Wines For Winter

Posted in Uncategorized on November 17, 2018 by darmyers

Winter and wine

Well winter seemed to arrive in a hurry.  Last week we were seeing temperatures in the double digits and this past week we saw them dip to -17 with a windchill.  My sister and I were heading to Moncton to watch her son play hockey, but she got delayed because of a storm.  The news media were calling it the ‘the most intense storm on the planet’.   I don’t know if I would agree with that, but snow and wind cause flight cancellations, property damage and a whole lot of inconvenience.  Personally this is how I like to spend cold winter evenings.

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And I do have a wine for that.  Let’s start with this Italian beauty

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I Had this wine a few weeks back, buying it from a boutique wine store.  Moi Primitivo from Pyglia is an easy to drink affordable wine.  It is soft , and full-bodied with notes of liquorice, and it’s definitely a wine I would buy again.   It’s a nice little treasure for under $15.

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Here is one of my favourite people in the world, my nephew Riley.  And this weekend I’m up in Moncton watching this talented young man play hockey.   Regular leaders of this blog well remember Riley from when his family and myself went to Barbados in May.   We are actually just staying outside of Moncton in a gorgeous hotel called Hotel  Shediac in the small community in New Brunswick of Shediac.   They have a spectacular restaurant in the hotel called St. James Gate.

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Both my sister and I had the Chicken Carbonara, out of this world.  And the wine…

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The Masi Ripasso Campofiori  was so very smooth and rich.   This particular dish and this particular wine seemed to go together like peas in a pod.  This wine is made with partially dried grapes which gives it a rich raisinated flavor,   The grapes in this particular wine are mostly Corvina with some Molinara and Rondinella.  All the grapes in this wine are  grapes originating from Italy.   This is a great wine and although I don’t think it’s available where I live, here are in New Brunswick you can bring it home for under $24.

And now for my wine of the week….

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If its  all about the flavour at a great price point, this would be your wine of the week as well.  From the Languedoc region of France, this is La Baume Syrah.  In the late 1800s a pest outbreak  destroyed much of France’s vineyards, but in 1882 a man by the name of Jean Prat took over Domaine De La Baume.   It has changed owners since then, but in 2010, this Syrah was given the title of the worlds best Syrah.   It’s mind blowing when you think about that, it’s even more mind blowing that this wine is under $19.  Smooth, silky with soft tannins,  this is truly an incredible wine at an incredible price!

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Have a great week, till next week cheers!

Darlene

 

 

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A Star Is Born

Posted in Uncategorized on November 10, 2018 by darmyers

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This past Wednesday evening saw a group of friends and myself head out on the town for dinner and a Movie.  The movie was ‘A Star Is Born’ starring Bradley Cooper and Lady Gaga.  Bradley Cooper not only starred in the movie but directed it as well.  Lady Gaga blew me away.   Not only her singing talent, but that girl can act.  I especially fell in love with Charlie the Dog, who is Bradley Cooper’s real life rescue dog, and recently had a twitter hashtag calling for Charlie to win an Oscar for Best Supporting Actor.

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So let’s talk about the food and the wine.  We started with appetizers of dried ribs, which is an appetizer I fell in love with while living out in Western Canada.

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It seems people either love them or hate them, and I am definitely in the love category.  Hard to pair a wine these, but we sipped on the wine from the bottle we ordered.  Honestly, though, I paired the wine to the meals we ordered, and not the appetizers.

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Someone had the honey garlic steak, and it looked delicious, which my friend Sandra confirmed.  Blackened chicken was ordered, which was nice and spicy and I had the lettuce wraps.  So the wine I picked was this Italian beauty…

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A beautiful Italian Ripasso from Folonari.  It’s medium bodied but packed with flavor, after those Valpolicella grapes are passed over the Amarone must and skins.   This wine features notes of fig, raisins, cherries and toasted oak.  It was a great pairing for the foods that featured the spices, like the blackened chicken and the steak.

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I said I was going to take a picture that evening once the wine arrived and forgot.  But here are some of my friends, however we are missing Sharon from this picture.  I am so blessed to have the greatest friends in the world.

Till next week, Cheers

Darlene

Hello November

Posted in Uncategorized on November 3, 2018 by darmyers

I’m sitting here on this Saturday morning, drinking my Starbucks Christmas blend coffee, the blend I love the most that is only offered for two months out of the year!   I now realize, as my wine blog this week is called Hello November, that once Halloween ends they really start to push Christmas at us.  Of course, if I were to be honest, most retail stores had Christmas  in their stores for many weeks.

So that’s got me thinking, on a bit of a different wine blog.   The wind is howling outside my window and I’m going to make one of my favourite comfort foods today, Beef Bourguignon.   I am a huge fan of the Food Network and it’s on a lot in my home.  The recipe I will use today is an easy but delicious version from Food Network star Ina Garten

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I absolutely love this hearty stew served on bread as shown in her picture here .   I love to serve it with mashed potatoes, steamed green beans, and more bread.

This recipe is really quite easy and people will be super impressed.  Find it hereIna Garten Beef Bourguignon

And here is that perfect wine to go with it

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It’s the wine next to the carrots I plan to use in my stew.  The J. Lohr Merlot  is the perfect partner for today’s comfort food.   This wine is actually comprised of 85% Merlit, 13% Malbec, 1% Petite Syrah and 1% Cabernet Sauvignon.  You can tell it’s going to be luscious, right?   Trust me when I tell you this wine and this combination is a crowd pleaser!   Dark smoky fruit and velvety tannins greet you.  When my friend Amber at the NSLC poured me some of this yesterday evening, I knew I had to have it and I knew what I was going to serve with it.  It’s $29:99 a bottle and who among us doesn’t deserve a little treat.  Screw candy, this is my kind of trick or treat!

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And on that note, till next week, Cheers

Darlene

 

A Little Pain, A Lot of Wine

Posted in Uncategorized on October 27, 2018 by darmyers

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Here we are, at the starting line, to embark on my very first half-marathon.  A lot of smiling nervous faces.  I never would have guessed, my knee would give out at the 4K mark, and by the 16K mark, I had to hobble the remaining 5.1 kms.  But I did it, I crossed that finished line, and immediately burst into tears.  Finish Line

It was a disappointing race for me, as I had been training all year and never had any injuries.  I was suffering from a cold, and was a little concerned about my breathing, but I needn’t have worried about that.  Still, I crossed that finish line.  Thanks to my friend Scott Keeping, who after finishing his half-marathon, came back to the 20K mark, and get me.  He ran the last kilometer with me, and did the same for another friend as well.  Super supportive person to the whole running team.

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But I crossed that finish line, and on the bright side, I’m sure for the next one, I will beat my time of 2:54:19.  Needless to say there was a glass of wine that evening… OK, maybe more than one.

Chateau Ste. Michelle Cabernet Sauvignon 2015

I did choose a special wine for my first half-marathon.  Chateau St. Michelle Cabernet Sauvignon was my choice to go with the steak I had that night.  This wine was very rich and tasty, and very balanced, with silky tannins that had no bitterness.  This wine from Washington State is a treat and sells for $25 here and worth every penny.  I was at the NSLC the other day, and I was tasting wine with Retail Product Specialist Amber.  A gentleman came over carrying a bottle of this, and I told him I had recently had one, and it was wonderful.  He told me he loves everything that comes out of this winery.  I assured him he wouldn’t be disappointed, and you won’t be either.

Wine Headband

My friend Beth had this headband made up for me, and I absolutely love it.  My friend Scott, who came back and got me to run the last painful kilometer with me, is the husband of the best running partner and friend a girl could ask for.

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We have been running together for about 4 years.  We did our first long race together, the Tely 10 last Summer in St. John’s, Newfoundland and she was with me for this race as well.

Festival of Wines Trinchero Napa Cab 2012

If you have a very special occasion coming up, and would like a gorgeous rich treat, here’s the wine for you.  Another beautiful Cabernet Sauvignon I’ve tried recently from the Napa Valley is this 2012 Trincereo Cab.  Given 94 Points by Wine critic James Suckling and 90 Points by Robert Parker’s Wine Advocate, it’s a beautifully complex Caberent.  It’s $105 a bottle, but it is magnificent.  I love wine shows and tastings for this reason, you get to try some extravagant treats.

And now for my wine of the week…

The Retail Product Specialist who named this her pick of the week, is my good friend Amber, and it’s also my pick of the week.  It’s a gorgeous wine from Portugal at a fantastic price. It’s the 2015 Coteaux da Murta Red, a blend of Touriga Nacional and Syrah.  Touriga Nacional is considered to be Portugal’s finest grape, and the combination of this grape and the Syrah makes this wine both spicy and fruity.  Look at the price point… a great wine at an affordable price.

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People ask me why I run.  Only kidding, I really do love it.  Till next week, Cheers

Darlene

Run A Little, Wine A Lot

Posted in Uncategorized on October 20, 2018 by darmyers

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Tomorrow, I am going to run my very first half marathon.  These two ladies, my friends Beth and Kathy, are two of the 8 other ladies that will cross that finish line with me.  9 of us ladies from our running group are travelling to the province of New Brunswick to run a total of 21.2 kms.  Believe me when I will tell you, a glass of wine will be in order.  (Maybe 2!)

Festival of Wines Pinot Noir 1

Like this gorgeous Pinot Noir from Oregon.  I had several fantastic Pinot Noir Wines at the recent Festival of wines, and this one was amazing, for under $30.  Given 90 Points by The Wine Advocate, I give it an enthusiastic two thumbs up.  Gary Horner is the talented winemaker of this incredible Pinot Noir and the winery says its goal is to make the best Pinot Noir under $20 (that’s American prices – Keep in mind the Canadian exchange).  This is definitely achieving that goal.  Smooth on the palate, with a great finish and notes of candied orange peel and cherries.  Goes with anything you would like to serve.

Kilikanoon Killerman's Run Shiraz

It’s been a few years since I’ve written about this wine, the Kilikanoon Kilerman’s Run Shiraz, but I decided to tell you about it again in honor of my upcoming half-marathon.  This is a Shiraz from Southern Australia, and it’s such a great value.  At $17, it is a non-guilty pleasure.  It’s very plush on the palate with notes of cherries and toasty oak, and a great value wine all around.

And now for my wine of the week…

For my wine of the week we are heading South to Chile, and a fantastic Merlot.  Merlot continues to be a favorite of mine, because of its easy to drink characteristics, it is very food friendly and it’s lush and juicy on the palate.  Although this grape made its way to Chile in the mid 19th Century, it wasn’t until the 1990’s that Merlot became popular in Chile.  Depending on where the grape is planted, Merlot from Chile can be fruity and friendly to remarkably vibrant.  This Marques Casa Concha Merlot is on the remarkably vibrant side.  Gorgeous flavors of black currant, plum and vanilla make for a great wine.  It’s $25 a bottle, and fabulously delicious.

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Well that’s it for me for this week.  My running friend Beth said to bring two of these to New Brunswick!!  Next week I will tell you about my half-marathon and if I got to cross that finish line.

Cheers

Darlene

Peter Dennis Wines

Posted in Uncategorized on October 13, 2018 by darmyers

Peter dennis 2  Festival of Wines Peter Dennis

At the Festival of Wines, I got to meet legendary winemaker, Peter Dennis.  He is such a fun person.  It was an absolute delight to meet him.  Peter is the son of Egerton Dennis, founder of Dennis wines.  Peter took over the family business in 1979 and continues to make quality wine in Australia.

This is one of my favorites, it’s a GSM, a blend of Grenache, Syrah and Mourvedre.  At $21 it’s a great dry wine and has notes of black pepper. This is an old world style wine, as Grenache is the main grape in Chateauneuf du Pape, and I would recommend you let it breathe.  Mourvedre always brings a level of smoothness to Grenache and Syrah.   When you do let it breathe, what a great compliment your hearty winter stews and dishes.

This is the Shiraz that I got Peter Dennis to sign when I met him.  And here’s what he said

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“Make love often with someone you like”.  Words of wisdom from Peter Dennis.  The bottle he signed for me was the 2016 Shiraz, and although I haven’t enjoyed it yet, Peter tells me he would like to see me cellar the wine for 3 – 5 years, because it is such a new vintage.  He said I will enjoy notes of plum and blackberries as well as some black pepper.  I told him I loved to barbecue, and probably did it 3 – 4 times per week, and he said this would be perfect with grilled meats.

And now for my wine of the week…

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Another Grenache / Syrah blend, this time with Carignan, a grape that originated in Spain.  I’ve never had an Antu wine before, but Amber from my favorite NSLC store says she enjoys all of them.  So I picked up the Mont Gras Antu Grenache Syrah and Carignan blend.  This is a French style of wine done in the Colchagua region of Chile.  As I stated above with the GSM, I would recommend you decanter this wine or let it breathe for a while.  As I mentioned above, Grenache is the grape used in making Chateauneuf du Pape, and it can be a bit much when you first open it.  But once you let it breathe, it is a wonderfully complex wine that has great structure and a lasting finish.  New World meets Old world, overall a great Chilean wine for under $25.

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Saturday is always wine day in my book.  Enjoy the weekend, till next week, Cheers

Darlene

 

The Festival of Wines Grand Tasting

Posted in Uncategorized on October 6, 2018 by darmyers

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Last Saturday I attended one of the Grand Tastings for the annual Festival of Wines here in Halifax.  The theme was celebrating the wines of North America, however, all the countries were represented.  My mission while there was to only try wines I’ve never had before, and I tried some spectacular wines.  I’m so excited to share some of them with you.

Festival of Wines Nancy

This gorgeous lady is my friend Nancy and she is a wine rep in Nova Scotia, and one of the best.  She was showcasing a fantastic Syrah from the Languedoc Roussillion region of France.  I’ve included a file photo of the wine because the one I took at the show was a little blurry.  Honestly, this was my first wine stop, so the blurriness was excitement, not tipsiness.

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I couldn’t believe this wine was under $19, it was so good.  In 2010,. the 2009 vintage of this wine was voted ‘The Best Syrah in the World’.  How’s that for an award.  It was easy to drink, fruity and had silky tannins.  I’ll be trying to buy this again and again.

Festival of Wines Vintage Sangiovese

I had the pleasure of meeting Umberto Cesari’s son Paul a couple of months back, and they are a family that are making quality wines in the Emilio Romagna region of Italy.  I can’t remember the price, but I think it was around the $22 mark.  This wine is not on the local NSLC site yet, but I sure hope it’s going to be around after the show.

Festival of Wines J Lohr Merlot

Best Merlot wine at the show went to this California beauty, the J. Lohr Merlot.  Regular readers know I am a big fan of this winery.  50 years ago Jerry Lohr set out to make a career change, and I’m so glad he did.  Today his 3 children run the show, Steve, Cynthia and Lawrence, and are continuing his quest for great wines at affordable prices.  I love Merlot and I completely understand this fruit forward juicy Merlot with hints of pepper and chocolate won the prize.  This is actually a Merlot blend, with 85% of the wine in the bottle being Merlot.  California law states that if there is 85% or more of a grape in the bottle, that’s the only grape you are required to list.  There is also 13% Malbec, 1% Cabernet Sauvignon, and 1% Petite Syrah.  It’s an interesting blend and a fascinating wine.

I tried so many good wines last Saturday night, that I honestly can’t pick the best of show.  However, I can pick a wine of the week…

Tormaresca

I almost left the wine show without tasting this wine, until my friends from the NSLC who were working the wine show sent me back to taste this magnificent Sangiovese.  It was so good I bought one on the spot and went back home and my friend Sandra and I shared the bottle.  In the Puglia region of Italy, Tormaresca is named for the area’s ancient seaside towers overlooking the Adriatic Sea.  Only a small part of this wine was aged in oak, with the remaining wine aged in stainless steel.  This created a very smooth wine that in no way the oak over-powered.  I searched to try and find the definition of Neprica, but had no luck.  This wine is a blend of Negromaro, Primitivo and Cabernet Sauvignon, and sells for $19.99 a bottle.  I tried to find it again yesterday with no luck.  I understand it also sold out at the wine show, so hopefully we will see it on the shelves soon.

