2016 Wine Trends


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.


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.


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…


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



Comfort Food & Wine



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!

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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.


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.


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.


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….


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




Storm Wine!

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.


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.


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.


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




A New Year of Wine!

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