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.

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

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

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

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

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

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

Till next week Cheers

Darlene

 

 

I’m Officially A Wine Sommelier

Posted in Wine on April 15, 2017 by darmyers

 

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

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

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

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

Legend

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

Corbieres

 

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

And now for my one of the week….

Hospitalites

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

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

Till next week, Cheers

Darlene

April….Flurries?

Posted in Uncategorized on April 8, 2017 by darmyers

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

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

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

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

And now my wine of the week…

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

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

Till next week, Cheers

Darlene

Arriverderci March!

Posted in Wine on April 1, 2017 by darmyers

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Darlene

 

 

 

Italy – Here I Come

Posted in Wine on March 25, 2017 by darmyers

Tuscany

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Until next week, Cheers

Darlene

 

 

Try Something New!

Posted in Wine on March 18, 2017 by darmyers

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

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

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

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

And now for my wine of the week….

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

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

Till next week, Cheers

Darlene

 

Spanish Wines

Posted in Uncategorized on March 11, 2017 by darmyers

Spanish Wines

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

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

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

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

And now for my wine of the week

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

Wine Friday

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

Till next week, Cheers

Darlene

March Madness

Posted in Red Wine on March 4, 2017 by darmyers

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

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

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

And now for my wine of the week…

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

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

Darlene

 

What Will I Be Drinking While Watching the Oscars

Posted in Uncategorized on February 25, 2017 by darmyers

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

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

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

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

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

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

And now for my wine of the week…..

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

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

Till next week, Cheers

Darlene

Storm Wine

Posted in Uncategorized on February 18, 2017 by darmyers

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

And then this happened….

 

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

Many people stocked up on these…

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Personally my emergency stash looks more like this…

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Storm Wine.

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

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

So what was in my class on the storm days ?

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

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

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

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

That’s it for me this week

Till next week Cheers

Darlene

2017 Wine Trends

Posted in Wine on February 11, 2017 by darmyers

 

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

 

1`.  More Information

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

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2.  Drinking In vs Drinking out

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

3.  Red Blends Remain Hot

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

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4.  Wine in A Can

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

1. Canned wine

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

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

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

Till next week, Cheers

Darlene

Wine For The Big Game

Posted in Uncategorized on February 4, 2017 by darmyers

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

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

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

Jacob's Creek Moscato Rose

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

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

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

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

And now for my wine of the week….

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

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

Thanks for reading, till next week Cheers

Darlene

 

Simplifying Wine

Posted in Wine on January 28, 2017 by darmyers

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

Order wine like a Sommelier.

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

Here’s a little chart that may help you .

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Have a fabulous week. Till next week, Cheers

Darlene

Wines To Help After Inaugeration Day

Posted in Wine on January 21, 2017 by darmyers

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

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

 

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

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

Burrowing Owl Cabernet

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

Burrowing Owl Meritage 2013

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

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

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

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

Till next week, Cheers

Darlene

Wine To Warm The Heart

Posted in Wine on January 15, 2017 by darmyers

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Till next week, Cheers

Darlene

 

New Year New Wines!

Posted in Wine on January 7, 2017 by darmyers

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

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

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

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

And now for my wine of the week…..

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

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

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

Till next week, Cheers

Darlene

My Best of 2016

Posted in Wine on December 31, 2016 by darmyers

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 Renwood The Cleaver

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

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

The very best to you in 2017!

Darlene

 

My Winter Wine Stock Pile

Posted in Wine on December 17, 2016 by darmyers

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

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

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

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

7 Deadly Zinbs

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

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

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

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

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

Cheers

Darlene

I’m Dreaming Of a White Christmas!

Posted in Wine on December 10, 2016 by darmyers

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

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

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

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

And my wine of the week……

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

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

Have a great week and till next week, Cheers

Darlene

 

Hello December!

Posted in Wine on December 3, 2016 by darmyers

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

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

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

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

And my wine of the week…..

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

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

Till next week, Cheers

Darlene

 

 

 

Christmas Shopping for Wine

Posted in Wine on November 26, 2016 by darmyers

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

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

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

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

And my wine of the week is….

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

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

Thank you and till next week, Cheers

Darlene

The Affair

Posted in Wine on November 19, 2016 by darmyers

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

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

Oyster Bay Merlot 2014

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

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

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

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

Till next week, Cheers

Darlene

November Wines

Posted in Uncategorized on November 12, 2016 by darmyers

November

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

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

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

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

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

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

Till next week, Cheers

Darlene

 

 

Daylight Savings Wine

Posted in Uncategorized on November 5, 2016 by darmyers

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

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

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

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

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

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

Till next week, Cheers

Darlene

 

 

Spooktacular Wine Finds!

Posted in Wine on October 29, 2016 by darmyers

Wine Fall

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Till next week, Cheers

Darlene

Storm Wine!

Posted in Uncategorized on October 22, 2016 by darmyers

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

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

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

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

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

And my wine of the week…..

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

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

Till next week, cheers.

 

Comfort Food & Great Wine

Posted in Uncategorized on October 15, 2016 by darmyers

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

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

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

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

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

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

Which brings me to my wine of the week….

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

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

Till next week, Cheers

Wines I’m Particularly Thankful For!

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

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

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

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

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

And now its time for my Wine of the Week

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

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

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

Till next week, Cheers

Darlene

Festival of Wine Favorites

Posted in Wine on October 1, 2016 by darmyers

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The Festival of Wines was last weekend, and although I gave you a sneak peak at some of the great wines being featured, I thought I would share with you some of my favorites.   One of my CAPS Instructors and wine friends said in a post after the festival, “I don’t just celebrate with wine, I celebrate wine!”  And I thought that was very fitting.  Because most wine lovers here in Nova Scotia spent last weekend celebrating wine itself.

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My apologies for the blurry picture on the left, but I wanted to introduce you to the 2010 Castiglion Del Bosco Brunello Di Montalcino, because it was one of my favorite wines from the show.  This wine has been receiving accolades and 90+ points from many wine experts.  I’m not a wine expert, just a wine lover and I give this wine two thumbs up.  Rich and plummy, (plummy can only be a word in the wine world) with an earthiness you would expect in an Italian wine.  Great structure with hints of tobacco on the palate, this wine is another great example of a wine to pair with comfort foods.

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When I think of New Zealand red wines, the first thought that usually comes to mind is Pinot Noir.  However, Babich vineyards in the Marlborough region of Hawkes Bay has put out a fantastic Syrah.  This wine spent extended time on the skins, which means it has a rich beautiful color and good tannins.  It then spent 11 months in French oak, so you know the oak is not over-powering, but subtle.  Black plums with hints of vanilla, this wine won a Gold medal at a wine competition in China, and is a match made in heaven with your favorite charcuterie board.

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Here’s another favorite.  The Antinori 2012 Tignanello Toscana IGT, is a mouthful to say and a mouthful on the palate.  This gorgeous wine is made from a blend of Sangiovese, Cabernet Sauvignon and Cabernet Franc, and is the first Sangiovese to be aged in barriques.  What is a barrique could be your next question.  A barrique is a wine barrel, but it is a barrel that is much smaller than the average barrel, holds 225 liters and was designed in the Bordeaux region of France. So this particular wine was aged for 12 months in a barrique and then another 12 months in the bottle before release.  Great wine.  Approximately $88 a bottle.

And my wine of the week….

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For my wine of the week, I am coming back to Canada.  5 Vineyards Cabernet Merlot from Mission Hill in British Columbia.  This wine showcases outsourcing from 5 estate vineyards in the Okanagan Valley.   They all come from very unique micro climates but they are not so far apart that the flavors don’t compliment one another.  This blend of Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Cabernet Franc and Petite Verdot, was a beautiful Canadian expression of a Bordeaux wine.  It tasted very Bordeaux to me.  Growing Bordeaux varietals in this part of Canada can be challenging because of our short growing season here in Canada… let’s face it, it gets cold early.  But the folks at Mission Hill have done a spectacular job on this one.

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

Darlene

It’s Festival of Wines Time!

Posted in Wine on September 24, 2016 by darmyers

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It’s one of my favorite times of the year – the annual Port of Wines Festival, is now being called the Festival of Wines.  To wine lovers, it’s like Wine Christmas.  And I was very blessed to get a sneak peak this past Wednesday night of some of the wines they are featuring.  Halifax has a brand new Port store downtown and it is spectacular.  A gorgeous layout with an out of this world selection of wine.  This year’s theme for the Festival of Wines is ‘Old World vs New World’ and quite a few spectacular wines are being showcased.

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Here’s the first wine I tried that evening.  The Inniskillin Ice Wine from right here in Canada.  Our country is putting out spectacular ice wines, and this is a shining example of the brilliance that is Canadian wine making.   A past vintage of this wine won the Grand Prix d’Honneur at Vinexpo and put Canada on the global wine map, especially the global ice-wine map.  Rich and luscious with fabulous flavors of honey, apricots and citrus notes.  This is a wonderful mouthfeel on the palate, and is an excellent wine to pair with pate, blue cheese, cheesecake or any other dessert.    In my opinion, this is dessert on its own.  One of my favourite things to do after a big meal is to enjoy a little ice-wine,  it satisfies the sweet tooth and is not heavy on the stomach.

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This is the second wine I tried, and I’m also going to use a stock picture, you can get a better view of the label.

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The 2000 Chateau Coutet AOC Sauternes was another spectacular treat of the evening.  Sauternes is a sweet wine from the Graves region of Bordeaux France.  Grapes have been affected by ‘noble rot’.  It’s hard to believe something with the name ‘rot’ in the title, can produce something so sweet and delicate.  This was a fabulous wine with gorgeous flavors of vanilla and marmalade.  It’s $65.99 a bottle and worth every penny.  A great treat wine.

