Wines That Make Decorating Easier!

Well this weekend, like many of you, I will be decorating for the holidays.  I thought I was smart and put up my outside Christmas lights a few weeks ago while the weather the warm, with the intention of turning them on December 1st.  However, Mother Nature had a good chuckle over that one.  We had a near hurricane here Wednesday night pass and well, I will be outside repairing, cleaning, re-attaching and replacing the bulbs broken during the 110 km/hr winds.
I will also be putting up my Christmas Tree this weekend.  I light to have it all done by the 1st, and next weekend is our Christmas party, and I like to have people over before to enjoy a nice glass of wine.   There’s nothing like a glass of great wine to help with the holiday decorating.  Wine and Christmas music just seem to go hand in hand with the Christmas decorating.
Here’s a new one I have tried recently that I really enjoyed.   I heard someone say recently they didn’t like Merlot.  You are not trying the right ones.  This one by Beringer, made in California, is a juicy vibrant expression of a Merlot.  Tasty with a Capital T!  Dark plums, black cherries and a hint of cocoa, make it the perfect wine for Christmas decorating.  Someone needs to write a song about that… And when it comes in at under $20, you can decorate a lot of rooms with a wine like that.
Well, if you would like your mouth to come alive with flavor try this Canadian gem.  Mission Hill 2012 Pinot Grigio is on the shelves now, and it’s gorgeous.  This unoaked wine boasts flavors of honey, stone fruits and a hint of ginger.  Crisp acidity and delicious on the palate, you will want to have a few in the wine rack this season, as this delicious wine is perfect for sharing with friends and will go with any meal, even the turkey.
I have to take a few minutes to tell you about a local gem I have just discovered.  I have written about Benjamin Bridge Nova 7 before, well this is a hearty red from the same vineyard here in Nova Scotia.  Winemakers Peter J. Gamble and Jean-Benoit Deslauriers have hit it out of the ball-park with this delicious red wine.  For the notes I am going to quote the winemaker, as he says it beautifully.
“An opaque purple colour so deep it borders on pure black. On the nose, a very earthy bouquet gains complexity from hints of black cherries, oregano and rose petals. On the palate, the wine shows great concentration and density, while remaining elegant and sophisticated.” Winemaker Jean-Benoit Deslauriers
What a great wine to serve this Christmas at a gathering.   And what a great story to go with it.  Taurus, the bull, is a symbol of strength, and that’s where the name of the wine came from.  And grown here in Nova Scotia using the Maréchal Foch grape, it really is a beautiful expression of our terroir.   You hear wine people use the term ‘terroir, and what it means is that the wine is a true expression of the place it came from.  Things like soil and climate are unique to an area and contribute to the personality of the wine.
A quick reminder to ensure you have everything you need before you uncork that wine.  Please don’t drink and drive this holiday season, and more importantly drink responsibly.
And have fun decorating.  We tend to put too much stress on ourselves this season, instead of enjoying each moment.
Cheers, and thanks for reading

Which Wine Should I Serve?

First, leave it to Grumpy Cat to bring in a lot of readers.  Thanks to everyone for reading and sharing last week’s blog.  I hope you enjoy this one as well.  With the Christmas Season, comes Christmas parties.   I’m sure the majority of people reading this blog, will host at least one get together this season.  And this time of the year, the biggest question I get asked, is ‘What wine should I serve?”
Also, keep in mind the blog is called ‘In My Opinion’, and I welcome all feed back and suggestions on the topics.  You may choose different selections than me, and that’s OK.  I would love to hear from you.
First, keep a selection of both red and white wine on hand.  If you are a read wine drinker, for the whites choose a Chardonnay and a Sauvignon Blanc.   A Chardonnay is smooth and silky, the Sauvignon Blanc crisp and fresh.  When offering your white wine drinking guests, ensure you tell them your selection.  They will have a favorite.  If you want to add a 3rd, I would choose a Pinot Grigio.  All 3 wines are very food friendly and also great sipping wines.  Your guests will not be disappointed.
I think it may get a bit trickier if you are a white wine drinker, and you’re wondering which red to serve.  I’m told by my white wine loving friends that picking out a red wine can be intimidating.  Even my own sister uses the phrase “I don’t know what you like”!   It may surprise you, but most of us red wine loving people – you would be hard pressed to find a wine I didn’t like.  There are some, but red wine drinkers are much easier to please than you think.  If you were going to pick two, I would pick Cabernet Sauvignon, it’s the most widely planted red grape variety.  You can’t miss.  And for the second one have a Merlot or a Pinot Noir on hand.
All the wines I have mentioned are food friendly, and will go with a wide variety of foods.  Whether your get together is finger food only, or a full sit down meal, you won’t go wrong with the choices.  You can even add a light sparkling wine to the mix.  Sparkling wines tend to be crisp, refreshing and fun.  And can go with a full range of food choices as well.
What are your favorites choices for serving at a party?  As always, would love to hear from you.
Till next week, Cheers

Wine Season!

