Say Oui To French Wine!

Posted in Uncategorized on October 21, 2017 by darmyers

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So I am in the process of studying for my certification for a French Wine Scholar.  Last week we had an awesome 2 days in the classroom with teacher Lisa Airey.
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It was so very informative.  Even though I am a Certified Sommelier, this course is really getting into depth with the wine regions and the wines of France.  And the best part of the course, naturally, is the homework… we had some amazing wines. I’m going to try and touch on a few that could suit any palate.

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One of my favorite white wines of the entire weekend was this Arthur Metz Riesling from the Alsace region of France.  Alsace borders Germany and over the past 1000 years, ownership has gone back and forth between France and Germany.  It has belonged to France since just after the Second World War but they still have many customs from Germany, starting with the labeling of their wine bottles.  It always says the grape varietal, while the majority of France labels by region.  This 2016 Riesling had wonderful crisp acidity and the gorgeous flavors of pears and honey complimented with a slight twinge of sweetness.  Excellent wine for spicy food, Thai cuisine and at just $20 a bottle, it’s a great value.

There’s nothing like Champagne in the morning and especially when it’s this Pol Roger Rose Champagne made 60% from Pinot Noir and 40% Chardonnay and then 15% still wine of Pinot Noir is added before the second fermentation.  This Champagne is also aged 7 years before release and we enjoyed the 2002 vintage.  It was spectacular.  Delicate and flavorful with hints of strawberry and vanilla.  It’s a treat wine, at $102 a bottle, but nothing says special occasion quite like Champagne.

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I absolutely adore French red wine, especially when it comes from Bourgogne, or what’s more widely known as the Burgundy region of France.  So Burgundian red wines are Pinot Noir, and I love Pinot Noir.  The wine I am going to tell you about is the one on the right i. The above picture, which is the Bouchard Nuits Saint Georges, located in the acclaimed Cotes de Nuits area of Burgundy.

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The vinification takes place in wooden vats, which is the wine-making process.   Then it’s aged for another 16 months in oak barrels.  But 80% of the barrels are older, with only 20% being aged in new oak.  What does that mean to you?  Wood does not over-power the wine and the flavors of the grape shine through.  You can cellar this wine for up to 10 years but it is delicious to drink now.  This Pinot has those yummy cherry flavors and Pinot Noir goes with just about anything you serve.  I also like it all on its own, but it’s a great wine for comfort foods as well, like roast beef, wild game meats and stews.

And now for my wine of the week…

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Chateauneuf du Pape is the quintessential French wine. Translated, it means “Castle of the Pope” and Popes have been loving this wine since the 1300’s!  This wine is 62% Grenache, 16% Syrah, 15% Mourvedre with rhe remainder Cinsault.  It’s a heavenly blend, we had the 2012 vintage and this wine ages very well so it can be cellared.   A bit high on alcohol side, at 15%, so letting it breathe for 30 to 45 minutes before serving is a great idea.  It’s also very well priced at $60, which is very reasonable for Châteauneuf du Pape.

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The thing I love most about wine, is that the learning never stops.

Till next wee, Cheers

Darlene

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Wines to Warm The Soul

Posted in Uncategorized on October 14, 2017 by darmyers

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After an unusually warm September, where temperatures here hit the high 20’s and low 30’s in the last week of September, the cooler temperatures have finally settled in.  I love this time of year.

 

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Nova Scotia is beautiful in the Fall.  The colors are bright and vibrant, there are lots of farm fresh apples and vegetables, and it’s comfort food time.  Each year around this time, I usually do a wine blog on my favorite wine and comfort foods.   And one of my favorite comfort foods is one that I only tend to have when my mom is around.

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Chicken pot pie is the epitome of comfort food.  Delicious chicken and vegetables in a creamy gravy broth with fluffy pastry.  What’s not to love.  One of my favorite wines for chicken pot pie is one of my mom’s favorites.  Chardonnay.

Love it or leave it, Chardonnay is the most planted white grape variety in the world for a reason… it’s delicious and very food friendly.  This Cloudy Bay Chardonnay originates out of New Zealand, which is not an area widely known for its Chardonnay.  Mostly what you hear coming out of New Zealand for a white wine is Sauvignon Blanc.  The warm weather of the area as well as being 100% fermented in French oak, brings out some unique flavors in the Chardonnay including cashew nut, lemon and nectarine.  I found this wine to be super interesting and complex.

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My sister Jackie, who rarely cooks, and doesn’t like to cook,  makes two things extremely well.  Scalloped potatoes and meatloaf.   Meatloaf, and any other comfort food that contains ground beef is fairly easy to pair.  If you are a white wine drinker, a Chardonnay suits perfectly, but if you’re like me and love those big reds, this is the time to crack one open.  A Shiraz would be a great wine for meatloaf, as well as Cabernet Sauvignon and Syrah, but I’m going to feature a Malbec.  002

Malbec, once one of the popular grapes grown in Bordeaux France, is now the star of the Argentinian wine community.  It has found a great home in Argentina, and this one has been one of the best I have tried recently.  It is so delicious, and I’m guessing it’s because the grapes were grown in the mountains of Mendoza.  This winery was started in 1998 and they are making impressive wine.  Give this Malbec a try before it’s all gone.

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I don’t know why but my crock pot gets more use in the winter than in the Summer.  I think because in the Summer I like to cook outdoors.  Roasts, stews, soups and of course Chili, are some of my favorite dishes through the cold winter months. When I think Chili, I think Merlot.  When you think Merlot, you’re probably not thinking Italy.

This wine is a blend, featuring Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon and Syrah.  The berry and plum flavors of this wine with hints of spice from the Syrah, will pair wonderfully with the tomato flavors of a chili.  Take my word for it, and give it a try.  At only $18 a bottle, you have nothing to lose.  This is a wonderful wine and I think I will pick up a bottle for the weekend.

I want to write one quick note out of respect for the people in the Napa Valley region, and all of California.

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The world is holding their breath and our hearts are breaking as the news of wildfires continue to rage through Northern California, encompassing parts of the Napa Valley.  My heart and prayers go out to the families and friends of the 51 lives this horrific tragedy has claimed.  This fire is so devastating it is burning the area of a football field every 3 seconds.   The world is praying for the safety of everyone and everything that lives in Northern California.

And that’s it for this week.  Today and tomorrow I am taking the final steps to becoming a certified French Wine Scholar.  I”ll tell you about it next week

Till next week, Cheers

Darlene

 

 

Grape Expectations!

Posted in Uncategorized on October 7, 2017 by darmyers

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Great Expectations may be one of the greatest novels of all time by Charles Dickens, but this being a long weekend, it’s all about the grape expectations for me.  I have tried some great new wines lately and I can’t wait to share them with you.

I am also taking another wine course for the certification of French Wine Scholar.   I’ve been studying like crazy for it, and the review and exam is next weekend.

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So the first wine I wanted to tell you about is French.

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The Belleruche Cotes-du-Rhone is a blend of Grenache and Syrah and is classic Cote du Rhone.  Cote du Rhone is a region of France, and a section of the liquor store that may be easy to walk past.  Keep in mind one of the regions in the Cote du Rhone is the famous Châteauneuf-du-Pape.  Some of these wines are tremendous value and silky smooth.  This particular wine is just that!  It sells for $17 and has a wonderful structure, and the fruit is accentuated by flavors of leather, smoke and spice.  It comes in white as well, with the grape being Grenache Blanc.

Grenache Blanc is a very important grape variety in this region of France,  and is very widely planted.  It is used in the blend of Chateauneuf du Pape but is a stellar wine all on its own.  This particular wine is also $17 and this grape pairs well with shellfish, sushi and even charcuterie boards.

I cannot write a wine blog on the Saturday of a Thanksgiving long weekend here in Canada, without sharing a great wine for turkey.

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No one is buying Vouvray without knowing what it is.  Well Vouvray is a Chenin Blanc white wine from the Vouvray region in the Loire Valley of France.   It is a crisp white wine with lovely acidity that will really compliment a meat like turkey.  There are subtle flavors of honey and peaches and this particular wine is a fantastic value at just over $18 here in Nova Scotia.  If you’re foregoing turkey this weekend, this is a winner with roast chicken and fish as well.

And for my wine of the week, I’m going to include a tribute to a dear friend and fellow wine lover

 

 

On September 15th, the world lost a true adventurer and a larger than life personality.  My friend Ron Ryan passed away suddenly while hiking in Colorado.  When Ron tackled something, he did it at 110%.  He was a husband, a father, a brother and a friend to many.    There were so many of us who met Ron through work and who he helped on a business level.  And for many of us, Ron and his wife Rosalie became great personal friends.  Ron enjoyed life to the fullest, and in addition to hiking he loved photography, skiing, reading, boating and travelling, just to name a few.

Ron also loved the big bold Cabernet Sauvignon wines.  And this wonderful wine he and his wife Rosalie gave me for Christmas a couple of years ago.

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Christmas 2013 to be exact.  I was saving it for a special occasion but if there’s one thing I’ve learned  in the last few weeks to live every day to the fullest.  Like my friend Ron did.   The vintage is 2008, and I was reading a wine review recently that says this wine is ready!  This particular vintage is 95% Cabernet Sauvignon and 5% Cabernet Franc, a true Bordeaux style blend.  This particular wine spent two years in oak before being released.  The Winemaker at Etude is known for making elegant Cabernet Sauvignon with rich fruit and complex spucy notes.  The next steak I enjoy I will be opening this beauty and toasting my good friend Ron Ryan

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Enjoy the long weekend everyone

Cheers, Darlene

Simplifying Wine!

Posted in Uncategorized on September 23, 2017 by darmyers

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So we had another great wine tasting last weekend, and we tried 6 new wines and had a lot of fun.  I have been doing a lot of tastings lately and one of the greatest accomplishments I get from a wine tasting is simplifying wine a little bit.  Wine can be a complex topic, there are so many different kinds of wine, grapes, wine-making styles from so many countries, it’s no surprise people can be a little intimidated buying wine.  One of my main goals in a wine tasting is to help take some of the mystery out of buying wine and to help simplify it for people.

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There’s no better way to do that than to get a great group of people together and try some new wines.  New wines tends to bring out lits of questions, and we like that, because the more we know, the easier buying wine gets.  And that’s what we did last weekend.  Here is an example of a pairing we did from 2 Pinot Noir Wines from France.  One was twice the price of the other, and the group was split down the middle as to which one they liked the best.

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I love this wine.  Le Fou means ‘Madman’, and the owner decided to call it that, because his neighbours thought he was crazy for planting Pinot Noir in the south of France, known for its Syrah and Grenache.  I think this wine is tremendous value as it comes in just under $17 a bottle here in Nova Scotia, but it’s medium-bodied with lots of flavor.  There are some pepper notes accompanied by tart cherry and a very food friendly wine at a price you can open any night of the week.

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We tasted the Le Fou side by side with this wine, a Pinot Noir from the Burgundy region of France.  It’s a popular opinion that the Burgundy region of France provides some of the greatest Pinot Noir wines in the world, especially from the Cote de Nuits region of Burgundy, where this wine originates from.  The 2015 vintage is considered exceptional because of things like weather conditions and grape maturity.  I found this to be a delicious and well structured wine with spicy notes.  Although this wine was closer to the $30 range, I found it tasty and a great treat wine.

And now my wine of the week… a great find from Italy

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This was the last wine of the evening, and probably the biggest hit of the evening.  Definitely a wine I will be showcasing in other wine tastings.  Montepulciano is a region in Tuscany, but it’s also a grape.  And that’s the case in this wine, it’s the grape Montepulciano from the Abruzzo region, thus the name Montepulciano d’Abruzzo.  This wine is fairly new to our local liquor store and I just loved it!  It was rich and full-bodied and extremely smooth to drink.  I love that their goal is quality from cluster to glass.  And at $22.99, I will definitely be buying this wine again.  As a matter of fact, I am invited to party this evening where there will be pizza on the menu and I think I may bring this wine.

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Well, that’s it for this week

Have a great weekend everyone.  Till next week, Cheers

Darlene

 

 

 

Wine FAQ’s

Posted in Uncategorized on September 16, 2017 by darmyers

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I’m doing another wine tasting tomorrow and I’m excited.  There are 20 people coming to this one, and that means lots of questions.  There are a couple of people coming that it will be their very first wine tasting, and one of the ladies was asking me what to expect.  As I told her, this is your wine tasting.  I’m only there to pick out some different wines for you to try and to answer all your questions.  As I do more and more wine tastings, I realize there are a few of the same questions that get asked every time.  So this wine blog is all about answering questions, and I have an awesome new wine for you to try as my wine of the week.

What makes a good wine?

Drink the wine you love and love the wine you drink.  That’s all you need to know about what makes a good wine!  Think about it.  I have a couple of friends who only drink white wine.  So if you were to give them a glass of Bordeaux, no matter how high the quality of the Bordeaux, they are not going to like it.  So to them, it’s not a good wine.  But I love Bordeaux, so I would find it a good wine.  Wine is a matter of personal preference.  Have fun and try new ones, but drink the wine you love, and don’t worry about whether anyone else thinks it’s a good wine.  People’s opinions will vary, and no one is wrong.  That’s why I called my blog Wine – In My Opinion.

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What temperature should I serve my wine?

The topic of wine temperature always comes up.  Sadly, many people won’t try red wines because they don’t like the warm taste to their lips.  Many people, including most restaurants, serve red wine too warm.  When it was stated that red wine should be served at room temperature, they meant the room temperature of  the underground wine cellars.  And remember, hundreds of years ago, homes were not as warm as what they are today.  The average room temperature in a home is 23-degrees Celsius.  Way too warm to serve wine.  Red wine should be  served between 13° and 16°C  and some people like their big heavy wines,  like Cabernet Sauvignon, served  at 18° , and this is fine.  White wine should be served betwee 9 & 11 degrees, and ice wines as cold as you can.

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How do I know if a wine is bad?

On Thursday evening I opened a bottle of wine and knew instantly it had gone bad because of the smell permeating from the bottle.  It was this wine..

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I have had it several times before, it’s a great wine for BBQ food, so I did know it had gone bad. I bought it back to my NSLC and they exchanged it no problem.  Now keep in mind there was one small sip taken out of the bottle.  They may raise an eyebrow if most of the bottle is missing!  About 10% of corked wines do go bad, and about 4% of screw caps.  It amazes me how many people tell me they have never returned a bottle of wine.  Which means some people open a wine, maybe for the first time, and think they don’t like that particular wine.  How I knew this wine was bad was because of the skunky vinegar smell.  Sipping it confirmed it.  If a wine tastes like it sat open in a barnyard, or has any sharp ‘off’ smell, pour the glass back in the bottle and return it to the wine store where you bought it.  Believe me, they’ve all taken back wine.  Wine’s too expensive to waste.

And now it’s time for my wine of the week… I’m so excited because I LOVED this wine…

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This is the Magnifico Rosso Fuoco Primitivo.  From the Puglia (pronounced pool-yah) region in Italy, this is a magnificent Primitivo wine.  Primitivo is the Italian version of Zinfandel.  This wine had a really nice medium to full-bodied feel and the jam flavors are a compliment to this wine, not a detriment.  There are spicy notes to compliment the juicy plum flavors and I had this wine with baby back ribs that I did last weekend.  If there’s a heaven, I want this wine and baby back ribs to be a part of it.  It was wonderful, but this wine would also pair well with stew, lamb, beef, and especially any kind of gamey meat.  (I’m from Newfoundland, this pairs well with moose)

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If you have any questions about wine, please don’t hesitate to ask in the comments below.

Have a great weekend, till next week, Cheers

Darlene

 

 

Goodbye Summer!

Posted in Uncategorized on September 9, 2017 by darmyers

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Although the last day of Summer is not officially until September 20th, Fall hit Nova Scotia right on September 1st this year.  The temperatures started to drop almost immediately and the nights were cooler for sleeping.  Hello Autumn!

Two weeks ago I was hired to do a Summer wine tasting, and I met 8 of the nicest people.  They wanted a ‘summer-themed’ tasting with lots of chilled white  and rose wines.  They wanted a goodbye to Summer tasting and we had a fabulous time while sharing some great wines.  I even tried a couple of new ones that night.

Let me introduce you to  one of the surprise hits of the evening.

Grand Pre Rose

This wine was not originally on the list.  My local liquor store was sold out of the one I originally planned to bring.  But what a great surprise this turned out to be.  The rose wine from Grand Pre Winery in the Anapolis Valley in Nova Scotia was a treat.  It was bright and crisp with lovely citrus flavors, and everyone loved it.  A tremendous value at just $15.99 a bottle, this is a great appetizer wine and a great wine for the upcoming Thanksgiving turkey dinner.

Sancerre

On that evening, we featured 3 different Sauvignon Blanc grapes done in 3 different styles from 3 different countries, and this was the hands-down winner.  In my opinion, no one does Sauvignon blanc like the Sancerre region of France.  This was refreshing and crisp with gorgeous citrus flavors. It was very simply good, nothing over-powering and I feel the wine-making was done to perfection.  The picture on the bottle is the actual Chateau in the centre of the region, which was built in the 10th Century.  This wine is priced at $34 but so worth it.  Honestly, it’s going to be hard to go back to $18 Sauvignon Blanc.

LIghtfoot Riesling

Although I didn’t get the Rose wine from this vineyard, as they were all sold out, I did have the opportunity to try the Lightfoot and Wolfville Riesling.  So good.  Lightfoot and Wolfville is probably Nova Scotia’s newest winery, established in 2009 and they are completely organic.  This fabulous Riesling was aged in the bottle for over a year before release, and the peach and marmalade flavors were in a word – Yummy!  There were only 66 cases of this wine released, so if you see a bottle, nab it before it’s gone.

And my wine of the week…

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We featured two wines that night that were 100% Aglianico grapes.  One was a Rose from southern Italy and this full-bodied red.  And it was considered the best wine of the evening, and let me tell you those people have good taste.  From Campania, this wine is delicious with rich dark fruit flavors and a smoky note that would have it pair very well with stews, roast beef and barbecued food.  You know, all the comfort foods you love for Fall and winter.  This is a treat bottle of wine, coming in at $44 a bottle, but it is so very good.

Baby back ribs

Speaking of awesome barbecue foods that this wine would pair well with, see below for my recipe for baby back ribs.  I finish mine on the grill because  I like those grill marks and it’s a great chance to baste and turn.  I’m known pretty well among my friends and family as a good ribber.  If you try the recipe, let me know how they turn out.

