Easter Wine Pairings Simplified

Wine Easter

Even the Easter bunny likes a glass of wine!  It’s Easter weekend, and a time when we get together with family and friends and enjoy a meal.  The fun thing about an Easter meal is that many people enjoy a wide variety of foods on this particular holiday.  Unlike Thanksgiving and Christmas, where it tends to be just turkey, people tend to get very creative for this holiday meal.

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If lamb is on the menu this Easter, may I suggest a Cabernet Sauvignon.  You may be roasting the lamb or grilling the lamb, either way a Cabernet Sauvignon will pair wonderfully.  I personally don’t eat a lot of lamb, but it is a rich and strong meat and it deserves a rich and strong wine.


Take this California Robert Mondavi Cabernet Sauvignon that has been aged in bourbon oak barrels made in Kentucky.  A wonderful big juicy wine that will delight your guests, and a great pairing fir the lamb or if it’s a steak on the menu.

Glazed ham is a family friendly meal that is one of my personal favorites.  Glazed hams usually incorporate some sweetness from the glaze, and some sour as well, especially if there is vinegar or citrus involved.  The combination of both sweet and sour makes it a great pairing for Pinot Noir if you are choosing red.

Bread and Butter

Here’s one of the Pinot Noir wines I have tried recently and both myself and Amber at our local liquor store loved it.  It hails from California, is very reasonably priced at $24.99 here where I live, and would be a great pairing with ham or turkey.

Bread and Butter white

If you prefer white, Bread and Butter also makes a delicious Chardonnay that would a great compliment to your ham or turkey.  This dry Chardonnay with notes of vanilla would be a great fit for the glaze on the ham as well.  Chardonnay is also a great compliment if you are serving roast chicken or roast turkey.  These two wines are receiving accolades and 90+ point ratings across the board, and I happen to know they are selling out fast around here.

We can’t forget dessert.  Whether your dessert is chocolate

A bundle of chocolate Easter eggs

or pie…

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Most people like a little something sweet on holiday weekends.

I’m staying local for my pick of dessert wine.  Because of Canada’s frosty weather, we make really good ice wine.  I stayed in Nova Scotia for this one with the Grand Pre Vidal Icewine.  A small glass of ice wine can serve as dessert on its own, or it pairs nicely with whatever sweet you are serving.  The honey and apricot flavors in this wine is the perfect finish for a meal and it’s very decently priced at $25.

And now for my wine of the week…


Baby back ribs happen to be on one of my menus this holiday weekend, and there’s no better wine for me than Zinfandel.  This past week our local liquor store got in the Chunky Red Zinfandel, from Italy, would you believe!  Normally Zinfandel is called Primitivo in Italy.  This, however, is from the Puglia region of Italy and they called it Chunky Red Zinfandel!  What made this particular Zinfandel my wine of the week?  The price point!  It’s very hard to get a rich Zinfandel under $30. Most times you’re paying about $33.  This wine is under $20, but tastes like a $30 Zin.   Full-bodied, well structured with rich fruit, vanilla and hints of chocolate.


Happy Easter everybody from my family to yours


Where is Spring?

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So this past week we celebrated the first day of Spring…. and this is what it looked like in Halifax

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We have had more snow in March than we had in January and February combined.  So looking on the bright side, I don’t buy Storm Chips… Yes, there is such a thing

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Me, I buy Storm Wine.

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And lots of it.  Here’s a few favorites I enjoyed during the snowy days of March.


Here’s a great new wine from right here in Canadathat a friend shared with me last weekend.  I will definitely be buying it again, a wonderful Cabernet Merlot blend for under $12!  Well structured but the tannins didn’t over-power the wine.  Tannins affect the sides of your mouth, and if a wine is very tannic, it can come across as bitter.  Some Cabernet wines can be very tannic, you know those big wines that have your mouth come to life.  This was extremely smooth, a great Canadian wine for under $12.


I do love a good Pinot Noir and this wonderful Pinot hails from California.  I wrote about the Lucky Star Cabernet Sauvignon recently, which was also very good, and they make a Petite Sirah which I am looking forward to trying.  The name originated from the owners ‘thanking their lucky stars’ for the blessings in their lives, as a celebration of gratitude.  This Pinot has wonderful flavors of cranberry and spice and at $20, it’s a very affordable.

