Archive for December, 2020

My Top 10 of 2020!

Posted in Wine on December 26, 2020 by darmyers
Bye Bye!

Revised! Welcome to the first Saturday of 2021! This blog almost didn’t get written today, because I forgot what day of the week it was LOL. A common occurrence I’m sure this time of the year. I know that many people are looking forward to seeing 2020 in the rearview mirror. It was not an easy year for sure, and this Christmas I am in Halifax, not with my family, as travel was not recommended. Some good did come out of this year though. Personally, I slowed down a bit, I rediscovered the joys of puzzles and good books, I learned how to make homemade bread, and I found some great new wines. Let’s have a look at some of them.

10. Canyon Road Cabernet Sauvignon

Canyon Road Cabernet

For the most part my wine blogs are all about finding good wine at reasonable prices. I always say, good wine doesn’t have to be expensive. This is a prime example, of a wine of the week. Canyon Road Cabernet Sauvignon is a surprising $10.99 and has become a staple in my wine rack, and in the wine rack of several of my friends. This is a smooth easy to drink medium bodied Cabernet. It’s not oaky and the tannins are not over-powering.

9. Rhone To The Bone

It was back in the Summer when I found this delightful Rose wine from the Cotes du Rhone region of France. Rhone to the Bone is made from the Grenache grape, which is the same grape used in making Chateauneuf du Pape and Syrah. As a matter of fact it is 80% Grenache & 20% Syrah. Two full-bodied red grapes, with limited skin contact, because that’s where all the color in red wine comes from. This fresh crisp rose was a favorite of mine this Summer and comes in at under $18.

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is no-toilet-paper.jpg
I was ready for 2020

8. Caliterra Tributo Chrdonnay

2020 started out like any other year. Winter months, comfort food and great new discoveries that go with our favorite comfort food. The Caliterra Tributo Chardonnay was one of those great finds. A delicious Chardonnay from Chile, that was priced suprisingly under $18 and a great compliment with roast chicken.

7.

This puzzle of classic games revived my love of puzzles

7. Unconditional Pinot Noir

You’re probably not surprised there’s a Pinot Noir on the list

Anyone who knows me won’t be surprised there is a Pinot Noir on the list, and Oregon is one of my favorite places for Pinot Noir. And you can’t have a Top 10 without having a couple of treat wines on the list. This is a Pinot Noir from one of my favorite regions for Pinot – Oregon. Given 93 Points, it’s actually quite surprising this wine is just $33 a bottle. It’s incredibly smooth and the 2016, which I had, produced low yields that year, which meant more intense fruit. I loved it.

6. Stemmari Grillo

Stemmari Grillo

I don’t believe you can get this wine in Nova Scotia, but you can get it in other parts of Canada like Ontario. My friend Arla bought this back from the U.S. when she returned in March, and it’s a Sicilian white made with the Grillo grape. Although Grillo might not be well known in Canada, it is actually the most important white grape in Sicily. It also received a Gold Medal at the Berliner Wine Tasting. I think she said she paid $9 for this in the States, however, here in Canada it’s about $14, which is still a great price for a great wine.

I learned how to make homemade pizza

5. Ava Grace Merlot

I love Merlot. It’s a plump juicy full-bodied Grape and this one from Ava Grace, which I discovered in Newfoundland, was a favorite. Mocha, vanilla and spice flavors, and to all my Newfoundland friends and wine-lovers, this wine is on for $15.28 at the moment. Go out and buy a couple.

4. Zonin Prosecco

Zonin Prosecco

Two years ago, my #1 wine of 2018 was a Zonin Ripoasso that was given 96 Points, and it cost under $20. I think that’s the first time I saw that high of a rating at that price point. This year I bought its sister wine, the Zonin Prosecco a few times. It’s a great sparkling wine with New Year’s Eve just around the corner. It’s even fun in a holiday cocktail.

Prosecco, Cranberry & Lime Flavored Sparkling Water

3. La Vielle Ferme Blanc

This wine is also made in red, but the white has become one of my favorite white wines. La Vielle Ferme was bought to a small dinner party of people in my bubble, back when we were allowed to have 10 people. My friend Arla introduced us to this one, and we were all trying it for the first time. I was absolutely blown away by the wonderful tropical flavors in this wine. At $14.49 a bottle, you can see why it’s one of my favorites.

2.

Beef Bourguignon

When the pandemic put us in lockdown in March, many of us tried new recipes for the first time. And why not, restaurants were closed and we had a lot of time on our hands. I tried some new recipes including this Beef Bourguignon recipe.

