Festival of Wines


I’m heading to the annual Festival of Wines this evening, and the theme this year is ‘Discover the Wines of North America’.  The Festival has been going on most of the week, but I’m attending tonight’s grand tasting.  I’m embarking on a journey through the wines of Canada and the United States, and its been exciting, because the NSLC has been previewing the Festival’s wine list over the past couple of weeks.  So I’m able to give you a sneak peak at some of the wines on the list.


Both my friend Amber and I think this wine could take ‘Best Wine Under $20″.  Amber works at our liquor store here and she has been selling this like hot cakes.  I wrote about this wine a few weeks ago, so if you haven’t tried it, get it while you can.  It’s a delicious full-bodied blend of Cabernet Sauvignon, Zinfandel, Syrah and Petite Syrah, and it’s priced under $20.  I will let you know next week if this wine wins.

Although the Festival will feature wines from around the world, they are focusing on North America, Canada and the U.S.  From Nova Scotia, the Tidal Bay wines from many of our vineyards are being featured.

Tidal Bay wines

Looking at the menu of wines being featured, we are being offered the opportunity to try Tidal Bay from Jost, Gaspereau Vineyards, Avondale, Blomidon Estate, Lightfoot and Wolfville, Luckett and Saint-Famille.  Tidal Bay wines are always white, they are a little different from each vineyard, and were designed to reflect the terroir of Nova Scotia.  The wines were created to pair perfectly with seafood.


One of the wines I’m looking forward to trying is this Renwood Zinfandel.  We used to carry it here in Nova Scotia a few years back, and then, poof, it was gone.  It’s a delicious expression of a Zinfandel with notes of vanilla, nutmeg and cinnamon.  Not too oaky and well balanced.  I hope the fact its being featured in the show means its coming back to Nova Scotia.

And now for my wine of the week


The Asio Otus Vino Rosso comes to us from Sicily Italy, and I had to share this great value with you.  It’s under $16 and is Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon and Syrah.  In a word, delicious.  Every day wine drinkers like us give this wine 4 out of 5 stars all over the world and why not.  It’s full-bodied and spicy and priced to buy again and again.

Wine glass broken again

Can’t wait to tell  you all about the Festival of Wines next week.  Till then, Cheers



Que Syrah Syrah

Image result for Syrah wine meme

Syrah is seductive, spicy, and just plain delicious.  Genetically it’s the same grape as Shiraz, but Syrah tends to come out of the Old World, where as Shiraz is more New World.  Which is why they tend to be done in very different styles.  It is grown in so many places around the globe including France, Australia, New Zealand, Chile, South Africa and California.  Let’s explore Syrah today.  It can also be found in a wide range of price points, to suit every budget.

In Argentina, Syrah has been used as a blending partner with its most famous grape, Malbec.  But Las Moras puts out a Syrah all by itself and I had it this past week.  For the price point of $13.99 you can’t go wrong with this easy to drink Syrah.

Syrah originates in France and has a long documented history in the Rhone Valley.  However, not all Syrah wines in France are created the same.  Ranging from the mineral and tannic nature of Hermitage, to fruity and perfumed in the Cote-Rotie.   This  Chateau La Canorgue Luberon caught my eye because of the beautiful label.  But I ended up loving the wine.  It’s from Provence, on the left bank of the Rhone River, and it also borders Italy and the Mediterranean Sea.  All this terroir contributes to the complexity of this wine, which is herbal and fruity but with that beautiful spice Syrah is known for.  A great deal at $29.99

And now for my wine of the week…

Great wines at great prices.  That’s pretty well how  I determine my wine of the week!  This Syrah blend is $18.50 but tastes like it would cost much more.  Bila Haut, surprise, comes from France, but this time it’s the Languedoc-Roussillion region.  This region produces Syrah by itself, but is probably more known for blends with Grenache.  And that’s what this is, a blend of Syrah (45%), Grenache (45%) and Carignan (10%).  Carignan is a grape that originated in Spain and is known there as Carinena. Gorgeous fruit with notes of leather and spice, many wine drinkers agree, this wine tastes like it should cost 4 times as much as it does.

