Archive for April, 2019

Temperatures For Serving Wine

Posted in Uncategorized on April 27, 2019 by darmyers

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The battle wages on.  For as long as I can remember people have been enjoying their wine at the temperature they like, and that’s the way it should be.  I’ve seen people warm red wine by placing it on a warm stove, (true story) and I’ve seen lots of people put ice cubes in their wine.  No one is wrong in their preferred way to drink wine.  But as I prepare to do another wine tasting next weekend, I’m confident it will be one of the first questions asked… “What is the proper temperature for serving wine’.

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For some reason people who enjoy red wines feel guilty for bringing the temperature down.  But I always say don’t.  People have been drinking wine for thousands of years, but I’m pretty confident when I say our ‘room temperatures’ wasn’t

in the 20’s for thousands of years.  You see, room temperature for red wine had to do with the temperature of the underground wine cellars in the Old World, which I’m to understand were about 55 degreees Farenheit, which is 13-degrees Celsius.  Cat saying No

This is me when people tell me it’s their private shame that they chill their red wine.  In my opinion, a wine served too warm, or a white wine served too cold, can lose some of the character.  Keep in mind, a red shouldn’t see anything over 25-degrees.  It can really alter the taste of the wine, and I know for a fact, my parents keep their thermostat on 28-degrees Celsius.  But wine shouldn’t be too cold either.   For example, tannins in red wine can taste a little bitter when served too cold.  I personally always refrigerate my red wines 20 – 25 minutes before I serve it.  Less time if its uncorked, because if the seal is broken, it tends to cool quicker.

As you can see by the chart above, port wines should be served the warmest of all the wines.  And on that note, let’s take a look at a couple of wines I enjoyed this past week.

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Last Saturday I bought myself a great cut of beef tenderloin steak from a local butcher.  I love buying local because I know where the meat comes from, and that it was fed apples and grass.  I was really excited about my steak, which I served with potato fries and hot wings.  On top of my steak are mushrooms done in a balsamic glaze.  The only seasoning I use on a great cut of meat is salt and pepper.  This was a delicious meal and I enjoyed a big bold red.

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One of my favorite steak wines comes from Beringer in California, and its the Knights Valley Cabernet Sauvignon as part of their Distinction Series.  This is the 2015 vintage and although it was fantastic, it still has lots of time to cellar and age.  It will be delicious for years to come.  Beringer has been farming the Knights Valley vineyards since the mid-60’s and it started appearing on the label in 1974.  They have been making this wine for a long time and it is outstanding.  It sells for $38 here in Nova Scotia and believe it or not, that’s less than what it sells for in Ontario!  (About $44)  A great treat wine and I loved this meal.

And now for my wine of the week

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On the journey to become a Certified Sommelier I took many classes and met many wonderful people.  One of them is Jason, who works at a wine store in Halifax called Bishops Cellar.  I was down there a while back and Jason recommended I try this organic wine.  I’ve not had a tremendous amount of success with organic wines, some of them are lacking something.  Plus this wine is from South Africa, which can scare some people off.  (Me a few years back)  But this wonderful blend of Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot was done in a Bordeaux style but has less than half the sulphites of most red wines.  Plus there are no chemical additives as well.  And it’s delicious.  And the best part?  It’s $16.50 a bottle!  We can open and enjoy any night of the week and not feel guilty because its not breaking the bank.  This wine is an amazing value and boasts delicious flavors, and you should try it when you can.

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Have a great weekend everyone.  Till next week, Cheers

Darlene

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International Malbec Day

Posted in Uncategorized on April 20, 2019 by darmyers

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Hoppity Hop over to your favorite wine store, it’s the Easter long weekend, and you know what that means, extra wine is needed.   On Thursday, it was also International Malbec Day, the day the Malbec grape is celebrated the world over.

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It is celebrated on April 17th to commemorate the day when president Domingo Faustino Sarmiento of Argentina  officially made it his mission to transform Argentina’s wine industry.   On that April day, back in 1853, he tasked Michel Aime Pouget, a French expert in soil, to bring over new wines to Argentina.  Among the vines he brought over was Malbec.

Although Malbec originated in France, there were two huge events that transpired, that allowed Argentina to claim the grape.  First in the 1850’s, there was a huge phylloxera outbreak which killed the vines with pests.  Then in 1956 there was a huge frost that killed the vines.   However, Argentina has few pests and even fewer outbreaks of frost, and Malbec flourished in Argentina.

