’s $15 a bottle, and as my friend Maggie said “This is really good wine”. And that’s what most people like in a wine. A really good wine at a really affordable price. That’s what makes me happy.

Smoking Loon Pinot Grigio

Here in Nova Scotia, we just carry the two reds, but for my white wine loving readers, they do make several white wines as well. Including a Pinot Grigio, a Sauvignon Blanc and an unoaked Chardonnay. The company slogan is ‘Why fly when you can soar’! These wines are based out of California, and if I had access to more of them, I would try them all.

Well that’s it for this week. Till next week, Cheers

Darlene

Happy Hallowine!

Posted in Wine & Food on October 31, 2020 by darmyers
A great day to drink some wine

I would like to thank everyone who reached out last week, disappointed because I couldn’t do a wine blog because of Internet issues. I am really appreciative to everyone who takes time to read my blogs each week about wine and food. It warms a girl’s heart. You know what else warms a girl’s heart… Wine! Let’s talk some food & wine.

My friends Fred & Arla left Thursday to head to Alberta to take care of their grandson for 3 months. And the best news I received this week, is that they are letting me babysit their Traeger Grill!

Traeger Grill

I can’t tell you how much I am loving cooking on this grill. The other night I had my BBQ going to do the potatoes, I had chicken wings and a steak on the Traeger.

Before
After

I had a glass of wine on the go, I had some tunes going, and I was grilling and smoking my steak and wings on the Traeger. As they say on the website, Welcome to the Traeger-hood! I love adding smoke flavor to my wings, chicken, steak and I did the ultimate last night,,,, ribs

OMG! Smoked ribs

They were so good. And while some guys might love a beer while they are grilling, I love a glass of red while cooking outdoors. Here’s what I enjoyed last night while grilling and eating!

Burnt Ship Bay Cabernet Merlot

From the Niagara region in Ontario, a big thank you to my friends Fred & Arla for bringing me this wine, a Cabernet Sauvignon / Merlot blend. Burnt Ship Bay Winery is named after a small bay that lies in the heart of the Niagara River, where these grapes are grown. The bay is known for being the final resting place for treasure-laden French ships. This blend, which also contains some Cabernet Franc, is about $13.50 right now. Sadly, you can’t buy this wine where I live, so my friends had it shipped in, because the winery is offering free shipping on a case of wine right now. It says right on their website to pair this wine with grilled meats, so I did! A match made in heaven.

Burnt Ship Pinot Grigio

I’ve also had the opportunity to try the Pinot Grigio. Arla loves the Pinot Grigio, so a few weeks back I got to try this gorgeous white as well. It was a great Pint Grigio with tasty citrus and tropical notes. This wine is priced under $14 as well, and is really a steal of a deal.

Want to know the really funny part?

Fall is so pretty in Halifax

I live in an apartment building in Halifax, in an area that has a lot of apartment buildings. And every once in a while, the Traeger will release this plume of smoke. It smells awesome, but I was worried one of my neighbours was going to call the fire department last night! LOL I had the ribs on the smoker for almost 3 hours, and they came out amazing. I was so anxious to eat them, I forgot to take a picture of the finished product. But no worries, it won’t be my last time doing ribs on this grill. Best I’ve ever made.

Time for my wine of the week…

Portillo Pinot Noir

There used to be a saying ‘Never trust a Pinot Noir under $20’! That rule no longer applies. Pinot Noir was traditionally a more expensive red, because its known as the ‘heartbreak grape’. The skin of a Pinot Noir grape is so thin, its easy for an entire crop to be wiped out. This wine is just $14.49 a bottle and it’s a very light, fruity and easy to drink Pinot Noir. It hails from Argentina, and a warm climate Pinot Noir can taste a little jammy, because the consistently warm weather allows a red grape to fully ripen. Some people would miss the acidity that comes with a cool climate Pinot. Try a Pinot Noir from Canada and you’ll know what I mean. It’s a great wine at a great price and definitely worth the try.

Stay safe tonight

So tonight its Halloween, the clocks go back an hour, and it’s a full moon. 2020 continues to be interesting! Stay safe everyone. I’m going to stay in and enjoy some wine.

Till next week, Cheers

Darlene

The Judgement of Paris

Posted in Wine on October 17, 2020 by darmyers
The Judgement of Paris

Interesting story (if you’re a wine lover like me). Last night I had a wine from Chateau Souverain. A great Cabernet Sauvignon from the Napa Valley in California, that is priced under $20 at my local NSLC. It was a great Cabernet Sauvignon, that went deliciously with the Beef I had.

Chateau Soverain Cabernet Sauvignon

The interesting part is that this vineyard in Napa Valley hired winemaker Mike Grgich, a Croatian born winemaker, in his very first wine-making job. Mike Grgich would later go on and become quite famous. He would produce one of the Chardonnay wines that won the famous Judgement of Paris Wine Tasting. This Paris Wine tasting, which took place on May 24th, 1976, put the wine world on its ass. It upset the wine world, not only because 11 judges picked a California Chardonnay over a French Chardonnay, but because California beat France in a blind tasting of red wines as well. A California Cabernet beat out the most famous Red wines in France, including Chateau Lafitte Rothschild. So while that wine starts at $1000 and goes up from there, check out this one at our local NSLC that has a $3063 price tag. Yep, it’s over $3000.

Chateau Lafitte Rothschild $3063

And I know wine experts will probably blast me for comparing the two, but I love finding the story behind the wine, and I thought this one was pretty cool. Imagine, a California wine rated best in each category, which caused much surprise as France was generally regarded as being the foremost producer of the world’s best wines. As I enjoyed the Château Souverain, I really felt like I was drinking a winner.

Bottle Shock (2008)
Bottle Shock, the movie

There was a movie made about The Judgement of Paris in 2008. The movie was called ‘Bottle Shock’ and starred Bill Pullman and Alan Rickman, who starred as Steven Spurrier, the real life guy who organized the event, never dreaming in a million years that French wines would lose. It was a great movie, there are some love scenes, so you may want to watch it after the kids go to bed. Sit back, enjoy the movie, with your favorite California white or red wine.

And now for my wine of the week… The Judgement of Darlene if you will!

LaMura Rosso

I was thinking, how do I touch a wine, from a winery, where the first winemaker was one of the winners of the Judgement of Paris? And the wine is priced under $20, that is literally the epitome of a wine of the week! Let me tell you, last week was a great week for wine LOL! Because I found this beauty on Thanksgiving Monday and it is now my new favourite wine priced under $15. Thanksgiving Monday you ask? We are very lucky here in Halifax to have a few independent wine stores and they are open most holidays. And at one of those stores I found this amazing Italian wine. Grapes for this wine, Nero D’Avola, are grown on the slopes of the Marsala and Salemi regions of Sicily. This wine is fully organic, however that does not take away from the taste in any way. It’s a bold red, that in my opinion just sits beautifully on the palate and has a great lingering flavour. Did I tell you it’s $14.49 a bottle?

Chuckle of the Day

That’s it for me for this week. Have a great week, and I hope you discover an amazing wine.

Darlene

Thankful

Posted in Wine & Food on October 10, 2020 by darmyers

Who would have thought, last Thanksgiving, (here in Canada) that a year later Thanksgiving might looks quite different. I know with 2020 being an absolute wonky year with a Global pandemic, some people may find it hard this Thanksgiving. I hope you can find something to be grateful for, and I hope you are safe and healthy. I am thankful for so many wonderful things in my life.

Riley

I have my family, who are all healthy, and my nephew Riley, who is going to St. FX this year. He is up for a turkey dinner and a visit with his Aunt Dar. We’re having it earlier than most people, but that’s OK! So grateful he is living in Nova Scotia.

Road trip to Liverpool

I have amazing friends, I am so very grateful for.

My stuffed Turkey

I am grateful to have food on my table, coffee in my cup and wine in my glass.

Let’s talk about some wine, and even pair it with your Thanksgiving dinner. You can’t talk turkey without talking about the white wine.

Wine of the Week last week

The Wine of the Week last week would be a great wine for turkey. Flavorful, but not over-powering, it would be a great compliment for the gobble gobble. And at $14.49 a bottle, you can afford to feed it to your family.

Pinot Grigio is another great turkey wine

Pinot Grigio is another great turkey wine. With its crisp acidity, in my opinion, it’s the perfect pairing for a turkey. But here’s the thing about wine, if you like the wine with turkey, it’s a great wine to go with turkey. Wine is a very personal choice, and I’m only here to give a couple of suggestions, if needed.

If you’re a die hard red wine person, here’s the wine I had last night with my turkey dinner with Riley.

Pepperwood Grove Zinfandel

I shouldn’t tease you with this wine because I’m pretty sure the NSLC is sold out of it. But where ever you live in Canada or the U.S., if you see this wine, it’s really really good. We found out through the website Yarmouth, Nova Scotia had 6 bottles, and my good friend Angie has a daughter that lives in Yarmouth.

My friend Angie and I

So low and behold, we bought them out, and was able to enjoy the delicious Pepperwood Grove Old Vine Zinfandel. Any Zinfandel would go great, or if you love Italian wine, try a Primitivo. They are not expensive and it’s the same grape as Zinfandel. You would never know if you tried an American Zinfandel and an Italian Primitivo side by side. Even though they are the same grape, the Americans and the Italians have different ways of working with the grape, but both are delicious.

And now for my Wine of the Week

Montes Cabernet Sauvignon

The Colchagua region of Chile are putting out spectacular Cabernet Sauvignon wines. Chilean winemakers have had help from skilled winemakers all over the world, including the Napa Valley and France. The great thing about a Chilean Cabernet Sauvignon is that you are not paying the same price tag. This Chilean Cabernet Sauvignon is under $19 a bottle and goes perfect with all your favorite Fall comfort foods. Don’t you find as the weather gets cooler, you are drinking more Cabernet Sauvignon?

In 1987, Aurelio Montes and Douglas Murray, both highly experienced wine professionals in Chile, wanted to produce Chilean wines a quantum-leap higher in quality than the standards of the time. In 1988, they joined up with the other two founders, Alfredo Vidaurre and Pedro Grand, who brought their own complementary skills and expertise to the venture. Thus Montes was born. And now you too can enjoy a fantastic Cabernet at a wonderful price. Enjoy!

To all my readers, I am especially grateful for you as you come with me on this wine journey I am so very much enjoying. Have a wonderful long weekend, and stay safe!

Darlene

A Taste of French Food &Wine

Posted in Wine & Food on October 3, 2020 by darmyers
6 of the 7 Muskateers

This past weekend, my friend Angie (she took the above picture) hosted a French dinner party. Everything from the food, to our outfits, to the wine, were all French themed. She even provided us all with little French moustaches. And when we peeled them off, it took off any trace of a moustache we did have, LOL! Women going through menopause will get that joke!

We had some great food, a few great laughs, and some great French wine. We started the evening with a ‘welcome’ wine of a French rose, called Arrogant Frog. My friend Angie is seen holding the bottle of wine.

Angie holding the Arrogant Frog

There is an Arrogant Frog Sparkling rose, but that’s not the one we had, we enjoyed the dry Rose. It was crisp, light and delicious. The winemaker, Jean-Claude Mas is a 4th generation winemaker, who started assisting his father and grandfather in the vineyard when he was 3 years old. Our local NSLC also carries a Chardonnay Viognier white blend and a Cabernet Merlot red blend. I’ll have to try them. Made with the Syrah grape, this was a wonderful wine that we enjoyed with a delicious appetizer of spinach and artichoke dip on a baguette, made by Arla.

Not my picture, but you get the picture of how tasty it was

Our first course was a salad, which I made, and it had a base of spinach and arugula. I then added beets, mandarin oranges, bacon (of course), almonds, and grated parmesan cheese. I made my salad dressing with olive oil, balsamic vinegar, mustard, garlic, pepper, soy sauce and some brown sugar. With that course we enjoyed this French sparkling beauty.

Cremant De Bourgogne Brut

The Cremant De Bourgogne hails from the Maconnais region of Burgundy, Franch and Cremant is made in the exact say way as Champagne, what is commonly known as the traditional method. You know that you cannot call a Sparkling wine Champagne, unless it comes from the Champagne region of France and follows a whole list of strict guidelines. This was wonderful, made from Chardonnay grapes, and a steal of a deal at just $25. It was dry, and elegant with a lovely mousse (the foam and bubbles after a sparkling wine has been poured is called the mousse.) This is another great example of a sparkling wine that is made identical to Champagne, but is so much more affordable.

cafedelites.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/02/Beef...
Not the actual picture of the Beef Bourguinon Elaine made

Would you believe I did not get a picture of the main course. I’m so sad, because our friend Elaine made an amazing Beef Bourguignon. It was so delicious, and we paired it with mashed potatoes and French green beans. We served a variety of wines, both white and red, with the main course. We drank Pinot Noir, a GSM (Grenache, Syrah & Merlot) as well as Chardonnay and Pinot Grigio.

Dave & Fred, the brave two men who hang with us 5 women.

Dave, pictured above, made a wonderful french fluffy dessert with a custard and a homemade caramel sauce. It was a divine evening of food, wine and fun, but I can’t wait to tell you about the my Wine of the Week!

La Vielle Ferme

After last weekend, every single one of us will have this wine as a staple in our wine racks. Meet my new favorite white wine. This wine was recently written up in the Wall Street Journal for being a spectacular wine at a great price. This wine is just $14.49 a bottle here in Nova Scotia, and is a 4 grape blend. Bourboulenc, Grenache blanc, Ugni blanc & Vermentino, which are harvested at optimum maturity, which is the key to a flavorful full-bodied white wine. Gorgeous fruity flavors of apples and citrus with some tropical notes, this wine blew me away. I just loved it.

Words of a Wino – Love this

Well that’s it for me today. Thank you for coming along on my food & wine journey. I love it when people share their wine and food stories with me as well.

Till next weekend, Cheers

Darlene

Fall in Love with Great Wines

Posted in Wine on September 26, 2020 by darmyers
5 Fun Things To Do in Halifax This Fall – Discover Halifax
Nova Scotia is beautiful in Fall

Autumn, my absolute favorite time of the year. I ran into someone in the elevator of my apartment building, who said I was looking happy. Well, today is sunny, a comfortable 22-degrees, and I had a great night sleep last night because it was nice and cool. What’s not to be happy about. Nova Scotia is just gorgeous in the Fall, with stunning colors and for the most part great weather.

Speaking of Nova Scotia, friends (only 7) got together and we did a bit of a wine tasting with some of the white wines from Avondale Sky Winery. Known as the home of the church that walked on water!! I’m not kidding, they moved this church by land and water, and you can see the journey of the church through photos at the Winery. But let’s talk some wine.

Here was the first one.

Avondale Sky Chevrie

The Chevrie from Avondale Sky is most (89%) L’Acadie with small amounts of Muscat, Vidal & Geisenhelm, a true Nova Scotia blend. And it was delicious, my favorite of all 3. The winemaker says the Muscat is added to lift aromatics, and Vidal and Geisenhelm is added for acidity, which adds a vibrancy to the wine. Gorgeous hints of peach and melon, and it’s a great wine for any appetizer.

Avondale Sky Tennycape
Avondale Sky Ortega

The other two we tried was the Tennycape and the Ortega. I thought the Ortega might have had some Gewurtztraminer in it, because the aromatics were quite strong, but it doesn’t. It was the most full-bodied of them all, and the vineyard recommends Indian cuisine, chicken, pork and seafood. This is your main course white. The Tennycape, was a little lighter. I really enjoyed this wine. I liked the brightness of the wine, and the blend of Vidal and L’Acadie Blanc makes for a true Nova Scotia experience. A great wine for the Nova Scotia seafood, and it’s so bright it would pair well wtih spicy food as well.

