Fall in Love with Great Wines

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

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

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

Here was the first one.

Avondale Sky Chevrie

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

Avondale Sky Tennycape
Avondale Sky Ortega

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

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Everyone wants wine

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

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

Delicious Italian red wine

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

Wax covers drive me crazy

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

Got it off with my fingers in tact

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

Red or White?

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

Darlene

Bordeaux Wine Tour, Anyone?

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

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

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

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

2005 Chateau D’yquem

Like this 2005 Chateau D’yquem priced at $1112.00

Chateau Margeaux

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

Puyfromage White

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

Rayell holding a Sauternes
Chateau Coutet Sauternes

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

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

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

Maille Mustard

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

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

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

Have a wonderful week everyone. Till next week, Cheers

Darlene

Wining For A Long Weekend

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

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

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

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

Let’s talk some wine…. and food!!

A great chicken marinade was discovered this week

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

Saints & Sinners Pinot Grigio

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

Smoking Loon Old Vine Zinfandel

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

Pork tenderloin

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

And now for my wine of the week…

A 90 Point wine for $12.99

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

I need this t-shirt

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

Stay safe and take care

Darlene

National Red Wine Day

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

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

Great evening for a BBQ

I do really good ribs

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

Paso Creek 2015 Merlot

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

I’m trying to eat healthier

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

Caliterra Tributo Chardonnay

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

And now for my wine of the week….

Gauchezco Reserve Cabernet Franc

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

Your chuckle for today

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

Niagara Falls, Ontario - Wikipedia
Niagara Falls

Till next week, Cheers

Darlene

Grape Balls of Fire

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

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

My 1st homemade salsa

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

My late night Nachos

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

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

Here’s what I did:

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

1/2 teaspoon of minced garlic

1/4 cup of cilantro

The juice of 1/2 a lime

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

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

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

Mini Food Processor

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

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

A selection of Nova Scotia Tidal Bay Wines

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

My spicy wines

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

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

Kung Fu Girl Riesling U.S.A.

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

And now my Wine of the Week

The Cleaver

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

Stay safe

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

Darlene

Too Hot To Wine?

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

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

Enjoying a sip while working the Q

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

Pelee Island Pinot Noir

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

Lola Rose

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

This made me laugh

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

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

Santa Carolina Cabernet Sauvignon
Santa Carolina Sauvignon Blanc

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

Smile, it’s Saturday

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

Darlene

5 Months In

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

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

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

Rhone To The Bone

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

Last night’s dinner

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

Canyon Road Cabernet Sauvignon

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

Enjoying Summer

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

Darlene

Heat Wave Favorites

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

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

Learning how to make pizza dough from scratch

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

Pondsview Pinot Grigio

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

Fresh Basil

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

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

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

Beringer Founder’s Estate Cabernet

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

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

Till next week, Cheers

Darlene

Birthday Shenanigans!

Posted in Uncategorized on July 25, 2020 by darmyers

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

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

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

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

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

And now for my wine of the week…

Ava Grace Rose

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

Summer sipping on the patio

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

Darlene

Under $20

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

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

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

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

Bodacious Pinot Grigio

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

Murta is from Portugal

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

One of my favorite wine memes
Farmers of Wine

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

And now for my wine of the week…

A delicious new discovery!

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

Me, when someone asks why I have so many empties

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

Till next week, Cheers

Darlene

Summer Wine Time

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

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

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

Arrogant Frog Rose

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

Me too!

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

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

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

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

Back to the wine

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

See Ya Later Ranch Riesling

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

And now for my wine of the week…..

Conviction Pinot Noir

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

The extreme heat is a little much for me

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

Darlene

I Miss Wine Tastings

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

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

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

Here are some of my favorites from previous wine tastings.

It’s always a great time when friends gather
Image result for villa de conchi cava
Villa Conchi Brut

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

There’s always a wide variety
Elouan Pinot Noir

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

Botter Primitivo is Organic

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

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

Well that’s it for this week. Cheers

Darlene

How Coronavirus has changed The Wine Industry

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

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

Who could have predicted a toilet paper shortage

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

My new mask

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

Ok, let’s talk some wine.

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

And now for my wine of the week…

Cavit Red Blend

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

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

Darlene

Merlot is Back!

Posted in Uncategorized on June 6, 2020 by darmyers

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

Doctor’s orders

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

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

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

Grenache, Syrah & Merlot makes a great blend

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

Jacob’s Creek Moscato

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

Homemade Chicken Pad Thai & Thai wings

And now for my wine of the week..

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

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

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

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

Darlene

Another Week of Wine & Food

Posted in Uncategorized on May 30, 2020 by darmyers

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

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

And the fun continues with new recipes. Like Caprese chicken


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

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

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

Embrazen Red wine

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

And now for my wine of the week…

Alluria Pinot Grigio

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

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

Darlene

Great Women Wine Writers

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

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

The Wine Folly

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

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

Natalie MacLean

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

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

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

Andrea Robinson

Andrea Robinson | Penguin Random House

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

Jancis Robinson

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

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

And now, my Wine of the Week..

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

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

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

Till next week, Cheers

Darlene

Wining (I mean Working) From Home

Posted in Uncategorized on May 16, 2020 by darmyers

Welcome Letter 2019-2020 – Canadian International School of Egypt

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

Zoom meeting 1

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

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

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

working from home

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

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

Bourbon chicken

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

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

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

Anciano Garnacha

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

Starbucks

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

Till next week, Cheers

Darlene

 

 

 

 

 

Wining During A Pandemic

Posted in Uncategorized on May 9, 2020 by darmyers

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

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

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

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

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

And now for my wine of the week…

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

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

Darlene

Food & Wine

Posted in Uncategorized on May 2, 2020 by darmyers

food and wine

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

Let’s talk about some wine.

