Well Earned Wine


A very big thank you to all the people who not only read my blog about my Birthday Wine Bucket Lust last Saturday, but for all the birthday wishes as well.  Remember I told you I was going to celebrate turning 55 in style with a road race in St. John’s, Newfoundland called the Tely 10.  Which by the way is 10 miles, or 16.12 kilometres, the longest distance I have ever run.


And I did it!!  Here I am at the finish line with my friend, and the person who got me through this challenging event, Beth Keeping.  Her husband Scott is a very fast runner, and finished the race about 35 minutes before us.  It was tough and at times I struggled on the road, but we did it! I’m used to trail running, so running my longest distance on pavement took its toll on my legs.   And what better way to reward yourself than with a glass of wine.

Primarius Pinot

On the day of my actual birthday, my friends Beth & Scott took me to dinner  to a restaurant in St. John’s called Piatto Midtown.  We had a fabulous dinner and Beth and I enjoyed a glass of wine with dinner.  You can’t drink too much when you have to get up at 5 a.m. to run a race.  We had the Primarius Pinot Noir from Oregon and I loved it.  I love a cool climate Pinot Noir and this is Pinot does at its finest. Primarius is the latin word for Distinguished, and I think it’s a very fitting title.  The Williamette Valley in Oregon is putting out some of the finest Pinot Noir wines on the planet, and Wine-maker Sarah Cabot knows how to do it right.  Beautiful flavors of cherries, clove and notes of cinnamon, with a subtle hint of oak.  I loved it, and although I can’t buy it here in Nova Scotia, it will be on the list when I visit Newfoundland again.  It’s $31.25 a bottle there, so a nice treat wine.


When my friend Judy took me out to dinner for my birthday, at a restaurant called Il Mercato here in Nova Scotia, a beautiful Italian restaurant, we enjoyed this great wine.  The Zenato Ripassa 2013 hails from the northern part of Italy, in Veneto, and this family has been producing wine since 1960.  Sergio Zenato started the winery in 1960 and it is now being run by his two children, Alberto & Nadia.  This wine paired great with the beef tenderloin we both enjoyed, and the velvety smoothness of this rich wine was wonderful to sip as we were waiting for our meal.  At $35 a bottle to buy in a wine store here, I thought it was a great wine.

And now for my wine of the week….


This luscious fruity Merlot from the Napa Valley in California.  (I apologize for the poor picture quality and the streak of wasted wine down the bottle).  This is a fantastic treat wine, it’s $69 a bottle here but this is one of those wines that is worth every penny.  It is luscious and rich with some spice on the palate.  Hat’s off to another fantastic female wine-maker, this wine is made by Jenny Wagner, daughter of iconic winemaker Chuck Wagner.  Think iconic wines such as Caymus, Mer Soleil, and Conundrum.  This particular wine was started by Jenny’s mother, Cheryl Emmolo.  This is one serious wine-making family.

Wine Room Temperature

A reminder with the hot Summer temperatures, that ‘room temperature’ of your home is probably too warm for your red wine.   Room temperature is 55-degrees Farenheit or about 15-degrees Celsius, so stick it in the refrigerator for a bit.

Till next week, Cheers


Birthday Wine Bucket List

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Today is my birthday, and I don’t mind telling you I turn 55 years old today.  I’m ringing in the occasion by doing something for the first time, and pushing myself a little.  And it doesn’t involve wine.  Not to say there won’t be wine afterwards, because there will be.  I am running 16 kms in the Tely 10 Race in St. John’s Newfoundland.

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My friend Beth and I have been training for 11 months and there are about 10 of us in my running group headed to Newfoundland later today.  This is a push for me.  I’ve done 12 kms a few times, but doing 16 kms will be a real achievement.   Definitely  one of the things on my bucket list.

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Which got me to thinking about my other bucket list, wines that I would love to try in my life time.


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#1 for me on my bucket list would be a bottle of Chateau Lafite Rothschild, a Bordeaux from the Paullac region of France, and since 1855 has been considered the #1 vineyard in France.  Rated at first for the 1855 Paris Exposition, it has never slipped from its first place position.  The wine is mostly Cabernet Sauvignon with small amount of Merlot (5% – 20%) and 1% Petite Verdot.


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One day I would love to do a wine tour in France, and I would love to visit the grounds of this noble winery.  Bottles start around the $500 and go up, and the average runs about $1500, so it is definitely a bucket list item.  They sell  one here in Nova Scotia for $1000, and who knows, maybe one day.

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I do have this one in my wine rack, waiting for a special occasion.  It’s a collaboration between Dr. Rupert Anton and the Baron Edmond Rothschild and it’s a Bordeaux style blend of wine featuring Cabernet Sauvignon as the dominant wine and some Merlot.  It was a very special limited release here in Nova Scotia, and I nabbed a bottle.

Chateau D'yquem

Another wine that is on the bucket list is a dessert wine from Chateau D’Yquem.  (pronounced D-Kam!)  It’s a little pricey, our NSLC carries 3 and they range in price from $600 a bottle to $1100 a bottle, definitely a special occasion wine.  Chateau D’yquem doesn’t produce every year, and since 1959 only 33 vintages have left the vineyard.  This dessert wine, which I have no doubt is fabulous, would be rich, and I understand has lovely honeysuckle and apricot flavors.