2. Argyle Pinot Noir

Before the pandemic hit, I had the opportunity to do a couple of wine tastings in the beginning of 2020. In previous years I probably did 30 a year. I loved meeting new people and introducing them to some new wines. When I do a tasting, I always bring a treat wine, and this was my favorite treat wine of 2020. Argyle Pinot Noir from Oregon This is a perfectly balanced Pinot Noir with wonderful aromatics and a nice lingering finish. It’s $52, but worth the treat.

  1. Chateau Souverain Cabernet Sauvignon

This was my wine of the year because it’s a $20 Cabernet Sauvignon that tastes like a $75 bottle of wine. This wine was a pioneer in the success of Napa Valley wines back in the 60’s. This big bold Cabernet Sauvignon from Chateau Souverain delivers with mocha and vanilla flavors balancing tannins with easy drinkability. It was my favorite new find of 2020.

I want to thank each and every one of you who have joined me on wine journey of discovering great wines at affordable prices. I wish you and your family a happy healthy 2021. Thank you and Happy New Year.

Darlene

I’m Dreaming of.. Travel!

Posted in Wine on December 19, 2020 by darmyers
Looking forward to travelling again

I know what you were thinking…. you thought I was going to say, I’m dreaming of a White Christmas. We got that on Thursday, when you live in Canada, we don’t have to dream about White Christmas, they happen most years! I’m pretty confident I’m not the only one looking forward to taking a trip again. I didn’t take one in 2019, so I haven’t gone anywhere, other than Newfoundland, since 2018. Hopefully in 2021, definitely in 2022. I’ve been very blessed, as I have seen many beautiful parts of the world. Here are a couple of my favorite destinations and the wines I enjoyed while there.

  1. Hawaii
My sister Jackie & I at Pearl Harbour

A few years back, I took a trip to Hawaii with my sister Jackie and her family in Hawaii. I loved it. 11 days was not nearly long enough. I loved the beaches, I loved the sights, I loved how relaxed people were, and of course, the great prices on American wines.

Jackie & Her Husband Craig

We had rented condos in Waikiki, and we would go out to dinner most nights, but on a few nights we stayed in. We used to buy wine from the Convenience store on the corner, and I was amazed at the great prices. People think you pay high prices for wine in Hawaii, but like the other states, you really don’t. We pay high prices here in Canada, unfortunately. We drank a lot of Robert Mondavi Cabernet in Hawaii.

Not exactly as shown

At this Convenience store, very close to Waikiki Beach, and about 20 steps from our condo, we used to buy bottles of Robert Mondavi Cabernet Sauvignon for $10 American, and the wine sold in Newfoundland for $25 at the time. The wine, not the label as shown, I couldn’t find a picture of the reserve Cabernet Sauvignon we used to buy. Keep in mind this was 2008. Labels change all the time.

2. Italy

Enjoying the Wine of Tuscany

In 2017, when I became a Certified Sommelier, I had the pleasure of going to Italy with three other amazing women. We had a wonderful time, we ate some spectacular food, and we drank some amazing wines! One of my favorite wine tours was at the Banfi winery.

In the wine cellars of Banfi

Banfi is located in the Brunello region of Tuscany and is a family owned winery, wines that we can buy here in Nova Scotia and Canada. This was probably my favorite.

Banfi Rosso di Montalcino

And although we paid about €12 for this wine in Italy, and it sells for $29.99 here in Nova Scotia, it’s still worth every penny. Known as a Baby Brunello, because it Sangiovese grapes made from younger vines in the same vineyards that make the Brunello di Montalcino. By the way, Brunello di Montalcino is Italy’s highest DOCG Classification, so this is great wine, grown and made extremely well. Delicious, full-bodied and a perfect pairing with steak, or pasta. Yes, steak. It’s that good.

3. Aruba

Aruba

The first time I visited Aruba, I was on a cruise ship. The second time, I was with my sister Jackie, my favorite travelling companion. She would put Aruba as #1 on her list, I put Hawaii. I did love Aruba though and would love to return one day.

Beautiful beaches in Aruba
Jackie enjoying a Cosmopolitan
Can’t go wrong with Merlot

One of my favourite wines that I enjoyed at the resort that year was this Merlot from Chile, Vina Maipo. Unfortunately, I can’t find this wine in Nova Scotia, but it was a delicious full body Merlot with notes of cherry and plum. And you can’t go wrong with Merlot.