Darlene’s Baby Back Ribs

I’m going to do the recipe in the style that I make them.

  1. First, and very important, use the tip of a knife to start to peel back the tough layer of skin that is on the back side of the ribs.  We call it the membrane.   Once it starts to lift, I use 2 pieces of paper towel to peel the rest of it off.  This is a very important step as it keeps fat in and flavor out so you want it gone.
  2. Then I marinate my ribs. In a bowl I mix, 2 teaspoons of brown sugar, a few shakes of Frank’s hot sauce, chili powder, paprika, garlic powder, salt, pepper, a few shakes of Worcestershire sauce, and then add a bottle of barbecue sauce.
  3. Let the ribs sit in the marinade for at least 4 hours, or even over-night.
  4. Then pre-heat oven to 275-degrees and let the ribs slow cook in the oven for 2 ½ – 3 hours.
  5. Then it’s time to head to the grill
  6. I put them on the top rack and keep turning and basting in barbecue sauce for an hour.
  7. When I take the ribs off the barbecue, I’m careful, because they are cooked to fall off the bone perfection at this point.
  8. Tent the ribs, put them on your cutting board and put aluminum foil over them for 10 minutes. This allows all the juices to settle.
  9. Then I cut the ribs and serve them up. A note to use  your favorite barbecue sauce, I like the Bulls Eye Sweet and Sticky personally, but you choose your favorite and try different ones.

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

Darlene

 

 

 

 

 

Fall Into Wine

Posted in Uncategorized on September 2, 2017 by darmyers

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First of all, let me say a very big thank you for all the feedback I received last week.  I very much appreciated it.  I really liked hearing things about the blog you liked, like finding the good values – great wine at great prices, and I even had someone who knew I loved to cook, to include some of my favorite recipes as a pairing. I read them all and over the coming months you may get a new flavor to the wine blog.  Keep the feedback coming!

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So my favorite season is upon us.  I love Fall.  I love the gorgeous colors, the cool nights for sleeping and the harvest of local fruit and vegetables.  The fact that it is also grape harvesting season in the wine industry brings a smile to my face as well.  Probably not a coincidence for that timing.

I`m going to start this blog off because a favorite value of mine, that hasn’t been available for a long time is back, and it`s a favorite of mine for 2 reasons, it’s great wine and it’s a great price!

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This is one of those great wines that tastes like a $40 bottle of wine but is $18.00 a bottle.  It`s the Hoya de Cadenas 130th Anniversary edition from Spain and it is so smooth and easy to drink.  This is a blend of some of my favorite grapes including Tempranillo, Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon, Shiraz and Bobal.  Bobal is a grape that originated in Valencia Spain and is named for the latin word Bovale, in reference to the shape of a Bull`s head.  I find this wine to be extremely elegant and it’s complimented by flavors of cherry and spice and very subtle oak.  It`s back at our local liquor store so stock up while it is still here.

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While we are in Spain, let me tell you about a new wine I tried this past week.  It`s the Red Guitar Old Vine Tempranillo Garnacha.  Garnacha being the Spanish pronunciation of the French grape Grenache.  Fans of Apothic Red might like this wine, as there is a slight tinge of sweetness added.  It`s a medium-bodied wine with flavors of raspberry and some sweet winter spice.  It`s well priced at $15 a bottle here in Nova Scotia, and I have many friends who love the Apothic Red, with that hint of sweetness, and this is a wine that you might want to try.  Great wine for pork.

And now my wine of the week,

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In previous blogs, I have talked about Valpolicella especially Ripasso.  This is a Valpolicella Superiore – what’s the difference you might ask?  2 things, grape selection and ageing.  It has to be aged for one year before release but traditionally Superiore is aged 2 years.  Valpolicella Superiore is considered the second step on the way to Amarone.  This fabulous wine is $25 and worth every dollar.  Here in Halifax, Superiore wines range from $20 to $52, so this is good value. Very smooth and tasty abd the palate comes alive with flavors of cherry, plums and spice.   The perfect wine for pasta and pizza.  My apologies for the cat dish in the background.  LOL

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I hope everyone has a wonderful long weekend

Till next week, Cheers

Darlene

I Need Your Help

Posted in Uncategorized on August 26, 2017 by darmyers

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It would seem I am at a bit of a crossroads.  I recently had a friend tell me she loved my wine blog, and I was so very grateful.  However, I feel it could be better, after all, always trying to improve on something is how we grow.  I have been consistently writing a wine blog every Saturday morning for almost 6 years.  Pretty well 48 wine blogs a year, as I don’t write them when I am travelling.  I made a promise about 3 years ago to always feature at least 1 new wine.  Now this might seem like a daunting task to some, but I was up for the challenge.  And I am lucky that I am involved with a lot of wine tastings, so I do sample a number of new wines each week.

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Let me tell you why I got into writing a wine blog.  I am a certified Sommelier, having received my designation in April of this year.  It took me 5 years, but mainly because they only offer each of the 8 modules once a year and if I missed it for one year, I had to wait a full year to take it again.  My very last one, I had to wait 2 years.  So you can become a Sommelier in 3 years.  It’s pretty well non-stop for 3 years, with course after course, but it was something I wanted to finish.  I can’t tell you how much I learned in those 5 years.  Years earlier I had visited the Napa Valley in California, and my big question was ‘What makes a wine good’?  And the response I received the most was ‘A wine that you like’.  And I found the answer frustrating, but as I was learning about wine, I realized it is the only correct answer.  If you like it, it’s a good wine.

Mystery wine

One of the reasons I write a wine blog and I do wine tastings today, is to take away some of the mystery out of wine.  There was a time when I would say ‘I don’t like French wine’.  Of course I liked French wine… it’s Cabernet Sauvignon, Pinot Noir, Merlot, Chardonnay… I didn’t like buying French wine, because I didn’t know what I was buying.  For the most part, France labels their wine by region, and unless you know what grapes are grown in which region, it was a coin toss.  So I really want to help people make buying wine simple.  And if not simple, at least make it easier.

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Another huge reason I do a weekly wine blog is that I wanted to dispel the myth that inexpensive wine can’t be wonderful, and that if you want to drink good wine, you have to buy expensive wine.  That is not the case.  I am not a fan of what I will call ‘assembly line’ wine.  In my opinion, that is wine that has been manipulated with artificial sweeteners, or sometimes even oak chips, to mass produce a ‘cheaper’ tasting product.  But two of my favorite wines, and staples in my wine rack, are these 2.  And they are both under $16.

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One is the Farmers of Wine from Italy, a delicious Primitivo from Italy ($16), and the other is Anciano Tempranillo from Spain ($15).  Great wines at a great price.

So here’s where I need your feedback.

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I would like feedback on how I can improve the wine blog.  Or let me know some of the things you would like to see in a wine blog.

If you scroll down through a few of my blogs, you will see for the most part they have the same pattern.  I share some part of my personal life and what I did that week, and then feature about 3 wines.  Is 3 too many?  I subscribe to other wine bloggers and for the most part they only feature 1 per blog.  Hmmmm?  Something to think about.  I need to know.

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I would really appreciate knowing what you like about my blogs and some of the things you don’t like.  I really like finding good value wines, and I’ve been told by many people they really appreciate that.  Most people I know aren’t opening $100 bottles of wine every night of the week.  And it’s not hard to find good wine under $25.

I’ve heard on many occasions  people rely on me to tell them about good wines that are reasonably priced.    What else would you like to know ?

I look forward to hearing your feedback in the comments section.

Cheers, and thank you

Darlene

Family Wine Time

Posted in Uncategorized on August 19, 2017 by darmyers

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I had an extremely busy week this past week, as I had family in town and hosted lots of family dinners.  And of course what enhances a family dinner better than some great wine.   My mom and dad were up from Newfoundland and they’re here pictured walking along the waterfront in Dewolf Park in Bedford, Nova Scotia.   My dad will be 87 on his next birthday and my mom is 82.    I’m very grateful they are doing so well.

My mom is a big white wine drinker and this was one of our favourites from the week

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This is William Hill Chardonnay from the Napa Valley in California.  This Chardonnay undergoes a process called malolactic fermentation.  That is a process that removes all the tart malo acid and replaces it with a softer lactic acid and  it gives Chardonnay that buttery smoothness.   This wine also saw some oak  and is a great white wine for your favourite barbeque foods.

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This is the wine  we enjoyed on my mom’s last night in town, a great Chardonnay from Chile.  Wine & Spirits gave this winner 92 Points and it only costs $25 a bottle.   It hails from the Limari region of Chile  and that region is becoming quite well-known for spectacular Chardonnay.  This white wine was medium- bodied with lots of expressive flavours of pear and figs.   On their last night here I barbecued ribs and wings for my parents and this wine paired extremely well.

And my wine of the week is ….

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It was a very special gift from three very special ladies.   I live in a great apartment building in Halifax and I’m so lucky to have the most wonderful neighbours.   One of my groups of friends here are three ladies who have lived together for years and we lovingly call them the Golden Girls.   For my birthday recently these wonderful ladies gave me this fabulous  bottle of Pinot Noir.   Domaine de Valmoissimo  is a mouthful to say a big mouth full of good wine.   Beautiful cherry notes on the nose and lush strawberry flavours on the pallet.   It is very food friendly and will go with just about anything you serve on your dinner table.

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I think this is great advice, drink the good wine now.  My wine blog is a little late today because I just got back from taking my parents to the airport.   Can’t wait to see them in September.

Thank you for reading

Till next week, Cheers

Darlene

Long Weekend Wines

Posted in Uncategorized on August 5, 2017 by darmyers

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For most of Canada, this is a long weekend.  The weather is warm and it’s perfect patio weather.   I have a feeling a bottle or two of wine will be consumed this weekend.  I’ve tried some new ones recently, and I thought I would share them with you.

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One of my favorite Canadian wineries is Burrowing Owl out of British Columbia, and Calliope Wines was founded by the owners of that winery, the Wyse Family.  It’s named after a small hummingbird in British Columbia, the smallest bird in Canada.  Calliope is also the Greek muse for eloquence and poetry and I think the name is very fitting for the wine.  I tried both the white and the red in the Figure 8 selection.  The white is mostly Pinot Gris and Chardonnay, with Gewurtztraminer and Viognier added in smaller amounts.  The result is a refreshing well balanced wine with floral notes and peach flavors.  It’s a great seafood wine or perfect if you just want to enjoy a glass on the patio.

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The red is a Bordeaux style blend of Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and Cabernet Franc.  It’s a medium to full-bodied wine with lots of flavor and lots of structure.  Those red grapes combine plum and cherry flavors with notes of black pepper.  A great wine for the long weekend, especially if you’re planning a barbecue .

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Here’s a new Italian wine I’ve tried recently from renowned wine producer Frescobaldi.  From my favourite part of Italy, Tuscanny,  this medium-bodied wine has tart cherry flavour and spicy notes on the palate.  It’s a great value at just $15 per bottle.

And now for my wine of the week….

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It’s a white wine from the Sonoma Coast, a beautiful Chardonnay from Schug.  Here’s a better picture

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This is a fabulous Chardonnay and may be my wine of the Summer.  The tropical fruit and pear fruit flavors are stellar.  There  are so many things I love about this wine.   It was aged in oak but it’s not an oaky Chardonnay.   The oak was done very well and very subtle.   There was no malolactic fermentation, which is normally done with Chardonnay to bring out the buttery smoothness.  This wine maintains a very fresh acidity.  Lots of 90+ reviews across the board which means I’m not the only person that loved this wine.  Try it, you’ll love it too.

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I’m super excited my Mom & Dad are coming to visit on Thursday.

I will share some of the fun in next weeks blog

Darlene

Well Earned Wine

Posted in Uncategorized on July 29, 2017 by darmyers

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A very big thank you to all the people who not only read my blog about my Birthday Wine Bucket Lust last Saturday, but for all the birthday wishes as well.  Remember I told you I was going to celebrate turning 55 in style with a road race in St. John’s, Newfoundland called the Tely 10.  Which by the way is 10 miles, or 16.12 kilometres, the longest distance I have ever run.

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And I did it!!  Here I am at the finish line with my friend, and the person who got me through this challenging event, Beth Keeping.  Her husband Scott is a very fast runner, and finished the race about 35 minutes before us.  It was tough and at times I struggled on the road, but we did it! I’m used to trail running, so running my longest distance on pavement took its toll on my legs.   And what better way to reward yourself than with a glass of wine.

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On the day of my actual birthday, my friends Beth & Scott took me to dinner  to a restaurant in St. John’s called Piatto Midtown.  We had a fabulous dinner and Beth and I enjoyed a glass of wine with dinner.  You can’t drink too much when you have to get up at 5 a.m. to run a race.  We had the Primarius Pinot Noir from Oregon and I loved it.  I love a cool climate Pinot Noir and this is Pinot does at its finest. Primarius is the latin word for Distinguished, and I think it’s a very fitting title.  The Williamette Valley in Oregon is putting out some of the finest Pinot Noir wines on the planet, and Wine-maker Sarah Cabot knows how to do it right.  Beautiful flavors of cherries, clove and notes of cinnamon, with a subtle hint of oak.  I loved it, and although I can’t buy it here in Nova Scotia, it will be on the list when I visit Newfoundland again.  It’s $31.25 a bottle there, so a nice treat wine.

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When my friend Judy took me out to dinner for my birthday, at a restaurant called Il Mercato here in Nova Scotia, a beautiful Italian restaurant, we enjoyed this great wine.  The Zenato Ripassa 2013 hails from the northern part of Italy, in Veneto, and this family has been producing wine since 1960.  Sergio Zenato started the winery in 1960 and it is now being run by his two children, Alberto & Nadia.  This wine paired great with the beef tenderloin we both enjoyed, and the velvety smoothness of this rich wine was wonderful to sip as we were waiting for our meal.  At $35 a bottle to buy in a wine store here, I thought it was a great wine.

And now for my wine of the week….

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This luscious fruity Merlot from the Napa Valley in California.  (I apologize for the poor picture quality and the streak of wasted wine down the bottle).  This is a fantastic treat wine, it’s $69 a bottle here but this is one of those wines that is worth every penny.  It is luscious and rich with some spice on the palate.  Hat’s off to another fantastic female wine-maker, this wine is made by Jenny Wagner, daughter of iconic winemaker Chuck Wagner.  Think iconic wines such as Caymus, Mer Soleil, and Conundrum.  This particular wine was started by Jenny’s mother, Cheryl Emmolo.  This is one serious wine-making family.

Wine Room Temperature

A reminder with the hot Summer temperatures, that ‘room temperature’ of your home is probably too warm for your red wine.   Room temperature is 55-degrees Farenheit or about 15-degrees Celsius, so stick it in the refrigerator for a bit.

Till next week, Cheers

Darlene

Birthday Wine Bucket List

Posted in Uncategorized on July 22, 2017 by darmyers

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Today is my birthday, and I don’t mind telling you I turn 55 years old today.  I’m ringing in the occasion by doing something for the first time, and pushing myself a little.  And it doesn’t involve wine.  Not to say there won’t be wine afterwards, because there will be.  I am running 16 kms in the Tely 10 Race in St. John’s Newfoundland.

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My friend Beth and I have been training for 11 months and there are about 10 of us in my running group headed to Newfoundland later today.  This is a push for me.  I’ve done 12 kms a few times, but doing 16 kms will be a real achievement.   Definitely  one of the things on my bucket list.

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Which got me to thinking about my other bucket list, wines that I would love to try in my life time.

 

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#1 for me on my bucket list would be a bottle of Chateau Lafite Rothschild, a Bordeaux from the Paullac region of France, and since 1855 has been considered the #1 vineyard in France.  Rated at first for the 1855 Paris Exposition, it has never slipped from its first place position.  The wine is mostly Cabernet Sauvignon with small amount of Merlot (5% – 20%) and 1% Petite Verdot.

 

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One day I would love to do a wine tour in France, and I would love to visit the grounds of this noble winery.  Bottles start around the $500 and go up, and the average runs about $1500, so it is definitely a bucket list item.  They sell  one here in Nova Scotia for $1000, and who knows, maybe one day.

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I do have this one in my wine rack, waiting for a special occasion.  It’s a collaboration between Dr. Rupert Anton and the Baron Edmond Rothschild and it’s a Bordeaux style blend of wine featuring Cabernet Sauvignon as the dominant wine and some Merlot.  It was a very special limited release here in Nova Scotia, and I nabbed a bottle.

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Another wine that is on the bucket list is a dessert wine from Chateau D’Yquem.  (pronounced D-Kam!)  It’s a little pricey, our NSLC carries 3 and they range in price from $600 a bottle to $1100 a bottle, definitely a special occasion wine.  Chateau D’yquem doesn’t produce every year, and since 1959 only 33 vintages have left the vineyard.  This dessert wine, which I have no doubt is fabulous, would be rich, and I understand has lovely honeysuckle and apricot flavors.

Since that is not probably going to happen for this birthday, this would be my second pick for a rich dessert wine…

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A bottle of 2000 Chateau Coutet is available at our local liquor store and comes in at $66 a bottle.  And this one I have tried and it is fabulous with a Capital F!  This is luscious and rich on the palate, with gorgeous flavors of marmalade and gingerbread.  Ladies, this is better than chocolate.  I was never a big dessert eater, but when dessert tastes like this, I’m in.

But if I’m going to treat myself to a birthday wine, it will probably be this one..

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The Beringer Cabernet Sauvignon is $35 which makes it in a nice price range for me to treat myself.  And I do love the spicy dark fruit and hints of oak.  I do love BBQ steak and BBQ ribs and this one pairs well with both foods.

And if I were to be completely honest, this is still one of the best deals at our liquor store and I do love this wine, and it would be perfectly fine for a birthday gift…

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In all its $15 glory, I still feel this 7-year aged Tempranillo is the best deal around for value.  It’s a great wine at an affordable price, and it tastes very very good.  It’s smooth on the palate and has beautiful cherry flavors.  It’s very food friendly and everyone that I get to try it, loves it.  Tasting the wine, you will forget it is $15 a bottle.  It’s a staple in my wine rack.