Wine Saturday 3

I love being a Saturday night hero.  Till next week, Cheers


How Merlot Can You Go

Image result for paul giamatti sideways merlot

Ever since Paul Giamatti said ‘I’m not drinking any f*&kin’ Merlot’ in the movie Sideways, Merlot has take a bit of a bad rap.  Merlot, however, has a noble history.  The earliest recorded mentions date back to 1784 when a local official called this dark wine from the Libournais region of Bordeaux as one of the best. It is believed to come from the French name merlau, which means blackbird.  Merlot is being grown all over the globe.

Dada No.2 Merlot 2016

Merlot may not be Argentina’s most well known export, but most Merlot in Argentina is grown around the Mendoza region.  This particular Merlot wine is a staple in my wine rack, because it’s a fantastic Merlot that comes in around the $16 mark.  Luscious fruit and hints of mocha makes it easy to enjoy this wine any night of the week.

Merlot, originates from Bordeaux France, and France has two thirds of the world’s plantings of Merlot grapes.  Wines from Bordeaux tend to be blends and the Bad Boy is no exception.  This wine is 95% Merlot and 5% Cabernet Franc, and is a delicious silky wine, consistently given up to 93 Points from wine critics.  I had a chance to taste this wine not long ago, and I really liked it.  Here’s the thing I can’t get my head around.  Here in Nova Scotia, this wine is $35 a bottle, but in other parts of Canada and the States it is quite a bit cheaper.  In Ontario, Canada, it is $25 a bottle.  So if you look for it, I would love to know how much it costs where you live. It really is a good wine, but I can’t help but feel I’m paying too much for it where I live.

And finally my wine of the week…

Bogle Merlot (2)

Historically, Merlot was primarily used as a 100% varietal wine in California.  It wasn’t until winemaker Warren Winiarski encouraged taking the grape back to its blending roots with Bordeaux style blends, that this started happening in the United States. This is the wine I had last night and it’s been years since I’ve written about it, but it has always remained one of my favorite Merlot wines.  Bogle Vineyards were first planted in 1968 and 50 years later Warren, Jody and Ryan Bogle are keeping the traditions of quality wine started by their grandfather.    This Merlot comes in at $24.99 a bottle here, but it’s great quality wine at an affordable price.  Smooth and full-bodied with notes of blueberry and mocha, this wine is exceptionally food friendly.

Wine glass broken again

That’s it for me for this week, till next week, Cheers


Grape From The Heart

Wine Answer

I couldn’t get the song ‘Straight From The Heart’ by Bryan Adams out of my head yesterday, so I decided to use that as the basis of this week’s wine blog. I do love wine so these wines come ‘grape from the heart’, if you’ll pardon the pun, are beautiful wines to try.

Image result for I love wine, wine's my favorite

The state of Washington, on the Pacific Coast of the U.S. has been called ‘The Quiet Giant’.  It is the second largest wine producing state behind California, and contains over 1000 vineyards and wineries.  Washington has ideal growing conditions for two Burgundian greats, Chardonnay and Pinot Noir, and many winemakers from this state tend to spend time in Burgundy France, to learn from the greats.

Image result for kung fu riesling

Washington State happens to be home to one of my favorite Riesling wines, Kung Fu Girl.  Crisp and fruity, this is a great wine to pair with foods that have a little zip.  I bought it to a recent wine tasting, and I was surprised about the response, and to hear people say ‘I didn’t know I liked Riesling’.  So if you don’t think you like Riesling, they can vary greatly in sweetness levels, give this one a try, and I would love to hear what you think.

Here’s a fantastic example of a magnificent red wine from the state of Washington.  Located near Seattle, the legendary Chateau St. Michelle names this Indian Wells wine after the vineyard where the grapes are grown.  There are 7 different varietals in this wine, but Syrah and Merlot make up the majority.  Winemaker Bob Bertheau creates a beautiful blend that embraces the palate.