Festival of Wines Peter Dennis

Had the opportunity to meet Peter Dennis from Peter Dennis Wines in Australia.  I will tell you all about that next week

Till next week, Cheers

Darlene

 

 

Festival of Wines

Posted in Uncategorized on September 29, 2018 by darmyers

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I’m heading to the annual Festival of Wines this evening, and the theme this year is ‘Discover the Wines of North America’.  The Festival has been going on most of the week, but I’m attending tonight’s grand tasting.  I’m embarking on a journey through the wines of Canada and the United States, and its been exciting, because the NSLC has been previewing the Festival’s wine list over the past couple of weeks.  So I’m able to give you a sneak peak at some of the wines on the list.

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Both my friend Amber and I think this wine could take ‘Best Wine Under $20″.  Amber works at our liquor store here and she has been selling this like hot cakes.  I wrote about this wine a few weeks ago, so if you haven’t tried it, get it while you can.  It’s a delicious full-bodied blend of Cabernet Sauvignon, Zinfandel, Syrah and Petite Syrah, and it’s priced under $20.  I will let you know next week if this wine wins.

Although the Festival will feature wines from around the world, they are focusing on North America, Canada and the U.S.  From Nova Scotia, the Tidal Bay wines from many of our vineyards are being featured.

Tidal Bay wines

Looking at the menu of wines being featured, we are being offered the opportunity to try Tidal Bay from Jost, Gaspereau Vineyards, Avondale, Blomidon Estate, Lightfoot and Wolfville, Luckett and Saint-Famille.  Tidal Bay wines are always white, they are a little different from each vineyard, and were designed to reflect the terroir of Nova Scotia.  The wines were created to pair perfectly with seafood.

Renwood

One of the wines I’m looking forward to trying is this Renwood Zinfandel.  We used to carry it here in Nova Scotia a few years back, and then, poof, it was gone.  It’s a delicious expression of a Zinfandel with notes of vanilla, nutmeg and cinnamon.  Not too oaky and well balanced.  I hope the fact its being featured in the show means its coming back to Nova Scotia.

And now for my wine of the week

Otus

The Asio Otus Vino Rosso comes to us from Sicily Italy, and I had to share this great value with you.  It’s under $16 and is Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon and Syrah.  In a word, delicious.  Every day wine drinkers like us give this wine 4 out of 5 stars all over the world and why not.  It’s full-bodied and spicy and priced to buy again and again.

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Can’t wait to tell  you all about the Festival of Wines next week.  Till then, Cheers

Darlene

 

Que Syrah Syrah

Posted in Uncategorized on September 22, 2018 by darmyers

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Syrah is seductive, spicy, and just plain delicious.  Genetically it’s the same grape as Shiraz, but Syrah tends to come out of the Old World, where as Shiraz is more New World.  Which is why they tend to be done in very different styles.  It is grown in so many places around the globe including France, Australia, New Zealand, Chile, South Africa and California.  Let’s explore Syrah today.  It can also be found in a wide range of price points, to suit every budget.

In Argentina, Syrah has been used as a blending partner with its most famous grape, Malbec.  But Las Moras puts out a Syrah all by itself and I had it this past week.  For the price point of $13.99 you can’t go wrong with this easy to drink Syrah.

Syrah originates in France and has a long documented history in the Rhone Valley.  However, not all Syrah wines in France are created the same.  Ranging from the mineral and tannic nature of Hermitage, to fruity and perfumed in the Cote-Rotie.   This  Chateau La Canorgue Luberon caught my eye because of the beautiful label.  But I ended up loving the wine.  It’s from Provence, on the left bank of the Rhone River, and it also borders Italy and the Mediterranean Sea.  All this terroir contributes to the complexity of this wine, which is herbal and fruity but with that beautiful spice Syrah is known for.  A great deal at $29.99

And now for my wine of the week…

Great wines at great prices.  That’s pretty well how  I determine my wine of the week!  This Syrah blend is $18.50 but tastes like it would cost much more.  Bila Haut, surprise, comes from France, but this time it’s the Languedoc-Roussillion region.  This region produces Syrah by itself, but is probably more known for blends with Grenache.  And that’s what this is, a blend of Syrah (45%), Grenache (45%) and Carignan (10%).  Carignan is a grape that originated in Spain and is known there as Carinena. Gorgeous fruit with notes of leather and spice, many wine drinkers agree, this wine tastes like it should cost 4 times as much as it does.

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I love being a Saturday night hero.  Till next week, Cheers

Darlene

How Merlot Can You Go

Posted in Uncategorized on September 15, 2018 by darmyers

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Ever since Paul Giamatti said ‘I’m not drinking any f*&kin’ Merlot’ in the movie Sideways, Merlot has take a bit of a bad rap.  Merlot, however, has a noble history.  The earliest recorded mentions date back to 1784 when a local official called this dark wine from the Libournais region of Bordeaux as one of the best. It is believed to come from the French name merlau, which means blackbird.  Merlot is being grown all over the globe.

Dada No.2 Merlot 2016

Merlot may not be Argentina’s most well known export, but most Merlot in Argentina is grown around the Mendoza region.  This particular Merlot wine is a staple in my wine rack, because it’s a fantastic Merlot that comes in around the $16 mark.  Luscious fruit and hints of mocha makes it easy to enjoy this wine any night of the week.

Merlot, originates from Bordeaux France, and France has two thirds of the world’s plantings of Merlot grapes.  Wines from Bordeaux tend to be blends and the Bad Boy is no exception.  This wine is 95% Merlot and 5% Cabernet Franc, and is a delicious silky wine, consistently given up to 93 Points from wine critics.  I had a chance to taste this wine not long ago, and I really liked it.  Here’s the thing I can’t get my head around.  Here in Nova Scotia, this wine is $35 a bottle, but in other parts of Canada and the States it is quite a bit cheaper.  In Ontario, Canada, it is $25 a bottle.  So if you look for it, I would love to know how much it costs where you live. It really is a good wine, but I can’t help but feel I’m paying too much for it where I live.

And finally my wine of the week…

Bogle Merlot (2)

Historically, Merlot was primarily used as a 100% varietal wine in California.  It wasn’t until winemaker Warren Winiarski encouraged taking the grape back to its blending roots with Bordeaux style blends, that this started happening in the United States. This is the wine I had last night and it’s been years since I’ve written about it, but it has always remained one of my favorite Merlot wines.  Bogle Vineyards were first planted in 1968 and 50 years later Warren, Jody and Ryan Bogle are keeping the traditions of quality wine started by their grandfather.    This Merlot comes in at $24.99 a bottle here, but it’s great quality wine at an affordable price.  Smooth and full-bodied with notes of blueberry and mocha, this wine is exceptionally food friendly.

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

Darlene

Grape From The Heart

Posted in Uncategorized on September 8, 2018 by darmyers

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I couldn’t get the song ‘Straight From The Heart’ by Bryan Adams out of my head yesterday, so I decided to use that as the basis of this week’s wine blog. I do love wine so these wines come ‘grape from the heart’, if you’ll pardon the pun, are beautiful wines to try.

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The state of Washington, on the Pacific Coast of the U.S. has been called ‘The Quiet Giant’.  It is the second largest wine producing state behind California, and contains over 1000 vineyards and wineries.  Washington has ideal growing conditions for two Burgundian greats, Chardonnay and Pinot Noir, and many winemakers from this state tend to spend time in Burgundy France, to learn from the greats.

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Washington State happens to be home to one of my favorite Riesling wines, Kung Fu Girl.  Crisp and fruity, this is a great wine to pair with foods that have a little zip.  I bought it to a recent wine tasting, and I was surprised about the response, and to hear people say ‘I didn’t know I liked Riesling’.  So if you don’t think you like Riesling, they can vary greatly in sweetness levels, give this one a try, and I would love to hear what you think.

Here’s a fantastic example of a magnificent red wine from the state of Washington.  Located near Seattle, the legendary Chateau St. Michelle names this Indian Wells wine after the vineyard where the grapes are grown.  There are 7 different varietals in this wine, but Syrah and Merlot make up the majority.  Winemaker Bob Bertheau creates a beautiful blend that embraces the palate.

The gang 1

Got to see a couple of friends this past week that I haven’t seen in over a year, way too long.  Judy moved back to Ottawa last August and I really miss my wine-drinking friend.

The Festival of Wines is just around the corner, and our NSLC started introducing the wines.  A returning favourite is my wine of the week

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If the label looks slightly familiar, it’s because last year it was yellow.  This California wine made by an Italian wine maker is a winner!   It’s a new world wine with a hint of the old world.  Beautiful notes of fig, chocolate, and cooked blueberries make for a full bodied,  well rounded wine.   And probably the best part, this fantastic wine is under $20 per bottle, grapes from my heart!

Thanks for joining me for another blog

Till next week, Cheers

Darlene

National Red Wine Day

Posted in Uncategorized on September 1, 2018 by darmyers

National Red Wine day

Tuesday past was National Red Wine Day and I found myself the subject of a radio interview, on Mix 96-5, a radio station here in Halifax, Nova Scotia.  I was trying to upload the interview, but I can’t seem to be able to do it on this site.

Mix 96-5 logo

On the program, I was asked about some of my favorite red wines and some of my favorite values.  So I thought I would compile a list of some great wines for every price point.

Under $15

On the show I was asked about where some great value wines are coming from, and my answer was Argentina and Chile.  These 2 countries are providing great wines at fantastic price points.  Here are a couple of my favorite under $15 wines.  The Los Moras blend of Cabernet Sauvignon and Syrah hails from Argentina and is a great full-bodied wine with spicy notes.  The one on the right is an easy to drink Merlot from Chile with great plum fruit flavors and both wines have a price tag of just $13.99

Under $20

I think this is my favorite price point on wine.  There just seems to be a huge variety of good wine that comes in around the $20 mark.  Here’s #1 on my list

 

The Zonin Valpolicello Ripasso was given 96 Points by Decanter magazine and comes in at just $19.99.  As I had mentioned in one of my previous blogs, when this was my wine of the week, these grapes are hand picked and only the best are used, which is rare in a wine under $20.  Regular readers of my blog know that a Ripasso is Valpolicello wine passed over the skins and must of an Amarone, giving it great flavor.  This wine spent 20 days with the Amarone must and the flavor is incredible.  This is definitely my new favorite wine.  Tonight I am BBQ’ing ribs and wings, and this is the wine I have chosen.

Under $25

There are a lot of great wines in this price range as well.  It seems to be the point when Pinot Noir starts getting good.

This $24.99 wine is out of New Zealand and is a wonderful expression of Pinot Noir from this region.  It’s very earthy and well structured, with a great lasting impression on the palate.

Another great wine under $25 is this Zinfandel from the Lodi region of California.  7 Deadly Zins.  Made by brothers, Michael and David Phillips, who comes from a family that has been making wine in this region since 1850.  This was a close second for my choice of which wine to have with my BBQ ribs tonight.  This too is a great wine for all foods BBQ!

Under $35

We are going to stay in California, while I introduce you to my favorite steak wine.  The Beringer Knights Valley Cabernet Sauvignon is structured so well with distinct tannins and fruit that come alive on your palate.  A great wine to pair with beef, stews and other hearty foods, this wine is constantly being given 90 – 93 Points by wine critics.

Under $50

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Coming in at $50 is last week’s wine of the week.  This Pangea Syrah was just magnificent.

Another favorite under $50 is from Oregon.  I think there are some Pinot Noir wines coming out of Oregon that are just as good as those in Burgundy.  Domaine Drouhin Roserock Pinot Noir is a beautiful expression of this great grape.

And last but not least… if you really want a treat tonight.  I got to try this wine last week

Under $100

Speaking of great BBQ wines.  The E & E Black Pepper Shiraz is from the Barossa Valley region of Australia.  Both Wine  Spectator and Wine Align gave it 94 Points and it comes in at $90.  Full-bodied and rich, this interesting wine lingers on the palate, and is very delicious.

So that’s it for me for this week.

Till next week, Cheers

Darlene

Why Is This Wine Expensive?

Posted in Uncategorized on August 25, 2018 by darmyers

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Dating back to when I was studying to become a Sommelier, the #1 question has always been ‘What makes a good wine’?  My answe?  A wine that you like.  Question #2 has always been ‘Why are some wines more expensive than others’?  Now that answer is a lot tougher to answer.  Maybe not tough, but it definitely has more factors to it.

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Location, Location, Location!

Like real estate, the location where the grapes are grown play a huge role in the price of a wine.  Cabernet Sauvignon grapes coming out of France’s famous Bordeaux region are going to be more expensive than those coming out of Chile or Argentina.  When a region has hundreds of years of history of producing fine wines, they get to charge premium.

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Chateau Lafitte Rothschild was awarded #1 Vineyard in Bordeaux in 1855 and has never lost that status.   In damp conditions they are known to hire helicopters to hover over the vineyards to dry them out!  They will not always put out a vintage to boost the price of next year’s vintage.   Thats money!  And that is reflected in the price, as this bottle sellsfor about $1000.   Be careful though, because in 2012 police in China seized 10,000 bottles of counterfeit wine, with this label, but ir was counterfeit.

If you would like a taste of Bordeaux but don’t have $1000 to shell out for a bottle of wine, try this one.

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Vited one if the best Bordeaux wines under $30; this wine is $16.50, affordable for every wallet.  Chateau Courteillac was really turned around when Dominic Menert bought it in 1998,  and although he sold it in late 2016 to a large wine retailer in China, all the staff have stayed on to make this quality wine.

Labor!

Certain  vineyards in parts of the world are situated so that it is impossible to get equipment in to reap the harvest.   When that is the situation, you need to hire workers to go in and get the grapes.

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Check out the slopes on this Vineyard in Lombardy, France.  You’re not getting equipment to harvest those grapes!   As I said, champagne has many slopes.   Mini wine makers feel slopes are ideal for growing grapes because of drainage and light.

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It’s probably why this Ace of Spades Champagne starts at about $300 and can be as high as $650.

Now for my wine of the week….

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My friend Amber  had me taste this with her this past week, and I’m in love.  Vivino, the wine app, calls it one of the Top 25 Syrah wines in Chile.  Sometimes wines from Chile get the label of affordable, drinkable quaff at reasonable prices.  And don’t get me wrong, there are a lot of fine wines that come out of Chile under $20.  This wine sells for $52 here in Halifax, but it is so good, it is worth every penny.   We are actually getting a good deal, as the average price for this wine in the United States is $60 a bottle, and while doing research online about this wine, actually found a place that sells it for $85 a bottle.  So $52 is a bit of a steal, and the flavors are fantastic with a great finish that stays with you.

Well, thats it for me this week

Till next week, Cheers

Darlene

Wine A Little, Wine A Lot

Posted in Uncategorized on August 18, 2018 by darmyers

0FFEB635-A4E5-4D50-BDB1-16676F76A8C4My apologies to my family and friends who have had to endure me complaining about the high temperatures over the past few weeks. I’m sorry, but extremely high temperatures are no different than extremely low temperatures. They both suck!  I have been vacationing with family in town and there have been times I have missed the air conditioning at work.  I’ve still managed to enjoy a glass of wine here and there.

