Archive for August, 2019

Hello September

Posted in Uncategorized on August 31, 2019 by darmyers

Hello September

Don’t hate me, but I’m excited for September.  I love Autumn.  I live in Eastern Canada in Halifax Nova Scotia, grew up on the West Coast of Newfoundland, and I love Fall.  I love the pretty colors, the cooler temperatures and the way the air feels.  I have to admit, I’m not a huge fan of extreme weather either way.  Too hot or too cold, it’s hard to get outside.  But Autumn, I love being outside in Autumn.  It’s also a great time for comfort food and big bold wines.  I love that part of it too.

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Take this Tuscan beauty for example.  If you’re like me, colder weather brings some of my favourite foods like pasta, and this is a perfect match for any Italian food that tickles your palate.   This Italian blend is made up of 50% Cabernet Sauvignon, 30% Merlot, and 20% Sangiovese.  If you’re looking for a superhero, let the Dark Knight thrill you this weekend with its bold rich fruit and subtle spice notes.   A great Italian wine for only $20 a bottle.

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In 1843, Dr. Lindemann started a winery, and one of his goals was to offer some local ruffians a distinguished drop of wine, thus the basis for the Gentleman’s Collection.   It comes in a stand-alone Cabernet Sauvignon, but this past week I bought the red blend, which is a blend of Cabernet Sauvignon, Grenache, and Shiraz.  Delicious hearty blend, perfect for grilled meats, with notes of black pepper.   A great value at just $18 a bottle.

And now for my wine of the week,

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Please excuse the wine stains on the bottle LOL   I forgot to take the picture before I opened the wine and started enjoying it.   The Three Thieves Pinot Noir will steal your heart.   I can’t begin to list the number of awards this wine has won.  It is 76% Pinot with some Syrah and Petite Sirah.   This is nobody’s wimpy Pinot Noir.  Very flavourful with great structure and made my wine of the week because its $19 a bottle.

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Happy long weekend everyone, till next week cheers

Darlene

Great Wines Under $25

Posted in Uncategorized on August 24, 2019 by darmyers

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I conducted a wine tasting last Saturday night with a new group of people, which is always a lot of fun.  This time we had 10 wines, which honestly is probably too many for a tasting.  The host of the event asked that we do wines that were all reasonably priced so except for two that were around the $28 mark, we kept it for the most part under $25.  I love discovering great new wines under $25.  Here are a couple from that night.

The first wine of the evening was a new rose wine from Argentina.

Earlier in the Summer I had discovered another rose wine from Argentina and it was fabulous.  I took it to several events.  That wine is sold out so I tried this one, and loved it.  I think a couple of people at the tasting were pleasantly surprised this wine was not sweet, as at one time most people felt all rose wines were sweet.  This rose is made from the Syrah grape, so it had very limited skin contact, as the Syrah grape is a thick-skinned grape with lots of color.  This was crisp and light and very dry.  A fantastic wine that sells for $16 a bottle.

The Bila Haut Red from Chapoutier is a staple in my wine rack, I just love it.  Last Saturday I bought both the red and its sister white wine.  This was amazing, Chapoutier is one of the most respected wineries in the Languedoc region of France.  These grapes were picked by hand so it’s a pleasant surprise that it’s only $16 a bottle.  This was so close to making my wine of the week for that reason.  This white blend is Grenache Blanc, Grenache Gris and Macabeu.  It is a very vibrant fresh white wine with great acidity and it’s a great wine for food.  Try it with chicken, shellfish or with your favorite appetizer.

The sister red wine was also a hit, this a little more expensive at $18 a bottle, but still a wonderful value.  This red blend is predominately Syrah with Grenache and Carignan.  Georgeous notes of black cherry and spice and a great wine to go with any red meat dish you may be serving.

And now for my wine of the week…

Bordeaux

What?  A Bordeaux under $25.  Bordeaux wines can be some of the most expensive in the world.  One wine critic called this  Bordeaux wine “A classic Bordeaux for everyday meals”.  Using modern methods but respecting traditional values and principles, The Jury of Grand Cellar Masters says this wine is a full-bodied wine with a beautiful garnet appearance.   And it’s only $20 a bottle.  You have to try this wine!

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I had writers block last weekend, and could not come up with a wine blog.  I appreciate everyone that came back this weekend!

Also, a note to all the wonderful people that have hired me for wine tastings in their home.  I really enjoy doing this, and I always look forward to them.  My Fall is booking up fast, I only have one date left in November.  So don’t hesitate to reach out if this is something you are thinking about doing in the Fall.

Cheers,

Darlene

 

Top 5 Wine & Food Pairing Tips

Posted in Uncategorized on August 10, 2019 by darmyers

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As I sit here preparing for another wine-tasting next weekend, I always try to think of some of the questions people might ask, so I can be prepared to answer them.   One of the questions that I always get asked, in a variety of ways, it’s how to pair wine and food properly.  Gone are the days where it is expected you drink white wine with fish and red wine with red meat.   It’s all about choosing a wine you like, to make the meal more enjoyable.   You are not going to enjoy your meal, if you don’t like the wine!