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Everyone wants wine

The next wine I want to tell you about, my wine of the week, is over the top delicious.

The Santodeno Sangiovese Appassimento is a rich full-bodied wine that I had this past week. Appassimento is the process of letting the grapes dry first, which adds depth and flavor. For this particular wine, the grapes are hand picked, and then left in small crates to dry.

Delicious Italian red wine

It creates a delicious wine, full of flavor, with hints of nutmeg, that is a perfect pairing for all your favorite comfort foods. So what’s the problem?

Wax covers drive me crazy

You need a degree of some kind to get into the wine. More and more I’m seeing winemakers use these hard wax coverings, instead of a foil. This looks jagged because I had to take a knife to it, and put my life and limbs at risk, trying to get it open. Winemakers say it helps keep the wine fresh. No oxygen is getting into the wine. Makes sense. One thing you should never do, is try to put your corkscrew through the wax. I did that once. Learn from my mistake.

Got it off with my fingers in tact

The wine was fantastic, the price point the same. It’s only $18 a bottle. But my recommendation to wine makers, don’t make it so hard for me to get into the bottle. Thankfully, it was the first bottle of the evening, because I would hate to try and get into this wine with a few glasses under my belt.

Red or White?

Well, that’s it for me for this week. Have a great week, till next Saturday, Cheers

Darlene

Bordeaux Wine Tour, Anyone?

Posted in Wine & Food on September 19, 2020 by darmyers
Official Announcement

I have exciting news. In April, 2022, I will be joining forces with Atlantic Tours and AMA Waterways to participate in a river cruise called ‘A Taste of Bordeaux’. I met the owner of Atlantic Tours, Richard Arnold, during several wine tastings I did in 2019. We hit it off and talked about the possibility of working together on a wine related trip. Well we currently have 2 we are working on. 2021 to the Niagara region of Canada, and 2022 to Bordeaux France.

Richard & Sandra
Richard has a tremendous amount of experience doing first class tours.

For any wine lover, Bordeaux France is the capital of great wine. Filled with Chateaus and vineyards, this is going to be an epic adventure in the land of food and wine. (2 of my favorite things in the world.) Travelling the Garonne & Dordogne rivers in first class style, this is a dream trip for any wine lover. I’ll have more details later, but right now we are planned for April of 2022. And in case you didn’t know, Bordeaux is just not for the red wine lover, Bordeaux produces some amazing white wines as well. Bordeaux white is mostly blended wines and tends to consist of 3 grapes, Semillion, Sauvignon Blanc and Muscadelle. Bordeaux white can be light and fruity (Sauvignon Blanc heavy) or rich and creamy (Semillion heavy). It is also home to some of the most expensive wines in the world.

2005 Chateau D’yquem

Like this 2005 Chateau D’yquem priced at $1112.00

Chateau Margeaux

Or this Chateaux Margeaux priced at a cool $1448.00. But you can enjoy good wine from Bordeaux without having to take out a second mortgage. So….Let’s talk some food & wine.

Puyfromage White

Take this Chateau Puyfromage White Bordeaux for example. It is a blend of Sauvignon Blanc and Semillion and it is tropical, light and fruity, and every wine tasting I’ve ever bought it to, it’s a hit. It’s only $22 a bottle, it’s medium-bodied, with some acidity from the Sauvignon Blanc and very food friendly. Chateau Puyfromage also comes in a red blend, with 60% of the wine being Merlot and the other 40% being comprised of Cabernet Sauvignon and Cabernet Franc. So a really good meaty red at about the same price point.

Rayell holding a Sauternes
Chateau Coutet Sauternes

One of my favorite white wines to come out of Bordeaux is Sauternes. I know many people say they don’t like sweet wines, but if you have a dessert wine, in a small sherry glass, and have it as a dessert, it can be heavenly. Sauternes comes from the Barsac region of Bordeaux and the grapes are Sauvignon Blanc, Semillion and Muscadelle. Sauternes takes these 3 grapes and applies a process called Botrytis Cinerea, or more commonly known as noble rot.  This causes the grapes to become partially raisined, resulting in concentrated and distinctively flavored wines. These wines are delicious dessert wines, served chilled, and those flavors of honey and apricot make for one of my favorite desserts.

New pork chop marinade
Bobby Flay’s homemade honey mustard sauce

I would really like to tell you about my new food discovery. I made Bobby Flay’s homemade honey mustard sauce and used it on grilled pork chops. Here’s one change I have made to the recipe. (Sorry Bobby) It calls for equal parts grainy mustard and Dijon mustard. I started cutting the grainy mustard in half. If I used 1 tablespoon of Dijon mustard, I used 1/2 a tablespoon of the grainy. I feel the grainy mustard can overpower the sauce. Here’s the grainy mustard I used.

Maille Mustard

Even on the website, it says it packs a powerful punch. And it does. So I’m using half. Then I added honey, salt & pepper. Delicious on pork.

Now, for my wine of the week… Believe me, this one is very affordable

I hope all my readers have someone in their life that looks at them like I look at this wine. LOL. I love a Ripasso, regular readers of my blog will know that. It’s Valpolicella wine poured over the skins and must of Amarone, while they are still warm. It takes on those beautiful Amarone flavors without taking on the heaviness of an Amarone. This is probably my favorite Italian wine. And last night was my first time trying this one by Folinari. It is a medium-bodied wine full of flavor, beautiful hints of balsamic, cherry and mocha spice. I did ribs on the grill, and it was amazing.

Have a wonderful week everyone. Till next week, Cheers

Darlene

Wining For A Long Weekend

Posted in Wine & Food on September 5, 2020 by darmyers
Me last night!

I wasn’t just pining for a long weekend, I was wining for the long weekend. The Labor Day weekend, is the last official weekend of Summer for most people. For me, (don’t hate me) it’s ‘Bye Bye Summer – Hello Fall’. I am all about cooler temperatures, the pretty colours on the trees, and the availability of local fresh fruits and vegetables. I’m taking some holidays this coming week, my Mom, Sister, Brother-in-Law & Nephew are all coming for a visit this week, as we get Riley settled into SFX University in Antigonish, NS. I know I’ve been sharing some recipes lately, just wait until I start cooking for this handsome growing guy!

Riley at his High School Graduation
Me saying goodbye to Riley at the airport after 2 weeks in Barbados

This kid can eat, trust me. I’ll be cooking up a storm once he starts University here. They are all coming Wednesday for a visit and shopping, and then next Saturday morning we are off to Antigonish to set up his dorm room. There probably won’t be a wine blog next Saturday, but I’ll have lots to share in 2 weeks time. I’m also going to be doing a BIG travel announcement in 2022 for a wine tour you are not going to want to miss. Oui, Oui. That’s yes in French. A little hint of something special to come.

Let’s talk some wine…. and food!!

A great chicken marinade was discovered this week

Our Summer weather continued this past week, so since there was a lot of sunshine, I grilled one or two evenings. I have come up with the a fantastic chicken marinade. Start with olive oil, add a grainy mustard, or any mustard you have on hand, salt, pepper, a splash of lemon juice, splash of Worcestershire sauce, garlic powder, and the most important ingredient, brown sugar. Do you know why? I’ve discovered this week if you are grilling chicken or pork, brown sugar will be the secret to carmelization and a nice char on the outside. And a nice char on the outside will keep everything tender and juicy on the inside. It was delicious. I marinated it for about 4 hours. Overnight would be best. So what wine goes with this delicious grilled chicken? Red or white, pick your choice.

Saints & Sinners Pinot Grigio

This Saints & Sinners Pinot Grigio is from Canada, and is priced under $11 a bottle. Who doesn’t love a great deal over a long weekend. It’s not as dry as most Italian Pinot Grigio’s, it’s 75% Pinot Grigio, and 25% other fruit including Gewürztraminer, so expect a little sweeter Pinot Grigio. Most Pinot Grigio wines are a 1 on the sweetness level (the lowest), this one is a 2. If you love red with your chicken, try this wine.

Smoking Loon Old Vine Zinfandel

This is the wine I enjoyed with it, and I’ll be heading out to buy more. This wine is $2 off right now in Nova Scotia, so it’s under $15 a bottle. Even on their website, the one and only food they have listed to try it with, is BBQ grilled chicken. A match made in heaven. Old vine is a symbol of quality in American wine. In France you see words like Grand Cru, in Italy it’s Superiore or Riserva, and in California it tends to be Old Vine, especially when talking about Zinfandel. Old vines make better wine, it’s as simple as that. At $14.48 a bottle right now, don’t make the same mistake I did, pick up more than one!!

Pork tenderloin

I also grilled a small pork tenderloin this week, and it came out great, after resting for 10 minutes in Aluminum foil. Resting your meat is very important when grilling, it lets the juices settle. It’s especially important in pork tenderloin, because you don’t want a dry pork tenderloin. I used brown sugar as the base of this marinade as well, because I just love the char it provides on the outside and it stays juicy on the inside.

And now for my wine of the week…

A 90 Point wine for $12.99

Run, don’t walk, if this wine is on sale at your liquor store, like it is mine. This wine is just $12.99 a bottle right now, while it’s available, and yes, that is a 90-Point designation you see on the label. World famous wine critic James Suckling gave this Chilean Cabernet Sauvignon 90 Points, and friends, right now this wine is less than $13 a bottle. This full-bodied beauty is from the Central Valley in Chile and is the #1 seller for Caillero del Diablo. Medium to full-bodied and not overly oaked, this Cabernet Sauvignon is the perfect wine for a long weekend grill-fest. Enjoy.

I need this t-shirt

To all my readers, thank you so much for joining me for another week. If I don’t touch base next week, I’ll see you in 2 weeks time.

Stay safe and take care

Darlene

National Red Wine Day

Posted in Wine & Food on August 29, 2020 by darmyers
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National Red Wine Day

Yesterday, August 28th was National Red Wine Day, and if you were listening to one of our local Radio Station’s, 96-5 The Breeze, the Morning Show featured an interview with me from a couple of years back, talking about some of my favorite reds. So here’s this weeks wine blog, let’s talk some red wine… and of course some food.

Great evening for a BBQ

I do really good ribs

Yesterday evening was a beautiful evening for a barbecue, and I have friends in the building who don’t have a barbeque but they told me they were craving a feed of ribs. So I texted her and said “I’ll do a feed of ribs and bring them down”. It takes me roughly five hours to do my ribs, I slow cook them in a 250-degree oven for 3 1/2 hours in the marinade, and then finish them on the grill with a sweet and sticky barbeque sauce. They were fall off the bone delicious. And I had a brand new wine while I was cooking, and enjoying the feast.

Paso Creek 2015 Merlot

OMG, this wine was awesome! I loved the slogan on the bottom, “bold character derived from stubborn patience”. Paso Robles is located halfway between Los Angeles and San Francisco, and is emerging as a top quality wine region, not only in California but worldwide. This is no wimpy Merlot, this is bold and flavourful without being overpowered by oak. I loved it, and I thought it was a great wine for $23.
So, one of the issues I had this pandemic, as regular readers will know, I was doing a lot of cooking, and a lot of testing new recipes. And I have the Covid curves to prove it LOL. Two weeks ago, I decided to do something about it, and I’ve been eating better for most of the week and even getting out and exercising. Virtual High-5 👏! It’s not easy.

I’m trying to eat healthier

I made this grilled chicken salad, with mandarin oranges, freshly grated Parmesan (because every meal deserves some joy), and I made my own salad dressing. Easy, and delicious. Olive oil, balsamic vinegar, pinches of garlic, black pepper, Dijon mustard and brown sugar. This was lunch, so no wine for me. If it was dinner, here’s a great wine for that salad.

Caliterra Tributo Chardonnay

You could do a nice crisp Pinot Grigio, or even Prosecco, but the grilled chicken in this salad would also allow for a nice Chardonnay. The Caliterra Chardonnay is from Chile, not overly oaked, delicious apple flavours and priced under $18. It’s one of my favorite Chardonnay wines.

And now for my wine of the week….

Gauchezco Reserve Cabernet Franc

It’s been only the past year or two, that I’ve been discovering Cabernet Franc on its own. Previously, it was more known to me as the third grape in a Bordeaux blend. There are several winemakers making Cabernet Franc the star. In a recent 2020 special report on wine from Argentina, this wine was given 91 Points. It’s very good, it’s smooth and has lovely pepper notes. Another great wine for a BBQ. This wine is a Reserve and is priced just under $23.

Your chuckle for today

So I would like to take a moment in closing to tell you about a wine tour I am going to be involved in for next year. June 19th, 2021 (Fingers crossed) my friend Richard, who owns Atlantic Tours, will be bringing a group to the Niagara Wine Region and I’m coming to host the wine tours. There will also be a stop in old Quebec City. I can’t wait. Check out all the upcoming tours at http://www.atlantictours.com. Richard and his staff have been doing worry-free tours for many years. Mark your calendar for this fabulous wine tour as we experience some great wine and take in the stunning views of Niagara Falls. I’ll tell you more about it soon. Hope you can join us.

Niagara Falls, Ontario - Wikipedia
Niagara Falls

Till next week, Cheers

Darlene

Grape Balls of Fire

Posted in Wine & Food on August 22, 2020 by darmyers
Spicy Food Wine Pairing Tips – Kwaf | The Best of Ontario Wine
Spicy Food & Wine can be great together

As my regular readers know, most Saturday mornings I sit with a great cup of coffee and write a wine blog. Since the pandemic started, I’ve started introducing some of my favorite recipes. Although I’ve always loved to cook, I really haven’t introduced recipes and my attempts at new recipes until recently. I’m getting lots of positive feedback, and I really appreciate all the comments. I mean what goes better with food than wine, except for great friends. I don’t know if you guessed it from the title this week, but we are talking spice this week, because my brand new adventure in cooking was making my first homemade salsa.

My 1st homemade salsa

My first attempt, even though I felt I used less jalapeno, still had some kick to it. It was awesome on nachos. The chips and cheese tend to curb some of the spiciness. I loved it, and will be regularly making it because it was so easy!

My late night Nachos

I always thought you had to chop up your tomatoes. No!! This recipe calls for canned diced tomatoes. I used the ones with garlic and olive oil. And for my first attempt, I used 1/2 a tin.

Aylmer® Accents® Garlic & Olive Oil Petite Cut Stewed Tomatoes ...
All the hard work is done

Here’s what I did:

1/2 a Jalapeno, with most of the seeds taken out. (that’s where all the heat is)

1/2 teaspoon of minced garlic

1/4 cup of cilantro

The juice of 1/2 a lime

1/4 teaspoon salt (& I added some pepper)

Tip of a teaspoon of sugar. (This is optional)

I put it in my mini-food processor. I use mine so much I keep it on the counter at all times.

Mini Food Processor

A few pulses, and fresh salsa, with no preservatives, will last for a week in a sealed container. It took 5 minutes.

Some people in the food and wine beverage industry think the best thing to go with spicy food would be a nice cold beer. you’re not wrong, but for my wine loving friends, I love wine with spicy food. We’re going to talk about some spicy food, and we’re going to talk to some wine.

A selection of Nova Scotia Tidal Bay Wines

One of my favourite wines to have is one of the many unique Tidal Bay wines offered by wineries here in Nova Scotia. Tidal Bay is an appellation blend Created by the wineries in Nova Scotia, as well as the Wine Association of Nova Scotia. Initially released in 2012, these wineries have to make a title page from 100% Nova Scotia growing grapes in a strict if standards that make for some beautifully made wine. I don’t have a favorite, but I will tell you, I’ve never had a bad one.

