Hello Again

Posted in Uncategorized on May 19, 2018 by darmyers

Barbados 10

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

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

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Swimming and snorkeling in the ocean….

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

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

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

So, let’s get to the wine this week….

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

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

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

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

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

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

Darlene

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Vacation Time

Posted in Uncategorized on April 28, 2018 by darmyers

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

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

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

And now for my wine of the week….

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

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

Cheers, Darlene

World Malbec Day

Posted in Uncategorized on April 21, 2018 by darmyers

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Thats it for this week

Till next week, Cheers

Darlene

Fun Wine Facts

Posted in Uncategorized on April 14, 2018 by darmyers

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

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

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

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

Here’s something I found interesting.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Till next week, Cheers

Darlene

 

The Grape Adventure

Posted in Uncategorized on April 7, 2018 by darmyers

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Till next week, Cheers

Darlene

Easter Wine Pairings Simplified

Posted in Uncategorized on March 31, 2018 by darmyers

Wine Easter

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

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

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

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

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

Bread and Butter white

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

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

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or pie…

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Most people like a little something sweet on holiday weekends.

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

And now for my wine of the week…

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

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Happy Easter everybody from my family to yours

Darlene

Where is Spring?

Posted in Uncategorized on March 24, 2018 by darmyers

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

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

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Me, I buy Storm Wine.

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

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

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

And now for my wine of the week.

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

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

Till next week, Cheers

Darlene

 

Exceptional Australian Wines

Posted in Uncategorized on March 17, 2018 by darmyers

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Till next week, Cheers

Darlene

 

 

 

Limited Finds- One of a Kind

Posted in Uncategorized on March 10, 2018 by darmyers

 

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

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

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

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

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

And now my wine of the week….

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

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

Till next week, Cheers

Darlene

Hooray for Wines from the U.S.A.

Posted in Uncategorized on March 3, 2018 by darmyers

American wines

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

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

 

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

My wine of the week sent me to heaven

 

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

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

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

Darlene

 

5 Fave Wines for $15

Posted in Uncategorized on February 24, 2018 by darmyers

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

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

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

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

Don David

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

4.  Beringer  Pinot Grigio California $12.99

Beringer Pinot

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

3. Carmen Reserve 1850 Premier Merlot  Chile  $14

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

2.  Anciano Tempranillo Spain $15

Anciano aged 7 years

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

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

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

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

Darlene

Heritage Wines for Heritage Day

Posted in Uncategorized on February 17, 2018 by darmyers

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

 

 

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

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

Let’s get back to the wine.

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

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

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This winemaker makes an incredible Riesling.

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

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

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

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

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

Till next week, Cheers

Darlene

 

The Wines of Umberto Cesari

Posted in Uncategorized on February 10, 2018 by darmyers

Umnberto

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

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

Umberto Cesari Wines

I’m going to start with a fantastic white.

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

Moma red

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

LIano red

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

And last but not least….

Tauleto

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

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

Till next week, Cheers

Darlene

 

The Top 5 Wines for Winter

Posted in Uncategorized on January 27, 2018 by darmyers

Wine in winter

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

  1.  Syrah

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

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

2.  Zinfandel

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

7 Deadly Zinbs

Or as part of a blend… like this Bogle Blend

Bogle blend

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

3.  White Burgundy (Chardonnay)

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

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

4.  Malbec

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

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

5.  Bordeaux Blend

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

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

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

Have a great weekend everyone.  Till next week, Cheers

Darlene

 

Taking The Mystery Out of Wine

Posted in Uncategorized on January 20, 2018 by darmyers

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

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  1.  What do you currently like?