Wine Birthday

I am happy to share my birthday with Prince George, actors Danny Glover and David Spade, and fashion designer Oscar de la Renta just to name a few.  It falls on a Saturday this year, but sadly I will be refraining from the wine tonight as I have to be in fine form to run 16 kms Sunday morning.  I will share pictures

Till next week, Cheers

Darlene

 

 

The Grape Houdini

Posted in Uncategorized on July 15, 2017 by darmyers

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Ever sit around with a group of friends and secretly wonder how the bottle of wine disappeared?  Me neither, I just open another one.  But that’s what happened the other night as we were celebrating a friend’s birthday, and we had a wonderful time.

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We celebrated my friend Sharon’s birthday Wednesday evening, and the wine was flowing, everything from white to red to rose.

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I’ve had the opportunity to try some new wines in the past few weeks, and I thought I would share them with you.  Let’s start with an amazing wine for summer.

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You know I love Rose wine in the Summer, and this gorgeous looking wine hails from the Basilicata region of Italy, which on a map looks to be the instep of the boot.  For those that didnt know, Italy is shaped like a boot.  Basilicata grows Aglianico, and this rose wine from Pipoli is a great value at $19 per bottle.  Gorgeous citrus flavors with nice crisp minerality.  Fabulous wine.

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Another recent fabulous find is this Pinot Noir, which only cost $20 but tastes like a $40 bottle of wine.  That’s the one thing I love about Chilean wine, such good value.  The wine tastes more expensive than what you actually pay for it.  I enjoyed the wine from 2015, and it was fresh and fruity with hints of vanilla.  I loved it, and Pinot Noir is so food friendly, it’s one of the reds that will go with anything you put on the picnic table this Summer.  I have sinced picked up more of it, and I’m thinking it will be a stapke in my wine rack.

And now for my wine of the week..

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This fantastic numbered wine from  McGuigan comes oht once a year, and is called the Shortlist selection.   From the Coonawarra region of Australia,  this region is known for its quality Cabernet Sauvignon.  I enjoyed this award winning wine last night as I barbecued.   Gorgeous flavours of black currant and chocolate mint with great structure and softer tannins.  I bought the very last bottle at my local liquor store yesterday,  this wine is in extremely short supply here in Canada so if you see it grab it .  It’s a keeper!

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

Darlene

Here’s To Pour Decisions

Posted in Uncategorized on July 8, 2017 by darmyers

Let’s face it, we’ve all made a bad decision or two.   But I don’t feel there are any bad decisions when it comes to wine, just learning experiences.   I don’t write about wines I don’t like because somebody else may love the wine.   Just because I don’t like that wine doesn’t mean it’s not a good wine   It’s the reason I called my blog ‘Wine in my Opinion.

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This Shiraz, however, was a very good decision.    Coming from the McLaren Vale region of Australia, the region is known for its aromatic and full flavoured Shiraz wines.   I love a good Shiraz in the Summer because it’s a great barbecue wine  and the perfect accompaniment to grilled meat.   It has great structure, good tannins and nice spice on the fruit.  At $20, its a great affordable red  and a decision you won’t regret making.

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Speaking of great wine fit for a barbecue,  this is the Uncle Zin Appassimento Zinfandel  and it comes from Puglia in Italy where Zinfandel is normally called Primitivo.  Appassimento refers to the drying process of the grapes.   I enjoyed this wine last night as I barbecued some burgers ,  it’s a great wine to sip while you’re cooking and a great wine to drink while you’re eating.  I loved the jammy fruit and the spice but what I liked most is that this is Zinfandel did not have those manipulated smoky bacon flavours.   A great Zinfandel for $25 however my only complaint is that the bottle is short and stocky and wouldn’t stay in my wine rack.   It kept falling through so I had no choice but to drink it.  A pour decision for sure!

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Everyone that knows me knows how much I love finding good value especially when it relates to wine .   And they were tasting this wine at my local liquor store and I just had to buy it    It’s a German Riesling, which I rarely buy because I don’t like overly sweet Riesling’s but this one was fantastic .  It’s not sweet, it’s on the dry side but has beautiful acidity and crisp fruit flavours. And it’s only $16 a bottle.  The only poor decision I made regarding this wine was that I didn’t buy more than one

And now for my wine of the week…..

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I have always been a big fan of McManis wines, and the 3 or 4 we get here in Nova Scotia tend to be priced at $20.  This one is a little more expensive, coming in at $32, it’s their next level up, but it is so tasty and so worth it   This is a blend of 59% Cabernet Sauvignon, 10% Petite Sirah, 5% Tannat and 3% Ruby Cabernet.  Ruby Cabernet is a grape that is a cross between Cabernet Sauvignon and Carignan, and was created for the purpose of blending, giving the grape structure from the Cabernet and heat resistence from the Carignan.  Tannat is the National grape of Urugay, so we don’t see that often in California blends.  This is a great wine and I loved the fact it has been introduced to us in the heart of grilling season.  This wine is a “pour” decision I will be making time and time again.

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Here’s to a weekend of wonderful pour decisions

Till next week, Cheers

Darlene

Celebrating Canada’s 150th

Posted in Uncategorized on July 1, 2017 by darmyers

 

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It is Saturday, July 1st, Canada Day.  This year, all year, Canada is celebrating its 150th birthday, and I have been lucky enough to travel every inch of this country from St. John’s Newfoundland to Victoria British Columbia.  It’s a beautiful country with spectacular scenery and the nicest people.  It’s also making a name for itself in the wine industry.  Canada is putting out fantastic wines from the Anapolis Valley in Nova Scotia to the Okanagan region in British Columbia.   I am going to talk about some of the great Canadian wines, so let’s start in the East and head West.

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Benjamin Bridge is located in the Gaspereau Valley in the Anapolis Valley region of Nova Scotia, however, this small winery is making headlines around  the world.  Its traditional method Sparkling wine is taking the wine world by storm.  John Szabo, Canada’s 1st Master Sommelier said “very likely the finest sparkling wine to have yet been issued from Canadian soil”

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Another east cost winery making a lot of waves these days is Lightfoot and Wolfville, making certified organic wines in small lots.   Two of my favorites from this winery  is the Rose wine and the Riesling. Recently at the Atlantic Canadian Wine Awards, Lightfoot & Wolfville won top prize for the Winery of the Year, and took home 8 other awards.

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As we head west, I have to take a moment to tell you about the Prince Edward County wine region and one of the best known wineries there belongs to Norman Hardie.  I had the privilege of meeting the man himself when I was there last Labor Day weekend, and took home a couple of bottles of his wine, including the Riesling and this spectacular Pinot Noir.  This Burgundian style Pinot Noir is the picture of elegance and finesse, and if you ever get the chance to try it, don’t pass on the opportunity.

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I can’t leave Ontario without visiting the Niagara region, which has the province’s largest planted viticultural area.  This area is putting out some spectacular wines and it is on my bucket list to visit the area.  I have a niece who lives in the area, and when my sister went ti visit one year, she bought me back this wonderful Pinot Noir from Hidden Bench.  All of this wine is 100% grown, produced, and bottled on site at the Beamsville winery.  This Pinot Noir is beautifully structured and earthy and when I get back to the area, hope to enjoy it again.

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Heading west to British Columbia, the Okanagan is putting out so many great wines.  This is the wine I had again last night, 5 Vineyards from Mission Hill, a blend of Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot with some Petite Verdot and Cabernet Franc.  This Bordeaux-style of wine showcases grapes grown in 5 estate vineyards owned by Mission Hill, and each area brings something a little different to the grape.  (Which is what terroir is all about).  Red cherry flavors with hints of sage and good distinct tannins.  Last night I enjoyed this with a pasta that had a cream sauce, however, you could enjoy it with any kind of meat as well.

And now for one of my all time favorite Canadian wines…

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Meritage is a Bordeaux style of wine, and the name originated in California, because it is illegal to call a wine ‘Bordeaux’, unless it comes from the Bordeaux region of France.  It consists of Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon with Cabernet Franc, Petite Verdot and this one has a little Malbec added in.  (although coomon at one time, now it’s a little unusual).   This style of wine is also called Claret in Britian, and you will also sometimes see a Claret coming out of an American winery.  For example, Francis Ford Coppola makes a Claret, and its delicious.  It’s a big bold wine, this one is 14% alcohol, good tannins and great structure.  This is a great steak wine, especially if you love those big Cabernet Sauvignon wines.  Burrowing Owl is located in Oliver B.C., and I have had many of their wines.  We can get them here in Nova Scotia now, but before then I would get them shipped in.  It is a fantastic winery and my dream is to visit the winery one day.

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Enjoy the long weekend everyone.   As I look out my window I see it’s pouring rain and I feel bad for the Canada day celebrations here in Halifax.  Hope it’s sunny where you are.

Till next week, Cheers

Darlene

 

Writer’s Block, not Wine Block!

Posted in Uncategorized on June 24, 2017 by darmyers

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Every Saturday for the past 6 years, I have written a wine blog.  With the exception of when I was in Italy, (no Wi-Fi)  or when I go home for Christmas, my parents don’t have WiFi either.  And for the most part the words flow quite easily and I always have something to share, especially as it relates to the topic of wine.  However, once in a while I face…

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The dreaded Writer’s Block!  I know what you’re thinking…. how does a girl, who drinks wine like I do, get writer’s block about wine.   I know, it boggles the mind.  Writer’s block is defined in the dictionary as “the condition of being unable to think of what to write or how to proceed with writing.”  

So, I’m just going to tell you about some new wines I have tried in the past couple of months, that I haven’t shared with you yet.  Let’s talk wine.

 

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Now that Summer is here and we are all excited about drinking wine on a patio, here’s a fantastic Riesling I haven’t had the chance to tell you about yet.  Dr. Loosen 2015 Riesling is from Germany and is a great deal at just $17.  This is my favorite wine that pairs with spicy food.  Whether it’s Thai food, Indian cuisine, even Chinese food, I love Riesling because it counter-balances the spiciness of the food.  It’s crisp and refreshing with gorgeous notes of citrus and pear.  I could go on… (where’s the writer’s block now!  LOL)

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I took this wine to a happy hour event in my building, and all the ladies loved it.  I’ve written about it’s sister wine before

A fantastic Pinot Noir, and a real treat for  me.  So when I saw my local liquor store was carrying it’s sister wine, I just had to give it a try.  And I think I liked it even better.  And as a bonus, it costs less than the big sister.  The International Wine Review has given this wine 90+ points and there wasn’t one person I shared this with, didn’t go WOW!  It’s that good.  Priced at about $26 here in Nova Scotia, this is one treat wine that is worth every penny.

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Since Canada is celebrating it’s 150th year, I thought it would be fun to try 150 of Canada’s wines.  Well, maybe thats a lot, but here’s a delicious start.  The Calliope Figure 8 is composed from 55% Merlot, 35% Cabernet Franc and 10% Cabernet Sauvignon and is the perfect wine for your BBQ hamburgers.  It’s perfectly balanced and has those juicy plum flavors, which would go well with just about anything you wanted to put on the BBQ.

And now for my wine of the week…

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This Spanish beauty from 2008 will set your heart and your taste buds aflutter.  I think ‘aflutter’ is a word!  You know what I mean.  The Campillo Gran Reserva  from the Rioja region in Spain is a blend of two very popular Spanish varieties – Tempranillo and Graciano.   The vines that the grapes are grown on are 100  years old, which makes for lower yields but a very rich smooth wine.  The grapes are also harvested by hand, so only the best grapes are selected, which is also evident in this wine.  Try it, it’s a winner.

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Have a great weekend everyone, thanks for reading, writer’s block and all.  Next week let’s celebrate Canada’s 150 by looking at some of my favorite Canadian wines.  There  probably won’t be 150 of them but there will be something for everyone.

Till next week, Cheers

Darlene

 

Summer is here!

Posted in Wine & Food on June 17, 2017 by darmyers

Wine Summer

Here in Canada,  nothing is quite anticipated like the first day of summer.   Maybe it’s because we live in Canada and the winters tend to be a little long.  This coming Wednesday, is not only Wine Wednesday, but it is the official kick-off to Summer.  What does Summer look like to you?  Getting together with friends on the patio sipping wine, barbecues (with wine of course), and a full list of activities that somehow include the outdoors.  Let me tell you about some of my favourite Summer time wines.

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I love  Rose wine.  It’s perfect for Summer.  It’s a great appetizer wine, it’ a great sipping wine, and it’s very food friendly overall.   The one I’m featuring today is a Canadian wine from Nova Scotia, Lightfoot and Wolfville.  I believe this is Nova Scotia’s newest winery and only started producing wine a couple of years ago.  The Lightfoot name goes back eight generations in the Wolfville area of Nova Scotia, and the name Lightfoot and Wolfville is meant to reflect the people and the place.  Their  Rose wine is made from delicious Pinot Muenier, and is crisp with beautiful berry flavors.   This is a staple in my wine rack since I first tried it last Summer.

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Summer is also a great time for Prosecco, the Italian sparkling wine.  I picked this Ruffino Prosecco up for the first time last weekend.   I wanted to make Italian spritzes for the ladies in my apartment building .  I discovered the wonderful summer drink spritz when I was in Rome.   Made with orange bitters Prosecco and  sparkling water .

Italy 2017 059 This Prosecco by Ruffino had gorgeous  citrus notes and it was fresh and lively on the palate.  This is great all by itself or pair it with cheese, hors d’oeuvres, charcuterie boards, and in Sangria or Spritz’s.  Prosecco is very versatile and tends to be A LOT less expensive than Champagne.

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Summer doesn’t mean I put away the red wine.  For new readers, you may not realize I am the grilling Queen of Nova Scotia.  I love barbecued foods, and I love doing the barbecuing.  I do everything from vegetables to chicken wings, to ribs, and as the picture above shows, sometimes all of those things in one night.    This is an actual picture of my barbeque one night last week    Needless to say I fed a few people I work with at the radio station.  So with barbecue foods as a staple, I don’t kiss the red wines good-bye over the Summer.  I mean, what’s a steak without red wine.   And a steak is what I enjoyed last night with this beauty and my new wine of the week ..

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My steak had a 3 oepper blend so many red wines would have done the trick .   I could have chosen a Cabernet Sauvignon or a spicy Syrah!   Instead I chose an old Vine Zinfandel .   It’s been a while since I’ve enjoyed an old vine Zinfandel,  I practically lived on them last summer.   Wine Enthusiast gave this wine 91 points  and called it a great wine value.  All the old vine Zinfandels tend to be very fruit forward with hints of pepper and spice.  Perfect for barbeque foods and it is my favourite wine to have with baby back ribs.

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Have a great weekend everyone.  Till next week, Cheers

Darlene

Italy Part 2

Posted in Uncategorized on June 10, 2017 by darmyers

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9 days in Italy cannot be covered in 1 blog, so here is the second part.  This is a picture of our pool, and with temperatures hitting upwards of 34-degrees, believe me it was used!  I joke with people that I ate and drank my way through Italy, but it’s really not a joke.  The food was amazing.

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And not only was the food amazing, the wine was spectacular.  Spectacular continued as we made our way to Banfi Winery, which by the way is a castle.

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So not only are the grounds stunning, this is a pretty revolutionary winery for a couple of reasons.  One, Banfi was started in 1978 by American born Italian brothers, who as outsiders, went to Tuscany and purchased a lot of land.  The following picture is actually a picture on the wall of the production facility at Banfi, that shows workers working the land beneath the castle.

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Another reason this winery is revolutionary is the way they ferment their high end wines.  Fermentation is the process that turns grape juice into wine.  The fermentation unit is a combination of oak and stainless steel, which was patented by Banfi, and holds 200,000 bottles of wine.  Banfi owns 24 of them.

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Banfi sells its wine in 85 countries around the world and we were lucky enough to have our wine tasting done by Bernadette, who is very knowledgeable and knows a ton of languages.

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And we met the owner’s wife, Pam.  Pam is married to one of the brothers, and introduced us to the winery’s balsamic vinegar.  It was amazing.

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We had so many good wines that day, including the 2015 Poggio Alle Mura and the Chianti Classico Gran Selezione 2013 vintage.  In my opinion, the terroir is really represented well in all the wines we tasted.  Terroir is the characteristic taste and flavor imparted to a wine by the environment in which it is produced. In other words, you get a flavor of Italy through the wine, both from the soil and the wine-making process.

My all time favorite wine was this one

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The Banfi Brunello di Montalcino, which we enjoyed from the 2012 vintage.  Made 100% from the Sangiovese grape, the grapes are put through a very meticulous hand selection, and then aged in several different size barrels.  Why would they do that?  Because the size of the barrel plays a role in how much ‘wood’ is imparted on the wine.  The bigger the barrel, the softer the tannins and more subtle the oak flavor.  This wine is available here in Nova Scotia at $60 a bottle.  What a treat.  (FYI, it was considerable less over there)

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As I have mentioned, Banfi ages their fine red wines in several size of barrels.  There were barrels everywhere.  To the tune of 7000 barrels.  Italy 2017 215.JPG

But this was, by far, my favorite barrel

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As you can see, it’s barrel #129 and this particular barrel holds 16,000 bottles of wine.  Who else wants one?

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This picture is not the shelf of at a wine store, but was taken at our villa.  It’s a picture of the dish cabinet in the dining room.  Yes, there were only 4 of us, and yes we consumed some wine.

That’s it for me this for this week… thanks for taking this journey with me.

Till next week, Cheers

Darlene

 

 

Italy – Part 1!

Posted in Uncategorized on June 3, 2017 by darmyers

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Where do I begin?  Italy was amazing – the scenery, the food, and of course the wine.  Spectacular.  The trip for me started in Rome.

From Cappuccinos, to pizza – from the Vatican to the Trevi fountain, I got to experience Rome in a day, including the infamous Italian drink Spritz.

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I was ready to leave Rome when we did.  Lots and lots of people, and shoulder to shoulder crowds at the tourist sites.  So I was happy when we went to the airport to pick up the other two ladies, who I would share this amazing journey with.  And a girl couldn’t ask for better travel companions.  Here I am with Cathy and Ruth, as we head to Tuscany, lead by the best tour guide we could ask for, Dominica (on the right).

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Day 1 in Tuscany, we were staying at a villa near Montalcino belonging to the Carpazo Winery.  And Carpazo was the first wine tasting we did that week.  Two of the wines from the winery are available here in Nova Scotia at a boutique wine store, Bishop’s Cellar.

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This is Christine, who conducted the wine tasting.