My spicy wines

My spicy wings, which I do in my air fryer, the sauce is simple. 1 part Frank’s Hot Sauce, 1/2 part maple syrup and 1/4 cup BBQ sauce. Delicious

I think my all-time favourite wine to have with spicy food is an icy cold Riesling. I don’t like full on sweet Riesling, but I do like a tinge of sweetness in my Riesling to take the edge off that spicy food.

Kung Fu Girl Riesling U.S.A.

I love this Kung Fu Girl Riesling from Washington State in the U.S.A. This is a dry Riesling with just a hint of sweetness. The wine was inspired by the winemaker enjoying Chinese food one evening, watching a movie. So he created Kung Fu Girl, and as he puts it ‘it’s been kicking ass ever since’. And it’s priced under $20 a bottle. Win-Win!

And now my Wine of the Week

The Cleaver

I can drink red with spicy food, and my favorite red grape to do that is Zinfandel. The Cleaver blend is 74% Zinfandel, 15% Syrah & 11% Petite Sirah. This is a super interesting red blend that not only goes with spicy food, you should try it with anything on the BBQ. The label says ‘It’s a Must for Meat’. It’s a $30 bottle of wine and worth every sip.

Stay safe

Well that’s it for me for this week. Till next week, Cheers

Darlene

Too Hot To Wine?

Posted in Wine on August 15, 2020 by darmyers
True Story

Here in Nova Scotia we have been having a relentless heat wave. My hat goes off to all my friends that love it, enjoy it while you can. Me? 38-degrees is a tad uncomfortable, and everyone knows my favorite season is Autumn. So, it being too hot to put the stove on, I did enjoy a glass while working the BBQ.

Enjoying a sip while working the Q

Did you know this heat wave is not good for your favorite wine? This is not the room temperature any wine should be served at. I always say wine, especially reds, should never see 25-degrees (77 F), as some people like their homes very warm. Anything warmer than that and your wine is in trouble. It will ‘cook’. Yes, that’s right. At that temperature your white and red wine will cook and taste a little nutty. Your reds, if it sees over 26-degrees Celsius, you run the risk of the cork coming out. So even if you are loving this hot weather, your wine is whining! Pardon the pun!

Pelee Island Pinot Noir

So what was in the glass next to my BBQ? A soft Pinot Noir Reserve from the Pelee Island Winery, which is located on Pelee Island in Lake Eerie, Ontario. Part of the Ontario VQA, which is the Vintner’s Quality Alliance, which ensures all grapes used in the wine are from Ontario, and a host of other quality requirements. As I have mentioned, in 2021, I am going to be part of a group that is heading to the Niagara region of Ontario for some wine tours, with Atlantic Tours, so you’ll see me trying more and more Ontario wines. I really want to get a taste for the region. This wine is a very soft Pinot Noir, with delicate flavors of cherry and vanilla, and it’s not oaky at all. A little too soft for BBQ meats, but a Pinot Noir can be served colder than some other reds, and I felt it was a good one to enjoy that evening. Pinot Noir can be served between 11 – 13 degrees Celsius, whereas your bigger, heavier reds, are between 16 – 18 degrees. No wine, no matter which color or which grape, should ever be served above 18-degrees Celsius. So if your home is warmer than that, put the wine in the fridge for a bit, no matter if it’s red or white.

Lola Rose

Pelee Island also makes a Blush Sparkling Rose wine that we can get here in Nova Scotia. I can’t wait to try it, because it’s a strawberry frizzante wine which would be super refreshing. The Pinot Noir was just $16.99 a bottle here, and this Rose is $18.99 here. Picture yourself on your patio with a charcuterie board and a glass of this chilled sparkler. Perfection.

This made me laugh

You know when you enter the websites of some wineries, they make you put in your birth date to verify you are of age. I was doing this recently and they had one of those rolling birth years. And it felt just like I was spinning the big wheel on the Price is Right or Wheel of Fortune. Then I saw this meme, and I laughed out loud, and thought I would share it.

And now for my wine of the week… It’s actually 2 wines, a white and a red!

Santa Carolina Cabernet Sauvignon
Santa Carolina Sauvignon Blanc

I love the fact I have friends that are as adventurous as I am when it comes to trying new wines. And if you’re going to be adventurous, Chile is a great place to start. Chile is putting out some amazing wines at fantastic price points. So my friend Angie bought the Santa Carolina Cabernet wine to my place and if you’re looking for a great BBQ wine, look no further. And at less than $14 a bottle, you can BBQ and enjoy this wine 7 nights a week. The Santa Carolina Sauvignon Blanc is also under $14 a bottle and I’ve had this wine many times. Both wines made the wine of the week because they are exceptional value wines, and taste very delicious. The red is full-bodied and fruit forward, and the white is crisp and vibrant. If you’re doing grilled fish on the BBQ, this Sauvignon Blanc would hit the spot.

Smile, it’s Saturday

Thank you for reading my weekly wine blog and sharing it with your friends, I really appreciate it. Till next week, Cheers

Darlene

5 Months In

Posted in Uncategorized on August 8, 2020 by darmyers
My favororite pour

Would you believe this coming Thursday, August 13th will mark 5 months since I’ve worked in my office. My friends know the story. When we got the email on Sunday March 15th to come in the next day and get our computers and other work things, I said to everyone “See you in 2 weeks”. True story. Never in a million years did I imagine the global scale of this pandemic, and the effect it would have on every one. But here we are, I’m very grateful to have a job that I love very much and we are making it work. It was tough at first, getting used to working from home, but now I’ve gotten in a groove, and I’m enjoying it. But enough pandemic talk….

Let’s talk some wine…. and food!! My two favorite things from all this.

Rhone To The Bone

I had a couple of friends in for dinner last Saturday night and this was how we started the evening. We are still in the middle of our heat wave, so I opened this new Rose wine, and all I can say is ‘Wow!’. This Rose wine is (you guessed it) from the Cote du Rhone region of France and is a blend of 80% Grenache and 20% Syrah. Two full bodied, high alcohol content grapes, Grenache is used in making Chateauneuf du Pape and this particular Rose wine has some impressive people behind it. In house oenologist Pierre Viellescazes (I won’t even try to pronounce that name) and Vallee du Rhone specialist Phillipe Cambie, who was named ‘Best Oenologist of 2010’ by Robert Parker, together, they have made a specitacular rose wine. An Oenologist is an expert in the field of viticulture, which is grape-growing and the fields, and wine-making. Gorgeous citrus and watermelon flavors and priced under $18, this almost made my wine of the week. A great compliment if you are serving up a charcuterie board or as an evening kick-starter.

Last night’s dinner

Last night I made my first ‘one pot’ pasta dish, ever. And it turned out delicious. I have always boiled the pasta in a separate pot in salted water. This recipe called for cooking the pasta in broth, right in the sauce. OMG! This is my new favorite way to cook pasta, right in the sauce. I had some spinach in my refrigerator that was going to go bad soon, so I made a chicken and spinach penne pasta. The recipe is here. The only addition I made, I added some bacon. A creamy chicken pasta loves bacon! And as you can see from the picture above, the wine I had with it, is my Wine of the Week.

Canyon Road Cabernet Sauvignon

You know how I love finding good deals. Well, this one may have taken the cake… and the pasta… and what else did I have with it, oh yes, ribs. My friend Angie bought this down last week and I really enjoyed it. So I bought a couple more, after all, this wine is only $10.99 a bottle. That is very unusual here in Nova Scotia, to pay under $11 for a California Cabernet. And it was good. So good that I went out and bought several more and enjoyed it with a wide variety of dishes this past week. Hailing from California’s Alexander Valley, this wine is a delicious easy to drink Cabernet Sauvignon. Not overly oaky, this wine has been given 4 out of 5 stars by many wine reviewers. For $11 a bottle, you have to give this a try. You won’t be disappointed.

Enjoying Summer

Well, that’s it for me for this week. Till next week, Enjoy the Summer, Cheers

Darlene

Heat Wave Favorites

Posted in Wine & Food on August 1, 2020 by darmyers
Wine Tip of the Day

We are in the middle of a heat wave here in Halifax, where the humidex actually hit 40-degrees one day last week. I’m not a fan of hot humid weather, I’m counting down the days until Autumn. Sorry Summer lovers, I’m into cooler temperatures, pretty leaves, comfort food and being able to enjoy a glass of wine at a decent temperature. However, there are some wine varieties that make this heat wave more bearable. Let’s talk some wine. And some food!

Learning how to make pizza dough from scratch

Do you know what I did last Saturday night? A group of friends got together and we learned how to make pizza from scratch, including the pizza dough. Taught by Fred, pictured with me, and photo-bombed by Dave, the best sous chef in the world, together we made 3 hearty pizzas and 1 dessert pizza. They featured prosciutto, tomatoes, fresh basil, mozzarella, pepperoni, balsamic glazes, just to name a few ingredients. I mean, we went all out!

Pondsview Pinot Grigio

Fred’s wife, my good friend Arla, bought a Canadian Pinot Grigio to the party, which I had the opportunity to try. It was a Pinot Grigio from Canadian Winery Pondsview, located in the Niagara region. I am planning a trip with Richard Arnold and Atlantic Tours in June of 2021 to the Niagara Wine region, so it was great to try one I had never had before. This was a delicious light and crisp Pinot Grigio with lovely citrus flavors. Perfect for a hot Summer evening, served nice and cold.

Fresh Basil

Did I mention there were fresh herbs. My friend Joan grew all the herbs we used last Saturday night in making the pizza. However, this pandemic has inspired me to branch out and try a few new things. My basil is coming along nicely and this past week I added parsley to my list of herbs I’m trying to grow. Wish me luck, there are no green thumbs on either of my hand. Another thing I’ve discovered are puzzles. This was #8 for me since the pandemic started.

My latest puzzle
The Puzzle that started it all
Much more fun with a glass of wine

And last but not least, I have continued my love of cooking and watching cooking shows on the Food Network. This past week has been Grilling Week on the Food Network, so I’ve been recording a lot of the shows. One of the shows I recorded was the Grill Master Napa. This was recorded at Beringer Wine Estate in the Napa Valley and featured 16 grilling chefs competing for $50,000. When they would finish, all the chefs would toast with a glass of red wine. And what a thrill it was to go to my friend Angie’s place, and she had the wine there.

Beringer Founder’s Estate Cabernet

The Beringer Founder’s Estate Cabernet Sauvignon is a wine I would definitely have again. Made with grapes grown in Lodi California, as well as the California Delta, these two regions have ideal climates for ripening Cabernet Sauvignon. So you get a juicy red wine with lots of body that is a perfect compliment to any grill master. I loved it, and it’s only $20 a bottle here. If there was a perfect Summer time red, this would be it.

I love good food, great friends and wonderful get-togethers. It’s a long weekend for many provinces here in Canada, I hope you enjoy it safely.

Till next week, Cheers

Darlene

Birthday Shenanigans!

Posted in Uncategorized on July 25, 2020 by darmyers

This past week, I celebrated my birthday! Some friends came down and surprised me, and we drank some wine…. Actually we drank a lot of wine! LOL One of the bottles I opened was a special gift given to me by a good friend for Christmas in 2013. He passed away suddenly three years ago and I’ve been waiting for a special occasion to open this bottle. Since this was my first birthday since my dad passed away, and I was hoping he and Ron were having a cold beer somewhere, I decided to open and enjoy the special bottle of wine with a couple of special friends.

My friend always wrote the year he bought the wine
2006 Etude Cabernet Sauvignon

The wine I opened was a 2006 Étude Cabernet Sauvignon from California. As you can see, every time he gave me a bottle of wine, he signed the bottle. I’ve done some research on this particular bottle of wine, and found some interesting information. Etude was started in 1982 by Tony Soter, and although he was never formally trained as a winemaker, he was sole winemaker until he sold in 2000. Although Tony stayed on for an additional 7 years in a consultant role, Jon Priest became the winemaker at Étude, and he is making widely-acclaimed wine. He says, in 2006, ideal weather conditions and low yield made for a great well structured Cabernet Sauvignon. It was very good but it comes with a heft price tag of $90.

MJ Mas Janeil Le Petite Pas
Syrah, Grenache, Carignan & Mourvedre

Another bottle we opened birthday night was this wine, I had never tried before. Both ladies who came to visit for my birthday like really full-bodied heavy wines. And I’ll be honest, I really thought this wine was going to deliver that. Syrah (Shiraz) is a thick-skinned grape which normally is very dark in color, and heavy. However, this blend of Syrah, Grenache, Carignan and Mourvedre was medium-bodied, light and fruity. After some research I found they used carbonic maceration as a way to ferment the grapes. This is the same process they use for Beaujolais, which means it releases very little tannins and gives wine a very fruity, light feel. It was very tasty and it’s on sale right now, less than $17. But if you’re looking for a light, easy to drink wine, this is the wine for you. It’s a great wine for charcuterie boards and even pork tenderloin.

And now for my wine of the week…

Ava Grace Rose

Last week, my wine of the week was the Ava Grace Merlot, a wine I discovered while being in Newfoundland. This week, I discovered its sister wine, and it hails from California, but is sold right here in Nova Scotia. This Rose wine was given 93 Points in the Ultimate Wine Challenge and it’s less than $20 a bottle. It’s fresh, crisp and delicate with beautiful apricot flavors the wine and has a wonderful palate.

Summer sipping on the patio

That’s it for me for this week. Thanks for reading. Till next week, Cheers

Darlene

Under $20

Posted in Wine & Food on July 18, 2020 by darmyers
You can buy great wine for under $20

I wanted to let everyone know why I was away for 3 weeks. My Dad passed away in the early morning hours of Saturday July 4th. I took a couple of weeks off and spent those weeks with family. He was almost 90 years old and lived a great life We are very grateful he wasn’t suffering for long. Now I’m back. And on a mission!

Covid-19 has affected the finances of many households, including mine. So now, more than ever, people are looking for great wines at an affordable price tag. So I’m dedicating this wine blog for great wines under $20.

Let’s start with Pinot Grigio. Always a great value, and so many great options to choose from.

Bodacious Pinot Grigio

When many people think Pinot Grigio, they think Italian. You can find many great Italian and Sicilian Pinot Grigio wines. But I’m going off the beaten track today and I’m going to share a great little cost-efficient wine from Canada. The Bodacious wine is made by Arterra wines, which have been in business since 1874. This delicious refreshing wine with its tropical and citrus flavors sells for only $12.99 here in Nova Scotia, and even less in other parts of Canada.

Murta is from Portugal

I also want to share another great value white wine, this time the wine hails from Portugal. Murta is made from a grape you’ve probably never heard of, Arinto, or also known as Arinto de Buccelas or Pederna in other parts of Portugal. Native to Portugal, the grape is known for its apple, lemon and other citrus flavors. If you’re feeling adventurous give it a try, it comes in at around $17 and is a very good wine.

One of my favorite wine memes
Farmers of Wine

Back in 2016 this wine made my Top 10 of the year, for a couple of reasons. One, it was very good wine and two, I loved the story. It’s also a great price point. It comes with a very interesting story on why and how it came to be. In an industrialized world where family farming is disappearing, Farmers of Wine is a visionary project by men who have been growing grapes for years, to focus on local farming, family viticulture and wines with a local identity. And it’s fully organic. It’s a delicious blend of 50% Primitivo (Zinfandel) and 50% Negroarmaro, a grape that is native to Southern Italy. It’s plush and rich, perfect for a meal done on the barbecue, and at just $16.99 a bottle, you don’t feel guilty opening more than one.

