Hello December!

Posted in Wine on December 3, 2016 by darmyers

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

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

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

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

And my wine of the week…..

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

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

Till next week, Cheers

Darlene

 

 

 

Christmas Shopping for Wine

Posted in Wine on November 26, 2016 by darmyers

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

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

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

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

And my wine of the week is….

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

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

Thank you and till next week, Cheers

Darlene

The Affair

Posted in Wine on November 19, 2016 by darmyers

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

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

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

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

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

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

Till next week, Cheers

Darlene

November Wines

Posted in Uncategorized on November 12, 2016 by darmyers

November

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

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

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

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

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

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

Till next week, Cheers

Darlene

 

 

Daylight Savings Wine

Posted in Uncategorized on November 5, 2016 by darmyers

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

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

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

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

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

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

Till next week, Cheers

Darlene

 

 

Spooktacular Wine Finds!

Posted in Wine on October 29, 2016 by darmyers

Wine Fall

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Till next week, Cheers

Darlene

Storm Wine!

Posted in Uncategorized on October 22, 2016 by darmyers

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

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

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

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

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

And my wine of the week…..

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

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

Till next week, cheers.

 

Comfort Food & Great Wine

Posted in Uncategorized on October 15, 2016 by darmyers

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

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

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

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

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

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

Which brings me to my wine of the week….

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

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

Till next week, Cheers

Wines I’m Particularly Thankful For!

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

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

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

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

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

And now its time for my Wine of the Week

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

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

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

Till next week, Cheers

Darlene

Festival of Wine Favorites

Posted in Wine on October 1, 2016 by darmyers

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

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

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

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

And my wine of the week….

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

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

Darlene

It’s Festival of Wines Time!

Posted in Wine on September 24, 2016 by darmyers

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Darlene

 

 

 

My Trip To Huff Estates Winery

Posted in Uncategorized on September 17, 2016 by darmyers

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Till next week, Cheers

Darlene

 

 

My Visit To Norman Hardie Winery

Posted in Uncategorized on September 10, 2016 by darmyers

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

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

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

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

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

Pinot Noir

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

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

Till then, Cheers

Darlene

 

 

 

Wining With Family!

Posted in Wine on September 2, 2016 by darmyers

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Enjoy the long weekend, till next week Cheers

Darlene

Your Wine Questions Answered!

Posted in Wine on August 20, 2016 by darmyers

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

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

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

2.   How long does a wine keep?

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

3.  Are all sparkling wines considered Champagnes?

No!

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

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

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

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

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

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

See you in two weeks, Cheers

Darlene

 

A Few More Fun Facts About Wine!

Posted in Wine on August 13, 2016 by darmyers

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

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

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

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

Wine full of shit

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

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

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

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

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

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

Til next week, Cheers

Darlene

 

 

Good Wine With Great Friends!

Posted in Wine on August 6, 2016 by darmyers

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

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

Heating things up in January with Great Wine!

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

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And thanks for the scenic adventure.

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

Benjamin Bridge Tidal Bay

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

Prince Phillipe Beaujolais

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

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

Here’s the  Rose wine we tried

Jacob's Moscato Rose

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

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

 

Casa Concha CAb

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

You Can't buy happiness

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

Till next week Cheers

Darlene

Birthday Wine

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

Birthday wine

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

Wine shop for

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

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

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

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

7 Deadly Zinbs

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

Creme Brule

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

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

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

Royal tokaji

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

And my wine of the week

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

Wine Birthday

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

Till next week, Cheers

Darlene

I’m A Fool For the Cool

Posted in Wine on July 23, 2016 by darmyers

Summer Lovin'

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

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

Schug Chardonnay

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

– Schug Pinot

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

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

Wine TGIF

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

Avondale Tidal bay

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

And my wine of the week….

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

Summer wine

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

Darlene

 

The Ultimate BBQ Wine-off

Posted in Wine on July 16, 2016 by darmyers

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

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

Shiraz Syrah

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

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

Steak

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

Wolf Blass ShirazJimmy Shiraz bottle

Elephant Hill Syrah Tellus

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

And my wine of the week…

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

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

Till next week, Cheers

Darlene

Chillin’ With Wine This Summer!

Posted in Uncategorized on July 9, 2016 by darmyers

Wine bad weather

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

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

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

And my wine of the week…..

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

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

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

Till next week, cheers.

Darlene

 

Happy Canada Day

Posted in Wine on July 1, 2016 by darmyers

Happy Canada day

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

Tidal Bay

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

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

Ice wine

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

Mission Hill Merlot reserveSandhill

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

And my wine of the week…

Hidden Bench Pinot

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

Long weekend 2

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

Take care, and till next week, Cheers

Darlene

You’re Making Me Blush!

Posted in Wine on June 25, 2016 by darmyers

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Thanks for reading and till next week, Cheers

Darlene

 

 

Chilling with Red Wine!

Posted in Wine on June 18, 2016 by darmyers

Red wine

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

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

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

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

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

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

Ravenswood

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

And my wine of the week features an interesting label…

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

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

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Enjoy the weekend everyone.

Till next week, Cheers

Darlene

Wine… Why Not

Posted in Wine on June 11, 2016 by darmyers

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

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

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

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

Lightfood rose

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

And my wine of the week…

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

Wine Amateur

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

Darlene

Anniversary Wine

Posted in Uncategorized on June 4, 2016 by darmyers

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

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

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

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

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

And now my wine of the week……

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

Wine Happiness

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

Till next week, Cheers

Darlene

BBQ Season Wines!

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

Wine BBQ

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

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

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

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

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Love a burger done on the grill?  Me too!

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

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

Tidal Bay

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

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

Rodney Strong Chardonnay 1c97e-ribs

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

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

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

Wine BBQ 2

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

Till next week, Cheers

Darlene

 

 

Wine Loving Long Weekends

Posted in Uncategorized on May 21, 2016 by darmyers

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

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

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

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

And my wine of the week…….

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

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

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

Long weekend

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

Till next week, Cheers

Darlene

Wines of South Africa

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

 

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

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

Gorgeous

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

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

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

Cedarberg Bukettraube   Salad

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

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

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Darlene and Rayell

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

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

Till next week, Cheers

Darlene

 

 

My Mother’s Day Picks

Posted in Wine on May 7, 2016 by darmyers

 

Mom #2

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

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

Dreaming Tree chardonnay       Village reserve

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

May 2015 006 Nova 7

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

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

And my wine of the week is….

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

Wine Mother's Day

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

Till next week, Cheers

Darlene

 

Toasting 20 Years of Friendship

Posted in Wine on April 30, 2016 by darmyers

Tigger turns 20

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

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

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

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

Tigger Vogue Tigger

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

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

Tigger doing yoga

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

And now my wine of the week

Beringer

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

Tigger's High Five

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

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

Till next week, Cheers

Darlene

 

Vacation Wine!

Posted in Uncategorized on April 23, 2016 by darmyers

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Last Saturday I was here, just hanging out with the Sharks.   This week it’s back to reality.  Wine  always seems to taste better when you’re on vacation.  I had a wonderful vacation and I got to enjoy a couple of fantastic wines that I would like to share with you.

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Here is a super interesting wine.   Not only do you get to check your eyesight along the way, you also get to enjoy a very tasty wine.   This is the Eye Chart California red blend, the second collaboration from winemakers Joe Gott and Dave Phinney.   It’s a blend of Cabernet Sauvignon, Petite Sirah, Syrah, and Merlot.  It’s full-bodied, rich and has lots of great structure.   The grapes are sourced from the Napa Valley, Sonoma, Lodi and Mendocino.  That tells me there’s lots of rich luscious tasting fruit in this wine.  Be careful as it can pack a punch with 14.9% alcohol.  In case you’re wondering, the first collaboration between these two talented winemakers made headlines when they made the Shatter Grenache!