Since that is not probably going to happen for this birthday, this would be my second pick for a rich dessert wine…


A bottle of 2000 Chateau Coutet is available at our local liquor store and comes in at $66 a bottle.  And this one I have tried and it is fabulous with a Capital F!  This is luscious and rich on the palate, with gorgeous flavors of marmalade and gingerbread.  Ladies, this is better than chocolate.  I was never a big dessert eater, but when dessert tastes like this, I’m in.

But if I’m going to treat myself to a birthday wine, it will probably be this one..


The Beringer Cabernet Sauvignon is $35 which makes it in a nice price range for me to treat myself.  And I do love the spicy dark fruit and hints of oak.  I do love BBQ steak and BBQ ribs and this one pairs well with both foods.

And if I were to be completely honest, this is still one of the best deals at our liquor store and I do love this wine, and it would be perfectly fine for a birthday gift…


In all its $15 glory, I still feel this 7-year aged Tempranillo is the best deal around for value.  It’s a great wine at an affordable price, and it tastes very very good.  It’s smooth on the palate and has beautiful cherry flavors.  It’s very food friendly and everyone that I get to try it, loves it.  Tasting the wine, you will forget it is $15 a bottle.  It’s a staple in my wine rack.

Wine Birthday

I am happy to share my birthday with Prince George, actors Danny Glover and David Spade, and fashion designer Oscar de la Renta just to name a few.  It falls on a Saturday this year, but sadly I will be refraining from the wine tonight as I have to be in fine form to run 16 kms Sunday morning.  I will share pictures

Till next week, Cheers




The Grape Houdini

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Ever sit around with a group of friends and secretly wonder how the bottle of wine disappeared?  Me neither, I just open another one.  But that’s what happened the other night as we were celebrating a friend’s birthday, and we had a wonderful time.

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We celebrated my friend Sharon’s birthday Wednesday evening, and the wine was flowing, everything from white to red to rose.

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I’ve had the opportunity to try some new wines in the past few weeks, and I thought I would share them with you.  Let’s start with an amazing wine for summer.


You know I love Rose wine in the Summer, and this gorgeous looking wine hails from the Basilicata region of Italy, which on a map looks to be the instep of the boot.  For those that didnt know, Italy is shaped like a boot.  Basilicata grows Aglianico, and this rose wine from Pipoli is a great value at $19 per bottle.  Gorgeous citrus flavors with nice crisp minerality.  Fabulous wine.


Another recent fabulous find is this Pinot Noir, which only cost $20 but tastes like a $40 bottle of wine.  That’s the one thing I love about Chilean wine, such good value.  The wine tastes more expensive than what you actually pay for it.  I enjoyed the wine from 2015, and it was fresh and fruity with hints of vanilla.  I loved it, and Pinot Noir is so food friendly, it’s one of the reds that will go with anything you put on the picnic table this Summer.  I have sinced picked up more of it, and I’m thinking it will be a stapke in my wine rack.

And now for my wine of the week..


This fantastic numbered wine from  McGuigan comes oht once a year, and is called the Shortlist selection.   From the Coonawarra region of Australia,  this region is known for its quality Cabernet Sauvignon.  I enjoyed this award winning wine last night as I barbecued.   Gorgeous flavours of black currant and chocolate mint with great structure and softer tannins.  I bought the very last bottle at my local liquor store yesterday,  this wine is in extremely short supply here in Canada so if you see it grab it .  It’s a keeper!

Wine drink the good stuff

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


Here’s To Pour Decisions

Let’s face it, we’ve all made a bad decision or two.   But I don’t feel there are any bad decisions when it comes to wine, just learning experiences.   I don’t write about wines I don’t like because somebody else may love the wine.   Just because I don’t like that wine doesn’t mean it’s not a good wine   It’s the reason I called my blog ‘Wine in my Opinion.


This Shiraz, however, was a very good decision.    Coming from the McLaren Vale region of Australia, the region is known for its aromatic and full flavoured Shiraz wines.   I love a good Shiraz in the Summer because it’s a great barbecue wine  and the perfect accompaniment to grilled meat.   It has great structure, good tannins and nice spice on the fruit.  At $20, its a great affordable red  and a decision you won’t regret making.


Speaking of great wine fit for a barbecue,  this is the Uncle Zin Appassimento Zinfandel  and it comes from Puglia in Italy where Zinfandel is normally called Primitivo.  Appassimento refers to the drying process of the grapes.   I enjoyed this wine last night as I barbecued some burgers ,  it’s a great wine to sip while you’re cooking and a great wine to drink while you’re eating.  I loved the jammy fruit and the spice but what I liked most is that this is Zinfandel did not have those manipulated smoky bacon flavours.   A great Zinfandel for $25 however my only complaint is that the bottle is short and stocky and wouldn’t stay in my wine rack.   It kept falling through so I had no choice but to drink it.  A pour decision for sure!