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

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

Centerstone Pinot

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

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

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

food and wine 1 Honey garlic sauce

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

And now for my wine of the week…

Pepperwood Grove Zinfandel

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

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

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

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

Have a great week everyone, till next Saturday Cheers

Darlene

Virtual Wine Fest

Posted in Uncategorized on April 25, 2020 by darmyers

Zoom meeting

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

Kim Crawford Sauvignon BlancBeringer Sauvignon Blanc

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

pork 1

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

Mcmanis

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

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

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

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

Cono Sur pinot

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

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Stay safe everyone, and thanks for reading.

Till next week, Cheers

Darlene

 

 

National Pajama Day!

Posted in Uncategorized on April 18, 2020 by darmyers

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

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

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

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

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

Sangiovese 1

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

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Stay safe friends, and till next week, Cheers

Darlene

 

 

Happy Easter (With Wine)

Posted in Uncategorized on April 11, 2020 by darmyers

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

And now for my wine of the week……

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

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Happy Easter everyone.  Stay safe

Darlene

Stay Home (& Drink Wine)

Posted in Uncategorized on April 4, 2020 by darmyers

Grumpy stay home

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

Image for Rockway Vineyards Chardonnay/Riesling 2015 from LCBO

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

Ribs and winggs

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

Botter

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

Image for 7 Deadly Zins Old Vine Zinfandel from LCBO

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

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

Air fryer

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

Now for my wine of the week…

Prophecy

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

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

puzzle

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

Darlene

An At-Home Wine Tour

Posted in Uncategorized on March 28, 2020 by darmyers

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

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

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

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

Barossa GSM

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

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

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

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

Darlene

 

My Quarantined Wine List

Posted in Uncategorized on March 21, 2020 by darmyers

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

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This looks about right, doesn’t it?

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

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

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

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

I love wine

That’s it for this week,

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

Cheers

Darlene

Stock Up On Wine

Posted in Uncategorized on March 14, 2020 by darmyers

Image result for hoarding wine meme

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Darlene

Spring Forward with Great Wine

Posted in Uncategorized on March 7, 2020 by darmyers

Wine Daylight Savings

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

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

I have a surprise for you…

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

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

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

Murta 2

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

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

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

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

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

Till next week, Cheers

Darlene

My Leap Year Blog

Posted in Uncategorized on February 29, 2020 by darmyers

 

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

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

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

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

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

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Have a great weekend

Darlene

 

Leap Into Some Great Wine

Posted in Uncategorized on February 22, 2020 by darmyers

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

Water over wine

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

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

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

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

Olivia Pope drinking wine

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

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

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

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

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

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


And now for my wine of the week…. 

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

Cheers

Darlene

 

Feeling The Love… For Wine

Posted in Uncategorized on February 15, 2020 by darmyers

Wine Valentines day

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

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

Sancerre

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

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

Till next weekend, have a great week

Cheers, Darlene

Keep Calm & Drink the Wine

Posted in Uncategorized on February 8, 2020 by darmyers

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

And now for my wine of the week……

7 Deadly Zinbs

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

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Have a great weekend and a wonderful week.

Darlene

Who’s Ready for February?

Posted in Uncategorized on February 1, 2020 by darmyers

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

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

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

Anthony's wine

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

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

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

Antinori white

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

And now for my wine of the week…

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

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Till next week, Cheers

Darlene

Hearty Winter Wines

Posted in Uncategorized on January 25, 2020 by darmyers

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

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

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

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

Nothing says hearty like Zinfandel

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

And now for my wine of the week…

Gringo

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

Snow wine

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

Till next week, Cheers

Darlene

Wine Trends to Watch for in 2020

Posted in Uncategorized on January 18, 2020 by darmyers

2020 wine trends

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

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

  1.  Rose Prosecco

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

2.  Italian Wines will continue to flourish

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

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

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

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

4.  Wine From Europe could see a price increase

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

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

And now for my wine of the week….

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

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

Darlene

My Top 10 of 2019

Posted in Uncategorized on December 31, 2019 by darmyers

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

10.  Botter Primitivo – $14.99

Botter

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

9.  Castano GSM – $19

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

8.  Moma White – $17.99

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

7.  Chateau Cantenac Saint Emillion – $36

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

6.  Hola Brut Cava – $21.99

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

5.  Luna di Luna Merlot Primitivo – $17.99

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

4.  Bread & Butter Chardonnay – $22.69

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

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

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

2. Rose D’Anjou Gamay

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

  1.  Argyle Pinot Noir – $55

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

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

Darlene

 

 

It’s The Most Wonderful Time of the Year

Posted in Uncategorized on December 21, 2019 by darmyers

Deck the halls

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

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

Recently, I told you about this wonderful Botter Primitivo

Botter

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

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

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

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

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

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And now for my wine of the week…

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

I love wine

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

Darlene

 

Birthday Wine Tasting

Posted in Uncategorized on December 14, 2019 by darmyers

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Last weekend I had the pleasure of facilitating a wine tasting for a very special 60th birthday.  This is Daphne and Terry, and Terry celebrated a birthday last weekend, and I got to be a part of it.

They had many good friends there

And we drank some really good wine.

We had a lot of fun and it was a great tasting because we had some really good values and some really good treat wines.

We opened the night with a toast to Terry for his birthday, using this fantastic Spanish Cava.  The Villa Conchi Brut is about $18 and is delicious, crisp and easy on both the palate and the wallet.

Then we had this unique wine


Most people associate white Burgundy with Chardonnay, however Aligoté has always been there.  Bouchard Pere decided to highlight Aligoté in this interesting complex white wine.  It’s a crisp dry white wine with flavours of citrus and apple.  It’s $26 a bottle and would be a fabulous pairing with Christmas turkey.

One of my personal favourite treats of the evening was this white wine, another great pairing with turkey.