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Right after I did my wine blog about California a few weeks back,  and in the blog talked about Sterling Vineyards ,  I got to try another beauty from that winery.   The 2012 Black Label Pinot Noir is a  fantastic expression of a California Pinot Noir.  This wine had some spice  along with delicious raspberry flavours and hints of vanilla.  It comes in at around the $25 mark and worth every penny!

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

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And this one comes in a square bottle.   The California Square Red blend of Cabernet Sauvignon and Cabernet Franc  is from the Paso Robles region of California.  And it’s the first time I’ve ever seen wine in a square bottle.   What a terrific gift.  I just love Cabernet from the Paso Robles region,  it’s full-bodied with lots of dark rich fruit flavours and aged to perfection in Oak barrels.  This is a great barbeque wine and at $22 a bottle, one you’ll be able to afford all summer long!

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My sister Jackie and I had a fun filled week at the Atlantis resort on Paradise Island in the Bahamas!   To say it was spectacular would be an understatement.

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In the meantime I have to catch up on some real life  and by real life I mean laundry !  LOL

Till next week, Cheers

Darlene

Fun Wine Facts

Posted in Wine on April 9, 2016 by darmyers

 

And that’s just one of the fun facts you’ll learn about wine, and I’ll share some new wines I have discovered in the past few weeks.   Did you know one barrel of wine makes 1,180 glasses of wine or just over 24 cases.  Wouldn’t we all love to have a wine barrel handy.

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Here’s the Primitivo I treated myself to last Friday night.  I apologize for the blurry picture, I took 3 pictures, but I must have been shaking with excitement.  The Gold Series Vigne Vecchie Primitivo Di Manduria is a mouthfeel to say and a treat to the palate.  Primitivo originated in Croatia, but now is mostly grown in the Puglia region of southern Italy and of course California where it is known as Zinfandel.  Primitivo means early riser because it is one of the earliest budding grapes.  This wine was the gold medal winner at the New Zealand International Wine Show, and with its spicy cherry flavors, smooth oak finish and tobacco notes, I wasn’t surprised to hear that.  Comes in at around the $40 mark but worth every cent.

Did you also know that one case of wine equals 30 pounds of grapes and one acre of grapevines produces 4000 bottles of wine or 15,940 glasses of wine?   Make no wonder winemakers seem happy all the time!

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Had a new Pinot Noir from New Zealand a couple of weeks back.  From Hawkes Bay, the Hipi Pinot Noir was delightful and full of flavor.  The word ‘hipi’ is the Maori word for sheep, not the traditional meaning here in North America.  Black cherry flavors with soft tannins, this wine was made for drinking now.  Although you could cellar it for 3 – 5 years.

My friend Rosalie drinks her wine with ice cubes, as many people I know do.  I should pass along this tip.  And although Rosalie drinks red wine, it should work with red grapes as well.  Speaking of my friend Rosalie, her and her husband Ron, bought me a wine from New Brunswick that I couldn’t get here in Nova Scotia a couple of weeks ago.  And it was my wine of the week.

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The Lake Sonoma Dry Creek Zinfandel was so good.  It was a limited edition brought in to New Brunswick, so I’m a little sad I won’t have it again, but it was worth every sip.  It won the gold medal at the World Wine Awards of Canada in 2015, you probably won’t find it surprising its from the Sonoma region of California.  This is a big robust wine with lots of jammy fruit and hints of black pepper.  So you know it was spectacular with the BBQ ribs I enjoyed with the wine but it would go great with any grilled meats and especially lamb.

I’ll close off with some of the health benefits of our favorite beverage.

Thank you for reading and sharing my wine blog, it is very much appreciated.  Welcome to the new readers from last week, and thank you for the kind notes everyone.

There will not be a wine blog next week as I am heading to the Bahamas on Thursday with my sister?   I can’t wait to share with you when I get back all the new wines I’m looking forward to trying .

Till then, Cheers

Darlene

 

 

 

My Favorite Burger Wines

Posted in Wine & Food on April 2, 2016 by darmyers

Burger week

Last week Halifax celebrated Burger week, and I joined in the celebrations in a couple of ways.  I did go out and enjoy some burgers, and I also cooked a few burger concoctions myself for the staff of the radio station.  I love burgers because they are so versatile, and they also pair beautifully with wine.

Burger week 3 Burger week4

Burgers and wine are one of those matches made in heaven.  Now you might be thinking because of the red meat, red wine is an automatic.  I have a couple of great red wine matches, but don’t discount the white.

Conundrum

Here is a great burger white wine.  One of my favorites.  Out of California comes the Conundrum white.  The aromas of this wine alone will take your breath away.  Juicy aromas of passion fruit, tropical fruits and peach.  And all those flavors follow the wine to the palate.  This is a rich full-bodied white wine that is a blend of Chardonnay, Semillion, Sauvignon Blanc and Viognier…. this is a wine with lots of layers.  There is a hint of oak, but I don’t feel it overpowers the wine in any way, so for my friends who don’t like Oak this wine could be worth a try

Double Decker wine

This Double Decker California Red Blend is another great burger wine.  My apologies for the wine stained  label on my bottle LOL     I guess I was super excited to try this one   Cabernet Sauvignon, Petite Sirah and Barberra brings to the table a full-bodied wine and lots of juicy flavors.  Juicy wine, juicy burger, what’s not to love.   In my opinion a juicy wine is one where the fruit just shines.  Flavors of plums and black cherries is a great compliment to anything barbecued, especially the burger.

Burger week5 Wolf Blass Shiraz

I like to add Sriracha sauce to my hamburger meat before I put it on the grill.  I like a burger with a bit of spice.  So it probably won’t come as any surprise that I like a bit of spice in the wine.  Nothing brings a bit of spice to wine like a good Shiraz, and I haven’t had this particular Shiraz since I left Newfoundland, because my local liquor store doesn’t carry this one.  It’s too bad, it’s a beautiful wine.  Inky purple colors with flavors of chocolate and eucalyptus with a slight herbal finish.  The Grey Label Series from Wolf Blass are favorites of mine.  They also make a fantastic Cabernet Sauvignon.  They come in around the $40 range, but if you get a chance to try them, treat yourself.

My new wine of the week is ….

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Surprise… it’s a Pinot Noir out of Chile.  I was pleasantly surprised by the body in the wine, and the variety of layers.  Pinot Noir, when not done right, can be wimpy and not have a lot of flavor.  Known as the heartbreak grape, this grape has a very thin skin, which makes it very finicky.  It’s hard to grow, hard to cultivate, but the reason wine-growers still go through hell and back to grow this grape is that once it’s done right, it’s magical.  The Santa Ema Reserve Pinot Noir was done right and the best part… it’s under $22.  This was a medium to full-bodied and had the cherry and strawberry flavors you’d expect in a good Pinot and it had a lasting finish.  That’s what I liked about it.  When Pinot Noir is done right that’s what happens, it lingers.  Santa Ema has been making wine since the 1930’s when Pedro Pavone came to Chile from the Piedmont district of Italy, and Wine Spectator has named them one of the Top 20 Value brands.  This is a great wine, give it a try.

Wine Saturday 2

Wouldn’t be the first time!   However I have a dinner party tonight so I’m really hoping for the opportunity to try a lot of different wines. I will write about them next week  Have a great weekend everyone, thanks for reading.

Till next week, Cheers

Darlene

 

 

 

 

 

 

Still Dreaming in California

Posted in Uncategorized on March 26, 2016 by darmyers

Napa sign

I didn’t plan on doing a follow up blog to last week’s California Dreamin’ , but all the new wines that I have tried last week were from California.  And as the sign says, the wine is bottled poetry.  Here’s a great example of bottled poetry.

