Archive for August, 2020

National Red Wine Day

Posted in Wine & Food on August 29, 2020 by darmyers
840 WHAS - Happy National Red Wine Day! 🍷 ACT FAST!... | Facebook
National Red Wine Day

Yesterday, August 28th was National Red Wine Day, and if you were listening to one of our local Radio Station’s, 96-5 The Breeze, the Morning Show featured an interview with me from a couple of years back, talking about some of my favorite reds. So here’s this weeks wine blog, let’s talk some red wine… and of course some food.

Great evening for a BBQ

I do really good ribs

Yesterday evening was a beautiful evening for a barbecue, and I have friends in the building who don’t have a barbeque but they told me they were craving a feed of ribs. So I texted her and said “I’ll do a feed of ribs and bring them down”. It takes me roughly five hours to do my ribs, I slow cook them in a 250-degree oven for 3 1/2 hours in the marinade, and then finish them on the grill with a sweet and sticky barbeque sauce. They were fall off the bone delicious. And I had a brand new wine while I was cooking, and enjoying the feast.

Paso Creek 2015 Merlot

OMG, this wine was awesome! I loved the slogan on the bottom, “bold character derived from stubborn patience”. Paso Robles is located halfway between Los Angeles and San Francisco, and is emerging as a top quality wine region, not only in California but worldwide. This is no wimpy Merlot, this is bold and flavourful without being overpowered by oak. I loved it, and I thought it was a great wine for $23.
So, one of the issues I had this pandemic, as regular readers will know, I was doing a lot of cooking, and a lot of testing new recipes. And I have the Covid curves to prove it LOL. Two weeks ago, I decided to do something about it, and I’ve been eating better for most of the week and even getting out and exercising. Virtual High-5 👏! It’s not easy.

I’m trying to eat healthier

I made this grilled chicken salad, with mandarin oranges, freshly grated Parmesan (because every meal deserves some joy), and I made my own salad dressing. Easy, and delicious. Olive oil, balsamic vinegar, pinches of garlic, black pepper, Dijon mustard and brown sugar. This was lunch, so no wine for me. If it was dinner, here’s a great wine for that salad.

Caliterra Tributo Chardonnay

You could do a nice crisp Pinot Grigio, or even Prosecco, but the grilled chicken in this salad would also allow for a nice Chardonnay. The Caliterra Chardonnay is from Chile, not overly oaked, delicious apple flavours and priced under $18. It’s one of my favorite Chardonnay wines.

And now for my wine of the week….

Gauchezco Reserve Cabernet Franc

It’s been only the past year or two, that I’ve been discovering Cabernet Franc on its own. Previously, it was more known to me as the third grape in a Bordeaux blend. There are several winemakers making Cabernet Franc the star. In a recent 2020 special report on wine from Argentina, this wine was given 91 Points. It’s very good, it’s smooth and has lovely pepper notes. Another great wine for a BBQ. This wine is a Reserve and is priced just under $23.

Your chuckle for today

So I would like to take a moment in closing to tell you about a wine tour I am going to be involved in for next year. June 19th, 2021 (Fingers crossed) my friend Richard, who owns Atlantic Tours, will be bringing a group to the Niagara Wine Region and I’m coming to host the wine tours. There will also be a stop in old Quebec City. I can’t wait. Check out all the upcoming tours at http://www.atlantictours.com. Richard and his staff have been doing worry-free tours for many years. Mark your calendar for this fabulous wine tour as we experience some great wine and take in the stunning views of Niagara Falls. I’ll tell you more about it soon. Hope you can join us.

Niagara Falls, Ontario - Wikipedia
Niagara Falls

Till next week, Cheers

Darlene

Grape Balls of Fire

Posted in Wine & Food on August 22, 2020 by darmyers
Spicy Food Wine Pairing Tips – Kwaf | The Best of Ontario Wine
Spicy Food & Wine can be great together

As my regular readers know, most Saturday mornings I sit with a great cup of coffee and write a wine blog. Since the pandemic started, I’ve started introducing some of my favorite recipes. Although I’ve always loved to cook, I really haven’t introduced recipes and my attempts at new recipes until recently. I’m getting lots of positive feedback, and I really appreciate all the comments. I mean what goes better with food than wine, except for great friends. I don’t know if you guessed it from the title this week, but we are talking spice this week, because my brand new adventure in cooking was making my first homemade salsa.