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This is one of the wines we drank not only at the tasting, but over the course of the entire week, and it’s one of the wine’s that’s available here in Nova Scotia.  The Rosso di Montalcino was the wine I wrote about a couple of weeks ago, right after I booked the trip to Italy.

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The first wine we had the day of the tasting was a delicious white wine called Le Grance, which I come to discover is the name given to the fortified buildings used in the Sienese countryside during the middle ages to store agricultural goods.  Caparzo decided to call the area that the vineyards that yield this wine are located,  Le Grance, and in 1985 produced the first bottle of.   Not only does fermentation take place in oak, part of the aging does as well.  This means a full-bodied white wine with lovely dried fruit flavors on the palate, and a great wine for white meat, fish and pasta.

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La Casa is the section of the Carpazo winery where we stayed at our gorgeous villa.  And thankfully it had a pool.  It was so hot, that pool saved our lives many times.

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Here’s a picture of the best travelling companions in the world outside the front of the villa.  Dominica, Cathy and Ruth provided the most fun, and my favorite parts of the entire trip was to eat supper at the villa, and then we would sit around and drink wine and tell stores and laugh so much.  There was no internet, which was a great thing, because it gave us the opportunity to talk and to get to know each other.

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Our villa was surrounded by vines, and the vines made this wine, the Brunello di Montalcino DOCG.  DOCG stands for Denominazione di Origine Controllata Garantita, which is a mouthful.  In English, it basically means Designation of Origin Controlled and Guaranteed, and it’s the highest classification given an Italian wine.  Christine was telling us they have to follow 54 rules in order to get this classification.    This wine is from a single vineyard and contains 100% Sangiovese fruit.  Aged in french oak, this wine has an aging capacity of 35 years or more.  Most wines are meant to be consumed quite young, because they will lose their fruit flavors and freshness if aged too long.  This is one of the exceptions.

And last but not least….

Carpazo Reserva

The Carpazo Brunello di Montalcino Riserva, and Riserva means it was aged for a longer time.  We enjoyed the 2011 vintage and what I found really interesting about this wine was that it was aged in both French oak and Slavonian oak.  Slavonia is a region in Croatia, and the oak barrels produced there are often quite large, which imparts a subtle oak flavor on the wine and the tannins are softer.  Tannins are those things in wine that make the sides of your gumline come alive.  This is a full-bodied wine which is meant to go well with grilled meats.  They probably made it to pair well with the wild boar that roam the region and seem to make it on every menu.  We did get to experience wild boar that had been made into a dried meat, and it was quite gamey.  Not my favorite so I didn’t order it when I went to a restaurant.

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Here’s a picture of a stuffed wild boar that we saw in one of the towns.  It’s the closest we got, much to mine and Ruth’s dismay.  You can’t walk around the hills of Tuscany at night because they are so plentiful.  We didn’t want to come face to face with one, but we were hoping to see one at a distance.

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Us sitting around enjoying a glass while Dominica cooked an amazing meal.  Well that’s it for me this week.  Stay tuned, there’s more of Italy to come next week.

Till then, Cheers

Darlene

 

The Health Benefits of Wine

Posted in Wine on May 13, 2017 by darmyers

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The best news in any wine lovers day comes in the form of health benefits of wine.  For us wine lovers, it’s another benefit alongside the great taste.  For starters, it promotes a longer life.  And what would life be without wine!

It has been said, Wine drinkers have a 34 percent lower mortality rate than beer or spirits drinkers. **Source: a Finnish study of 2,468 men over a 29-year period, published in the Journals of Gerontology, 2007.

White wine benefits

I’m going to start with the benefits of white wine.  Many people don’t know this, but white wine has many of the same benefits of red wine.  It prevents blockage of the arteries and white wine also contains antioxidants that prevent disease and brings a glow to your skin.  And I bet you thought the glow was from too much wine.  Here are a couple of white wines that you can start enjoying the benefits of.

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The first wine on the left is a locally made wine, hailing from the Gaspereau Vineyards in the Annapolis Valley of Nova Scotia Canada.  Gaspereau Vineyards Muscat is a very aromatic wine and I loved the passion fruit and grapefruit flavors.  On the nose there is a tinge of sweetness, but the wine is actually nice and dry with no sweetness.  There are over 200 varieties of the Muscat grape, and so the wine can range from sweet to dry  to rose.  It’s a very food friendly wine too and great for appetizers and charcuterie boards.  On the right, is a refreshing Chardonnay out of Australia and Hardy Vineyards.  Actually, it was one of the wines made to celebrate William Hardy’s 40 years in the wine business.  I had the opportunity to meet him and he was such a nice gentleman, and I bought a few of the bottles to celebrate his 40th Anniversary and he was kind enough to sign each and every one of them.  Did you know that Chardonnay is the most popular wine variety in the world?  That’s a true statement.  And this one is really yummy and has nice peach flavors and hints of nectarine.  Chardonnay is also super food friendly and would go with just about any meal you would like to serve.

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The benefits of red wine are mind-blowing as well.  Not to mention it tends to put everyone in a good mood, there is also an ingredient in red wine called resveratrol, and that is said to have heart-healthy benefits.  Keeping in mind if you drink too much, it can do bad damage to the body, everything in moderation.  But studies have shown that benefits range from lowering cholesterol, boosts your brain power and fights off colds.  As if we didn’t already love it enough.

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Argentina is putting out some very good wine and this is no exception.  You probably won’t believe me that I paid $12.99 for this wine.  It’s the truth.  The wine is regularly priced at $14.99 and is $2 off right now, so I got to enjoy this wine for under $13.  It’s a medium bodied blend of Cabernet Sauvignon, and you guessed it… Syrah.  Lots of structure on this one and the oak is very noticeable.  If you are a person who doesn’t like oaky wines, you may want to stay away from this one.  But I liked it, it’s a good wine, and a great meat wine.  And you can’t beat the price.

And now for my wine of the week….

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It’s Italian!!  One of the wine tours I am doing in Tuscany is the Banfi vineyard, and I couldn’t be more excited.  One of the people I am going with is the wine rep here in Nova Scotia for Banfi wines, who happens to be Italian.  Dominica Bona Mancini is our guide tour and she and I are leaving a couple of days early to do Rome.  So the Toscana Cum Laude 2011 is $32.99 a bottle and so delicious.  It is mostly Cabernet Sauvignon with Merlot, Sangiovese and Syrah added in, it’s a Super Tuscan wine. There are all kinds of flavor going on in this wine from blackberries to olives, from plums to licorice.  Fantastic wine for  the price point.  I loved it.

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There will be no wine blog for the next 2 Saturdays as I am here…. our villa, a piece of heaven for the next 2 Saturdays.  I look forward to telling you all about it when I get back.

Till then, Cheers

Darlene

Tips to Having a Wine Tasting Party

Posted in Uncategorized on May 6, 2017 by darmyers

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In the past year, and especially since becoming a Sommelier, I get asked to do wine tasting parties quite frequently, and I just love doing them.  I love getting together with people who want to learn about new wines, and more importantly try new wines.  So I thought I would dedicate this week’s wine blog to all my friends out there who want to host a wine-tasting party.  And although you don’t necessarily need a Sommelier to have one, it does help to have someone knowledgeable about wine.

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  1.  Pick a Theme

Some people like to do  a wine tasting on ‘local’ wines, or wines from a certain region.  I have had tremendous success with mixing it up a bit with 2 white, a rose, and 3 reds for a total of 6 wines.  Another popular array is 1 sparkling, 1 white, 1 rose´, 2 reds and 1 dessert wine.

2.  Pick A Value 

How much would you like to spend on wine? The most common way to do this is set a budget and the person with the knowledge will choose the wines, so that it is a blind taste-testing for all the guests.  Each pour is approximately 2 ounces, so there are 12 pours per bottle.  And most Sommeliers will pick a variety of price ranges, you want all guests to feel they are getting value.

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3.  Keep The Party Intimate.

Now I have done tastings with 22 people but the room was able to accomodate and I had two volunteers who helped to pour.   For home tasting parties I recommend 6 to 8 people, a group of 10 the absolute max.  You want a nice relaxed atmosphere for home tastings that people feel comfortable asking lots of questions.

4.  The Necessary Supplies

  • Glassware – each person will need 3 wine glasses
  • Spit Buckets for the designated drivers – Red solo plastic cups work just fine
  • Water
  • Palate cleansers like a baguette cut up or simple crackers.
  • Corkscrew
  • Napkins
  • Snacks are Welcome
    • Cheese and crackers are always a big hit at wine tastings.
    • Small bites are recommended
    • Recommendations include cheese, fresh fruit, bread and cured meats. Think charcuterie board.

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5.  The Set Up

If the amount of wine glasses is an issue, give people 3.  1 for white, one for rose or dessert wines, and the other for the Reds.  Ask your guests not to wear heavy perfumes, scented lotions or after-shaves, as this can really affect a wine tasting in a big way, since aromas play a huge role in wine.  Avoid decorating with scented candles for the same reason.

Have a little room in your refrigerator for the wines. Especially whites and rose´ wines.  And most importantly… Have fun!!  After all, it’s a wine tasting.

And now for my wine of the week….

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As a Congratulations on becoming a Sommelier, my friend Judy bought me this wonderful Tuscan wine from Italy.  I guess it’s no coincidence, since I’m heading to the Tuscany region in Italy May 18th.  This was so good.  She paid a surprise visit to me on Monday or Tuesday of this past week and we popped it open.  A blend of Sangiovese, Syrah and Merlot, this wine truly is a Super Tuscan.  Super Tuscan wines are wines that feature an Italian grape (Sangiovese) with traditional grapes, like the Merlot and Syrah.  Ruffino introduced Il Ducale in 2005 to  express a style of Tuscan wine that marries the refinement of traditional Tuscan wine-making with a modern, fruit-driven style.  Great with pizza, charcuterie boards and would be welcome at any wine-tasting event.

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Well the framing is done, and this is now hanging in my home.  Thanks for reading and sharing the wine journey with me.  There is be no wine blog on two Saturday’s in May, the 20th and 27th, as I will be away.

Till next week, Cheers

Darlene

BBQ & Wine

Posted in Wine & Food on April 29, 2017 by darmyers

BBQ & Wine

Have you got that barbecue fired up for the season yet?  It took us a while, but the temperatures are finally warming up and the smell of barbecue is in the air.  I love to barbecue and do it all winter long.  But for my seasonal barbecue loving friends, this blog is for you.  In my opinion, nothing goes with barbecue food quite like wine.

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It’s always important that when barbecuing, the job is much more fun if you have a glass of wine with it.  I never barbecue without wine.  Kind of an unwritten rule in my house.   And if it’s beef or pork you are thinking of grilling this weekend, have I got a new wine for you to try.

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I love good wine, I love great wine.  But I also love finding very good wines at great prices.  And for this week, this interesting bottle takes the prize.   I bought this wine to share with friends ladt Friday night.  The Wine Men of Gotham not only sparked a great conversation because of the label and the name, people loved it once they tried it.  A  Shiraz Grenache blend out of Australia, Gotham Wines is fairly new, only being around since 2004.  This wine is only $15 a bottle here in Nova Scotia, and worth every penny.  Named after the city of Gotham, because like Gotham the wine is dark, rich, complex and mysterious.  Worth a try I think for $15.

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I have to share a great white wine as well for my white wine loving friends and readers.  I understand when looking for wine pairings with BBQ food, many of the choices are red.   Barbecue food & wine pairings are not just for red wine lovers.  There is a tremendous amount of white wine that just loves the grill.

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Here’s one of my favorite white wines for grilled food, Conundrum.  It’s hard to believe this wine has been around for 25 years, and I only discovered it about 4 years ago.  It was started by the guy who founded Caymus vineyards, and anyone who knows Caymus knows it’s quality wine.  And what Charlie Wagner used to do is blend wines at the dinner table to go with whatever they were eating!  Can you imagine?  Apparently no one blended wines back in 1972, when Charlie Wagner started doing it, so this was pretty radical.  This wine brings forward delicious flavors of Hawaiian tropical fruit and pear, some of the wine is aged in stainless steel and some of the wine is aged for 10 months in oak.  This leaves a soft palate, but the oak doesn’t overpower the wine.

And now for my wine of the week….

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Here is my buddy Mike holding up my wine of the week, the Luzon Crianza.  This is from one of the hottest new wineries in Spain and the prices are still fantastic.  This bottle was $22 and is a blend of 4 grapes, Monastrell, Cabernet Sauvignon, Tempranillo and Merlot.  This wine saw between 15 and 20 days on the skins, and this produced a rich flavorful wine that is full-bodied and has lots of character.  I found it to have a really nice plush texture on the palate and with hints of balsamic, you can understand how it would go great with grilled meat.   A great wine to go with hearty stews and of course barbecued meat.

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Well that’s it for me, I hope you have a chance to do some grilling and enjoy a nice new wine with it.  Have a great week everyone, and till next week, Cheers

Darlene

Expanding My Wine Horizons

Posted in Wine on April 22, 2017 by darmyers

Since my passion for wine started many years ago,  I’m always trying to encourage people to expand their wine horizons.   I understand some people are hesitant to buy a new wine unsure if they’re going to like it.  After all, wine is not cheap.   Thankfully some places where you buy wine allow you to taste.   This is always a great way for people to try new wine.   There are so many great wines, it would be a shame to just keep drinking the same one over and over!  Wine blogs are also a great way to get people’s opinion on wine.

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Now that the warmer weather is moving in, more people are starting to barbecue.  My running group met one day last week and I swear the entire town of Timberlea was barbecuing that night.  Here’s a great wine for all things barbecue.  The Chateau de la Tuilerie has been family owned since 1955 and make beautiful wines in the Rhone Valley region of France.  This Syrah is exceptionally interesting because it doesn’t see any oak, which is unusual for the Syrah / Shiraz grape.  However, it’s not missing any flavor or personality.  I thought this was a great wine and at $18 a bottle, it is definitely worth a try.

Collepino

Here’s another interesting wine at a great price.  One of the people I am going to Italy with is the wine rep here for Banfi wines, an Italian winery that has been making wine since 1919.  Once known for Lambrusco, ir as you might know it, Reunite.   Do you remember Reunite from the 70’s?

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The Colle Pino  May come from the same winery but is a completely different wine.  It combines a nice plump juicy Merlot with the traditional Italian grape Sangiovese for a really easy to drink pleasant wine.  It makes for a very interesting blend that I have come to associate with Tuscany.  It’s only $16.29 a bottle here and a perfect wine for pizza, mild cheeses, roast chicken and pasta.  At that price, it’s a wine you can enjoy any night of the week.

And now for my wine of the week…. And it comes with a story…

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Regular readers will know on May 18th I am heading to Italy.  We are spending a day and a half in Rome, before we head North to Tuscany.  We have a villa at a winery rented, and the winery is called Carpazo!  It’s in the heart of Montalcino, one of the regions of Tuscany.  Here are a couple of pictures.  Imagine my surprise when I walk into one of the boutique wine stores here in Halifax, and see a selection of wine from this winery.  So of course I had to buy one.

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Last Saturday night, my friend Judy and I popped open the 2014 Rosso Di Montalcino from the winery I will be staying at while in Italy.  It was so good.  It was $30 a bottle here, and I have to be honest, I am looking forward to seeing how much this wine is going to cost me over there.  But I had to buy it, and I’m glad I did.  Made from the Sangiovese grape, this easy to drink wine was young and fresh but very tasty.  Caparzo was established in the later part of the 1960’s.  The estate is located on a hillside area 220 metres above sea level, facing south and south-east. They grow Sangiovese, Sangiovese Grosso, Cabernet Sauvignon, Chardonnay, Sauvignon Bland and Traminer. The company has grown and adapted with the times all while maintaining and respecting the traditions of the terroir.  The villa on site, which is known as The Casa, is available for rent, and that’s where we will be staying. Wine Saturday 2

That’s it for me this week, and remember, so many wines, so little time!

Till next week Cheers

Darlene

 

 

I’m Officially A Wine Sommelier

Posted in Wine on April 15, 2017 by darmyers

 

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5 years, 200+ hours in the classroom, 23 exams, countless projects and papers, and blind-test tasting approximately 600 wines… but I did it.  On Sunday night I officially became a Certified Sommelier with the Canadian Association of Professional Sommeliers.

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Here I am accepting the designation from the two greatest instructors a girl could ask for.  Mark DeWolf, who is President of the Canadian Association of Professional Sommeliers, just taking over the National Presidency January 1st of this year, and Carman Mills, who is a Professor at Dalhousie University and one of the most knowledgeable wine people I have ever met.

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It was an action packed weekend as my friend Judy and I took a master wine class from the Languedoc-Roussillon region of France. It was hosted by Jean-Phillipe Turgeon, representing the wines of Gérard Bertrand.  We started the afternoon with 15 gorgeous wines, including white, red  and rose.   They also sponsored the gala dinner that night and provided the wines.   It was a fabulous evening with some spectacular wines .  I would like to share some of my favorites from that day and night.

Picpoul

This was my favorite white wine of the day, and they served it with the appetizer course at dinner.  Most of the people at the gala dinner had a scallop appetizer, but because of allergies, I had the salad.  Not only was the salad delicious,  this was a delightful pairing.   Picpoul, also known as Folle Blanche, is a white grape variety that originated around the Cognac and Armagnac region of France.   Picpoul is sometimes blended in with red wines but this standalone was fantastic and a great wine for an appetizer.

Legend

What a treat… we got to enjoy the 1969 Rivesaltes Legend by Gerard Bertrand… at $199 a bottle, let’s just say it was the treat of the night.   It’s a very full bodied wine with Granache as the grape variety.  Fortification haltsthe activity of the yeast before it can convert all the sugar into alcohol,  giving it a tinge of sweetness.  This wine is then aged in wooden casks for as much as 50 years.   Beautiful cherry brandy flavours along with some tobacco makes for a great wine.

Corbieres

 

This is the Gerard Bertrand Corbieres (pronounced without the ‘s’ on the end, like Corbiere.  This is a great wine at a great value.  This wine is $19.99 a bottle here in Nova Scotia, and again is made with the Grenache grape.  Did you know Grenache is the grape variety used to make Chateauneuf du Pape!  Licorice and spice accompany the fruit flavors  and is a great wine for the upcoming barbeque season .

And now for my one of the week….