 

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My parents and I were invited to supper at the place of fabulous friends, the Golden Girls, some of my favourite people in the world.  We bought this wine and my Mom loved it, so we bought it again. My mom loves Chardonnay and this fabulous find is from Chile’s most established and well known Vineyard, Concha y Toro,   It’s a triple white blend of Chardonnay, Pinot Grigio and Pinot Blanc. A fantastic wine for under $17 and super food friendly.  Because of the three different grape varietals, it would pair well with a wide range if foods.  We enjoyed it all on its own, playing a few ganes of cards.

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While visiting the Anapolis Valley with my parents, we stopped into the beautiful Lightfoot and Wolfville Vineyard.  It was my first time visiting the location but not the first time enjoying their spectacular wines.  I did however try their version of Tidal Bay fir the first time later that day.

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Tidal Bay is a wine that many Nova Scotia Vineyards produce with guidance from the Wine Association of Nova Scotia, and each Tidal Bay is a little different.  They do, however, reflect the terroir of Nova Scotia and is designed to pair well with seafood.  It also pairs well with a wide variety of tapas and appetizers.  This is a wonderful version of Tidal Bay from a wonderful organic Vineyard.

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My nuece surprised us all with a visit from Ontario, with her twins Abigail and Quentin.  It was great for my parents seeing their great grandchildren and we had a fantastic week.

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And now for my wine of the week…

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When I was in California, visiting the Coppola Vineyard was one of the highlights.  Getting 95 points at the California State Wine Fair, thus fantastic wine is under $20.   When Francis Ford Coppola was growing up, wine was a part of their daily life, so he designed this wine meant to be enjoyed every day.  Gorgeous flavours of plum, mocha and cherries, it’s so good I went back and bought two more.

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That’s it for this week

Till next week, Cheers

Darlene

It’s Wine-Thirty Folks

Posted in Uncategorized on August 4, 2018 by darmyers

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It’s a long weekend here in Nova Scotia, with Monday being the Natal Day holiday.  Do you find in the Summer everything feels like a reason to get together and enjoy a beverage?  It’s like Summer is one big patio party, and I’m OK with that.  One of my favorite things about Summer, and life in general, is getting together with friends and family and enjoying a glass of good wine.  Here’s a few you may want to try.

Dona

How about a great valued Malbec from Argentina?  90 Points by many wine critics including Robert Parker and priced under $18.  Yes, please!

Saint Clair Riesling

I had the opportunity to recently try this Riesling from the Saint Clair Family Estate, and it was one of the best I’ve had in a while.  Other wine critics seem to agree as it has been awarded as high as 93 Points.  I had the pleasure to meet Saint Clair winemaker Kyle Thompson a couple of years back.  A very sweet and very talented guy. He is the Senior Winemaker at Saint Clair and I enjoyed trying a few wines with him.

And now for my wine of the week….

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Would you look at all the golden circle surrounding this wine bottle!  Those are awards.   This beautiful baby was a birthday gift from one of my best friends, Sandra   Voted the mist admired wine brand in the world, Concha y Toro celebrates 135 years in business this year.  This robust Cabernet Sauvignon is full-bodied with distinctive tannins and notes of leather and cedar.  This 2015 is a keeper with lots of aging potential.

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Enjoy the weekend, dont drink and drive, and play it safe in the heat

Till next week, Cheers

Darlene

Exercise and Wine

Posted in Uncategorized on July 28, 2018 by darmyers

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There is a lot of truth in the abovce cartoon.  Lets face it, drinking wine is always more fun than exercising!  I am in the process of training for a half marathon, my very first one.  Last year I ran my first 16.2K when I ran the Tely 10 in St. John’s, Newfoundland.  I started running, very slowly, 4 years ago, and it’s the one exercise I continue to love.  It will never replace my love of wine, but it’s up there.  And the best part, there are more and more studies that show drinking wine and exercise are both very good for you.

Wine Running

We all know cardio is good for your heart, said to strengthen the heart and blood vessels and contributes to a healthy blood flow.  It also lowers blood pressure and cholesterol.  I always knew wine was good for the soul.  However, the Mayo Clinic has come forward and said red wine and something in red wine called Resveratrol might be heart healthy.  Wine also contains another antioxidant called Proanthocyanidins that is said to be good for the heart.  ** Please keep in mind, everything in moderation, including wine.

So raise a glass my wine-loving friends, and Cheers to a healthy heart.    Here’s a few new wines that got my heart beating faster in the past couple of weeks.

Liberado

My work colleague, Marc, told me he and his wife have been really enjoying this wine out of Spain, so I decided to try it.  The Liberado Espana has a beautifully colorful label celebrating the movida madrilena, a cultural movement that allowed the Spanish community to express themselves through art, music, food, and more!  It’s a blend of Tempranillo and Cabernet Sauvignon and it’s on sale right now here in Nova Scotia.  It’s delicious and easy to drink, with notes of spice and medium-bodied fruit.  This wine is under $13 right now and is a steal of a deal.  Go grab some, before the price goes up to $15 again.  And it’s a good deal at $15.  I love finding tasty wines at great prices that allows you to enjoy a glass of wine on a Tuesday guilt-free!

This was a treat when I tried it, because it was a 2012 vintage, and it’s a blend of 90% Tempranillo and 10% Graciano.  Graciano is only grown in Spain, in the Rioja region, and is harvested in late October.  The grape is known for its deep red color and the ability to age very well.  This is a treat wine at $33 a bottle, and if you are not a big fan of oak, you may want to stay away from this wine.  Personally I liked the oak and cedar notes, and it’s full-bodied and it would made a great pairing with a hearty beef stew.

And now for my wine of the week…

Suret

Straight out of Paso Robles California and Secret Cellars comes a new Cabernet Sauvignon that I just loved.  It is 91% Cabernet Sauvignon and 9% Petite Verdot, grown in an area with warm days and cool nights, which is optimum for growing grapes.  Then it is aged very subtly in a combination of French and American oak, and the American oak only accounts for 15%.  This produces a very smooth wine where the fruit shines through and not the oak.  It comes in at around the $26 price mark, which is excellent, and if you’re going to treat yourself to a good cut of meat like steak, pair it with an exceptional wine.  I suggest this particular wine.  It’s a 10 in my opinion!

Wine text drunk

I saw this yesterday and it made me chuckle, so I thought I would share it.

Have a great weekend, and till next week, Cheers

Darlene

 

A Grape Debate

Posted in Uncategorized on July 21, 2018 by darmyers

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The wine industry is always changing.  2017 saw some frightening changes with the massive wildfires in the Napa region of California, and what that will mean for California wine.  2018 saw massive frost hit late in some Nova Scotia vineyards which saw a loss of 50% of the crop.  Sometimes only the ‘bad’ news is reported in the wine world.  I’m going to focus this blog on the positive changes.

  1.  Magnums and boxed wine sales are growing! 

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People are buying wine and more of it.  The sale of Magnums, which is equivalent to two bottles of wine, are on the rise, as is boxed wine, which contain up to 4 bottles of wine.  Champagne has been selling magnums (2 bottles), Jereboams (4 bottles), all the way up to the Nabuchadnezzar (20 bottles).  It only makes sense both socially and economically.  Buying wine in bigger formats tends to mean savings at the cash register.  And who wants to run out of wine?  Not me, that’s for sure.

2.  Rose wines are on the rise.

All I can say about this news is…. YAY!  It doesn’t come as much of a surprise for us rose wine lovers, but it’s good news to hear it’s on the rise.  Rose is perfect with appetizers, or for just sitting on your patio, and this local rose from Benjamin Bridge, is a winner.  It’s their Cabernet Franc rose and its dry and crisp with lovely grapefruit flavors.  I encourage my blog readers to give rose a chance, if you are one of the few that hasn’t yet.  When I bring one to a wine tasting, it surprises when I hear people say “I didn’t think I would like rose”.

3.  Massive growth will be in sparkling wines like Prosecco

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Again, this doesn’t come as a real surprise to me.  And although Champagne style wines will see growth, the big growth will come in the sparkling wines like Prosecco and Spanish Cava’s, like this one.

This is one of my favorites right now.  The Villa di Conchi Cava from Spain is so easy to drink and has no bitter aftertaste.  It comes in a beautiful blue box, which makes it wonderful for gift giving, and is just $17.99.  This is going to be my favorite gift to give this year.

And now for my wine of the week…

Orca

I had this wine this past week after trying it in the tasting station at my local store… Not to be confused with the Orca wines out of Washington State, this hails from the Rhone region in France, and it is 90% Grenache with 10% Syrah for a super smooth easy to drink red.  I’m not sure if you are aware, but the longer a grape stays on the vine, the smoother the wine, tends to be the rule of thumb. These grapes didn’t get harvested until late October, which is unusually late, but makes for an unusually smooth wine. A great buy at just $22.99, and a great barbecue wine as well.

Leftover wine

I always laugh when people ask me how long they can keep a certain type of wine.  My response tends to be ‘Not sure, I’ve never really had the problem of leftover wine”!

Have a great weekend, till next week Cheers.

Darlene

Wine Man of the Year

Posted in Uncategorized on July 14, 2018 by darmyers

Eduardo Chadwick

This man is Eduardo Chadwick, and was recently named Decanter Magazine’s Wine Man of the Year.  He is one of the reason’s Chilean wine has hit the world stage.  The reason I’m telling you this, is that we can get some of his magnificent wines here in Canada.  An Industrial Engineer by trade, and learning about wine from both his father and studying in Bordeaux, this pioneer of wine set out to prove that wines coming out of Chile were of the finest quality and feels the best is yet to come.  Let’s take a look at some of the wines Eduardo Chadwick is involved in.

Errazuriz is one of the labels he is involved in, and Errazuriz, back in the mid-1990’s,  was a joint venture between Eduardo Chadwick and Robert Mondavi.  Robert Mondavi was all about quality and so is Eduardo Chardwick.

Errazuriz Estate Cabernet

Errazuriz has a full line of wines here in Canada, I counted 15 at my local wine store.  They range from the Estate Cabernet Sauvignon which is affordable for everyone at $16 a bottle…

Don Maximiano

To the award winning Don Maximiano which Mr. Chadwick has put up against some of the great French Bordeaux wines in the world.  He is a descendant of Don Maximiano, who founded the winery.  This beauty sells for $85 here in Canada, but he thinks it’s as good as a good French Bordeaux selling for triple the price.  Although this wine is 67% Cabernet Sauvignon, there are other varietals involved.  15% Carmenere, 8% Malbec, 7% Petit Verdot and 3% Cabernet Franc make up this fantastic Bordeaux style blend. The Errazuriz wines come from the Aconcagua Valley in Chile, just north of Santiago.  I love Errazuriz wines, I think they are great wines at great prices.

Arboleda

Another name associated with Eduardo Chadwick is Arboleda.  We have two of the Arboleda wines here locally, and one is the Carmenere with the other being the Cabernet Sauvignon.  These wines also come from the Aconcagua Valley and Eduardo Chadwick, along with Robert Mondavi, started Arboleda in 1999. The Carmenere is less than $22 here in Nova Scotia and is a great silky wine with balsamic notes and very well-balanced.   This vineyard was one of the  first wineries in Chile to be certified under Chile’s National Sustainability Code that guarantees environmentally friendly production, social responsibility towards the community and economic viability.

And for my wine of the week, although it’s not made by Eduardo Chadwick, Decanter Magazine did give this wine 96 points.

Zonin 2 Zonin 1

I think this is the first time I have seen a wine that has been given 96 Points, that costs less than $20.  It was a fantastic wine.  I just love Valpolicella Ripasso, because the wine from the Valpolicella grape is passed over the Amarone skins and the must and soaks up all that great intense Amarone flavor.  The grapes are also hand-picked, which is almost unheard of in a bottle of wine less than $20, and only the best are used.  This medium-bodied wine with hints of spice is a great accompaniment to just about anything you put on the dinner table.  I enjoyed it while barbecuing while listening to a few tunes.  Perfect!

Wine is like duct tape

Have a great weekend everyone.

Till next week, Cheers

Darlene

 

 

 

Come Summer With Me!

Posted in Uncategorized on July 7, 2018 by darmyers

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Much of Canada is experiencing a crazy heat wave this week.  I feel for my fellow Canadians in Ontario and Quebec as they have experienced temperatures in the 40’s.  So far, in Atlantic Canada, it hit 38-degrees on Wednesday, and I’m hoping it doesn’t get any hotter than that.  I like Summer as much as the next person, but extreme heat, like extreme Winter weather is no fun.  There’s not a lot you can do outside when it’s that hot.  Solution:  Stay inside with the fans and the AC and enjoy a glass of wine or a cold beverage of any kind.

I know the blog is called ‘Wine – In My Opinion’, but this wine lover also likes to enjoy an ice cold beer every once in a while.  Nova Scotia has exploded with some fantastic craft beers and sales in craft beer in my province grew by 50% last year.  Well this item is made in Moncton, New Brunswick, but is sold here in Halifax.  I’m going to start this week’s wine blog off with an icy cold Crafty Radler from Pumphouse Brewery in New Brunswick.  This Radler, flavored with grapefruit and tangerine is beyond delicious and the hops and malt are very balanced.  I tried this beer this past week, and even if you don’t think you like beer, you’ll probably like this one.  And if this particular Radler isn’t available, there is a wide assortment of refreshing Radler beers available.

Now let’s get back to the reason you’re here… the wine!

Cab France

All around the office I’ve heard people say they are not cooking, except for the BBQ, as it’s too warm to put on the oven.  BBQ?  Here’s your wine.  It’s not often you see Cabernet Franc on its own, it’s usually part of a Bordeaux blend, or a Bordeaux-style blend.  If done right, it can be delicious on its own, like this one from Chile.  As a matter of fact, the wine maker is from Bordeaux France, François Lurton, who happens to be a 5th Generation winemaker.  You know he is making good wine. This is another fine example of excellent wine being produced in the Colchagua Valley in Chile, and this fine wine sells for under $17.  The Araucano Reserve Cabernet Franc, try it!

And now for my wine of the week….

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The Four Vines Biker Zinfandel hails from Paso Robles in California and is a gem, in my opinion.  Burgers, ribs, padta… there isn’t too much you can’t pair with this wine. Full-bodied with hints of pepper,  after 30 years of research and DNA testing, it has been confirmed that Zinfandel is identical to Italy’s Primitivo.  Which means the grape variety is even older than originally thought because Primitivo originally cane to Italy from Croatia.  Whatever the history, this is a great wine that comes in under $30!

That’s it for this week, stay safe out there!  And remember to keep your pets cool.

Till next week, Cheers

Darlene

 

 

Canada Day 2018

Posted in Uncategorized on June 30, 2018 by darmyers

Canada Day 2018

Tomorrow is Canada Day and each year I do a wine blog highlighting Canadian wines.  Every year, in my opinion, the selection and quality if wine coming from Canada  just gets better and better.  Here is a prime example.

See ya later ranch

The See Ya Later Ranch Red Blend out of the Okanagan Valley in British Columbia was almost my wine of the week.  This is a blend in every sense of the word,  Comprised of 30% Shiraz, 24% Zinfandel, 18% Petit Verdot, 16% Tempranillo, and 12% Merlot.  This is a flavorful wine and if you’re planning a visit, the vineyard is also extremely dog friendly.  The original owner, Major Hugh Fraser, was not only a dog lover, one of the charities he was very passionate about was the SPCA.  He was also very passionate about wine and started planting grapes on this plot of land in the Okanagan Valley in 1920.  If you’re planning to start the barbecue this weekend, and let’s face it, who isn’t, this is the wine that will go with everything you’re serving this long weekend.  I highly recommend it!