Speaking of Cosmopolitans, I picked up a beautiful Prosecco and did a take on a Christmas Cosmopolitan.

I took Prosecco, unsweetened Cranberry juice, I added a little sugar, which I wouldn’t have done if the cranberry juice wasn’t unsweetened, a splash of sparkling water and a few cranberries. Put a lime wedge on the glass, a squeeze of lime juice in the cocktail and voila. Had a couple of friends in for dinner last weekend, from my bubble, and we enjoyed this holiday delight before dinner. Everyone really enjoyed it, and it was super easy to make.

And now for my wine of the week….

Cuvee Saint Pierre

Although I am from Newfoundland and Saint Pierre Miquelon is off the coast, this wine hails from France. And yes, if it looks a little big, it’s because it’s a Magnum, which is two bottles in one. So, if you’re having a group in, this is a perfect wine in the perfect size. Fresh, light and fruity, this wine is under $22 for the Magnum, so it’s a great way to serve a group.

Many people ask me how to sign up for my wine blog to get it in their Inbox.

Look for the Follow button

On the right hand side of the blog, there is a Follow button, and a place to put your email address. Then, once I hit publish, you will get it in your email.

Well Christmas is less than a week away. And I know it’s going to look very different this year. I can’t home to Newfoundland this year, and I know most people can’t travel to see loved ones. I hope you stay safe, and I hope you find some joy in this year.

Next week, is my Top 10 finds of 2020. Merry Christmas.

Darlene

Twas The Wine Before Christmas

Posted in Wine & Food on December 12, 2020 by darmyers
Christmas chuckle

Twas the week before Christmas, and all through the cellar,

The bottles were resting, the tannins becoming mellower

The wine glasses were hung by the fireplace with care

In hopes Santa & a corkscrew, would soon be there

The bottles were nestled snug in the rack,

Waiting for a guy holding a red sack

Papa with his white, me with my red,

Enjoying a glass before we headed to bed

When out on the lawn, arose such a clatter

I spilled my wine, to see what was the matter

I ran to the window, I flew like a flash

In time to see Santa in quite the mad dash

The Moon on the face of a newly poured wine Gave the luster of Merlot a beautiful shine

Gave the luster of Merlot a beautiful shine

When what to my eyes, should suddenly appear

But a miniature sleight and 8 reindeer

With a Jolly driver, so lively and quick

I knew in a moment, it must be Saint Nick

I ran to get a glass, so happy he came

When one by one, he called them by name.

Now Dancer, Now Dasher, Now Prancer and Vixen

On Comet, On Cupid, On Donner, On Blitzen

Out to the porch, I gave him a call

Red or white I called out, you can have it all

I’ll be happy

It looked as if this wasn’t his first stop of the night,

His purple stain teeth proved I was right

He came in and headed directly to the glass,

And asked if I had anything from Alsace

He filled all the stockings, and turned with a jerk,

He gave a big smile and returned back to work

And I heard him explain as he drove out of sight

Merry Christmas to all, and to all a good night

A little bit of fun with a classic. And now it’s time for my Wine of the Week…

Bouchard Aine & Fils Beaujolais Superiore

Last week I told you about an easy to drink great-priced Pinot Noir from Bouchard, Aine & Fils. This week, I had the opportunity to try its sister wine, the Beaujolais Superiore. My small bubble of 3 other friends get together Tuesday evenings for a games night. Because my friend Angie & I both drink red, so we take turns bringing the wine. This is the wine Angie bought this week, and it’s so funny, because I have a friend Nancy who gave me a bottle as well, that’s still in my wine rack.

This is a great wine for Christmas, because it’s so food friendly. This wine pairs well with charcuterie boards, cheese, cold cuts, fish dishes like salmon and chicken and turkey as well. Bouchard Aine & Fils have been part of the wine trade in Burgundy and Beaujolais for over 200 years, so you know they make a good Beaujolais. Beaujolais is a medium-bodied easy to drink wine with notes of cherry and candied bananas. The Superiore means the grapes were picked at the height of ripeness, thus making it ‘superior’. This wine is also an amazing deal. Are you sitting down? It’s $16.99 a bottle here in Nova Scotia. A reminder this is not a wine that is meant to be aged. Drink it within 2 years for best results.

A friend of mine Sandra, has a kitty cat, Bidou, who will only drink his water out of a wine glass. I have the proof on video, and was hoping to share it. However, the file size was too big, the blog wouldn’t accept it. It is the cutest thing I’ve ever seen.