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I have to tell you about another Canadian beauty I tried at the show.  The 2012 Osoyoos Larose Le Grand Vin is from the Okanagan Valley in British Columbia and is a fantastic expression of a Bordeaux style of wine.  Here in North America,in both Canada and the U.S., we tend to call Bordeaux style of wines as Meritage.   So whenever you see the word Meritage on a label, you can rest assured it’s a Bordeaux style of wine.  2012 was a warm dry Summer in the Okanagan Valley but provided excellent growing conditions for the grapes.  Other than to watch vine water stress and irrigation levels, it was a great year for this wine.  It is a blend of Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon, Petite Verdot, Cabernet Franc and Malbec.  The grapes were picked at different times during October and November for perfect ripeness.  This resulted in a wine with delicious plum and vanilla flavors with notes of cigar and black pepper.  A great wine for meat.

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It’s not that often I get to try so many wines of this caliber and to say I enjoyed my evening would be an understatement.  Here’s a flash at one of the tables… look at the prices, it was an absolute treat of an evening and I’m very grateful to the NSLC for the opportunity to attend.

And my wine of the week has to be this one…..

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The 2013 Gerard Bertrand Clos d’Ora Minervois La Livinière was quite a treat.  I know, it was $242.29 a bottle, so it’s not a bottle I’m going to get to try every week.  From the Languedoc region of France, it is a fabulous blend of Syrah, Grenache, Mouvedre and Carignan.  It is a perfect blend of fruit, minerality and spiciness.  I did enjoy this wine, but if you’re not up for a $242 bottle, you can still enjoy wine from this vineyard at a price which is a little more friendlier on the wallet.

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This Gerard Bertrand Tautavel is one of my favorites and it’s around the $20 mark.  This is a Syrah with yummy fruit and spicy notes.  And here’s another one….

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Here’s one from Gerard Bertrand that won rave reviews at the Port of Wines Festival 2 years back.   It’s called Corbierres and it’s a fantastic wine.  It’s $20 as well, and is a Grenache wine.  Grenache is the same grape they use to make Chateauneuf du Pape.  This is a great wine at a great price.  Some licorice notes on the palate but rich dark fruit.  With the cooler weather coming, we tend to serve more stews and heartier food.  This is the wine for all those comfort food meals.

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Great times, great wine and great friends.  It was a great evening.  Thank you very much to Rick, Rayell and Dave from the NSLC for the tickets, I can’t tell you how much I appreciated them.

More wines to tell you about next week, so till then Cheers

Darlene

 

 

 

My Trip To Huff Estates Winery

Posted in Uncategorized on September 17, 2016 by darmyers

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Part 2 of my 3 part series on my trip to the Prince Edward County Wine region was a visit to Huff Estates Winery, one of the most spectacularly beautiful wineries I have ever visited.  Stunning views with an art gallery on site, as well as a sculpture garden and did I mention fantastic wines.   Lanny Huff, the owner, pictured with me above, planted vines in 2001 and he says because of 2 great Summers, was able to produce his first vintage in 2003.

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This is Brian, a Sommelier at Huff who did our wine tasting for us.  Brian knows his wine!  He is holding up  a very special wine, called Cuvee Janine, a sparkling Pinot Noir.  It was my first time trying a sparkling Pinot, and I liked that it was nice and dry.  It had a gorgeous salmon color that featured lovely aromas of cranberry and strawberries.  I loved the effervescence on this wine, and thought it would pair great with some spicy foods, Indian and Asian cuisine.  In my opinion it would also be a great patio wine.

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Prince Edward County, because of its limestone soil, is known for Pinot Noir and Chardonnay.  Well, I think they are putting out some top notch Riesling wines as well.  I love Riesling, and this one did not disappoint.  This 2015 off-dry Riesling has 22 grams of sugar for a nice tinge of sweetness.  Beautiful citrus notes and flavors of tropical fruit, I had to buy a bottle of this wine to take home, so I could enjoy it again.

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I love Merlot.  You’ve heard me mention before I thought Merlot got a bad rap in the movie Sideways, although I do love the movie.  I still love Merlot though and I tried two at Huff Estates.  The first one was interesting because it was a 2013, done in stainless steel and it saw no oak.  You don’t often hear of a Merlot that doesn’t see oak.  It was smooth and silky and still had those luscious plum flavors, and it was a little lighter on the palate.  It wasn’t as heavy as some Merlot wines can be.  I enjoyed it very much.  But my heart went to the next Merlot we tried.

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I fell in love while I was in Prince Edward County and it was with this South Bay Merlot.  I bought him home as well, but I’m waiting for a special occasion to bring him out.  We enjoyed the 2013 South Bay Merlot and this baby spent 19 months in French Oak.  I loved this wine, I loved the mouthfeel and I loved the generous palate.  I loved the spicy notes on this wine. The winemaker at Huff Estates is from the Burgundy region of France, his name is Frederic Picard and he is making fabulous wine.    To quote their website, they call it a ‘Merlot Concerto’.   I would have to agree!

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Well it has been a busy few weeks for me.   Between having family visit and doing some travelling I get to spend this weekend relaxing.  And yes, someone would probably find me tonight in my pyjamas sipping a fabulous wine!

I hope your weekend is going to be as wonderful as mine

Till next week, Cheers

Darlene

 

 

My Visit To Norman Hardie Winery

Posted in Uncategorized on September 10, 2016 by darmyers

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Remember I finished off last weeks blog telling you I was heading to the Niagara region for some wine tasting.   Well it would appear my friend Judy is not very good at geography LOL   We actually spent the weekend in Prince Edward County and I had the pleasure of meeting new friends and visiting a few spectacular vineyards.  I was going to talk about all of them in one blog but I honestly felt that wouldn’t do either winery justice.  So I am going to pick my favorite 3 and feature them over the next 3 weeks.  In this, the first week, we will start with the first winery we visited, Norman Hardie.

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I had been looking forward to meeting this man since he won one of the categories of the Great Canadian Wine Challenge a couple of years back.  And he was absolutely wonderful.  He took the time for lots of pictures with our group and it was an absolute thrill to meet him and to sample not only the wine but fantastic food as well.   Probably some of the best pizza I have ever tried.  It gets cooked in a wood-fired oven, and we got to try several different kinds; as well as salad and wine.  Best lunch ever!

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I bought two bottles to take home from this vineyard and one of them was the 2015 Riesling.  The fruit comes from both the Niagara region and the Prince Edward County, and it was done so well.  I absolutely love Riesling with spicy food, Thai and Indian cuisine and I’m saving my bottle for a special meal.  The fruit was lovely and it has an alcohol level of 9.8% so it’s great to pair food with, but also to enjoy all by itself.  The acidity was perfect and the citrus flavours made for a very well-rounded wine.

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The second wine we tried was the lovely 2014 Chardonnay, and it was done in Burgundy style. I absolutely loved loved loved this wine!   Did I mention how much I loved this wine.  Aged in French oak, 30% of the barrels were new and 70% previously used.  What this accomplished was a very subtle smoothness in the wine.  This is my favorite way to enjoy Chardonnay.  The wine, like the Pinot Noir, is unfiltered, and I loved how our wine tasting expert from Norman Hardie referred to the wine as being ‘alive’.

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I also tried the Cabernet Franc, and it too is unfiltered.  Many people have mentioned to me they have never tried Cab Franc on its own, just in a blend.  For example, the Bordeaux region of France, especially the Left Bank, uses Cabernet Franc a lot as part of the blend with Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot.  For those of you who have never tried Caberent Franc all by itself, this is a great place to start.  The fruit was vibrant and the wine spent 10 months in French oak so it wasn’t all oaky.  It was one of the best Cabernet Franc wines I have ever had.

Pinot Noir

The second bottle of wine I took home from this vineyard is a bottle of Pinot Noir.  Pinot Noir is also done in a  Burgundian style, which is my favorite way.   Limestone soil, very similar in terroir to the Burgundy region of France, makes for a spectacular Pinot.  100% of the grapes used in this wine comes from the Prince Edward County, and this wine spent up to 25 days on the skins with 2 punch downs per day.  What does that mean?  It means this is no wimpy Pinot Noir.  I was actually there as part of a group doing a Bachelorette party, and the bride to be wasn’t a fan of Pinot Noir before this trip.  This spectacular wine changed her mind on Pinot.  It is that good.  The fruit is beautifully rI have, lots of flavour on the pallet and a nice lingering finish.

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Spectacular people, great wine and delicious food.  It doesn’t get any better than that.   We had a wonderful man by the name of Dave driving us around in a beautiful stretch limousine .   And I will share more of the adventure next week !

Till then, Cheers

Darlene

 

 

 

Wining With Family!

Posted in Wine on September 2, 2016 by darmyers

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Regular readers will remember I took last Saturday off from writing a wine blog, because I had the whole family here in Halifax visiting.   As my older sister renewed her vows after 30 years with her wonderful husband George, we had parents, sisters, nieces, grandparents, grand nieces and family from across the country.

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Check out my twin 3-year old niece and nephew, visiting from Ontario.  Cute!  It was a fantastic time, and we shared some fantastic wine.  Not with the 3 year old twins, but all my other nephews and nieces are much older.

This is a picture of my new adopted rescue cat Leo..

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And this is a new wine that I tried that I absolutely loved…

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This is the Felicette “Cats in Space” Grenache Rouge, Grenache with a little bit of Syrah added in.  At just $16.99 a bottle, I bought it because I heard great things about it.  And what a surprise.  I like Grenache done well, and this was done very well.  Grenache can taste ‘burnt’ and sometimes ‘boozy’, but this was super smooth.  Now that Autumn is just around the corner, this is a great wine for all those comfort foods we’ll be craving like stews and pastas.