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Before last Saturday night, I can honestly say I have never had a wine from Uruguay, and what a delicious treat it turned out to be.  The Garzon Albarino was amazing and recommended by Peter Rockwell himself, the head buyer from our NSLC.. I loved this wine, however, it is only at our local liquor store for a limited time, so if you’d like to try it, try it soon.  Beautiful citrus, and pear flavours make it very food friendly and a very nice unique wine for $26.

One of the red wines we had was one of my favourite staples in my wine rack, the Anciano Temprano aged years for $15 a bottle.  I have written about it quite a bit in the past.  One of our treat wines was this lovely Primitivo from Italy.

 

The grapes are hand-picked from vines that are at least 70 years old.  Beautiful full-bodied wine with notes of tobacco and herbs.  Everyone at the party really seemed to enjoy this Primitivo, and I think for some it was their first time ever having an Italian Primitivo wine.  It’s a Christmas treat though, at $48 a bottle.

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

People who know me, know I love Pinot Noir, and this is one of the best I’ve had in a long time.   I rarely bring wines to a wine-tasting that I have never tried, but I took a chance because of how much I love Pinot Noir from Oregon.  25% of the wine has been aged in new French oak, and what that means is that the oak will never overpower this wine but it was used to smoothen the wine.  It’s a treat at $56 a bottle but it was so delicious.
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Enjoy December events and stay safe.

Darlene

Relieving Holiday Stress

Posted in Uncategorized on December 7, 2019 by darmyers

Holiday stress

There’s no denying it, we are in the middle of the holiday season.  Christmas parties, shopping, baking, wrapping and a million other chores that have to be done before Saint Nick makes his appearance on the night of the 24th.  It’s no surprise many people get stressed out this time of the year.  I try to tackle a ‘Christmas chore’ each evening.  That way I feel accomplished.  And then I pour myself a glass of wine.  Nothing says stress reliever like a bubble bath and a glass of wine……unless you have a cat!

Gabe & the tub

This is Gabriel and I swear he wants to jump in with me sometimes.  But I digress.  Stress relieving wines for all my friends is what this wine blog is all about.  Let’s get started, and what better way than a sparkling bubbly!

This can be an expensive time of the year for many people, so any time you can find a good value, especially in a sparkling wine, you may want to grab it. The Freixenet Cordon Negro Sparkling is on sale right now in Nova Scotia.  It’s still a good value at full price, $17.99, but while they are on sale for $15.99 it’s worth picking up a couple.  The packaging is beautiful and makes for a great gift that won’t break the bank. It’s a Spanish Cava that is made in the traditional method, and is dry and crisp and a great wine for the first course, or even just for a Christmas toast.

The above wine may look like a red, because of the dark bottle, however it’s a white wine.  I have a wine tasting tonight, and when I was in the store picking out the wines, I had a chat with Peter Rockwell, head buyer for the NSLC.  He said we love our Pinot Grigio, and here’s another one that is packaged beautifully and won’t break the bank.  This Beringer is from California, it’s dry and fruity with gorgeous hints of pear and citrus.  And it sells for $12.99 a bottle.  This will make you happy happy.

Giro

So this was a new wine I tried this week, as it’s fairly new in our liquor stores.  The Giro Sangiovese / Merlot blend from Fantini was made to commemorate the ‘Giro d’Italia’ bicycle race.  Sangiovese is not usually described as a full-bodied wine, but once blended with the Merlot, it gives it that extra edge.  The tannins are prominent, especially when first opened.  I also made the comment, ‘I detect smoky flavors’.  This would probably come from the Merlot.  You can enjoy it now, or it can definitely age for a couple of years.

And now for my wine of the week….

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From Chile comes this wonderful Pinot Noir.  Climate can really change the way a grape tastes, the same grape from a warm climate compared to a cool climate can really vary.  Someone wine critics feel Pinot Noir taste better coming from a cooler climate, and I do love a good Pinot from Canada.  However this Montes Pinot Noir really impressed me.  It’s medium-bodied, fruity with some great acidity.  And its $17 a bottle!  Win win!
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Have a great weekend

Cheers, Darlene

December – Wine & Christmas Meme’s

Posted in Uncategorized on November 30, 2019 by darmyers

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Tomorrow is December 1st.  So many wine memes, so little time.  I always try to end off my blogs with a chuckle from a good wine meme.  And there are a lot of good ones out there.  So tomorrow being December 1st, I thought I would have a little fun with this blog.  I’m going to share some of my favorite wine meme’s, and a few favorite wines.

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The meme that probably got the most likes from my social media posts was this one, featuring Karen from the television show ‘Will & Grace’.  I’m pairing it with one of my favorite finds this past year in a white wine.  The Liano from Umberto Cesari in Italy is a great wine under $20.  It is a blend of Chardonnay & Sauvignon Blanc from the Rubicone region.  I have brought this wine to several wine tastings this year, I just love it.  It’s got some great body from the Chardonnay, so it can hold up to meaty dishes, but the Sauvignon Blanc really ads some nice acidity, so it’s not dull and flat on the palate.

Wine abs

There’s another meme I’ve used recently that said ‘my abs are hidden underneath my love of wine”, but this one featuring Winnie the Pooh really hits the spot some days.  I’m going to pair this meme with a sparkling wine, a Spanish Cava.

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Personally, I’m not making through the holidays without a sparkling wine, and neither should you.  Spanish Cava is a great value, this wine is just $21.99 here in Nova Scotia.  Spanish Cava is a great way to enjoy a great sparkling wine without breaking the wallet.  It’s crisp and refreshing, and a great way to say ‘Hello’, which is what Hola means.  It also makes a great Christmas gift.  Speaking of Christmas Gifts….