And on Thursday I bought this Argentinian Malbec beauty, which I shared with my friends Mair & Sharon, Mair loves Malbec.

My friend Amber at the NSLC was pouring this fantastic wine on Thursday evening and I ended up buying 3 of them.  Normally they are $24 but for one day only, International Malbec Day, they were $20.  It’s rich with a velvety chocolate finish, but is not ‘too big’, as some Malbecs can get.  I really enjoyed it.

She was also pouring this Malbec.  From Trapiche as well, the Gran Medalla in the black bottle is a little more expensive, coming in at $28.  This Malbec is a little more meatier, a little heavier.  Very full-bodied, the oak and the spice is a little more prominent, and the fruit is definitely deeper in color.  It’s a delicious wine, I think this is wonderfully suited for a meal with hearty meat or a stew dish.

And now for my wine of the week, and unfortunately it’s not Malbec, but I had to tell you about it

 

In 2016 Errazuriz Winery was named Winery of the Year.  Don Maximiano Errazuriz founded Viña Errázuriz in 1870.  Eduardo Chadwick is a 5th generation family member who is now President of the vineyard. I wrote about Mr. Chadwick a few months back, when Decanter Magazine named him Wine Person of the Year.  Check out that blog Wine Man of the Year

This Pinot Noir is fabulous.  Some people don’t like Pinot Noir because they feel it’s ‘light’.  Let me tell you, it’s not light on flavor.  The Pinot Noir grape is very thin skinned, which is why it is called the ‘heartbreak’ grape.  Because the skin is not thick like a Merlot or Cabernet Sauvignon skin, the wine tends to be medium or light-bodied and honestly, you can see through some of them.  I included a picture to show that it’s not a heavy looking wine.  But don’t let the color of the wine fool you, this wine has so much flavor.  It’s my favorite wine to pair with food, and the fact this fantastic Pinot Noir is only $17 a bottle is the reason it was the Wine of the Week.

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That’s it for this week.  Happy Easter everyone

Cheers

Darlene

 

 

 

 

 

ABC’s of Wine Tasting

Posted in Uncategorized on April 13, 2019 by darmyers

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I have been very busy this past Winter and Spring with wine tastings, and people are always a little nervous for their first wine tasting.  I think they may be nervous that they won’t be able to identify the nuances of the wine, and you know what?  That’s OK!!  Here’s what I tell people at the beginning of a wine tasting.

  1.  This is your wine tasting – I am only here to facilitate and answer questions.  Most people have lots of questions about wine, and they might be a little nervous to be the first to raise their hands.  I find that once the first question has been asked, that’s like permission for others to speak up, share their comments and ask lots questions.  It’s the feedback from the group that makes a great wine tasting.

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2.  A Wine Tasting Allows You To Try Different Wines

In my opinion, the #1 benefit of a wine tasting is to venture outside of your comfort zone and try new wines.  We all know wine is not cheap, especially here in Canada.  Most people won’t spend $30 on a red wine, if they only drink white wine, and vice versa.  A wine tasting allows you to try new styles of wine and wine at different price points at a fraction of the cost.

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How it’s done…

  • First, examine the wine in the glass. How does light filter through the wine? Is it deep in color? The darker the red, the more time it has spent on the skins, and if it’s a white, it may be a reflection of the age of the wine.
  • Then, smell the wine and consider how the aroma compares to your favorite wine. Is it fruity or floral? Does it have a sharp or tangy scent?
  • Finally, the taster takes a sip of the wine and evaluates how it feels and tastes. Does it seem rich?  Does it feel heavy in the mouth?  Is it light and crisp?
  • After swallowing the wine, the taster considers the aftertaste. Does the flavor linger? Does it change over time?
  • And most importantly, do you like the wine.  If not, no problem. You paud for two ounces, not the entire bottle.  If you do like wine, take a picture! Easiest way to remember it when you go to buy it.

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My wine of the week…

Hidden Bench Blend

Thirty Bench is a winery in the Niagara region of Ontario, right here in Canada.  They specialize in small lot wines with a tremendous amount of detail to quality wine.  This winemaker’s blend was fantastic, a blend of Cabernet Franc, Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot.  It is full-bodied with good tannins and hints of sweet oak.  Great beef wine, and would go very well with lamb or hearty stews as well.

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If you have any questions regarding a wine tasting, don’t hesitate to reach out.

Till next week, Cheers

Darlene