Women & Wine

Posted in Uncategorized on March 23, 2019 by darmyers

Women have become a powerful force in the world of wine-making.  Around the world women are garnering deserved attention, in what was once a male-dominated environment.  Today we salute the women making waves in the wine world and the wonderful wines they are creating.  The 4 ladies pictured above are pioneering women in the wine world in Idaho.  Here in Nova Scotia we don’t see many wines from Idaho but when I travel, I will be sure and look for them.  All around the world, these talented ladies are making names for themselves.

Meet Genevieve Janssens – Robert Mondavi Winery – Napa Valley

Robert Mondavi Winery has reached almost legendary status, not only in the Napa Valley but around the world.  This is Genevieve Janssens, winemaker at Robert Mondavi Winery in the Napa Valley.  She is carrying on the quality of care that her mentor, Robert Mondavi had for great wine, because she believes he had the same wine-making style as her father.  She was raised in France and moved to California in 1978 to work with Mondavi, and loves the Napa Valley for its innovation and creativity.

Robert Mondavi Winery has a long tradition of making great Cabernet Sauvignon, in a variety of price ranges.  This one won’t break the wallet, as it is priced under $20.  A great compliment to lamb or steak, this full-bodied wine is easy to drink and easy on the pocket book.

Meet Marlize Beyers – Hidden Bench Winery = Niagara Region Canada

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When my sister went to visit her daughter in the Niagara region a couple of years ago, she bought me a bottle of Hidden Bench wine and I loved it.  Sadly, we can’t buy it here in Nova Scotia, but it is fantastic wine, and made by this lady, Marlize Beyers.  She is a graduate of the prestigious University of Stellenbosch Viticulture and Oenology program and is a perfect choice to carry on the tradition of creating terroir-based wines right here in Canada.  Like this Pinot Noir.

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This is the wine my sister bought home to me and it sells for about $32 in Ontario.  It features gorgeous flavors of sweet ripe cherries and has a marvelous lingering finish.  This is an organic Pinot Noir and it’s very tasty and food friendly.

Meet Gina Haverstock – Gaspereau Vineyards – Nova Scotia

Last but not least, it’s impossible for me to do a wine blog about women in wine, and not talk about Gina Haverstock from Gaspereau Vineyards in the Anapolis Valley in the province I call home, Nova Scotia.  She  worked at Jost Vineyards and became a Certified Sommelier, and then went to Brock University to study Oenology.  She then worked in the Rheingau region of Germany as well as Burgundy France.  She has a soft spot for cool climate wines and is considered the mother of Nova Scotia Rieslings.

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My regular readers know how much I love Riesling, especially with Thai food and anything with a little spice.  Riesling is a great food wine.  I love the apple and pear flavors in a Riesling, and this crisp beauty from Gaspereau doesn’t disappoint.  For readers that are able to pick up a bottle, I think you’ll love it.  It sells for about $22 here in Nova Scotia.

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There are women in every wine region in the world making incredible wines, and today we salute all of them.

Till next week, Cheers

Darlene

 

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Another Great Wine Tasting

Posted in Uncategorized on March 16, 2019 by darmyers

Last Saturday I met a bunch of great new people at a wine tasting my friend Sam (Samantha) hired me to do.

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It was a nice small intimate gathering of friends who love wine & food, and we had fantastic charcuterie boards made by the hosts.  There is nothing like great cheese, bread and meats to compliment a wine.  And we got to try a few new wines together.

Mionetto

This award-winning sparkling Prosecco from Mionetto was our first wine of the evening, and  the LCBO recommends you serve this wine with cured meats, cheese and crisps.  So it was a perfect way to kick-start the evening.  A nice smooth easy to drink Prosecco, at a fantastic value, $19.99.    There is the perception that sparkling wine has to be expensive, and with great wines like Italian Prosecco and Spanish Cava, that’s just not the case.  This is an example of a quality sparkling wine at a great price.

Aligote

As something completely different, I like to do that at wine tastings to get people out of their comfort zones, we tried this Aligote from the Burgundy region of France.  I have to say, I was a little disappointed in the wine.  I found it a little flat tasting with not much structure and no lingering finish.  It was $25 and honestly, this winner from a previous wine tasting was the better white wine.

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I bought this to another wine tasting, because it gets such rave reviews.  It’s a great value at just $20 a bottle and proof that just because a wine is more expensive, doesn’t necessarily mean it’s better.  This blend of Trebbiano, Chardonnay with a touch of Sauvignon Blanc is a winner.

One of the guests bought my wine of the week from last week.  The Porta 6 wine from Portugal which is a blend of  50% Aragonez, 40% Castelão and 10% Touriga Nacional.  And I’m willing to bet most people have not tried  Aragonez and Castelao grapes, which are native to Portugal.  This easy to drink red blend is a guilt-free pleasure at under $15 a bottle.

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My wine of the week, however, is the last red wine we had that evening.

One of the questions I get asked on a regular basis is where the good value wines are coming from, and Argentina tops the list.  This Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon was deemed by Decanter magazine as one of the top exceptional wines from Argentina with lots of personality.  This is a great wine for just $21 and is a great ‘meat’ wine, ie steak and roast beef, but it was also fantastic to drink all on its own.  Ripe berry fruit, with notes of vanilla and tobacco, this good structured Cabernet also had a great finish.  This was the winning red of the evening.

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Have a great weekend everyone.  Till next week, Cheers

Darlene

March Madness Wine Edition

Posted in Uncategorized on March 9, 2019 by darmyers

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March Madness has become the term for the NCAA Basketball Championships in the United States.  For me, it’s waiting for winter to end and Spring to show its face.  Here in Halifax, we’ve actually had more snow in March than we did in January or February.  Snow or not, it’s a great month to discover new wines.

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Besides, who doesn’t love sitting in front of a fire place on a chilly evening with a glass of wine and a good book.  This is my current read, and I’m loving it.  Half way through.

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Tried a new white wine this past week,  and wanted to share for all my white wine loving friends

The Quail’s Gate blend consists of 3 grapes, Chasselas, Pinot Blanc and Pinot Gris.  All the grapes for this wine were hand picked and blending took place after the grapes were fermented.  The blending of grapes can take place during fermentation or after.  By blending after fermentation, it allows the individual personalities to shine through in the wine.  This Quail’s Gate blend, which sells for $19.99 here, is from British Columbia, and is a wonderful example of great wines on the market made right here in Canada.