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From Sonoma County, this 2013 Pinot Noir from La Crema is worth every penny of the $37 I spent on it.  If you have a special occasion coming up, this is your wine.  This zesty Pinot Noir will come alive on your palate.  Super smooth with pomegranate and plum fruits and notes of milk chocolate.  Great wine for everything from your Easter dinner to the chocolate you may be enjoying this weekend.

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I have written about the Chateau St. Jean Pinot Noir previously, and this past week I had the opportunity to try the 2013 Cabernet Sauvignon.  This is an amazing value at just $18.99 and the first thing that went through my head was it reminded me of a $35 bottle of California Cabernet Sauvignon that I’ve been enjoying recently.  Barbecue lovers – this is a great wine for you.  Full-bodied with a perfect balance of fruit and spice.  Perfect for ribs, steaks or anything else you throw on the grill.  Be careful if you go into your local liquor store and ask for ‘Chateau St. Jean Cabernet Sauvignon’, because they carry an $80 one as well.  I haven’t tried that one yet.

Lodi

Northeast of San Francisco and southeast of the Napa Valley is a fabulous wine growing region known for its Zinfandel.  40% of California’s production of Zinfandel comes from Lodi.  This region has been producing Zinfandel since the 1800’s so there are many ‘old vine’ producers.  With it’s population of about 63,000 people, it is the birthplace of A & W root beer, but will always be known as the Zinfandel Capital of the world.   Here’s another of the many beauties from the region.

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Assembly Old Vine Zinfandel is another great value in my mind.  In the $23 range where I live, this wine is full of flavor.  Dark cherries, mocha, smoky bacon and hints of oak might sound like a lot is happening on the palate, but the subtlety produced by these old vines make for a super smooth wine.  One of my favorite characteristics of Zinfandel is that it is so food friendly,  and my personal favourite wine for anything barbeque!

My wine of the week this week is a white wine……

William Hill

Also from California, this Chardonnay is the stuff dreams are made of.  I had the opportunity to taste this recently with my friend Rayell.  And the beautiful flavors of apples and spice make it a delectable California Chardonnay.  Regular readers of this blog know how much my Mom loves Chardonnay and I got a feeling this is going to be one of her new favorites when she comes for a visit.  A perfect pairing with chicken or fish.

Wine Easter

Here’s to a great Easter Weekend.  It’s a long weekend in most places so we get an extra evening to enjoy a glass of wine.

Till next week, Cheers

Darlene

 

 

California Dreamin’!

Posted in Wine on March 19, 2016 by darmyers
California Dreamin
Our local NSLC stores have been featuring California wines, and I thought I would share a few of my favorites.  I have a very special affinity for California wines, having been to the Napa Valley in 2001.  I also spent some time around Coastal California, and I just love the state.  The scenery took my breath away, the people were fantastic and the wine…. nothing short of spectacular.
Calistoga Calistoga map
Here is a picture of Calistoga, where I stayed, which is in the very northern tip of the Napa Valley.  I did, however, drive to the Napa Valley, so I got to see a lot of it.   Staying in Calistoga was lovely, with a population of about 5500, it was quaint and friendly and easy to get around.  Known for it’s spas, I went for the wine.  Here are a couple of my favorites to come out of California.
 Sterling
One of the vineyards I got to visit, which was on a hill overlooking Calistoga, was Sterling Vineyards.  I was so excited because this brand is available here in Canada.  They make a variety of good wines in every price range.
Sterling Cab
From this Sterling Cabernet Sauvignon which comes in at the $15 range.  It’s a great wine for that price range.  Lots of rich fruit flavors, with notes of plum and vanilla, and perfect for the BBQ.
Sterling Merlot
This spectacular Merlot from Sterling is also available here in Nova Scotia.  Wine – $32, glass $6, memories of enjoying this wine in the beautiful California sunshine – priceless!   And believe me, the wines available from the vineyard itself is very extensive.  We see maybe 6 or 8 different Sterling wines here in Canada, but from the vineyard you can choose from Single Vineyard Selections, Sterling Vintner Collection, Reserve wines, Cellar Club and Napa Appellation wines just to name a few.
St. Helena
Just down the road from Calistoga is St. Helena, and St. Helena is wall to wall wineries.  As a matter of fact, you can walk from vineyard to vineyard, there are that many of them.  St. Helena is in the heart of the Napa Valley and home to many familiar brand names.  Beringer, Sutter Home, and Francis Ford Coppola just to name a few.  It is also home to some of my favorites.
Mondavi vineyard
Robert Mondavi is located in St. Helena, and I visited this vineyard twice.  It was just so beautiful.  Again, Canada sees a few wines from this vineyard, like this Robert Mondavi Private Selection Cabernet Sauvignon, which is in the $20 price range.
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To a few finer ones, like the 2004 Robert Mondavi Reserve which comes in at a cool $165.00 per bottle.
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This vineyard puts out a multitude of fine wines, and there is a great selection right at the vineyard you can buy.   Our local store has recently started carrying this Robert Mondavi Private Selection Heritage Red Blend.   This is a fantastic wine at just $20.  A blend of Syrah and Cabernet with a little bit of Zinfandel and Petite Sirah, this is one of my new favorites and will probably be my go-to barbecue wine this Summer.
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You cannot go to Napa Valley without visiting Robert Mondavi.  Here’s another can’t miss visit….
Francis Ford 1 Francis Ford 3
Francis Ford Coppola, the legendary movie director of such great classics as The Godfather movies, also owns a legendary vineyard in Napa Valley.  Spectacular movies – spectacular wines.
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From the tasty Rosso blend, which I bought at the vineyard for $10 a bottle, (it is about $18 here in Canada) to the Director’s Cut Merlot (which I also bought at the vineyard
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Francis Ford Coppola has been quoted as saying making films and making wine are two great art forms.  And I tend to agree with him.   I visited this particular Vineyard three times during my 10 day visit.   You just can’t see it all in one visit .  He also has olive trees and makes his own olive oil right on site.  When I was there I met a lady who said she drove for 90 minutes and she was stocking up.  In her own words, the best olive oil she has ever tasted.   I was disappointed I only bought one bottle.   They also have an extensive gift shop where I bought some beautiful napkins .
And upstairs in the wine tasting room, you can view artifacts from his movies, including the Oscar’s.   There was also the famous car from Tucker,   And one of the suits from the Godfather!   Upstairs in the  movie room, you need a couple of hours to take it all in.
My new wine of the week is also a dream from California….
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The 2013 Beran Zinfandel (pronounced Baron) is a combination of old vine grapes and new vine grapes, coming from the Sonoma County in Napa Valley and some from Mendocino, many of which are organic.  The family has been in the wine business for many years and some of their grape growers have been growing grapes since 1917, so they know how to make a good Zinfandel.  I loved this wine, it was a clean and crisp Zinfandel with subtle smoky notes and hints of bacon.  But these flavors did not over-power the fruit.  This wine comes from the same vineyard as this wine I wrote about a while back
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The Carne Humana Red Wine is available here in Nova Scotia, is around the $30 mark, and is a rich blend of Petite Verdoh, Petite Sirah and Zinfandel.  If you are a little leery about trying a blended wine, don’t be.  These are delicious and not sweet at all.  Remember, Bordeaux wines are all blends.
Wine Storm 2
Well we are supposed to get one more visit from Old Man Winter on Sunday night, but I am well prepared wine wise!
Till next week, Cheers
Darlene

Wines Good Enough To Stop a Clock!