And now for my wine of the week…

A delicious new discovery!

Ava Grace Vineyards out of California is inspired by the beauty of nature. It’s all about passion and living your best life and their mission is to make wines for those that know the journey is more important than the destination. I discovered this beauty at the NLC, (Newfoundland Liquor Corp.) and at $17 a bottle, earns my wine of the week. I made a new pasta recipe, and although I forgot to take a picture, I will definitely be making it again, and I will share it. Delicious, and it went heavenly with this wine. I tried this and immediately went back and bought 2 more. It’s rich with flavor, and such a good deal at just $17 a bottle. Sadly, I don’t think we can buy it in Nova Scotia, but you can get it pretty well everywhere else in Canada, so our loss. The bottle is very pretty and the wine is very good.

Me, when someone asks why I have so many empties

That’s it for me for this week. A big shout-out to everyone who takes the time to read my wine blog. Thank you, and I hope you all have a spectacular Summer.

Till next week, Cheers

Darlene

Summer Wine Time

Posted in Uncategorized on June 27, 2020 by darmyers
10 Summer Wines Perfect for the Season
Summer is here

Nothing says Summer quite like the Canada Day holiday here in Canada and the 4th of July for our neighbours in the U.S. And as many parts of Canada and the U.S. are experiencing extremely high temperatures, there is a wine for that.

When I think the hot days of Summer, I think Rose. And I can’t remember if I discovered this particular one last Summer or the Summer before.

Arrogant Frog Rose

One of the great things about Rose wine, other than the taste, is that it doesn’t have to break the bank. This beautiful fresh Arrogant Frog Rose is just $15.99 a bottle here. From France, this Rose is made from the Syrah grape (think Shiraz), but of course limited contact with the skins. Harvested at night to avoid increased sugar levels, this wonderful wine is perfect for the patio or that Summer picnic.

Me too!

Between wild weather throughout much of Canada this Spring, (it snowed in Halifax May 13th) and Covid-19, people are ready to get out and enjoy Summer. Safely of course!

I’m also going to share a couple of beverages I love in the Summer that isn’t wine.

Sandpiper Pomegranate - We Can So You Can Take It Outside - Hike ...

Locally made in Nova Scotia, I love these refreshing Vodka soda coolers. Fun to drink with no added sugar, these are not the sweet coolers of past years. The top one is made by local brewer Nine Locks and is the delicious Pomegranate and the bottom one is the Blue Lobster Lemon Lime by the Nova Scotia Spirit Company. Fabulous delicious drinks for Summer, that are only about 5% or 6% alcohol content, so you can have more than 1.

Back to the wine

Last year on my Canada Day blog I wrote about a great Canadian red wine from the See Ya Later Ranch. Check it out here.

See Ya Later Ranch Riesling

This year I want to tell you about the Riesling from that same vineyard. Located in the Okanagan Valley in beautiful British Columbia, the See Ya Later Ranch gets its name from how the owner, Major Hugh Fraser, signed off on all his letters. He didn’t want to say Good-bye, so he said ‘See Ya Later’. And a vineyard was born. The Riesling is a great wine for under $20 and is light and refreshing. Another great wine for sipping on the patio or served with your favorite meal. Riesling is actually one of my favorite white wines to pair with food. I love it.

And now for my wine of the week…..

Conviction Pinot Noir

I love an interesting label on a wine bottle, and since I’m very adventurous when it comes to trying new wine, I will admit I’m a bit of a sucker for a great label. I am in Newfoundland. My father is not well and I’m on Day 11 of self-isolating, before I help get my Mom ready to go into a home, and hopefully see my Dad come out of the hospital. So while I’m in Newfoundland, I sent my brother-in-law to the liquor store for me and ask him to get me a Pinot Noir. I loved what he bought home. The great news is you can also get this wine at the NSLC in Nova Scotia, but I had never tried it before. Another great wine from British Columbia, it’s vibrant and delicious and went great with the chicken kabobs I did that evening on the BBQ. A decent price as well, coming in at around the $26 mark.

The extreme heat is a little much for me

That’s it for me for this week. Stay cool. This past weekend in Newfoundland it was in the mid-30’s and that’s very unusual temperatures for June. Enjoy the weekend everyone.

Darlene

I Miss Wine Tastings

Posted in Uncategorized on June 20, 2020 by darmyers
You never know!

I am in Newfoundland. In self-isolation. My parents are quite elderly and I drove to Newfoundland Tuesday (18 hours including a ferry) and started self-isolating for 14 days in the basement apartment in my sisters home. It’s given me some time to think, and I was thinking this week I really miss doing wine tastings. As a Certified Sommelier, I get asked a lot to do at home wine tastings for people. I go to their homes, or to the Common room of their apartment building, and I guide people through a wine tasting. I did one in January and one in February this year, and that was it. Normally March, April & May are quite busy with wine tastings, but then Coronavirus happened.

My favorite part is meeting new people and getting them to enjoy new wines. We all know wine is expensive, especially here in Canada, so we don’t want to waste it. Some people tend to buy the same wine over and over, and a wine tasting is a chance for people to step outside their comfort zones and try some new wines.

Here are some of my favorites from previous wine tastings.

It’s always a great time when friends gather
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Villa Conchi Brut

I always bring a sparkling wine to a wine tasting for two reasons. 1. Many people think all sparkling wines are sweet, ie Baby Duck or Reunite. Sparkling wine has come such a long way since those days. You can now buy Italian Prosecco or Spanish Cava at a fraction of the price of a ‘Champagne’ and get a great quality dry sparkling wine. One of my favorites to bring to a wine tasting is the Villa di Conchi Spanish Cava. Such a pretty bottle, such a great price. Just $19 for this sparkling wine that is made in same method as Champagne from France. A perfect way to welcome a guest, it made my Top 10 Wines of 2018. Hint: This is on sale in Nova Scotia right now for $17 a bottle, run out and buy more than 1.

There’s always a wide variety
Elouan Pinot Noir

Another wine I love bringing to wine tastings because of the misconceptions around it, is a good Pinot Noir. And we all know Oregon state, sandwiched between California to its South and Washington State to its North, is making spectacular Pinot Noir wines. I have bought them in all price ranges, but this is a fan favorite. The Elouan Pinot Noir is not the most expensive Pinot, just $33 a bottle, but it’s one of the tastiest. Many people tend to think Pinot is ‘wimpy’, I’ve been told that a dozen times. Because the skin of the grape is so thin, it doesn’t have the dark color of a Merlot or a Cabernet, but it packs a ton of full-bodied flavor. And so food friendly. I love Pinot Noir.

Botter Primitivo is Organic

Last but not least, I always love bringing a surprise wine. A wine that is such a good value, to drive home the point good wine does not have to be expensive. Primitivo, which is the same grape as Zinfandel in Italy, is another grape that can be a little higher priced. Not this Botter Primitivo. It’s under $15 a bottle and with Summer here, it’s the perfect BBQ wine. By the way, it was 33-degrees in Halifax yesterday, a heat wave. Here on the West Coast of Newfoundland, it was 10-degrees.

This was taken at 12 Noon
25+ Best Wine Tasting Memes | the Memes, Finish Memes, When Memes

Well that’s it for this week. Cheers

Darlene

How Coronavirus has changed The Wine Industry

Posted in Uncategorized on June 13, 2020 by darmyers
The new normal

At the beginning of every year since I started writing wine blogs, I do a blog on upcoming trends in the wine industry. You can read my January 2020 wine blog here. This past January I predicted Italian wines would continue to do well, Rose Prosecco was coming, and we could see a price increase in European wines. Never in a million years would I have predicted a global pandemic that saw wine tastings and social events come to a complete halt, and the sale of wine surpass those at Christmas time.

Who could have predicted a toilet paper shortage

We have witnessed the obliteration of public wine tastings and on-premise wine drinking of any kind. Wine industry experts expect this at-home wine drinking to continue. Even as the world starts to open up, people are still hesitant to eat out, and heaven knows when the next public wine tasting will be. Even as we start to open up, older adults especially are continuing their attention to catching an infection, and continuing to dine at home. Experts are saying the retail sale of wine will continue to be strong for a while yet.

My new mask

Next to toilet paper and hand sanitizer, the best selling product across Canada during the Coronavirus pandemic, was booze. There has been an unprecedented demand, and the industry has adjusted, with curbside pick-up and home delivery on the rise. Where as companies have seen lost sales from cancelled events, the retail sector has done just fine. Here in Nova Scotia, on the Eastern Coast of Canada, the NSLC reported the sale of alcohol increased by 14.4% in March alone, and we were only in lockdown for 2 weeks that month.

Ok, let’s talk some wine.

Another wonderful Italian Pinot Grigio, this time from the mountainous northern region of Italy. Given a ‘Best Buy’ designation from Wine Enthusiast and the #1 Italian wine sold in America, you can’t go wrong this crisp Pinot Grigio with its gorgeous citrus and green apple flavors. Here in Nova Scotia, it’s just $14.95 a bottle.

And now for my wine of the week…

Cavit Red Blend

It’s the sister wine to the Pinot Grigio, Cavit Red Blend. Another award winner, and a 92 Point Wine that is under $15, because this wine is also $14.95 a bottle. It’s a very interesting blend of 40% Teroldego, 35% Merlot, 20% Cabernet Sauvignon, 5% Syrah.  Teroldego is a deeply colored red wine grape variety grown mostly in the Trentino wine region of northern Italy where it is the main dark-skinned variety. Combined with the traditional grape varieties of Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and Syrah, this is a winner.

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

Darlene

Merlot is Back!

Posted in Uncategorized on June 6, 2020 by darmyers

After the movie Sideways won an Academy Award for best Adapted Screenplay, Pinot Noir became a shining star in the wine world, and has stayed there. It is a mainstay in the California wine world, and winemakers attribute the film, calling it ‘The Sideways Effect’.

Doctor’s orders

Another grape didn’t fare as well, one of my all time favorites, Merlot. After Paul Giamatti, playing Miles Raymond, issued the famous line ‘ “No, if anyone orders Merlot, I’m leaving. I am NOT drinking any f****** Merlot!”. for 5 years following the films release, Merlot sales dropped 2% each year while Pinot Noir sales rose 16% each year. That is ‘The Sideways Effect’.

You had me at merlot - red wine | Meme Generator
I love Merlot

But in a recent poll in the U.S. from YouGov, Merlot has become the #1 drinking red wine at 19%, inching out Cabernet Sauvignon at 18%. You can read that article here. My friends, Merlot is back!

Grenache, Syrah & Merlot makes a great blend

So let’s start the blog off with a Grenache, Syrah & Merlot blend that is so easy to drink and so affordable. Normally a GSM is Grenache, Syrah and Mourvedre. Patisserie’s aim is to offer simple, approachable and well-made French wines that are fruitier in style and reminiscent of some of the most popular French cakes usually found in pâtisserie shops. This blend offers flavours of black cherries and spicy vanilla, similar to a Clafoutis (a traditional French flan like cherry cake). And here in Nova Scotia, it’s $18 a bottle. That’s what I call Win-Win!

Jacob’s Creek Moscato

A little bit of a surprise, the poll showed that Moscato is the #1 drinking white wine. I know Moscato has been on the rise in popularity, because I’m hearing more and more people say they love it. And you are going to love this Moscato from one of the leading winemakers in the Barossa Valley in Australia, Jacob’s Creek. This Moscato is only $14 a bottle here, so everyone can afford to try it. Moscato has a tinge of sweetness and is known for tropical fruit flavors. It’s delicous served chilled, and goes very well with appetizers and charcuterie boards. The light bubbly wine can really cut through the salt of meats and cheeses on a charcuterie board. It goes well with Thai food as well, like my homemade Chicken Pad Thai and Sweet Thai Chili wings. I assure you, I eat very well.

Homemade Chicken Pad Thai & Thai wings

And now for my wine of the week..

Steak with butter in cast iron
I normally like mine a little pinker

I did a steak last night for the first time in a long time. I will tell you, I do a mean steak in a cast iron frying pan. Simple and easy to remember, butter, salt & pepper are the only 3 ingredients. I melt a lot of butter in a pan, get it hot, and put in my steak. Last night I had two smaller pieces of thick beef tenderloin. Sear it on both sides, and then I put it in the oven for 12 minutes. I will be honest, it was a little too long, I like my steak a little pinker. But it was tasty, as I kept basting the steak with the melted butter. It was good. Very good. here’s the wine I had with it.

A good full-bodied Bordeaux. Bordeaux is a always a blend, and consists of Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon and another grape variety approved for the region. This blend is 40% Merlot, 30% Cabernet Sauvignon and 30% Cabernet Franc. In a meeting of Wine Cellar Masters from Bordeaux during a blind tasting, this was one of the favorites picked. I had the 2018 vintage, which is still really new, but it wasn’t overly heavy. A great wine at a great price, under $17 a bottle.

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

Darlene

Another Week of Wine & Food

Posted in Uncategorized on May 30, 2020 by darmyers

Does anyone else feel they are getting used to the Quarantine lifestyle. I am happy restrictions are starting to lift, however, I do find it strange we can’t get my 85 and 90 year old parents into an old age home, but we can get them a tattoo! True story! As I’ve said in the past, unprecedented times.

I’ve gotten into somewhat of a comfortable routine here at home. It’s like for the first couple of weeks I didn’t know how to work from home. Now I have a groove going. I get up, shower, dress, put on coffee and sit down at my computer and get going. It’s very busy but I still like the freedom of being able to put on a load of wash in between calls, emails and Zoom meetings. And if I had to be honest, I’m not missing the commute.

And the fun continues with new recipes. Like Caprese chicken


Chicken done with Bocconcini cheese (you can use Mozzarella) and some Cheddar with sweet grape tomatoes and Basil

And crispy sweet and spicy wings done in my air fryer. The sauce is a mixture of Frank’s Hot Sauce, Maple Syrup, and a dash of Bulls Eye Sweet & Sticky BBQ sauce. Delicious.

And of course I’m always discovering new wines. I have a new white and a new red to share with you, but first the red.

Embrazen Red wine

I love the slogan on the website “Bold Wines Trailblazing Women”. They also make a Chardonnay which features Celia Cruz on the label, the most successful Latin artist, and a Cabernet Sauvignon that features Journalist & Explorer Nellie Bly. Then there is this red blend which features Josephine Baker, Entertainer & Undercover spy. There’s a movie that dates back to 1991 called The Josephine Baker Story starring Lynn Whitfield and Lou Gossett Jr, and it’s fabulous. Watch the trailer here. This wine is a blend of mostly Merlot & some Syrah and it is full-bodied and rich with a hint of mocha on the tongue. Delicious, and $10 off right now here in Nova Scotia. Normally, $26.98 it is on for $16.98. I bought several more since tasting it.

And now for my wine of the week…

Alluria Pinot Grigio

My wine of the week is a fantastic white wine. My friend Arla and I have the same taste in Pinot Grigio, we like them clean, crisp and with a hint of tropical notes. Arla & her husband are in my bubble and we shared a lot of wine last Saturday night, and this was one of them. Fantastic. And it’s under $14 a bottle.

Well, that’s it for this week. Enjoy the week, and till next weekend, Cheers

Darlene

Great Women Wine Writers

Posted in Uncategorized on May 23, 2020 by darmyers
Are Wine Blogs Considered the Ugly Stepsister of Wine Writing ...