Hospitalites

I know what you’re thinking, she didn’t pick the $199 bottle of wine as her wine of the week.  This is still a treat winebut I enjoy this one much more.  Again from Gerard Bertrand, the L’Hospitalitas is made from a blend of Syrah and Mourvedre.   This vineyard is along the coast of the Mediterranean Sea and the grapes benefit from that beautiful Mediterranean climate.   This particular plot is at the bottom of a 90 foot cliff protecting it from wind.   Probably makes for a challenging harvest,  can you imagine picking those grapes?   It is $67 a bottle here where I live,  and in my opinion it’s worth every penny.

Well,  that’s it for this week.  Thank you to all my readers and supporters who sent me messages of support!  I really appreciate it.

Till next week, Cheers

Darlene

April….Flurries?

Posted in Uncategorized on April 8, 2017 by darmyers

Although the weather is a little chilly for this time of the year, here in  Halifax, on the bright side, we don’t live in Newfoundland Canada!  A big apology to all my friends and family over n Newfoundland, but 110 cms of snow in the first couple of days for central Newfoundland and snow everywhere else… I’m really sorry, but I’m glad we were left unscathed.  On another bright note, you got to stay inside and drink wine!  I’ve had a few more new wines this past week, and the price tags on these great wines will bring a smile to your face.  Frostbite and all…008

The first wine of the week is for my white wine drinking friends.  I absolutely loved this Chardonnay and almost made it my wine of the week.  It is a Chardonnay from the southwestern part of France and the French know how to make a wonderful white wine that sees oak, but unless you knew, you’d never know.  It is so subtle and so well done, with lovely nut and pineapple flavors, and it’s under $20 a bottle.  A great French white wine at a great price.

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My next two wines are from the latest feature at my NSLC, Old World 90+ point wines.  The first is the Vitiano Rosso from Italy, made by the winemaking brothers Riccardo and Renzo Cotarella.  They are from the famed winery Falesco and first introduced Vitiano in 1995.  Made from equal parts Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and Sangiovese, this is a great blend and a great price.  Another fabulous wine under $20 that goes great with pizza or any meat dish you may be serving.

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For my next wine, we head to the Tuscany region of Italy.  And yes, I may be guilty of buying more Tuscan wines than normal, since I really want to get a feel for the wines of the region before I head there next month.  This wine is primarily Sangiovese and features gorgeous cherry flavors, good tannins and notes of toasted oak.   I personally thought the finish was really well done on this wine and I can’t remember the exact price, but I’m pretty confident it was around the $21 mark.

And now my wine of the week…

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So on the week I found out I had passed all my CAPS Sommelier courses and I would be graduating and getting my Sommelier pin and diploma on April 9th (tomorrow), I wanted to have a special bottle to celebrate.  My friend Judy came over and we opened this wonderful French wine I bought specifically for the occassion. It is a Right Bank Bordeaux from the Fronsac region and we enjoyed the 2010 vintage.   Right Bank Bordeaux means its Merlot dominant with some Cabernet Sauvignon and Cabernet Franc.  The wood was quite evident when we first opened the bottle, so we let it sit for about 45 minutes.  We slowly enjoyed the first glass, but the second glass was so much better after it had a chance to breathe.  It was a lovely enjoyable treat, and this wines sells for $30 here in Nova Scotia.

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I laughed when I first read this.  Anyway, tomorrow is the big day, I graduate as a Sommelier with the Canadian Association of Professional Sommeliers.  I also have a Master Class tomorrow on wines from the Languedoc-Roussillon region of France, and I will tell you all about it next week.  And I’ll share pictures of my graduation.

Till next week, Cheers

Darlene

Arriverderci March!

Posted in Wine on April 1, 2017 by darmyers

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And good riddance!  It’s April 1st, thank goodness.  We had worse weather in March than we did in January…. It’s like once winter came it didn’t want to go away.  I’m sure you didn’t miss the Italian reference in the title.   The countdown is on for May 18th,  which is the day I leave for Italy.   There are four wine tours included plus a cooking class so I’m super excited.

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It’s only fitting that our first wine of the day comes from Italy.   The beautiful Sartori  L’Appassione is a gorgeous wine from Veneto made from the Corvina grape.  The Corvina grape makes for a deliciously smooth juicy wine that’s easy to drink.   This is a wonderful wine to go with any pork dish and it’s under $18 a bottle .   I love wines that are easy on the palate and easier on the pocketbook

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Our next wine  of the day takes us to Spain,  with a delicious Ribera Del Duero.   Now that’s the region in Spain where the wine comes from, the grape is Tempranillo.   Tempranillo  is probably one of the grapes from Spain that make up the backbone of some of the finest wines that come out of the country.   Wines from Ribera Del Duero and Rioja tend to have Tempranillo as its base.  This was a medium to full-bodied wine with a beautiful finish on the palate that just stayed with you.  Gorgeous tannins, great fruit and that nice finish.  A great price point, coming in under $18.

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

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This is brand-new for me, and probably one of the hottest deals at our liquor store.  All 3 wines featured today were all under $20 and spectacular wines to boot.

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And you will notice from the sticker on the label,  Robert Parker gave this wine 91 Points.  And the best part…. It’s $15.99 a bottle.  That’s not a typo, it’s under $16.  Had it last night for the first time, and it was outstanding.  The flower on the bottle is a passion flower, and I am so passionate about good wine at great prices.  Monastrell is the Spanish name for Mourvedre, and Mourvedre tends to be the famous ‘M’ in a GSM blend, which is Grenache, Syrah and Mourvedre.  Spain was gutsy enough to have the ‘M’ stand on its own, and made a beautiful Monastrell wine.  I had it with a barbecue last night, but this wine will go with everything and is great all on its own.  Fantastic wine at a spectacular price point.  This is the wine I will be telling all my friends about.

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Well, that’s it for this week.  Have a wonderful weekend, and till next week, Cheers

Darlene

 

 

 

Italy – Here I Come

Posted in Wine on March 25, 2017 by darmyers

Tuscany

So, this happened this week.  I booked a trip to go to Tuscany, Italy.  I’ve never been to Europe before, so it’s my first time crossing that ocean.  I am going as part of a wine tour.  Going with a like-minded group of people, who all love wine, and we’ve rented a villa in Tuscany.  And it has a pool, and there’s going to be wine, lots of wine.  Apologies to my liver in advance.  So for the beginning of this blog, we are heading to Tuscany,  The launch vibrant rolling hills of Tuscany!

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I got to enjoy this beauty when I was taking my Methods in Modern Winemaking course.  This is a beautiful Classico Chianti from Marchesa Antinori.  Is it a coincidence that my first wine is from the Tuscany region, I think not!  It’s a beautiful Chianti that is 90% Sangiovese and 10% Cabernet Sauvignon.  Antinori was the first vineyard to ignore DOC regulations and make a Chianti style wine that blended Sangiovese and Cabernet, back in 1971.  Others followed suit and Super Tuscan wines were becoming a fantastic hit among consumers. Regular readers will remember me talking about Super Tuscan wines in the past.  They are wines from Tuscany that incorporate non-Italian grapes like Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon.  We enjoyed it in a blind taste test and the brownish hue told me it was an older wine. There were some wood notes on the nose, along with stewed fruits and spice.  Aged in oak for 14 months, the tannins are great on this wine and it says Italian all the way.

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Another well known winemaker from Tuscany is the Frescobaldi name.  This is one of the vineyards we will be visiting on our wine tours, and I am so looking forward to it.  The name Frescobaldi and Tuscany go hand in hand, as the family has been making wine there for 700 years.  Imagine how well you do something, when you’ve been doing it for 700 years.   This is also one of the very affordable Frescobaldi Chianti wines, selling for just $18.  Medium-bodied and very fruity, its a lovely expression of a Tuscan wine.

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We are going to leave Italy and head to Nova Scotia.  Isn’t it great how wine allows you to do that.  This locally made Baco Noir from Blomidon Estate was fantastic.  Baco Noir is grown in several areas of Canada, including Nova Scotia, and I love its inky dark color.  It’s a hybrid grape, which means its a cross between two other grapes, and grows well in cooler climates like Canada.  This one has hints of smoky blueberries and is a fantastic wine to go with pork dishes.

And now for my wine of the week, we head to France…

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This delcious wine is from the Burgundy region in France, and is of course Pinot Noir.  Very fruity wine with strawberry and cherry flavors, and its also a very balanced wine.  Soft tannins makes for a smooth journey from  palate to tummy.  I was reading that the wine cellars of this vineyard in Burgundy contains over 100,000 bottles of wine, the oldest dating back to 1908.  Imagine getting locked in that wine cellar!  At $50 a bottle, it’s a treat, but worth it.

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Well, that’s it for me this week.   In the upcoming week I may have to be trying a few more Tuscan wines.  I don’t leave until May 19th so it won’t be all Italian between now and then?

Until next week, Cheers

Darlene

 

 

Try Something New!

Posted in Wine on March 18, 2017 by darmyers

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Last weekend I took a wine course, ‘Methods in Modern Winemaking’, which is another chapter as I move closer to my Sommelier accreditation.  I am so close.   This course was taught by the talented winemaker of Blomidon Estate Winery in the Annapolis Valley region of Nova Scotia.  And while we were learning, we were also experimenting.  I think we tried 31 new wines last weekend, and although I had to spit out most of them as I was driving,  there were a few that I finished.  Here are a few of the highlights.

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You know how some people like to eat dessert before their main meal.  I’m going to take that approach with this week’s wine blog and start with a dessert wine.  The Chateau Coutet Sauternes Barsac comes to us from the southwestern part of Bordeaux, and is one of the oldest Sauternes producing vineyards.  Making heavenly dessert wines, I always thought I didn’t like sweet wines, until I experienced Sauternes or Royal Tokaji from Hungary.  This is a taste of heaven in a glass.  This estate dates back to the 1600’s, which means they have been making wine for a long long time…. and they are getting it right. I think it’s a perfect after-meal compliment, it will satisfy that sweet tooth without needing a heavy dessert.  Gorgeous rich flavors of apricots,honey, and vanilla.  Worth the treat, and you deserve it.

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I can’t talk about dessert wines without mentioning the locally made Blomidon Vin de Paille. (pronounced Vin de Pie!)  This is an exciting new style for this Nova Scotia vineyard, as it is a straw wine.  As a matter of fact, Vin de Paille is french for straw wine.  It is 100% Chardonnay grapes laid out on straw beds to dry for a significant time at the Blomidon estate.  Once sufficiently dried, it is pressed and fermented and then it sits in oak casks for two years before bottling.  Lovely orange and citrus flavors, with a very long lasting finish on the wine, this is a winner.  And the national critics agree, one giving it 90 Points and a great price point at just $35.

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So let’s head to the main course.  One of my colleagues taking the course with me bought in this wine for us to try and we all shared it together.  It was fantastic, and it’s another Canadian beauty.  From the Niagara region in Ontario, the 2011 Domaine Quelus Cabernet Franc Merlot blend was made by legendary winemaker Thomas Bachelder.  Named 2009’s winemaker of the year and known for his elegant European style, it came as no surprise this was awesome. This particular vintage won Gold at wine competitions and is regularly given 92+ points across the board.  I love a good Bordeaux style blend, and this didn’t disappoint.  Full-bodied with juicy fruit flavors from the Merlot and a nice floral note from the Cab Franc, it also has some nice tobacco flavors from the oak.  A stellar wine, and a big thank you for allowing me to share this.

And now for my wine of the week….

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Please excuse the Tim Horton’s cups in the background, we were using them as spitoons during the wine tasting.  This Luis Felipe Edwards 2012 Dona Bernardo is a spectacular Bordeaux style blend from the Colchagua Valley in Chile.  The lovely lady on the bottle is the winemaker’s mother.  It’s primarily Cabernet Sauvignon with some Shiraz, Carmenere and Petite Verdot added in, for a wonderfully complex and interesting wine.  This wine is $40 a bottle here where I live in Nova Scotia and worth every penny.  If  you are going to treat yourself to a good cut of beef, add this wine to the list and make it a Wow dining experience.

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What a week for wine it’s been.  And then  yesterday I went to visit my friend Rayell and we tasted a couple of spectacular Italian wines.  I will tell you all about them next week.

Till next week, Cheers

Darlene

 

Spanish Wines

Posted in Uncategorized on March 11, 2017 by darmyers

Spanish Wines

The Nova Scotia Liquor Corporation, NSLC, has a promotion called ‘Get To Know Spanish Wines’, and they are featuring some spectacular Spanish Wines.  I have had so much fun trying new wines from this wonderful region.  Spain has almost 3 million acres of vines making it the most widely planted wine region, but the 3rd largest producer behind France and Italy.  And although you would find about 400 grape varieties in Spain, you would have to travel to Spain to try most of them. 80% of its exports are from about 20 grapes.

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One of the famous exports is Monastrell, and the grape variety shines in the Castillo De Jumillo.  Blended with 10% Tempranillo, which is probably the most popular grape variety in Spain for red wines.  I enjoyed this 2013, which was actually picked in October of 2012.  Remember the year on the bottle is the year the wine was bottled.  Crianza red wines are aged for 2 years with at least 6 months in oak, this particular wine and this particular wine was in oak for a year.  Very smooth, very food friendly and a great price point at under $20.

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Had to share this one for my white wine loving friends.  This lovely Campo Flores Blanco is crisp and light and it’s organic.  Made from the Macabeo grape, which is also known as Viura, and it’s a great price point at $16.29 a bottle.  On the nose, I detected grapefruit and asparagus, similar to Sauvignon Blanc, but nothing about the wine on the palate suggest Sauvignon Blanc.  This is not as acidic, it is much smoother on the palate, with some lovely peach notes, and both Amber (from the NSLC)  and I were saying how wonderful it would be with food.

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Here’s another wine Amber and I did a tasting on, a 2010 Old Vine Garnacha (Spanish for Grenache)  which is another great wine at around $20.  Spanish wines are such exceptional value and here’s another prime example of that.  Old vines tend to produce a little more intense flavor in the wines, and both of us agreed this one is also very well balanced with some spice accompanying the rich fruit.

And now for my wine of the week

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The 2013 Faustino Rioja Crianza from 2013.  Under $20 and a delicious wine, and 100% Tempranillo.  Aged in American oak for 14 months, don’t be concerned if you detect wood on the nose when you first open the bottle.  That will dissipate in no time at all, and the bright fruit will shine through.  This is also a food friendly wine as Tempranillo tends to be.  I personally thought it was a great wine at a great price and it was fun trying a bunch of new Spanish wines recently.

Wine Friday

I am writing this blog a day early this week, as I will be up bright and early Saturday morning to go work in a vineyard for the day.  Yes, as I am nearing the end of my quest to become a Sommelier, today I head to Blomidon Winery in the Anapolis Valley to work with the talented winemaker Simon Rafuse.

Till next week, Cheers

Darlene

March Madness

Posted in Red Wine on March 4, 2017 by darmyers

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It’s official.  The worst of winter is behind us.  That’s  not to say we won’t get another snowstorm (or 2) in eastern Canada, but I love to see March.  The days are noticeably longer and Spring is definitely in the air.  You know what’s also awesome about March?  More barbecues! I have tried a couple of new wines this past week, and they would be a great match at your next barbecue.

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Let’s start things off with this kick ass Malbec my friend Judy bought over last weekend.  An award winner, and 91+ points across the board, including a 92 from wine critic James Suckling.  We enjoyed the 2013 vintage, and it had spent 12 months in French oak, and personally I thought it needed to breathe for 30 minutes.  You could taste wood, and it was a little hot on first sip, but once we let it sit, it was magnificent.  The winemaker, Germán Di Césare, has been quoted as saying ‘The best measure of a wine’s worth is an empty bottle’!  I love that quote.  And we weren’t long pouring the last sip from this wonderful Malbec.  It was a dark inky purple color and very aromatic, and a  nice long finish.  Two thumbs up!

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Next up, this lovely organic wine out of Italy.  The Amastuola Primitivo (cousin to Zinfandel) is a perfect wine for BBQ fare.   The organically farmed vines sit on a plateau at an altitude of 210 meters above sea level which provides slow ripening and beautiful flavor.  This wine is aged for 18 months, half in oak, the other half in stainless steel.  So, in no way does the oak overpower the wine.  Primitivo is known for its generous fruit and this one has a nice hint of spice as well.  Loved it, and for just $20, I will be buying it again.

And now for my wine of the week…

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All 3 of the wines I have written about this week could easily claim my wine of the week.   Wine of the week started when I wanted to get myself out of a wine rut, because I felt I was drinking the same wines week in and week out.  I made a commitment to my blog readers and to myself that I would try at least 1 new wine per week.  This week I happened to try 3.  They were all so good.  I love discovering new wines, and here’s another that did not disappoint.  Col di Sasso means Stony Hill, and this Cabernet Sauvignon and Sangiovese grapes in this blend were cultivated on the most rocky slopes of the Banfi estate in Montalcino, Italy.  This was a full-bodied wine but the two grapes are blended very well and super smooth. Steal of a deal at just $19, it’s a great expression of an Italian wine.

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That’s it for me this week.  Have a great weekend everyone, and till next week, Cheers

Darlene

 

What Will I Be Drinking While Watching the Oscars

Posted in Uncategorized on February 25, 2017 by darmyers

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The Oscar’s are my Super Bowl!  I am a huge movie fan and I love all the awards show.  I am one of those people that are in Oscar pools, and watch every award being given out, including film editing and costume design.  And although I picked who I thought the Academy will choose, it doesn’t mean I agree with them.  I definitely would have personally picked different choices.

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My top 2 contenders for Best Picture would have been Hidden Figures or Lion.  Two spectacular movies that both deserve the top prize.  I’m sorry to the La La Land lovers, but I’ve seen the movie,  and La La Land cannot compare to the mastery of these two movies.  But Darlene, this is a wine blog… right.

So, here’s what I will be drinking while watching the Oscars!  I picked up a bottle yesterday  and I’m super excited because my friend Judy is coming over to watch the Oscars with me and she’s never had this wine.

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From the vineyards of Francis Ford Coppola, comes the Director’s Cut Zinfandel, a masterpiece on its own.  This man makes wine as good as the movies he directs.  Not only is he an Oscar winning Director (5 Oscars to his name), this wine has also won awards.  It is rich and voluptuous from the Zinfandel grapes, and then a little Petite Sirah is added which adds interesting layers and some spice.  I did pick up a bottle,  but I will tell you at $42 it’s a bit of a treat.   But I personally like treating myself to a special wine for special nights.