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

Darlene

Wine – Gift Giving Made Easy!

Posted in Wine & Food on December 5, 2020 by darmyers
I’m easy to shop for

I’ve always said, I’m the easiest person in the world to shop for. Head to the closest place that sells wine, and you’re my new best friend. Don’t think for a minute that wine lovers look at a gift of wine wine as an ‘easy’ gift. For me, it’s a great gift, of which I am very appreciative. And when I’m enjoying that particular wine, I always think fond memories of the person who gave it to me. 2020 has been has been stressful enough. So I’m going to give you some great gift-giving ideas for the wine lover in your life.

When I became a Certified Sommelier in April of 2017, I started doing a lot of wine tastings. I did them for small and larger groups, and I always bought a sparkling wine. Did you know there are still so many people that believe sparkling wines are sweet. This Mionetto Prosecco was a crowd favorite.

Mionetto Prosecco

It is such a great time to buy Prosecco right now. I was at the NSLC the other day (surprise surprise!) and so many are on sale, including this one from Mionetto. Prosecco makes a great gift because even if you don’t feel like drinking a sparkling wine, there are so many cocktails you can make with Prosecco. Mionetto has been making Prosecco since 1887, when Francesco Mionetto opened a winery just north of Venice, Italy. It’s a great wine, a great gift, and it’s under $18 right now.

Another great wine for the white wine lover on your list.

Gianmaria Cesari

A couple of years ago I had the privilege of meeting Italian winemaker Gianmaria Cesari, the son of Umberto Cesari, when he spoke in Halifax a couple of years ago. He introduced me to one of my favorite white wines and I have been bringing it to wine tastings ever since.

Moma White

Moma white is made from the Trebbiano grape, with Sauvignon Blanc and some Chardonnay, and comes from the Emilia Romagna region of Italy, known more for Balsamic Vinegar and Parmesan cheese. This winery is also making some spectacular wine. This delicious elegant white wine features flavors of apple and pear, and is priced under $18. A perfect party pleaser.

Here’s a fun side dish for any holiday entertaining you are thinking of doing.

Roasted Garlic Butter Parmesan Potatoes

So I posted this recipe on my Facebook page, saying I was going to make the potatoes last Sunday. The potatoes I had in my pantry had gone a little wonky, so I decided not to make them. I had almost 100 people reach out to see how they turned out. So I made them mid-week. I did mine on the BBQ, but you know you can use your BBQ like a hot oven as well.

My finished version

I have to say, they turned out pretty darn good. One difference, the recipe calls for 6 cloves of garlic, I used 3 cloves of fresh garlic, and they were lots garlicky! You may want to be careful with this recipe if you’re planning a passionate evening, unless both of you are eating the potatoes. You can get the recipe for the Roasted Garlic Parmesan Potatoes here.

Melted butter, garlic, Italian seasoning, salt & Pepper

I parboiled them at first and then coated them in this marinade of goodness. Cooked them, and in the final minutes melted more butter, added chopped up bacon, and more parmesan. A delicious and different side dish. God I love potatoes, they are so versatile and you can have them so many different way. Let’s get back to the wine. I’m so excited to tell you about the new wine I tried this week.

My Wine of the Week….

Pinot Noir Perfect

You know me, I love Pinot Noir, it’s probably my favorite grape. And I love finding great wines at great prices. This one hit the jackpot. The Bouchard Aine & Fils might be a mouthful to say, but its also a mouthful of flavor. It’s a French Pinot Noir from the Languedoc-Roussillon region of France, which is known more for GSM’s, Grenache Syrah & Mourvedre wines, but this Pinot Noir is delightful.

Bouchard, Aine & Fils Pinot Noir

It’s a great light to medium-bodied easy to drink wine. This is a great wine for white wine drinkers, who want to dip their toe in the red wine world. And it’s so affordable right now. It’s on sale here in Nova Scoita for $13.99, which makes it an unbelievable value. This wine is also a perfect pairing for food this holiday season. From appetizer snacks like cheese, fruit and crackers, to your main meal of ham, chicken or fish. At this price, don’t walk to the liquor store, run!

A trip to Bordeaux, France

I want to invite all of you to join us for a free webinar on Wednesday, December 9th. You’ll learn about River cruising and the trip to Bordeaux in 2022. We all need something to look forward to after this year. We’re going to have a sip of wine (of course), talk about a wonderful trip, and did I mention it’s free. You can sign up here.

A big welcome to all the new followers this week of this blog. Welcome to the wine journey.

Darlene