I really appreciate everyone that reads by wine blogs every week. I’ve been doing this for over 9 years, and I love it. I started doing this when I just couldn’t read enough about wine, and wanted to share some basics. Then I took my readers along on my journey to become a Sommelier. Every once in a while I get a bit of writer’s block. And this is one of those weeks. So, I was reading a wine blog this past week, from one of my favorite wine writers. Her blog is called ‘The Wine Folly’ and I was thinking there are so many fantastic women writing wine blogs, that I thought I would share some of my favorites with you. So this blog is about some of my favorite wine writers, and of course there will be my Wine of the Week!

The Wine Folly

Wine Folly: Reading a Wine Label (Ep. 4) - YouTube

This is Madeline Puckett and she is one of the co-founders of The Wine Folly. She is such a knowledgeable woman when it comes to wine, who has a great easy-to-read style of blogging about wine. She is a certified Sommelier with the Court of Masters Sommelier and author of the New York Times Bestselling book: Wine Folly: The Essential Guide to Wine. 

Natalie MacLean

CBC.ca | Mainstreet Cape Breton | Wine on a budgetNatalie MacLean

Probably the best known wine writer in Canada would be Natalie MacLean out of Ottawa. She is a writer and wine reviewer. You’ve probably seen her on CTV Mornings on television. She also wrote a couple of great books including ‘UnQuenchable’ and my favorite Red, White and Drunk All Over.

Red, White, and Drunk All Over: A Wine-Soaked Journey from Grape ...

Andrea Robinson

Andrea Robinson | Penguin Random House

The first time I ever saw a woman Sommelier was this lady. It was on a cooking show with Emeril Lagasse, and I thought she had the coolest job in the world. She is a world-renown Master Sommelier, which is the highest and most prestigious title awarded to Sommeliers around the world. There are only 269 Master Sommeliers in the world, only 28 of them are women. I mean ‘Wow!’ She has also been named the best Sommelier in the United States. This lady knows her stuff.

Jancis Robinson

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Probably one of the most famous wine writers in the world is this lady, Jancis Robinson. She is a British wine critic, journalist and wine writer, who started her career in 1975, which I can only guess was very male dominated at the time. Decanter Wine Magazine has called her the most respected wine critic and journalist in the world.

So, there you have some of the people I go to, when reading about wine.

And now, my Wine of the Week..

I had this beauty last night, and this Cabernet Franc from Argentina, which sells for under $18, tastes like a $30 bottle of wine. It is 100% Cabernet Franc, which in the past has been known as one of the grapes in a Bordeaux blend. Cabernet Franc, or Cab Franc as it is usually called, is not quite as a heavy as a Cabernet Sauvignon, but it is still full-bodied. It is, after all, a relative of Cabernet Sauvignon. This is a delicous wine that would pair very well with any meat dish.

KEEP CALM Good News Is Coming!! - Keep Calm and Posters Generator ...

As the world starts to open up, stay safe and keep well. We will get through this difficult time together.

Till next week, Cheers

Darlene

Wining (I mean Working) From Home

Posted in Uncategorized on May 16, 2020 by darmyers

Welcome Letter 2019-2020 – Canadian International School of Egypt

First, welcome to all the new readers.  I really appreciate every one who takes time out of their day to read my wine blogs.  It’s something I started doing about 9 years ago, and somehow it became a weekly event.  It’s around the same time I started my studies to become a Certified Sommelier.  I thought it would be a good idea to chart my course.  Sometimes I get writer’s block, and sometimes the words just flow.  I’m just a girl from Newfoundland who lives in Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada that loves wine and food.  I saw a big spike last week in visitors, and I have to be honest, my heart swells.  I really appreciate people who enjoy this blog enough to share it with their family and friends.  So thank you.  Here’s this week’s ramblings!

Zoom meeting 1

Every week I do a handful of Zoom meetings, and in recent blogs have posted pictures of me and some of my colleagues, with their permission of course.  When I saw this I chuckled, because anyone who has been on a Zoom conference call is reminded of this scene from the Muppets.

Let’s talk some wine… and maybe some food.

I just finished my 9th week working from home.  For those of you don’t know, I am an Advertising Salesperson with 2 Radio stations here in Halifax, Nova Scotia.

working from home

I thought that was a cute meme to feature in my blog this week.  Let’s talk some wine.

I am a huge fan of Riesling.  I had Thai food recently and was disappointed that I didn’t have a bottle of Riesling in my wine rack.  I need to fix that.  Riesling does not have to be sweet.  As a matter of fact, this one, from Trius, is called Riesling Dry.  A great Canadian wine, priced at just $15.99 here in Nova Scotia, it’s light and crisp and has beautiful tropical flavors.  A great wine for all the white wine lovers to try, and it won’t break the bank.

Bourbon chicken

So the new recipe this week is Bourbon chicken, but without Bourbon.  Actually, if you look at some recipes on the internet for Bourbon chicken, not all of them contain bourbon.  I didn’t have any bourbon in the house, so I used a little rum.  Made this in the slow cooker, and it was so good. You don’t have to use a slow cooker, but it was a busy week work-wise for me, so the slow cooker made it super convenient.

I cut up boneless skinless chicken breasts and thighs into bite size pieces.  Poured in the sauce which was 1) orange juice (many recipes call for apple juice, I didn’t have any, so I used orange juice)  2) soy sauce 3)olive oil 4) red wine vinegar 5) ketchup 6) garlic 7) a splash of rum 8) a cornstarch slue (equal parts cornstarch and water to thicken the sauce).  Put it over rice and voila, delicious meal.  

Here’s a great wine to go with that Bourbon Chicken, and it’s my wine of the week.

Anciano Garnacha

For the new readers, my wine blog does talk about ‘treat’ wines but for the most part, it’s a wine blog about find good wine at great prices.   Good wine does not have to be expensive.  And every week, I feature a new wine that I’ve discovered that fits those perimeters.  This week, the Anciano Garnacha (Spanish for Grenache, the same grape used in making Chateauneuf du Pape) is my wine of the week.  On sale right now for $13.99 and its a steal of a deal.  Regular readers know the Anciano Tempranillo aged 7 years, priced at $15 is a staple in my wine rack, well I may have to pick up a few more of these.  What a great wine at a great price.  The grapes are picked at the point of perfect ripeness, which means there is nothing bitter about this wine.  Easy to drink and food friendly, for under $14.  It doesn’t get any better than that.

Starbucks

A shout out to all the people who work at the Starbucks on my street in Halifax, Larry Uteck.  I was a regular and stopped in every day for a coffee, and chatting with the people who work there, you get to know and love them.  Well, since working from home has started, I’ve been making my coffee at home.  But yesterday I had some errands to run, so I grabbed a coffee, and this was the wonderful note that was on my coffee.  I’m so blessed to have many kind wonderful people in my life.

Till next week, Cheers

Darlene

 

 

 

 

 

Wining During A Pandemic

Posted in Uncategorized on May 9, 2020 by darmyers

Your pandemic alcohol bill is how much? I'm not even mad, I'm ...

Here in Nova Scotia Canada, we just completed eight weeks of working from home, and I’m reading news reports of alcohol and wine sales being on the rise.  No surprise there.  Hopefully, like me, you’ve had a chance to discover some new wines during this interesting time.

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Following proper protocols and sitting 6-feet apart, I shared a glass of wine with my friend Arla.  This is a wine she bought back from the States.  A couple of weeks ago, I wrote about its sister wine, the Stemmari Grillo.

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This past Sunday I got to try the crisp and delicious Pinot Grigio, sustainably-made in Sicily Italy.  A lot of work goes in to making this wine, including the fact the grapes are picked at night during the month of August, to maintain its fragrance.  It’s hard to believe this wine sells for $8 in the U.S.  I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, we pay way too much for wine here in Canada.  If you can get this wine where you live, I highly recommend it.  I loved it.

As you know, I’ve been trying out some  new recipes while in isolation.  This chicken breast was a winner that I will do again in a heartbeat.  Boneless skinless chicken breasts can be dull and boring, but here’s what I did.  Stuffed it with feta cheese and bacon, and then I put butter in my small cast iron frying pan and browned it on all sides.  Then I added a bit of orange juice to the pan and let it finish cooking in the oven.  Delicious.  Easy and tasty.

And now for my wine of the week…

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I’ve been writing this wine blog for about 9 years, and if you’ve been reading it that long, this wine might look familiar.  Years ago I fell in love with this Merlot from Candor, so imagine my delight when I noticed it was back and $5 off.  Regular $25.00, it was on for $20 and what a steal of a deal.  Candor means ‘the art of being open and honest in expression’, and I loved how Hope Wines, the makers of Candor wines, express this Merlot.  You’ll notice in the left hand corner, you can see the words ‘Lot 3’.  Instead of doing a yearly vintage, they are able to bring quality wines to the table with Lot numbers, that represent whatever ‘years’ the grapes were harvested.  For example, Lot 3 Merlot is known to have grapes from a 2008 and a 2009 vintage.  It’s smooth, delicious and a great price.  This went beautiful with the pizza I had last night.

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Another Zoom conference call to wrap up the week.  Stay safe everyone, till next week, Cheers

Darlene

Food & Wine

Posted in Uncategorized on May 2, 2020 by darmyers

food and wine

I’m confident if there were  2 words to describe my quarantine, food and wine would be at the top of the list.  I love to cook, and I love to drink wine, and an extended period of isolation is a great time to try new recipes and new wine.  And for that reason I have a whole set of different curves I’m trying to flatten!  LOL

Let’s talk about some wine.

One of the head buyers for the NSLC told me Italian Pinot Grigio is one of their most popular white wines.  You know me, I like to try a grape and then try it from different countries.  This Pinot Grigio is from Argentina, and is such a great value.  $14.99 for this bottle and it’s made by Las Moras, who is one of the biggest producers of wine in Argentina.  Started in 1993 by Richard Smart, this vineyard is putting out some great tasting wine at very reasonable prices.  This Pinot Grigio is fresh with a nice finish, and is a great wine for Thai, Chinese or any foods with a bit of spice.

I’m going to give you my new recipe for roasted potatoes,  it’s quick and easy and make the best roasted potatoes.  But first, let me tell you about the wine I treated myself to last night.

Centerstone Pinot

Regular readers of this blog know I love Pinot Noir from Oregon.  I think that state north of California is producing some of the best quality Pinot Noir wines since Burgundy France.  I thoroughly enjoyed this wine, although I do recommend decanting it.  The first sip was a little earthy before things settled down.  Once I decanted it (or you can let it sit for 30 minutes), the flavors came out.  This wine was only aged in oak for a very short time, so it’s not at all oaky.  Mild hints of the earthiness stayed, along with blended fruity notes of cherry, strawberry and vanilla.  Super food friendly wine.

Before I get to my wine of the week, let me take a few lines to tell you about the meal above.  Paired with a staple in my wine rack, the DaDa Merlot from Argentina.  The Pork chops were first seared in my cast iron frying pan seasoned with salt & pepper.

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Then I added a bit of beef broth to the pan, mixed up honey, ketchup, garlic powder, and a splash of soy sauce and added that while I finished cooking them in the oven.

food and wine 1 Honey garlic sauce

The secret to the potatoes were peeling, cutting them up, boiling them for 5 minutes, and draining them.  I then added olive oil, salt & pepper and roasted them in a hot oven at 395-degrees.  Took less than 25 minutes in the oven and they were crispy on the outside and fluffy on the inside.  I used to take an hour roasting potatoes, and this week I saw a ‘chef’s tip’ online of boiling them for 5-10 minutes before roasting them.  Try it, easy and delicious.

And now for my wine of the week…

Pepperwood Grove Zinfandel

Finding great wine at great prices is basically what my wine blog is all about.  This Gold Medal winner used to be a regular at our NSLC but about 5 or 6  years ago they stopped carrying it.  Well it’s back, and at $16.99 for an Old Vine Zinfandel, that’s a great deal.  Check out the last time I wrote about this wine, November 3rd, 2012 wine blog here.

This wine is medium-bodied, fruity and easy to drink with flavors of raspberry, plum and vanilla.  Delicious.

This is a fantastic wine from California, and Pepperwood Grove sources out the grapes, so they don’t grow grapes, they buy them and concentrate on making good wine at reasonable prices.   Pepperwood Groves also makes a Pinot Grigio and a Chardonnay for white wine lovers and a Cabernet Sauvignon and a Merlot, if you want something a little more full-bodied.  Please, please, please, can we bring in more of these wines to Nova Scotia.

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So, I saw this meme this week and it reminded me, this is basically my refrigerator, every time I open the door!  LOL.  You again?

Have a great week everyone, till next Saturday Cheers

Darlene

Virtual Wine Fest

Posted in Uncategorized on April 25, 2020 by darmyers

Zoom meeting

Every get together is being done virtually these days.  So every Friday at 4;30 p.m., myself along with the crew I work with, get on Zoom, and do a virtual Happy Hour.  In this age of self isolation and social distancing, and the fact I live alone, I really look forward to these Friday afternoon get-togethers.   Here’s the group from yesterday, and the reason everyone is wearing red, was to honor and support Constable Heidi Stevens and the RCMP, who along with 21 other people lost their lives here last Sunday in Nova Scotia in Canada’ biggest mass shooting.  Heartbreaking and gut-wrenching, there really are no words.

Kim Crawford Sauvignon BlancBeringer Sauvignon Blanc

My GM at the radio station, orders from a local wine store where you can just pull up and they’ll put the wine in your truck.  He was asking me about Sauvignon Blanc for his next order.  Here were two of my recommendations.  Sauvignon Blanc, if you’ve never tried it, is a wonderful crisp light white wine.  The word Sauvignon Blanc actually means ‘wild white’.  This wild wine is a great food wine, and tends to come two ways, grassy and green and those that lean towards passion fruit.  I like the fruity ones.  The Kim Crawford on the left has those tropical fruit aromas and flavors and hails from New Zealand.  That one is about $20 a bottle.  The Beringer on the right is a great value at just $12 a bottle and comes from California.  It too has the tropical fruit flavors with hints of mandarin orange.  I love Sauvignon Blanc.

pork 1

I rarely post food pictures, but I did try a new recipe this past week, a pork tenderloin with a red wine peppercorn sauce, and I loved it, so I shared it on my Facebook page.  I told people I would share the recipe on my wine blog this weekend.  I had wanted a Pinot Noir wine, but I did’t have one, so I opened a Zinfandel.  This Zinfandel

Mcmanis

There are some Zinfandel wines out there that have manipulated flavors of bacon, and although it was pork tenderloin, I did not want that.  This Zinfandel from McManis was a gift from my friend Maggie, and I thought it went perfectly with my dish.  The sauce had lots of peppercorns in it and the wine had hints of pepper, so it was a match made in heaven.  As you can see, this wine is Certified Sustainable, and a fantastic value at about $21 a bottle.  McManis Wines was started in 1990 by Ron & Jamie McManis in Ripon California, known for being the almond Capital.  I’ve tried all the McManis wines and I love the family vineyard.  This is probably my favorite.

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As you can see, my pork tenderloin and red wine peppercorn sauce was a success.  So, when I cook, I don’t measure things.  I realize that makes it hard to share recipes, but I’m going to give it a try.