There are some basic things you can keep in mind.

  1.  Salt vs Acidity

Saltiness in food is a great contrast to acidity in wine.   I really love Thai food and Chinese cuisine, which I really enjoy pairing a Riesling with.   A lot of these dishes contain soy sauce, which is salty and the Riesling cuts through that saltiness .   Think smoked salmon and Champagne/ Sparkling Wine or Parmesan cheese with a Chianti wine.  A wine with a bit of acidity will really cut through and compliment the saltiness of food.

2.  High Fat Foods with Full-bodied Wines

There is a reason a big bold Cabernet Sauvignon pairs well with a big juicy steak.  Foods high in fats, like red meat, or dishes that contain heavy cream, usually calls for a more intense full-bodied wine.   Think Chardonnay for white wine drinkers and Cabernet Sauvignon or Merlot for the red wine drinkers.

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3.  Fruity dishes + Fruity Wine

Any dishes that have a fruit component, for example, duck with figs, chicken with an orange or peach glaze, or pork with apples or apple sauce, think a fruity wine.   If you are a red wine drinker think Pinot Noir!  If you’re a white wine drinker, think Riesling again or a fruity Pinot Grigio.  The fruitiness of the wine won’t compete with the fruit in the dish, they go hand in hand.

4.  Sweet with Sweet

Pairing dessert wines with dessert can be a little tricky.   In one of my very first classes when I was learning to become a Sommelier, the instructor said the wine in the glass should be sweeter than whatever’s on the dessert plate.  If the desert is sweeter than the wine, your wine is going to taste dull and flat.  And if you are not a fan of sweet dessert wines, no worries, enjoy your dessert with your favourite hot coffee.

5.  Keep It Simple

It’s really easy to overthink wine and food pairing.   I always say to people, keep it simple.   If you are a white wine drinker, experiment with different white wines and different foods.   You’ll not only become a pro at recommended pairings, you’ll have a lot of fun in the process.   Same goes for my red wine loving friends.   Don’t be afraid to step out side of your wine comfort zone and try a new wine with a favourite dish.  A person doesn’t have to be a professional to recommend a wine with a dish, if you like the pairing, chances are one of your friends will like it.

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Have a great weekend, until next weekend, cheers

Darlene

Chilled Red Wines for Summer

Posted in Uncategorized on August 3, 2019 by darmyers

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Ahhh, the warm days of Summer.  Temperatures are soaring and many people think its time to put away all red wines and just drink whites and rose wines.  But that doesn’t have to be the case.  I’m going to share some great red wines that can be served chilled and are perfect for Summer.  Keep in mind the ‘room temperature’ of red wines was the temperature of the underground wine cellars in Europe, hundreds of years ago, and still to this day.  The room temperature of these cellars is about 15-degrees Celsius, so remember as our temperatures hover around the 30-degree Celsius mark, this is not a good temperature to serve any red wine.  When served too warm the flavors of red wine will be very muted and sappy.  So don’t be afraid to introduce your red wine to the refrigerator.  Believe me when I say, this time of the year they’ll be great friends.

Gamay is a great red wine and should be served chilled all year round.  Gamay is the grape used in Beaujolais, the region at the very south of Burgundy.  In all other 4 regions of Burgundy, Pinot Noir is the red grape, but in Beaujolais it’s Gamay.  Gamay is a light grape with candied fruit flavors and perfect for the patio.  It’s also a great wine to go with charcuterie boards, with cheese and cured meats.  This Fougeres Beaujolais is just $17 a bottle and you white wine lovers might really enjoy this wine as well.

Elouan

Speaking of Pinot Noir, this is another grape that chilling brings out its complex flavors.  I love this Elouan Pinot Noir from Oregon and have featured it at many wine tastings.  It’s a gorgeous medium to full-bodied wine with blueberry and spice flavors and this is a wonderful wine to have at your next Summer BBQ.  At $35 a bottle, it’s a treat, but so worth it.

With wines like Gamay and Pinot Noir, it is recommended you refrigerate them for 1 hour before serving, especially with the temperatures we’ve been seeing.  Even with your big bold reds like Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and Shiraz, keeping them in the fridge for even 30 minutes will liven them up and bring them to life.  You’ll also notice that once the wines are out on the table, in the heat, the flavors will start to change.

And now for my wine of the week…..

If this bottle looks slightly familiar, it’s because its sister wine is a staple in my wine rack.  The aged 7 years Tempranillo from Anciano is one of the best deals in the wine store, and now it has some competition from its sister.

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The red label Anciano is made from the Grenache grape, which is another grape that tastes great chilled.  Grenache is a wonderful grape, used in making Chateauneuf du Pape, but you don’t need to spend $50 – $200 on a bottle.  You can enjoy this Grenache for just $15 a bottle with this wonderful wine.  It’s a diverse grape and extremely food friendly, and an all around great deal.

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It’s a long weekend here in Nova Scotia, and I know I’m going to enjoy it to the fullest.

Till next week, Cheers

Darlene