Cab Franc Rose

Apparently a humid mass is supposed to hover over Nova Scotia this long weekend, and temperatures could hit +36-degrees.  That’s hot for here.  A great way to beat the heat, in my opinion, is rose wine, and this one from local producer Benjamin Bridge is a winner!  Cabernet Franc is an elegant red wine, so it comes as no surprise it makes a fantastic rose wine.  The 2016 vintage of this wine also represents Benjamin Bridge’s first  step toward’s its conversion to organic viticulture.  Beautiful flavors of strawberry and oranges, this is a perfect patio wine, and is also extremely food friendly.

And now for my wine of the week….

Mission 5

The reason this particular wine nosed out the See Ya Later Blend as the wine of the week was price point.  From Mission Hill Vineyards in British Columbia, half the grapes from this wine comes from the Osoyoos region and the other half from Oliver BC.  But the Estate Series Cabernet Merlot from Mission Hill represents the finest grapes from the region and this Vineyard.  The name might suggest it only contains Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot, however, it also contains small amounts of Petite Verdot and Cabernet Franc.  These 4 grapes make for a spectacular wine, and this wine sells for under $20.  It’s a Bordeaux style blend and Mission Hill has done a wonderful job with this wine.  Grilling a steak this Canada Day weekend?  Try a bottle of this wine, you’ll love it.

Wine Above Average

Here’s to an above average Canada Day Long weekend.  Stay safe and please do not drink and drive.

Till next week, Cheers

Darlene

 

 

Hello Summer!

Posted in Uncategorized on June 23, 2018 by darmyers

Wine Summer 2

It was looking iffy for a while, when parts of Canada were getting snow in June, but Summer has finally arrived.  Don’t you just love Summer?  Sunny days, patios, barbecue and great wine. Don’t let anyone tell you a person can’t drink red wine in the Summer, because I’m here to prove them wrong.  Wines like Pinot Noir and Merlot are great Summer wines.  You can serve them slightly chilled, because if it’s 20+ more degrees, you definitely want to cool that wine down a bit.

Speaking of Merlot, here’s a new Merlot I tried this past week.

Roche Merlot

I went to my friend Sandra’s home, because we are watching the Big Little Lies series together.  She bought this to the table Thursday evening.  I really enjoyed it.  It had more structure and it was more tannic than what you would normally think for a Merlot, and the oak was very evident.   I was surprised to discover there was no Cabernet Sauvignon in this wine.  One of the things I will tell you is that this wine is not filtered!  And Sandra got a big mouthful of sediment when we finished the wine.  It hails from the Rhone Valley in France, and would make a good BBQ wine.

Here’s another great red wine perfect for Summer, and it happens to be another new Merlot I tried this past week.

Lunghetta

This is the CA Lunghetta Merlot from Italy and it’s a well-structured fruity wine that comes in around the $15 mark.  This is from the Veneto region of Italy, which of course is home to Venice.  Veneto is more known for Prosecco and the Italian Spritzers with Aperol, which I fell in love with while in Italy.  This is a very nice Merlot from Italy and goes great with that Summer pizza, pasta and barbecue fare.

And now for my wine of the week…

Montgo

I have to tell you about this fantastic new wine I tried last week through Amber at the NSLC and then bought it last night to have with my BBQ ribs.  I love old vine wine, and you see that in Zinfandel a lot.  Well the Montgo Monastrell comes from old vines and it is breathtakingly good.  This wine definitely focuses on the fruit, as it has only seen 6 months aging in subtle French oak.  Just long enough to enhance the smoothness without the oak being dominant.  Montgo, means mountainous, and the grapes were hand-picked which is very unusual for a wine that sells here for $19.  Monastrell is the Spanish grape variety also known as Mourvedre in France.  Recommend for Summer!

Wine Summer

Whatever is in your glass this Summer, enjoy it!  Our Summers seem so short here in Canada, enjoy it while you can.

Till next week, Cheers

Darlene

 

Fun Wine Tasting Part 2

Posted in Uncategorized on June 16, 2018 by darmyers

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Last week I was telling you about the fun wine tasting I facilitated last Friday night.  Last  weeks wine blog covered the sparkling, the white and the rose wine that we enjoyed!   This week I would like to tell you about some of the red wines we enjoyed.

Boabrisa

The first red wine was from Portugal featuring a grape I had tried the previous evening for the first time,  Trincadeira.  Although I was trying it for the very first time, apparently it is the oldest and most planted grape variety in Portugal!   This wine comes in at the $20 mark, is very smooth, with my only complaint being it doesn’t have a very long finish.   Many people in the room thought the same way, that is soon as you swallow the wine, the flavour was gone from your pallet.  Still an easy to drink wine for $20!

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The Moma Red  was probably the clear winner among the crowd for the evening.   Everyone loved this wine.  This easy to drink wine is a blend of Sangiovese, Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot and is a surprising $20.  When Umberto Cesari set out to make quality wine in a region known for quantity, not quality, some people thought he was crazy.   But he did make quality wine and this is definitely one of them.

Here is my wine of the week…

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I can’t believe I forgot to take a picture of the actual wine bottle, but here it is with wine critic James suckling’s 97 point rating!   This is a blend of Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Petite Verdot, Sangiovese and Syrah.  Full-bodied, yet balanced.  We drank it fairly young, and it has lots of room for cellaring to drink in the future.  At $78, it’s a treat and if  you want to start a cellar collection, this is a great starting wine!

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I get asked all the time how long you can save a wine once it’s opened   Here is a great chart to help you.

Till next week, cheers

Darlene

 

 

 

Wine Tasting Fun Part 1

Posted in Uncategorized on June 9, 2018 by darmyers

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Last night I facilitated another wine tasting, and it was my second one with this fun group.  I really enjoy doing wine tastings with this particular group of people  because I believe I have found people who love wine as much as I do!  Now that’s something!

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We had 27 enthusiastic wine drinkers at this event and we had a lot of fun trying some new wines, with some clear favourites.

 

Lightfoot and Wolfville

The first wine on the menu, was one I’ve written about before.  It’s the 100% organic Lightfoot and Wolfville   Rose wine made right here in Nova Scotia, Canada.  This is one of my favorite rose wines, and it’s how we kick-started the evening.  Rose is a great appetizer wine and the social group had laid out wonderful charcuterie boards around the room, with cheese, meats and crackers.  This wine went very well with the food, but someone also pointed out it’s a great patio wine for the Summer.  It’s only $20 and will probably sell out before end of Summer.

 

Kung fu Riesling

Here’s another wine that went well with the charcuterie foods.  The  Kung Fu Riesling from Washington State, a delicious Riesling that is just $23 a bottle.   I believe this Riesling surprised a few people because many people were expecting a Riesling to be super sweet  Riesling, as my regular readers know, is my favorite wine to pair with spicy food, Thai food, and Chinese cuisine .  This particular Riesling is not overly sweet and has a wonderful acidity with nice citrus flavors on the palate.

As we come to the end of the whites, this was my wine of the week…

Villa de Conchi

Here’s a new wine I haven’t written about before, and one of the clear favourites of the night.  Villa di Conchi sparkling Cava from Spain is such an easy to drink sparkling wine.   We are entering lobster season here in Nova Scotia and this would be a great wine to pair with shellfish.   It can be challenging to find a cool climate in Spain but the section where these grapes are grown are surrounded by the Montserrat Mountains, and cool climate makes for some great Cava. This sparkling wine was very crisp and refreshing on the pallet and it didn’t have that biscuit aftertaste.  I loved it, and at $17.99 it is an amazing sparkling wine done in the traditional method.  It also comes in a beautiful gift box and would make an amazing gift.

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Next week I will share the reds we enjoyed, including a red that someone shared with the group from Tuscany, and a dessert wine done different

Till next week, Cheers

Darlene

 

Sunshine, Horse Races & Wine

Posted in Uncategorized on June 2, 2018 by darmyers

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This past week I was in Prince Edward Island for our annual Maritime sales conference.  It entailed lots of sunshine, lots of learning, a trip to the horse races and copious amounts of wine!  Good times!

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It was my first time betting on horse racing and I have to say we all had a lot of fun.   I work with an amazing group of people and I always look forward to these few days away with my colleagues .

Now let’s talk about some wine …

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This was my first time trying this Merlot out of Chile.  I didn’t buy it at our NSLC store,  but I bought it at a boutique wine store here in Halifax called The Rockhead. Where ever you live, you may have to Google it, to see where this wine is available.  When I first purchased this wine I didn’t realize how prominent the Maola name was in Chile.   The partners of this Vineyard own three others, and have over 35 years experience making and exporting wine out of Chile.    I think they did a great job on this Merlot, its juicy with great texture.   Along with some bold fruit flavours, there is also nice spicy notes on the palate, which will make it a great wine to accompany your next BBQ.   And it’s only $15 a bottle which makes it a great value .

And now for my wine of the week…

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This was a wine I have been saving and yes, you are seeing the name Rothschild.   Château Lafitte Rothschild has been the #1 rated vineyard in France since the Paris Expo in 1867.  The name Rothschild has even been known to date back to 1224 when the monks were making wine in France.   The cheapest bottle of Château Lafitte Rothschild to be found here in Nova Scotia is $1400, and they go up from there.   You read that right, one thousand four hundred dollars.  Not a typo!  You can imagine what a treat it was to find this bottle, a partnership between  Chateau Lafitte Rothschild and the late Dr. Rupert  Anton of South Africa.  This Cabernet Sauvignon out of South Africa is an incredible value.  This 2012 vintage is perfect to drink now, it’s elegant, full-bodied and has hints of roasted coffee.   And you get to taste a bit of Rothschild for just $35 a bottle, so I think this is an affordable  treat!

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I am conducting a winetasting next Friday night, I’m really looking forward to trying some new wines with this group.   I’ll be sure and share those experiences with you next Saturday

Till next week, Cheers

Darlene

National Wine Day

Posted in Uncategorized on May 26, 2018 by darmyers

What a week it’s been!

Royal Wedding

First, there was the Royal Wedding.  My friends and I loved watching these two lovebirds tie the knot.  It was a beautiful wedding.

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We celebrated in fine style, with mimosas and a fine feast.  A grand time was had by all.

The very next day I then ran the 10K portion of Halifax’s famous race, the Bluenose.  A gruelling course with lots of hills, but we did it.

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And then of course yesterday was National Wine Day…

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A very full week, which entailed lots of celebrating, and a glass or two of wine.  There are two wines I would like to tell you about this week.

House of Mandela

The first one is the 2012 Cabernet Sauvignon from the House of Mandela.  This is the Royal Reserve and I tried the 2012 version, and in my opinion, the 2012 is ready to drink now.  I bought the 2014 because I would like to keep it for a while.  This is a good South African Cabernet and my bottle is special to me because it was signed by Nelson Mandela’s granddaughter Tukwini Mandela.  Tukwini, and her mom Dr. Makaziwe Mandela, started the House of Mandela in 2010, launching the first wine in 2013.  As a négociant, House of Mandela does not maintain its own vineyards, but purchases grapes and juice from small farms and markets them under its label.  The Royal Reserve bottles really focus on stringent quality standards. This wine is not overly tannic, and quite smooth on the palate, and the story behind the wine is also so interesting.  The label has the 100th sticker, representing what would have been Nelson Mandela’s 100th birthday on July 18th of this year.

And now for my wine of the week…

Vigne Vecchie Primitivo

I tried this wine on Thursday evening and honestly, it’s probably the best Primitivo I have ever tasted coming out of Italy.  In a word, WOW!  Fantastic cherry aromas on the nose with spicy fruit on the palate.  This is a tantalizing full-bodied wine and I’ll be treating myself to this one again soon.  It’s a treat wine, coming in at $44 here in eastern Canada, but worth every penny.  I loved this wine and it definitely earns the title of my wine of the week.

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I hope everyone has a great weekend.  Thanks for reading, and I’ll be in touch next week.

Cheers

Darlene

 

Hello Again

Posted in Uncategorized on May 19, 2018 by darmyers

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This is probably the longest I’ve gone without writing a wine blog, but for a couple of weeks, I was here, in sunny Barbados.  It was a very relaxing vacation

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Relaxing by the pool (this is my nephew Riley)….

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Swimming and snorkeling in the ocean….

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And sometimes, just chilling.  Went with my sister Jackie, her husband Craig, son Riley, and her brother-in-law Guy and his wife Tracy.  The 6 of us had a blast, it wasn’t our first trip together.  And of course there was some wine consumed.

However, heads up, if you’re planning a trip, the wine is expensive.  I thought we paid a lot for wine here in Canada.  It’s nothing compared to Barbados.  Many things were expensive in Barbados, including groceries.  It’s an interesting island, as it’s British, so they drive on the opposite side of the road.  And they all drive like they stole the vehicle they are in.  A drive around Barbados is like a heart-stopping roller coaster ride.  I’m surprised our navigation system didn’t say ‘Stop in 300 yards and let me out”!!

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It’s a good thing we had a nice pool.  It was an opportunity to relax after the harrowing car ride.  I did, however, find it really neat all the homes are named, no matter what the size.  But the best part about Barbados, was the people.  They are super nice, and they love Canadians.

So, let’s get to the wine this week….

One of the wines I would like to tell you about this week is this beauty..

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When I got back from my trip, which was an ungodly hour in the morning, my friend Sandra had put some spaghetti sauce in my fridge, dropped off some spaghetti, and had this wine waiting for me to enjoy.  What a treat!  So I waited to open it until I saw her Monday evening.  This is the Dile Rosso wine from the Piedmont region in Italy.  It is Nebbiolo and Barbera dominant, two grape varieties well known in the Piedmont region.  The Santero Family, which produces the wine, started making wine in 1958, so they know what they are dong.  This is luscious!  It was juicy and rich with gorgeous cherry flavors and a hint of spice.  The bottle is sculpted so that your hand fits perfectly around it, making it easy to pour.  4 fingers on one side, and your thumb on the other.  Brilliant.  It was so good I bought another one and enjoyed it last night!

My wine of the week is one we can’t get here in Nova Scotia…

Gnarly Head 1924

The Gnarly Head 1924 Limited Edition Double Black Red Wine Blend is spectacular.  It comes in at 15% alcohol so it can pack a punch.  The name pays homage to the year the family opened the vineyard – 1924.  This wine is full-bodied, rich and really coats the palate.  The wine finishes with flavors of pepper and cocoa, and the winemaker suggests this wine for barbecue ribs and juicy bacon cheeseburgers.  I tend to agree.

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None of the ladies that went to Barbados eat fish, but the gentlemen enjoyed this event.  My sister Jackie and my friend Tracy, pictured above, walked around this area of Barbados while the men experienced the famous Oistin’s Fish Market, always listed as one of the top things to do in Barbados.  My nephew ate all kinds of new fish for the first time, and this lively place which featured a bunch of different eateries and music, was packed on the Friday night we were there.

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

Darlene

Vacation Time

Posted in Uncategorized on April 28, 2018 by darmyers

Barbados

So in three days time, here’s where you will find me.  There won’t be a wine blog for the next two Saturday’s, because I’ll be here.  On the beach in Barbados.  I’m very much looking forward to my vacation and I’m really looking forward to trying some new wine while I’m there.  I know there are several wine stores I’ll be checking out.  Here are some new wines I’ve tried here at home recently.

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Wine Critic James Suckling gave this wine 91 Points and called it a best buy!  Why?  Because its very good wine at a great price.  When you can buy wine that wine critics give 90+ points to, at under $20 a bottle, that’s a best buy.  This is a very interesting blend of 33% Merlot, 33% Cabernet Sauvignon and 35% Sangiovese.  This is a great wine for all your favorite Italian dishes, pizza, pasta or any meal you’re having meat with.  I loved the flavors in this wine and would be great with food or all by itself.

