TGIS – Thank God It’s Spring

While many people are planning a trip down South this spring, this is where I am flying on the first day of Spring.

CB Snow 1

This picture was taken in Corner Brook Newfoundland on Friday March 13th, by a friend of mine who lives a few houses up from my sister.  Since then, the West Coast of Newfoundland have had one more snowstorm with an additional 20 cms.  As I fly home to take care of my two nephews, 16 & 12, while my sister and her husband takes a trip, I’m thinking… yes, there will be wine… lots of wine.  I figure this will be me a few times this week


Hey, when life gives you lemons made lemonade.  Or in this case make a cozy fire and pour a glass of wine.  I’m looking forward to trying some of my favorites from Newfoundland that either you can’t get here in Nova Scotia, or I haven’t found them yet.

Liberty School Zinfandel  libery school cabernet sauvignon

While here in Nova Scotia I have enjoyed the Liberty School Cabernet Sauvignon and the Chardonnay, in Newfoundland they carry the Zinfandel.  I LOVE Zinfandel.  Lots of plum and cherry flavors.  Liberty School makes great wines all around, so it shouldn’t come as any surprise how yummy this Zinfandel is.

Chateau Merlot  Chateau Pinot

And while here in Nova Scotia, this lovely Pinot Noir is on sale right now, and is a great wine to always have in your wine rack, I get to enjoy the Chateau St. Jean Merlot while I’m home.  Gorgeous flavors of blackberry jam and chocolate and my Mom’s baked pork chops.  It doesn’t get any better than that.

Heating things up in January with Great Wine!

The NSLC carries the Marquis de Riscal in white, but this has always been one of my favorite wines.  The Marques de Riscal Rioja is Tempranillo at it’s finest.  It’s a Reserva wine, which means aged at least 3 years and a minimum of 18 months in oak.   I have introduced many people to this smooth beauty, and it comes in a half bottle size too… so I’ll be bringing some back for friends to try.

New wine of the week…

Petite Sirah

A new wine from a familiar favorite winery.  It wasn’t my first time enjoying McManis wine, it was my first time enjoying the Petite Sirah.  I don’t know of any other winery that does a 100% Petite Sirah wine.  I have had it many times in a blend.  But this was by itself, and it was spectacular.  Full-bodied tannins, this is a big bold wine with lots of great fruit, blackberry and cherry jam.  Definitely a wine I’ll be having again, and under $20.


Hawaii 30

So here I am with my two nephews when we visited Pearl Harbour a few years back on a vacation to Hawaii.   We are going to have fun.  They are busy boys of 16 and 12 and participate in many sporting events.  It should be an interesting week.

Till next week, Cheers





Hardy’s Wines – 5 Generations of Food Friendly Wines

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Last Saturday I had the pleasure of meeting Bill Hardy from Hardy’s Wines in Australia, and tasting some new wines.  This is a vineyard that started  producing wine in 1857 with Bill’s great great-grandfather, Thomas Hardy.  William Hardy (I’m going to call him Bill in this article because he asked me to) is a 5th generation family member that creates food friendly wines.  He talked about that when  he visited the NSLC store in my neighborhood.

Hardy's Stamp

Like many of you, this was my first introduction to the  Hardy line of wines.  When I first started drinking wine, many many years ago, the Stamp series was my first introduction to Australian wine.  How many of you experienced the Stamp series of wines?  I was in the line at the NSLC yesterday evening and there was a gentleman behind me buying a bottle of the Stamp series.  If you have never tried this wine, you should!  It’s a nice little wine at a great price.

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Last Saturday we were tasting the William Hardy range of wines.  These wines were created to celebrate Bill’s 40 years in the family business.  Bill believes wine is made for food, and that’s how he designs the wines.  The first I want to tell you about is the Chardonnay.

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I loved this Chardonnay from the Adelaide Hills region because in my opinion, it was done in the Burgundian style of Chardonnay.  It was refreshingly crisp with citrus notes, lemon and a hint of peach.  The oak was subtle and this beauty would pair perfectly with shellfish, salmon or chicken, just to name a few.  Actually there is a long list of foods this wine would compliment.  A list of foods this wine wouldn’t pair well with would be a lot shorter.