So, I’m doing a wine tasting tonight and was at the NSLC picking up wine for that yesterday evening and had the pleasure of trying some great new wines.

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For a treat wine, try this wonderful Italian blend from Farnese.   This is an example of a full-bodied wine with grapes that include Primitivo, Merlot, Sangiovese, and Malvasia just to name a few.  It’s $40 a bottle and you won’t be disappointed with this treat wine that goes with every meat dish you can imagine.

Here’s the wine I had yesterday evening.

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This Piemonte Barbera is young, but so good and it is meant to be consumed now.   Although it’s deep and dark in color, it’s actually a light to medium-bodied wine.  It was delicious tasting, with soft tannins and easy-to-drink fruit flavours of strawberries and cherry.    At just $17 a bottle, it almost made my wine of the week but not quite because hold on….

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Isn’t this the prettiest label you’ve seen in a while.  Mario was hanging out at our Larry Uteck location having people taste a wide variety of wines, including this one.  This is the Porta 6 from Portugal.  It’s so good, my NSLC sold out of it yesterday but Amber tells me more is arriving today.   It is $14.99 a bottle and that price tag will blow your mind.  It’s so smooth and so easy to drink  with gorgeous flavours of plum and some pepper on the palate.   I didn’t get to take one home because I was lucky to get a taste, but I’m going up today to buy a few.   The label also makes a great conversation piece if you’re sharing this one with friends.

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I’m excited about the wine tasting tonight,  i’ll be meeting all new people except for the lady that hired me.  It’s one of the reasons I enjoy doing this so much, and they’re in for a big treat  because I have a lot of new wines, which I will share with you next week.

Have a great week

Darlene

 

Wine & The Oscar’s

Posted in Uncategorized on March 2, 2019 by darmyers

Oscar

The 91st annual Academy Awards, also known as The Oscar’s ran Sunday evening past, and I got together with a few friends for a viewing party and some wine.

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We had a hoot as we watched the Oscar’s being awarded.  Greatest part of the evening for me was Queen and Adam Lambert rocking it to open the show.

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And although I am a big fan of Queen and their music, I don’t believe Bohemiam Rhapsody was all that and a cup of tea.  I enjoyed the movie, but between the historical inaccuracies of the film, and the fact it was so obvious Rami Malek was lip-syncing had me wishing the Academy showed more love for Vice, A Star is Born and The Wife.  Plus, let’s give a big shout-out to Marc Martel, the Canadian Singer, who was the voice of Freddie Mercury in Bohemian Rhapsody.  Yay Canada.

Speaking of a hooray for Canada, I am planning a trip to the wine country of the Niagara region in Ontario later this Spring.  My niece Tonya lives in Beamsville, and close by is the  Inniskillin Winery.  One of the wines I am interested in trying is this Montague Chardonnay, which is a single vine Chardonnay.  What single vine means, is that on many occasions a winemaker will use grapes from several different grape-growing regions to go into a single wine.  It’s more cost-efficient and you have a larger group of grapes that allow you to make a massive amount a certain blend.  A single vine wine tends to be a little more pricey, and the reason is location, location, and location.  Especially in white wines, which are more sensitive to the environment around them.   You can buy here it in Nova Scotia for $31.99 which is an excellent price for a single vine wine.

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Our local NSLC just introduced and had a tasting of the Bruce Jack wines from South Africa.  I tried the Shiraz and the Chenin Blanc.  Chenin Blanc originates from the Loire Valley in France but I think this winery did a really good job of giving it some personality.  Chenin Blanc is known to make dessert and sparkling wines, but some say the straight up chenin blanc can be bland and neutral.  Although this great value Chenin Blanc is fairlly neutral, I enjoyed the acidity and the stone fruit flavors.  The Shiraz had some plum flavors with exotic spice and I found both wines, priced at $15.48 per bottle, very good values from South Africa.

And my Award for my wine of the week goes to….

Edizione

Farnese is a commune located about 100 miles northwest of Rome.  It’s also a winery that makes from everything from a $12 Sangiovese to this Edizione Montepulciano, a grape variety and a town in Tuscany.  There is also a little Primitivo added and Negromara.  This beautiful wine is $46 a bottle, so a treat wine for most of my readers.  But it is so rich and so good, and has gorgeous flavors of toasty tobacco and black currants.   The winemaker says in this part of Italy there are no bad harvests, only great and outstanding.  This is an outstanding wine.

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There’s a storm coming to Atlantic Canada, two back to back storms actually.  Stay safe and make sure you have your storm wine.

Till next week, Cheers

Finding New Delights At A Wine Tasting

Posted in Uncategorized on February 23, 2019 by darmyers

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One of the things I love most about Saturday mornings, is me sitting in my pyjamas with a great cup of coffee writing my wine blog.   Some weeks I struggle with writers block, and some weeks the words flow easy.   This is one of the easy weeks because of a great winetasting I was part of last weekend.

Last Saturday evening I had the privilege of hosting a wine tasting in the Common Room of the building I live in, surrounded by 20 fabulous friends.  We tried some new wines, Someone we wouldn’t buy again and some we definitely would.  That’s part of the joy and excitement behind a wine tasting, stepping outside our comfort zones.

This morning I would like to share some of those wines with you.  We had some charcuterie boards with cheeses, meats and crackers to nibble on and we started with this rose wine from Francis Ford Coppola.

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I was given this bottle of wine as a gift and I wanted to share it with friends, so we had it as an opener to our wine tasting.  Francis Ford Coppola named this rose wine after his daughter, Sophia, and wanted to make it captivating, like the lady it was named after.  Sophia Coppola is an accomplished screenwriter and  movie director herself, winning an Academy Awards for the screenplay “Lost in Translation” starring Bill Murray.

This is an interesting blend of 70% Syrah, 20% Grenache, and 10% Pinot Noir, but sadly we can’t buy it here in Nova Scotia.  I found it to be a little high in alcohol for a rose wine, at 12.8%, and I don’t know if the ‘boozy’ burning I felt in my throat was from the alcohol content or the cold I was fighting.  It was a complex wine and I thought it paired well with the cheese and crackers.