Posted in Uncategorized on March 12, 2016 by darmyers

Spring Ahead

The clocks go ahead tonight, and although we lose an hour of the weekend, I am really looking forward to the extra long evenings.  It’s a sure sign of Spring when the clocks go forward an hour.  There are some wines that come to mind that could stop a clock in its tracks!

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Here’s a new wine I tried a few weeks back.  This Montes blend from Chile is a fantastic combination of 70% Cabernet Sauvignon and 30% Carmenere.  This wine truly brings out the best of both grapes.  Rich and full-bodied with the fruit dominating the palate, but you can’t miss the flavors of cigar, chocolate, coffee and vanilla.  This is a great wine and comes in at under $19.  That’s the fabulous thing about Chilean wines, they are fantastic wines at a very reasonable price.

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Here is another remarkable Chilean blend that I tried a few weeks back.  The Casa Silva winery is one of the most respected in Chile and the 5th Quinta Generacion blend of Syrah, Cabernet Sauvignon, Petite Verdoh and Carmenere hits it out of the ball park.  It’s not sweet, and not too dry, just a fantastic blended wine.  Very Bordeaux like with rich fruits and notes of tobacco, blueberry and cassis on the palate.  At $22.49 a bottle here in Nova Scotia, this is a winner.

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For my white wine loving friends, here is a gorgeous Chardonnay I had recently.  The Kings Valley Chardonnay is a deal at $22 a bottle and hails from Australia.  This had lively gorgeous flavors of apricots, tropical flavors, and stone fruit.  It came alive on the palate and has become one of my favorites.

My new wine of the week…

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We head back to Chile for a spectacular wine.  At the Australian 6 Nations National Wine Challenge back in December, Terrunyo won the Best of the New World Wine category.  The Competition invites the finest wines of the New World -Argentina, Chile, New Zealand, South Africa and United States- to participate.   It’s from Concha y Torro vineyard, which makes a wide variety of wines in every price range.  You’ll understand once you try this wine.  It’s a treat at $40 a bottle, and worth every penny.   Aged in barrels for 14-16 months, this smooth beauty has classic flavors of blackberry, cassis and tobacco.  This wine, made by winemaker Ignacio Recabarren, is my favorite wine of the week.

Wine Personality 2

Have a great week everyone.  Don’t forget the clocks goahead tonight.  Don’t look at it as one less hour of drinking wine,  look at it as an extra hour to have a glass of wine Saturday night!

Till next week, Cheers

Darlene

 

 

Hello Spring

Posted in Wine on March 5, 2016 by darmyers

 

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This is a picture from my work window on Tuesday March 1st!  Not a snowflake to be seen.  And to be honest, much of February looked like this.

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This is what it looks like outside my window this morning as I’m writing this blog,  Spring was definitely in the air  when I decided to call this blog HElliott Sprong.   The days are getting longer and the sun shines brighter  and that tells us Spring is coming very soon .  You know a great way to celebrate Spring…. wine!

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This is the bottle of wine I had the previous Friday night and what a treat it was.  The Layer Cake Cabernet Sauvignon from California explodes on your palate with vibrant flavors of spice-infused fruit, cherries, tobacco and cedar.  Rich and full-bodied with notes of chocolate, this is a stunning Cabernet Sauvignon.  Coming in at about $37, worth every penny.  If the weather is surprisingly spring like in your area, and you are kick-starting the BBQ any time soon, this is the wine for you.

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Here’s another fantastic wine from the Russian River Valley in Sonoma County Napa Valley.  This region is gaining quite the reputation for spectacular wines and the Rodney Strong Pinot Noir from 2012 is no exception. I’ve written about the Merlot previously, but this was my first time trying the Pinot Noir.  The Russian River Valley is considered one of the finest places outside of Burgundy France to grow Pinot Noir.  Unlike some Pinot wines, this one is intense with plum, cherry, smoke, and spice flavors.   In my opinion, Pinot Noir pairs well with most foods.

Rodney Strong Chardonnay

And I recently got to try another wine from the Rodney Strong family, the Chardonnay.   This wine was barrel fermented with lees stirring every month.  What does this mean?  It gives it a nice aroma of ripe lemon and apple with a touch of toast.   Those apple flavors also show up on the palate and it has a beautiful lingering finish.  I tried it with my friend Rayell at the NSLC and when we started talking I told her the flavors were still there on my palate.

Time for my wine of the week….

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The Bridlewood Cabernet Sauvignon from Paso Robles California.  Heaven in a bottle.   On several occasions I’ve written about another Cabernet Sauvignon from the Paso Robles region from Beringer.   It’s full-bodied and features bold dark fruit flavors including blackberry .  It also has flavors of chocolate, cassis and a beautiful smooth finish.  This was my treat bottle this past week, and I bought the store out.  This is in limited supply because NSLC has a special feature for California on, and they bought it this wine for one time only.   It’s a beauty, but probably going to be very hard to find.   Good luck… it’s worth the hunt.

Wine Yoga

Here’s to a great weekend of enjoying yoga and drinking wine.

Till next week, Cheers

Darlene

 

 

Award Winning Wines To Enjoy During The Oscars!

Posted in Wine on February 27, 2016 by darmyers

Oscar

The Oscars are on Sunday.  I love the Oscars.  Here at work, we do an Oscar pool.  There are 3 top prizes to be won, so on Sunday night I will be curled up with my glass of wine, and my hopeful Oscar picks.

Leo

This is the year Leo will win his Oscar, in a movie that a bear almost stole the show.  And with fingers and toes crossed, I thought I would share some award winning wines to enjoy during the biggest Awards night of the year.

BB Brut

If you like to pop the sparkly during the Oscars, try this lovely Benjamin Bridge Brut on for size.  Benjamin Bridge is located in the Gaspereau Valley right here in Nova Scotia, and has won International awards for its quality sparkling wines.   Winemaker Jean-Benoit Deslauriers is doing spectacular things in this region of Nova Scotia, with a climate very similar to that of Champagne France and using the classic Champagne grapes of Chardonnay, Pinot Noir and Pinot Meunier.

Nova 7

And another one of my favorites from Benjamin Bridge is the Nova 7.  Created to represent the terroir here on the East Coast of Canada, this delightful wine is a great pair with seafood, and a host of other dishes.  It’s also a great patio wine during the Summer.  If they were giving out Oscars for wine, this would definitely be nominated.

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If Red is on the menu for Sunday night, try one of these award winning Zinfandel wines.  On the left is Brazin’ Old Vine Zinfandel.  A mix of Zinfandel with some Petite Sirah, this wine packs a punch with a 14.5% alcohol level.  Big and balanced with smoky berry flavors and hints of vanilla, one of the reasons I love Zinfandel so much is that it is so food friendly.  So no matter what you’re eating during the Oscars, chances are Zinfandel will pair nicely.  On the right is a wine I discovered a few weeks ago, the Renwood Zinfandel.  Lots of bold fruit and an intense finish, it’s no wonder both these wines won medals at the International Wine Challenge.

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Here’s a great wine and another award winner.  The Chateau Ste. Michelle Indian Wells Red Blend is a combination of Syrah and Merlot.  I enjoyed the 2011 vintage and I love this blend from the Columbia Valley.  Merlot brings all those plump rich fruit flavors and the Syrah brings a spiciness to the wine that was excellent.

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Here’s another favorite that have won a bunch of awards in a bunch of different competitions.  The Wakefield Riesling out of Australia.  It’s about $20, and an excellent value.  A crisp clean Riesling with honey and apricot flavors and a perfect match with spicy food.

And my new wine of the week is….