Grumpy Xmas

Well folks, unless you’ve hiding under a rock, the Christmas stuff is out.  And if you are a customer of certain stores, you’ve been looking at Christmas ornaments since July.   So I have decided to share my Christmas Wish List.

Le Clos Jordanne
For those that know me, know I love Le Clos Jordanne, Le Grand Clos wine.  I haven’t tried the Pinot Noir yet, but I would love to, so it’s going on my wish list.  And the Chardonnay is liquid gold.   I enjoyed a bottle this year on my birthday, and this elegant complex wine would go with anything you are serving for Christmas this year.  When I spoke to winemaker Sebastian Jacquey this summer, I asked him what I could expect from Le Clos Jordanne Le Grand Clos Pinot Noir, and he told me I could expect an ample wine with a hint of limestone, and soft tannins.  A very elegant expression of Pinot Noir.  I’ve been a good girl Santa, and I would love one of these wines.  Ok, maybe I’ll buy it myself.
I get asked all the time about my favorite wines, and this is one that is in the top 5 for sure.  And I think I’m missing it more and more, because I don’t have access to it in Nova Scotia.  It was a regular treat when I lived in Newfoundland, but alas, I haven’t had it in a while.  However, since I am going home to Newfoundland for Christmas, this will definitely be on the wine list.  This winery was awarded European winery of the Year for 2013 by Wine Enthusiast magazine, and if you’ve ever tasted this wine, you would understand why.  A beautiful Tempranillo wine from Rioja that feature aromas and flavors of rich dark fruits, spices and toasted oak.  It looks elegant with the gold netting, and a beautiful gift to give or receive.
Another favorite of mine that I can’t get in Nova Scotia, and will definitely be enjoying when I go home for Christmas.  When Eleanor of Aquitane married the King of England, Bordeaux France came under British rule for 200 years.  The British fell in love with Bordeaux wine, and called it Claret.  (the ‘t’ is not silent, as in most French words.  It’s a British word so it’s pronounced “clar-ette).  This is Francis Ford Coppola’s version of the Cabernet Sauvignon based Bordeaux.  This gorgeous blend has not only Cab Sauv, but also Merlot, Cabernet Franc, Petite Verdot, and Malbec.  Can you say flavorful!  And full-bodied!  Smooth tannins meet succulent wild berries and plums.  Finished by a little toasty oak.
This is the Wolf Blass Grey Label Shiraz.  Did you know Grey Label was the first wine Wolf Blass made?  This gorgeous wine still reflects the Wolf Blass winemaking philosophy of quality, character and consistency.  And fun.  I had the pleasure of meeting the man in Newfoundland a year ago, and this is a man who loves what he does.  And his fun-loving spirit is reflected in his wines.  This is my favorite steak wine but will go with so many dishes and comfort foods for this upcoming holiday season.
And to get you in the holiday season, my friend Natalie Maclean is hosting the Great Holiday Match.  I have 6 wines nominated, I encourage you to vote and have fun.  Check it out here
Till next week, don’t be a Grumpy!  Enjoy every minute of the season and the time leading up to it.

Honoring Our Military

This is the Remembrance Day weekend here in Canada, and Monday, November 11th is Remembrance Day.    I am humbled by those men and women that have given the ultimate sacrifice for their country and I am in awe of all those that are serving in the military today.   We live in a country where we can all voice an opinion, and not be afraid of persecution.   Today there are still people in the world that can end up in jail for expressing an opinion that the government deems wrong.  I don’t think we should ever take these freedoms for granted.

So as my way of saying thank you to the men and women that defend our country and serve in our military, here are a few of my favorite wines in your honor.

Beringer Private Reserve Chardonnay:

I love a California Chardonnay and this was one of my favorites.  Silky rich with flavors and aromas of fresh fruit, some floral notes and vanilla toasted oak.  It has very crisp acidity so it doesn’t weigh heavy in the mouth.  This balanced wine will compliment any chicken dish you might be having this weekend, and just about anything you are serving food wise.