Antinori is one of the most famous names in Tuscan wines and as part of the tasting we enjoyed this Antinori Bianco, which is a Trebbiano based wine.  I really enjoyed this wine with its tropical notes of pineapple and candied fruit.  Many of the participants commented on the sweetness, however, I didn’t find this wine sweet, but you could definitely taste the candied fruit, which would explain the comments on the sweetness.

The favorite white of the evening was definitely this one.

Moma white

By Umberto Cesari, the Moma red won the best wine of the evening at a previous wine tasting I had done last winter.  And this past Saturday night, the winner of the white wine category was this gorgeous blend of Trebbiano and Chardonnay with a little Sauvignon blanc.  At $20 a bottle, it’s a great wine at a great price, with great acidity and flavors that will pair well with any meal.  This wine originates from Emilia Romagna, the home if balsamic vinegar and parmesan cheese.

My wine of the week was everyone’s favorite red wine of the evening

We had many wines that were much more expensive than this one, but this Rompicollo was definitely the fan favorite.  At $18.99 a bottle, it beat out wines that were twice as expensive.  Made from 60% Sangiovese and 40% Cabernet Sauvignon this wine has been given 90+ points by many wine critics.  It had wonderful flavors and great structure and is the perfect wine for pizza or pasta.

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Well tomorrow night are the Oscars, and a group of friends and I are getting together to watch the Academy Awards and enjoy a sip of wine.

Have a great week

Cheers, Darlene

Wine & Food

Posted in Uncategorized on February 16, 2019 by darmyers

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Probably my three favourite words in the English language.     I’m not talking about mere eating and drinking for sustenance,  i’m talking great pleasure from a perfect pairing of delicious food and savoury wine.  I am hosting a wine tasting this evening, and one of the things I’m doing is bringing charcuterie boards with a variety of meats, cheeses and breads.   Nothing complements cheese and crackers like a good glass of wine.

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I know I featured a sparkling wine last week, but sparkling wines are so versatile especially when it comes to food.   I am serving a new one tonight by Zonin.  If that name seems familiar  to you, one of the reds was my #1 wine of 2018.   96 Point rating under $20!

 

From the same Vineyard, comes this wonderful Prosecco.

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The Zonin Special Cuvee Prosecco is the perfect way to celebrate special moments with friends, or to enjoy with any meal, especially with the appetizers.  Zonin has created an easy to drink Prosecco with fresh flavours of melon and citrus.  This particular Prosecco is dry and not sweet which makes it even more versatile.   The best part, it’s only $19 a bottle.

Tried a new wine last night with my friends, brand new to this market.

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This is a big wine , and I loved it.  This is the perfect comfort food wine, and as me and my friends are enjoying it, all I could think of was steak!   I am looking forward to enjoying this particular wine with a steak.  Francis Ford Coppola says “Winemaking and Film-making are rwo great art forms.  In both cases you have to start with top-notch raw materials , whether it’s the land or the script “. 

Like the name suggests, this wine offers big bold flavours.  It’s a blend of 92% Cabernet Sauvignon, 6% Syrah and 2% Petite Sirah, and here in Nova Scotia it sells for $24 a bottle.

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Not sure what you’re having this evening for supper, but I think I’ve talked myself into a steak.

Have a great week, till next week, Cheers

Darlene

 

 

The 5 Best Wines for Valentine’s Day

Posted in Uncategorized on February 9, 2019 by darmyers

This coming Thursday is a day when lover’s celebrate, it’s Valentine’s Day 2019.  My love is wine.. and kitty cats.  We all celebrate in our own way… Don’t judge!  LOL

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Lots of wine will be purchased for this coming Thursday.  Wondering which wine to get your loved one?  Let me help.  No matter if you drink white, red or sparkling, there’s something on this list for you.

  1. Bolla Prosecco DOC

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If you would love all the flavours and sparkle of Champagne, but don’t want to subject your pocketbook with that kind of money Champagne can cost, Prosecco is your answer!    This particular Prosecco is made by Banfi, in the Veneto region of Italy.   It’s less than $20 per bottle and is a great way to start in the evening and is a great complement to your appetizers .

2.  White #1- Pinot Gris

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Some people like their white wines with a crisp and tartness.   I love Pinot Gris, and this one from Kim Crawford in New Zealand is close to perfection.   I had a glass of wine with my friend Joan recently and this wine is what she served, and it was just delicious .   Chris flavours of melon and pear, this is a great wine if you are serving shellfish or any kind of fish this Valentine’s Day.   Comes in at $23 a bottle.

3.  White Wine #2- Chardonnay

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Some people like their white wines with a creamy smooth this, and for that we go to Chardonnay, the number one planted white grape varietal in the world.   This particular wine hills from down under, in Australia, and is less than $19 a bottle.  It’s Rich, with lovely flavours of butterscotch and is a great wine for Valentine’s Day if you’re serving lobster, chowder, or chicken.

4.  Red Wine #1- Pinot Noir

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Oregon, in my opinion, is making some of the best Pinot Noir wine on the planet.  This wine, Copper Cane Pinot Noir, Is the result of some California wine makers heading up to Oregon to make a supple Pinot Noir with vibrant flavours.  Pinot Noir is at it’s best when grown in a cool climate environment and that’s exactly the conditions Oregon produces, very similar to Burgundy France.   A treat at $35 a bottle

5.  Red Wine #2- Cabernet Sauvignon

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If you’re serving anything in the red meat department this coming Valentine’s Day, I suggest you try one of my favourite steak wines, Beringer Cabernet Sauvignon out of California.  This Cabernet is so good, many wine critics feel Cabernet Sauvignon  done to this quality of standard, we should be paying 40% more.   So the $38 price point is actually a steal of a deal.   It’s a beautifully Rich Cabernet Sauvignon with flavours of toasted oak, Winter spice and rich dark fruit.

This is me when people ask me how much wine I drink.

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Happy Valentine’s Day, and until next week, Cheers

Darlene

Saying Good-bye to January, The Month with 74 Days

Posted in Uncategorized on February 2, 2019 by darmyers

 

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I saw this meme around the 24th of January and thought it was very fitting.  Is it just me or does January feel like the longest month of the year.   Some people were talking of having a dry January, and I was thinking, ‘I don’t think so’.  You took away my shiny lights, my pretty Christmas tree, all my decorations, but you are not taking away my wine.  I did find some pretty good wines, which was the highlight of the month.