My 1st homemade salsa

My first attempt, even though I felt I used less jalapeno, still had some kick to it. It was awesome on nachos. The chips and cheese tend to curb some of the spiciness. I loved it, and will be regularly making it because it was so easy!

My late night Nachos

I always thought you had to chop up your tomatoes. No!! This recipe calls for canned diced tomatoes. I used the ones with garlic and olive oil. And for my first attempt, I used 1/2 a tin.

Aylmer® Accents® Garlic & Olive Oil Petite Cut Stewed Tomatoes ...
All the hard work is done

Here’s what I did:

1/2 a Jalapeno, with most of the seeds taken out. (that’s where all the heat is)

1/2 teaspoon of minced garlic

1/4 cup of cilantro

The juice of 1/2 a lime

1/4 teaspoon salt (& I added some pepper)

Tip of a teaspoon of sugar. (This is optional)

I put it in my mini-food processor. I use mine so much I keep it on the counter at all times.

Mini Food Processor

A few pulses, and fresh salsa, with no preservatives, will last for a week in a sealed container. It took 5 minutes.

Some people in the food and wine beverage industry think the best thing to go with spicy food would be a nice cold beer. you’re not wrong, but for my wine loving friends, I love wine with spicy food. We’re going to talk about some spicy food, and we’re going to talk to some wine.

A selection of Nova Scotia Tidal Bay Wines

One of my favourite wines to have is one of the many unique Tidal Bay wines offered by wineries here in Nova Scotia. Tidal Bay is an appellation blend Created by the wineries in Nova Scotia, as well as the Wine Association of Nova Scotia. Initially released in 2012, these wineries have to make a title page from 100% Nova Scotia growing grapes in a strict if standards that make for some beautifully made wine. I don’t have a favorite, but I will tell you, I’ve never had a bad one.

My spicy wines

My spicy wings, which I do in my air fryer, the sauce is simple. 1 part Frank’s Hot Sauce, 1/2 part maple syrup and 1/4 cup BBQ sauce. Delicious

I think my all-time favourite wine to have with spicy food is an icy cold Riesling. I don’t like full on sweet Riesling, but I do like a tinge of sweetness in my Riesling to take the edge off that spicy food.

Kung Fu Girl Riesling U.S.A.

I love this Kung Fu Girl Riesling from Washington State in the U.S.A. This is a dry Riesling with just a hint of sweetness. The wine was inspired by the winemaker enjoying Chinese food one evening, watching a movie. So he created Kung Fu Girl, and as he puts it ‘it’s been kicking ass ever since’. And it’s priced under $20 a bottle. Win-Win!

And now my Wine of the Week

The Cleaver

I can drink red with spicy food, and my favorite red grape to do that is Zinfandel. The Cleaver blend is 74% Zinfandel, 15% Syrah & 11% Petite Sirah. This is a super interesting red blend that not only goes with spicy food, you should try it with anything on the BBQ. The label says ‘It’s a Must for Meat’. It’s a $30 bottle of wine and worth every sip.

Stay safe

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

Darlene

Too Hot To Wine?

Posted in Wine on August 15, 2020 by darmyers
True Story

Here in Nova Scotia we have been having a relentless heat wave. My hat goes off to all my friends that love it, enjoy it while you can. Me? 38-degrees is a tad uncomfortable, and everyone knows my favorite season is Autumn. So, it being too hot to put the stove on, I did enjoy a glass while working the BBQ.

Enjoying a sip while working the Q

Did you know this heat wave is not good for your favorite wine? This is not the room temperature any wine should be served at. I always say wine, especially reds, should never see 25-degrees (77 F), as some people like their homes very warm. Anything warmer than that and your wine is in trouble. It will ‘cook’. Yes, that’s right. At that temperature your white and red wine will cook and taste a little nutty. Your reds, if it sees over 26-degrees Celsius, you run the risk of the cork coming out. So even if you are loving this hot weather, your wine is whining! Pardon the pun!