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Honestly, I’ve never  been told I’m hard to shop for.  After all, everyone knows where to buy wine.  Pairing this meme with a wine that is still a staple in my wine rack.  The Anciano Tempranillo from Spain, that comes in a bottle beautifully wrapped in gold netting, aged for 7 years, and is priced at $14.99.  Hard to beat the value on this wine, and the great wine inside the bottle.

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And for my wine of the week….

Il Grigio

I bought this wine in Italy when I was there almost 3 years ago and decided this week I needed to treat myself.  While in Italy, I was very blessed to have lunch and a wine tasting at the San Felice Winery, which is a beautiful restored vineyard that was once a town.  The owners bought the town and restored the beautiful buildings in the town and created a winery.  The church, as part of the property, goes back to the Etruscan era, which is 8 thousand years BC.  The history is amazing, and so is the wine.  It’s a bit of a treat here, as it does sell in Nova Scotia.  I paid $13 Euros for the wine in Italy, which is about $20 Canadian.  The wine sells for around $45 here, so it is a treat.  But this year if you want to end the year with a treat wine, may I recommend this one.  It is smooth and delicious and was the wine featured at the beginning of the movie ‘Hannibal’, the follow up movie to Silence of the Lambs.  Anthony Hopkins is seen drinking a glass of wine, and the bottle on the table in the movie is this wine.  Not only is it a treat, but there’s a great story to tell your guests.

Wine bible

And on that note, have a great weekend. Till next week, Cheers

Darlene

 

 

 

National Zinfandel Day

Posted in Uncategorized on November 23, 2019 by darmyers

I didn’t write a wine blog last weekend as my brother-in-law suffered a heart attack last Friday and I was with my sister at the Cardiac Intensive Care Unit over the weekend and in the early part of the week.  It’s been a crazy week.  Let’s talk some wine.

This past week we celebrated National Zinfandel Day, it was Tuesday November 19th.

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I love Zinfandel.  Archaeological evidence indicates this grape dates back to 6000 B.C., and is said it has been enjoyed by Popes.  It arrived in California in the 1850’s during the California Gold Rush.  Lodi California is considered the home of California Zinfandel, however many parts of California are creating outstanding Zinfandel wines.  Also known as Primitivo in Italy, this wine is flavorful and full-bodied and the perfect partner for any meat done on the barbecue.  Let’s have a look at some of my favorites.

7 Deadly Zinbs

You mention Zinfandel, and the #1 wine people think of the most is 7 Deadly Zins.  Getting its name from the 7 different locations the Zinfandel grapes are harvested from, this is considered the flagship Zinfandel.  Even when I was telling my co-workers about a Primitivo I recently tried, his first response was ‘Compare it to 7 Deadly Zins’.  Jammy fruit with hints of hickory smoke and vanilla.  Classic!

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I can’t get this Zinfandel here in Nova Scotia, but its a definite purchase when I head home to Newfoundland for a visit.  Winemaker Andy Robinson creates a beautiful wine from Sonoma County in the Napa Valley.  Given 91 Points by Wine Spectator magazine, this is worth the $33 price tag.

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Four Vines Zinfandel hails from the Central Coast California which runs from Santa Barbara to Monterey Bay.  Their slogan is ‘We make interesting wines for interesting people’.  The slogan represents all different people from different walks of life including Cowboys, farmers, artists and rebels.  Sadly, they stopped carrying it here in Nova Scotia, so if you see it, give it a try, and let me know what you think.

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This is my ‘go-to’ Zinfandel, another beauty from Sonoma County, Kenwood offers a tremendous value at just $22 a bottle.  Kenwood started producing Zinfandel in 1970 and it’s a little unique because its 97% Zinfandel, 1% Merlot, 1% Petite Sirah, and 1% Syrah, so it’s a very interesting wine to drink.  I love it because of the complex layers and the great price point.

And now for my wine of the week….

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We head to Italy to try a brand new wonderful Primitivo.   Salento is a region if Puglia in the southern part of Italy.  This medium-bodied wine, which I shared with friends last night, and one of the comments was “this is easy to drink”.  And that’s what good wine is all about.  It is in the $18 range so it’s a great wine at a great value.

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Have a wonderful weekend everyone

Till next week, Cheers

Darlene

 

Money Saving Wines

Posted in Uncategorized on November 9, 2019 by darmyers

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Hey, Christmas is coming, and if the rest of the year is any indication, it’s coming fast.  This time of the year brings extra financial responsibilities for many people, Christmas parties, extra food, extra liquor, and of course presents.  It’s a time when finding fabulous wines at great prices is more important than ever.

For my first wine, I am going to stay locally and tell you about Tidal Bay.

Tidal Bay was created by the Wine Association of Nova Scotia to reflect the terroir of Nova Scotia.  It is our signature wine.  It is the perfect compliment to seafood, but I like it with just about anything.  I was at a  dinner party last week and one of the ladies made the comment she had tried Tidal Bay but didn’t like it much.  She was shocked to discover most wineries in Nova Scotia put out a form of Tidal Bay and they are all different.  They have guidelines they have to follow, but they are all a little different.

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Last night my friend Arla bought the Jost Tidal Bay.  I think this is the very last one I had yet to try of all the Tidal Bay wines from all the different vineyards in Nova Scotia.  Personally,  I like them all.  The 2  pictured above, the Saint Famille and the Blomidon Tidal Bay.  They sell for about $21 a bottle here and go great with seafood, chicken, appetizers, and salads. The Jost sells for $20.

For my next wine, we are going to look at a spectacular value.

So many of my friends drink Pinot Grigio, and there are many reasons I love this wine.  First of all, it’s an elegant dry wine that is crisp and refreshing and very food friendly.  Also, it’s always one of the best values in the wine store.  Take this Canaletto Pinot Grigio from Italy for example, it’s $13.99 a bottle.  This wine pairs well with pasta dishes, white meat dishes, fish or delicious all on its own.  If you love white wine, and haven’t tried an Italian Pinot Grigio yet, run don’t walk, to the liquor store now.  You’ll love it.