Gabbiano chianti

This came close to being the wine of the week.  It was an awesome Reserve Chianti Classico from Castello di Gabbiano and I got to enjoy the 2014 vintage which is 95% Sangiovese and 5% Merlot.  It’s full-bodied and luscious with notes of tobacco and leather.  Because it spent some time on oak, but only 10% new oak, the flavors were subtle, not oaky.  A great wine to accompany a steak, or prime rib or any big hearty meal of your favorite comfort food.  It’s $24.99 a bottle and a great wine.

Malbec

I almost didn’t open this, because I wanted to save it to share with my friend Mair, who loves French Malbec.   And low and behold, what did her and her roommate Sharon bring down to our gathering last night, this particular wine!  The Le Gouleyant Malbec from the Cahors region of France is a spectacular buy, and on sale currently here in Nova Scotia for just $15.99 a bottle.  A great time to stock up on this very nice wine.  The Vigouroux family has been a pioneering force in Cahors, making wine there since 1887.  This easy to drink fruit-driven wine is easy on the palate, soft tannins, and nice lasting finish. Since Argentina has adopted Malbec as its official grape, I still love to try a French Malbec now and again, and this one didn’t disappoint.

And now for my wine of the week….

Castanos GSM

My friend Amber at the NSLC hit it out of the ballpark when she recommended this wine.  It’s a new listing to the Port of Wines section at the NSLC and it’s fantastic! I love a GSM and this particular one is from Spain.  GSM stands for Grenache, Syrah and Mourvedre, unless it’s from Spain, when its called Garnacha, Syrah and Monastrell.  It’s my new favorite and I’m telling everyone about it.  It has such a rich deep color, when you look at the inky  purple you would almost think it was a Malbec.   Gorgeous flavours of red plum, licorice, and berries combined with good structure but soft on the pallet, makes it my most enjoyable wine of the week.

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Hello February, I’m glad you’re here.  And for all my wine drinking friends that are going to enjoy the big sporting event tomorrow, have fun

Till next week, cheers

Darlene

 

The Writer’s Block Wine Blog

Posted in Uncategorized on January 26, 2019 by darmyers

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I started blogging about wine almost 8 years ago!   Every Saturday, pretty well 52 weeks a year, I write a wine blog.   I’ve always been very adventurous when it comes to trying new wine, however week after week and year after year, sometimes I hit a wall.  A writer’s block wall.   This wine blog was initially named “Who Knows”,  (LOL) and then I realized most people won’t read a wine blog called Who Knows!   And although I’m kind of stumped as to the theme of this weeks wine blog, I do have some new wines to share with you!

portillo pinot

If you love Pinot Noir as much as I do, but feel there should be a hefty price tag attached to it, this wine is the answer to your prayers.   A light bodied, easy to drink Pinot thats big on flavour.   Nice flavours of cranberry and spice, this food friendly wine is priced under $13 a bottle.  Great wine at a great value.

And now for my wine of the week……

purple cowboy

I took a purple cowboy to a party last weekend.  I love the story behind this wi e, because the creator of this wine is a lady called Terry Wheatley.   And this lady knows a thing or two about Cowboys, both her husband and son are champion rodeo  cowboys.  Terry is also a breast cancer survivor, and started the ‘Tough enough to wear Pink’ campaign.  The wine is named after the band of purple cowboys, a legendary group of winemaking cowboys.   The wine is from Paso Robles California, and the Tenacious Red is a blend of Syrah, Zinfandel and Cabernet Sauvignon.  In a word, Delicious!

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I’m hoping I’m a little more inspired next weekend.  Till next week, Cheers

Darlene

Storm Wine

Posted in Uncategorized on January 19, 2019 by darmyers

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There’s a storm brewing, a major snowstorm expecting to hit Eastern Canada this coming Sunday evening.  Some areas are expected to get 60 – 80 cms of snow.  You’re going to need to stock up on wine, as it will take a while to shovel out from that one.

Help is here.  Here’s a few great wines to help you weather the storm, as I’ve had the opportunity to try a few new ones over the past couple of weeks.  To start, I have a couple of Cote du Rhone wines to tell you about.  My Welsh friend Mair lives wine from the Cote du Rhone region.

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Any time grape harvesting is done by hand, you are getting a better quality grape which in turn means a better quality wine. That’s the case with the Chateau du Trignon Cote du Rhone, of which I tried the 2016 vintage.  This beautiful blend of Grenache, Syrah and Mourvedre comes in under $20 yet contains appealing aromas of strawberries and raspberries, and subtle spicy notes on the palate.  It’s such a tasty wine at a really good value.  And speaking of tasty Cote du Rhone wines…

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Unlike the previous Cote du Rhone, this Saint Cosme 2017 is 100% Syrah, not a blend.  The spicy notes of the Syrah are evident on the palate along with flavors of full-bodied fruit and tobacco.  A great wine for roasted meats or a BBQ, this wine is sold here for $30 a bottle.

mascota cab franc

This Mascota Cabernet Franc is a fantastic value and came close to being the wine of the week.  At only $17.48 a bottle, Cab Franc is usually seen as a blend in regions like Bordeaux France, but this stand alone from Argentina hits it out of the ball park with flavor and good value.  It’s a perfectly balanced elegant wine that will have you wishing for more storm days.

And now for my wine of the week…..

wine saint bordeaux

If you’re in the mood to treat yourself this weekend, but still not break the bank, I loved the Chateau le Puy from Emilion from the Left Bank of Bordeaux.  This Merlot dominant blend has been given 94 points by Decanter Magazine and it’s still only $34 a bottle.  That’s a great price for such a quality wine from one of the best wine regions in the world.  It’s considered to be one of the best values to come out of the Bordeaux region, because if you have a look around the Bordeaux region in your wine store, they can easily vary from $100 to $1000 in that section of the wine store.  This wine is plump and juicy and all around delicious.  Hmmmm, this could be this week’s storm wine for me.

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True story.  I hope you are not too hard hit by the storm.  Till next week, Cheers.