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In my opinion, this is the greatest race this awards season, the Best Actor category.  Casey Affleck gave a mesmerizing performance in Manchester of the Sea, and I would love to see him win the award.  However, Denzel Washington could make history if he wins Sunday night, winning his 3rd Best Actor award.  It’s a tough one, both performances were stellar, but honestly, I chose Denzel in my Oscar pick because I believe the Academy will go with the veteran performer.  Speaking of stellar, here’s another great wine to enjoy Sunday night, aptly named Cinema.

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Also from the Director’s Cut line from Francis Ford Coppola, comes this delicious blend called Cinema.  Zinfandel, Cabernet Sauvignon, Petite Sirah, and Merlot from  Sonoma County brings out the best of these 4 grapes.  Regular readers know how much I love Zinfandel, it’s what I picked to drink tomorrow night.   When you add the full-body of a Cabernet Sauvignon and the juiciness of a Merlot, with the zesty spice from the Petite Sirah, you’ve got a winner.  Done in the style of Super Tuscans, this wine is exotic and delicious and a great steak wine.   It’s also a great pizza wine which is what I will be dining on Oscar night!

And now for my wine of the week…..

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This wonderful wine from Spain is called Monasterio de las Vinas and it’s a blend of Garnacha, (which you may know Grenache), Tempranillo and Carinena.  Carinena originates from the Carignan grape which is grown in Italy, California and a few more New World regions.  This wine tastes like a $50 bottle of wine and is priced around $22 here.  If you live in British Columbia, it is $14 in your liquor stores and in Ontario it is $18, so grab it up, it’s a tremendous value.  Gran Reservas are spanish wines that have to be aged a minimum of 5 years, and normally they are priced at $35 and up.  This is a steal of a deal at $22.95.  Aged 24 months in oak, and aged 12 years overall, this wine is super smooth.  I am guessing this won’t be available here for long, so grab it while you can.

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Well, if  you’re like me you’ll be watching the Oscars with my Oscar pool form and a nice glass of wine.  I picked up a bottle of the Director’s Cut Zinfandel, because it’s a special night.  Enjoy the show!

Till next week, Cheers

Darlene

Storm Wine

Posted in Uncategorized on February 18, 2017 by darmyers

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On Tuesday, January 31st of this year my friend Beth and I went running on a trail.  You can see by the picture how much snow was on the ground… very little.

And then this happened….

 

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Both of these pictures were taken Monday when Halifax got slammed with 60 cms of snow, on top of the 13 we received 2 days later and the 15 cms we received 3 days before Monday’s blizzard.  We went from being able to walk and run on trails, to barely being able to walk outside.  All in one week.

Many people stocked up on these…

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Personally my emergency stash looks more like this…

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Storm Wine.

We had 3 storm days in a week, so allow me to apologize to my liver for a moment.   Being stuck inside doesn’t necessarily have to be a bad thing.

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This is what my place looked like on a couple of occasions this past week.  Cozy fireplace, snacks, a good book and a glass of wine.

So what was in my class on the storm days ?

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One of the new wines I have tried recently was this Uncensored Shiraz.  From Langhorne Creek in Australia, this wonderful Shiraz boasts flavors of black plums, spice and a hint of chocolate.  It was do good and would make a great BBQ wine.   Also a great red wine to try with chicken .

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I was thrilled to discover our liquor store has brought back The Exhibitionist  Merlot.    Another Australian beauty this one hails from Langhorne Creek.   It’s a great price point under $18 and a great wine for that price point.  Robust plum flavors and hints  of black pepper, I let this one breathe a bit when I first opened it.  If the first taste is a little hot on your throat,  letting it breathe for 30 minutes will fix that.  As a matter of fact if you get a wine that’s  a little boozy or hot on the back of the throat, that’s alcohol!  And many times letting it breathe for 30 minutes will cure that.

I think you might be surprised by my wine of the week …

This is Moira, holding a bottle of non-vintage sparkling wine from Benjamin Bridge.  This wine is done in what we call the Traditional Method.   That is the traditional method of making Champagne, however did you know unless the wine is made in Champagne France it is not allowed to be called champagne.   When Dom Perignon first tasted Champagne he said “Come quickly I’m tasting the stars”!   You will believe you are tasting the stars when you taste this wonderful wines from this Nova Scotia vineyard.   Winemaker John Benoit Deslauriers  is becoming world renowned for first class sparkling wines and once you taste this wine you’ll understand why.

That’s it for me this week

Till next week Cheers

Darlene

2017 Wine Trends

Posted in Wine on February 11, 2017 by darmyers

 

The world of wine is constantly changing.  It’s one of the things I enjoy most about wine, however that can be confusing for some wine drinkers.  Each year I do a wine blog on information I have read from wine experts around the world, predicting what the upcoming trends will be.  Trends can come and go, so don’t feel bad if your taste in wine stays the same.  Just so you know, I get this information from several sources, and put it together in what is, hopefully, an easy-to-read wine blog.

 

1`.  More Information

The more people drink wine, it seems the more they want to learn about wine.  I am constantly being asked to host at-home wine tastings so that people can learn more about wine.  Wine tastings give people the opportunity to try some different wines that they may not normally buy.  I read an article this past week that said my home province of Nova Scotia has more Sommeliers than any other province in Canada.  Isn’t that great!  And, fingers crossed, I will graduate and join those ranks in April.  And more knowledge doesn’t have to mean accredited Sommelier, it can be as simple as learning more information about your favorite wine or the region it comes from.   For many people it’s discovering what they like about their favourite wine so they can try new wines that are similar.

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2.  Drinking In vs Drinking out

I read an article in the past few weeks that says ‘on-site’ wine drinking is seeing a bit of a decline, while liquor stores and wine stores are seeing an increase in sales from year to year.  So we are drinking less in restaurants, and more at home.  And it makes sense.  First of all, Congratulations if you don’t imbibe while out and about. That way you don’t have to worry about the drinking and driving.  I think  there was a time in the past many people felt a couple of drinks wouldn’t hurt and they were still safe to drive.  I think people are becoming more and more careful when it comes to drinking and driving.  Plus eating out can be expensive.  Even among my group of friends,I notice we get together for dinner’s  in one of our homes, as opposed to going out to a restaurant.  I think more and more, people are entertaining in their homes.  It’s cozier, more intimate, more relaxed and definitely easier on the pocketbook.

3.  Red Blends Remain Hot

I write quite frequently about Red blends, I personally am a big fan. The mind shift of ‘blends’ is changing and blended wine sales grew by over 10% in 2015.  There was a time many years ago, a blended wine was considered a lower quality.  This is no longer the case, as quality vineyards and qualified winemakers are putting out spectacular wine blends.  And it’s interesting to note in the United States, for a label to carry just one of the grapes,  it doesn’t necessarily mean there’s just that one grape in the bottle .  For example, for a label to say ‘Cabernet Sauvignon’, there must be at least 85% Cabernet in the bottle, and 75% of those grapes from the region stated on the label.  The other 15% of varietals can be made up of a combination of grapes ‘blended in’.  In Oregon, that percentage must be 95%, and 100% of the grapes must be from Oregon.  And different countries and different regions have different labelling laws.  I’m telling you this so you realize you could be drinking a blend and not know it, because the manufacturer is just listing one grape on the front of the bottle.   Here are some of my favorite blended wines.

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4.  Wine in A Can

I couldn’t ignore it.  Believe me, I tried.  Several articles are listing one of the hot trends for 2017 is wine in a can.  I’m sorry, let me rephrase that.  Increased sales of wine in a can.  Wine in a can is already a thing.  And they say you are going to be able to get good wine in a can.  If it comes to Eastern Canada, I will be trying it.  Canned wine sales doubled last year.  People are looking for convenience, and since Millenials are going to be playing a huge role in the world of wine, apparently they are not drawn into the romance of popping a cork.  They would just as soon pop the tab of a can.

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

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The Tallimba Grove Uncensored Shiraz hails from Australia and  it is very very good.  It has a price point of about $17,  and after tasting it I had to double check the price.   It had been in my wine rack for a few weeks and I had forgotten the lovely price point.   I know it’s only February but you may want to pick up a couple of bottles for when you start barbecuing.  This is a great wine for all things barbecue.  Rich fruit with spicy notes and a really nice lingering finish.  Its my pick of the week.

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I think all of Canada is experiencing quite the cold snap and some nasty snowstorm is as well.   Our friends on the eastern seaboard of the United States also had a rough week weatherwise.  I thought this was a fitting end to this week’s wine blog.

Till next week, Cheers

Darlene

Wine For The Big Game

Posted in Uncategorized on February 4, 2017 by darmyers

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Yesterday at work, the vacation day notifications were piling in, as people were taking holiday days on Monday so they can stay up and watch the big football game tomorrow.  It’s a great day with everyone’s favorite snacks, and although beer is probably the biggest beverage of choice for tomorrow, there are those of us that are true blue wine drinkers.  And wine is a great beverage for those Super Bowl snacks.

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One of my favorite foods in the world are chicken wings.  I love them dry spiced, saucy and even hot.  The National Chicken Council estimates 1.33 Billion wings will be eaten tomorrow.  Over a billion wings!  Not bad for a what used to be the throwaway part of the chicken.  Chicken wings were born at the Anchor Bar in Buffalo New York in 1964.  And which wine goes perfect with chicken wings?

Riesling!  I love Riesling and here are two great examples and both hail from Washington State.  The Charles & Charles and the Kung Fu Girl Riesling are vibrant and fresh with gorgeous flavors of peaches and lemons.  The acidity and hints of sweetness in some Rieslings make it a great compliment to spicy wings!  If you like something a little sweeter, try this wine

Jacob's Creek Moscato Rose

The Jacob’s Creek Moscato is a little sweeter than a Riesling.  Serve it ice cold and it’s a great accompaniment to those wings.

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You know what else gets eaten a lot on Super Bowl Sunday?  Pizza.  It is the biggest day of the year for pizza sales, followed by New Years Eve, Halloween, the night before Thanksgiving and New Year’s Day.  One pizza company, it’s drivers will log 4 million miles tomorrow.  And between the big 3 pizza companies, 4.4 million pizzas will be ordered.   That’s a lot of pizza.  And you know what goes with pizza?  I realize 325 million gallons of beer will be consumed tomorrow, but in my opinion, wine tastes better with pizza.

The Gerard Bertrand Corbieres which is a blend of Grenache, Syrah and Mouvedre, commonly referred to as a GSM, is a perfect pizza wine.  From the Languedoc region of France, this is a $20 bottle of wine that tastes like a $40 bottle of wine.

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Another great wine that goes well with pizza is Petite Sirah.  Very common in blends, some winemakers are doing a fantastic job of making Petite Sirah the star grape, and The Crusher from California is a prime example.  81% Petite Sirah with small percentages of Merlot, Barberra, Tempranillo and Malbec added in, this wine is full-bodied and rich, with notes of chocolate. And it’s $20 and a steal of a deal

And now for my wine of the week….

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Italian awesomeness!!  Piano Del Cerro Aglianico Del Vulture is an Italian wine from the Basilicata region in Italy.  Monte Vulture, an extinct volcano which dominates the skyline and landscape of northern Basilicata, is an area where amazing Aglianico grapes are grown.  Many people are not familiar with Aglianico grapes.  They are mostly grown in the southern region of Italy, especially Basilicata and Campania, however it originated in Greece and was brought to Italy by Greek Settlers.  This is a spectacular treat wine, coming in at $38 a bottle here in Nova Scotia, but worth every penny.  The fruit was amazingly rich but it bought the palate to life.  It was an explosion of flavor in the mouth, that’s the only way I can describe it.

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Have a great Super Sunday  and if you’re not into football there’s nothing better than a great book and a good glass of wine.

Thanks for reading, till next week Cheers

Darlene

 

Simplifying Wine

Posted in Wine on January 28, 2017 by darmyers

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Wine is a complex thing.   Every bottle is different, every winemaker is different.  Every glass is a little different.  It’s what I love most about wine.  And allthough wine is complex, it doesn’t have to be complicated.  Probably one of the most asked questions I receive as a wine blogger is ‘What makes a good wine’?  And my response is always the same… a wine that you like.  And that answer confuses some people.  When I asked that question to winemakers on my first trip to the Napa Valley, that answer confused me a little too.  I was looking for characteristics in a wine that I could detect, that would make me go ‘Ah ha, this is a good wine!’  But wine doesn’t work that way.

Order wine like a Sommelier.

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When I’m at a restaurant I’m usually asked to pick out the wine.  Most people know I am a 2-day course away from being a certified Sommelier.  I have to go work in a vineyard for two days, which I plan on doing this Spring.  If you’re the one at the table usually asked, and you are not an accredited Sommelier, you can still make it look easy.  The first step is discovering what type of wine your fellow diners usually like.  If they like a soft white like a Pinot Gris, you probably don’t want to order a tannin heavy Cabernet Sauvignon.  The second step is to know a little about food and wine.  And this is not as hard as it sounds.  Most people tend to order 1 or 2 bottles with dinner, and it’s usually based on preference red or white.  If I had to choose one white and one red for a table, without knowing what everyone was eating, I would pick Chardonnay for the white and Pinot Noir for the red.

Here’s a little chart that may help you .

“Light & Fruity” If the sun is still shining and you are just starting the night, a light and fruity wine is perfect because it’s easy to drink.

“Light & Earthy” The intellectuals wine. Light and earthy wines have subtle flavors and complex aromatics. They are great for slow drinkers.

“Bold & Fruity” The classic “Crowd Pleaser” wine. These wines work great to satisfy large groups where preferences are diverse.

“Bold & Earthy” Serious business. The black coffee of wine.

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Tempranillo is another super food friendly wine.  It’s not too heavy and would go with just about any dinner you ordered.  Native to Spain, it can also be found in Portugeuse wines and Argentinian wine.    This Hoya de Cadenas 130th Anniversary edition is in our liquor stores now, and it’s a great example of a wine I would put on a table even if I didn’t know what everyone was eating.  It’s a blend, featuring Tempranillo, Bobal, Cabernet, Merlot and Shiraz.  This is an example of a complex wine.  Bobal, you may be asking?   Yes, it’s a grape that is native to Spain and is derived from the word Bovale, in reference to the shape of a bull’s head.   True story.  It’s a medium bodied wine and super smooth.  This wine is also a fantastic price point, coming in at just $17.99 a bottle.  This is a great value, and believe me when I say it tastes like a $30 bottle of wine.

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Drinking wine is like an adventure.  You never truly know what you’re going to get until you actually experience it.  If you are drinking the same wine time and time again, I urge you to try something different.  Wine should be an accompaniment to your life experiences–where you are and who you’re with.  I love finding people who share the same adventurous wine-drinking mind set I do.  They tend to get me out of my wine ‘comfort-zone’.

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

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I have written about Gnarley Head before, but this past week I have tried the Authentic Black by Gnarly Head.  Hailing from Lodi California, you can guess Zinfandel is a part of this wine.  50% Zinfandel to be exact, along with Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon and Petite Sirah.  This is a beautifully rich and rounded wine with flavours of cola, licorice and vanilla.  But not sickening sweet flavours, the fruit of the wine is still what made this my wine of the week.  Great price point at $20 a bottle.

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Have a fabulous week. Till next week, Cheers

Darlene

Wines To Help After Inaugeration Day

Posted in Wine on January 21, 2017 by darmyers

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A day I never thought I would see happen, happened yesterday.  Donald Trump was sworn in as the 45th President of the United States.  A little mind-boggling to us Canadians, my fingers are crossed he does a good job.  I have a feeling a few Americans imbibed on a little wine yesterday, to numb whatever pain they may be feeling.  If I was an American, here are some of the wines I would be enjoying this weekend.

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The first wine of the day is fittingly called Trumpeter Reserve Cabernet, however this wine is not American, it hails from Argentina.  It’s a big bold Cabernet Sauvignon, which may be kind of fitting for the new President of the U.S. and maybe unlike the new President, you can take this one to a barbecue.  Going great with grilled meats, it’s a wonderful value at just $16.99 a bottle here in Nova Scotia.

 

The Trumpeter Winery also makes a Viognier, which I love.  I think Viognier lights up the palate and brings it alive.  Great wine to go with turkey.  And they also make a red blend, in which the main grape is Tempranillo.  Both are under $18 a bottle and I think Argentina is producing some great wines for a tremendous price.

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This might be an appropriate wine for some of our Democrat friends, as they had to bid farewell to a great President.  The Cleaver Red Blend is truly American, coming from the great  Renwood vineyard in California, who also makes my top pick from 2016, the Renwood Zinandel.  This blend is 71% Zinfandel so you know its flavorful, rich and juicy.  It also has Petite Sirah and Syrah, so you can enjoy those wonderful pepper and spicy notes.  I love this wine.

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No offense to my American friends, because I do love the United States and visit as often as I can, but today I can’t help feel especially grateful to be Canadian.  So I’m going to feature a great Canadian wine.  One of my favorite Canadian wines is made from a vineyard called Burrowing Owl in British Columbia, and I have ordered from this winery several times.   I have ordered the Merlot, and love the hints of sage in this wine, as well as its spicy fruitcake flavors.  It’s a really delicious, really different Merlot and I love it.

Burrowing Owl Meritage 2013

I have also ordered the Meritage, which is probably my favorite from this winery.  Meritage is a North American version of a Bordeaux.  This wine contains all 5 grapes that could make up a Bordeaux, Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Cabernet Franc, Malbec and  Petite Verdot.  Spectacular… this wine hits it out of the ballpark.  A wonderful treat, that unfortunately you can’t get east of  Ontario, so you would have to order it in.

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

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Life is short.  Be True.  Be Kind.  Be Brave.  Light a Bonfire.  Those are the words of wisdom on the bottle of this extraordinary wine.  Shiraz, Malbec and Pinot Noir make up the majority of this great blended wine.  This is one of the best wines I have ever tasted from South Africa.  Made by winemaker Trizanne Barnard, this lady is a wife, a mother, and a surfer that loves bringing that balance to both her winemaking and her passion for everything in life.  This wine is available in Nova Scotia at under $20 a bottle and I loved it.   My favorite new find so far in 2017.