If you’re looking for a tasty red wine that’s easy on the wallet, pick up this Spanish beauty.  It’s on sale right now here in Nova Scotia, so you’re only going to pay $12.99 a bottle.  It’s a blend of Cabernet Sauvignon and Tempranillo in an easy to drink medium-bodied wine.  The title, Liberado, was inspired by Spain’s transition to a democracy in the 1970’s, celebrating Spanish people’s newfound liberties.  With the temperatures dropping, if you’re looking for a great red wine that pairs well with your comfort food, give this one a try.

I’m so excited to share with you my wine of the week…

Botter

First of all, I love the packaging.  Second, this is a fantastic wine that is under $15.  I was at Fred & Arla’s the other evening, and they opened this bottle of wine.  I immediately went and got one… ok two, but who’s counting.  Primitivo, or Zinfandel as it is known outside of Italy, is delicious and one of my favorite reds.  This wine hails from Salento Italy, which is directly on the heel of the boot.  It is rich and smooth with notes of plum and hints of tobacco.  This wine is also designated organic.  Did I mention it’s under $15.

Wine long weekend

It’s a long weekend here in Canada.  I do have to work on Saturday, but I think I’ll find time for a glass….. or two.  Like I said, who counts them on the long weekend.

Till next week, Cheers

Darlene

Wine & Writing

Posted in Uncategorized on November 2, 2019 by darmyers

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I was just looking at a list of my previous posts, when I noticed that I have written 492 wine blogs to date. This is wine blog number 493!  The reason I’m telling you this, is that sometimes I wonder what I’m going to write about. Sometimes the ideas come really easy, and sometimes on Saturday mornings I sit here with my cup of coffee and struggle with the topic.  The reason I started writing a wine blog, is that I’m very adventurous when it comes to trying new wines, and I wanted to share great tasting wines at good value to those a little hesitant about spending money on wines they weren’t sure about. For this one blog, where I’m struggling a little, let’s start there.

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I’ve tried two wines recently from the Saint Roch Family.  Jean-Marc Lafage and his wife Elaine both own the property and are the main winemakers for the estate.  The white is Grenache Blanc and it’s a very dry wine perfect for food pairing.  Flavors of floral and citrus and believe it or not, this wine is aged in concrete for the most part.

The red wine from the family is a blend of Syrah and Grenache.  These wines hail from the Languedoc-Roussillon region of France and they do a fantastic job with Grenache.  Remember, Grenache is the main grape used in making Chateauneuf du Pape, which starts at about $50 a bottle and increases from there.  Both these wines, the red and the white, are just $19.99 a bottle here in Nova Scotia, making them a tremendous value.  I love finding great wines under $20.

An article I read this past week, started with the statement, ‘Spanish Cava is dead’!  It certainly got my attention as I love Cava.  I will say I don’t believe Cava is dead.  The article hinted that high priced quality Cava was dying, in favor of lesser priced sparkling wines like some Cava’s and Italian Prosecco’s.  Here’s my thought of that.  If someone is going to fork out the money for an expensive quality sparkling, they are probably going to buy from Champagne, France.  In my opinion, Cava’s and Prosecco’s, will always have a place in the world, because many people want to enjoy a good sparkling without paying hundreds of dollars.  Just like there will always be room in the world for a Rolex watch and a Timex watch.  Spanish Cava’s tend to be a couple of dollars more expensive than an Italian Prosecco, because many of them are made in the traditional method.  Which is time consuming and ensures quality.  This Cava is the Freixenet Elyssia Gran Cuvee Brut Cava, Brut signifying that it is not sweet, but dry.  It is $23 a bottle and I have brought this to many wine tastings, to show people you can get a traditionally made Sparkling that is affordable to everyone.

And now for my wine of the week…

The picture is a little dark, my apologies.  It is the Lignum Vitis Frappato Shiraz from Italy, and as you can see it is under $20.  This is made from a grape I’ve never written about before – Frappato.  Frapatto is a red Italian grape variety planted primarily in Sicily.  My friend Fred loves red Sicilian wines, so I’m hoping he’ll try this one.  This is a great wine with juicy jammy flavors and hints of dark chocolate.  I can honestly say I think it was my first time drinking Frappato and I liked it.  Although, I have had several wines from Sicily while visiting my friends Fred and Arla, so I’m going to have to start taking pictures.

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Have a great weekend everyone.  Till next week, Cheers

Darlene

 

 

Spooktacular Great Wines

Posted in Uncategorized on October 26, 2019 by darmyers

Wine Halloween 2

This coming Thursday children will be dressing up and going door to door looking for treats.  As adults, we joke about the concept of going door to door and asking for wine.  I’ve been on a bit of a roll lately with some great new wines, so I thought I would share them with you.  Let’s start with a bubbly

The Zonin Prosecco Special Cuvee is a fantastic sparkling wine at a stunning prize.  If the name Zonin sounds familiar, it’s sister red Ripasso made my top wine of 2018.

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The Zonin Prosecco Special Cuvee is just $19 a bottle, so a very affordable sparkling wine.  It’s also been named ‘The Official Prosecco of National Brunch Day”.  Perfect all on its own, or mixed with orange juice for a delicious Mimosa.  It’s been given 95 Points by one critic, it’s that good.

Ok., I have a bit of a shocker to share.  In the past couple of weeks I have tried not one, but two wines from Barefoot.  (Whispering) I really liked them both.  I tried Barefoot many years ago and was not impressed, and honestly, I’ve stayed away.  But recently I’ve tried the Pinot Grigio & the Merlot.