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I haven’t written about Riesling in a while… I have been going back to my Riesling favorites.  I love Riesling and my 27 year old nephew has just discovered he loves wine and Riesling is one of his favorites.  So I was thrilled to try this new Riesling recently.  (Say that 3 times really quickly)  The Charles & Charles Riesling from Washington State is a wonderful wine, and the label was designed by artist Rikke Korff to highlight the landscape of Washington State from sea shore to mountains.  I happened to enjoy Riesling this past week while fluffing flowers and decorating a wedding hall, but it’s my favorite wine to pair with Thai food, Indian cuisine and anything spicy.

So many great wines… so little time.  This is my wine of the week.

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The Josh Cellars Cabernet Sauvignon was my new favorite find of the past couple of weeks.   This was my first experience with this vineyard, which was started in 2005  The founder of the vineyard is Joseph Carr, who happens to share the same name as his father.  And all their friends called both father and son Josh.  And that’s where the name came from.  Heavily influenced by Bordeaux wines, this is a spectacular Cabernet Sauvignon, featuring 93% Cabernet, 5% Merlot and 2% Petite Verdot.  Juicy fruit, hints of cinnamon and clove and toasty oak, this is a great steak wine.

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This little cutie is my 3 year old grand-niece… (I feel old!)  Her mom is my niece (standing in the background) and she is just a cutie.  She’s a twin, but I couldn’t slow her brother down enough to get him in the picture.

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Well this weekend, I am off vineyard hopping in the Niagara region in Ontario.  Guess what next week’s wine blog will be all about!!

Enjoy the long weekend, till next week Cheers

Darlene

Your Wine Questions Answered!

Posted in Wine on August 20, 2016 by darmyers

As someone who has studied wine and continues to study wine, I get asked a lot of questions on the subject.  And if there’s one thing I like almost as much as drinking wine, is learning about wine.  I’ve recently hosted a couple of wine tastings and have attended a couple of wine events, and here are some of the most common  questions I get asked.

  1.  How do I know if a wine is gone bad?

I get asked this question in almost every wine tasting.  Because sometimes people think they didn’t like a particular wine, when in actuality it may have gone bad, or skunky as I like to call it.   If a wine has gone bad, or skunky, it will give off a very distinct aroma.  I call it skunky, some people call it barnyard, and others just call it ‘wet dog smell’.   It happens more often than you think.   My friend at the NSLC told me about 10% of wines using natural cork are returned and only about 4% with screw caps.  Wines go skunky because they are exposed to oxygen, which is more common in bottles with natural cork, because cork reacts to swings in room temperature.

2.   How long does a wine keep?

There are varying answers to this question, and it will depend on who you ask.  I’ve read that you can keep wine up to a week in the fridge.  Personally, in my opinion, this is true for a white wine, but I don’t find the same applies to a red.  First of all, I refrigerate left-over wine.  Always.  And I’ll be honest, I don’t usually keep red wine for more than a week.  However, I did go away on a trip for 5 days and although the red wine was in the refrigerator, I didn’t find it tasted the same.  I find 3 days max to keep leftover red wine, and that time frame doesn’t usually pose many problems for me.  White wine…. much longer.

3.  Are all sparkling wines considered Champagnes?

No!

I have a funny story to share.  When I was a kid growing up, Christmas Day was very special because my parents took out the good China and bought sparkling wine for our Christmas Day dinner, and we were allowed to have a small sip each.  The wine was Baby Duck, and my parents called it Champagne.  And I thought we were all very elegant to be sipping this nose-tickling beverage.  And for years, I thought all sparkling wines were Champagnes.  Champagne was discovered by accident, when it went through a second fermentation in the bottle and the bubbles were created.

But in order for a wine to be called Champagne, it must come from the Champagne region of France.  And you’ll know, because Champagne has to be printed on the cork.  There are many other fantastic  sparkling wines,  even made by the traditional method that Champagne is made.  Italy makes beautiful Prosecco, Spain produces lovely Cava and here locally Benjamin Bridge are putting out spectacular sparkling wines  that are receiving worldwide attention.

So that’s the top 3 questions I have been getting over the past couple of months.  We’ll cover more questions at a later date, and if you have a question, send it over.

And my wine of the week is a fantastic Merlot that hails from Chile…

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The Lapostolle Cuvee Alexandre Merlot has been given 90+ points and awarded Winery of the Year.  I enjoyed the 2011 Merlot which is certified organic and contains 85% Merlot and 15% Syrah.  The Syrah really adds nice spicy notes to the lush juicy Merlot grapes.  100% of the grapes used in this wine were hand harvested, which really speaks to the care taken in the making of this wine.  Worth every penny of the $32 I spent on it, and it’s full-bodied enough to pair well with beef, ribs or any other dinner where the meat is the main attraction.

Well, that’s it for me this week… There will not be a wine blog next week as I have tons of family coming to visit and we are having a bit of a family reunion  when my sister renews her vows

See you in two weeks, Cheers

Darlene

 

A Few More Fun Facts About Wine!

Posted in Wine on August 13, 2016 by darmyers

I love reading about wine   And when I do I can’t help but come across some really eyebrow-raising interesting facts concerning wine.  Like this one….

I googled it, and discovered mouthwash contains an alcohol level of anywhere between 22% and 26.9%.  Wine on the high end would be 14.5% for some reds while some wines can contain as little as 6%.  Plus it’s no fun to swallow mouthwash and even less fun spitting wine.

Wine has all kinds of fun facts surrounding it.  Did you know, in 1976, there was a wine tasting in Paris that blindly compared Californian wines to French wines. California won and the lone reporter covering the event was blacklisted for reporting it.  That event, also known as the Judgement of Paris, became a movie in 2008, called Bottle Shock.  It’s a great movie starring Alan Rickman and Bill Pullman and really worth seeing.

Wine Fun Fact #2:  During the prohibition, Vintners sold ‘Wine Bricks’, as opposed to wine.  Grape juice mix was sold with the warning “After dissolving the brick in a gallon of water, do not place the liquid in a jug away in the cupboard for twenty days, because then it would turn into wine.”  That’s how they got around the restriction, because at the time selling grape juice was not illegal.

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Wine Fun Fact #3:   You can open a bottle of wine with your shoe. Here is the video showing how it’s done.  I always play it safe and carry a corkscrew with me, however, if the shoe fits… why not use it to open wine.

This is one of the strangest things I have read recently concerning wine… and more specifically Seagull wine.

There is an alcoholic drink called seagull wine. That is made purely by stuffing a whole seagull into a bottle of water and leaving it in the sun to ferment.  Seriously, you can’t make this stuff up.  In the Arctic Circle because of the cold temperatures, people were limited when it came to making wine.  I can’t see it winning any awards, but apparently it does make you drunk.  Hey they have bacon vodka, why not Seagull wine?  It’s not sold in any liquor store yet, so if you are tempted to try it, you will have to head North to the Arctic Circle.

And on that note, it’s time for my wine of the week…

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An Italian beauty from Tommasi, the Poggio Al Tufo Rompicollo is a blend of Sangiovese and Cabernet Sauvignon.   I had the 2013, and it was a fantastic wine that was rich and full-bodied and had dried raisin-like notes.  Given 93 points by many people, it will remind you somewhat of an Amarone.  It’s smooth and well-balanced and just a great wine at a great price, would you believe this wine is only $20 here in Nova Scotia?  Tastes like a much more expensive wine than that.

Well that’s it for me for this week…please feel free to share any zany fun facts about wine that you’ve read about

Til next week, Cheers

Darlene

 

 

Good Wine With Great Friends!

Posted in Wine on August 6, 2016 by darmyers

What a week it has been for wine.  The week started with me visiting friends in New Brunswick and spending some time on their boat.  And of course sharing a few laughs and a great wine.  I even got to drive the boat!

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My friends Ron and Rosalie hosted myself a couple of other friends on a boating adventure along parts of the Saint John River.  And while we were cruising they surprised me with one of my favorite wines.

Heating things up in January with Great Wine!

I haven’t had the Marques de Riscal since I left Newfoundland because you can’t get it here in Nova Scotia.  It’s a shame, because this is a spectacular wine.  Tempranillo grapes with Graciano and Mazuelo varieties blended in, but not exceeding 10% of the blend, and then it spends 2 years in American Oak, and a minimum of 1 year aging in the bottle before release.  This all adds up to an extremely smooth medium to full-bodied wine with spicy notes of cherry and balsamic.  A great wine for meat dishes, pizza, ham, or cheese and crackers.  It also pairs very well with a great boat ride.  Thank you Ron & Rosalie.

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And thanks for the scenic adventure.

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And then on Wednesday evening we had a great wine tasting in my building with 22 fun folks who love wine as much as I do.  We shared a few great wines, and here is one of the favorites from the evening

Benjamin Bridge Tidal Bay

The Tidal Bay wine from Benjamin Bridge is a delightful crisp wine on the senses with gorgeous citrus flavors.  This wine, along with other Tidal Bay wines from Nova Scotia represent the terroir of this province with its cool breezes and short growing season.  Designed perfectly to pair with seafood, this wine also goes with appetizers, salads or even a great patio.  A couple of people described it as tart, but when paired with something like an oily fish or mussels,  it’s exactly what you’re looking for in a wine.