Darlene

Quirky Wine Labels, Delicious Wine

Posted in Uncategorized on January 12, 2019 by darmyers

I do love an interesting wine label.  Sometimes you’re going to get a not so great wine inside, other times it’s a great wine.   Nothing starts a conversation at a social get together faster than a quirky wine label.  True story.   Bring a bottle of wine with an interesting label, and the questions will start pouring in.   It’s happened to me a few times.

pasi mento

Here is a picture of my very first new wine for 2019.  It comes from Verona, Italy, the home of Romeo and Juliet.  It’s a Merlot dominant blend, with Corvina and Croatina, a grape I thought I was trying for the very first time, until I found out it’s also known as Bonarda.  Both Corvina and Croatina are grapes widely used for blending in parts of Italy. And even though you may be on the wine budget in January, this wine is only $17 per bottle.

Festival of Wines South Africa

This wine I’ve written about before as it was one of the pleasant surprises I found at the Festival of Wines back in September.  This wine featuring the face of the mighty lion is a delicious Pinotage from South Africa, and it’s a delicious full bodied wine  that comes in under $16.

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The bottle featuring the giraffe, is the dry red blend, also coming in under $16 per bottle.   I can’t seem to find online what’s in the blend, but it was easy to drink and very pleasant, and a great price point.

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How often do you see an elephant riding a bicycle?   This interesting wine is a Zinfandel out of the Puglia region of Italy, normally where Zinfandel is called Primitivo.  Another unique fact about this wine is that it is fermented and aged in American oak, which is unusual for Italian winemakers.  It comes in at $20 a bottle and is a great dinner wine.

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You are never going to believe the price point on this French wine.  It’s under $14 a bottle and so good and so easy to drink.  It was a Christmas gift from my friend Sandra, and it was so good, I will be buying it again and again.  The winemaker says this 2017 version of the La Vieille Ferme Red Wine is the best in 30 years.  Apparently it was one of the driest growing seasons, with optimal harvest conditions and a small yield, which in the wine world means better quality.  It’s a blend of Carignan, Cinsault, Grenache and Syrah and was kept in both vats and large oak barrels for only 10 months, so it’s not an oaky wine.  Great wine at a great value is a great way to kick off a new year of wine.

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I drank that wine after my handsome nephew won his second game 2 – 1, at our Ice Jam Hockey Tournament where these underdogs were undefeated after 2 games.

Till next week, Cheers

Darlene

 

2019 Wine Trends

Posted in Uncategorized on January 5, 2019 by darmyers

At the beginning of every year since I started blogging about wine, I’ve talked about the upcoming trends we can expect to see  in the wine world.  A couple of years ago, I mentioned wine in cans, and lo and behold found this…

And the experts are saying wine in a can is continuing to grow, seeing a 43% raise in sales.  So let’s see what else the experts are saying about the wine world in 2019.

  1.  Italian wines will continue to see explosive growth.

Italy has recently surpassed France as the #1 wine producing region in the world.  They have gone back and forth in the past, however, Italy had a massive frost in 2017 which saw them produce 23% less wine that year.  In 2018 they took the crown again.  Italy is growing because they are producing delicious wines in all price points.  There is something for everyone in the Italian wine section.

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I’ve written about it before and continue to enjoy this Ripasso, which has been given 96 points, and comes in under $20 a bottle.  Because of the quality of wine coming out of Italy and the competitive price, Bordeaux has had to step up their game, which I’m happy to say, they did!

2.  You’re going to see an increase in Bordeaux wine.

Although considered a classic, Bordeaux wines can be hefty in price.  While scrolling through the list of Bordeaux wines at our local liquor store, one thing that jumps out are the prices.  $500 – $2000 is very normal to see in the Bordeaux section.  But stiff competition for good wine at decent prices have forced Bordeaux wine producers to come to the table with some competitive prices.

And here’s a great example, which my friend Mair shared with me ladt night.  The Chateau Courteillac Red comes from a vineyard 20 minutes away from the famed (and pricey) region of St. Emilion and boasts one of the highest elevated vineyards in the region.  This Bordeaux is Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon and Cabernet Franc, so easy to drink and is now priced at $15 a bottle.  How’s that for a reasonable priced Bordeaux wine.

3.  Nights In, Not Nights Out 

This trend has been growing for years.  People are entertaining at home, hosting their friends.  It’s expensive to eat and drink out, so people are opting to buying better quality wine at a fraction of the price you pay for it in a restaurant.  As a Sommelier, I’m also seeing more and more people host wine tastings in their home, as opposed to going out to a tasting.

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And my wine of the week this week is a spectacular white wine…

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The Domaine Laroche Chablis Saint Martin from Burgundy France is Chardonnay done so well.  It’s light and crisp and showcases the extraordinary terroir of Chablis.  Its finesse is marked by excellent acidity and a long aging on the lees.  Lees are leftover yeast particles and add a wonderful texture to both white and sparkling wines.  The longer the aging on these lees, the better the texture.  I loved this wine, I thought it was spectacular and here’s another fine example of a reasonably priced Bordeaux wine, coming in under the $30 mark.

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While the weather outside can be frightful this time of the year, it doesn’t seem to bother me.

Happy New Year, here’s to a fabulous wine-drinking 2019

Darlene

The Top 10 of 2018

Posted in Uncategorized on December 22, 2018 by darmyers

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This will be my last wine blog of the year, as I’m heading to Newfoundland on Monday for a week, to spend Christmas with my family.  I’ve decided to have a look at the past ‘Wines of the Week’, and come up with my favorite Top 10 finds of 2018.

10.  Mont Gras Antu Grenache Syrah & Carignan Blend

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A gorgeous take on the GSM wines, but made with Carignan instead of Mourvedre.  This $25 bottle of wine is an award-winning blend out of Chile and really needs to be decanted or let it breathe for a while.  Once you do that, you will discover a delicous rich blended wine.

9.  J. Lohr Merlot

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Voted top Merlot of the Show at our Festival of Wines here in Halifax, this beauty comes in at $30 but worth every penny.  Great comfort food wine, it’s 85% Merlot with some Malbec, Cabernet Sauvignon and Petite Syrah added in.  A very interesting wine, which I enjoyed more than once this past Fall

8.  Dile Rosso

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This fabulous find from last Spring doesn’t seem to be available here any more, maybe you’ll have better luck.  Loved the shape of the bottle with room for your fingers and thumb carved right into the bottle for easy holding and pouring.  It’s Nebbiolo and Barbera dominant, it also under $20 and a fantastic pizza and pasta wine.

7.  Message In A Bottle

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From Sting and his wife Trudie Styler, comes this wonderful Super Tuscan blend of Sangiovese, Syrah and Merlot.  My local wine store were selling them out, so I just bought them all.  Great wine for $30, and I just stockerd up for $25, as I’m led to believe it’s a very limited release, so get it if you can.