Pelee Island Pinot Noir

So what was in the glass next to my BBQ? A soft Pinot Noir Reserve from the Pelee Island Winery, which is located on Pelee Island in Lake Eerie, Ontario. Part of the Ontario VQA, which is the Vintner’s Quality Alliance, which ensures all grapes used in the wine are from Ontario, and a host of other quality requirements. As I have mentioned, in 2021, I am going to be part of a group that is heading to the Niagara region of Ontario for some wine tours, with Atlantic Tours, so you’ll see me trying more and more Ontario wines. I really want to get a taste for the region. This wine is a very soft Pinot Noir, with delicate flavors of cherry and vanilla, and it’s not oaky at all. A little too soft for BBQ meats, but a Pinot Noir can be served colder than some other reds, and I felt it was a good one to enjoy that evening. Pinot Noir can be served between 11 – 13 degrees Celsius, whereas your bigger, heavier reds, are between 16 – 18 degrees. No wine, no matter which color or which grape, should ever be served above 18-degrees Celsius. So if your home is warmer than that, put the wine in the fridge for a bit, no matter if it’s red or white.

Lola Rose

Pelee Island also makes a Blush Sparkling Rose wine that we can get here in Nova Scotia. I can’t wait to try it, because it’s a strawberry frizzante wine which would be super refreshing. The Pinot Noir was just $16.99 a bottle here, and this Rose is $18.99 here. Picture yourself on your patio with a charcuterie board and a glass of this chilled sparkler. Perfection.

This made me laugh

You know when you enter the websites of some wineries, they make you put in your birth date to verify you are of age. I was doing this recently and they had one of those rolling birth years. And it felt just like I was spinning the big wheel on the Price is Right or Wheel of Fortune. Then I saw this meme, and I laughed out loud, and thought I would share it.

And now for my wine of the week… It’s actually 2 wines, a white and a red!

Santa Carolina Cabernet Sauvignon
Santa Carolina Sauvignon Blanc

I love the fact I have friends that are as adventurous as I am when it comes to trying new wines. And if you’re going to be adventurous, Chile is a great place to start. Chile is putting out some amazing wines at fantastic price points. So my friend Angie bought the Santa Carolina Cabernet wine to my place and if you’re looking for a great BBQ wine, look no further. And at less than $14 a bottle, you can BBQ and enjoy this wine 7 nights a week. The Santa Carolina Sauvignon Blanc is also under $14 a bottle and I’ve had this wine many times. Both wines made the wine of the week because they are exceptional value wines, and taste very delicious. The red is full-bodied and fruit forward, and the white is crisp and vibrant. If you’re doing grilled fish on the BBQ, this Sauvignon Blanc would hit the spot.

Smile, it’s Saturday

Thank you for reading my weekly wine blog and sharing it with your friends, I really appreciate it. Till next week, Cheers

Darlene

5 Months In

Posted in Uncategorized on August 8, 2020 by darmyers
My favororite pour

Would you believe this coming Thursday, August 13th will mark 5 months since I’ve worked in my office. My friends know the story. When we got the email on Sunday March 15th to come in the next day and get our computers and other work things, I said to everyone “See you in 2 weeks”. True story. Never in a million years did I imagine the global scale of this pandemic, and the effect it would have on every one. But here we are, I’m very grateful to have a job that I love very much and we are making it work. It was tough at first, getting used to working from home, but now I’ve gotten in a groove, and I’m enjoying it. But enough pandemic talk….

Let’s talk some wine…. and food!! My two favorite things from all this.

Rhone To The Bone

I had a couple of friends in for dinner last Saturday night and this was how we started the evening. We are still in the middle of our heat wave, so I opened this new Rose wine, and all I can say is ‘Wow!’. This Rose wine is (you guessed it) from the Cote du Rhone region of France and is a blend of 80% Grenache and 20% Syrah. Two full bodied, high alcohol content grapes, Grenache is used in making Chateauneuf du Pape and this particular Rose wine has some impressive people behind it. In house oenologist Pierre Viellescazes (I won’t even try to pronounce that name) and Vallee du Rhone specialist Phillipe Cambie, who was named ‘Best Oenologist of 2010’ by Robert Parker, together, they have made a specitacular rose wine. An Oenologist is an expert in the field of viticulture, which is grape-growing and the fields, and wine-making. Gorgeous citrus and watermelon flavors and priced under $18, this almost made my wine of the week. A great compliment if you are serving up a charcuterie board or as an evening kick-starter.