  1.  To start, I marinated my pork tenderloin for about 4 hours with olive oil, balsamic vinegar, salt & pepper.  That’s it.
  2. Then I took out my cast iron frying pan, I have two, a big one and a small one.  I love my small one for small steaks, etc.  For the tenderloin I used the large one.  I had taken the pork tenderloin out of the fridge to bring it to room temperature. cast iron
  3. Then I seared it for 1-2 minutes on each side.  I like the fact the grocery store on my street sells smaller tenderloins.  It’s very helpful for a person that lives alone.  So I had a small tenderloin and I enjoyed two meals with it.
  4. Then I had the oven pre-heated to 375 and finished cooking it to a medium in my oven, which took my tenderloin about 20 minutes.   A medium is 160-degrees, I took the tenderloin out of the oven at 155-degrees and wrapped it in aluminum foil for 5-10 minutes.  This lets the juices settle back in and it will finish cooking to that 160-degree perfection.  It took me a long time to cook pork tenderloin because I used to over cook it.  Life became simpler when I got a meat thermometer.
  5. For the sauce, in a saucepan I sauteed onions, sliced super small and thin, for about 2 minutes, and added some garlic and sauteed another minute.
  6. Then I added some red wine.  I opened the Zinfandel and added it, because that was the wine I was having for dinner, so that’s the wine I used in the sauce.  Let it simmer for 5 minutes or so, until it reduced down a bit.
  7. Then I added the Peppercorns, beef stock and heavy cream, playing with the amounts a bit to get the consistency I wanted.  Once it boiled, I let it simmer on low for about 10 minutes. I have a pepper grinder and I set it to a coarse grind, and put in quite a bit.  Maybe 1/8th of a cup.  If you are unsure, start with less, you can always add more pepper as you go.

And now for my wine of the week…. It’s a brand new Pinot Noir.

Cono Sur pinot

I loved this wine, because I found it full of flavor, and it’s only $20 a bottle.  This wine is from Chile, which makes it a warm climate Pinot Noir.  I’ll be honest, I tended to lean towards the cool climate Pinot wines – Go Canada, Burgundy France and Oregon!  However, I did very much enjoy this wine.  It was earthier than your cool climate Pinot, where as the cool climate ones tend to be fruitier and jammier.  100% of the wine was barrel aged for 11 months, and you can taste it.  I will definitely buy it again, but I will definitely try it with food next time.  I think it would have been a wonderful match with that pork tenderloin.  I may have to try that again.

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Stay safe everyone, and thanks for reading.

Till next week, Cheers

Darlene

 

 

National Pajama Day!

Posted in Uncategorized on April 18, 2020 by darmyers

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This past Thursday, April 16th, marked “National Wear Your Pajamas to Work Day” here in Canada.  Honestly, I didn’t make it up.  It made me chuckle because those of working from home due to self isolating and social distancing, I’d say there were a few ‘National Pajama Days’ in the past 5 weeks.  Who hasn’t been wearing pajamas a little more often than usual in the past five weeks?

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When I saw this glass on social media this past week, I knew I want to use it.  Believe  me when I tell you, most people are going through some sort of stress during this pandemic and time of isolation and social distancing.  I’m here to give you a little break from that, and I hope you enjoy reading my wine blog.  Let’s talk some wine!

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You don’t often hear me talk about South African wines, I don’t drink them all that often.  But I do have to share when I find a really great one.  The Ghost Corner Sauvignon Blanc was awarded 93 points at the 2019 Decanter World Wine Awards and 94 Points by Master of Wine Tim Atkin.  I really enjoyed this crisp Sauvignon Blanc with its tropical notes and hints of lemon zest.  It’s a real nice wine if you wanted to give yourself a bit of a treat, selling for $37 here in Nova Scotia and about $30 in other parts of Canada.

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Anyone else find their budget has changed slightly?  Gas consumption zero.  Food and wine … we’ll just leave it at that.

Now it’s time for my wine of the week….

Sangiovese 1

A person who is working at my local wine store, that I don’t know, told me this was the best Sangiovese he has ever had in this price range.  Perfect.  I love trying new wines and that was recommendation enough for me. The Santodeno Sangiovese Appasimento is a great wine for under $20.  Appasimento means the grapes goes through a drying process before fermentation.  That process is used in making Amarone, for example.  The drying process concentrates flavors and sugars in the grapes, but in no way makes the wine ‘sweet’.  From the Romagna region of Italy, known for Balsamic vinegard and Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese (Parmesan), this region is also putting some dynamic wines.  I love the fact this full-bodied wine is under $20.

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Stay safe friends, and till next week, Cheers

Darlene

 

 

Happy Easter (With Wine)

Posted in Uncategorized on April 11, 2020 by darmyers

I'm looking for an adult Easter Egg Hunt. Instead of a fuzzy bunny ...

This is going to be the most unique Easter weekend I have experienced in my lifetime.  Like most of you, I won’t be seeing any family this weekend, as we continue with our social distancing and isolation.   However, like you, I’m sure there will be food and wine to celebrate this unusual long weekend.  Last weekend I cooked a turkey, because I hadn’t had it since Christmas, so this weekend it will be pork.

I know March 21st is the official first day of Spring, but growing up in Newfoundland it really didn’t start to feel like Spring until Easter weekend.  And as my friends and family in Corner Brook Newfoundland got a dumping of snow yesterday, we had everything from sunshine to snow to rain to hail here in Halifax.  Welcome to Spring in Canada.

The arrival of Spring also means the arrival of Rose wines for several of my readers.  Every time I bring a Rose wine to a wine tasting, at least 30% of the group is surprised it’s not sweet.  This is not your mother’s Rose wine.  This was my favorite find from last year.  Casillero Diablo Rose is made with the Shiraz grape.  Shiraz is a big, bold thick-skinned grape, which gives Shiraz wine its color and body.   Obviously a Rose is made with limited skin contact, but it’s still a delicious grape that makes a Rose wine that most red wine lovers will enjoy.  This wine can be enjoyed while cooking Easter dinner, served with any appetizers, or you can even serve it with the turkey.  It’s a spectacular value at $16 a bottle.

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Casillero del Diablo is made by Concha Y Toro, the biggest producer and distributor of wine in Chile.  It just so happens I had their Merlot last night.  Chile is putting out great drinkable wines at great prices and this Merlot is another great value at just $15.

The Rose wine is one great option to serve with turkey, here’s another one.

Sauvignon Blanc is another great wine to serve with turkey.  The name ‘Sauvignon Blanc’ means “Wild White”, and it’s one of the most widely planted wine grapes in the world so it has a wide range of styles and flavors. The Matua Sauvignon Blanc hails from New Zealand and some might having you thinking green and grassy, this one is more fruity with notes of pineapple and passion fruit.  Sauvignon Blanc is a great value wine as well, this one is $20.

And now for my wine of the week……

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I don’t very often buy Carmenere, but my boss had a great idea, that while we are in isolation, 4:30 every Friday, we are going to get together on Zoom to have a cocktail together.  This past week it was Thursday, and I opened this wine.  I always try a new wine every week, and this week it was the Casa Silva Gran Terroir 2018 Carmenere.  A good value for this Port of Wines selection, at just $19.  I would let it sit for 30 minutes, or decant it.  Upon first opening it, I found it to be a bit ‘woody’, the oak was really there, as well as leathery.  Full bodied and complex, every sip was interesting.   That’s what I really liked about the wine.  It had a full deep purple color, that on a blind taste, I would have guessed Malbec, just based on the color.  Dark bold fruit with hints of leather, tobacco and notes of pepper. A fantastic wine to pair with any hearty meat dish you were serving this weekend.  One Master of Wine (MW) called it Carmenere at its best.  Definitely worth the try at $19 a bottle.

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Happy Easter everyone.  Stay safe

Darlene

Stay Home (& Drink Wine)

Posted in Uncategorized on April 4, 2020 by darmyers

Grumpy stay home

These days every day is stay at home and drink wine with your cat (or dog) day!  Wine & liquor outlets across the country are reporting an increase in sales.  Not surprising, since people are spending most of their days safe and secure in their homes.  Let’s talk about some wine… and maybe even dabble with some food ideas.

Image for Rockway Vineyards Chardonnay/Riesling 2015 from LCBO

A friend of mine gave me a bottle of Chardonnay Riesling blend and I tried it this past week.  I was surprised that I loved it as much as I did, as I’m not sure if I had ever tried that particular blend before.  I can’t seem to find one in Nova Scotia, but sometimes if the secondary grape is under 10%, they don’t list it.  Here’s an example of a Chardonnay and Riesling blend that you can get in other parts of Canada, as it is made in Ontario, Canada.  The Rockway blend is 60% Chardonnay, aged in oak, and 40% Riesling, which is unoaked.  Vivid flavors of peach and citrus, with some body from the Chardonnay.  Great wine for pulled pork and fish and chips.  It has both the body and some acidity.  And it’s under $15 a bottle, so it’s nice and affordable.

Ribs and winggs

I find I have much more time for cooking now that I’ve been working from home for 3 weeks.  This is my favorite meal, baby back ribs, with hot wings done in my air fryer and homemade chicken fried rice.  It’s more perfect if corn on the cob was in season.  Anyway, with my favorite meal, I pair my favorite rib wine, Zinfandel.  In my opinion, Zinfandel is a great pairing with baby back ribs.

Botter

This is Primitivo, which is Zinfandel in Italy.  I love this Botter Primitivo, it’s organic and a great value at just $15 a bottle.  Medium-bodied with a bit of spice.  Here’s another great Zinfandel to have with ribs.

Image for 7 Deadly Zins Old Vine Zinfandel from LCBO

Lodi California is the home of great Zinfandel wine and the 7 Deadly Zins are Zinfandel grapes from 7 different growing lots in California.  This Zinfandel is a more full-bodied wine packed with flavor.

For those of you curious, I did my wings in an air fryer which makes them just as crispy as if they were deep-fried.  This is the one I own.  I paid $70 for it and since I love wings, this gets used a lot!

Air fryer

The baby back ribs, I slow cook for 3 hours in my oven on a low 250-degrees.  And then finish them off on the grill.

Now for my wine of the week…

Prophecy

Every once in a while you have to give yourself a little treat, and this was mine last weekend.  The Prophecy Pinot Noir is still a great value at just $23 a bottle and showcases a great California Pinot Noir.  Ripe raspberry flavors with some toasted oak, it was delicious.  I savored every sip.

I hope everyone is staying safe and keeping busy.  Here’s one of my projects I completed this past week, a 1000 piece puzzle.  It’s been years since I tackled a puzzle, and I really enjoyed. it.

puzzle

Till next week, stay home and drink some wine.  Cheers

Darlene

An At-Home Wine Tour

Posted in Uncategorized on March 28, 2020 by darmyers

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As we continue to practice social distancing and self isolating, to help flatten the Covid-19 curve, thank you to the people who are supplying the humour.  We could all use a little chuckle every day, especially in these trying times.  I thought this one graph was a very cute way of sticking with the rules and doing a little wine tour all at the same time.  Welcome to my in-home wine tour.

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This beautiful white wine was a gift from a friend who bought it back from the States. Don’t worry, all protocols were followed.  The Stemmari Grillo hails from Sicily, and Grillo is the most planted white grape variety in Sicily.  I’m pretty confident she told me she paid less than $10 for this wine, which breaks my heart because we pay way too much for wine here in eastern Canada.  I loved the tropical flavors, mango and papaya, it had a delicate acidity, and this wine would pair well with any meal you served.  It also has a 13% alcohol content, which is high for a crisp white wine.  Great wine, great price.  You can’t get it where I live, but if you see it, buy it!

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If I had to describe my social distancing in one picture, this would probably be it.  Two of my favorite things.  Wine & books!  Oh, and food.  I really love to cook, and I really love to eat!  I tried a new recipe last week of beef tips in a red wine gravy.  I did it in my slow cooker and it turned out so good.  I served it with mashed potatoes and carrots, just like the author of the recipe, and forgot to take a picture, so I’m using hers.  I was so hungry, and it was so delicious, I meant to take a picture.  The gravy just made the meal.  Here’s the recipe I used.  Although the recipe doesn’t call for red wine in the gravy, I added about 1/4 cup, and I think it really complimented the taste.

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Here’s the wine I served with it, and it’s my wine of the week…

Barossa GSM

A beef dish with a bold vibrant gravy deserves a wine that will pair well.  It should compliment, without over-powering the dish.  Your wine and your food should never compete, they should enhance each other.  I could have had Cabernet Sauvignon with this dish, but another full-bodied wine I just love is a GSM blend, Grenache, Shiraz & Mourvedre.  It’s called Shiraz in Australia, where this wine hails from, but in France, where the blend originated, the ‘S’ stands for Syrah.  Same grape, Old world wine regions call it Syrah, New world regions call it Shiraz.  I had the 2017 vintage, which was delicious, but I could have kept this wine in my rack for a couple more years.  I decanted the wine, which really made a difference.  Another big difference, was many New world wine regions like American oak, but these guys used French oak, which aged the wine for 12 months, and made the wine subtle and smooth.  This wine is only $21.99 here and I loved it.

You know who doesn’t know the word social distancing?   My cat Gabriel.

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This is how I woke up the other morning.  He was ready to be fed.

Take care everyone, stay safe.  Till next week, Cheers

Darlene

 

My Quarantined Wine List

Posted in Uncategorized on March 21, 2020 by darmyers

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Let’s face it, there’s no doubt about it, these are challenging times for many many people.  I understand the challenges people have as we enter Week 2 of self-Quarantine/working from home, with no end in sight.  But during all challenges, sometimes we need a little levity, and hopefully my wine blog will be a little bit of an escape for you for a few minutes.

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This looks about right, doesn’t it?

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One of my favourite white wines comes from New Zealand, and I had this for the first time at my friend Joan’s place.   Pinot Grigio is one of the most popular white wines in the world, and I really enjoy it.  Pinot Gris, although the same grape, is it’s lesser-known sister and they are made very differently.  The #1 difference I can tell you about is that Pinot Grigio is more acidic, it’s very lively on the palate.  Pinot Gris has less acidity and tends to lean towards tropical flavours, with usually a higher alcohol content.  Where Pinot Grigio is light and refreshing, Pinot Gris has more body, making it a great white wine for those big hearty dinners.
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Pinot Grigio is a vibrant delicious wine that’s always a good value, this Canaletto from Italy is just $13.99 a bottle.  This is a great wine for fish & seafood dishes, light cheeses, lightly sauced pasta dishes and salads.  Also great wine for sushi lovers!C742BCF9-1417-43F6-A305-DF1F140AD560
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Many people at this challenging time is feeling a bit of a financial crunch, and this is always a great value and it’s on sale right now here in Nova Scotia.  Right now this is less than $15 a bottle and it’s a delicious Argentinian Merlot that is rich and full-bodied and organic to boot.  Dada, actually makes three wines 1, 2 & 3, all different grapes but the only one we can get here right now is the Dada 2 which is a Merlot.  Dada 1 is a Malbec / Bonarda blend and Dada 3 is a Cabernet Sauvignon/ Shiraz blend. I’ve had all three, great wines at a great price.  So wherever you’re reading this from, if you head to your favourite wine store and see a Dada label, you won’t be disappointed at what’s in the bottle.

Wine Saturday 1
One guarantee I can make to all of you, there is always a bottle of Zinfandel in my wine rack…
This is what I have been marinating for the past 12 hours or so…

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Baby back ribs.  I love the fact the grocery store on my street sells these smaller racks of baby back ribs.  My deep freeze is full of these perfect size servings for a single person.  So this evening I’m grilling ribs and Zinfandel is my favourite wine pairing.

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The Kenwood Zinfandel from Sonoma County in California is smoky (perfect for smoky ribs), and peppery and a great wine for bbq foods and hearty meat dishes.  Many times a great Zinfandel will start at $30 and go up from there, however I love this particular one, and it’s priced at only $22 a bottle.