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BBQ steak alert!  Chile is putting out some spectacular Cabernet Sauvignon and this is no exception.  Steak is not cheap, even if you’re doing it yourself on the barbecue.  Steak is a treat for me, so when I have it, I buy a really good cut of meat and I buy a really good wine to go with it.  This wonderful Chilean Cabernet is $25.99 but worth every penny.  I enjoyed the 2014 vintage and the winemaker says the Maipo Alto region of Chile is known for growing complex and unique Cabernet grapes.  James Suckling, who gave the Vitiano 91 points, gave this wine and this vintage 93 points.  Yes, it’s that good.

And now for my wine of the week….

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My wine blogs tend to be about good value wines, with the occasional treat wine.  I love sharing when I find a very good wine at a fantastic price.  The other two wines I wrote about today, all could have made the wine of the week.  I chose this one because its another 90+ point find at a fantastic price.  It’s $18.99 and I had the 2013 vintage, which means this fine Italian wine has been aging for 5 years.  Which would explain why it was so smooth.  It’s a beautiful Tuscan blend of Sangiovese, Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon, which means it goes with everything.  I loved it and will definitely buy it again.

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Vacationing with this fun gal, my sister Jackie, and her family.  The next blog will be coming at you Saturday May 19th.

Cheers, Darlene

World Malbec Day

Posted in Uncategorized on April 21, 2018 by darmyers

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This past Tuesday, on April 17th we celebrated World Malbec Day.  The day the entire world comes together to celebrate Argentina’s premier grape varietal.   There are celebrations in all corners of the earth, from Australia to Africa, from Germany to right here in Nova Scotia and throughout Canada.

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Although Malbec is now known as the grape of Argentina, it’s origins hail from France.  At one time it was one of the grape varieties allowed in a Bordeaux blend, and was also planted in the Cahors region of Southern France.  It fell out of favor in Bordeaux after the great frost of 1956.  Even though the frost hit Cahors as well, Cahors replanted Malbec.   Bordeaux started planting Cabernet Franc and more Merlot.  AOC regulations say a red wine from Cahors has to contain 70% Malbec with the remainder being Merlot and Tannat.

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World Malbec Day is celebrated on April 17th because it is on that day Argentinian President Dominigo Faustino Sarmiento decided to make it his mission to transform the Argentina wine industry.  And while Malbec plantings were declining in France, they were sky-rocketing in Argentina.

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Let’s start with my favourite Malbec.  This wine is the epitome of why Argentina has risen to fame in the Malbec world.  Well structured on the palate with gorgeous fruit and because it was aged for  9 months in 2-year old French oak, it’s smooth without being oaky!  It’s one of the best Malbec wines I have ever had.

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The Achaval Ferrer is $33 a bottle, and while worth every penny, we aren’t drinking that every night of the week.  Also hailing from Argentina is this Catena Alamos Malbec, a family that has been making wine for 100 years.  This is considered a high altitude wine, which means the grapes are grown at high altitudes, which many Argentinian wines are.  The Vineyard says it helps make the wine bottled poetry, and at just $16.99, you can enjoy this poem any night of the week.

And now for my wine of the week, we are going to continue with our bottled poetry theme…

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This is Message In A Bottle, the wine from Sting and his wife Trudie Styler.   They have recently bought a home in Tuscany and ventured into making wine.  They named their wine after his 1979 hit Message In A Bottle, by Sting’s band The Police.  It is 70% Sangiovese with Syrah and Merlot added in, and it is spectacular.   This is available here in Nova Scotia on a very limited basis so if you see one, be sure to pick it up .  Its the ultimate treat.

Thats it for this week

Till next week, Cheers

Darlene

Fun Wine Facts

Posted in Uncategorized on April 14, 2018 by darmyers

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I read a fair bit about wine.  Every year or so I write a wine blog about some of the more interesting things I have read about wine, or some of the ‘cutesy’ things even I didn’t know.  Some things I find very amusing… like fun fact #2172!

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And I thought I drank a butt-load of wine.  And other things I have read, I found a little creepy.

In Vietnam, if you are in the know and ask your waiter for a glass of cobra wine. They will serve you rice-wine covered with snake blood that is killed on the spot.

Well, take a guess who won’t be ordering cobra wine in Vietnam!

Here’s something I found interesting.

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This makes me think of a wonderful California wine I tried recently

You know I love a good Zinfandel and this Four Vines did not disappoint.  I have had it a couple of times, just to be sure.  It will probably come as no surprise it hails from Lodi California, Lodi is after all Zinfandel Country in California.  What I find unique about Four Vines is that the vines are between 30 and 70 years old, and because they are older, they yield fewer grapes, but the grapes have more intense flavor.  They also pick them during the night, which is being done more and more.  Why?  The sunlight affects the sugar content in wine and picking at night will help avoid any surprises during fermentation.  It also helps with the energy bills.  This fruit forward Zinfandel has notes of black pepper, and you have to try it at your next barbecue.

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Now I’m no spring chicken myself, and I’m not much for chocolate, but if wine helps me live longer – Cheers.  Or as they say in Ireland ‘Slainte’!  Something interesting I read lately was that in the 1940’s grapes were not the main crop in the Napa Valley region of California, it was prunes!  Boy, am I ever glad that changed.  Because we would not be able to have this Napa Valley beauty.

The Sterling Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon shines at $34.99 a bottle.  It’s rich and seductive and the grapes come from 14 different vineyards in the Napa Valley region, which gives this wine a very interesting complex nature.  Harry Hansen is the winemaker at Sterling, and he does a wonderful job crafting the perfect steak wine.

And last but not least…. Wine does not make you fat!!  Best.  News.  Ever!  While beer can give people the ‘beer belly’, there are studies that show people who consume one glass of wine a day tend to carry 10 lbs less than people who don’t drink at all.

So on that note, let’s enjoy my wine of the week..

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When people ask me where the best deals are coming from, Chile and Argentina tend to be at the top of the list.  I bought this for the cool label, I will buy it again because it’s very good.  It’s a blend of mostly Cabernet Sauvignon with Carmenere, Merlot and Cabernet Franc added, to make it a Chilean Bordeaux blend if you will.  Great flavors in this wine and it’s a winner this week because of the spectacular $15.79 price tag.  At that price, you can enjoy it any day of the week.

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Well, that’s it for me this week.  Thanks for reading, and hopefully you’ll share some of the fun wine facts with your friends.

Till next week, Cheers

Darlene

 

The Grape Adventure

Posted in Uncategorized on April 7, 2018 by darmyers

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I love to travel.  Every year I try for a trip to a different location.  I love meeting people from new cultures and trying the food from around the world.  I especially love trying the new wines.  Last year in Italy it was all about the wine, but I try to make my weekly wine experiences an adventure as well.  I never go a full week without trying a new wine.  Let’s go on a little wine adventure together, from the comfort of wherever you are reading this.

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One of my favourite travelling paerners is my sister Jackie.  We have travelled to many places like Aruba, Turks & Caicos, Bahamas and Florida, just to name a few.  A few years back we went to Hawaii, and while there I enjoyed many wines from California.

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Wines from Robert  Mondavi Winery were very abundant in Hawaii.  One of the wines I tried while there was this fabulous Maestro Red Blend.  Sadly, it’s not available in Canada where I live.  This wonderful blend of mostly Cabernet Sauvignon with some Cabernet Franc, Merlot and Petite Verdot is rich and luscious and one of the best Robert Mondavi wines I have ever  tried.

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On my bucket list of places to travel,  France!   And yesterday evening at a wine night here in my building,  I bought this beauty and shared it with a few friends.  This wine is 80 % Grenache and 20% Syrah and the Syrah is aged in French oak fir 12 months.  The Grenache was bright and fruity while the oak-aged Syrah added smoothness.  The best part?  This wine is $20 a bottle here in Nova Scotia, but when I searched it online, there were places this  wine was selling for as much ad $32 a bottle.

And my wine of the week is a steal of a deal….

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I counted this morning and I have 4 bottles of this wine in my wine rack, its that great of a deal.  When you try this wine, you will be shocked to know its $15 a bottle!   The country is Portugal and the grape is Touriga Franscesca.  If you’ve ever had wine from Portugal, chances are you’ve had Touriga Nacional,and the two grapes are related.  Touriga Fransceca or Franca, as it can be called, is lighter and fruitier.  It’s claim to fame is that it’s widely used to make port.  This wine is medium to full-bodied with hints of black pepper and its a great food wine or terrific all on its own!

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In a few weeks the adventure continues as I head to Barbados.  I wonder what the wine is going to be like!

Till next week, Cheers

Darlene

Easter Wine Pairings Simplified

Posted in Uncategorized on March 31, 2018 by darmyers

Wine Easter

Even the Easter bunny likes a glass of wine!  It’s Easter weekend, and a time when we get together with family and friends and enjoy a meal.  The fun thing about an Easter meal is that many people enjoy a wide variety of foods on this particular holiday.  Unlike Thanksgiving and Christmas, where it tends to be just turkey, people tend to get very creative for this holiday meal.

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If lamb is on the menu this Easter, may I suggest a Cabernet Sauvignon.  You may be roasting the lamb or grilling the lamb, either way a Cabernet Sauvignon will pair wonderfully.  I personally don’t eat a lot of lamb, but it is a rich and strong meat and it deserves a rich and strong wine.

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Take this California Robert Mondavi Cabernet Sauvignon that has been aged in bourbon oak barrels made in Kentucky.  A wonderful big juicy wine that will delight your guests, and a great pairing fir the lamb or if it’s a steak on the menu.

Glazed ham is a family friendly meal that is one of my personal favorites.  Glazed hams usually incorporate some sweetness from the glaze, and some sour as well, especially if there is vinegar or citrus involved.  The combination of both sweet and sour makes it a great pairing for Pinot Noir if you are choosing red.

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Here’s one of the Pinot Noir wines I have tried recently and both myself and Amber at our local liquor store loved it.  It hails from California, is very reasonably priced at $24.99 here where I live, and would be a great pairing with ham or turkey.

Bread and Butter white

If you prefer white, Bread and Butter also makes a delicious Chardonnay that would a great compliment to your ham or turkey.  This dry Chardonnay with notes of vanilla would be a great fit for the glaze on the ham as well.  Chardonnay is also a great compliment if you are serving roast chicken or roast turkey.  These two wines are receiving accolades and 90+ point ratings across the board, and I happen to know they are selling out fast around here.

We can’t forget dessert.  Whether your dessert is chocolate

A bundle of chocolate Easter eggs

or pie…

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Most people like a little something sweet on holiday weekends.

I’m staying local for my pick of dessert wine.  Because of Canada’s frosty weather, we make really good ice wine.  I stayed in Nova Scotia for this one with the Grand Pre Vidal Icewine.  A small glass of ice wine can serve as dessert on its own, or it pairs nicely with whatever sweet you are serving.  The honey and apricot flavors in this wine is the perfect finish for a meal and it’s very decently priced at $25.

And now for my wine of the week…

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Baby back ribs happen to be on one of my menus this holiday weekend, and there’s no better wine for me than Zinfandel.  This past week our local liquor store got in the Chunky Red Zinfandel, from Italy, would you believe!  Normally Zinfandel is called Primitivo in Italy.  This, however, is from the Puglia region of Italy and they called it Chunky Red Zinfandel!  What made this particular Zinfandel my wine of the week?  The price point!  It’s very hard to get a rich Zinfandel under $30. Most times you’re paying about $33.  This wine is under $20, but tastes like a $30 Zin.   Full-bodied, well structured with rich fruit, vanilla and hints of chocolate.

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Happy Easter everybody from my family to yours

Darlene

Where is Spring?

Posted in Uncategorized on March 24, 2018 by darmyers

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So this past week we celebrated the first day of Spring…. and this is what it looked like in Halifax

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We have had more snow in March than we had in January and February combined.  So looking on the bright side, I don’t buy Storm Chips… Yes, there is such a thing

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Me, I buy Storm Wine.

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And lots of it.  Here’s a few favorites I enjoyed during the snowy days of March.

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Here’s a great new wine from right here in Canadathat a friend shared with me last weekend.  I will definitely be buying it again, a wonderful Cabernet Merlot blend for under $12!  Well structured but the tannins didn’t over-power the wine.  Tannins affect the sides of your mouth, and if a wine is very tannic, it can come across as bitter.  Some Cabernet wines can be very tannic, you know those big wines that have your mouth come to life.  This was extremely smooth, a great Canadian wine for under $12.

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I do love a good Pinot Noir and this wonderful Pinot hails from California.  I wrote about the Lucky Star Cabernet Sauvignon recently, which was also very good, and they make a Petite Sirah which I am looking forward to trying.  The name originated from the owners ‘thanking their lucky stars’ for the blessings in their lives, as a celebration of gratitude.  This Pinot has wonderful flavors of cranberry and spice and at $20, it’s a very affordable.

And now for my wine of the week.

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From Cline Vineyards, this Cashmere Exquisite Red Blend was, in a word, exquisite.  The blend is 59% Mourvedre, 22% Grenache and 19% Syrah and it’s a wonderful wine. Great fruit, hints of black pepper and great structure, it’s a beautifully balanced wine and very affordable at just $21.  Perfect storm wine.

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I thought you might enjoy this Winter Storm Wine Chart.  Hopefully where you live you are seeing a bit of Spring.

Till next week, Cheers

Darlene

 

Exceptional Australian Wines

Posted in Uncategorized on March 17, 2018 by darmyers

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Australia’s wine industry has taken a hit in the past few years, and with good reason.  Once the darling of the wine community, Australia’s mass-produced ‘critter’ wines is a big reason why many consumers are staying out of the  Australia wine aisle.  Critter wines are those mass-produced Australian wines that features an animal, and they are artifically oaked and have zero complexity.  They are cheap, and they taste cheap.  It’s too bad, really!  Because there are people in Australia making great wine.

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Penfolds was established in 1844 and they have perfected the art of fine wine from Australia.  And if you’ve ever had their Grange Shiraz, at $700 a bottle, you would understand why I’m calling it an art form.  But you don’t have to spend $700 to get a good bottle of Penfolds.

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This Bin 128 is a wonderful Shiraz for $34.99.  Considered a cool climate wine from a warm region, which  means in this case is that the temperature really drops off fast as harvest time is approaching.  Lower temperatures preserve acidity, but can struggle to ripen.  This can cause a ‘green’ taste, which is almost bitter.  This is not the case  with this Penfold’s wine.  There is no bitterness, and the tannins are very smooth, caused by the wine being aged for 12 months in smooth French oak, which doesn’t put that funky oaky taste on wine.

Jeff Byrne, chief winemaker for Australia’s Audrey Wilkinson, touts his brand Tuesday at the liquor store on Joseph Howe Drive in Halifax. (TED PRITCHARD/ Staff)

The story of  Audrey Wilkinson Wines is one of my favorite to come out of Australia, because there is a wonderful Canadian connection.  Audrey Wilkinson was a man named by his parents and endured a little teasing.  But at age 15, his father died, and Audrey took over the running of the winery.  His motto… “It’s all about the wine”!

The story gets even better because the current winemaker for Audrey Wilkinson is from Dartmouth, Nova Scotia.  His name is Jeff Byrne and he went to Australia for a vacation, and ended up meeting the love of his life and moved there to be married.  I had the pleasure of meeting this interesting young man when he visited Nova Scotia back in 2013.

Audrey Wilkinson

Jeff is making some incredibly good  wine.  This Shiraz is so good, it’s hard to believe it’s priced at only $24.99.  Jeff’s whole focus when it comes to making wine is all about the balance.  He doesn’t want sweetness, he doesn’t want too much oak, and he really wants to make good wine that goes well with food.