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My apologies for the fuzzy picture, but I have to highlight this Riesling.  It’s the HRB D653 Riesling.  Regular readers of my blog know how much I love Riesling and that it is my favorite wine for spicy food, as well as Asian, Indian and Szechuan cuisine.   Gorgeous citrus, green apple and lime flavors and a perfect balance of acidity and will have you wanting to try this Riesling.

hardy Cab Sauv March 2015 017

I told Bill that I was planning to have a steak that night, and he showed me this.  A lovely 2012 Cabernet Sauvignon from the Connawarra region.  As he said, a clean cut of beef and a classic Cabernet Sauvignon go hand in hand.  I ended up having my steak last night instead, and enjoyed this beautiful Cabernet Sauvignon while I was grilling and eating my steak.  Great structure, good tannins, and lots of flavor.  I followed every bite of my tenderloin steak with this wine, and it was heavenly.

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And last but not least, the Tintara.  Again, apologies for the fuzzy picture.  I was excited about meeting Bill, and guess I couldn’t stand still long enough to take a decent picture.  There’s a great story behind this wine.   Located in the McLaren Vale region of Australia, the Tintara Vineyard Vineyard was bought by Thomas Hardy and Sons in 1876.  (Bill’s great great-grandfather)  Today, the winery holds the distinction of producing the oldest surviving bottle of Australian wine, an 1867 Tintara Vineyard Claret.  This Claret earned the distinction when the previous record holder, an 1864 bottle of Pewsey Valey Cabernet Sauvignon was accidentally broken by an office cleaner at Christie’s Auction House.  Ouch!  Tintara is an indigenous aboriginal term for Orion’s Belt.

Well that’s it for this week.  Drink responsibly and enjoy a great wine this week.





Wines That Put A Spring In My Step

Daylight savings

It’s here…. Daylight Savings Time, as the clocks go ahead tonight and we mark the arrival of Summer Time!  I know, while it still cold enough here to freeze a monkey’s cajingles, it is officially daylight savings time.  That tells me that Spring is on its way, and the thought of that puts a spring in my step.  I thought I would share a few wines that could also put a spring in your step.

Ridge Lyyton

Here’s a wine I haven’t written about in a couple of years, mostly because our liquor stores discontinued it.  It was a fabulous wine though, Ridge Lytton Springs Zinfandel.  I was lucky enough to snag a couple of bottles when they were clearing them out.  A combination of Zinfandel, Petite Sirah, Carignan and Mourvedre, this California beauty has layers and layers of rich fruit flavor and smoky notes.  A superb food wine.


Another wine sure to put a spring in your step is the Waipara Springs Sauvignon Blanc from New Zealand.  A classic New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc with crisp acidity and bright flavors of grass and citrus that will have you thinking of Summer.  By the way, has anyone seen grass lately?


If you are in the need of a serious pick-me-up, try a Spanish Cava, like this Freixenet Elyssia Gran Cuvee.  Cava is Spanish Champagne.   Unless the wine is made in the Champagne region of France, it cannot be called Champagne.  However, this wine is made in the traditional Champagne style.  This sparkling beauty is made from both Chardonnay and Pinot Noir grapes and has delightful melon flavors and a crisp finish.

Lucente label

Remember this wine from the Wine Show in the Fall?  I wrote about it a few months back, and had to bring it up again.  The label reminds me of sunshine, and unless you’ve been down South, us Canadians are in desperate need of sunshine.  This is the Luce Della Vite Lucente 2011 vintage, and it’s as bright as it looks.  One of my favorite wines from the 2014 Port of Wines show, it was lush and seductive and the flavors had a magnificent finish.

Napa 2

I love this sign.  When I visited the Napa Valley in 2001, this sign reminded me I was in one of the most beautiful places on earth.  In the past 6 weeks, we have seen -25 wind chills way too many times, and my mind often wanders to the beautiful days in California.    Which brings me to my new wine of the week

J. Lohr Merlot label

I have written about the J.Lohr family of wines many times, loving their Chardonnay, Riesling and Cabernet Sauvignon.  But the Merlot was recommended by this ray of sunshine!

Rick Martell

My good friend Rick is the Manager of the NSLC on my street, and I asked him yesterday for a new Merlot.  Both he and I were shocked I hadn’t tried this one yet, and it didn’t disappoint.  This wine is 84% Merlot with Malbec and Petite Verdot added.  The addition of Malbec adds to the fruit, and many of you may have not heard of the Petite Verdot grape.  It was offered in Bordeaux blends but ripened so late in France, it fell out of favor.  It ripens much better in the heat of California and adds flavor, tannins and structure.  Gorgeous rich plump fruits and hints of cedar and cocoa had me shaking my head as to why I hadn’t tried it before.

So… funny story.  As many of you are planning trips down South this Spring, this is where I’m heading in 2 weeks time.

Corner Brook

My hometown of Corner Brook has received about 200 cms of snow in the past 5 weeks.  And I’m going home for a visit.  Thankfully, there will be wine…. lots and lots of wine.

Till next week, Cheers