The gang 1

Got to see a couple of friends this past week that I haven’t seen in over a year, way too long.  Judy moved back to Ottawa last August and I really miss my wine-drinking friend.

The Festival of Wines is just around the corner, and our NSLC started introducing the wines.  A returning favourite is my wine of the week


If the label looks slightly familiar, it’s because last year it was yellow.  This California wine made by an Italian wine maker is a winner!   It’s a new world wine with a hint of the old world.  Beautiful notes of fig, chocolate, and cooked blueberries make for a full bodied,  well rounded wine.   And probably the best part, this fantastic wine is under $20 per bottle, grapes from my heart!

Thanks for joining me for another blog

Till next week, Cheers


National Red Wine Day

National Red Wine day

Tuesday past was National Red Wine Day and I found myself the subject of a radio interview, on Mix 96-5, a radio station here in Halifax, Nova Scotia.  I was trying to upload the interview, but I can’t seem to be able to do it on this site.

Mix 96-5 logo

On the program, I was asked about some of my favorite red wines and some of my favorite values.  So I thought I would compile a list of some great wines for every price point.

Under $15

On the show I was asked about where some great value wines are coming from, and my answer was Argentina and Chile.  These 2 countries are providing great wines at fantastic price points.  Here are a couple of my favorite under $15 wines.  The Los Moras blend of Cabernet Sauvignon and Syrah hails from Argentina and is a great full-bodied wine with spicy notes.  The one on the right is an easy to drink Merlot from Chile with great plum fruit flavors and both wines have a price tag of just $13.99

Under $20

I think this is my favorite price point on wine.  There just seems to be a huge variety of good wine that comes in around the $20 mark.  Here’s #1 on my list


The Zonin Valpolicello Ripasso was given 96 Points by Decanter magazine and comes in at just $19.99.  As I had mentioned in one of my previous blogs, when this was my wine of the week, these grapes are hand picked and only the best are used, which is rare in a wine under $20.  Regular readers of my blog know that a Ripasso is Valpolicello wine passed over the skins and must of an Amarone, giving it great flavor.  This wine spent 20 days with the Amarone must and the flavor is incredible.  This is definitely my new favorite wine.  Tonight I am BBQ’ing ribs and wings, and this is the wine I have chosen.

Under $25

There are a lot of great wines in this price range as well.  It seems to be the point when Pinot Noir starts getting good.

This $24.99 wine is out of New Zealand and is a wonderful expression of Pinot Noir from this region.  It’s very earthy and well structured, with a great lasting impression on the palate.

Another great wine under $25 is this Zinfandel from the Lodi region of California.  7 Deadly Zins.  Made by brothers, Michael and David Phillips, who comes from a family that has been making wine in this region since 1850.  This was a close second for my choice of which wine to have with my BBQ ribs tonight.  This too is a great wine for all foods BBQ!

Under $35

We are going to stay in California, while I introduce you to my favorite steak wine.  The Beringer Knights Valley Cabernet Sauvignon is structured so well with distinct tannins and fruit that come alive on your palate.  A great wine to pair with beef, stews and other hearty foods, this wine is constantly being given 90 – 93 Points by wine critics.

Under $50


Coming in at $50 is last week’s wine of the week.  This Pangea Syrah was just magnificent.

Another favorite under $50 is from Oregon.  I think there are some Pinot Noir wines coming out of Oregon that are just as good as those in Burgundy.  Domaine Drouhin Roserock Pinot Noir is a beautiful expression of this great grape.

And last but not least… if you really want a treat tonight.  I got to try this wine last week

Under $100

Speaking of great BBQ wines.  The E & E Black Pepper Shiraz is from the Barossa Valley region of Australia.  Both Wine  Spectator and Wine Align gave it 94 Points and it comes in at $90.  Full-bodied and rich, this interesting wine lingers on the palate, and is very delicious.

So that’s it for me for this week.

Till next week, Cheers