I love wine

That’s it for this week,

I’d like to say a great big welcome to all the new visitors to my site and my Facebook page.  I am humbled and grateful for the over 20,800 people that discovered my wine page this week.  I was thinking of you as I wrote this wine blog, I hope you enjoy it.  To my new visitors, every Saturday morning I sit down with a cup of  coffee and write a wine blog.  Thanks for sharing in journey to find great wines at great prices.

Cheers

Darlene

Stock Up On Wine

Posted in Uncategorized on March 14, 2020 by darmyers

Image result for hoarding wine meme

I certainly do not want to poke fun at the seriousness of the Coronavirus, as the World Health Organization has called it a pandemic, but I will poke a little fun at those hoarding toilet paper.  I don’t want 600 rolls of toilet paper, but I wouldn’t mind having a few extra bottles of wine in the rack.  As a matter of fact, I was coming into my building this morning with some groceries, one package of toilet paper, and some wine.  One of my neighbours said “stocking up for Armageddon”, to which I replied yes – one package of toilet paper and lots and lots of wine!

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Remember I was telling you I had a wine tasting last Saturday night and it went fantastic.  It was a group of ladies and we had some good food, some great wine and a lot of laughs.  I really enjoy doing the winetasting, and a big thanks to Lucy for having me over with her friends.  Let me tell you about some of the wines we enjoyed!  I do have permission to use this picture.

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We started with a sparkling wine, the Mionetto Prestige Prosecco Brut.

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I explained to the group, some people think that all sparkling wines are sweet.   I bring a sparkling wine to most of my wine tastings, and so many people are always surprised that it’s never a sweet one.  So I’m going to tell you what I told them, if you see the word Brut on the label you can rest assured it’s not sweet, it’s dry.  This fantastic Italian Prosecco is just $19.99 a bottle, such a great deal because it’s really good.  The hostess laid out beautiful charcuterie board last weekend and this was a perfect way to start the wine tasting, because sparkling dry Prosecco always goes well with appetizers and charcuterie boards.

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I bought this wine which I was telling you about last weekend, because it’s one of my new favourite white wines.  It’s new to the NSLC, so if you haven’t tried it pick it up it’s only $18 a bottle and very good.

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One of the other white wines we had was a pleasant surprise to some of the ladies, as there was some people who thought they didn’t like Chardonnay.  This particular Chardonnay is from Chile, Caliterra was actually started in the mid 90s by Robert Mondavi, of the famed Mondavi Vineyards in the Napa Valley.  It’s not an overly oaky Chardonnay, and a great value in my opinion it just $18 a bottle.

my wine of the week was the winner of last weeks wine-tasting….

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From Battle Creek Cellars comes the Unconditional Pinot Noir from Oregon.  Unconditionally delicious, and unconditional quality make for a vibrant Pinot Noir.  The vineyard slogan is “Elegance without the Ego”.  It’s a treat at $33 a bottle, but everyone deserves a treat every once in a while.  Wine critic James suckling gave it 90 points and I love that they only use 10% new oak in making this great wine, the oak softened the wine without making it oaky.

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That’s it for this week, till next week, cheers

Darlene

Spring Forward with Great Wine

Posted in Uncategorized on March 7, 2020 by darmyers

Wine Daylight Savings

The clocks go ahead one hour tonight, and some of you might lament about losing an hour sleep, however, there are those of us that lament about losing an hour of enjoying wine. Speaking of switching to white wine, here’s one to try.  It could be my new favourite white wine.

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Cune Rioja Blanco Semidulce is new to our NSLC in Nova Scotia, hailing from Spain.  The wine is 85% Viura with the remaining 15% Malvasia and White Grenache.  Viura is also known as Macabeo, commonly used in making Spanish Cava, a traditional-made Sparkling.  Spanish cava is made the exact same way as Champagne is, at about 1/3 the price.  This is a dry wine, however, not a Sparkling.  There is a tinge of sweetness on the tip of the tongue because the grapes were left on the vine for so long.   There used to be a saying “the longer on the vine, the sweeter than wine”.  A fantastic value at $18 a bottle. It’s new, try it.

I have a surprise for you…

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I heard my friend Brenda from the NSLC on my street recommend this wine to a customer.  I heard her say Merlot, which immediately got my attention, and I said hmmmm?  I will be honest, I probably would never have picked up a bottle of French Merlot that cost me $11.99, if it wasn’t for Brenda’s recommendation.  That’s not a typo, this bottle of wine cost $11.99.  And this wine comes from the Languedoc-Roussillion region of France which has been making quality Merlot for decades.  Here’s the area and here are the grapes.

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Full-bodied and aromatic, I would recommend opening it and letting it breathe.  I tried it immediately after opening it and it was a little boozy on the back of the throat to start, but once it sat for 30 minutes, that went away because the air helps evaporate the alcohol taste.  You gotta try this wine.

And now for my wine of the week, it’s a white and red sister combo….

Murta 2

Hailing from Portugal the red Murta is a beautiful Syrah with Portugal’s most famous red grape, Touriga Nacional.   The grapes are hand harvested and hand sorted, with any green grapes and rotten grapes thrown away.  What that means for wine, is that you don’t tend to find any bitterness. Very food friendly wine.

I got to try the white Murta this week as well, which is also a great value because they are both priced less than $18 a bottle.

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With the clocks going ahead this evening, and many people thinking Spring and Summer, this is a perfect one for Summer.  Made 100% with a grape I don’t remember ever having, the Arinto grape.  It’s a very refreshing grape, the wine is acidic so it’s a great wine for an appetizer or an oily fish.  It has delicious notes of lemon and lime which will have you thinking of summer even if it’s snowing outside.

I have a wine tasting tonight, and I’m very excited about the wines.  I will tell you all about them next week.

Should you drink today? Or should you drink today and tomorrow? It's always tough decision, that one. One thing that you can decide on, though, is how much you love wine - and it's definitely more than people if you understand exactly what these funny wine jokes are getting at. So kick off yo...

Till next week, Cheers

Darlene

My Leap Year Blog

Posted in Uncategorized on February 29, 2020 by darmyers

 

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Today is Saturday February 29th.  I have to say, I think Google won today’s leap year meme.  I don’t know what I was thinking last Saturday when I sat down with my cup of coffee and decided to name my wine blog ‘Leaping Into Some Great Wines’, thinking I had to write that blog last Saturday.  I literally woke up this morning and thought ‘I wrote my Leap Year Wine Blog a week too early’.  So today I’m calling my wine blog My Leap Year Wine Blog.  Let’s say Happy Birthday and Congratulations to all those leap year babies that are finally allowed to drink wine.  You’re only 84!

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I always try to feature a white wine in my weekly wine blogs, I have a lot of friends that drink white wine.  My next question would be have you had Albarino lately?

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I bought this to a winetasting in December and the white wine drinkers really enjoyed it.  Albarino is a grape that’s grown mostly in Spain and Portugal, however, because of its growing popularity Chile, Uruguay and the United States is also growing Albarino.  It’s very aromatic in the glass, with gorgeous aromas of lemon, apple and citrus.  If you like Pinot Gris white wine, you will love Albarino.  This Garzon Albarino comes in around the $25 mark here in Eastern Canada.
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I laughed when I saw this meme, I am really good at drinking wine LOL

My wine of the week this week is a Bordeaux red that’s a great value…

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when I tasted this wine last night for the first time, I said to my friend Joanne from the NSLC, “That’s a big wine for the price point”.  A Bordeaux red wine is always a blend and this is a delicious blend of 70% Merlot, and 30% Cabernet Sauvignon.  I bought another bottle because I think I’m going to have a steak tonight, and this is a great steak wine.  As you can see, I have the 2016 vintage, which is very tasty now, however you can store it and drink it in years to come.  Full-bodied, fruit forward with some woody and spicy notes.  Hard to believe this wine is only $18.99 a bottle.  A very tasty Bordeaux for under $20.

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Have a great weekend

Darlene

 

Leap Into Some Great Wine

Posted in Uncategorized on February 22, 2020 by darmyers

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Hello February 29th, the day we get to celebrate once every four years and this year it falls on a Saturday.  How nice that we have an extra day to drink a glass of wine.

Water over wine

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I had to share this meme because it reminds me of my kitty cat Gabriel LOL

This past Tuesday was also National Drink Wine Day.  For some of us in Canada and the U.S., it was a holiday Monday, so Tuesday was a very ‘Monday-like’ day.  It was a great day for National Drink Wine Day.

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I loved seeing the social media posts celebrating National Drink Wine Day for two reasons.  I mean, first of all, most days are ‘drink wine day’ in my opinion.  But I really enjoyed reading about people’s favorite varietals and why they loved that particular wine.  February 18th was all about the sharing our love for wine.

Even the celebrities joined in on the celebrations.  Kerry Washington, who played wine-loving Olivia Pope on Scandal, shared this gif.

Olivia Pope drinking wine

Let’s start this wine blog by breaking a common wine myth!

One of the most common wine myths that “Wine Enthusiast” managing editor Lauren Buzzeo  helped dispel in honor of National Drink Wine Day is the broad generalization when people say, “I don’t like Chardonnay.”  In her words,

The grape is so versatile and easily influenced by both terroir and winemaker influence, that final wines from around the world run a huge spectrum,” she explained. “If you think you don’t like Chardonnay, instead pinpoint what about Chardonnay you don’t like, because I’m pretty sure there’s a counterpoint to that bad experience you had and it might be amazingly delicious.”

Many people I meet tell me they don’t like Chardonnay because of the ‘oakiness’.  Here are 2 fine Chardonnay wines where oak will not get in the way.753DB2E2-BBC1-4BFE-B20A-8136B3FAAAB8C2B4C486-C633-4D93-920F-FB3CADB74EB2

The first is a local Nova Scotia wine from Blomidon and wine-maker Simon Rafuse.  This is a wine I had the pleasure of trying 3 years ago when Simon was teaching one of the courses for my Sommelier training.  This is a perfect example of a Chardonnay where the fruit and winemaking gets to shine and oak doesn’t get in the way.  You should really give this a try if you are a white wine drinker who wants to broaden their wine palates.

The second wine hails from Joel Gott in California, and again the fruit shines.  You’ll taste melon, pineapple, and citrus, but you won’t taste oak.  I’ve written about Joel Gott wines before because I am such a huge fan of their Pinot Noir.


And now for my wine of the week…. 

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I have had the Don David Mel back in the past but last night was my first time trying the Cabernet Sauvignon. This made my wine of the week because it’s rare when you get a 91-point rated for $15.99, and that’s what this wine is selling for right now.  A wine is not a good value, no matter how much you pay for it, unless it’s delicious, and this wine is delicious.  The smoky notes of this rich Cabernet Sauvignon makes it a great wine for a barbeque fare and any hearty meat dish you might be serving up on this leap year.
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Enjoy your extra day of the year, and feel free to leave a comment about which one you’re enjoying this leap year!

Cheers

Darlene

 

Feeling The Love… For Wine

Posted in Uncategorized on February 15, 2020 by darmyers

Wine Valentines day

Yesterday was Valentine’s Day and everyone was on Facebook professing their love for their significant other.  I was almost tempted to post a picture with a bottle of wine LOL!  As an unattached single lady in her 50’s, I was singing karaoke with friends and drinking wine!  We had a fabulous night.  I can’t sing to save my life but the audience was cheering and roaring ‘bon bon bon’ during a rowdy version of  Neil Diamond’s ‘Sweet Caroline’.  I hope everyone reading this had a fabulous Valentine’s Day.   Now let’s talk about our true love…. wine!

Too all my white wine loving friends, this weekend I encourage you to leave your comfort zone and try this wine.

Sancerre

You like Sauvignon Blanc, right?  That is what Sancerre is, Sauvignon Blanc.  Sancerre is a region in the famed Loire Valley in France, and the region grows about 20% Pinot Noir, but this region is famous for Sauvignon Blanc.  Sancerre is often compared with its neighbour, Pouilly-Fume, also a region known for Sauvignon Blanc.  The wine professionals agree its hard to tell the difference but people growing the wine will tell you Sancerre has more body and the Pouilly-Fume is more perfumed.  I have tried them both and I think they are wonderful examples of Sauvignon Blanc.  This wine is a perfect pairing with any appetizer dish or any dish in which you want to cut through spice or grease.
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I always tell people I’m saving corks for a Pinterest project.
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This Ghost Pines Cabernet Sauvignon is actually 92% Cabernet Sauvignon with small amounts of Merlot, Petite Syrah, & Cabernet Franc, which probably explains why this wine had so many great layers of flavour.  Sadly, we can’t get this wine in Nova Scotia or Newfounfland anymore, but you can score a bottle in other provinces across Canada including neighbouring New Brunswick.  And because this wine hails from Napa Valley California, I’m guessing any of my American friends won’t have trouble finding this wine.
And now for my wine of the week……

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I recently got re-introduced to this wine, and had to share it with you as my wine of the week.  Do you know why?  This is a fabulous Syrah wine and I still can’t believe it’s priced under $20 a bottle at just $18.99.  Here in Halifax we had a low of -14° C last night come up with a windchill of -21C.  In a word this is cold!  As I’m sitting here on a Saturday morning writing this wine blog, I am contemplating what comfort food dish am I going to cook up for supper.  And there is no better wine to have with your comfort food dish then this Syrah, with notes of black pepper and spice.
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On a bright note, it is a long weekend and you know what long weekends mean? More wine!

Till next weekend, have a great week

Cheers, Darlene

Keep Calm & Drink the Wine

Posted in Uncategorized on February 8, 2020 by darmyers

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Welcome to February, where freezing rain and snow storms make us all thankful it’s the shortest month of the year.  I’m here with some advice for my friends…. Keep calm and drink the wine.  This morning as I sit here and write my one blog, it is -15° outside.  So, stay cosy my friends and let me introduce you to some great wine.
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Sometimes people think that with your favourite hearty comfort food you should have a hearty red wine.  I’m here to tell you there are some hearty full-bodied white wines out there that go deliciously with your favourite comfort foods.  Take this Trio white, a combination blend of Chardonnay, Pinot Grigio and Pinot Blanc. This is a hearty wine because it’s 96% Chardonnay, 2% Pinot Grigio, and 2% Pinot Blanc, so that big Chardonnay really dominates this wine.  Hailing from Chile and made by the biggest winery in Chile, Concha Y Toro, Winemaker Max Weinlaub offers a fruity Chardonnay with hints of acidity.  You’ll love the price at just $16 a bottle.
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Speaking of hearty, one of my favourite steak wines is the Beringer Knights Valley Cabernet Sauvignon.  In 1868, Jacob Beringer left Germany and settled in California, the rest is history!  Mark Beringer, great great grandson of Jacob Beringer made this  spectacular wine.  Mark was born in the heart of Napa Valley,  wine has been a part of his entire life, so it comes as no surprise to me he makes a great one.  It’s about $38 a bottle here in Nova Scotia, worth every penny, and I encourage you to try this wine with your next meal of beef, whether it’s a steak or stew.

And now for my wine of the week……

7 Deadly Zinbs

I’m pretty confident I’ve written about this wine before, but it’s been a couple of years and I wanted to remind you of a favourite.  Zinfandel is one of the heartiest grapes around because it has a very thick skin.  This is 7 Deadly Zins, appropriately named because it contains Zinfandel grapes from seven different vineyards in California.  This is one of the easiest wines to drink, and a great wine to share with friends, I don’t know anyone that doesn’t like this wine.