The Pinot Grigio is priced at $11.99 here, and it’s fresh and crisp.  It’s an easy to drink Pinot Grigio with flavors of citrus and pineapple.  It’s also a great value.  The bigger surprise to me was the Merlot.  I love Merlot, and I’m a little picky.  It’s on sale right now for $12.99 and I bought one, to try it.  I liked it.  It’s not overly complex, it’s a simple easy to drink red wine that has no bitterness, and there us no fake oaky flavours.  It’s juicy and I had it with dinner, which was a pork tenderloin and I sat there chuckling because I really really enjoyed this wine.  Last weekend someone told me they were nervous about serving me certain wines because I’m a Sommelier.  Well, you can put those fears to rest. LOL  What can I say, they are easy to drink wines that do not break the wallet.

And now for my wine of the week…

Cote du Rhone

We head to France with a spectacular Cotes du Rhone.  The Famille Perrin Cotes du Rhone Reserve is a blend of Grenache, Syrah and Mourvedre and these GSM’s from the South of France are moving quickly to the top of my list.  These are full-bodied wines, smooth from aging in subtle oak and rich fruit.  And they are tremendous values.  This wine is less than $20 per bottle.  I loved this wine and will definitely buy it again.

Wine Halloween 3

Have a safe Halloween everyone.  Till next week, Cheers

Darlene

 

 

October is #MerlotMe Month!

Posted in Uncategorized on October 19, 2019 by darmyers

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I have been writing about my love of Merlot for a long time.  More so since Paul Giamatti spoke those infamous words in the movie Sideways, ‘I don’t want to drink any f*&king Merlot”!

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Many reports have stated Merlot sales dropped for a while, while Pinot Noir flourished, causing no damage to the wine industry overall.  I love Merlot.  Merlot loves me.  We have a fantastic relationship.

I love Merlot

Let me start by sharing some of my favourite Merlot wines.  My first one is a staple in my wine rack because it’s such a great value.

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Dada 2 is an Argentinian organic Merlot.  Delicious.  The price recently went up, however it is still only $16.48 a bottle here in Nova Scotia.  It’s a very lush wine, with hints of mocha from the oak, however in no way does the oak dominate.  Got together with some friends last night to drink a glass of wine and this is the one I bought down.

Festival of Wines J Lohr Merlot

This J. Lohr Merlot wine from California won best Merlot at the Festival of Wines show last year, and I’ve enjoyed it several times since then.  Steve Peck, Director of Winemaking at J. Lohr says they’ve added a bit of Malbec because it accentuated the fruit flavours.  It would also add some structure to the wine.  I had this last year with a steak and it was stunning, and it sells for $29.99 here.  However, if you’re down California way, it sells for $15 a bottle at the Vineyard, heartbreaking isn’t it?  Being a wine lover in Canada it’s not always easy on the pocketbook

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Here’s another Merlot that I absolutely love, and this hails from California as well.  Barrel aged in American oak for 12 months, the oak is a little more noticeable in this wine, but the Merlot is so full bodied and juicy that the grape does shine.  It sells for about $25 a bottle here, and it’s a great one.

And now for my wine of the week,,,

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To show my white wine loving friends I haven’t forgotten about them, this was one of my favorite white wines at the  Festival of Wines.  The Bread and Butter Chardonnay will have you thinking of creme brule with its notes of vanilla bean and almond.  Things I loved about this Chardonnay?  The oak did not dominate the wine, it had some very bright acidity and the flavors were vibrant, not always words used to describe Chardonnay.  I loved it and will definitely buy it again.

Wine Underachievers

I hope you over-achieve this weekend!!  Till next week, Cheers

Darlene

International Champagne Day

Posted in Uncategorized on October 12, 2019 by darmyers

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Coming up this Friday is International Champagne Day.  And I have to share a few new sparkling wines I’ve had recently, including some from Champagne.  So let me start by giving you a little Champagne history.  Champagne is a region in Northern France, as far north as you can go and still grow grapes.  They have been perfecting this bubbly wine for hundreds of years, to the point, the traditional method of making sparkling wine, is also called the Champagne method.  A sparkling wine can be made in the traditional method, but unless it hails from the Champagne region in France, it cannot be called Champagne.  It’s called ‘Cava’ in Spain, Any time you see Cremant, it is also traditional made sparkling wine, but not from the Champagne region.

I recently had a wonderful Cremant wine at the Festival of wines from Bordeaux

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Made from Semillion, Muscadelle and Sauvignon Blanc, this bright vibrant sparkling wine is a great substitution when you have something to celebrate but don’t want to spend the money associated with Champagne.

Here’s another great bubbly that won’t break the bank

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My friend Youjeen was pouring this wonderful Spanish Cava at the Festival of Wines.  In Spain, the word Hola is how people greet each other.  And that was the premise behind the name of the wine.  This Cava was made deliciously dry with hints of apple and citrus.  A beautiful sparkling wine ready to celebrate at under $22 a bottle here.

If, however, nothing but the real deal will cut it, try this one authentic Champagne from Duval-Leroy

 

The Champagne house of Duval-Leroy was founded in 1859 so they have been producing top quality Champagnes for many many years.  However, this Champagne house is known for more than just Champagne, it was a pioneer when it came to promoting sustainability in the vineyard.  I personally like a dry Champagne, which you will be able to tell if the word Brut is in the title.  Champagne doesn’t come cheap, which makes it the ultimate treat.

And now for my wine of the week…..

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Critics are giving this wine 91 points, and I have to agree whole heartedly.   Super smooth combination of Grenache, Syrah, and Mourvedre.    A GSM blend is one of my favourites and this wine did not disappoint.  Velvety blueberry and blackberry notes and although I know it saw some oak, except for the smoothness you couldn’t tell.  It is priced at $20.99 a bottle so it’s a really good value.

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Happy Thanksgiving weekend everyone

Cheers

Darlene

 

 

Festival of Wines Part 2

Posted in Uncategorized on October 5, 2019 by darmyers

So many great wines, so little time.