Prince Phillipe Beaujolais

Here’s another wine from our tasting that is brand new to the NSLC here in Nova Scotia.  The Prince Phillipe Beaujolais pays tribute to Philippe III known as Philippe le Bon (1419-1467), Prince of France and Duke of Burgundy.  Quite the title, isn’t it?  Fruity and floral, everyone at the tables really picked up on the floral notes, smelling flowers and roses.  This is a light-bodied wine which would be great for lunch, light meats and some poultry.

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I had some handsome helpers for this great event, and we tried 6 different wines from 6 different countries.  Two whites, 1  Rose and 3 Reds.

Here’s the  Rose wine we tried

Jacob's Moscato Rose

The Jacob’s Creek Rose is made from the Moscato grape so it does have that hint of sweetness.  It’s light refreshing and fruity – great for summer.   It is not considered a sparkling wine but it does have effervescence  on the pallet.  A great one for spicy foods and at just $13.49 a bottle,  it’s very easy on the wallet.

And by far this was the winner of the evening, and it’s my wine of the week…..

 

Casa Concha CAb

The Marques Casa de Concha Cabernet Sauvignon was a hit.  Voted the most admired wine brand in the world, Conchay Toro celebrated its 130th Anniversary back in 2013… not bad for what started out as a little vineyard in Chile!  In this part of Chile there are big temperature swings from day to night.  What that does is prolong the ripening process and ensuring a wine with concentrated fruit and intense aromas.  This wine always makes the Top 100 wines from Wine Spectator and has won many other numerous awards.

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What a great week for wine…. Thank you for reading and sharing with your friends, it is very much appreciated.

Till next week Cheers

Darlene

Birthday Wine

Posted in Wine & Food on July 30, 2016 by darmyers

Birthday wine

I had a birthday last week, and when you get to my age, you don’t talk about them a lot.  You do, however, talk about some of the great wine you received as gifts.  A very big thank you to my family and friends, who know me so well.  I am not hard to shop for

Wine shop for

Unfortunately for my waistline, the birthday celebrations lasted 4 nights.  It was great though!  On the night of the actual birthday, I had this Red Blend from my friend Judy.

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Deep and dark, this red blend is also silky smooth.  It is 46% Zinfandel, 44% Syrah and 10% Petite Sirah, which makes it rich and juicy with a little spice added in.  A fantastic BBQ wine, it was aged 16 months in French oak, so it would go with any meat dish.

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Owned by the same people who make this beauty, the Cleaver and Renwood Winerys are owned by international vintner, Alejandro P. Bulgheroni,  a family-owned collection of wine estates from around the world.  In addition to Renwood Winery in Amador County, The Cleaver from California, Bodega Vistalba, Tomero and Bodega Argento in Argentina, and Bodega Garzón in Uruguay, they also have properties in France, Italy, and other distinguished wine regions.  They are putting out some fantastic wines.

The next night my friend took me to one of my favorite restaurants in Halifax, the Bicycle Thief.  I enjoyed the spectacular beef tenderloin there, and with the juicy steak, we had a juicy wine.

7 Deadly Zinbs

The 7 Deadly Zins was a spectacular match with my beef tenderloin and my friend’s lamb.  The big bold juicy wine with hickory smoke flavors complimented both dishes very well.

Creme Brule

I’m not much of a cake person myself, so for dessert I chose a creme brulee.  I love creme brulee, and in my opinion, the perfect wine match is one of my favorite Canadian dessert wines.

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The Borealis from Benjamin Bridge is a wonderful dessert wine, reminding me of a Royal Tokaji.  This wine is made from the Vidal grape here in Nova Scotia, and is the perfect compliment to your favorite sweet dessert.  Picked at the perfect time, when the temperatures hits -10-degrees outside, which is very common here in Eastern Canada.  (Yes, that was not a typo, I said minus 10 degrees)  Gorgeous flavors of apricots and peaches make for one of my favorite dessert wines.  I actually didn’t really appreciate dessert wines until I started taking my Sommelier courses.

If you can’t find this local favorite in your area, try this dessert wine…

Royal tokaji

The Royal Tokaji is heaven in a glass, and is just a fantastic dessert wine.  I actually had this wine on one of my final tasting exams, while doing one of my courses.   It is made in Hungary and the process is very labor intensive, so I tend to be very grateful with every sip.  An amber/gold color and rich apricots and honey on the palate.  I love this wine.

And my wine of the week

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A great wine at a great value.  The Carmen Gran Reserva Cabernet Sauvignon from 2012. Chile is putting out some great Cabernet Sauvignon wines and this one is no exception.  I loved the $20 price tag, but loved the wine in the bottle even more.  Given a 91 Point rating by Wine Spectator, this publication also calls it a ‘smart buy’ and featured it as the wine of the week.  Rich and well-spiced with notes of black pepper, here is another great steak wine.

Wine Birthday

Well that’s it for me for this week, I survived another birthday.

Till next week, Cheers

Darlene

I’m A Fool For the Cool

Posted in Wine on July 23, 2016 by darmyers

Summer Lovin'

Holy humidity…it’s been hot here!   I know much of Canada has been having a heat wave with temperatures reaching  40° .  I know our friends from places like Arizona and Spain are having a bit of chuckle, but those of us in Canada are not used to that.   Two weeks ago it was 12° and now we’re hitting 32° with humidity.  Only in Canada

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Not sure how you’re chilling out this Summer, but I’m trying to spend as much time as possible either in the water or on the water.  With the help of some cool refreshments, as the title suggests, I’m a fool for the cool, and I love taking the opportunity to try new wines this time of year.

Schug Chardonnay

I have tried a new Chardonnay recently and I loved it.  The Schug Chardonnay from the U.S.A. is an awesome wine to help cool down with.  Glorious flavors of pears and tropical fruits make this a Summer favorite.  You’ve probably heard me talk about its sister wine – the Schug Pinot Noir.

– Schug Pinot

I have written about this fantastic wine before.  This smoky Pinot Noir is at the top of my favorites list.

This is a picture of the family that owns and runs the Schug Carneros Estate Winery led by Walter and Gertrud Schug, who’s parents both ran vineyards in Germany.  They are putting out spectacular wines, and if you haven’t already tried them, put them on your wine bucket list.

Wine TGIF

Another favorite of mine to chill off during this Summer is this wine….

Avondale Tidal bay

I have written before about Tidal Bay wines from Nova Scotia and I do the love the crisp tropical flavors.  I would like to take a moment to say Congratulations to Avondale Sky winery for recently winning the Nova Scotia Lieutenant Governor’s Award for its 2015 Tidal Bay Blend.  This light crisp wine goes with everything Summer, and has gorgeous grapefruit and gooseberry flavors.  Seafood, appetizers, vegetable dishes – this is an extremely versatile wine and a big heartfelt Congratulations going out to the fine people at Avondale Sky winery.

And my wine of the week….

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This gorgeous Grenache Syrah blend from France was sooooooo good!  The Gabriel Meffre Laurus Rouge wine from the Gigondas region.  Gigondas is in the Southern Rhone region of France and did you know no white wines can carry the designation of AOC Gigondas.  Only reds allowed in this region, although it does offer a  Rose wine.  This wine is considered the baby brother of Chateauneuf du Pape and it is so very rich and glorious.  Earthy with notes of black pepper, this beauty is about $21 a bottle, and worth every penny.

Summer wine

I hope you are enjoying the Summer, till next week Cheers

Darlene

 

The Ultimate BBQ Wine-off

Posted in Wine on July 16, 2016 by darmyers

Last weekend the temperature was around the  12°  mark, and this weekend the humidex is at  37° .   Welcome to Summer in Canada.  No matter what the temperature says outside, we love BBQ.  And this coming Tuesday the Atlantic Chapter of the Canadian Association of Professional Sommeliers is holding a wine tasting called The Ultimate BBQ Wine Off!

In one corner it’s the full-bodied spicy Shiraz….in the other corner medium to full-bodied Zinfandel with its juicy jammy flavors of smoky bacon!   Which one is going to come out the victor!  So before I go on Tuesday, I thought I would hold  a little Wine-off of my own…. with your help of course.   I am asking all my readers to try either Zinfandel or Shiraz or Syrah with their barbeque this weekend,  and leave a comment as to which one was your favourite!

Shiraz Syrah

The first question everyone is going to ask me is it Shiraz or Syrah?  Yes, it’s the same grape.  Cross my heart!  There are so many theories as to why some countries call it Syrah and some call it Shiraz, I will fill you in on a couple.  I’ve read that Syrah is used by ‘old world’ countries and Shiraz by ‘new-world countries’.  However, the U.S.A. is considered a new-world country and some wine-makers in the States call it Syrah.  I’ve also heard that Syrah, which originates from the Rhone region in southeastern France, was being checked out by a group of Australian wine-makers.  The Australian wine-makers had too much to drink and that Shiraz started as a drunken mispronunciation of the name Syrah.  I love that story, but I don’t know for sure if its true.  Others say Shiraz is from the Persion city of the same name where the grape truly originates from.  Not as much as fun to tell as the drunken mispronunciation story.  To be honest, I can’t tell you why there are 2 names for this one grape.  But either way you buy it, they are great wines for the BBQ.

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I’m going to put this statement out there…. California makes the best Zinfandel in the world.  I have tried it from other countries, including Australia and South Africa.  Not many countries, other than Italy making Primitivo, make a Zinfandel.  So the 4 beauties I have featured are all from California.  Regular readers of this blog know that I love Zinfandel, and I personally feel it is the ultimate BBQ wine. The juiciness and hints of smoky spices make it the ultimate for me.  Especially for things like ribs.   However….