And now for my wine of the week.


From Cline Vineyards, this Cashmere Exquisite Red Blend was, in a word, exquisite.  The blend is 59% Mourvedre, 22% Grenache and 19% Syrah and it’s a wonderful wine. Great fruit, hints of black pepper and great structure, it’s a beautifully balanced wine and very affordable at just $21.  Perfect storm wine.

Storm Wine

I thought you might enjoy this Winter Storm Wine Chart.  Hopefully where you live you are seeing a bit of Spring.

Till next week, Cheers



Exceptional Australian Wines

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Australia’s wine industry has taken a hit in the past few years, and with good reason.  Once the darling of the wine community, Australia’s mass-produced ‘critter’ wines is a big reason why many consumers are staying out of the  Australia wine aisle.  Critter wines are those mass-produced Australian wines that features an animal, and they are artifically oaked and have zero complexity.  They are cheap, and they taste cheap.  It’s too bad, really!  Because there are people in Australia making great wine.

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Penfolds was established in 1844 and they have perfected the art of fine wine from Australia.  And if you’ve ever had their Grange Shiraz, at $700 a bottle, you would understand why I’m calling it an art form.  But you don’t have to spend $700 to get a good bottle of Penfolds.

Bin 128

This Bin 128 is a wonderful Shiraz for $34.99.  Considered a cool climate wine from a warm region, which  means in this case is that the temperature really drops off fast as harvest time is approaching.  Lower temperatures preserve acidity, but can struggle to ripen.  This can cause a ‘green’ taste, which is almost bitter.  This is not the case  with this Penfold’s wine.  There is no bitterness, and the tannins are very smooth, caused by the wine being aged for 12 months in smooth French oak, which doesn’t put that funky oaky taste on wine.

Jeff Byrne, chief winemaker for Australia’s Audrey Wilkinson, touts his brand Tuesday at the liquor store on Joseph Howe Drive in Halifax. (TED PRITCHARD/ Staff)

The story of  Audrey Wilkinson Wines is one of my favorite to come out of Australia, because there is a wonderful Canadian connection.  Audrey Wilkinson was a man named by his parents and endured a little teasing.  But at age 15, his father died, and Audrey took over the running of the winery.  His motto… “It’s all about the wine”!

The story gets even better because the current winemaker for Audrey Wilkinson is from Dartmouth, Nova Scotia.  His name is Jeff Byrne and he went to Australia for a vacation, and ended up meeting the love of his life and moved there to be married.  I had the pleasure of meeting this interesting young man when he visited Nova Scotia back in 2013.

Audrey Wilkinson

Jeff is making some incredibly good  wine.  This Shiraz is so good, it’s hard to believe it’s priced at only $24.99.  Jeff’s whole focus when it comes to making wine is all about the balance.  He doesn’t want sweetness, he doesn’t want too much oak, and he really wants to make good wine that goes well with food.

And my wine of the week also happens to be from Australia…


I had a steak the other night and this is the wine I picked up to pair with that steak.  They were awesome together.  You know how nice it is to watch two people who have been dancing together for years?  This was very similar to that.  The Kilikanoon Killerman’s Run Cabernet Sauvignon hails from the Clare Valley in Australia, and is named after a gentleman who lived in an old tin shed behind the Kilikanoon’s Cellar door.  He was totally self sufficient and grew his own fruits and vegetables and his favorite meal was rabbit.  I always enjoy the story behind the wine.

This wine has spent 16 months in both new and seasoned French oak barrels, so there is oak, but it’s not overpowering.  I also detected notes of black pepper, so I thought it was a great wine to have with a steak done on the grill.

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Today is St. Patrick’s Day, and I know many people opt for the green beer, but you know what?  A wee bit of wine is just fine!

Till next week, Cheers





Limited Finds- One of a Kind


Yesterday afternoon I had to say good-bye to this cutie, as he crossed the Rainbow Bridge.  I knew our time was limited, because when I started fostering him 2 years ago, he had feline leukemia then.  The first 5 years of his life before he was rescued were pretty hard, but the last 2, he was in kitty heaven.  I’d also like to take this moment to thank the Halifax Cat Rescue Society for all their wonderful support, and for paying the vet bills.  Leo was one of a kind, a limited find if you will.  So today I am dedicating my wine blog to limited finds, just like Leo.