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Stay strong my American friends.  There’s always wine!

Till next week, Cheers

Darlene

Wine To Warm The Heart

Posted in Wine on January 15, 2017 by darmyers

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If the truth be known, I’m not exactly sure where the cockles of the heart are?  But with the frigid temperatures Eastern Canada recently experienced, I have discovered how to keep warm, and it involves my fireplace and red wine.  Oh, and cheese.  There’s always cheese.

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This is actually a picture of my home and a typical Friday or Saturday night during the winter.  I’ve even been known to enjoy this scene on a weeknight as well.  Wine is like comfort food to me.

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Here’s a wonderful wine I’ve tried recently from New Zealand, the Mas Buscados is a blend of Tempranillo and Petite Verdot.  It was a medium bodied wine with soft food-friendly flavors and there were hints of black pepper and licorice.  This is not overly oaky, even though 3 different types of oak were used… French oak, American Oak and Hungarian Oak.  Honestly, I think this is the first time I’ve had oak from Hungary, said to soften tannins and enchance smoky characteristics.   The only one I’ve ever had from Hungary was Royal Tokajji , and I’m pretty confident they don’t use oak on that delicious sweet wine. I think this is a tremendous value, at just $17.99 a bottle here in my part of the world,  and almost made my wine of the week, it was that good.

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My friend Judy and I have been on a huge Ripasso kick.  We both love how it meets in the middle between a Valpolicella and an Amarone.  This particular wine, the Fabiano Valpolicella Ripasso, is made from the Corvina grape, sometimes used in a blend, but this time it’s all on its own.  I thought the flavors and characteristics of this wine were dynamic.  It is very aromatic on the nose and flavorful on the palate, and Ripasso has become one of my top favorites to enjoy with pizza or pasta.

And now it’s time for my wine of the week, and I’ve actually been waiting a few weeks to tell you about this wine.

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The 1000 Stories Zinfandel featuring the mighty Buffalo on the label is fantastic.  Less than 200 years ago between 30 million and 60 million buffalo roamed North America, and now there are only about 1000 accounted for.  This wine is aged in bourbon barrels and you might think it would have the wine tasting boozy, but it doesn’t.  This wine is fabulous, with a splash of Petite Sirah added to the Zinfandel grape, to add some flavors of spice and black pepper to the wine.  Great food wine, great barbecue food wine, for those like me that barbecue all year round.

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Be a hero to a wine bottle near you!   Have a great week everyone

Till next week, Cheers

Darlene

 

New Year New Wines!

Posted in Wine on January 7, 2017 by darmyers

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Do you know what I am doing today?  I’m taking down my Christmas tree and the remaining Christmas decorations.   A tinge of sadness because I really love how my house looks with the Christmas decorations up!

However, I love the beginning of a New Year.  It’s a 365-page blank slate.  And a great time to get out of your wine rut and try some new wines.   About 2 years ago I found I was in a bit of a ‘wine rut’ and decided to try at least 1 new wine per week.  And I’ve kept it up for 2 years and I have found some amazing new wines in all price ranges.  I share some of these new wines as my ‘wine of the week’!  So if you are up for the challenge of trying a new wine, please share with me the experience, as I am always on the lookout for new wines to try.

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First I have to share a favorite that I got to enjoy again on New Year’s Eve. I haven’t had the Katnook Founder’s Block Cabernet Sauvignon since I left Newfoundland.  And a group of 10 of us went to a restaurant on New Year’s Eve and it was on the menu so we ordered it.  Delicious.  Made from grapes harvested in their Coonawarra vineyard, this particular Cabernet was generous with fruit flavors but gentle with the tannins.  Which makes it so food friendly, in my opinion.   It’s not a Cabernet that has to go with a big chunk of beef.  Because the wine is softer with the tannins, it went well with the different plates we ordered that night.  I had beef tenderloin so it was a match made in heaven, but it also went really well with the lobster dish, so I was told and the variety of dishes the remainder of our group ordered.

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Here was my last new wine of 2016, it was the first bottle we had New Year’s Eve.  The Chakana Malbec hails from Argentina and we enjoyed the 2015 vintage.  It is made by winemaker Gabriel Bloise using 100% Malbec grapes, and is matured in french oak barrels.  This is a great expression of a Malbec from Argentina but it’s a big wine, containing 14% alcohol.  Some may find it a little ‘hot’, or boozy.  (Those are the words I use to describe some of the high alcohol wines I try).   In a store, this wine is around $20 a bottle, and good value for the money.

And now for my wine of the week…..

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A brand new Zinfandel, it comes from the Puglia region in Italy, where Zinfandel is normally called Primitivo, but they have named in Zinfandel.  I was a little hesitant at first becuase it was aged in ‘Double American Oak’.  I was concerned that the oak would overpower the fruit, but I worried for nothing.  That didn’t happen and the wine was fantastic.  Gorgeous inviting fruit with notes of peppermint, vanilla and some oak.  But again the oak does not overtake the wine.  Full-bodied and a great wine for ribs, pasta and pizza and I loved the fact it’s around the $20 mark.  A great wine at a great price, and that’s why it made my wine of the week.

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I had a wonderful holiday season but one of my favourite gifts came from a friend of mine Who is in Veterinary School in Prince Edward Island.  My regular readers will know that I had a cat named Tigger for 20 years.   He died in April 2016.  My friend Kelsey  had an artist do you his portrait on a wine glass.   All the gifts I received from family and friends were wonderful but this one definitely holds a special place in my heart.  A big thank you to my friend Kelsey!

Well there is stormy weather brewing in Atlantic Canada.  But I’m not worried, my wine rack is fully stocked.

Till next week, Cheers

Darlene

My Best of 2016

Posted in Wine on December 31, 2016 by darmyers

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I find it hard to believe we are saying good-bye to another year tonight and welcoming in 2017.  I swear, the older I get, the faster 12 months seems to fly by.  2016 was a very interesting year.  The  United States voted in a new President, which was a surprise to many of us, and we lost many beloved entertainers way too soon.  And although 2016 was challenging after losing so many talented people, especially great musicians,  it was a great year for wine.   At least it was for me, and I tried some fantastic new wines in a wide price range.

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This is my favorite ‘deal’ that I found in 2016 and I enjoyed a bottle last night.  The Farmers of Wine from Italy is a steal at just $15.99 a bottle.  The 3 farmers that contributes to the wine are 66, 75 and 86 years old, and each have been growing grapes for many years.  The vines that the grapes were grown on ranges from 30 years old up to 100 years old.  The story of the wine is found in their  hands, and was conceived to celebrate a lifetime of hard word that these farmers from Puglia have contributed to the wine world.  It is a blend of mostly Primitivo (a.k.a. Zinfandel) and Negromara.  And it has become a staple in my wine rack.

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My favorite Rose wine from the past year was a local find, the Lightfoot & Wolfville from right here in Nova Scotia.  It has a slight hint of effervescence, and a light fruity palate.  This lovely wine is a blend of  Pinot Meunier, Geisenheim and L’Acadie and the vineyard is fairly new, being established in 2009.  I also had the opportunity to try their Chardonnay and it is world class.  I love everything about this wine from the pretty label to the wine inside the bottle.

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My favorite dessert wine this year is a sweetheart…. and I mean that literally.  It is the 2000 Chateau Coutet AOC Sauternes and it was a piece of heaven in my mouth.  Hailing from the Graves region of Bordeaux France, this wine exudes everything great about noble rot, which is what is needed to make this delicious sweet wine and bring out the rich flavors of marmalade and vanilla.  It’s a fantastic dessert wine and definitely worth the treat of $65.99!

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My favorite white wine of the year was from Canada as well, and hails from the Prince Edward County region of Ontario.  The Norman Hardie unfiltered Chardonnay from the year 2014 was done in Burgundian style and it was done to perfection.  When I say Burgundian style I mean the oak doesn’t overpower the wine, as can sometimes be the case with Chardonnay.  It is aged in French oak, which brings subtle nuances of oak and although it was unfiltered, there was no sediment in the wine.  The wine taster however, referred to it as being ‘alive’.  I thought that was a very neat way to describe a wine.

I had a tough time picking my favorite red….  I had tried some really good ones on for the past year.  Here are the runners up!

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The Primus Blend from Chile is spectacular and made from 4 different grape varieties, Cabernet Sauvignon, Carmenere, Syrah and Merlot.  It represents the quality of wine that is coming from Chile.  The grapes are hand-picked and then done in a Bordeaux style, or a ‘Meritage’ style, as it is referred to in New World Wines.  It is $24.99 and a great deal for the money.

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This South Bay Merlot from Huff Winery in Ontario also made the list.  I fell in love with the 2013 Merlot and I’m going to quote my wine blog from when I first tasted it.

“I loved this wine, I loved the mouthfeel and I loved the generous palate.  I loved the spicy notes on this wine. The winemaker at Huff Estates is from the Burgundy region of France, his name is Frederic Picard and he is making fabulous wine.    To quote their website, they call it a ‘Merlot Concerto’.   I would have to agree!”

And my wine of the year…… (drum-roll please….)

 Renwood The Cleaver

The Renwood Zinfandel from California is my go-to Zinfandel wine.  It is made from the same people who bring us The Cleaver Red Blend and it is Zinfandel done at its finest.  Abundant fruit and notes of black pepper and smoke, it’s hard to believe they started to produce wine in 1993, which makes them fairly young in the wine world.  If at any time, you are grilling BBQ ribs, this is your wine.  It goes great with anything on the grill, as well chicken and turkey, and delicious drinking all on its own, but BBQ ribs is definitely where this wine would shine the brightest.

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I would like to take this opportunity to say thank you and a Happy New Year to all the readers of my blog.  We live in busy times and I really appreciate each and everyone of you taking the time when you can to read my thoughts on wine.  Play it safe tonight and if like me you’re going to enjoy a glass of wine or two,please don’t drink and drive!

The very best to you in 2017!

Darlene

 

My Winter Wine Stock Pile

Posted in Wine on December 17, 2016 by darmyers

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You’re going to need it!  I live in a fairly mild area of Canada.  Besides Vancouver and that part of the West Coast of Canada, Halifax is one of the mildest areas of Canada winter wise.  However, this week we have had not one but two storm days, as well as a couple of days of -30 degree temperatures.  I even had to venture out in a storm to get more wine.  So, I have some advice to give… stock up.  Storms can come out of nowhere, and you don’t want to be stuck shorthanded in the wine department.

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I think this is the best meme I’ve seen in a while, as it relates to wine.   So this week I thought I would share with you what my winter stock pile looks like.

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Always have a sparkling wine on hand,  especially for the Christmas season.  And if you don’t want to pay the price tag of a Champagne, there are lots of other options.   I love an Italian Prosecco and I also love Cava, which is a Spanish sparkling wine and very affordable.   This is the Freixenet Elyssia Gran Cuvee and its crisp and light and perfect for special occasions.  Made from Pinot Noir, the wine is white because it doesn’t make contact with the skins.  Won’t break the bank this holiday season as it sells for just $24.99.

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I also always have a dessert wine on hand,  and this one made right here in Nova Scotia is one of my favourites.  The Borealis from Benjamin Bridge is rich and decadent  and in my opinion is better than chocolate.   Gorgeous flavours of apricots and honey that stay with you.  It’s the perfect complement after a big meal when you need something sweet.

7 Deadly Zinbs

I guarantee you there is always a Zinfandel in my wine rack!   This is becoming one of the favourites of my friends.   Seven Deadly Zins is made up of Zinfandel grapes from 7 different grape growing vineyards in California and dances on the palate with those great Zinfandel flavours – hints of raspberry and a touch of vanilla.

There is also always a Cabernet Sauvignon in my wine rack and this one is my wine of the week….

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As you can see the Etude Cabernet Sauvignon  was a gift from some very dear friends  and I loved it.  RIch and tasty with hints of Winter spice itis a fantastic Cabernet Sauvignon with notes of licorice and blackberry.  If you were going to take a break from turkey this year and have a nice piece of beef, treat yourself to this wine.

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Well that’s it for me for this week.   Next Saturday is Christmas Eve and I probably won’t have a wine blog as I am heading off to Newfounfland tomorrow morning.   I am however looking forward to my end of the year wine blog in which I will tell you my favourites of 2016 .

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Stay warm folks and Merry Christmas,  and here’s to a safe and happy holiday season.

Cheers

Darlene

I’m Dreaming Of a White Christmas!

Posted in Wine on December 10, 2016 by darmyers

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And I’m not talking about snow either!   And although I’m dreaming of a white Christmas, wine that is, I would never pass up a glass of red this holiday season.  After all, red goes with just about everything!  If you are dreaming of a white Christmas, try this fun, easy to drink wine.

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The Jacob’s Creek Moscato is an effervescent wine that comes in both white and Rose.  Off dry and fruity, the white boasts peach and honeysuckle flavors and the Rose is very similar with hints of candy on the nose.  They are very reasonably priced at just $13.49 a bottle, so we can afford to crack open more than one.  And they are a great wine to pair with appetizers and Christmas party snacking foods like cheese balls.

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I had this one the other night and it’s been a couple of months.   And for the life of me I can’t figure out why!  It’s a great wine at a great price $16.99 per bottle, but it tastes like a $25 bottle of wine.  A blend of Merlot and Corvina, Corvina being a grape mostly grown in the Veneto region of northeastern Italy.  It’s a wine that comes from an old world country, Italy, but with new world nuances.   The fruit on the wine is very rich and it also has notes of vanilla and licorice.

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Here’s a great white wine to get you out of any winter doldrums   It even contains the word sun in the name.  Mer Soleil means “Sea Sun”  and is named after the sea and the sun.   This one is created by a fifth generation winemaker and Charlie Wagner makes a great Chardonnay.  Tropical fruit with a lemony freshness and buttered toast notes….its a winner!

And my wine of the week……

Chateau

The 2009 Chateau Haute Serre is a spectacular Malbec from the Cahors region of France.   Although Malbec has become the iconic grape of Argentina, it originated in the Cahors region of southwestern France.  This wine has great fruit which you will notice right away with its deep purple color, complimented with spice and woodsy notes.  A great wine to pair with those comfort foods of Winter!

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If you’re like me, you have quite a few events to attend this month, and most of them include some wine.  Which is why I am apologizing to my liver now!  LOL

Have a great week and till next week, Cheers

Darlene

 

Hello December!

Posted in Wine on December 3, 2016 by darmyers

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Can you believe we are in the last month of the year for 2016.  The term ‘time flies’ is starting to scare me a little because it flies a bit too fast.   I do, however, love the month of December.  I love how my home looks.   I love how Leo looks cuddling under my Christmas tree.

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That’s Leo.  And I love getting together with family and friends to enjoy the holidays and enjoy a nice glass of wine.  This is a great time to try new wines, as friends are dropping over with wine you haven’t  tried before, and you could also bring something new the next time you go visiting.

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A new wine I have tried in the past week is the Zonin Valpolicella Ripasso Superiore from the year 2014.  Valpolicella Ripasso is a meet in the middle, between a Valpolicella and an Amarone.   Valpolicella Ripasso became the ‘new’ style of wine late in the 20th century.  It means ‘repassed’, and with this technique the pomace of leftover grape skins and seeds from the fermentation of Amarone are added to a batch of Valpolicella for a period of extended maceration.  Amarone is a very rich wine, and Valpolicella tends to be a lighter wine.  When you pour a Valpolicella through Amarone skins and seeds, some of the flavors of the Amarone tend to come through.  I find it delightfully smooth but not as heavy as an Amarone, and they don’t tend to be as expensive as an Amarone.  This particular one from Zonin was not only delicious, but it came in under $20.  It had nice fruit with some spice on the finish, and I will definitely enjoy it again.

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Here’s another fantastic find from the week.  At just $17.99 per bottle, the Mas Buscados Tempranillo with some Petite Verdot is wonderful.  This wine hails from Spain and  apparently sells very well in New Zealand where they make their own spectacular wine.   I loved the subtle flavors of cherry and the hints of black pepper which makes for a super food friendly wine.  Great with hearty stews this Winter.  Spain produces some wonderful wines and tend to be very good value for the money, this one did not disappoint.

And my wine of the week…..

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Another Valpolicella Ripasso.  This is a delicous smooth wine and I can’t stress how good value they are for the money.  This particular wine stays on the skins and seeds of the Amarone for 20 full days.  20 days to absorb all those rich Amarone flavors.  Amarone gets its flavor from the process of drying out the grapes or ‘raisinating’ them, which means to shrivel them.  The unique method that is used is to harvest very ripe grapes and then to let them sit and air dry on mats for extended periods of time is called Appassimento.  Amarone wines tend to be very full-bodied and alcoholic wines, but I find the Ripasso method smoothens that out to a degree.  Valpolicella Ripasso wines are super food friendly, and will go with just about anything.

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That’s it for me this week.  I know it’s busy, try to find the time to enjoy a glass of your favorite wine.

Till next week, Cheers

Darlene

 

 

 

Christmas Shopping for Wine

Posted in Wine on November 26, 2016 by darmyers

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Red Thursday, Black Friday, Cyber Monday… we are being pummeled with ‘sale’ advertising and gimmicks and every other reason in the world to part with our hard earned money.  And I understand  it’s the biggest retail season of the year, but it’s getting harder to get a break from it.  I know Christmas is a month away, but I think the only store I went in yesterday was the wine store.  And scored some amazing finds.

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People tell me all the time I’m easy to shop for.  Well of course I am, there’s a wine store on every corner.  Now I thought this neat packaging on the Vernissage white and red wine was genius.  Check it out, the packaging is shaped like purses.  And yes there is wine in there, as a matter of fact there are two bottles packed in that purse.

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The Vernissage white is a blend of Chardonnay and Viognier from France, and has some nice subtle flavors of pear, apple and tropical fruits.  The red wine, in the black purse is a blend of Syrah and Cabernet Sauvignon, and I think is the perfect gift for any woman.  I love these.  And they are priced under $30 each.  I bought the red to the happy hour in my apartment building yesterday evening and it was a smash hit.  It had great fruit and hints of spice and the purse being equivalent to two bottles of wine.  At $28, that’s excellent.