Steak

If I’m grilling a steak, a Zinfandel is not my first wine of choice.  I would probably pick the Shiraz.  I also like Cabernet Sauvignon with steak, but in the Wine-off, I’m going to go with the Shiraz.  I love lots of fresh black pepper on my steak, and I love how the spiciness of the Shiraz pairs well with the meat and the pepper.

Wolf Blass ShirazJimmy Shiraz bottle

Elephant Hill Syrah Tellus

Here are a couple of my favorites.  The top 2 wines are Shiraz – Wolf Blass Grey Label from Australia, one of my favorite steak wines  and a favourite of mine overall .  And the other, also from Australia, is the Jimmy Shiraz, a great wine that comes in under $20.  The bottom 2 are Syrah wines.  The Elephant Hill Syrah is fabulous, from New Zealand, and perfect for beef or lamb done on the grill.  Next to it is the Falesco Tellus Syrah from Italy.  Nice and dry with some licorice flavors and again that spice, that Syrah is so well known for… You’ll love the price tag too.

And my wine of the week…

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Is a new Syrah that I have tried recently, and this one of from the Languedoc region of France.  The Chateau Jau Jaja de Jau Syrah is a beautiful wine priced at under $19.  The funny thing about this wine is that you sound drunk when you ask for it in the liquor store.  LOL.. but its worth any embarrassment.  And I like the way the name rhymes.  It has beautiful black cherry and herb flavors and it’s a real conversational piece.   It’s medium-bodied with black pepper notes so it not only goes with BBQ food, it also goes with your favorite comfort food.

It’s hot out there, but it’s never too hot to drink wine.

Till next week, Cheers

Darlene

Chillin’ With Wine This Summer!

Posted in Uncategorized on July 9, 2016 by darmyers

Wine bad weather

And I do mean Chillin’ literally! Although the weather outside is a little frightful for July, registering at a chilly 12 degrees today, July 9th.   However, there’s no reason your wineglass should have to be empty.

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Sauvignon Blanc is one of my favourite summer wines.  It goes with some of my favourite summer foods.  Salads, aappetizers, veggies –  this is my go to wine.   And one of my favourites is the Stoneleigh Sauvignon Blanc from New Zealand.  This also brings back some great memories for me.   When I started my quest to become a Sommelier The very first course I took was through the International Sommelier  Guild with Andrew Facey n St. John’s Newfounfland.  And as part of the final exam there was a blind taste test,  and this was the wine.  And I remember being one of the few that identified it during the exam, and I identified it because I loved it so much.   Crisp refreshing citrus notes with hints of grass and vegetal green pepper notes. Great summer wine.

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Here’s a staple in my wine rack lately.   This is not only a great wine it’s a great value.  $17.99 here  but it tastes like a much more expensive wine.  This spicy Tempranillo has been aged 10 years in the cellars  before being released.   One word on the label of a Spanish Rioja, will tell you how long it has been aged.  Crianza  has to be aged for three years before release, Reserva has to be aged 5 years before release and Gran Reserva has to be aged a minimum of 7 years.   This is a great example of Gran Reserva, with gorgeous notes of leather, tobacco and vanilla.  Grilled meats and aged cheeses would pair so well.

And my wine of the week…..

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Is another Spanish beauty.  The Ergo Tempranillo from Rioja is from a vineyard recently purchased by E & J Gallo from California.   Over the past few years,  E & J Gallo  has been expanding their portfolio by buying smaller wineries.   Bodegas Martin Codax  has a great reputation for quality wines in this region.     Dark cherry flavours with notes of spice and vanilla make for a great wine.  This particular wine is on sale right now at our local liquor store and at $16.99 a bottle it’s a steal of a deal.

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Last weekend it was 30° and I was out Sea-Dooing, this weekend it’s  12°    So I guess that means inside chores.

Whatever your plans are for this weekend I hope you enjoy.

Till next week, cheers.

Darlene

 

Happy Canada Day

Posted in Wine on July 1, 2016 by darmyers

Happy Canada day

This is the Canada Day weekend here where I live, as well as the Independence Day weekend with our friends South of the Border in the United States.  What that means is Hello Long Weekend, and who doesn’t love a long weekend.  It gives you more time to drink more great wine.  And for this Canada Day weekend, I want to salute our Canadian wine makers and take a moment to say thank you for some great wine.

Tidal Bay

Let’s start our Canadian wine journey right here in Nova Scotia.  A friend of mine at work tried Tidal Bay Wednesday night for the first time.  Anthony is mainly a red wine drinker and tried his first Tidal Bay and loved it.  Tidal Bay is specifically made for the terroir of Nova Scotia and was meant to go fabulously with seafood.  However, there is a wide variety of foods this wine pairs well with, for example appetizers and salads.  Although all the Tidal Bay wines I have tried have certain characteristics in common, they all also have very distinct personalities.  Launched in 2012, these wines can be a combination of approved grape varieties, and have a characteristic mine reality.  Tidal Bay wines must also be relatively low in alcohol and no more than 11%.  They are bright and crisp and very reasonably priced.

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While here in Nova Scotia I would like to take a moment to talk about one of my favourite dessert wines    Benjamin Bridge vineyards puts out the spectacular wine called Borealis,  named after the northern lights, Aurora Borealis.  This wine is rich and decadent and perfect if you want a little something sweet after a big meal but don’t want the full dessert!

Ice wine

Speaking of dessert wines, let’s head to Ontario.  Another favorite is the  Inniskillin Vidal Ice Wine from  Ontario.  Canada is getting noticed around the world for its incredible ice wines.  It’s Canada…. we have the perfect weather for growing the perfect ice wine grape.  Ice wines are picked at a later date, when the temperature hits around -10 degrees, and the sugars and solids don’t freeze, but the water does.  This leaves behind a very concentrated sweet wine, which in my opinion, I would rather have for dessert than chocolate any day.  It’s like a piece of heaven on the palate with rich apricot, honey and candied citrus notes.  Ontario puts out a fabulous array of wines, and I wanted to mention the ice wines, because I hear a lot of  people say ‘I don’t like sweet wine’.  Well you don’t drink it in a wine glass as such.  You have to think of it as a little piece of dessert, and it tends to get served in a small sherry glass.

Mission Hill Merlot reserveSandhill

British Columbia is putting out spectacular quality wine and I have highlighted two of my favorites here.  The Mission Hill Merlot is a fantastic expression of Merlot wine, juicy with hints of spice on the palate.  It’s interesting and a great BBQ wine… it is after all a long weekend.  And the one on the right is from Sandhill, and wine-maker Howard Soon.  It’s a Cabernet Merlot blend and you won’t be disappointed in this Bordeaux style of blend.  It’s got those wonderful black currant flavors with hints of black pepper and toasty vanilla.  Another great steak wine.

And my wine of the week…

Hidden Bench Pinot

Was a gift from my sister, who went to Ontario last year to see her daughter get married.  Her daughter lives in Beamsville Ontario, which is where this vineyard is located.  And she brought me back a bottle of the Pinot Noir.  The grapes for this particular wine come from 3 estate vineyards in the region and made to very strict standards.  This wine was so elegant and interesting, with beautiful cherry and herb flavors.  I loved the lingering finish, which you don’t always find in a Pinot Noir, but this was so well done.  I loved it, and I’m a bit sad, because you can’t buy it here in Nova Scotia.

Long weekend 2

I’m putting out my wine blog a day early because it is after all Canada day!  I hope all my friends in both Canada and the United States enjoy the long weekend.

Take care, and till next week, Cheers

Darlene

You’re Making Me Blush!

Posted in Wine on June 25, 2016 by darmyers

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This past week I had the pleasure of attending the Annual Rosé Wine tasting from the Atlantic Chapter of the Canadian Association of Professional Sommeliers, and we tasted a wide variety of blush wines from 4 different countries.   Rosé wines may be one of the oldest types of wines and incorporates some of its color from the skins of the grapes, but not enough to make it a red wine.  Both red and white grape varieties are used in making Rosé wine, as I will explain a little later.  The key thing about Rosé wine is temperature.  Few wines will temperature have the impact on the taste and on the aromas as with a Rosé.  During the course of the evening, our wines warmed up and everybody commented on the differences.  And then we re-poured from the chilling bottle, and people warmed up to the wines once again… Pardon the Pun!

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At the reception we enjoyed the inaugural Rosé wine from Lightfoot & Wolfville – the Bubbly Rosé 2015.  This Nova Scotia vineyard is making headlines with their spectacular wines, and this Rosé did not disappoint.  Located in the Anapolis Valley, this Canadian vineyard is committed to certified organic and biodynamic agriculture.  This bubbly Rosé with its generous acidity and spectacular effervescent quality, exploded with flavor on the palate.   Pinot Noir, Pinot Meunier and some Geisenhelm make up this great wine.  The effervescence on the palate still gave away to delicate strawberry and citrus flavors.   This Nova Scotia labour of love was one of my favourites of the evening!

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Another very popular Rosé wine that evening was the Louis Bernard Cotes de Provence Rosé 2015 from France, which is a combination of Grenache and Syrah.  I liked this Rosé because it was very dry, but very soft, and not at all flat on flavor.  I liked the acidity of this wine and the strawberry flavors were very evident and many of the tasters that evening found it to be very well-balanced.  Great Summer patio wine.

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This was probably the most talked about wine of the evening.  Why?  Because it looks like your typical  Rosé wine and then you bring it to your nose and Wham!  Anise, black licorice and other aromas you wouldn’t expect from a Rosé wine. The 2015 Le Logis de la Bouchardiere Chinon is made by 6th generation wine-makers dating back to 1850 and packs a punch with 13% alcohol.  It was a heavier wine than most of the other Rosé wines, and those licorice flavors were there on the palate as well.   One of the ladies I was sitting with also commented she tasted toasted caramel.   Again,  an unusual flavour to be found in a blush wine.   It contains some Cabernet Franc, which explains the caramel and anise licorice tones.  Cabernet Franc is used in the Bordeaux region a lot, blending with Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot, so it was a little unusual to see it show up in a Rosé wine.