Chateau La Commanderie Cru Bourgeois Saint Estephe

This full-bodied wine from the Left Bank of Bordeaux is ripe and has distinct tannins.  It bursts of flavor of black currants, savory spice, caramel  and oak.  It will make a commanding presence at any BBQ this long weekend and any beef dish.

Eric Chevalier MusCadet 2010

This is a gorgeous breezy white wine that has a bit of sweetness.  It is a light bodied wine with crisp acidity and gorgeous flavors of lemon and lime.  Aged in glass, so for all my wine drinking friends that are not big fans of oak, this is a beauty.  This wine will perform perfectly with seafood, including this seafood chowders.

Captain‘s Walk Winery:

In Green Bay, Wisconsin, there is a beautiful little winery called Captain’s Walk Winery.  This gorgeous property offers wine tasting in a laid back atmosphere.  A great place to experience award-winning wines in casual environment.

Bottle of Captains Walk 2006 award-winning merlot

This is the Captain’s Walk Merlot.  This, or pretty much any Merlot will go deliciously with any pork dish you are serving.  I love a nice smoky Merlot with pork tenderloin or grilled pork.  Medium bodied wine with soft tannins and big juicy plummy flavors.

On this very special day, I ask that this be more about, just another long weekend.  This is a day of remembrance for those who fought and the many who died for our country.   I also personally acknowledge our current serving members of the military.  And if you see a veteran this weekend, please say thank you and shake the person’s hand.  It’s the very least we can do

Take care



Get Out of Your Wine Rut!

When was the last time you tried a new wine?  One of the things I hear most, is that people buy the same wine over and over because it’s easy.  It’s not stressful.  And they know they will like it.   And hey, who wants to take the chance of not liking it?  It probably doesn’t surprise you that people buy the same wine over and over again – you may be one of them.

Take a look at this guy’s face.  That is the look of utter contentment.  My goal for this blog is that you go out this week and buy one wine that you’ve never had before.  Here are some things you may want to consider.

1.  What is your favorite wine?  What is the grape varietal?  Is it Merlot?  Cabernet Sauvignon?  Chardonnay?  There’s your starting point.  If you like a certain grape varietal – try one from a different country.  I love many different wines.  My two favorites reds are probably Merlot and Pinot Noir.

Here are a few of my favorite Merlot Wines, each from a different country.


Some of my favorite go-to Merlot wines, and they are all under $20.  The first one is from the USA, the second from Bordeaux France, the third from Italy and the 4th from Argentina.  The Barone Montalto was a brand new find this week for me.  A dandy Merlot with flavors of blackberry and plum with vanilla and chocolate.  And it’s $16.99.  That’s not scary.   All the above Merlot wines are flavorful, food friendly and easy to drink.  And they are all under $20, so they are easy to buy.

2.  What country is it from?  Are you a lover of an Australian Shiraz?  or a Sauvignon Blanc from New Zealand?  Or a California Cabernet Sauvignon?  Then try different wines from your favorite country.    Here’s a few of my favorite Shiraz wines from Australia.


Do you have any idea how many great Shiraz wines come out of Australia?   If you’re putting a steak on the barbecue, or having a great pot roast, try one of these wines.  Shiraz wines from Australia, especially these from McLaren Vale and the Barossa Valley are full-bodied, structured, fruit forward and probably have seen oak.   Now for my white wine loving friends, here are some of my favorite Sauvignon Blanc wines from New Zealand.


Sauvignon Blanc, especially from New Zealand are refreshing crisp white wines.  They have gorgeous flavors of citrus and is the only wine I would serve with a salad with an olive oil and balsamic vinegar base.

Now being in a wine rut is probably not the worst place to be, because many of you may argue you like your favorites.  However, you are missing out on many great new wine discoveries.  Did you know if you drink the same wine time and time again, your palate may become dulled, and even your favorite won’t have that great taste you once loved about it.

3.  Another way to get out of your wine rut – you could read a wine blog.  And thank you for choosing that way.  Or you could look up wine reviews or the favorite wines of wine writers.  Afraid to try a California Cabernet?  I had a new one this week, so I’ve put it here along with a couple of previous favorites.


So there you have it for this week.  Put down the old wine favorite.  Venture a little further down the aisle, or in a brand new section.  Discover something new today.  I would love to hear about your experience.  Carpe Diem – seize the day.

It’s an exciting time for wine from all around the world.

Till next week, Cheers