6.  Monte Antico Toscana

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My wine blogs tend to focus on finding great wines at great prices.  And this fit the bill when I discovered it last April.  Under $19 a bottle, and given lots of 90+ Point ratings, that’s what made it the wine of the week.  Another Tuscan blend of Sangiovese, Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon, I have bought it time and time again.

5.  Tormaresca Neprica

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One of my favorite wines that came out of the Festival of Wines, and I always have a bottle in my wine rack.  Fantastic value at $20, this blend of Negromaro, Primitivo and Cabernet Sauvignon from the Puglia region of Italy is a great wine.

4. Villa di Conchi Cava

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The best sparkling find of the year, no question.  I can’t believe this beautiful Cava from Spain is under $18 a bottle.  It comes in a beautiful gift box, which is great for gift giving and has those traditional sparkling flavors.  Think New Year Eve – think this wine.  It’s a great sparkling wine that won’t break the bank.

#3.  Paul Mas GSM

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This too could have been my wine of the year, it’s a beautiful GSM, (a blend of Grenache, Syrah and Mourvedre.)  It’s full bodied and opulent and just $20.75 a bottle.  A great staple in your wine rack for all those winter comfort foods.

2.  La Baume Syrah

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From the Languedoc Roussillion region of France comes this fantastic Syrah.  In 2010, this Syrah was given the title of Best Syrah In The World.  And it’s under $19.  Definitely worth making it into the Top 3 of 2018.  Any of my Top 3 could have been Number 1, and definitely worth trying.  This is a wonderful wine at a wonderful price point.

And now for my Wine of the Year…..

The Zonin Valpolicella Ripasso.

Never in my life have I found a 96-Point wine that sells for under $20.  Decanter Magazine gave it 96-Points, and so do I.  This fabulous wine spent 20 days on the skins and must of Amarone giving it those wonderful flavors.  My Wines of the Week spotlight great wines at great values and this was hands down the winner for the year.

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Just a quick note to say Merry Christmas and a wonderful New Year to you and your family.  Thank you for reading and supporting me through my wine blog every week.  I really appreciate.

Until 2019, Cheers

Darlene

Wine’s That Pair with Christmas Party Treats

Posted in Uncategorized on December 8, 2018 by darmyers

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It’s Christmas party time.  Do you have a lot of parties to attend this month?  I do as well.  So I’ve combined some pairings for Christmas party foods and snacks, or great ideas you can give a hostess as a gift.  Let’s get right to it.

Sparkling wines pair wonderfully with most foods.  Especially hor d’oeuvres and party snacks.  Sparkling wines also pair well with appetizer courses like salads.  And if you are one of those people who doesn’t like Sparkling wine, this Villa Conchi comes in a beautiful gift box and is a great gift for giving.  It also helps it sell for less than $18.

Rose wine is not just for Summer.  A nice rose is welcome at any of my parties

This arrogant Frog out of France is around the $15 mark, so easy to bring, most people will like it, and its easy on the wallet.  This rose wine made from Syrah grapes is perfect for cheese and crackers as well as those little sausages and pigs in the blanket.  Plus, it looks really pretty and festive in a glass.

I’ve tried two spectacular white wines this past week.

I dropped in on a friend of mine, and she had company, so we all sat down and enjoyed a glass of this Kim Crawford Pinot Gris.  I’ve had the Pinot Noir and the Sauvignon Blanc before, but this was my first time enjoying the Pinot Gris and it was, in a word, fantastic.  I loved it.  Crisp and light with those gorgeous flavors of melon and citrus.  We enjoyed it sitting around and chatting, but this is also a great wine if you are planning any smoked salmon or seafood appetizers.

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Sorry about the bad picture.  I tried a few new whites with my friend Amber at the NSLC this week, and I ended up buying this King Valley Chardonnay out of Australia.  It’s on sale and priced under $18 at the moment.  Great wine for your turkey dinner, the ham on Christmas Eve, or even if you’re planning on bringing in Chinese food this Christmas.  I loved this wine.

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I was asked to my friends, the Golden Girls on Saturday night.  They recently took a river cruise and were in Bordeaux France.  They bought home this spectacular Bordeaux for us to try.  It was full-bodied and grippy and a stellar wine for a big piece of roast beef or steak.  Unfortunately you can’t buy the Chateau Lamothe-Bergeron here it in Nova Scotia but what a treat it was.  I was reading some reviews of this vineyard online, and the tour of this vineyard is considered the highlight of an5 visit to Bordeaux, France.

And now for my wine of the week….

Paul Mas 2  Paul Mas 3

The first picture is to show you the gorgeous color of this GSM blend from the Languedoc region of France.  GSM being a blend of Grenache, Syrah and Mourvedre.  It is so good, I now have two more bottles in my wine rack.  Full-bodied and opulent, I loved the finish on this wine.  It’s a great value at $20.75 here in Nova Scotia and as I’ve mentioned, I’ve been back to buy more.  As a matter of fact I bought it to our wine night last night, and everyone who tried it, loved it.  And last night for food treats,  we had everything from cheese and crackers, nachos, to veggies and dip. It’s a great blended wine that will be a welcome addition to any party, but try it with your favorite comfort food.  Stews, ribs, roast beef, you’ll think you’re in heaven.  I did.

No recall on wine

I posted this yesterday on Wine In My Opinion’s Facebook page, because my news feed is either romaine lettuce being recalled or Kale.  Wine is definitely the safe bet.

Till next week, Cheers

Darlene

Christmas Flavours In The Glass

Posted in Uncategorized on December 1, 2018 by darmyers

December 1st

Here we are, the first day of December.  For me, this month tends to go by the fastest.  I have to admit, I really like this month.  Social get togethers with friends, the food, and of course the wine.

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Yes, it’s the month of the year when our check liver lights may come on.   Whether you like giving it as a gift, or enjoying it yourself, here are some great values for a month when money flies out the window.

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This is the perfect gift wine, in my opinion.  It’s a beautiful looking bottle with the gold netting around it, which I don’t think is well represented in this picture.  This Spanish Tempranillo has been aged for 7 years before it’s released, which makes it especially super smooth.   I have also recently found out that the vines that the grapes are grown on are at least 30 years old.  There’s a saying that goes  “The older the vine, the sweeter the wine.”  And not sweet as in sweetness levels, sweet as in smooth and rich.  The best part about this wine, it’s only $15.99 a bottle.   In my opinion it’s probably the best deal in the liquor store.