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I apologize for the blurry picture so I included a stock picture. This was the deepest colored Rosé wine of the evening, and when we found it was a Rioja from Spain that contains 96% Tempranillo, it made sense.  The other 4% is also a red grape, Grenache, and will probably come as no surprise that it has 13.5% alcohol.  The rep for this wine was in attendance and said the next vintage will probably be lighter, less time on the skins.  It’s a fantastic wine that is priced at $16.  Most Rosé wines pair well with salads, appetizers, or made for patio sipping.  This had a little more body and actually would pair well with grilled chicken or grilled pork.

My wine of the week is also a Rosé… one of my favorites from the evening, but although many people put it in the Top 3 of the evening, I think I was the only person who loved it as much as I did.

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The Chateau des Deux Rocs Cabieres Premices 2015 is a mouthful to say and an interesting mouthful of Rosé on the palate.  This was a great example of how temperature played a role in the taste of the wine.  It was the 5th wine we had tried and because it was warm that evening, the temperature of this wine had really warmed up.  One of the ladies I was sitting with commented on how this was her least favorite.  When we re-poured from the fridge, she was astonished to realize how much she really liked this wine.  I loved the tropical fruit flavors, the notes of tangerine, and citrus flavors.  I thought it made for an interesting wine.  I don’t drink a lot of Rosé as a rule, but I’m going to start.  It’s a great aperitif wine and a great wine for Summer.

Thanks for reading and till next week, Cheers

Darlene

 

 

Chilling with Red Wine!

Posted in Wine on June 18, 2016 by darmyers

Red wine

One of the questions I get asked as a Sommelier in training and a wine-lover, is the temperature of wine.  And with the warmer weather upon us, I thought I would touch on this subject.  Most people, and I mean most people, still serve red wine at current ‘room temperatures’.  These temperatures are too warm for a red wine.  The term ‘room temperature’ was designed as such, to reflect the room temperature of the underground wine cellars which were basically around 55-degrees Fahrenheit which is about 13-degrees celsius.   Yup, red wine is to be served between 13-degrees to 18-degrees tops!  Average red wine, 15 – 16 degrees!

Jaws are dropping right about now .  And I’m willing to bet there are a few people headed over to their thermostats to see what the temperature in the room is.   And if it’s in the 20’s, you shouldn’t be drinking your red wine straight out of the wine rack.

You see, different room temperatures can do very different things to wine.  The biggest one for me personally is the taste.  Duh!  A warmer red wine tastes jammier than it’s supposed to.  Now many red wines have jammy flavors, but they are not supposed to over-power the wine.  If all you can taste is jamminess, you could be missing out on a bunch of other subtle flavors and nuances that the winemaker had in mind.  I have the same problem with a red wine that is too cold.  Some of the subtle flavors can be basically frozen.

There isn’t much chance you will serve your white or rose wines at the wrong temperature because chances are you keep them in the refrigerator.  Reds, however, tend to be kept in wine racks or in cupboards.  Here’s the solution.  Put your bottle of red wine in the refrigerator for about 30 minutes, and you will notice a big difference.  Some people also store a red wine in the refrigerator and take it out 30 minutes before they go to serve it.  This is a great idea in the Summer months.  And keep your wines in a cooler place, you don’t want your red wine or any wine to be in a room that is warmer than 30-degrees Celsius.  It can alter the wine.

And don’t think because you are in a restaurant, even a fancy restaurant, or even a wine bar, that they are serving the wine at the proper temperature.  It continues to amaze me how many restaurants serve their red wine at the wrong temperatures.  Don’t be afraid to ask for an ice bucket, even if you are having a red wine.  Especially in the upcoming Summer months.  You can always take it out of the bucket if you feel it’s getting too cold.

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Here’s a new wine I’ve tried this past week.  The Ravenswood Old Vine Zinfandel.   Now I have had it’s sister wine before, which is also a Zinfandel but not an old vine Zinfandel.   You maybe asking yourself what’s the difference?   Old vines tend to be at least 40 to 50 years old.

Ravenswood

Here’s a picture of the sister wiine. I have probably written about it.  Well this vineyard has put out an Old Vine Zinfandel and I got to enjoy the 2014 version.  This was an interesting wine because 2 people I know who aren’t normally Zinfandel fans, tried this wine and liked it.  This family has been making Zinfandel wine for 40 years, and let me tell you, I think they are getting quite good ad it.  Bright and friendly, this wine boasts cherry, raspberry jam and spicy clove flavors.  I liked it………. a lot!

And my wine of the week features an interesting label…

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Two brothers, Jake and Josh Beckett, who were raised in the heart of Paso Robles, had an idea for a wine that fits a casual lifestyle.  Both these brothers worked for Peachy Canyon Vineyard, which of course I’m a huge fan of those wines.  And in 2004 decided to do their own project and launched this wine for the first time in 2008.

Here’s a picture of the two brothers having a bit of fun.  They have made a bubbly wine, a dessert wine, several whites and several reds.  All with uniquely different labels that might have you thinking, hmmm, wonder what the wine is like.  I had the Purple Paradise which is a combination Zinfandel, Syrah, Petite Sirah and Grenache.  This is a great wine at a great price.  Smoky vanilla flavors with lush fruit, cherries, chocolate and a hint of leather.  What’s not to love.  Try this wine this Summer with a BBQ, you’ll love it.

wine day

Enjoy the weekend everyone.

Till next week, Cheers

Darlene

Wine… Why Not

Posted in Wine on June 11, 2016 by darmyers

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This week was a week of catching up with friends and catching up with friends can mean exercise, as I did with my friend Dan, pictured above.

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Or it can mean great food and wine with great friends, as I did with my friend Judy.  Along the way I tried some new wines and thought I would share them with you.

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I do love an Italian Rosso, having first tried a Rosso wine at Francis Ford Coppola’s vineyard in the Napa Valley.  This one from Bolla, comes from the Verona region, which features lots of clay in the soil.  I always find that clay type soil makes for a rich and well-balanced wines.  This particular wine would pair well with a wide variety of foods including pasta, pizza, cold cuts, charcuterie boards, and would be just great sipping all by itself.

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Speaking of Rosso, this was a new wine I tried this past week.   As I mentioned previously my first Rosso came from Francis Ford Coppola’s Vineyard.    I was in the Napa Valley in 2001  and went to his vineyard and tried it there.   This is a bit of a different blend and it was my first time trying this particular one.  The Coppola Rosso & Bianca Cabernet Sauvignon also contains Zinfandel and Syrah, and was designed as an everyday table wine.  Plum, cherry, mocha and vanilla flavors blend together nicely and what the winemaker had in mind was to create a wine that would go well with just about any meal.   Mission accomplished!

Lightfood rose

It’s Rose season and the more Rose wines I drink, the more I absolutely fall in love with them.  They are perfect summer wines, perfect patio wines and perfect wines for pairing with appetizers.  This delightful rose wine from a local Nova Scotia Vineyard is deserving of some special attention.  It is made with Pinot Muenier, Pinot Noir and Geisenheim, which is a grape that originated in Germany’s Rheingau region but also grows well here locally.  The heavenly mouthfeel on this wine is followed by crisp flavors of wild strawberries and notes of peach, and a spectacular off-dry finish which I really enjoy in a rose wine.

And my wine of the week…

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We go back to the vineyards of Francis Ford Coppola, the 2012 Directors Cut Zinfandel from the Dry Creek Valley region in California.  This was definitely my treat of the week.  It is a very unique Zinfandel because it is blended with Petite Sirah, which adds structure and weight, but also a complexity to the wine.  Rich fruit jam, decadent chocolate and voluptuous black pepper flavors make for a new favorite of mine in the Zinfandel family.  Comes in around the $45 price range here, but worth it!

Wine Amateur

Till next week, Cheers to all my friends, who would never ask if it’s too early for a glass of wine.

Darlene

Anniversary Wine

Posted in Uncategorized on June 4, 2016 by darmyers

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On Sunday these two beautiful people will celebrate their 58th wedding anniversary   I’m very lucky because these two people are my parents.

Jackie & Craig 1 Jackie & Craig

Also celebrating their 29th wedding anniversary is my sister Jackie and her husband Craig.   You might know my sister Jackie as my partner in crime when it comes to travelling.   As these two great couples toast this weekend, I thought I would share some wines that would be perfect for an anniversary.

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I’m so happy because our local NSLC store is now carrying one of my favourite Zinfandel wines. 7 Deadly Zins used to be my treat when I would go home to Newfoundland.   And now I can enjoy it here at home in Nova Scotia.    This wine  is sinfully delicious.  Robert Parker gave this wine 90 points and for good reason.   Gorgeous flavours of dried fruit and cranberries  with notes of black pepper and an array of other spices.

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This past week I also had the pleasure of catching up with an old friend who now lives in Norway.   Michelle and I had a great meal at the Bicycle Thief on the Halifax waterfront and enjoyed a fabulous glass of wine.  We worked together many years ago and our love of wine solidified a great friendship.

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I apologize for the bad picture.   I tried to take a picture that shows the blend and the year  but unfortunately the rest of the label didn’t quite make it.   A couple of weeks ago I dedicated a full blog to South African wines. Remember I used to be the person that didn’t walk past the South African section, I ran past it.  Here I am getting all gutsy trying new South African wines.  The Dragon Tree wine from the Flagstone vineyard in South Africa  makes a sumptuous blend of these three grapes.  The grapes from this wine come from very specific vineyards,  and the vineyards are picked because of the soil.   Lots of stone and rock in the soil which the winemakers feel make for a very rich tannic wine.   I really enjoyed this one.