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The El Esteco Malbec from Argentina is fantastic.  The lady who told me about it is not even a big Malbec fan, and loved this wine.  It’s fruity, but I think the coffee and herb notes and the finish would be the star of this show.  This is a high altitude wine from Argentina, and it is believed that grapes grown in the higher altitudes make for a more intense flavorful wine.  What’s really neat is that all these grapes are harvested by hand, not machine.  Then it is aged for 12 months in oak, which makes for a super smooth Malbec wine.

So while millions will be watching what the stars will be wearing, I will be enjoying my glass of wine in my yoga pants.  Only kidding, I will be in pajama pants.  After all, it’s Sunday night.

Till next week, Cheers

Darlene

 

 

 

 

National Drink Wine Day

Posted in Wine on February 20, 2016 by darmyers

Wine Betty white

Thursday, February 18th was National Drink Wine Day.  Now that’s a holiday I can get behind.

And it was fun communicating with my friends and sharing what they were celebrating this glorious holiday with.  Myself… Here’s what I had… something very different for me, but very enjoyable.

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This is the Chateau Routas Cyrano Syrah made by the Murray Family in Provence France.  Whenever I see the word Cyrano, I think of Cyrano de Bergerac and that reminds me of the lovely nose on this wine.  (Ouch, pardon the pun!)  Lovely cranberry flavors with herbal notes, this wine also had good tannic structure, and paired well with the creamy linguine I had for dinner.  This wine is around the $17 which made it even easier to swallow.

Vina Maipo

My friend Anthony texted me that he was enjoying this lovely Shiraz from Vina Maipo.  This Chilean beauty is full of rich black fruit, herbs and chocolate.  This stunning wine has won many awards, and once you’ve tried it you will understand why.  A great treat at around $35!

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My friend Judy was really into this Californian Red Blend called ‘The Cleaver’!  This wine was designed to go with meat.  As a matter of fact, the slogan written right on the bottle says ‘A must for meat – just ask your Butcher’!  It is extremely smooth and really coats your palate, and sticks around.  It is 46% Zinfandel which provides rich fruits, 44% Syrah adding some spicy notes, and 10% Petite Sirah, which is also called Durif, provides tannic structure and spicy fruit flavors.

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This is my home Friday night.  Fireplace on, glass of wine, cheese and baguette and a great book.   This is why I absolutely love Friday’s.    Which brings me to my wine of the week…

Assembly Old vine

The Assembly Old Vine Zinfandel.   Assembly means a group of people gathered together for a common purpose.  And to the makers of this wine, wine is the perfect reason to get together with friends.  Rich berry fruits, spice, with notes of dark cherries and mocha, make for a great wine.  A smooth easy drinking wine that is medium-bodied on the palate and very food friendly.  I love Zinfandel, and I love the fact our local liquor store is bringing in some new ones.

National Drink Wine Day

Today must be a day to celebrate by drinking wine, right?  After all, it is Saturday.

Till next week, Cheers

Darlene

 

Sweetheart Wines In Time For Valentine’s Day

Posted in Wine on February 13, 2016 by darmyers

Wine Valetines

Valentine’s Day is around the corner, and I know the local liquor stores will be full of people trying to pick out a special bottle of wine for the special day.  I am a firm believer that every day is a special day for wine, and you don’t have to go broke doing it.  I’ve got a few wines in every price range that you can enjoy on Valentine’s Day or any other day of the week.

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The first wine I have to share is one I spoke about a couple of weeks ago. Perfect for Valentines Day and every other day.   Not only does it have Passion right in the title, it’s one of the best buys in the store right now.  This is the Gran Passione Rosso, one of my Italian favorites right now.  Not only is it delicious, it is so reasonably priced, under $17.   Rich and ripe, this beautiful wine has vanilla, licorice and oak.  I love this wine, and I believe it is one of the best values.  It has become a staple in my wine rack.

Bottega

Here’s another great wine for Valentine’s Day.  Give your special someone a bottle of the Bottega Petalo del Amore Moscato.  Amore is love in Italian, and I love Moscato.  It can remind me of Riesling, which as you know I adore.  This is a sweet wine for your sweetheart and I love the refreshing bubbles and delicate finish.  Flavors of orange and honey compliment many food choices as well.   And it’s another very reasonably priced wine at around the $15 mark.

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Our local NSLC store got in a couple of new Zinfandel wines this past week, and Zinfandel is one of my favorite wines in the world.  California tends to be the home of the great Zinfandels, and this is no different.  Renwood comes from northern California surrounded by the mountains and rushing streams of the California Gold Rush.  Which is perfectly fitting because when Frederick W. Macondray joined the Gold Rush in the 1850’s he bought Zinfandel with him and Joseph Osbourne made the first Zinfandel wine in California in 1857 and after that it boomed.  I tried this particular Zinfandel this past week and loved.  At $31, I believe it is worth every penny.  Flavorful with a zippy pomegranate flavor, this wine comes alive on the palate.  It doesn’t have the over-powering smoky bacon flavors that some Zinfandel wines have, and I loved the clean acidity and surprising tannic structure of this wine.  Will definitely buy again.

And my wine of the week this week is another Zinfandel…

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The Candor Zinfandel has me giddy with excitement!  It is so good, and so well priced at around the $25 mark.  I have written about the Candor Merlot previously, and when it was gone, apparently it was gone for good.  Well now our local NSLC have bought in the Candor Zinfandel.  Not only is it fabulously priced, it’s fabulous on the palate.  I had this again last night, second time this week, and introduced my visiting friend to this wine.   It is gorgeous, and medium to full-bodied with rich fruits and a little spice on the palate.  Again, not over-powering on the smoke and bacon, but very subtle notes of smoke.  I love this wine.

There will be a bunch of us single people celebrating the day with an awesome bottle of wine.  I hope no matter who you spend Valentines Day with, you have a great day and a great week.

Till next week, Cheers

Darlene

Wines to Pair with your Favorite Super Bowl Foods

Posted in Wine & Food on February 6, 2016 by darmyers

super bowl sunday

Well tomorrow is Super Bowl Sunday and I know what you’re thinking.  All the favourite football foods will be coming out.  Here at work, we had a “Bring Your Favorite Game Food to Work” for a buffet lunch on Friday.  Wow, what a feed. A day later and I’m still full!

The first beverage that probably comes to mind for Sunday would be beer.  But if you’re like me, and not a big beer drinker, wine can pair really well with all your football food favorites.

Pizza

How many pizzas do you think will be ordered tomorrow?   Well I did a little checking and its the biggest day of the year for Pizza shops, followed by New Year’s Eve.  And pizza delivery drivers could see their tips go from $2 to $20.  It’s a great day for pizza and pizza delivery.   And there are so many delicious wines that pair well with pizza.   Here a couple of examples.

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The Gerard Bertrand Tautavel’s blend of Grenache, Syrah and Carignan make for a fantastic pizza wine.  Tautavel means the Cradle of Humanity and is a village in France.  Intense fruit on the palate with spicy notes will go hand in hand with the pizza.  When in doubt, go Italian.  Like this Cabreo Il Borgo Toscanna, which is a blend of Sangiovese and Cabernet Sauvignon.  The region of Chianti makes wine perfect for aging or for enjoying right now.  This wine enjoys 91+ ratings across the board, and  is a perfect match for pizza

Wings

Wings… 1.3 Billion Chicken wings will be consumed in the U.S. along on Sunday!   1.3 Billion with a ‘B’. Can you believe that?  That’s a lot of wingless chickens.  There are  many Sommeliers who will tell you that the perfect beverage for spicy food is beer.  And I’m not saying they are wrong… I’m saying there is a wine that pairs great with spicy wings…. Riesling.