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My friend Cassandra and I took a few hours last Saturday afternoon and spent it tasting wine at one of the grand tastings during the Festival of Wines in  Halifax.  Although the country to be featured this year, Wines of South America’, all countries are represented and we tried some great wines.  We had a great time, and I had the opportunity to speak to many people about the wine they were featuring.

This was one of my favorites.

 

I have written about Tommassi wines previously but this was my first time trying the Tommasi Ripasso.  This is what the winemaker had to say

“Tommasi “Ripasso” is the unique result of refermenting Valpolicella Classico Superiore on the warm grape skins from which Amarone has been fermented. This process, used only in rare vintage years, imparts the richness of character and personality of a great wine to an already superior wine.”

It was elegant and delicious and one of my favorite finds at the Festival of Wines.  If you get a chance, try it.

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Both Cassandra and I loved the look of this bottle, and the wine in it was so good I bought a few home with me, because I’m pretty sure at the moment the only place you can buy it was at the show.  Sadly, it’s not available at the NSLC yet, but if you can find it where you live, grab it.  A blend of Merlot and Primitivo (Zinfandel), this is a fantastic wine for $17.99.  In my opinion it was a luscious and rich wine that is the perfect compliment to any pasta dish.

We had some fantastic rose wines while we were there, but this one stood out for me because it was delicious and the price point is amazing.

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This wine has earned 92 Points by some wine critics and it’s under $17 a bottle.  Again, one of those great wines not yet available at my liquor store, but this is a fantastic find.  Now, I have to be honest, I drink the majority of my rose wines in the Summer, but this is a wonderful wine for appetizers and meet and greets.  Crisp and refreshing, both myself and Cassandra really liked it.

And now for my wine of the week….

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And one of the best values I found at the Festival of wines. From the Languedoc region of France, this beauty is only $15.99 a bottle.  Yes, you’ll notice the bottle is empty, don’t judge!  LOL  I did, however, buy a full case of it.  Great wine at a great value.  It’s a blend of Cabernet Sauvignon and Syrah, so it’s full-bodied with a hint of spice.  Easy to drink and super food friendly, there’s no guilt when you open this great wine on a Tuesday night.

Wine awesome

It’s the weekend, feel free to be awesome all weekend.  Till next weekend, Cheers

Darlene

 

 

 

 

Festival of Wines Part 1

Posted in Uncategorized on September 28, 2019 by darmyers

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Yes, part 1, because there are so many events and so many wines to try during the Festival of Wines, that one wine blog just won’t cut it.  I went to my first event Wednesday evening, which was the “Tasting:  The World of Wines Experience” at the Casino Nova Scotia.  Only 120 tickets, and it’s all about the wine.  I love it.

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This is one of my favorite finds of the Festival of Wines so far, this beautiful sparkling Cremant from France.  It is Sauvignon Blanc, Semillion, and Muscadet and it is refreshing, bright and fruity.  It’s also a fantastic price for a well made Cremant from Bordeaux.  Cremant sparkling wines are made in the same method as Champagne, and is a great option if you have a ‘Champagne taste on a beer budget’, as my father would say.  Bordeaux France is best known for its red blends, but this was a fabulous surprise find.

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One of the thrills for me at this event was Chef Renee Lavallee, winner of Top Chef Canada.  What was even more exciting was to learn she has teamed up with a Champagne house, Duval Leroy, who have been making Champagne for 160 years.  Renee says this Champagne is in harmony with her own style of cuisine.  It was well aged, but so very vibrant on the palate.  When I tasted, I told her it woke my mouth up in a big way;  A treat at $87 a bottle, but a great Champagne.

And my Wine of the Week,

The handsome Chris from the NSLC is pouring my favourite wine from Wednesday evening’s event, the 2015 Chateau Guillou Montagne Saint Emilion.   Comprised mostly of Merlot, it also contains small amounts of Cabernet Sauvignon and Cabernet Franc.   I tasted wines Wednesday evening that were way over $100 a bottle, and this was still my favourite – it’s that smooth!   And because I like great values, it is difficult to get a Bordeaux wine of this quality for this price point.

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I have another festival of wines event this afternoon, the general tasting.  Till next week, cheers

Darlene

Fall Into Some Great Wine

Posted in Uncategorized on September 21, 2019 by darmyers

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Monday marks the first day of Fall this year, my favorite time of the year.  Crisp fresh air, cool nights and great wine.  What more could a girl want!

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It’s a gorgeous day here in Halifax, the sun is shining and the temperatures are supposed to hit 23-degrees Celsius.  I have some great wines to share with you to enjoy these beautiful Fall days.

First I have to tell you about a wine my friend Steve told me about.

Toro Bravo

I have yet to try this wine, but my friend Steve and his wife are regular wine drinkers and I trust their opinion.  I know you can get this in Ontario, but it has yet to make an appearance here in Nova Scotia.  This Spanish blend of Tempranillo and Merlot sells for $7.95 a bottle in Ontario, and they just love it.  LESS THAN $8!  I’m heartbroken you can’t get this wine here, but if you can find it, please share your comments below.  The LCBO website says it is medium-bodied and smooth and perfect for grilled pork.   Steve says he is going to bring me a bottle the next time they visit Halifax, so when he does, I’ll tell you all about it.  There’s also a white for the same price.

Image for Toro Bravo Verdejo Sauvignon Blanc DO La Mancha from LCBO

The white Toro Bravo comes in at $7.95 as well and is a blend of Sauvignon Blanc and Veredejo.  I know, I’m telling you about wines I haven’t tried, but we’re all friends.  And I want to share these great value wines.  Great wine for $8, sign me up!

Ok, on to a wine I have tried.