And now my wine of the week……

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This is the best deal in the liquor store at the moment.  The Doppio Passo Primitivo from Italy sells for $16.99 a bottle  and tastes like a $30 bottle of wine.  This wine is rich in flavour and seductive on the palate.   The richness is created by the process called Doppio Passo, which means ‘double step’.   After the wine is made, the winemakers add grapes that were left on the vine and dried to a raisin-like state.   This adds richness and intensity.  It’s a spectacular wine but because it’s priced at $16.99 a bottle, it’s my wine of the week!

Wine Happiness

I hope you find your inner happiness  this week and every week.

Till next week, Cheers

Darlene

BBQ Season Wines!

Posted in Wine & Food on May 28, 2016 by darmyers

Wine BBQ

Every year about this time I do a wine blog on some of my favorite wine pairings with BBQ food.  I BBQ all year long, and people at work call me the ‘Queen of the BBQ Grill’, as I even BBQ at least twice per week throughout the winter.  This time of the year, it’s even more.  I would rather cook on an outdoor grill than in the kitchen any day of the week.  Since the last blog on BBQ pairings, I’m always trying new wines, and sometimes I think, this would be perfect with grilled ____, (fill in the blank).  So here are some of the new wines I have tried in the past year that would be perfect BBQ fare.

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Personally, Zinfandel is my go-to BBQ wine.  I love it, especially with things like BBQ ribs and pork chops.  The Renwood Zinfandel on the left is a great one I have discovered in the past year.  This vineyard specializes in the Zinfandel grape, and they do it extremely well.  Cherry flavors, a bit of cola on the palate and vanilla make for an easy to drink wine whether you’re at the BBQ cooking, or enjoying the fruits of your labors.

The wine on the right is the Cleaver Red Blend which is a blend of Zinfandel, Syrah and Petite Sirah and as the label says ‘is made for meat’.  This is a great rib wine as well, but because it’s so rich and full-bodied will pair well with any meat you put on the grill including a juicy steak.  The Syrah adds a nice spice to the palate  which pairs well if you put black pepper on your meat as I do.

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Speaking of steak, here’s a new discovery I have made in the past year, and thought, this would be heavenly with a steak.  The Layer Cake Cabernet Sauvignon from California leaps from the glass onto the palate with chocolate and mocha flavors, however they are very subtle and distinct.  I don’t want to give you the impression it would be like the manipulated coffee flavors of a few South African Pinotage wines.  The Layer Cake Cabernet has great structure, rich dark fruit but it’s very smooth.  This is a great wine in my opinion, and a great steak wine.

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Love a burger done on the grill?  Me too!

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Check out the Robert Mondavi Heritage Red Blend.  Primarily Syrah and Merlot, it also has the added flavor of Zinfandel and Petite Sirah.  Lots of flavor at a price under $20.  This is a great wine.  And a great burger wine.

White wine drinker?  Don’t think you have to drink red to pair perfectly with BBQ fare.  There are lots of great options on the white side.

Tidal Bay

Most of the vineyards in Nova Scotia put out a specialty wine called Tidal Bay, designed by the Wine Association of Nova Scotia, that is made for the terroir of Nova Scotia.  Launched in 2012, they are all slightly different, however they are truly fascinating.  They are bright, crisp and fresh styles of wine that pair perfectly with seafood.  And although I’m allergic to seafood I love them as a Summer patio wine and they are fantastic appetizer wines.

And if you love white wine and want a pairing with a big juicy steak, hamburger, or even ribs…. how about this one

Rodney Strong Chardonnay 1c97e-ribs

The Rodney Strong Chardonnay is classic California Chardonnay.  Fresh and fruit forward, it boasts apple and bright lemon flavors with toasty oak from the barrel aging.  That barrel aging brings with it notes of brown spice and vanilla.   Those brown spice and vanilla flavours tend to complement things like steak and ribs .  It’s a great wine.

And my wine of the week….is an Italian beauty

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The Corvo Rosso Red IGT is a classic Sicilian wine.  This wine is extremely versatile and would pair well with any BBQ fare, but it goes beyond BBQ.  This is an easy to drink Rosso that this vineyard has been making since 1824, and with that kind of experience they have done it right.    As I was enjoying this wine I had visions of some of my favorite cheeses, it’s a great cheese wine.  Think pizza too!   Oak barrel aging brings a roundness and smoothness to the glass, but the lingering finish really made the wine for me.  This is a great wine overall, and how this wine sells for about $18, I’ll never know.  But it’s one to keep around.

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Sunshine and temperatures in the 20’s… that’s what this weekend calls for.  I don’t know about you, but I will definitely be firing up my grill, and there will be glass of wine in my hand.  Please feel free to share your favourite BBQ wine.

Till next week, Cheers

Darlene

 

 

Wine Loving Long Weekends

Posted in Uncategorized on May 21, 2016 by darmyers

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I don’t know about you, but I’ve really been looking forward to this long weekend.  Probably because it’s the first unofficial long weekend of Summer, or maybe it’s because it’s a beautiful day with lots of sunshine here in Halifax today.   Wine always seems to taste better on a long weekend.  Here are a few new wines I have tried recently, that you may want to enjoy this long weekend.

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Here’s a very nice light fruity red wine from Italy, the Bersano Piemonte Pinot Nero.  This is a beautifully blended wine of Nebbiolo, Barberra, Pinot Nero, Pinot Blanc and Brachetto that comes in under $20 a bottle.  I knew very little about the Brachetto grape, but it’s grown mostly in the Piedmonte region of northwest Italy, and used mainly for blending.  The wine is very fresh and very elegant.   As you can tell in the picture I took on the right, it’s very light-bodied.  I enjoyed this wine, and it’s a great wine slightly chilled that would be a great patio drinking wine.

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Here’s another great wine for the long weekend.  From New Zealand, the Kim Crawford Pansy Rose wine is crafted from Malbec and Merlot grapes.  Don’t let the name Pansy fool you.  Where I come from the word Pansy might refer to someone who’s wimpy but this wine is anything but – it has lots of flavour.  The juice is soaked on the skins for about 3 hours to get the pretty color, and then removed and cool fermented.    This is a bright and sunny wine with refreshing flavors of strawberry and watermelon and a wine that you will enjoy all Summer long.  Another winner coming in under $20.

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I was visiting my local liquor store recently and they were showcasing the new Nova 7 from local producer Benjamin Bridge.   This year’s vintage is even more salmon colored than in the past, and this is a great wine that represents the terroir of Nova Scotia.  And even though it’s the perfect seafood wine, and I’m allergic to seafood, I love it as a patio wine, as an appetizer wine and I love it with Thai food.   They were also showcasing the Benjamin Bridge non-vintage sparkling wine.  This wine is a steal of a deal at $28.   It’s a fantastic sparkling wine with gorgeous flavors of citrus and a nice minerality on the palate.  Sparkling wines go so well with appetizers, shellfish and oysters, but it’s also capable of making any evening special.

And my wine of the week…….

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The Peachy Canyon Westside 2013 Zinfandel from Paso Robles, which by the way is turning into one of my favorite wine-making regions.  I have written about Peachy Canyon previously, its sister wine, the Peachy Canyon Incredible Red Zinfandel.

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The Westside Zinfandel is actually a blend.  It’s 77% Zinfandel, 13% Petite Sirah, 6% Alicante Bouschet, 3% Syrah and 1% Tannat.  Now there might be a couple of grapes in this blend you haven’t heard of before.  Alicante Bouschet originated in the Langeudoc region of France and is actually a cross that involves the Grenache grape.  Think of GSM (Grenache, Syrah and Mourvedre)  It’s also widely grown in the Cognac region of France, Portugal and now in California.  Tannat also originates in the south of France, but you may have seen it locally in the Argentina section.

Getting back to the Peachy Canyon Westside, this winery is making some spectacular Zinfandel wines, and this one has pomegranate flavors, with notes of cinnamon and mocha.  I really enjoyed this wine, and comes in just under $37.

Long weekend

Yes, indeed.  It is a long weekend.  Have a wonderful long weekend, drink responsibly and never ever get behind the wheel of any motorized vehicle while under the influence.  Stay safe out there.

Till next week, Cheers

Darlene

Wines of South Africa

Posted in Wine & Food on May 14, 2016 by darmyers

 

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Last weekend the Atlantic Chapter of the Canadian Association of Professional Sommeliers held their Gala dinner and featured wines from South Africa.  I have a confession to make.  Normally I don’t walk by the South African section of the wine store, I run past it.  Some of my experiences have been less than palate friendly, and because of that I had a tendency to shy away from this section.

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This is Alba, from South Africa, and she brought some wonderful wines to this dinner.  I was so impressed with her passion and her knowledge on the topic of wine from this country.   One of the things I found very interesting is that South Africa has been making wine for about 500 years, but has only been exporting it less than 30 years.

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For the reception, we had the Graham Beck Gorgeous Pinot Noir Chardonnay and I think Gorgeous is the perfect word to describe this fun rose wine.  It’s a beautiful combination of Pinot Noir and Chardonnay, had a great acidity and was easy to drink.  The flavors of orange blossom really stood out for me, and this was a great wine to start the evening.

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Also speaking was Will Predhomme from Ontario.   This guy knows his wine.  Will holds the Advanced certificate through the Court of Master Sommelier, is an educator at the University of Guelph and is making his own wine under the North Shore Project label in Ontario, as well as Pearce Predhomme Wines in Oregon.  Impressive!