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

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2.  Discover Your Wine Style

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

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

Pepper Pot

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

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

3.  Check Out A New Wine in the Wine Taster

 

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

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

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

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

Till next week, Cheers

Darlene

Chase Away January Blues

Posted in Uncategorized on January 13, 2018 by darmyers

Beat the january blues

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Till next week, Cheers

Darlene

 

 

2018 Wine Trends

Posted in Uncategorized on January 6, 2018 by darmyers

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

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

  1.  The Bigger The Better 

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

Dom Pernignon

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

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

2.  Sparkling and Rose Wines are on the Rise

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

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

 

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

3.  Chilean Wine Becomes a Superstar

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

 

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

4.  Red Blends Continue to Shine

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

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

Quantum

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

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

Till next week, Cheers

Darlene

Best of 2017

Posted in Uncategorized on December 30, 2017 by darmyers

Best of 2017

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

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

 

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

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My favourite Rose wine of the year hails from Italy!

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

The Ladies

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

My favourite dessert wine comes from Sauternes France.

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

Another highlight for me in 2017 was my trip to Italy

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

Caparzo

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

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

Here’s to a healthy happy 2018

Darlene

 

 

Merry Christmas Wine Lovers

Posted in Uncategorized on December 23, 2017 by darmyers

Wine lovers Christmas

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

Family christmas

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

Beringer

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

Ernie

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

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

And now for my wine of the week….

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

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

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

Darlene

I’m Dreaming of a Wine Christmas

Posted in Uncategorized on December 16, 2017 by darmyers

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

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

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

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

And my wine of the week…..

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

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

Till next week, Cheers

Darlene

 

Christmas Wine List

Posted in Uncategorized on December 9, 2017 by darmyers

 

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

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

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

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

 

 

I need these wine glasses in my life.

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

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

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

And now for my wine comparison of the week….

Clos d'Ora

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

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

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

Till next week, Cheers

Darlene

 

 

 

Great Christmas Movies & Wine

Posted in Uncategorized on December 2, 2017 by darmyers

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Have a great week

Darlene

Tis The Season…. For Wine

Posted in Uncategorized on November 25, 2017 by darmyers

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

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

Alsace Riesling

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

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

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

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Have a great week  Till next week, Cheers

Darlene

 

Good Friends Good Wine

Posted in Uncategorized on November 18, 2017 by darmyers

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

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

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

Anciano Red

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

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

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

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

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

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Well, that’s it for me this week

Till next week, Cheers

Darlene

New Friends – New Wines

Posted in Uncategorized on November 11, 2017 by darmyers

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

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

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

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

Caparzo

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Darlene

The Wines of San Felice

Posted in Uncategorized on November 4, 2017 by darmyers

San felice

When I was in Italy in May, one of my favorite places was visiting San Felice.  It was an abandoned town that the owners decided to do over in a fabulous resort.  8th Century buildings surrounded by beautiful vineyards and a first class restaurant.

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Luxury accommodations, breath-taking scenery, great food, and great wine in the heart of the Chianti region in Tuscany.   Well, great news, because I was at a tasting this past week for San Felice wines and they announced they will be coming to Canada, and will be arriving in Halifax in about a week’s time.

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This is Fabrizio Mencioni at the Port by the NSLC  explaining the region and the wines of San Felice.

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There are 3 wines that will be available here shortly.  One of them is the 2011 San Felice Vigorello.

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This is San Felice’s Super Tuscan, wines from Tuscany that incorporate both Italian grapes and traditional grapes.  This particular wine is a blend of 30% Cabernet Sauvignon and 30% Merlot, grapes we refer to as traditional grapes.  And there is 35% Pugnitello, an Italian grape and 5% Petite Verdot.  The Pugnitello grape was just about extinct in Italy and was known as the forgotten grape.  It is a super interesting grape that the bunches grown in small round clusters shaped like a fist.  Fist is Pugno in Italy,  and San Felice has been doing great things with this grape, and this Super Tuscan blend is no exception.  Beautiful structure with good tannins and hints of vanilla.  It was a beautiful wine and will sell here for $57.79 a bottle.