Gaspereau RieslingKung fu Riesling

Here are a couple of my favorites.  The Riesling on the left is locally made right here in Nova Scotia from Gaspereau Vineyards in the Annapolis Valley.  Gorgeous flavors of apple and lime and a bright acidity makes it one of my favorite Rieslings.  The Kung Fu Girl Riesling is an American product from Charles Smith Wines.  And this too is a fan favorite of me and my friends.  Peach, apricot and apple flavors and I love the acidity on this wine as well.  These two great wines will not only go with wings, but other foods such as Thai Food, curried dishes and a host of other spicy foods.

Chili

Here’s another easy pairing, Chili.  Ground beef, tomatoes, beans and cheese.  Any red you choose for pizza would also go with Chili.  Really,  there aren’t too many reds that doesn’t pair well with chili .  Take a Cabernet Sauvignon for example.   Excellent wine to pair with Chili.

Beringer  hardy Cab Sauv

Here are two great Cabernet Sauvignon wines.  The Beringer Knights Valley Cab is a wine I can’t stop gushing over.  I have recommended it to my closest friends.  Deliciously smooth and very food friendly.  The wine on the right is a Cabernet out of Australia.  It is the William Hardy Coonawarra Cabernet which was designed to celebrate Bill Hardy’s 40th year in the family business.

And last but not least my new wine of the week….

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The 2009 Falesco Umbria Merlot from Italy.  This is a 92 Point wine from Wine Spectator and the critic from Wine Spectator called it one of the best Merlot’s he had ever tasted.  I also give it a big two thumbs up.  Smooth and supple,  this mysterious beauty has rich fruit, smoky tobacco notes and hints of vanilla.  It stays with you on the palate with a great lingering finish, it’s full-bodied and food friendly.  Coming in at the $25 mark, it’s a winner.

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If you’re like me, and probably won’t be watching the big game, I hope you celebrate the day with a great wine.  And I’ll be watching a great movie so Cheers!

Till next week,

Darlene

 

 

 

 

2016 Wine Trends

Posted in Wine on January 30, 2016 by darmyers

2016

Last year around this time I wrote a wine blog on what the wine trends were looking like in 2015.  I thought I would take this opportunity to revisit those, and look at the trends in the wine industry for 2016.

Zinfandel:

An explosion of Zinfandel was expected in 2015 and our local wine stores stepped up to the plate.  There were more choices than ever when it comes to this people pleasing grape.

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These are just 4 of the new Zinfandel’s I tried in 2015.  All 4 were spectacular in their own way and range in price from $20 for the Sebastiani, to $50 for the Gallo Black Label on the right.  California still dominates as the hot spot for producing Zinfandel, and of course Italy for producing Primitivo, which in 1972 was declared identical to Zinfandel.

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Here are a couple of the great Primitovo wines I have tried recently.  Fantastic wines and extremely food friendly.  And really inexpensive.  The wine on the left is under $19.  One of my favorite pairings with Zinfandel are BBQ ribs.  A match made in wine heaven.

Corks Are On The Way Out

Wine guru Robert Parker projected that real cork would be a minority by the end of 2015 and if my local wine stores are any indication, this is one projection that came true.   More and more vineyards are using screw caps, or artificial corks.  I had a bottle of wine the other evening with natural cork and it had gone funky.   This is the main reason natural cork is on its way out!

So let’s look at a couple of expected wine trends for 2016.

People Are Talking

Tracy Byrnes from ‘Wine On The Street’, says her favorite trend is that people are talking about wine.  People are no longer intimidated by Sommeliers and are reading up on wine on the web, as well as enrolling in Sommelier classes.  This is great for wine and wine drinkers all around.  I believe personally, wine is the social gathering drink of choice.  And different people can have different opinons on wine, and no one is wrong.   Keep it up.

Syrah May Be The New King

Tracy, a very smart lady when it comes to wine, says Syrah, or Shiraz may be the new king of the hill, replacing Cabernet Sauvignon.  Syrah / Shiraz is a big bold red and incredibly food friendly.  It’s great with meat dishes, and regular readers of this blog know I am a huge fan of the BBQ, so this wine is always in my wine rack.  And it tends to cost less than Cabernet.  Here are a couple of my favorites.

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My apologies for the blurry picture of the Tintara from Hardy’s, but this Shiraz to celebrate Bill Hardy’s 40th year in the family business was a great treat.  Australia is putting out some spectacular Shiraz wines, so I couldn’t leave the Shiraz Mourvedre blend from Penfolds out.  You would be hard pressed to find a bad Penfold’s Shiraz.  And in the middle is the Genesis Syrah from Washington State in the U.S.A.  So many countries are putting out a great Shiraz or Syrah.  In the French section look for a Cote du Rhone, or anything from the Rhone region, as you will be drinking Syrah.

More and More Wine By The Glass Options

This is probably my favorite trend of 2016.  There was a time not so long ago, that if you wanted a decent glass of wine at a restaurant, you had to order the bottle.  Because the only thing they sold by the glass was the ‘house wine’.  That is slowly but surely changing, and right here in Halifax I have noticed that restaurants are constantly expanding their wine by the glass options.  It has expanded here to the point if I only see one ‘by the glass’ option, I’m really surprised.  And that brings a smile to my face.  Many times at a restaurant I only order one glass of wine, so I would really like it to be a decent wine.

And my new wine of the week…

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This is a fabulous find, and new to our liquor stores.  The Botter Gran Passione Rosso from Italy is a keeper.  It’s got the word Passion right on the label.  This is a beautiful blend of Merlot and Corvina.  Merlot and what?  Corvina is an Italian grape that is widely planted in Italy and is known for being blended with Valpolicella and Amarone.  Known for its flavors of sour cherries, that flavor really works being blended with the Merlot grape.  Along with cherries it has chocolate notes, and this wine would be very food friendly.   And the best part $16.79 a bottle.  I’m not kidding.  Try it.  At that price you have nothing to lose.

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

Darlene

 

Comfort Food & Wine

Posted in Wine & Food on January 23, 2016 by darmyers

 

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Every year in the dead of winter when temperatures plummet, I like to do a wine blog on comfort food and wine.   Let’s face it, this is the time of the year we are craving and making our favorite comfort foods.  As we all know, nothing goes better with comfort food than a cozy fireplace and a glass of wine. It’s a match made in heaven!

 Linguine 1

So here are a couple of pictures of some of my favorite comfort foods… beef stew, ribs and pasta.  Have I mentioned how much I love comfort food… (and wine)  Well I tried a new wine this past week that will go with any comfort food you can dream up.

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This is the Chateau Tour De Buch Bordeaux and I enjoyed the 2010 vintage last Saturday evening with a steak.   Bordeax is one of those classic great wines.  Always a blend, this wine has 60% Cabernet Sauvignon, 38% Merlot & 2% Petite Verdot.  This  particular wine hails from the Medoc region on the Left Bank of Bordeaux.  Lots of dark rich fruit, blackberry, herbs and subtle oak.  I really enjoyed this wine and it’s a great price for a Bordeaux, around the $20 range.

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Like you, this is the time of the year I probably use my crock pot the most.  How can you not love a slow cooker.  What I love about this unit is that it does all the work, and fills your home with yummy aromas.  On the menu this weekend, beef tips in a red wine sauce.  I know.. yum!  Which wine to serve with this meal?  I can go a couple of different routes.  If I was serving white, it would be this Chardonnay.

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The Mer Soleil Reserve Chardonnay from the Santa Lucia Highlands in California was one of my favorite Chardonnay finds from 2015.  This wine is golden, buttery and oh so rich.  A perfect compliment to the beef tips for all my white wine loving friends.  If I’m serving red, it’s probably going to be one of these two.