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For the first course we had a charcuterie board with an amazing mustard, and this was paired with the 2015 Ghost Corner Sauvignon Blanc.  This was a fantastic expression of a Sauvignon Blanc, and my friend Rayell’s favorite wine of the evening.   It was very similar to a New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc that has mineral flavors and notes of grapefruit.  Personally I also picked up really subtle tropical fruit flavors that made the wine for me.  This was a great wine with the charcuterie board and a great appetizer wine over all.

Cedarberg Bukettraube   Salad

The wine served with the salad was my absolute favorite wine of the evening, and I can honestly say I knew very little about the grape before this evening.  It is the Cederberg Bukkettraube and it sells here for just $20 a bottle.  I loved this white wine.  Apparently it is a rare cultivator with only 77 hectares left in the world.  It was truly an explosion of flavor on the palate, but extremely delicate at the same time.  This would be a great wine with spicy food as well.  Alba was telling us this wine would go great with Thai food, other spicy curry dishes, and I believe her.  This wine had great acidity, and at the same time it was very smooth and lots of gentle apricot flavors.  This will be a staple in my wine rack this summer.

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For the delicious main course, they served a beef shortrib & duck leg confit samosa.  Now, although the samosa wasn’t my favorite, the beef shortribs were spectacular.  And served with this hearty beef dish was my favorite Pinotage wine, Beyerskloof Diesel Pinotage.  The unique label features a remarkable drawing of the winemakers canine companion, who happened to be named Diesel.   If you have had a ‘manipulated’ Pinotage in the past, and didn’t like it, (I didn’t either), try this.  It is not manipulated, it is Pinotage done right.  Rich dark cherry flavors with distinctive oak flavors, this Pinotage saw 21 months in new French oak barrels.  Not surprising the oak plays a big part in the flavors of this wine.  This wine is very well structured and can tackle any meat you serve with it.

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Darlene and Rayell

I had a great time connecting with people that I took my Sommelier courses with, and people I haven’t seen in a while.  It was a fantastic time with fantastic people.

I hope you give these wonderful South African wines a try, they may surprise you as much as they surprised me.

Till next week, Cheers

Darlene

 

 

My Mother’s Day Picks

Posted in Wine on May 7, 2016 by darmyers

 

Mom #2

It’s Mother’s Day on Sunday… a day for us to officially thank Mom, although I think we should do that every day.  God knows we put them through enough growing up.  Regular readers of this blog knows that my Mom loves a good Chardonnay.   But I’m going to take a moment to highlight some of my favorite picks for Mother’s Day, and hopefully include something for everyone.

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If you need help and live in the Halifax area, head on down to the brand new Port by NSLC store and see this lady, Rayell Swan.  This is one lady who knows what she’s talking about.  And no matter what your budget, she will find something delicious in that price range.

Dreaming Tree chardonnay       Village reserve

Here are two great Chardonnay wines on both ends of the price spectrum.  The Dreaming Tree Chardonnay from California is a fantastic wine at a fantastic price.  Dave Matthews and Sean McKenzie are doing things right with recycleable corks, lighter weight bottles to cut down on shipping costs and recycled labels.  Plus, the wine they are putting in the bottles is top notch.  The tropical fruit notes and oak aging makes for a food friendly California Chardonnay.  Next to it is my favorite Canadian Chardonnay, from Le Clos Jordanne in Ontario.  They make a couple of different Chardonnay wines, like the Claystone Terrace.  This is a clean, lean and fresh tasting Chardonnay with mineral fruits and good acidity.  The Le Grand Clos Chardonnay is a little richer with a weightier mouthfeel.  The latter is one of my favorite Chardonnay wines and perfect for Mother’s Day.

May 2015 006 Nova 7

It was Mother’s Day exactly one year ago that my oldest sister tried the first wine that she fell in love with.  And it’s a local favorite.  The Nova 7 from Benjamin Bridge here in Nova Scotia, in my opinion, reflects the terroir of our Canadian province, and is great for the local cuisine.  Seafood for Mother’s day?  This is your wine.  I love this wine and I think it’s a beautiful expression of our province.

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I’m cooking for 4 different Mom’s on Sunday, along with my sister’s two boys.  Her 2 sons and her husband are meat guys!  So I’m firing up the grill and serving burgers, chicken skewers and a maple balsamic chicken thigh.  If you’re serving red meat, here’s a spectacular new wine that I tried recently.  The Tellus Syrah from Italian vineyard Falesco.  At $22, pick up a bottle or two.  One of the first things you will notice is the black pepper, or at least I did.   It’s a combination of spice and fruit, in a well structured Syrah, but the black pepper is very noticeable, and I loved it.   This is a great pairing with any grilled meat.

And my wine of the week is….

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If you’re looking for a treat wine for Mom, look no further than the 2009 Dalmau Rioja from Spain.  I had the privilege of trying this beautiful wine this past week.  A combination of Tempranillo, Cabernet Sauvignon and some Graciano.  Now I had to do some research on the Graciano grape, not having a lot of experience with this particular grape.  What I found out was this grape is primarily grown in the Rioja region of spain and is characterized by its deep red color and the ability to age well.  I loved this full-bodied wine and it would be spectacular with red meat, or wild game.  It’s fruit forward with toasty flavors of blackberry and blueberry notes.   It’s rich with great structure, but also incredibly smooth and the lingering finish really made the wine for me.  At $65, treat your mom.

Wine Mother's Day

To all the Mother’s out there, especially my Mom, thank you so much.  You amaze the rest of us.  And to everyone with a Mom, buy her a bottle of wine, you’re probably the reason she drinks.

Till next week, Cheers

Darlene

 

Toasting 20 Years of Friendship

Posted in Wine on April 30, 2016 by darmyers

Tigger turns 20

On Thursday, my cat Tigger, crossed the Rainbow bridge at the age of 20 years and 6 months.  I adopted him in Grande Prairie, Alberta Canada, on April 3, 1996 from the SPCA.  The vet estimated he was about 5 months old at the time, so we always celebrated his birthday on November 3rd.  This picture was taken of us on November 3rd last  year, the day he turned 20 years old.   So on Thursday I went out and got a special bottle of wine and toasted my best fur friend.

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For my toast to Tigger, I picked a Bordeaux from the Right Bank.  The Chateau Faizeau Montagne Saint Emilion is a blend of Merlot and Cabernet Franc and is a fantastic expression of a Bordeaux wine.  It’s full-bodied and rich, the Merlot grapes provide for smoky plum flavors and the Cabernet Franc provides excellent structure.   It was a great wine for the $35 price tag I paid for it.   And this wine would go with so many foods, from delicious cheeses to your favourite dinner.

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This picture was taken the year Tigger turned 13.  He was adopted in Alberta, but we traveled lots for work we lived in 4 different Canadian provinces and 8 cities and towns.  We lived on the Humber River in Steady Brook, Newfounfland, just outside of Corner Brook when this picture was taken.  One of the things we loved to do was sit on the deck overlooking the river.  He spent hours in my lap and I would be enjoying a good wine.  Like this one…

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The Glorioso Rioja Reserva from 2009 is one of my favorite Tempranillo wines and no one does Tempranillo like the Rioja region of Spain.  A steal of a deal at just $25 a bottle.  This smooth beauty has been awarded with 91 points from Wine Spectator, 92 points from other wine magazines, and won a Gold medal at a wine competition in 2014.  It’s delicious with juicy plum flavors, hints of mocha and licorice and it has a very polished finish.

Tigger Vogue Tigger

The picture on the left comes from an online program I found that incorporates your own pictures onto the covers of famous magazines, and for a joke I had Tigger put on the cover of Vogue.  He was a very fashionable kitty after all.  The picture on the right was taken by friends Jesper and Gitte, who were visiting from Denmark, and he would have been 16 at the time.  We were living in St. John’s Newfounfland when this picture was taken.

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Another favorite pass time of ours was me trying to read a book while Tigger sat in the book, trying to be the centre of the book.  I love an evening of a good book and a great wine.  Or watching a movie, Tigger was front and centre.   I always enjoy a good glass of wine with a great movie .  Like the Santa Ema Reserve Pinot Noir from Chile.  This is an exceptional wine.  No wimpy Pinot Noir here.  This is a medium to full-bodied with lots of flavor.  Some times Pinot gets a bad wrap, but I have been encouraging people who have never tried Pinot Noir to start with this one. It has some nice earthy cherry flavors and you don’t get a lot of that ‘cola’ taste sometimes associated with some Pinot wines.

Tigger doing yoga

Tigger never liked to be left out of anything, so when I did Yoga, so did he!   It’s funny because most times I would wait till he was curled up asleep in his favourite chair.  But as soon as he heard that mat go down he came awake and want to join in

And now my wine of the week

Beringer

With BBQ season officially among us, I have to name the Beringer Knights Valley Cabernet Sauvignon as the wine of the week.  The absolute perfect steak wine.  This beautifully vibrant Cabernet has beautifully sourced fruit, with notes of vanilla, cassis and smoke.  Love love love this wine.  If you haven’t had this yet, cook a steak and try the wine.  You will adore me.

Tigger's High Five

I had to take this opportunity to do a write up on my baby of 20 years, so thank you for allowing me to share.  On the day he passed I heard from friends from Vancouver Island British Columbia all the way to St. John’s Newfoundland and everywhere in between.   He was a spectacular personality,  vocal when he needed to be, and the biggest sook who loved being in my arms.

Give your pets an extra hug today in memory of Tigger.     I was so very blessed to have 20 great years

Till next week, Cheers

Darlene