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Don’t let the paper bag fool you LOL.   Three Italian grape growers, two of them in their 80’s, who have been growing grapes for different vineyards for decades, decided to make a wine of their own.   The end product, is this red blend of Negromaro and Zinfandel.   These farmers use a method called ‘Albarello’ , which produces low yields and high quality grapes.   A delicious wine that pairs well with any meat dishes, especially BBQ.  This wine is also only $15.99 a bottle.

And now for my wine of the week ….

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This is the wine I had last night, and shared it with a few friends who loved it as much as I did.   My friend Amber from the NSLC recommended it, and her words to me were “you’re going to say Oh my God”!   She was right.  The state of Washington has an interesting quirk when it comes to making Merlot, they tend to be more structured than Cabernet Sauvignon wines out of the area.   This is unique to Washington state and really not found anywhere else in the world.  This wonderfully full-bodied wine is smooth, supple, and has gorgeous flavours of cocoa, raspberry and spice.   A fantastic wine for $25 a bottle.

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That’s it for this week. Enjoy every day of this wonderful month.

Till next week, Cheers

Darlene

Baby, It’s Cold Outside

Posted in Uncategorized on November 24, 2018 by darmyers

So it would appear Winter has hit Atlantic Canada.  -12 with a wind chill of -22.  Yes, Winter has definitely hit.

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Time for some comfort food and wine.

Last week I told you about the Chicken Carbonara my sister and I enjoyed at a restaurant.  I make a pretty good pasta dish of my own.

 

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Linguine With Green Olive Paste and 4 Cheeses: 

Paste:

In a blender combine

1 cup of green olives

A good helping of Olive Oil

A splash each of Red Wine Vinegar and Lime Juice

Basil

Garlic

Blend.   It’s supposed to be a paste, but a liquidy paste.  Not solid paste.  Again I apologize for no amounts, I never measure.  Which is why I cook better than I bake.

In the mean time, cut up chicken breasts into bite size pieces and cook.  I cook them in Maple Syrup sometimes just to add a different flavor to the pasta.  Set aside.

Boil your pasta, I like using fresh Linguine.   You can use your favorite pasta.  Here’s something you must do.  When you drain your pasta, RINSE it in water.  It gets rid of that yucky taste and add about a teaspoon of olive oil and stir throughout the pasta.  Trust me.

I use the pot I cooked the pasta in and combine the chicken, paste, real bacon bits and the 4 cheeses.  You can vary on the cheeses, but I always use Parmesan and Mozzarella and Asiago as my base .  The other cheese can vary.   I use Jarlsberg or Cheddar, but you can mix it up,   Add cream.  Lots of it.  Don’t forget the bacon!!

Bake in the oven for about 25 minutes

And here are a couple of Italian wines that is heaven in a bottle for this pasta dish.

Remole

The Frescobaldi family was one of the first to introduce traditional grape varieties to Italian grapes and thus create Super Tuscan wines.  This Remole Toscana is one of those Super Tuscan’s, and is a blend of 85% Sangiovese and 15% Cabernet Sauvignon.  Medium bodied with hints of cherries and black pepper, this wine is perfect for it which pasta dish because it’s compliments, not overpowers

Cielo wine

This Cielo 1908 Appassionatamente  it’s a fantastic wind to go with any Italian cuisine.  This wine is Merlot, Corvina, and Sangiovese.   This is the delicious Venetian wine with light spicy notes that again will make the food the star of the table.

And now for my wine of the week…

Trinchero

At this past year’s Festival of Wines, I got to try a real treat, and I thought I would share this treat.  Roger Trinchero is the President and CEO of the winery and says each wine is a representation of their family’s journey through seven decades of wine making in the Napa Valley.  This BRV version has been given 93 Points by both Robert Parker and James Suckling.  Personally, I give it 95 Points.  Full-bodied with rich flavour of licorice and cigar box.  It’s a treat at $105 a bottle, but everyone deserves a treat once in a while, right?

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The struggle is real.  Thanks for reading, till next week Cheers

Darlene

 

 

Wines For Winter

Posted in Uncategorized on November 17, 2018 by darmyers

Winter and wine

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

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

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

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

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

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

And now for my wine of the week….

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

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Have a great week, till next week cheers!

Darlene

 

 

A Star Is Born

Posted in Uncategorized on November 10, 2018 by darmyers

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

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

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

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

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

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

Till next week, Cheers

Darlene

Hello November

Posted in Uncategorized on November 3, 2018 by darmyers

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

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

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

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

And here is that perfect wine to go with it

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

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And on that note, till next week, Cheers

Darlene

 

A Little Pain, A Lot of Wine

Posted in Uncategorized on October 27, 2018 by darmyers

Start Line 2

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

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

Medal

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

Chateau Ste. Michelle Cabernet Sauvignon 2015

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

Wine Headband

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

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

Festival of Wines Trinchero Napa Cab 2012

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

And now for my wine of the week…

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

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

Darlene

Run A Little, Wine A Lot

Posted in Uncategorized on October 20, 2018 by darmyers

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

Festival of Wines Pinot Noir 1

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

Kilikanoon Killerman's Run Shiraz

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

And now for my wine of the week…

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

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

Cheers

Darlene

Peter Dennis Wines

Posted in Uncategorized on October 13, 2018 by darmyers

Peter dennis 2  Festival of Wines Peter Dennis

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

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

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

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

And now for my wine of the week…

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

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

Darlene

 

The Festival of Wines Grand Tasting

Posted in Uncategorized on October 6, 2018 by darmyers

Festival of Wines Us

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

Festival of Wines Nancy

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

Festival of Wines Cote de Rhone   

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

Festival of Wines Vintage Sangiovese

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

Festival of Wines J Lohr Merlot

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

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

Tormaresca

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

Festival of Wines Peter Dennis

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

Till next week, Cheers

Darlene

 

 

Festival of Wines

Posted in Uncategorized on September 29, 2018 by darmyers

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

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

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

Tidal Bay wines

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

Renwood

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

And now for my wine of the week

Otus

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

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

Darlene

 

Que Syrah Syrah

Posted in Uncategorized on September 22, 2018 by darmyers

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

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

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

And now for my wine of the week…

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

Wine Saturday 3

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

Darlene

How Merlot Can You Go

Posted in Uncategorized on September 15, 2018 by darmyers

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

Dada No.2 Merlot 2016

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

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

And finally my wine of the week…

Bogle Merlot (2)

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

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

Darlene

Grape From The Heart

Posted in Uncategorized on September 8, 2018 by darmyers

Wine Answer

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

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

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

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

The gang 1

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

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

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

Thanks for joining me for another blog

Till next week, Cheers

Darlene

National Red Wine Day

Posted in Uncategorized on September 1, 2018 by darmyers

National Red Wine day

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

Mix 96-5 logo

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

Under $15

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

Under $20

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

 

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

Under $25

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

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

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

Under $35

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

Under $50

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

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

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

Under $100

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

So that’s it for me for this week.