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Both wines are from Beringer and both are super rich, super flavorful and were made for beef tips in a red wine sauce done.  The wine on the left is the Waymaker red wine blend from Paso Robles, a fairly new offering from Beringer.  A blend of Syrah, Cabernet Sauvignon, Petite Sirah and Mourvedre, it’s full-bodied with peppery notes that is a great wine for any beef dish.  The Beringer on the right is the Knights Valley Cabernet Sauvignon and is my new favorite Cab.  Flavors of mocha, licorice and dark fruits, it is a spectacular wine that is supple and versatile and a great find.

My new wine of the week….

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Is an Italian wine, the Urceus Primitivo Di Manduria from Puglia in the southern part of Italy.  Primitivo, being first cousins with Zinfandel, is a great comfort food wine.  This new find is a great value, coming in at $18.80 a bottle, but tasting like a $30 bottle.  Rich and flavorful with smoky notes and hints of pepper, a great comfort food wine.  And one that I will be buying again because of the great value.

Wine and winter

Yes, I know I said this was going to be me last Saturday night.  Well, they are calling for some nasty weather tonight, so I think I will do it again.  Put on my fireplace, pour a glass of wine and enjoy the warmth of my home.

Till next week, Cheers

Darlene

 

 

Storm Wine!

Posted in Uncategorized on January 16, 2016 by darmyers

Well most of Atlantic Canada got pummeled by a snow storm this past week.  And they are calling for another one today!  So I was thinking, it’s only the middle of January – it probably won’t be the last one.  You know what the best part of a snow day is?  Storm wine!  That’s right, you can take your storm chips – I will take Storm Wine any day of the week.  And this past week I tried a few beauties.

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I have gone ahead and fallen in love again.  This time it’s with the Peachy Canyon Incredible Red Zinfandel.  This wine has  The perfect description right in the title – Incredible.  And incredibly rich and delicious it is.  It has smoky bacon notes but this is very important.  The smoky bacon notes do not overpower the taste of the wine like some Zinfandel wines.  They are very subtle, as a matter of fact I found the tart cherry flavors and notes of mocha the more interesting part of this wine.  I loved it, and its my new favorite Zinfandel.

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You’ve heard of OMG!  Well this is OVG – Old Vines Garnacha!   You may know it as the Grenache grape, but this wine is from Spain, the grape is called Garnacha.  This is the perfect wine for a storm day, or any other day of the winter.  It’s full-bodied and flavorful with lovely raspberry, dark cherry and pepper.  This is a great wine for your favorite comfort food.  Beef stew, lamb, pork – any hearty meal – this is the wine.  And a great value at around the $20 mark.

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This is the great value find of the week.  I loved this wine.  This Chilean blend of Carmenere, Grenache and Merlot from Santa Carolina is rich and full-bodied.  Lots of juicy flavor on the palate with notes of coffee.  This wine is so good I photocopied the picture and brought it around to my wine loving friends in the radio station.  AT $16.99 this is going to be a staple in my wine rack, so you should give it a try.

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And my new favorite find of the week is a wine that I still have a hard time pronouncing.   It is the Trinca Bolotos Alentejo.  Say that after a couple of glasses.  A blend of Alicante and Touriga Nacional, this delicious wine from Portugal is earthy and dry and just a great wine for beef and pork.  Alicante, also known as Alicante Bouschet was widely planted in California during Prohibition, and because of its high yields and low maintenance has been adopted by other countries including Bordeaux and of course Portugal.  Touriga Nacional is considered Portugal’s finest grape.   It has low yields, but is still used in many blends as well as in Port wines.   This wine was really interesting, extremely tasty and a great value at under $20.

Wine and winter

If you’re like me you probably prefer flip flops over winter, but hey, if you live in Canada, you might as well make the most of it.. and this will be me tonight.  Glass of wine in front of the fireplace.  Like I said, making the most of it.

Till next week, stay warm and Cheers

Darlene

 

 

A New Year of Wine!

Posted in Uncategorized on January 9, 2016 by darmyers

Happy New Year

I would like to take this moment to wish all my readers a very happy and healthy new year.   I love the beginning of a new year because it’s full of opportunity and fun new experiences.  It reminds me of a blank slate, and you get to fill in the picture.  It also means another year of trying and enjoying new wines.  I thought I would start this new year off with some new wines I tried recently.

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You might recognize this one from my list of favorites of 2015.  I went home to Newfoundland for the holidays and regular readers know how much I love Zinfandel.  Well, I had the opportunity to try several new ones.  Sliding in, just in the nick of time, what a treat this was.  The Dry Creek Vineyard Heritage Vines Zinfandel.  A fantastic Zinfandel with great tannic structure and a gorgeous palate.

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Here are 2 more Zinfandel wines I had the opportunity to try.   The Zinfandel on the left is from Seghesio in the Napa Valley.  I had the 2013 vintage, and this was a great wine.  This wine has to breathe though.  When I first opened it, I tasted it, and was a little disappointed because it tasted boozy.  But then I got busy and let it sit for a while, and wow, spectacular.   Luscious fruit and spicy notes makes for a great wine in my mind.  I’ve seen reviews on this ranging from 90 Points all the way to 94 points.  Worth a try.

The next one, the Sebasiani Zinfandel, also from California, is a great value.  Coming in at around $20, this Zinfandel also contains small amounts of Petite Sirah, Syrah and Malbec.   Easy to drink, food friendly and I loved the white pepper notes on this wine.  Keep this one in mind for the barbecue.

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I also got to try a couple of new Merlot wines.  Both from California, the Merlot on the left is from Rodney Strong, one of the pioneers of the wine scene in the Napa Valley.  This is a warm climate Merlot, so it would taste different from those grown in a cooler climate, like Canada.  This wine was rich and dark and had notes of chocolate, plum and dark cherries.  A fantastic wine that came in under $30.   The next one is the Callaway Merlot, coming in under $20, and making for great value.  Very food compatible and easy to drink, I loved the smoky notes and flavors of black pepper on this wine.  It was a nice unique Merlot at a great price.

My favorite wine I discovered over the holidays….(hint, it wasn’t in Newfoundland)

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I have to thank my friend Rayell for introducing me to this local beauty.  The Lightfood & Wolfville Rose from right here in Nova Scotia.   This is a new vineyard that specialize in handcrafted small lot wines, with individual vineyard block bottlings.   I got to experience the 2014 Rose, which is Pinot driven – both Pinot Noir and Pinot Meunier, and L’Acadie, with small amounts of Geisenheim and Frontenac Rouge.  Now there are 2 grapes I don’t write about often.  Geisenheim originates out of the Geisenheim Breeding Institute in Germany, and is a cross of Riesling and Chancellor, and is said to be like biting into a crisp green apple.  Frontenac is another hybrid grape.    Light and refreshing with strawberry, peach and citrus flavors, makes for one very interesting wine.

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Part of my Christmas holiday was spent here, at my sister’s cabin.  And she and her husband gave themselves a new hot tub, so that was fun too.  Thank you to all the readers of my blog from 2015 and here’s to another great year of wine in 2016

Cheers

Darlene

 

 

 

My favorite wines of 2015

Posted in Wine on December 31, 2015 by darmyers

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I missed my wine blog last Saturday.   I was home visiting my parents for Christmas and they don’t have Internet services so I spent 10 days disconnected.   That’s a different feeling.   I’m doing this wine blog a few days early because this is the last day of 2015.   Tomorrow we embark on another new year full of hope opportunity and great wine.  I’d like to take this moment to wish all my readers a very happy new year.   And I’d like to share with you some of my favorite wines from 2015 .