Last night’s dinner

Last night I made my first ‘one pot’ pasta dish, ever. And it turned out delicious. I have always boiled the pasta in a separate pot in salted water. This recipe called for cooking the pasta in broth, right in the sauce. OMG! This is my new favorite way to cook pasta, right in the sauce. I had some spinach in my refrigerator that was going to go bad soon, so I made a chicken and spinach penne pasta. The recipe is here. The only addition I made, I added some bacon. A creamy chicken pasta loves bacon! And as you can see from the picture above, the wine I had with it, is my Wine of the Week.

Canyon Road Cabernet Sauvignon

You know how I love finding good deals. Well, this one may have taken the cake… and the pasta… and what else did I have with it, oh yes, ribs. My friend Angie bought this down last week and I really enjoyed it. So I bought a couple more, after all, this wine is only $10.99 a bottle. That is very unusual here in Nova Scotia, to pay under $11 for a California Cabernet. And it was good. So good that I went out and bought several more and enjoyed it with a wide variety of dishes this past week. Hailing from California’s Alexander Valley, this wine is a delicious easy to drink Cabernet Sauvignon. Not overly oaky, this wine has been given 4 out of 5 stars by many wine reviewers. For $11 a bottle, you have to give this a try. You won’t be disappointed.

Enjoying Summer

Well, that’s it for me for this week. Till next week, Enjoy the Summer, Cheers

Darlene

Heat Wave Favorites

Posted in Wine & Food on August 1, 2020 by darmyers
Wine Tip of the Day

We are in the middle of a heat wave here in Halifax, where the humidex actually hit 40-degrees one day last week. I’m not a fan of hot humid weather, I’m counting down the days until Autumn. Sorry Summer lovers, I’m into cooler temperatures, pretty leaves, comfort food and being able to enjoy a glass of wine at a decent temperature. However, there are some wine varieties that make this heat wave more bearable. Let’s talk some wine. And some food!

Learning how to make pizza dough from scratch

Do you know what I did last Saturday night? A group of friends got together and we learned how to make pizza from scratch, including the pizza dough. Taught by Fred, pictured with me, and photo-bombed by Dave, the best sous chef in the world, together we made 3 hearty pizzas and 1 dessert pizza. They featured prosciutto, tomatoes, fresh basil, mozzarella, pepperoni, balsamic glazes, just to name a few ingredients. I mean, we went all out!

Pondsview Pinot Grigio

Fred’s wife, my good friend Arla, bought a Canadian Pinot Grigio to the party, which I had the opportunity to try. It was a Pinot Grigio from Canadian Winery Pondsview, located in the Niagara region. I am planning a trip with Richard Arnold and Atlantic Tours in June of 2021 to the Niagara Wine region, so it was great to try one I had never had before. This was a delicious light and crisp Pinot Grigio with lovely citrus flavors. Perfect for a hot Summer evening, served nice and cold.

Fresh Basil

Did I mention there were fresh herbs. My friend Joan grew all the herbs we used last Saturday night in making the pizza. However, this pandemic has inspired me to branch out and try a few new things. My basil is coming along nicely and this past week I added parsley to my list of herbs I’m trying to grow. Wish me luck, there are no green thumbs on either of my hand. Another thing I’ve discovered are puzzles. This was #8 for me since the pandemic started.

My latest puzzle
The Puzzle that started it all
Much more fun with a glass of wine

And last but not least, I have continued my love of cooking and watching cooking shows on the Food Network. This past week has been Grilling Week on the Food Network, so I’ve been recording a lot of the shows. One of the shows I recorded was the Grill Master Napa. This was recorded at Beringer Wine Estate in the Napa Valley and featured 16 grilling chefs competing for $50,000. When they would finish, all the chefs would toast with a glass of red wine. And what a thrill it was to go to my friend Angie’s place, and she had the wine there.

Beringer Founder’s Estate Cabernet

The Beringer Founder’s Estate Cabernet Sauvignon is a wine I would definitely have again. Made with grapes grown in Lodi California, as well as the California Delta, these two regions have ideal climates for ripening Cabernet Sauvignon. So you get a juicy red wine with lots of body that is a perfect compliment to any grill master. I loved it, and it’s only $20 a bottle here. If there was a perfect Summer time red, this would be it.

I love good food, great friends and wonderful get-togethers. It’s a long weekend for many provinces here in Canada, I hope you enjoy it safely.

Till next week, Cheers

Darlene