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Have a great weekend and a wonderful week.

Darlene

Who’s Ready for February?

Posted in Uncategorized on February 1, 2020 by darmyers

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Is it just me or did January seem really long?  I swear its the only month of the year that feels like 3 months.  But it’s over now, and we say ‘Hello February’ starting today.  Here on the East Coast of Canada, we had some snow and we had some bitterly cold temperatures.  At least in February, the days are getting longer!

Last week we talked about some hearty winter wines, and here’s one from my friend Anthony.  Here’s a picture of Anthony and myself, taken a few years back!

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Anthony is a producer at the radio station I work at and we share a love of wine.  I asked him yesterday to share a new favorite.  Here’s one of the wines he’s loved lately.

Anthony's wine

Here’s what Anthony had to say about this wine.  “It’s deliciously smooth with ripe fruit and oak.  A bit of spice. “

Personally, I love Italian wine and this particular wine is from the Campania region of Italy, where Naples is the capital.  Anthony has wonderful taste in wine, so if you’re up for a treat, try this wine.  It sells here for about $52 a bottle.

Italy is home to some great whites as well, and I’ve written about different Pinot Grigio wines.  But there’s more to Italian white wine than just Pinot Grigio.   Trebbiano for example.  Trebbiano is a grape that makes a wonderful white wine.

Antinori white

The Antinori Family is one of the biggest winemaking families in Italy, and played a huge role in the making of the ‘Super Tuscan’ wine movement of the 70’s.  It is the 10th largest family owned company in the world.  They can date making wine back to the 1300’s.  This Antinori Villa Bianco is a wonderful expression of Tuscan white wine and in my opinion, is a great value at $18.99 a bottle.

And now for my wine of the week…

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For this weeks wine of the week we had to the Mendoza region of Argentina.  This is the wine I bought to Happy Hour last night.  A great Malbec-based blend, from Lebanese winemaker Karim Mussi Saffi.   It’s a great wine for under $20!

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Till next week, Cheers

Darlene

Hearty Winter Wines

Posted in Uncategorized on January 25, 2020 by darmyers

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As most readers of this wine blog know, I’m from Newfoundland, however I am living in Halifax Nova Scotia.  I do have a lot of friends and family still in Newfoundland and last week they were clearly hit with the storm of the decade.  Snowmageddon 2020.

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And although my family lives on the West Coast, I lived in St. John’s, until I transferred to Halifax, and  have many friends there who had to dig their way out of one of the biggest snow storms I’ve ever seen.  People were asked to stock up for 3 days, but a state of emergency was declared and the stores didn’t open until 5 days later to very long line-ups.

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I know my friends are O.K., Newfoundlanders are very resilient.  And I really hope no one ran out of wine.  This is one of the reasons it’s a great idea to have a wine rack.  Spare wine!! So this unbelievable storm that many of my friends are digging out from, got me thinking about hearty wines suitable for winter.  Listen, I’m a red wine drinker all year round, but lets face it, 80 cms of snow makes a person think of comfort food and hearty dishes.  So if that’s whats on your menu, here are a couple of wines that might help ease the aches and pains of shoveling.

When I think of big bold white wines, I usually think a big Chardonnay from either California or Australia.  This 19 Crimes Chardonnay is big enough to take on beef stew or any other hearty dish.  Big rich butterscotch and vanilla flavors along with some substantial oak.  This is not for the weak hearted.  Still a great value for $19 a bottle.

Nothing says hearty like Zinfandel

And the Brazin’ Zinfandel from Lodi California doesn’t disappoint.  Grown on vines that range in age from 40-years to 100 years old, this wine has the mocha and spice notes from the fruit come to life.  A great wine for beef, ribs or sausage and is one of the most reasonably priced Zinfandel wines at just $24.99

And now for my wine of the week…

Gringo

There is no better way to kick start a new year and a new decade than to find a great wine at a great price.  I’m sharing this one with all my friends.  It’s the El Gringo Tempranillo from Spain.  It’s  new to the liquor store, and my friends there say its selling like hotcakes, and with good reason.  The story goes that El Gringo was an extra working on a Western movie set, and loved Spain and the wines of the region so much that he never went home. Beautiful smooth wine with hints of coffee bean and milk chocolate and it won’t break the bank.  This bottle of fantastic wine is just $15.99 a bottle.  With a great  wine at this great price, why would anyone do dry January?  I’m not!

Snow wine

Stock up my friends, you never know when the next winter storm could hit.  You don’t want to be left in the cold when it comes to your wine stash.

Till next week, Cheers

Darlene

Wine Trends to Watch for in 2020

Posted in Uncategorized on January 18, 2020 by darmyers

2020 wine trends

First, allow me to apologize.  It’s been a while since I posted a blog, the last one being my Top 10 of 2019.  Between travelling for Christmas and having family come to Halifax for the first week in January, it’s been a busy one.

Each year I have a bit of fun talking about upcoming wine trends.  And although none of us have a crystal ball, a few years back I did talk about wine in cans, and low and behold, they are all over the liquor store now.  Check out that wine blog here 2017 Wine Trends.   So keep in mind, this is just a bit of fun.

  1.  Rose Prosecco

This is long overdue.  Two of the hottest crazes combined, and following a lengthy approval process in Italy, looks like it could happen soon.  Decanter Magazine says producers would be able to use up to 15% of Pinot Noir alongside Glera grapes in order to make rosé under the Prosecco DOC name.  I realize there are Rose sparkling wines, but a Rose Prosecco wine would be just a quality all of its own.  Can’t wait to try that wine!

2.  Italian Wines will continue to flourish

Last year I said we could see some explosive growth in Italian Wines.  Italy has some of the oldest wine producing regions in the world, and it’s really good wine, a real favorite of mine.  In 2018 Italy accounted for 19 percent of global production, ahead of  France at 17%.  Here are a couple of my favorite staples.

The Botter Primitivo at $14.99 a bottle is a steal of a deal.  Prosecco is a favorite, being food friendly and your wallet will love it because it’s such a great price point.  The one featured is the Bolla.  And one of my favorite Italian wines is a Ripasso, always rich and smothh, and this one got 96 Points and is under $22 a bottle.

3.  You’ll be hearing more about Vegan wines.

What?  Yes, as more and more people go with a Vegan lifestyle, you’ll be hearing more about it in the wine world.  You see, all wines are not Vegan!  That may come as a surprise to some people because you may think ‘it’s grapes’!   But winemakers sometimes use animal products to clarify the wine, called the ‘fining process’.  Traditionally the most commonly used fining agents were casein (a milk protein), albumin (egg whites), gelatin (animal protein) and isinglass (fish bladder protein). These fining agents are processing aids to help get rid of ‘haze’.

4.  Wine From Europe could see a price increase

If US President Donald Trump gets his way, tarriffs will be imposed on European wine, which means the price could be affected.  That means your favorite French wine could cost more.  I’m reading more and more that proposed tarriffs could send the price of some wines out of reach, and some winemakers say if they lose the U.S. as a customer, that could be very bad for business.  Fingers crossed this gets worked out.

It would be a sad day for many if the proposed tarriffs go through.  We would miss out on such great wines as the the Duval Leroy Champagne on the left, the amazing Rose that is priced at just $16.99 a bottle and one of my favorite values from the Port of Wines show, the Felix & Lucie blend of Cabernet Sauvignon and Syrah.

And now for my wine of the week….

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When I was home for Christmas, would you believe I only had one bottle of wine the entire time I was there.  I drove my Mom and Dad around a lot who are in their late 80’s, so wine was not part of the menu for me.  But I did have a wonderful new Merlot.  A couple of evenings we stayed home and played some cards, and my Mom and I enjoyed a glass of wine.  I love discovering new wines, and this Merlot did not disappoint.  This Merlot hails from Central Valley in California and is a great price at just $17.48 a bottle.  Very smooth and silky with delicious flavors of plum, mocha and vanilla.   Unfortunately, I can’t get it here in Halifax, so it’s a Newfounfland treat.  I loved it.

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That’s it for this week,  Have a great week everyone.  Cheers

Darlene

My Top 10 of 2019

Posted in Uncategorized on December 31, 2019 by darmyers

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Today is the last day of 2019 and the last day of another decade.  For the most part, I do a wine blog most Saturday’s.  Out of the 48 – 50 wine blogs I do every year, each week I feature a new ‘Wine of the Week’!  This is the time of the year when I look back at my choices and choose 10 of my best new finds for the year.  Here’s that list, I hope you enjoy.  There’s something for everyone on the list, in all price points.

10.  Botter Primitivo – $14.99

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Anyone that knows me knows I love finding a great value wine.  And this one definitely makes the list.  Botter Primitivo is not only a great value under $15, it is also organic.  This medium-bodied wine has flavors of plums, cherry and spicy tobacco notes.  A winner and a great wine for pasta and/or ribs.

9.  Castano GSM – $19

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This wine hails from Spain and is a blend of Garnacha, (Grenache), Syrah and Mourvedre.  More on the full-bodied side, I love this rich wine and another wonderful value at just $19 a bottle.  GSM’s, as they are called, will usually make any Top 10 list I do, as this is a classic blend that goes so well together.  This wine has enough body to pair with steak.

8.  Moma White – $17.99

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I had a year filled with wine tastings.  And this one accompanied me to many wine tastings because it was loved by every one who tried it.  Moma white blend is a combination of Trebbiano, Chardonnay and Sauvignon Blanc.  Chardonnay and Trebbiano give this wine body while the Sauvignon Blanc gives it some acidity.  Probably one of the food-friendliest wines on the shelf.  And it’s under $20 a bottle.

7.  Chateau Cantenac Saint Emillion – $36

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I love wines from the Right Bank of Bordeaux, where the wines tend to be Merlot heavy, and this Chateau Cantenac did not disappoint.  I got to enjoy the 2013 vintage, and it was silky and smooth and an absolute delight.  This wine is a Grand Cru, which means it’s a superior designation.  Very much worth the $36 price tag, and I recommend we all treat ourselves at least once this year.

6.  Hola Brut Cava – $21.99

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I can’t have a top 10 list without including a good sparkling wine.  I know I’m always talking about what great value Spanish Cava is, made traditionally like Champagne, but so much easier on the wallet.  This Hola Sparkling Cava from Spain was one of my favorites from the Fall 2019 wine show.  In Spain, Hola is how people greet each other, and that was the premise behind the wine.  Trust me when I tell you, it’s a great way to greet your guests this holiday season or anytime of the year!

5.  Luna di Luna Merlot Primitivo – $17.99

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Not only did I love the red bottle, I loved the wine that came in the bottle.  The Luna di Luna Merlot Primitivo blend from Italy was awesome.   I really hope the NSLC brings it back, it was a winner in my mind.  From the “heel of the boot” in Italy, the Salento region of Puglia really makes some great wines.  Full-bodied and rich, I loved this wine with pasta and it was under $18 a bottle.

4.  Bread & Butter Chardonnay – $22.69

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This was my favorite white wine that I had tried at both tastings of the Festival of Wines show in September.  The Bread and Butter Chardonnay from the United States is not overly oaky like some Chardonnay wines that come out of the U.S.  This is very smooth with hints of vanilla bean and tropical fruit.  Food friendly that will pair with everything from lobster to chicken to pork.  Honorable mention goes to its sister wine, the Bread and Butter Pinot Noir.

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3.  Felix & Lucie Cabernet Sauvignon & Syrah – $15.99

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Value wise, this may have won my wine of the year.  It was a toss up.  This blend of Cabernet Sauvignon and Syrah from France, made my top wine out of the Festival of Wines.  I chose this wine because of the combination of great taste and great price point.  I bought a full case of it.  It’s full-bodied with spicy notes and great fruit.  A fabulous wine and you can’t beat the price.

2. Rose D’Anjou Gamay

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Rose wine are for so much more than just Summer, it’s a great way to bring in the New Year.  This Gamay grape based rose wine was given anywhere from 92 Points to 95 Points by wine critics.  It’s that good.  And it’s only $16.99 per bottle.  I’m sad I didn’t buy more.  Crisp and refreshing, I really hope they bring it back here.  Fingers crossed for Rose wine season 2020, that this is among the list.

  1.  Argyle Pinot Noir – $55

Argyle

If you’re going to treat yourself, try this wine.  Argyle Pinot Noir is one of the best Pinot Noir Wines I have tried in a long time.  From Oregon, only 25% of this wine gets aged in new French oak, which means the oak does not over-power the wine, but adds subtlety and nuances to make the wine even more smooth.  The winery says it hangs it hat on the silky texture of their wine, and I have to agree with them.  The Reserve Pinot 2013 vintage is what I enjoyed, and when I took it to a wine tasting in early December, everyone seemed to agree, this wine was the winner!

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I hope 2019 was a good year and I hope 2020 will be even better.  Here’s to another great decade of drinking wine.

Darlene

 

 

It’s The Most Wonderful Time of the Year

Posted in Uncategorized on December 21, 2019 by darmyers

Deck the halls

Well it’s Christmas Time again.  I felt this year went by so fast, it feels like I just took down my Christmas decorations not long ago.  It is, however, my favorite time of the year, and I’m in Newfoundland hanging out with family.

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Christmas is a great time to get together with friends and family, and if your celebrations are like mine, there is wine to be consumed.  I’ve had a wonderful December so far hanging out with friends, laughing and enjoying each other’s company.  We’ve had a few good wines as well.

Recently, I told you about this wonderful Botter Primitivo

Botter

And in recent weeks I’ve had the opportunity to try the Pinot Grigio from the same family

The Botter Boira Pinot Grigio from the Veneto region of Italy was a wonderful delight.  Pinot Grigio is becoming so popular, so many of my friends drink it.  Peter Rockwell, wine writer and buyer for the NSLC told me that they could have 10 Italian Pinot Grigio wines and all would sell well.  People love Italian Pinot Grigio.  And why not.  It’s delicious, food friendly, crisp, refreshing and reasonably priced.  This particular Pinot Grigio is only $16.75 a bottle.

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Lately someone asked me how to save Sparkling wine, and until recently sparkling was a wine that I felt needed to be finished in a day or it would love its sparkle.  Well, you can take plastic wrap and an elastic band and seal it air tight, and then put it in the fridge standing up.  Something to try over the holidays if you don’t finish it in one sitting.

Here’s a fun wine for Christmas.  It’s a pink sparkling from Hola, which is the word Hello in Spanish.  There’s no better way to greet family and friends this holiday season than with a pink sparkling wine.  This Hola Cava is traditionally made using a grape from Spain used in many Cava wines, Xarel-Lo.  This is a wine high in acidity so your taste buds will come alive. Perfect for Christmas appetizers and priced at just $21.99 a bottle.

While we are in Spain, let me tell you about this gem.  I had this GSM the other evening, and it is fantastic.  Garnacha (Grenache), Syrah and Mourvedre grapes make for a perfectly smooth blend. Ripe berry fruits with hints of spice from the Syrah, a great red wine that is only $19 a bottle.

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And now for my wine of the week…

This is such a good wine you’re going to find it hard to believe it’s only $18 a bottle.  Asio Otus Vino Rosso is a blend, any time you see Rosso, it tends to be a blend.  It’s 35% Cabernet Sauvignon, 35% Merlot, and 30% Syrah.  Did I mention it’s 100% delicious.  It’s full-bodied with flavors of plum, vanilla and hints of chocolate.  Once you’re done with turkey and ham, and you want some nice beef or pork, try this wine.  A great pairing.

I love wine

Merry Christmas everyone, and here’s to a wonderful 2020

Darlene