Everyone that knows me knows how much I love finding good value especially when it relates to wine .   And they were tasting this wine at my local liquor store and I just had to buy it    It’s a German Riesling, which I rarely buy because I don’t like overly sweet Riesling’s but this one was fantastic .  It’s not sweet, it’s on the dry side but has beautiful acidity and crisp fruit flavours. And it’s only $16 a bottle.  The only poor decision I made regarding this wine was that I didn’t buy more than one

And now for my wine of the week…..



I have always been a big fan of McManis wines, and the 3 or 4 we get here in Nova Scotia tend to be priced at $20.  This one is a little more expensive, coming in at $32, it’s their next level up, but it is so tasty and so worth it   This is a blend of 59% Cabernet Sauvignon, 10% Petite Sirah, 5% Tannat and 3% Ruby Cabernet.  Ruby Cabernet is a grape that is a cross between Cabernet Sauvignon and Carignan, and was created for the purpose of blending, giving the grape structure from the Cabernet and heat resistence from the Carignan.  Tannat is the National grape of Urugay, so we don’t see that often in California blends.  This is a great wine and I loved the fact it has been introduced to us in the heart of grilling season.  This wine is a “pour” decision I will be making time and time again.


Here’s to a weekend of wonderful pour decisions

Till next week, Cheers


Celebrating Canada’s 150th



It is Saturday, July 1st, Canada Day.  This year, all year, Canada is celebrating its 150th birthday, and I have been lucky enough to travel every inch of this country from St. John’s Newfoundland to Victoria British Columbia.  It’s a beautiful country with spectacular scenery and the nicest people.  It’s also making a name for itself in the wine industry.  Canada is putting out fantastic wines from the Anapolis Valley in Nova Scotia to the Okanagan region in British Columbia.   I am going to talk about some of the great Canadian wines, so let’s start in the East and head West.

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Benjamin Bridge is located in the Gaspereau Valley in the Anapolis Valley region of Nova Scotia, however, this small winery is making headlines around  the world.  Its traditional method Sparkling wine is taking the wine world by storm.  John Szabo, Canada’s 1st Master Sommelier said “very likely the finest sparkling wine to have yet been issued from Canadian soil”

Lightfood rose  LIghtfoot Riesling

Another east cost winery making a lot of waves these days is Lightfoot and Wolfville, making certified organic wines in small lots.   Two of my favorites from this winery  is the Rose wine and the Riesling. Recently at the Atlantic Canadian Wine Awards, Lightfoot & Wolfville won top prize for the Winery of the Year, and took home 8 other awards.

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As we head west, I have to take a moment to tell you about the Prince Edward County wine region and one of the best known wineries there belongs to Norman Hardie.  I had the privilege of meeting the man himself when I was there last Labor Day weekend, and took home a couple of bottles of his wine, including the Riesling and this spectacular Pinot Noir.  This Burgundian style Pinot Noir is the picture of elegance and finesse, and if you ever get the chance to try it, don’t pass on the opportunity.

Hidden Bench Pinot

I can’t leave Ontario without visiting the Niagara region, which has the province’s largest planted viticultural area.  This area is putting out some spectacular wines and it is on my bucket list to visit the area.  I have a niece who lives in the area, and when my sister went ti visit one year, she bought me back this wonderful Pinot Noir from Hidden Bench.  All of this wine is 100% grown, produced, and bottled on site at the Beamsville winery.  This Pinot Noir is beautifully structured and earthy and when I get back to the area, hope to enjoy it again.


Heading west to British Columbia, the Okanagan is putting out so many great wines.  This is the wine I had again last night, 5 Vineyards from Mission Hill, a blend of Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot with some Petite Verdot and Cabernet Franc.  This Bordeaux-style of wine showcases grapes grown in 5 estate vineyards owned by Mission Hill, and each area brings something a little different to the grape.  (Which is what terroir is all about).  Red cherry flavors with hints of sage and good distinct tannins.  Last night I enjoyed this with a pasta that had a cream sauce, however, you could enjoy it with any kind of meat as well.

And now for one of my all time favorite Canadian wines…

Burrowing owl

Meritage is a Bordeaux style of wine, and the name originated in California, because it is illegal to call a wine ‘Bordeaux’, unless it comes from the Bordeaux region of France.  It consists of Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon with Cabernet Franc, Petite Verdot and this one has a little Malbec added in.  (although coomon at one time, now it’s a little unusual).   This style of wine is also called Claret in Britian, and you will also sometimes see a Claret coming out of an American winery.  For example, Francis Ford Coppola makes a Claret, and its delicious.  It’s a big bold wine, this one is 14% alcohol, good tannins and great structure.  This is a great steak wine, especially if you love those big Cabernet Sauvignon wines.  Burrowing Owl is located in Oliver B.C., and I have had many of their wines.  We can get them here in Nova Scotia now, but before then I would get them shipped in.  It is a fantastic winery and my dream is to visit the winery one day.

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Enjoy the long weekend everyone.   As I look out my window I see it’s pouring rain and I feel bad for the Canada day celebrations here in Halifax.  Hope it’s sunny where you are.

Till next week, Cheers