And my wine of the week also happens to be from Australia…

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I had a steak the other night and this is the wine I picked up to pair with that steak.  They were awesome together.  You know how nice it is to watch two people who have been dancing together for years?  This was very similar to that.  The Kilikanoon Killerman’s Run Cabernet Sauvignon hails from the Clare Valley in Australia, and is named after a gentleman who lived in an old tin shed behind the Kilikanoon’s Cellar door.  He was totally self sufficient and grew his own fruits and vegetables and his favorite meal was rabbit.  I always enjoy the story behind the wine.

This wine has spent 16 months in both new and seasoned French oak barrels, so there is oak, but it’s not overpowering.  I also detected notes of black pepper, so I thought it was a great wine to have with a steak done on the grill.

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Today is St. Patrick’s Day, and I know many people opt for the green beer, but you know what?  A wee bit of wine is just fine!

Till next week, Cheers

Darlene

 

 

 

Limited Finds- One of a Kind

Posted in Uncategorized on March 10, 2018 by darmyers

 

Yesterday afternoon I had to say good-bye to this cutie, as he crossed the Rainbow Bridge.  I knew our time was limited, because when I started fostering him 2 years ago, he had feline leukemia then.  The first 5 years of his life before he was rescued were pretty hard, but the last 2, he was in kitty heaven.  I’d also like to take this moment to thank the Halifax Cat Rescue Society for all their wonderful support, and for paying the vet bills.  Leo was one of a kind, a limited find if you will.  So today I am dedicating my wine blog to limited finds, just like Leo.

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Last week I wrote about the Discover USA wines, as our local wine store is doing a feature on Limited Finds.

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For our first wine, let’s head to Italy.  Monte Antico is a village in Italy which in 2001 had a population of 33.  It might be a small village but they make a pretty great Super Tuscan wine.

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This blend of Sangiovese, Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot is a winner.  It is priced less than $20, so it’s super affordable and the wine is perfect to pair with pizza, spaghetti and meatballs or any Italian food you might be craving.  I enjoyed the 2013 vintage, and will definitely buy it again.

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The next Limited Find is from California, and I got to try both the Cabernet Sauvignon and this Pinot Noir, which I bought.  The Cabernet was delicious because the tannins weren’t sharo and the flavours shone through.  Finding great Pinot Noir under $20 can be challenging, but this one hit it out of the ball park.  This Pinot Noir  is very elegant and light in color but full on flavour.

And now my wine of the week….

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A few months back, I wrote about the Kenwood Cabernet Sauvignon, as it won an award at our Port of Wines Show in September.  Recently, I bought this Zinfandel from Kenwood and it’s fabulous.  Kenwood produced its first vintage of this Zinfandel back in 1970 so they have been perfecting it for many years.  Sonoma County is very well known for producing high quality Zinfandel grapes and this is a fantastic wine at just $22 a bottle.  I enjoyed this last weekend with baby back ribs and it was heavenly.

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Leo loved watching movies with cats in them.   Here’s to a one of a kind !

Till next week, Cheers

Darlene

Hooray for Wines from the U.S.A.

Posted in Uncategorized on March 3, 2018 by darmyers

American wines

Our local liquor store is having a promotion called ‘Get to Know American Wines’ and they have bought in some new wines for us to try.  I think the U.S.A. is putting out some mighty fine wines, California and Oregon are two of my favorite regions.  Did you know the first grapes in Washington State were planted in 1825 by the Hudson Bay Company?  And although all 50 States produce wine, but California accounts for 90% of all Wine production in the United States.

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In addition to Pinot Noir, Oregon is putting out some great Riesling wine.  I love Riesling, it is my favorite wine to pair with spicy food of any kind.  This Firesteed originates from the Willamette Valley in Oregon, which is more known for its Pinot Noir.  The Pacific Ocean really adds an interesting micro climate to the wines from this region, giving them complexity.  They are not flat boring wines, and this Riesling is a prime example.  You’ll love the flavors of pears and apples and the crisp acidity makes this wine perfect in so many ways.

 

One of the new wines bought in for this promotion is this wonderful Rosso Di Ca Momi.  A great wine for under $20.  If you look on any site, they will recommend ribs for this wine, and the minute you taste it, you’ll understand why.  As soon as I had my first sniff, I detected Zinfandel and Merlot, which are two great choices for ribs.  As it turns out, this is a blend of Cabernet Sauvignon, Zinfandel, Merlot and Petite Sirah and it’s priced under $20.  It was a fantastic wine and since ribs are on the menu for me tonight, I am going to pick up another bottle.  However, this wines pairs deliciously with any BBQ fare, steak ir pulled pork.

My wine of the week sent me to heaven

 

From the Robert Mondavi Private Selection comes this Cabernet Sauvignon that has been aged in bourbon barrels.  This is one wine to sip and savour, it’s that good.  And I want to give you a heads up that I wanted to buy a second bottle yesterday evening and my local store was all sold out.  So if you see a bottle, grab it!

Aging bourbon in oak barrels is a very time-honored tradition, and Mondavi is buying the barrels from a well-known bourbon producer in Kentucky.  This wine was fantastic.  You can detect notes of the bourbon, and although I’m not a bourbon drinker out of the glass, I loved what it added to the wine. I am showing a picture of the wine in the glass, because it’s such a bold beautiful color.  It will probably come as no surprise how rich this wine is, with distinct flavors of smoke, chocolate and a tinge of brown sugar.  This was a treat.  And it sells for about $22 so it’s an affordable treat.

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That’s it for me for this week!  Have a wonderful weekend everyone.  Till next week, Cheers

Darlene

 

5 Fave Wines for $15

Posted in Uncategorized on February 24, 2018 by darmyers

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This blog may seem a little strange for my readers not only in the United States but in Europe as well.  $15 buys some pretty good wines outside of Canada.  I read a wonderful blogger out of the States called ‘Reverse Wine Snob‘,  who writes all about how wine doesn’t have to be expensive to be good.  And he is absolutely right.  However, he has more selection of great wines under $20, than we do here in Canada.  For example, a couple of years ago I was in Florida with my sister, and I was buying this beauty for $7.

This wine, Ravenswood Zinfandel is $20 where I live.  And in Italy last year, we were paying about $7.50 Canadian for the fantastic Banfi Centine Rosso.

It too is priced at $20 here at our liquor store.  So you see, for us Canadians, finding good wine at the $15 price point can be quite challenging.  So today’s blog, all the wines are priced at $15 or less here in Eastern Canada.  And $15 is a nice price point.  People are a little more apt to risk trying a new wine at $15.  I know I am.  I would love feedback from people elsewhere as to what they pay for the wines I talk about today.

5.  Don David Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon or Reserve Malbec from Argentina $15

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Our local liquor store carries 2 wines from the Don David Reserve line, one is a Cabernet Sauvignon and one is a Malbec, and they are both priced at $15, and they are both very good.  This is actually a very good deal for us, because they are priced a $1 or $2 more expensive elsewhere in Canada, which is unusual.  Plus, the Cabernet is $2 off right now, so it’s $13 so you can afford to grab a couple.  The Cabernet Sauvignon is full-bodied with blackberry and smoky notes and the Malbec is medium to full-bodied with toasty spicy notes.  Both are very good.

4.  Beringer  Pinot Grigio California $12.99

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Established in 1876 by two brothers, Jacob and Frederick Beringer, this vineyard has a great reputation for great wines.  This Pinot Grigio is crisp and fresh with notes of pear and citrus.  It makes a great wine to pair with appetizers, shellfish, and pasta done with oil.   Many of my friends here in the apartment building, drink Pinot Grigio, and they will tell you it’s delicious all on its own.

3. Carmen Reserve 1850 Premier Merlot  Chile  $14

Carmen vineyards were started in 1850, which is where the name of this regal wine comes from.  It is Chile’s first winery and this wine was designed to pay tribute to that.  It’s aged in barrels, seductively smooth and a medium to full-bodied Merlot with soft tannins.  It’s also a very balanced wine and it’s super food friendly.

2.  Anciano Tempranillo Spain $15

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One wine critic called this wine ‘poetry in a bottle’ and many people have told me this is a staple in their home and in their wine rack since being introduced to it.  This is a fantastic wine at a fantastic price point.  The grapes are harvested from 30-year old vines and aged in a cellar for 7 years before release.  Do you know what that kind of care does for a wine?  It makes it incredibly elegant and smooth. This particular wine is also extremely food friendly.  This wine pairs with anything you would like to put on the plate.   Believe me, this was almost #1.

  1.  Palo Alto Cabernet Sauvignon, Carmenere Shiraz $15 Chile

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This snuck into 1st Place on my list for a couple of reasons.  It’s new, it’s only $13 right now, because locally it’s $2 off.  And the blend of the 3 grapes makes for a deliciously complex wine.    As you can see, I’m not the only person that thinks this is a great wine.  Well known wine critic James Suckling gave this wine 90 Points.  It’s 50% Cabernet Sauvignon, 30% Carmenere and 20% Shiraz, and the combination brings structure and layers of great taste.  A great wine for your favorite comfort foods.

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Here’s wishing you a great weekend.   Till next, Cheers

Darlene

Heritage Wines for Heritage Day

Posted in Uncategorized on February 17, 2018 by darmyers

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Here in Nova Scotia, it’s a long weekend as we celebrate Heritage Day.  What’s not to love about having Monday off.  And what’s even better is there is an extra evening you can enjoy a glass of wine or two guilt free.  I thought I would share some of my favorite ‘Heritage’ wines for this long weekend wine blog.

 

 

A couple of years ago I had the most wonderful trip to Hawaii!

6E948C90-D686-4A73-A07B-80D1F74B72F5 That trip to Hawaii was one of my all time favourites, I went with my sister and her family and her brother-in-law Guy and his wife Tracey.  And the same group is heading to Barbados this year.  I can’t wait, but I digress.

Let’s get back to the wine.

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One of the reasons I loved Hawaii so much, is that we drank a lot of wine from this Vineyard! It was so well priced in Oahu, and we bought it from a convenience store. One of my favourites is this particular one.  Robert Mondavi Heritage Red Blend is a winner.  This is a spectacular value at $20 a bottle  and a wonderful blend of Syrah, Merlot with a touch of Zinfandel.  Great BBQ wine, and a great wine for long weekends!

A couple of years ago I got to meet William Hardy, a 5th generation winemaker from Hardy Wines in Australia.

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This winemaker makes an incredible Riesling.

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Just to clarify, this winery also produces a Riesling Gewurztraminer blend, but I’m not a big fan of Gewurztraminer.  I like the stand alone HRB Riesling.  Riesling is my favourite wine to have with Thai food, but it’s also a great compliment to seafood, appetizers and salads.  This crisp fresh Riesling has notes of kiwi fruit  and lime and is best served chilled.

Last but not least,  let’s head to the Cote du Rhone region of France where Heritage reigns supreme.

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Cote du Rhone is home to Chateauneuf du Pape, known to many as the wine of all wines.  This Ogier Heritage Chateauneuf is a pretty good value at $50 because these wines can sky rocket in price.   If you love the flavours of Chateauneuf, but don’t like the hefty price  tags, have I got a treat for you!

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From the same vineyard and winery, comes the very affordable Heritage Cote du Rhone.  Also made with Grenache,  this wine has great fruit flavours and spicy notes, but it comes in at just $19 a bottle.   Fantastic wine for a fantastic price!

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Wherever you are, I hope it’s a long weekend!

Till next week, Cheers

Darlene

 

The Wines of Umberto Cesari

Posted in Uncategorized on February 10, 2018 by darmyers

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This is Umberto Cesari, who started producing wine in the Emilia Romagna region of Italy in 1964.  This past week I had the honor of meeting and learning from his eldest son, Gianmaria.  One can’t help but notice the resemblance to his Dad.

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Emilia Romagna is about 60 kilometres away from Florence in Tuscany, and known for parmesan cheese and balsamic vinegar.  It also has a reputation for high yielding pleasant wines that aren’t of the highest quality, but drinkable at lunch and dinner.  Umberto Cesari set out to change that with a focus on quality.  For example, this winery is only one of 6 wineries in Italy to own an Optical Grader, which uses an electronic eye to separate the best grapes.  The Moma Rosso red has been a favorite of mine for a while now, but I had the opportunity to try more of these wonderful wines.

Umberto Cesari Wines

I’m going to start with a fantastic white.

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The Liano Bianco is a blend of Chardonnay and Sauvignon Blanc, 2 of my favorite white grapes.  On the nose I noticed smoky flint aromas and then learned this wine is fermented in oak. This is highly unusual for a white wine as most are fermented in stainless steel and I loved what it did to the wine.  It was super smooth and you get some vanilla notes from the oak but it still wasn’t ‘oaky’.  This wine would be a great compliment to fish.

Moma red

I’ve written about the Moma Rosso red in a previous blog,  it was my wine of the week because of the spectacular value.  This wine is priced under $20.  So I’m going to move along to the pinnacle of great red wine- the Liano Red.

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Named after the hill where the grapes grow, I had this blend of Sangiovese and Cabernet Sauvignon a couple of weeks ago, but hadn’t had the opportunity to write about it until now.  This is the best wine I’ve tasted in a while, and I’m not just saying that because I got invited to the tasting.  There are gorgeous spicy notes complimenting the luscious fruit and a nice long finish but not aggressively so.  I can’t say enough about this wine, except love love love!  I am having this wine again tonight as I am doing barbeque ribs on the grill.

And last but not least….

Tauleto

Umberto Cesari Tauleto.  A blend of 90% Sangiovese Grosso (a clone of Sangiovese) and 10% Uva Longanesi.  Say that grape 3 times really fast.  Uva Longanesi is a grape that is native to the Emila Romagna region of Italy and we don’t get to experience it much in Canada.  It didn’t even receive grape status with the National Register of Grape Varieties until the year 2000.  This grape is known to add structure to a wine and I believe helped make the Tauleto the King of Wines.  On the nose I picked up notes of balsamic vinegar and some spice and couldn’t help but notice the great structure on the palate.  They don’t make a lot of this wine, as it uses the best grapes and best juice from the area.  So if you see a bottle, pick it up!  Coming in at around $45, this wine is worth every penny.

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A big shout out to Nancy Johnston, the rep for Univins and Spirits, for the invitation.  It was greatly appreciated to learn from this great winemaker.

Till next week, Cheers

Darlene

 

The Top 5 Wines for Winter

Posted in Uncategorized on January 27, 2018 by darmyers

Wine in winter

It’s another chilly one today, woke up this morning to -13°.  My favorite part of winter?  Comfort food and wine!  I’m all about the comfort food this time of year.  I like the hearty beef stews, casseroles and mashed potatoes as my favorite side dish.  It’s a good thing I run.  So I’m going to share my Top 5 favorite wines for winter, which happen to pair very well with comfort food.

  1.  Syrah

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This was my wine of the week last week, based on tasting it in my favorite liquor store.  I went back the next day and bought a bottle for Saturday night.  I was barbecuing that night and this was the perfect fit.  I’m not the only one, as many critics have given this wine 95 points.  Great deal.  The next day I made a pot of beef stew in my crock pot… it fit even better.

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Syrah tends to be more on the full-bodied side with intoxicating aromas and flavors on the palate.  The structure and hint of spice is a perfect food wine, however, I have to share that this wine tasted pretty good on its own.  After all, you have to sip on something while your cooking…. who’s with me?

2.  Zinfandel

Zinfandel comes in many forms.  It can be a stand alone, like this 7 Deadly Zins….

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Or as part of a blend… like this Bogle Blend

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Zinfandel is a great wine for comfort food.  Regular readers of my blog know I love Zinfandel with barbecue fare, especially ribs, but it also pairs well with hearty meats like lamb.  These great wines come in both medium and full-bodied versions, with big juicy flavors and notes of black pepper.  You can understand why it pairs so well with meat dishes.  Who doesn’t love black pepper on their comfort food!