Till next week, Cheers

Darlene

Why Is This Wine Expensive?

Posted in Uncategorized on August 25, 2018 by darmyers

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

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Location, Location, Location!

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

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

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

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

Labor!

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

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

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

Now for my wine of the week….

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

Well, thats it for me this week

Till next week, Cheers

Darlene

Wine A Little, Wine A Lot

Posted in Uncategorized on August 18, 2018 by darmyers

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

 

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

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

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

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

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And now for my wine of the week…

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

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That’s it for this week

Till next week, Cheers

Darlene

It’s Wine-Thirty Folks

Posted in Uncategorized on August 4, 2018 by darmyers

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

Dona

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

Saint Clair Riesling

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

And now for my wine of the week….

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

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

Till next week, Cheers

Darlene

Exercise and Wine

Posted in Uncategorized on July 28, 2018 by darmyers

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

Wine Running

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

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

Liberado

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

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

And now for my wine of the week…

Suret

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

Wine text drunk

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

Have a great weekend, and till next week, Cheers

Darlene

 

A Grape Debate

Posted in Uncategorized on July 21, 2018 by darmyers

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

  1.  Magnums and boxed wine sales are growing! 

Wine Betty white

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

2.  Rose wines are on the rise.

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

3.  Massive growth will be in sparkling wines like Prosecco

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

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

And now for my wine of the week…

Orca

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

Leftover wine

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

Have a great weekend, till next week Cheers.

Darlene

Wine Man of the Year

Posted in Uncategorized on July 14, 2018 by darmyers

Eduardo Chadwick

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

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

Errazuriz Estate Cabernet

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

Don Maximiano

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

Arboleda

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

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

Zonin 2 Zonin 1

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

Wine is like duct tape

Have a great weekend everyone.

Till next week, Cheers

Darlene

 

 

 

Come Summer With Me!

Posted in Uncategorized on July 7, 2018 by darmyers

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

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

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

Cab France

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

And now for my wine of the week….

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

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

Till next week, Cheers

Darlene

 

 

Canada Day 2018

Posted in Uncategorized on June 30, 2018 by darmyers

Canada Day 2018

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

See ya later ranch

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

Cab Franc Rose

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

And now for my wine of the week….

Mission 5

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

Wine Above Average

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

Till next week, Cheers

Darlene

 

 

Hello Summer!

Posted in Uncategorized on June 23, 2018 by darmyers

Wine Summer 2

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

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

Roche Merlot

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

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

Lunghetta

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

And now for my wine of the week…

Montgo

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

Wine Summer

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

Till next week, Cheers

Darlene

 

Fun Wine Tasting Part 2

Posted in Uncategorized on June 16, 2018 by darmyers

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

Boabrisa

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

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

Here is my wine of the week…

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

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

Till next week, cheers

Darlene

 

 

 

Wine Tasting Fun Part 1

Posted in Uncategorized on June 9, 2018 by darmyers

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

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

 

Lightfoot and Wolfville

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

 

Kung fu Riesling

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

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

Villa de Conchi

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

Wine Fear

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

Till next week, Cheers

Darlene

 

Sunshine, Horse Races & Wine

Posted in Uncategorized on June 2, 2018 by darmyers

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

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

Now let’s talk about some wine …

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

And now for my wine of the week…

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

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

Till next week, Cheers

Darlene

National Wine Day

Posted in Uncategorized on May 26, 2018 by darmyers

What a week it’s been!

Royal Wedding

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

Wedding Feast

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

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

Bluenose 1

Bluenose 2

And then of course yesterday was National Wine Day…

Wine Day 2

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

House of Mandela

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

And now for my wine of the week…

Vigne Vecchie Primitivo

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

Wine weekend

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

Cheers

Darlene

 

Hello Again

Posted in Uncategorized on May 19, 2018 by darmyers

Barbados 10

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

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

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Swimming and snorkeling in the ocean….

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

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

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

So, let’s get to the wine this week….

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

Dile Wine 1

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

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

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

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

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

Darlene

Vacation Time

Posted in Uncategorized on April 28, 2018 by darmyers

Barbados

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

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

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

And now for my wine of the week….

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

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

Cheers, Darlene

World Malbec Day

Posted in Uncategorized on April 21, 2018 by darmyers

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Thats it for this week

Till next week, Cheers

Darlene

Fun Wine Facts

Posted in Uncategorized on April 14, 2018 by darmyers

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

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

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

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

Here’s something I found interesting.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Till next week, Cheers

Darlene

 

The Grape Adventure

Posted in Uncategorized on April 7, 2018 by darmyers

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Till next week, Cheers

Darlene

Easter Wine Pairings Simplified

Posted in Uncategorized on March 31, 2018 by darmyers

Wine Easter

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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or pie…

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Most people like a little something sweet on holiday weekends.

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

And now for my wine of the week…

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

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Happy Easter everybody from my family to yours

Darlene

Where is Spring?

Posted in Uncategorized on March 24, 2018 by darmyers

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

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

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Me, I buy Storm Wine.

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

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

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

And now for my wine of the week.

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

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

Till next week, Cheers

Darlene

 

Exceptional Australian Wines

Posted in Uncategorized on March 17, 2018 by darmyers

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Till next week, Cheers

Darlene

 

 

 

Limited Finds- One of a Kind

Posted in Uncategorized on March 10, 2018 by darmyers

 

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

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

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

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

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

And now my wine of the week….

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

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

Till next week, Cheers

Darlene