Last week I wrote about the Discover USA wines, as our local wine store is doing a feature on Limited Finds.

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For our first wine, let’s head to Italy.  Monte Antico is a village in Italy which in 2001 had a population of 33.  It might be a small village but they make a pretty great Super Tuscan wine.


This blend of Sangiovese, Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot is a winner.  It is priced less than $20, so it’s super affordable and the wine is perfect to pair with pizza, spaghetti and meatballs or any Italian food you might be craving.  I enjoyed the 2013 vintage, and will definitely buy it again.


The next Limited Find is from California, and I got to try both the Cabernet Sauvignon and this Pinot Noir, which I bought.  The Cabernet was delicious because the tannins weren’t sharo and the flavours shone through.  Finding great Pinot Noir under $20 can be challenging, but this one hit it out of the ball park.  This Pinot Noir  is very elegant and light in color but full on flavour.

And now my wine of the week….


A few months back, I wrote about the Kenwood Cabernet Sauvignon, as it won an award at our Port of Wines Show in September.  Recently, I bought this Zinfandel from Kenwood and it’s fabulous.  Kenwood produced its first vintage of this Zinfandel back in 1970 so they have been perfecting it for many years.  Sonoma County is very well known for producing high quality Zinfandel grapes and this is a fantastic wine at just $22 a bottle.  I enjoyed this last weekend with baby back ribs and it was heavenly.


Leo loved watching movies with cats in them.   Here’s to a one of a kind !

Till next week, Cheers


Hooray for Wines from the U.S.A.

American wines

Our local liquor store is having a promotion called ‘Get to Know American Wines’ and they have bought in some new wines for us to try.  I think the U.S.A. is putting out some mighty fine wines, California and Oregon are two of my favorite regions.  Did you know the first grapes in Washington State were planted in 1825 by the Hudson Bay Company?  And although all 50 States produce wine, but California accounts for 90% of all Wine production in the United States.


In addition to Pinot Noir, Oregon is putting out some great Riesling wine.  I love Riesling, it is my favorite wine to pair with spicy food of any kind.  This Firesteed originates from the Willamette Valley in Oregon, which is more known for its Pinot Noir.  The Pacific Ocean really adds an interesting micro climate to the wines from this region, giving them complexity.  They are not flat boring wines, and this Riesling is a prime example.  You’ll love the flavors of pears and apples and the crisp acidity makes this wine perfect in so many ways.


One of the new wines bought in for this promotion is this wonderful Rosso Di Ca Momi.  A great wine for under $20.  If you look on any site, they will recommend ribs for this wine, and the minute you taste it, you’ll understand why.  As soon as I had my first sniff, I detected Zinfandel and Merlot, which are two great choices for ribs.  As it turns out, this is a blend of Cabernet Sauvignon, Zinfandel, Merlot and Petite Sirah and it’s priced under $20.  It was a fantastic wine and since ribs are on the menu for me tonight, I am going to pick up another bottle.  However, this wines pairs deliciously with any BBQ fare, steak ir pulled pork.

My wine of the week sent me to heaven


From the Robert Mondavi Private Selection comes this Cabernet Sauvignon that has been aged in bourbon barrels.  This is one wine to sip and savour, it’s that good.  And I want to give you a heads up that I wanted to buy a second bottle yesterday evening and my local store was all sold out.  So if you see a bottle, grab it!

Aging bourbon in oak barrels is a very time-honored tradition, and Mondavi is buying the barrels from a well-known bourbon producer in Kentucky.  This wine was fantastic.  You can detect notes of the bourbon, and although I’m not a bourbon drinker out of the glass, I loved what it added to the wine. I am showing a picture of the wine in the glass, because it’s such a bold beautiful color.  It will probably come as no surprise how rich this wine is, with distinct flavors of smoke, chocolate and a tinge of brown sugar.  This was a treat.  And it sells for about $22 so it’s an affordable treat.

Wine Cat

That’s it for me for this week!  Have a wonderful weekend everyone.  Till next week, Cheers