3.  White Burgundy (Chardonnay)

I know most people think a heavily oaked Chardonnay is the best white wine for your sturdy comfort foods.  And if that’s what you like it will work fine, but for my friends who don’t like heavily oaked wine, there are more options out there, one of them being white Burgundy.  When you buy a white Burgundy, it is Chardonnay in the bottle, but the french winemakers in this part of France know how to make Chardonny where the fruit shines.

Take for example this Premier Cru Montagny.  Montagny is the southernmost area in the legendary Cote Chalonnaise, known for exemplary wines.  This wine is a great value at just $36, because it is Premier Cru.  The Cru’s, Grande and Premier, tell us it is exceptional wine.  As a matter of fact, it tends to be the finest wines produced in the region.  So to get a Premier Cru for this price is extraordinary.  This wine boasts flavors of apple and caramel with notes of citrus, and would be a great wine for your favorite comfort food.

4.  Malbec

I’m having so much fun re-discovering Malbec.  Like you, sometimes I get stuck on a varietal and I like buying that same varietal from different countries and different winemakers.  Recently I tried Malbec again and remembered how well it pairs with everything.

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This is the Malbec that had me falling in love all over again.  Another 95 pointer from many critics and worth it.  Gorgeous structure, rich fruit and spicy notes.  Goes with every winter comfort food you can think of.

5.  Bordeaux Blend

A Bordeaux blend consists of Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and then there’s Malbec, Cabernet Franc and/or Petite Verdot is made part of the blend.  They are full-bodied and rich on the palate and really the perfect steak wine.

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The good news is that they can range in price from $20, like the one pictured above, to several hundred dollars.  I love them all.  I love pairing them with comfort food.  If there was a quintessential winter wine, this would be it.

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Those are some of my favourite wines for winter.  What are yours?

Have a great weekend everyone.  Till next week, Cheers

Darlene

 

Taking The Mystery Out of Wine

Posted in Uncategorized on January 20, 2018 by darmyers

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Wine can be a complex beast.  And it can be a little intimidating, especially if you want to venture outside of your normal wine purchases.  I understand there is a level of safety going into a wine store and buying something you know you will like.  However, when that happens time and time again, you may want to try something different but are a little hesitant.  It’s going to be OK.  Here’a a few tips to help de-mystify wine so that you’re not so nervous about trying something new!

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  1.  What do you currently like?

When people tell me they are nervous about trying new wines, because they are afraid they won’t like it, and let’s face it, no one wants to pour their money down the drain.  The first question I always ask is ‘Currently, what is your go to wine?’  If you like Cabernet Sauvignon, or you like Malbec, try that same grape from a different country or a different producer.  In my opinion, that’s the first place to start.  You can have a great time experimenting with how different winemakers work with your favorite grape variety.

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2.  Discover Your Wine Style

People who drink wine have a wine style.  Some people, like myself, have several wine styles they enjoy.  There are tests out there you can take to determine your wine style.  Vine Pair, for example, has a test of 5 questions you can take to determine your style.  Try https://vinepair.com/red-wine-match-quiz/ and see what you come up, and then give it a try and see if you like it.

I took it for fun, and keep in mind, I love many different grape varietals from different places globally.  But based on the answers I picked, it suggested I try Syrah.  I’ve had Syrah several times and love the spicy notes in a Syrah.

Pepper Pot

For me, going outside of my comfort zone for a Syrah would be heading to South Africa.  In the past, I’ve had some not-so-great experiences with wine from South Africa, but lately I seem to be on a roll.  The Pepper Pot is a Syrah blended with Mourvedre and Cinsault, and it is super smooth.  Great fruit on the palate with the spice you would expect from a Syrah.  This is a great wine and a reasonable price at just $22 a bottle.

My wine of the week is also a Syrah, this wine I tried was spectacular.  Which brings me to another way to safely experiment with new wine

3.  Check Out A New Wine in the Wine Taster

 

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I have to take a brief moment and thank all the wonderful staff at the NSLC at the Larry Uteck location.   Brenda, Heather, Amber and all staff make for a great buying experience .  And a big thank you to Amber who let me try this wonderful wine from the taster last night.

I know my favourite wine store has tasters in them and it’s a trend I’ve noticed across the country.  It’s  a wonderful way for you to try a new wine before buying the full bottle.   I have purchased many higher priced wines after trying them in the taster.   Let’s face it, no one wants to spend $30 on a bottle of wine and not love it .

My wine of the week is $27 and worth every penny.   Errazuriz is a vineyard started in 1870 and Eduardo Chadwick is a fifth generation winemaker.   In the past he has teamed with legendary producer Robert Mondavi to make the Zena series of wine.  All the wine coming out of Errazuriz is great wine and they have something in every price range.  This Syrah is bold, lush and silky smooth on the palate.

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Well, that’s it for me this week. If you try a new wine, would love to hear from you.  You can post a comment below.

Till next week, Cheers

Darlene

Chase Away January Blues

Posted in Uncategorized on January 13, 2018 by darmyers

Beat the january blues

After the fun-filled month of December, January can seem like a very long month.  But I know a way to help chase away January blues.  A couple of great new wines.

Because I end the year with a  ‘The Best of 2017’ blog and start the New Year with a ‘2018 Wine Trends’ blog, I haven’t had the opportunity to tell you about some of the amazing wines I had over Christmas.  This was a banner season for trying great new wines.

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Beringer is one of the long standing wineries in California, started back in 1876 by two brothers.  Beringer puts out some amazing wine, and they have something for everyone’s price range.  The Founders Estate Cabernet Sauvignon is the wine my parent’s had waiting for me when I got off the plane in Newfoundland.  Sadly you can’t buy this great wine in Nova Scotia, and it runs about $21 there.  When I arrive, my parents like to sit down with a glass of wine and we catch up.  Even though I talk to them on the phone at least twice a week, it’s still not the same as doing it face to face.  This was very good with cherry and vanilla notes, and although I enjoyed it sitting and chatting, it would be very food friendly.

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So when I was home it snowed……. a lot!!  My parents live in an area of senior’s cottages, and normally snow clearing is included.  However, I guess the snow clearing guys had all of Christmas off, because we didn’t see them through 4 days of snow.  I shoveled a lot while I was home, which made this wine even more enjoyable.

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I’ve always said ‘if anyone thinks I’m hard to shop for, they don’t know where the wine store is”!  My nephew paid attention and bought me this gorgeous wine as a Christmas gift, which I enjoyed fully after a day of shoveling in Corner Brook.  The winemaker for this lovely wine, Steve Peck, says this is a great expression of the kind of grapes and wine that really shows the Paso Robles region.  Paso Robles is situated between Los Angeles and San Francisco and is known for wine and olives.  This is a favorite of mine with notes of black currant and cocoa.  Beautifully structured with a good grip making for a great steak wine.

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

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My wine of the week this week hails from Argentina.  I’ve written about this sister wine previously,  the Trapiche Gran Medalla Cabernet Sauvignon.  It had made my wine of the week about two years ago, when I gave a bottle of it to my friend Bobby Mac for his 50th Birthday and bought one for myself.  It was spectacular, so the Malbec was on sale recently and I decided I wanted to try it.  Well, one of my better decisions.  I had the 2013 vintage and it was a fantastic wine .  The Decanter World Wine Awards gave this wine and this vintage 95 Points.  And regular price it’s only $26.  That’s why it’s my wine of the week, I can’t remember a 95 Point Wine for under $30.  Opulent fruit flavors, great structure, and a really nice finish help make this wine my first wine of the week for 2018.

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On the bright side, we are almost half way through what some consider the longest month of the year.  I can already see the days getting longer.

Till next week, Cheers

Darlene

 

 

2018 Wine Trends

Posted in Uncategorized on January 6, 2018 by darmyers

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I do a fair bit of reading about wine, and it always amazes me at some of the trends.  For example, last year I wrote about wine in a can, never really expecting it to come to fruition.  However, in 2017 I actually drank wine from a can.

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I got to try the Big House Zinfandel and the Big House Pinot Grigio in 2017.  Apparently the industry feels this appeals to a younger demographic and they want these young people to start drinking wine earlier.   So here are some of the upcoming trends in wine.

  1.  The Bigger The Better 

Magnums, which is the equivalent of 2 bottles, saw an increase in sales of 378% in 2017 and the industry doesn’t see this slowing down any time soon.   We are also seeing more variety in the magnum size bottle.  Think of the convenience.  Champagne immediately comes to mind for me, as many Champagne vintners have been bottling in magnums for a long time now.

Dom Pernignon

Don’t think for one moment magnum means cheap.  The most famous Champagne in the world is probably Dom Perignon and they bottle in a magnum size.  Bit of a hit on the wallet as it sells here for just over $600 a bottle.  However, I am seeing more and more boxed wine, which conveniently holds 3 or 4 bottles of wine.  Every party I went to in December there were at least one, sometimes two boxes of wine.  The quality is improving every year.

The Black Box wines is selling like hotcakes across Canada, as a matter of fact, we went to our local liquor store to pick some up in December and we were sold out.  The Black Box makes 11 different varietals from California, Chile and Argentina.

2.  Sparkling and Rose Wines are on the Rise

No surprise here.   Both sparkling and Rose wines are so versatile, I’m not surprised sales are increasing year after year.  Even ‘non-sparkling’ drinkers have no problem sipping on a Mimosa.

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And Rose wines have gone from a Summer favorite to a year round staple.  These great wines are perfectly suitable for appetizers, charcuterie boards and a nice ‘Welcome to the Party’ drink!   I had the opportunity to try many sparkling wines this past year as I have made them a big part of my wine tastings.

 

From rose Champagne to our local Nova Scotia grown Grand Pre Rose,  Rose wine sales are on the rise.  And not just in Canada, I was reading an article in Fortune Magazine about the increase of sales in Rose wines across the United States as well.  They are giving a lot of the credit to Millennials, but I definitely helped with the surge in Canada, buying 4 times as much as the year previous.

3.  Chilean Wine Becomes a Superstar

For years Chilean wines have become more and more popular.  People are realizing that a spectacular quality of wine is coming out of Chile at very reasonable prices.  Chile has become the 5th largest exporter of wine in the world.  I think the trend for 2018 will not only be the ‘lesser-priced’ Chilean wines, but I think you will see an increase in the more premium wines that are coming out of Chile.

 

The Nimbus Pinot Noir at $30 per bottle and the Concha Y Toro Terrunyo Carmenere Lot 1 at $50 a bottle, are two examples of prime wine coming out of Chile.  The Nimbus Pinot Noir has been given 92 points by some wine critics, which is extraordinary for a $30 wine.  The Terrunyo Carmenere is beautifully structured and aged in new and used French oak barrels for 17 months.  Smooth and beautifully crafted, it’s still a great value.  And the Terrunyo Cabernet Sauvignon is a steal of a deal at just $35 a bottle.

4.  Red Blends Continue to Shine

I wrote about Red blends last year, and I don’t see them slowing down.  There can be something found in every price range.

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From Bear Flag Red Blend out of California at $14 a bottle

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To the Beringer Quantum Red Blend, which sells for $68 a bottle here where I live.  The backbone of this wine is Cabernet Sauvignon at 74% but it also includes Merlot, Cabernet Franc and Malbec for a classic American made Bordeaux style of blend.  Another wine with wonderful structure and fruit flavors that just shine.

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As we settle into another new year, my wish for you is a wonderful 2018 and I hope you enjoy a few new wines.

Till next week, Cheers

Darlene

Best of 2017

Posted in Uncategorized on December 30, 2017 by darmyers

Best of 2017

Every time you open a news feed these days it’s the ‘Best of Lists’ and I’m no exception.  This is one of my favorite wine blogs of the year.  Looking back at all the wines I have written about, my favorites and picking my top picks from 2017.  I enjoyed some good wine in 2017, and I would like to share some of my favourites with you.  Let’s start with my favourite white wine of the year!

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We are heading back to March of 2017 for this beautiful French Chardonnay.  Quite the name isn’t it?  Chateau Arrogant Frog  is Chardonnay at its finest.  Subtle nuances of oak  that allow the flavour of the fruit to shine through.   Another great attribute to this wine is that it comes in at about $20 a bottle.  Spectacular wine at a spectacular price.

 

One of the highlights for me in 2017 was finally becoming a Sommelier after 5 years. I’ve worked really hard for it, and it was the source of a great deal of satisfaction.

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My favourite Rose wine of the year hails from Italy!

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The Pipoli Basilicata Rosato is a gorgeous refreshing Rose wine that comes from the Basilicata region if Italy, which is the instep part of the boot.  Gorgeous citrus flavours with a crisp minerality and priced to please at about $19 a bottle.

The Ladies

I have made some great friends this year, and so blessed to call these fabulous ladies friends and family.  We have enjoyed some great wine together.  Getting together with them has been another highlight for me this past year.

My favourite dessert wine comes from Sauternes France.

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The Chateau Coutec Sauternes  comes from the southwestern part of France and from one of the oldest wine producing vineyards in Sauternes.   Bordeaux wines are known for great ageing potential and that includes their sweet dessert wines.  I tried the 2000 vintage, and it was awesome.   This Vineyard dates back to the 1600’s,  so they have been making fantastic dessert wines for a long long time.   This is the perfect ending to the perfect meal.  Rich flavours of apricot and honey will compliment any special occasion.

Another highlight for me in 2017 was my trip to Italy

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I loved Italy, the people, the food and especially the wine.  Which made it especially hard to pick my favourite red and a wine of the year.   One of the criteria that I use for my one of the weeks is great wine and also great value so this one was the clear winner for me.

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I stayed on a vineyard site in Italy just outside of Montalchino called Carpazo, and while there we tried the full line up of their wines.   This is one that is now available in one of our local wine stores.  At $16 a bottle, it is probably one of the best values I have ever tasted, I still think it’s a mistake.  We would wake up each morning to beautiful fields of Sangiovese grapes, and those were the grapes used to make this wine.  Medium bodied with flavours of tart cherry and soft oak, I love this wine.   And because of the combination of great wine at an amazing price this is my wine of the year.

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Thank you for all the support in 2017 and here’s to another wonderful year of discovering  some great wines together

Here’s to a healthy happy 2018

Darlene

 

 

Merry Christmas Wine Lovers

Posted in Uncategorized on December 23, 2017 by darmyers

Wine lovers Christmas

Is it just me, or did this year fly by incredibly fast?  I was thinking this past week it’s soon time to do my favorite wines of 2017, which will be next week’s blog.  But this week it’s all things family, as I head home to Newfoundland later today to celebrate Christmas with the family.

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Yes, there’s a wine for that!!  Large gatherings can be stressful for some, and I’m here to tell you wine always helps.   And although the weather outside can be frightful, here’s some delightful wines for you to try.

Beringer

The Black Label Beringer Cabernet Sauvignon is one of my favorite steak wines.  This wine has great structure and hints of winter spice are almost guaranteed to put a smile on your face and warm your soul.  I love this wine with steak, but it’s also a great pairing with hearty beef stews, lamb or even your favorite shepherd’s pie.

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South African wines continue to take me by surprise, and this Ernie Els (yes, the golfer) Big Easy Red is a fantastic wine.  And at $18 per bottle, let’s pick up more than one. The wine is mostly Shiraz, but also has some Cabernet Sauvignon, Viognier, Grenache and Mourvedre added in, so it is a very complex wine with lots of interesting layers.   A winner for sure.

A great tasting full-bodied Chardonnay comes in the form of this Chateau St. Jean from California.  It too has some winter spice notes, hints of vanilla and toasty apple flavors.  This is no wimpy white wine, with lots of bold flavors and a great finish.  A great wine to go with any chicken dish, and a nice compliment to cod and certain fish dishes.