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My friend Judy has been on a real Pinot Noir kick recently, and last Saturday night she showed up at my house with this fabulous find.  Don’t you just love it when friends show up at your house with wine in tow.   This is a fabulous Pinot Noir from Chile.   The winemaker says the influence from the Pacific Ocean makes a big difference.  I found it very interesting that 20% of this wine spend six months in both French and American oak.  Only 20%,  so in no way does the oak overpower the grapes.   It’s the delicious flavour that dominates this wine and its around $20 so very reasonably priced!

And my wine of the week is….

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I know, it looks like an eye chart.  Maybe it’s a test for when you finish the bottle.  But this was a fantastic wine and because this time of the year can get expensive, this wine is not.  It’s under $18 and the blend of Grenache, Syrah and Mourvedre, commonly known as GSM, is heavenly.  I thought I heard angels sing, but then I realized I had Christmas music playing as I started the task of decorating my home for the holidays.   This wine hails from Australia, and the fruit, the herbal notes and the spice are all perfectly balanced.

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As we prepare for the busiest retail days of the year, I ask you to please be kind to retail workers.  They are working long hours and are trying their very best.

Thank you and till next week, Cheers

Darlene

The Affair

Posted in Wine on November 19, 2016 by darmyers

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Last Saturday night I had an affair.  It’s not as wild and crazy as you think, it was a fundraiser for the Dartmouth General Hospital and it featured some fantastic wines from Australia and New Zealand.  I am going to share my surprises, because I tried a few new wines at this event, and discovered some wines I really liked.    Let’s start with my biggest surprise of the evening!

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I really like Pinot Grigio, but if it has too much acidity, I find it can give me heartburn.  I love it, it doesn’t love me so much.  This wine, however, I loved and it seemed to love me back.   Imagine how delighted I was to find a Pinot Grigio where we have a mutual love!  It was smooth and refreshing and what a great finish.   As a matter of fact, in my tasting notes I wrote “unbelievable finish”.  This wine stayed with me even after I put the glass down.  Gorgeous flavors of apple, stone fruit and citrus notes, this has to be my favorite Pinot Grigio to date and I’m looking forward to enjoying it again.  This is a very food-friendly wine, and would go with a wide variety of food.

Oyster Bay Merlot 2014

Another great wine I tried from the Oyster Bay collection was the Merlot.  Recently I told you about another Merlot I found from Australia that I really liked, the Exhibitionist.  And this one didn’t disappoint either.  Australia is putting out some fantastic Merlot wines.  The moderate climate and gravel-based soils of Hawkes Bay make it an ideal location for Bordeaux varietals such as Merlot.  This wine was delicious and plummy and very well-balanced.  Plummy is a word, right?  Thats what i had in my tasting notes.   I really enjoyed the Oyster Bay Sauvignon Blanc as well.  I like Sauvignon Blanc with those mango and passion fruit flavors.

And here was the most popular wine of the evening and my wine of the week….

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The Wee Angus from the Angus the Bull collection.   Named after the winemaker’s brother, Angus is the perfect wine to compliment beef.  The blend of Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot makes for a juicy wine with grip.  With a hint of vanilla oak, this easy to drink can be enjoyed with or without food. Because of black pepper notes,  in my opinion it’s a great steak wine.  My friend Judy, who went to the Affair with me, said it was her favorite wine of the night.

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I saw this yesterday and it made me chuckle, so although today is Saturday, this is a little laugh to get you through the work week.

Till next week, Cheers

Darlene

November Wines

Posted in Uncategorized on November 12, 2016 by darmyers

November

Is anybody else wondering what happened to 2016?   I know there are a few of us at work that are absolutely flabbergasted how fast this year has gone.   I mean, it’s November already.  And not just November, Tuesday marks the middle of the month.  Canada just had Rembrance Day honouring it’s veterans and the United States just had Veterans Day honouring those that have served for their country past and present.  And now that this holiday has come and gone, I expect the next time I go out to be hit in the face in full Christmas mode LOL

I do however love this time of year.   We still have pretty colours here in eastern Canada,  temperatures are crisp but still on the plus side, and it’s a time we get to enjoy our favourite sweaters as well as our favourite comfort food!  Nothing goes better with comfort food than wine.  Its the truth.

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One of my favourite wines to go with comfort food is Chateauneuf du Pape  and this is a good one at a reasonable price.   Chateauneuf du Pape is located in the Rhone region in southeastern France,  and is known for some pretty spectacular wine.   Grenache is the main grape used in this wine with some Syrah blended in.  It has a very distinct complex aroma followed by a warm and inviting palate.  It is one of the few Chateauneuf du Pape wines that come in under $50  and it’s a great one for a treat night.

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If you didn’t want to spend that much money, check out this great deal.  At just $15.99 this Trio is a blend of Merlot with some Carmenere and Syrah.  Deliciously smooth with some spice, this wine which pair with a host of comfort foods including your favourite burger, roast beef  and any castles.

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Do you prefer white wines?  If you do, here’s a great one to go with your favourite comfort food.  The Hardy family has been making great wine in Australia for many years, and to celebrate his 40th year in the family business Bill Hardy put out a line of William Hardy wines.  This beautiful Chardonnay hails from the Adelaide Hills.   The cool climate of these hills produce a very elegant Chardonnay and a light touch of oak rounds out the smoothness.  Great wine from a great winemaker.

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Well that’s it for me this week.   Next week I will be telling you about the ones I enjoyed at a fundraising event called The Affair.

Till next week, Cheers

Darlene

 

 

Daylight Savings Wine

Posted in Uncategorized on November 5, 2016 by darmyers

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Tonight marks the end of daylight savings time for most of Canada.  We get an extra hour to our weekend as the clocks go back one hour tomorrow morning at 2 AM.   An extra hour to the weekend means more time to enjoy more wine.

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My apologies for the fuzzy picture, it was taken in the tasting station at my neighbourhood NSLC store but its a great Malbec  that I wanted to share with you.  It is the La Posta Pizzella Malbec from a region called Altimara in Argentina.   I feel Argentina is putting out some fantastic Malbecs  and in my opinion this one did not disappoint either.  Great fruit, hints of chocolate and spicy notes  make for a very interesting and elegant Malbec wine.    And as the label suggests, it’s a great one to go with pizza.

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One of my favourite things is discovering great new wines at fantastic prices.  I am a firm believer great wine does not have to be expensive.   And this is a prime example.  The Sartori L’Appassito Rosso is the wine i had last night, based on a recommendation from Alex at my NSLC store.    I loved how one wine writer called it “In a nutshell, a baby Amarone”!  A Rosso is an Italian blend, and this one is 25% Cabernet Sauvignon 25% Coravina 25% Merlot and 25% Molinara.   Molinara and Coravina may be new grape varieties to some readers  but they are grown in the Veneto region of northeastern Italy.   Beautifully balanced,  this wine goes down like silk, and  is a steal of a deal coming in at $18.99 a bottle.

It almost  made my wine of the week, however I’ve been dying to tell you about this weeks wine of the week

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I just discovered this wine last week and went back in yesterday to buy some more and guess what?  ALL SOLD OUT!  It is the Lis Clop Cabernet Sauvignon  and again the spectacular wine hails from Argentina.   For those of you that avoid Cabernet Sauvignon because many are heavy on the pallet and oaky, this is one for you to try.     It is smooth and easy to drink and not overpowered by Oak – the flavour shines through.  And its a great deal at $20.99.  More and more you’ll be hearing about the rise of Cabernet Sauvignon coming out of Argentina,  because they are doing it so well.

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Hey, with the extra hour this weekend you might find time for a little bit of a bigger glass.  Enjoy

Till next week, Cheers

Darlene

 

 

Spooktacular Wine Finds!

Posted in Wine on October 29, 2016 by darmyers

Wine Fall

I have been so lucky in wine lately.  I  have hit upon several fantastic wines that I have been enjoying again and again and they are at a surprisingly good price.   So with Halloween just around the corner, I thought I would share some of these good wines at scary great prices.

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Since writing about this wine a few weeks back, I have enjoyed it several more times.  I have also poured it for several friends to get their opinion.  This is a blockbuster wine for just $15.99.  It’s called Farmers of Wine and I have been buying it out when I can.  The lady at the NSLC told me they under-estimated how well this wine was going to sell, and didn’t order enough in.  It’s a blend of Primitivo (Zinfandel) and Negromara, and is just so easy to drink.  This project is amazing and features grape growers, the youngest of whom is 66 years old and the oldest is 86 years old.  These men know grapes and they know wine, and we get to experience the wealth of their knowledge through this amazing wine.  Pick it up today if you can find it,  it’s already hard to get!

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A few weeks back I wrote about this wonderful Moma wine, from Umberto Cesari and I’ve had that one several times.  A fantastic wine for just $19.99, it’s a blend of Sangiovese, Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot.  So I recently had the opportunity to try one of its sister wines.  The ‘iove’ from Umberto Cesari, is a blend of Sangiovese and Merlot.  Very tasty, smooth, easy to drink and this wine has seen no oak.  Aged 3 months in stainless steel and 3 months in the bottle, it was a good find.  If you’re going to ask me to pick, I would have to go with the Moma though.  I personally feel these grapes need to see a bit of oak to bring some complexity and smoothness.  I would have to try it again though,  because my friend and I shared this bottle of wine with steak and it was a little light for the steak.

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For my white wine loving friends, this California Chardonnay from Clos du Bois is lovely and smooth and comes in under $20 again.  Golden apple and butter flavors…sounds wonderful, doesn’t it.  And it is.. And it’s a great deal of a wine.

And my wine of the week is a wine I had in a Greek restaurant last weekend….

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AWESOME!  The Le Poiane 2013 Valpolicella Ripasso was a dream in a bottle.  I love Ripasso, its not as expensive as Amarone but it has all those awesome flavors.  Valipolicella wine is ‘passed over’ Amarone skins and must (must is the seeds and skins) to savor some of those wildly delicious flavors.  Grapes are hand harvested but I think what gives this wine great complexity is the fact that its aged in both casks and barrels.  It brings to the table black pepper and spicy notes, and it went wonderful with our Greek meal of Spanakopita, Mousaka and a mushroom ravioli.  My mouth is watering just thinking about it.

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This is me… LOL.. Wanting to go trick or treating for wine.  Have a wonderful Halloween and be safe out there.

Till next week, Cheers

Darlene

Storm Wine!

Posted in Uncategorized on October 22, 2016 by darmyers

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So the East Coast of Canada is getting wolloped today with a nasty rain storm.  100 mm of rain in some parts, high winds and a chance of a thundershower.   I was supposed to participate in a run, however, I think this is the plan today….

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There has been lots of new wines released lately thanks in part to the recent Port of Wines Festival, and I’ve been trying news wines over the past couple of weeks.

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Here’s a refreshing new wine I’ve tried recently.  From Castello Monaci it’s the Coribante blend which is Syrah and Malvasia Nera di Lecce.  Like you, I’ve never heard of Malvasia Nera di Lecce before this particular wine, but it is extremely popular in Italy.  The name of the wine is inspired by the lively nature of the “Coribanti” dancers, who frenetically danced to the rhythm of the tambourine.  And I found this to be a lively wine on the palate, and thoroughly enjoyable.  Aged in barriques for 12 months, which are smaller oak barrels, the wine has a subtle smoothness that I enjoyed very much.

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Here’s a beauitful Argentinian wine I tried recently from the Mendoza region.  This is a gorgeous blend of Cabernet Sauvignon, Malbec and Syrah, which has been aged in both French and American oak for  6 months.  Regular readers will remember French oak is quite subtle as opposed to American oak, but the combination of the two makes for a complex wine with rustic notes.  I found it quite good.

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Here’s a great wine for a stormy Saturday.   My friend Judy had her birthday this past week and we are celebrating it tonight.  This is the wine I picked to give her for a birthday present.   It’s one of her favorutes, it’s the Renwood Zinfandel.  Renwood  was established in 1993 and is producing some of the finest Zinfandel wines I’ve tasted.   Very well respected in the Sierra foothills, this Zinfandel is rich and fruity and a very food friendly wine.

And my wine of the week…..

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Is another Zinfandel, the 1000 Stories Zinfandel, aged in Bourbon barrels.   Batch #1 of the 1000 Stories Zinfandel was bottled on October 29, 2014 and it was a 2013 vintage.   As you can see by my picture I enjoyed the 2014 vintage.  Made by winemaker Bob Blue, who says the key to a wonderful Zinfandel is picking the grapes when they are very ripe.  This is a wonderful Zinfandel and the bourbon barrels adds a delicious charred vanilla flavour and some herbal notes to the wine.

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Well that’s it for this week.  Again thank you very much for taking time out of your day to read my wine blog.   I hope it gives you a craving to be a little adventurous and try a new wine.

Till next week, cheers.

 

Comfort Food & Great Wine

Posted in Uncategorized on October 15, 2016 by darmyers

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What does your favorite comfort food look like?  For me, it’s creamy pastas, chili or homemade soup.  Even a steak, which I don’t eat often, but love it when I do.  Comfort food is just that… comfortable.  It nourishes our soul, and we start to feel good and let go of anything that resembles a bad day.  Wine that goes with comfort food should do the same thing.

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One thing is for certain, pretty well any food that is done in a slow cooker or crock pot is comforting food.  One of my favorite dishes done in a crock pot is pot roast.  It’s to the point I don’t like roast cooked any other way.  Well, I can’t cook it any other way that I love it as much as I do in a crock pot.   Sooooo many wines pair well with pot roast.  And they don`t have to be red.  Here`s one of my favorite pot roast white wines.

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Thomas Bachelder Chardonnay.  Thomas Bachelder is a Canadian who is one of the finest winemakers in this country.  He produces wine here in Canada, in Oregon and in Burgundy France.  This bottle is from the Niagara region here in Canada, and let me tell you, he knows his soil.  Dolomitic Limestone is what this beauty is grown in and the winemaker feels it gives the wine a rich mouthfeel and floral notes on the palate.  This is a great expression of Canadian Chardonnay.

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Here`s a new beauty I have discovered recently which would be excellent with pot roast.  The Exhibitionist Merlot out of South Australia.  I didn`t realize that Merlot was grown much in South Australia, but this particular wine has made me a believer.  Spending 6 months in aged french oak, this makes the wine smooth but not oaky, if that makes sense.  The oak n no way over-powers the wine, and doesn`t get in the way of the beautiful fruit of the wine. It`s only $17 a bottle, and so worth the money.

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I once heard someone say Steak is the ultimate comfort food, so it`s no time to skimp on quality or calories.  I couldn`t agree more.  This is a great new Cabernet Sauvignon from Concha Y Toro.  The Casillero del Riablo Reserva Privada Cabernet is as dark and rich as the label looks.   It is well structured but elegant all at the same time, and this particular wine involved Cabernet Sauvignon grapes from some of the finest valleys in Chile.  It truly is a classy wine, and a winner if you want to take to someone`s house.

Norman Kolpas says `Food, like a loving touch or a glimpse of divine power, has the ability to comfort.

Which brings me to my wine of the week….

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Here`s a great wine that I would love it if everyone tried, because it is part of such a unique project in Italy.  The project celebrates the work, the lifelong dedication and commitment that farmers of wine and grapes have given for so many years.  It originates in Puglia (pronounced Pew-lia) and is known for Primitivo, which is Zinandel.  They have also added Negroamara which produces a very smooth wine.  The vines the wines are grown on are between 30 and 50 years old, which adds subtle flavors and smooth nuances.   Because of its blend it is a perfect pizza wine, and a perfect wine to go with pasta and BBQ fare.  At $15.99 a bottle, this wine won`t last long, if you can find it, grab it.

Have a great week everyone and I hope you are enjoying Fall as much as I am.

Till next week, Cheers

Wines I’m Particularly Thankful For!

Posted in Wine & Food on October 9, 2016 by darmyers

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This is my favorite long weekend, the Thanksgiving weekend.  I love the cool temperatures and the pretty colors, and I’m always thankful for long weekends.  Here in Canada, this is the weekend we celebrate Thanksgiving.  I am thankful for some great people in my life, and I’m thankful to have the opportunity to enjoy some great wines with wonderful family and friends. I have had the opportunity to try some new wines lately and here are a few that stood out for me.

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I’ve had the Menage a Trois many times before, it’s a great barbecue wine.  Well I tried it’s sister over the past couple of weeks, called Menage a Trois Silk, soft red blend.  It’s called soft red blend because the base is a Pinot Noir and the Pinot is blended with Malbec and Petite Sirah.  This is an easy to drink wine that would also be very food friendly.  Nice soft flavors with floral notes and a bit of spice.   I enjoyed it and it was a very reasonable price.

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I had a hard time picking my wine of the week this week, because I tried a few new wines and they were wonderfully delicious.  This is one that was a “wine of the week” contender.  The Umberto Cesari Momo Rosso is a delicious blend of Sangiovese, Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon, and it comes in under $20.  Fabulous wine at a fabulous price.  I absolutely loved this wine and it would compliment all those Thanksgiving favorites.

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This wine not only has a fun name and a fun label, it was fun to drink.  The Exhibitionist is a Merlot from South Australia, and I have to tell you I haven’t had a ton of experience with Australian Merlots.  But I did really enjoy this one.  It comes in at around the $17, so it’s a great little wine at a great price.  Very juicy on the palate and not dominated by oak, which I really liked.  Another great wine for comfort foods, if you like beef stews and lamb – this is your wine.  I recently bought this wine to a gathering of friends in my building and they all loved it as well.

And now its time for my Wine of the Week

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We go to Chile, for a spectacular wine comprised of Cabernet Sauvignon, Syrah, Carmenere and Merlot.  It spent 12 months in French oak, but as we know French oak is very subtle and compliments a well made wine.  This Primus was actually one of the first Meritage style wines produced in Chile.  Some of you may remember Meritage is a wine that is a Bordeaux style of blend, but many vineyards use the word Meritage in Canada and the United States. And when I checked this Chilean wine does have American influence, as winemaker Agustin Huneeus has produced some of the finest Meritage blends in the U.S.  Roasted and barbecued meats and chicken is a great pairing for this wine.  It was a great wine and only $25.  Treat yourself and try this one.

I have been blessed with many things in my life. I am thankful this weekend to each and every one of the readers that takes time from a busy schedule to read my wine blog.  It why I consistently do it every weekend.  And I am thankful for family and friends that make me feel thankful every day.  And of course to this little guy,

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Leo brings so much joy to my life, that I am very thankful.  Enjoy the weekend, stay safe.

Till next week, Cheers

Darlene