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This limited edition label looks awesome and the Cabernet Sauvignon inside the bottle is a favourite that’s been around a while.  Chile makes some incredible Cabernet Sauvignon and Casillero del Diablo has probably been doing it the longest and is owned by Concha y Toro.  It’s full-bodied and flavourful and is priced ay just $20.

And now for my wine of the week,,,

I’m so excited about this wine.  1) It’s delicious and 2) It’s priced under $19.   I love finding great wines, in this case a 92-Point wine, at reasonable prices.   Coming from Valle Del Maipo, one of the most prestigious growing areas in Chile.   This wonderful wine is elegant and has some amazing complex flavours, think vanilla- think chocolate and think rich bold fruit.

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Till next week, Cheers

Darlene

Wines of South America

Posted in Uncategorized on September 14, 2019 by darmyers

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The Festival of Wines is coming up the last week of September here in Nova Scotia, and this year I am attending a couple of the events.  I will tell you all about them in future blogs.  People often ask me where the best values are coming from and I have to say South America tops the list each time.  Chile and Argentina are putting out some fantastic wines at great value.  And although they are considered ‘New World’, they have actually been making wine since the 1500’s.

Nova Chardonnay

If the ‘Nova’s’ name seems familiar, it’s because I have written about the two sister red wines in the past.  They are regular visitors to my wine rack.  This past week I’ve had the opportunity to try the white Chardonnay.  If you like American Chardonnay, you will like this one.  The oak is a little more prominent, than say in a French  Chardonnay.  The apple and pear flavors are very delightful and it’s a great value at $16 a bottle, which is a great price for an organic wine.  Yes, you read that right, it’s organic.

Alamos

Certain regions are known for certain wines, like Tidal Bay coming out of Nova Scotia, or a Cabernet Sauvignon coming out of the Napa Valley in California.  The same could be said for Malbec coming out of Argentina.  Even though Malbec originated in Bordeaux France, it got wiped out in the late 1800’s due to disease, and Argentina made it its National Grape.  Altitude, climate and soil all play a role in the tremendous success Argentina has seen with Malbec, and this one from Alamos is no exception.  It’s $18 a bottle and grown in the mountainous region of Mendoza.  The winemaker is a knowledgeable female by the name of Lucia Vaieretti.  She was not only born in Argentina, but her parents worked at vineyards, so she has been hanging around vineyards since she was a small child.  This wonderful wine has rich plum flavors and hints of cocoa that helps make it another fantastic value out of Argentina.

And now for my wine of the week…

If this wine bottle looks slightly familiar, its because its sister wine was my wine of the week last week.

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Although the Black Label is slightly more expensive, at $28 a bottle, it is still an amazing value.  Argentina is also famous for its ‘Flying Winemakers’, winemakers from other other countries like France and the United States, coming to help produce an excellent product.  The Black Label wine started for me when I gave it to a friend for his 50th birthday, and he raved about it.  I don’t usually give wine for gifts unless I’ve tried the wine first, but I fell in love with the label and I knew I would get a great wine out of Argentina for that price.  When he raved about it, I went out and bought one myself, and have had it several times since.  Fantastic full-bodied wine with lots happening on the palate.  This is a big wine that would really compliment hearty meat dishes.  If you try it, let me know what you think in the comments.

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One day, with the advancement of technology, they may happen.  I think that’s how they can improve on Alexa, get her to fetch wine!

Till next week, Cheers

Darlene

 

 

 

Storm Wine

Posted in Uncategorized on September 7, 2019 by darmyers

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I was really hesitant to call this week’s wine blog ‘Storm Wine’.  I would not want to give the impression I was making light of the catastrophic outcome Hurricane Dorian has had on places like the Bahamas.

I am sitting in my home in Halifax Nova Scotia, sipping a coffee, watching it rain, watching the wind pick up, and waiting for Dorian to hit as a Category 1 later this afternoon.  Mild, compared to the devastation of how it has hit other places, but scary just the same.  Wind and rain can wreak havoc and cause a lot of damage in communities.

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I’m on the third floor, it can get breezy.  So please don’t take this as making light of that situation, but if you’ve seen the line-ups at the Liquor stores in Nova Scotia the past two days, you would probably smile.

Here’s what’s in my wine rack, as I ride out this storm.

I always like to have a few white wines on hand, and I thought I would pick up the Arrogant Frog Chardonnay.  This wine is made by Paul Mas who had one of my top wines from 2018, so I was excited to try this one.  From my wine blog, The Top 10 of 2018, the Paul Mas GSM made #2.  Read that blog Top 10 of 2018

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Needless to say I wanted to try this excellent priced Chardonnay ($16.99).  Although the Languedoc is not the most notable Chardonnay region in France (think Burgundy), but I really liked this wine and found it to be a great value.    It also contains some Viognier, which brings some acidity and mango flavours.  It’s dry, and fruity, it had some tropical notes, and I found it not to be overly oaky.  I will definitely buy this wine again.

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The festival of wines is coming up at the end of this month, and it’s one of my favourite times of the year .  This year’s theme is South American wines, and Trapiche is one of the most well-known names in Argentinian wine.  I had this wine last night, tasting it with my friend Amber at the NSLC.   Well, I tried it, she watched, as she is expecting her second child.   I have to say, I was pleasantly surprised.  I am not a huge Malbec drinker,  but I found the toasty plum flavours in this particular wine really really good.  It’s $24 a bottle, great value.

And now for my wine of the week,,,

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Yes, you are looking at an empty bottle, don’t judge!   I still find it really hard to believe that this wine is $18 a bottle.  It’s the Castano GSM, Grenache, (Garnacha in Spain), Syrah and Mouvedre.    A spectacular blend of the three grapes, and a perfect pairing for all those comfort foods you may want to be enjoying during the storm.

That’s it for me for this week.  Stay safe everyone

Darlene