And now for my wine of the week….

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From the heart of the Entre-Deux-Mers region in Bordeaux, comes this magnificant value of a Bordeaux wine.  As you can see I enjoyed the 2014 vintage, so it’s still quite young for a Bordeaux, but very approachable, because it’s mostly Merlot.  This vineyard has been in the Fernandez family since 1956 and is now run by the grandson Jean.  This is a great wine at a tremendous value, only $20 a bottle, and I could shake myself for only buying one.  Try this Bordeaux, you’ll be glad you did.

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Too all my readers, family and friends, have a wonderful Christmas season and I hope there is joy.

Till next week, when we countdown my favorite wines of 2017, Cheers

Darlene

I’m Dreaming of a Wine Christmas

Posted in Uncategorized on December 16, 2017 by darmyers

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Who’s with me?  The Christmas season is in full swing.  We even had our company Christmas party last night and look what I won.

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I couldn’t have won a better present LOL  A gift card to our local Wine Store.  I’m looking forward to treating myself to a special bottle.  I’ve tried some new wines this past week, and thought I would share them with you.

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Grenache is a grape many people have heard of,  but did you know it originated in Spain as Garnacha.  This Sangre de Toro is from the Penedes region, just South of Barcelina and is a great value.   Finding good wine under the $16 price point is great news this time of the year because the season can be costly.  Cherry notes with vanilla flavours from the oak, it’s a great wine for the winter stews we tend to cook to warm us up.

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Nothing says Christmas like sparkling wines.  Sparkling lights and sparkling wine go hand in hand.  This Zonin Prosecco is a spectacular value that you can use to serve with an apertif at a Christmas party or even bring in the New Year.

And my wine of the week…..

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It’s not often you see a South African wine as my wine of the week but this one definitely deserves the title.   This Plum Pudding Hill Syrah by Stellenzicht is a mouthful to say and a fabulous mouthful of wine.    It’s a bit of a Christmas treat at $35 a bottle but worth every penny .  Gorgeous flavours of baking spice and plums, this wine is my new favourite from South Africa.

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I know it’s a busy time of the year for everybody getting ready for the upcoming big day .   Thank you for taking the time to read my blog

Till next week, Cheers

Darlene

 

Christmas Wine List

Posted in Uncategorized on December 9, 2017 by darmyers

 

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I really believe I”m quite easy to shop for, all a person has to do is head up the street to the wine store.  And I like a wide variety of wine, so you really can’t go wrong.   Don’t be intimidated by high price tags this season.  I’m going to show you a couple of my favorites, paired with more reasonable facsimiles.

I’m not a big dessert person, especially after a big meal like Christmas dinner, but I do like something sweet.  And my favorite sweet wine in the world is Sauternes.

The sweet wine from Bordeaux is fabulous with rich golden flavors of honey and dried fruits.  However, at $160,  it’s a little out of reach for my wallet.  Here’s one that is delicious, but much more affordable.

The Borealis from Nova Scotia winemaker Benjamin Bridge is just $36 a bottle and is one of my favorite dessert wines.  Honey, apricot and peach flavors in the glass is not only a good replacement for dessert, it also compliments dessert if you are splurging.  Serve it nice and chilled.

 

 

I need these wine glasses in my life.

I get asked a lot what’s my favorite wine, and I don’t know if I have a favorite, but I do love Pinot Noir.  And you’ve heard me say before, no one does Pinot Noir like Burgundy France.

Chambolle Musigny is a commune in the highly prized region of the Cote d’Or in Burgundy France, and is known as one of the best.  The Pinot Noir is delicate and subtle and winemakers there know how to showcase the fruit in the Pinot.  It’s a treat at $74 a bottle.

Normally you would never see me compare Pinot Noir from New Zealand to Pinot Noir from Burgundy France, because Burgundy (Bourgogne) really highlights terroir, which means all the characteristics from the land shine through in the wine.  This Pinot though is one of my all time favorites and at under $25 this is a great value wine.  It’s earthy and the Pinot reflects some plum flavors and it’s on sale right now where I live, so I suggest nabbing a bottle or two.

And now for my wine comparison of the week….

Clos d'Ora

The Clos d’Ora from French winemaker Gerard Bertrand is Syrah at its finest.  It’s a wonderful example of a bio-dynamic wine and Ora means prayer in latin.  The winemaker says enjoy this as a spirtual experience.  I have had the opportunity to sample the wine at a tasting from the wine representative and it’s very good.  Given 95 Points by some critics, it comes in at $220 a bottle, so it’s a treat.

Tautavel

From the same winemaker comes the Grand Terroir Tautavel, a Syrah that is a 91+ point wine with the spectacular price point of $22.99.  33% of this wine is aged in oak, while the rest is aged in vats.  What that means is that the wine is not ‘overly oaked’.  I like when wine is not overly oaked as the fruit gets to be the shining star.

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There are some great wines out there at great prices,  and what better way to celebrate the season.

Till next week, Cheers

Darlene

 

 

 

Great Christmas Movies & Wine

Posted in Uncategorized on December 2, 2017 by darmyers

I don’t know about you, but a lot of my weekend is going to be spent watching Christmas movies, they are everywhere.  And I have a confession to make, I love them.  And as I was enjoying one last night while also enjoying a glass of wine, it got me thinking, what a great way for people to de-stress during the busy month of December – sit back, enjoy a Christmas movie and a glass of wine.  You’ll thank me for it.

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Who’s not going to watch the movie Elf at least once?  This is a very unique movie plot and its one of my favorites to watch each year.  My family loves this movie.

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Here’s a great wine to go with that.  Gunsight Rock Cabernet Sauvignon from the Paso Robles region of California.  I absolutely love wine from the Paso Robles region.  They put out spectacular Cabernet Sauvignon.  And they are located south of San Francisco and to the best of my knowledge, they weren’t destroyed in the horrible fires northern California experienced recently,.  There were some fires, but the news stories that I found indicated they were contained.  Please correct me if I am wrong.  This wine is a perfect expression of Cabernet Sauvignon with earthy tannins and juicy fruit on the palate.  A great steak wine.

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Although there are about 3 additional sequels to this movie, the original remains one of my favorite Christmas movies of all time.  This movie will ignite a smile into the heart of any family member… so what’s a wine that goes with everything?  Pinot Noir.

This is one of my favorites from the Burgundy region of France, and it’s on sale right now here in Nova Scotia.  The smooth tannins and bright cherry flavors make Pinot Noir one of the food friendliest wines on the planet.   And I have to admit I love the way the French do Pinot Noir  with very subtle useage of oak

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If you’re going to be watching the Grinch this year, you’ll need something bright and cheery.  And when I think of bright and cheery in the wine aisle, I think Prosecco.

Here is a fantastic value from the Veneto region in Italy.  The Zonin Prosecco Special Cuvee is on sale right now here in Nova Scotia, and is still a good value at the regular price.  It’s regularly $18.99 a bottle but you can nab it now at $16.99 a bottle and not only does Prosecco make a fun and bubbly sparkling wine, it makes excellent holiday mimosas.  Add it to pink lemonade and add some cranberries and you have a wonderful festive drink.

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

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Anyone that knows me knows I love finding good value wines.  My idea of a good value is a great tasting wine at a great price.  The Pardon My French Fitou is just $17 a bottle but is very tasty.  It’s from the Languedoc region of France, known for its Chateauneuf du Pape, and is made from the same grape as Chateauneuf, Grenache.  I love the raspberry and spicy notes on this wine, and if you’re serving lamb anytime soon, this is your wine.

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It’s December, the month of parties, socials and events.  And those events usually involve wine.  Here’s to apologizing to our liver in advance.

Have a great week

Darlene

Tis The Season…. For Wine

Posted in Uncategorized on November 25, 2017 by darmyers

Grumpy Xmas

A person can’t help but notice some of the posts on Facebook very anti-Christmas in November .  Like it or not, Christmas season seems to be in full swing, even though it’s still November.  So, if the early hustle and bustle has you stressed, may I suggest a few minutes of peace and quiet and a nice glass of wine.  You’ll feel better, I promise.  Here are a few new wines you might think of trying.

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For our first wine we are going to Chile.  This wonderful Bordeaux style blend of 60% Cabernet Sauvignon and 40% Merlot (hence the name) was a great wine at a great price, $18.  If like most of us, you are watching your pennies this time of year, this is a great value if you like those Bordeaux style blends.  Bordeaux style blends are big full-bodied blends that pair well with steaks, stews and other meat dishes.   Wine and Spirits magazine gave it 90 Points, it’s a winner.

Alsace Riesling

I’m studying for my French Wine Scholar exam which I take tomorrow.   And because of this course I have discovered how much I love Riesling from Alsace .  Alsace France is putting out some of the best Rieslings in the world, and I was pleasantly surprised to find one at the $20 price point.  This Arthur Metz Riesling has wonderful flavors on the palate like honey and some floral notes.  Super food friendly wine, it goes so well with any fish or seafood, it would be great with spicy food like Thai food,  or just plain chicken.

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And now for my wine of the week, a spectacular Malbec

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I gave blood the other evening and the gentleman giving next to me was telling me how Malbec was his favorite wine, and it inspired me to try this one.  This wine won the Silver medal at the 2016 Wine and Spirit Competition, and is a great wine for $22.  Locally they gave bought in a limited quantity of this wine, so if you want to try it, I would pick some up soon.  Great fruit flavour and perfect structure.  I loved this wine.

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Have a great week  Till next week, Cheers

Darlene

 

Good Friends Good Wine

Posted in Uncategorized on November 18, 2017 by darmyers

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I am a very rich individual.  I have a wonderful family and a fabulous group of friends and I am grateful for that every day.  The wonderful group of ladies in my building are my friends/family and talk about girl power.  Strong and kind, gracious and sweet, but spunky too.  Heaven help the person who messes with them or those they love.

The Ladies

So we got together for a couple of occasions this past week, one was a dinner party and the other was a birthday party/open house to one of our wonderful golden girls Mair.  We are a very social group, and we do love our wine.  Tried a few new ones this week, and wanted to share.

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Our first wine was a local Nova Scotia wine, the Blomidon Estate Tidal Bay.   Nova Scotia winery owners and winemakers decided to develop a signature wine that revealed the characteristics of Nova Scotia, and its special terroir.  Tidal Bay reflects not only the terroir, but also the coastal breezes and cooler climate of our province.  The one from Blomidon Estates and winemaker Simon Rafuse was a hit at our party with crisp acidity and a vibrancy on the palate.

Anciano Red

Another new wine I’ve tried in the past week is the Anciano red label.  I have written about the Anciano Tempranillo wines in the past, and this one is Garnacha, which is what the grape is called in Spain.  You may know it as Grenache.  Anciano puts out wines of great value, and this one comes in under $15.  The fruit is accented with notes of spice and a great wine for meat.

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It’s not often you hear about a Syrah coming out of Italy, but this was a very interesting wine.  The Conti di Matarocco Syrah hails from the coastal town of Marsala, Sicily and is a medium-bodied wine that is fresh and fruity.  Another great value at just $14 a bottle and a great wine to have with a meal.

Before I tell you about my wine of the week, I want you to meet our work dog.  This is Mason…

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And Mason is one of the nicest dogs you could ever meet.  He belongs to one my colleagues at the radio station and just brings a smile to my face every time I see him.  I thought I would share a photo, since he’s so cute.   So that’s your dose of cute today, and now for my wine of the week.

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It’s another Italian wine and it too hails from Sicily.  It’s under the $20 range and went down remarkably well.  This is a bit of a rare red blend as it contains 2 grapes you may not be familiar with, unless you spend a lot of time in Italy.  Nero d’Avolo and Nerello Mascalese  make for a great blend that would pair very well with all your favourite comfort foods like roast, beef stews and casseroles

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Well, that’s it for me this week

Till next week, Cheers

Darlene

New Friends – New Wines

Posted in Uncategorized on November 11, 2017 by darmyers

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Last Saturday I had mentioned in this wine blog, that I was doing a wine tasting that night.  It was for a group of 20 people here in Halifax, and I had only met 4 of them before.  What a great time we had.  So this wine blog is all about the fabulous new wines we tried together with my fabulous new friends.

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For this particular tasting, we really compared wines at different price ranges.  For example, we compared a Sancerre to a New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc.   We also compared two different wines from Tuscany and one was twice as expensive as the other.

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This is the Castello di Bossi Chianti Classico from Tuscany.  As I had mentioned last week, there are 9 Chianti districts and 1 of them is Classico.  It has long been perceived that Chianti Classico is the premium Chianti, and honestly I have to agree.  They are doing great things with Chianti, but you know when you buy Chianti Classico you are getting a great wine.  And this was a great wine.  This estate was established in 1983 so they have been making wine for a while, and I found it to be on the full-bodied side with very distinct tannins and hints of leather.  It sells for $32.

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One of the big surprises out of the evening was that most people preferred this Tuscan wine.

Caparzo

If the name is familiar, I talked about Caparzo wine in my blog when I returned from Italy, because I stayed in a villa on the Caparzo winery site.  We would wake in the morning to gorgeous fields of Sangiovese grapes.  This wine sells here in Halifax for $16 and I have to say what a pleasant surprise it was.  It shouldn’t have been, as I got to experience first hand in Italy how good this wine was.  But for the price point, it is smooth and fruity and easy to drink.  Caparzo have been making wine since the 1960’s and they do it right.   This is more of a medium bodied wine, but really approachable and you’re getting an awesome wine for $16.  This is a great wine for pasta and pizza.

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Another interesting comparison we did was between Bordeaux style blends.  We had a high priced Bordeaux wine and compared it with this Bordeaux style blend out of Chile, and all I can say is WOW!

Cono sur

I had this wine again last night, when I took it to a social get together in my apartment building.  And I was reminded again how good it was.   This is probably one of the best deals in the liquor store right now.  It’s the Cono Sur blend of Cabernet Sauvignon, Carmenere and Syrah and it sells for $16 a bottle.  I went out this past week and bought a half-case.  It is spectacular.  It is fully organic and some wine critics are giving this 91+ Points.  Wine Magazine has it on their ‘Best Buy’ list.  Get out and pick some up while you can because I have a feeling it will be sold out.  Cono Sur is the 3rd largest exporter of wine out of Chile, and you know how I feel about Chilean wine.  Tremendous wine at tremendous value.

The Cono Sur was going to be my wine of week, however, I have to feature the winner of our recent Festival of Wines show.

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This wine was the winner at the NSLC Festival of Wines, and it is so good.  I had to miss the Festival of Wines this year because I was in Newfoundland, so what a treat to taste the winning wine.

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From the heart of the Sonoma County in California where 60,000 acres of vineyards make some of the wine, comes the Kenwood Sonoma County 2013 Cabernet Sauvignon.  Kenwood has been putting out a Sonoma series of wine for 45 years.  The growing conditions in 2013 have been called ‘golden’ by winemakers throughout California.  Whereas Europe had it’s challenges weather-wise in 2013, California andthe entire U.S. had an ideal season with no extreme temperatures or rain.  I loved this wine.  The oak or the alcohol did not dominate this wine, instead I enjoyed the fruit and the spicy notes.  A great wine for steak, beef or even all by itself.  At $22 a bottle, this wine is a steal of a deal and deserved the winning sticker.

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Today is Remembrance Day here in Canada and I would like to take a moment to say a sincere thank you to all the people of our military that serve today and has served in the past.  We live in the greatest country in the world and it’s because our veterans fought for the freedoms we enjoy today.   A thank you  for the sacrifices you and your families make each and every day.

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

Darlene