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This is Chianti Classico at its finest.  There are 9 regions in Chianti and one of them is Classico, once thought to be the finest of the Chianti wines.  In 2014, certain winemakers in the Classico region wanted to let people know of an elevated quality product in the bottle, so they started Gran Selezione, which means Grand Selection.  Only the finest quality grapes are being used and the aging requirements are longer than even Reserve wines.  This wonderful wine has been given 94 and 95 point ratings across the board.  It’s a fantastic wine with 80% Sangiovese and 20% made up of Pugnitello, Abruzzo and Mazzesse.  It’s a big full-bodied wine with firm structure and a great wine for aging.  This wine will sell for $47.79 a bottle and is available next week.

And last but not least…. my favorite

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When you come back from Italy you are allowed to bring back 2 bottles duty free.  This was one of my bottles.  It has a great story.  In the follow up movie to Silence of the Lambs, Hannibal, an escaped Hannibal Lecter, played by the brilliant Anthony Hopkins is eating in a restaurant and this is the bottle of wine on the table.

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The San Felice Il Grigio Riserva is 100% Sangiovese and 100% Spectacular.  It sees 24 months aging, with at least 3 months in the bottle before release, and some aging takes place in small barriques, which imparts a very unique wood flavor to the wine.  Those distinct cherry flavors from Sangiovese are front and centre with this wine, and it will be available for the great price of $31.99 later next week.  Whether you’re a wine lover and or a movie buff, who doesn’t want to try Hannibal Lecter’s favorite Chianti.

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I’m doing a wine tasting tonight featuring some fabulous wines, including sme new ones.  I will tell you all about them next week.

Till then, Cheers

Darlene

Spooktacular Good Value Wines!

Posted in Uncategorized on October 28, 2017 by darmyers

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Well, another Halloween is just around the corner.  I live in an apartment building and we don’t get trick or treaters, so I guess it’s wine on the menu for that evening.  I have tried a few  new wines lately and some are scary good.  (Warning… there could be Halloween puns throughout the blog)

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I couldn’t resist.   I didn’t set out this morning to write about some recent finds that all came in under $20, but I love sharing yummy wines that are great values.

For our first wine let’s head to Italy and talk about what a spectacular value this wine is.  The Bolla Verona Rosso was $18 here and is now on sale for $16, but the value itself is in the bottle.  This Rosso is a blend of 25% Corvina, 25% Merlot, 25% Cabernet Sauvignon  and 25% Rondinella.  I’m sure you recognize the Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon grapes, and Corvina and Rondinella are Italian grape varieties that originate in the Veneto region of Italy, and that region is home to one of its most popular cities, Venice.  This wine has great structure and great flavor with notes of spice, and would pair quite well with any chicken dish, or even just a snack of cheese and crackers.012

Speaking of great value.  If I told you I could give you a single vineyard Syrah, (which means the grapes were grown in one precise area), and the Syrah would be deliciously rich with hints of spice, and I could give you all this for under $16, would you believe me?  This wine is living proof.  I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, Chile offers spectacular value when it comes to wine.  This wine is $15.99 and it is so good, I thought there was a mistake in the pricing.  We’re ‘creeping’ it real with this great value wine.

And now for my wine of the week

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Here’s the thing about Bordeaux.  For many of them, you have to cellar them for a while.  They are made to last and  made to cellar.  So it’s a bit of a treat when you get to enjoy one sooner rather than later.  More and more winemakers are adding more Merlot to the Bordeaux blend, so they are approachable sooner.

I’m usually very suspicious when it comes to $20 Bordeaux, but I have to say I really enjoyed this wine.  I honestly think it is one of the better $20 Bordeaux wines on the market.  This is predominantly Merlot with some Cabernet Sauvignon and Cabernet Franc added to the blend and it’s a great wine for all the comfort foods people tend to be making now, stews, beef, roast and steak all pair great with a good Bordeaux.

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Well that’s it for me this week.  Keep it safe on Halloween

Till next week, Cheers

Darlene

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.

Bourgogne Pinot

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

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.

Vouvray

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.

Wine drink the good stuff

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.

Primarius Pinot

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.

Chateau D'yquem

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