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I’m going to start with this fantastic wine that I recently tried for the first time while visiting Newfounfland.   From Dry Creek Vineyard in Sonoma county Napa Valley comes the Heritage Vines Zinfandel 2012 edition.    This well-balanced beauty has great tannins, good structure, lots of great fruit and a persistent finish.  I had it twice while I was in Newfoundland and enjoyed it as much the second time as I did the first.  To all my friends in Newfoundland at $35 a bottle, this is a great wine to bring in 2016!

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I think this was one of the best values I found in 2015.  I absolutely love this wine and I love the fact that you can drink it any night of the week guilt free.   At $15 a bottle, this Spanish wine is a steal.  It is easy to drink, delicious, fruit forward and very food friendly.  It was one of my favorite finds from the past year and I always have a bottle in my wine rack.

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I went to an Italian wine show in the spring of 2015 and this was one of my favorites from that show.  The 2011 Toscana IGT is  A blend of Cabernet Sauvignon and Sangiovese from the Chianti region of Italy.  Another beautifully structured wine with rich flavors of cherries, cedar and tobacco.   A great wine to go along with any meat dish you were serving.

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This years Nova 7 from Benjamin Bridge right here in Nova Scotia was another favorite of mine from 2015.   A hint of sweetness on the palate and crisp citrus and tropical fruit flavours, a great wine  that I enjoyed with appetizers, salads and  I also enjoyed it on the patio all summer long!   Originally designed to be the perfect seafood complement,  since I’m allergic I will have to take their word for it! LOL

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I think this was my favorite new Merlot that I found in 2015.   The Seven Falls Merlot from Washington state was a ripe and juicy wine with notes of smoke and mocha.   A true winner at $25 a bottle.

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I’m going to feature two wines because they are both Beringer wines and they both top my list of favorites from 2015.   The first one is the Knights Valley Cabernet Sauvignon.    This exceptionally vibrant Cabernet with notes of vanilla and smoke is my favorite Cabernet Sauvignon.  It’s cousin, the Paso Robles Waymaker red wine is a blend of mostly Syrah grapes with some Cabernet Sauvignon for structure.  Paso Robles is a warmer area of California so the wine tends to be richer in the glass.   A great wine for a winter barbecue.

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And my favorite white wine of 2015 was this beautiful Sancerre from France.   Crisp and refreshing with delicious citrus notes, this 100% Sauvignon Blanc is not only a great way to ring in the new year, chances are it will go deliciously with anything you’re planning on serving!

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Last year I made the pledge that I would try at least one new wine a week and share it with you!  I am proud to say that is one resolution I kept for 52 weeks.  Because there were at least 52 new wines, I had many to choose from as my favorites from 2015.

Wishing all of you a very happy prosperous 2016!  Here’s to discovering more great wines  in the coming year!

Cheers

Darlene

 

 

2015 in review

Posted in Uncategorized on December 30, 2015 by darmyers

Thank you to everyone who has read my wine blog over the past year

The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2015 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

A New York City subway train holds 1,200 people. This blog was viewed about 5,000 times in 2015. If it were a NYC subway train, it would take about 4 trips to carry that many people.

Click here to see the complete report.

Christmas Wine… yes please!

Posted in Wine on December 19, 2015 by darmyers

White wine

I want to take this moment to wish everyone a very Merry Christmas.  I want to thank you for reading my blog, whether you catch it each week, or if a particular topic catches your interest.  For this week’s blog, I thought I would pass along some fabulous wines you can enjoy over the holidays whether you like white or red.

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Like this amazing Sancerre from France that I tried recently.  I fell in love with crisp beauty that is Sauvignon Blanc done to perfection.  The gorgeous citrus flavors and minerality make it a perfect wine for appetizers, for salads or just for enjoying on its own.  It would also be a great wine for the turkey dinner.  The Chateau De Fontaine-Audon Sancerre is my new December love!

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I was wrapping presents the other night, and I had the Christmas lights on and the tunes going…. and it was the perfect opportunity to enjoy this red wine.  This was my favorite new find last week.

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The Carne Humana Napa Valley Red Blend comes from the same people who brought us the Elouan Pinot Noir from Oregon that I wrote about a couple of weeks ago.

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Remember I said it was made by California winemakers?  Well those winemakers also made the Carne Humana which is a very interesting blend of Petite Verdot, Petite Sirah, Zinfandel, with definitely some Cabernet Sauvignon.   Named after the 1841 Upper Napa Valley land grant, this is a gorgeous wine has some of the best fruit flavors.  I tried to describe this wine to a colleague and I used the words clean and crisp, which is not normally how a red wine is described.  And although you will get cedar, licorice and cinnamon flavors, nothing over-powers that fruit.  Great Christmas present to myself.

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The previous two wines are between the $35 and $40 mark, and if that’s a little pricey this season, here a good deal for under $15.  The Mine Chilean Carmenere is bright and easy to drink.  A medium bodied wine with flavors of cherries, plums and pepper.   This wine is one you can enjoy guilt free over the holiday season.

Grump Cat Put me down

I do love me Grumpy cat at Christmas, so I had to include one of her pictures.

My wish for you is a safe and happy holiday season.  Thanks for sharing my wine journey with me.  Please drink responsibly this Christmas.

Coming up soon I will be taking a look at my 2015 favorites.

Take care, till next time Cheers

Darlene

Christmas Wishes

Posted in Wine on December 12, 2015 by darmyers

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Everyone has a Christmas wish this time of year….  I don’t have many.  I am extremely grateful for having a roof over my head and food in my refrigerator.  And if I had one wish it would be that others would be so blessed.   Now don’t get me wrong, I love a good bottle of wine.  So this wine blog is going to be about my Christmas Wine Wishes.

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The last couple of weeks I have been on a bit of a Primitivo kick.  I have tried a couple of fantastic Primitivo wines, in different price ranges.  Primitivo, being first cousin to the Zinfandel grape,  it should come as no surprise I love it as much as I do.

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You probably remember this one, from a couple of weeks ago.   The $20 Amastoula is great value and a great Primitivo wine.   Last weekend I tried another end of the spectrum.

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Allow me to introduce you to the Farnese Vigne Vecchie Primitivo Manduria.  Try asking for that one at a wine store. A spectacular Primitivo from the Puglia region of Italy, this wine features overly ripe grapes which brings out a big juicy wine with a hint of sweetness.  Now when I say sweetness, I’m not referring to dessert wine sweetness here.  Flavors of cherries, tobacco, and a minty spiciness stands out on the palate.  This wine is great with any meat dishes.  At just over $40, treat yourself and give it a try.  Worth every penny.

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Here’s a new California Cabernet I tried this week.  A local wine boutique here in Halifax has it $10 off, so this was a steal of a deal at just $26.98.   This is a really neat company who donates $20,000 of sales each year to Napa land preservation and education programs.  And they make spectacular wine.  Smoky black cherry and blackberry flavors combine with great tannic structure and a robust flavor that asks to be paired with a steak.  No kidding, if you put your ear to the bottle, you’ll hear it asking, you’ll hear it ask for steak  LOL

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Here is the lovely selection I had last night.  My good friend Rayell got me onto this one   It is a beautiful French Gamay Pinot Noir blend.    This is no ordinary Pinot Noir.    In 2012 a new appellation was created in France that allowed winemakers to use grapes from any region in BUrgundy including the Beaujolais area.   The appellation is called Coteaux Bourguignons    If you go out looking for this wine I would just ask for the Louis Jadot Gamay Pinot Noir   It has soft juicy fruit flavors with soft tannins and a nice lingering pallet.   This wine is 70% Gamay and 30% Pinot Noir and half of the Gamay grapes come from the region called Beaujolais.    Very food friendly. If you were having guests over for a Christmas party this will go with anything you put on the table.

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Well that’s it for me for this week     If you’re anything like me you might have a little explaining to do to Santa LOL    Have a wonderful week

Cheers

Darlene