May The Wine Be With You

Is it just me, or did April fly by? Monday is May 1st already. I didn’t do a wine blog last Saturday, I had all my family land Saturday morning for the day. My Mom is here for 3 weeks, and my sister and her family are in St. Maarten for 3 weeks. It was a busy day and my Mom and I went to bed by 10 p.m. that night.

So my first 2 weeks of chemo has come to an end, and I did pretty good. Some pretty wild side effects from the IV chemo, it seems I was always cold. I have to wear gloves getting anything out of the fridge or freezer. Numb hands, lips, face and feet, I felt like I got Botox, I didn’t look like I did, but it felt that way! LOL But the biggest thing for me was I had to drink all my beverages at room temperature or hot. Well, you might be thinking, that works OK for red wine, but I didn’t drink much wine over the past 2 weeks, wasn’t feeling up to it.

But we are going to talk some wine. First, I want to tell you about a non-alcohol version. So, as I had mentioned, my Mom is up. She is 88 years old and she finds it difficult to drink alcohol, because it makes her unsteady. It affects her more. In my last wine blog, I had mentioned some non-alcoholic wines, and we bought my Mom this one from Superstore.

Hands down, this is the best non-alcohol wine I’ve had so far, and it was just $7.99 a bottle. Regular readers know my Mom is a white wine drinker and she likes Chardonnay, so we gave this a try. So far, this is the beverage that tastes more like real wine, than anything else I’ve tried. Which makes me want to try the two reds they have, Cabernet and Merlot.

Before we get to some real wine, I have to ask my readers. Have you ever cooked ribs with root beer?

When my nephew Brady was here last Saturday he told me about this recipe to cook ribs in root beer. I was Facetiming with my sister Jackie the other evening, and she sent me this picture, Brady had made ribs and kabobs. She said they are the best ribs she has ever had, even better than mine!! What? I am pretty well known among my family for my ribs, so this is definitely something I have to try. I searched online and found one recipe where famous chef Bobby Flay has used root beer, and you can find that here.

When we were at a work related dinner I tried this Atorrante Malbec from Chakana Vineyards in Argentina. Alberto Antonini a consultant for the Chakana Vineyards was a big force for the Super-Tuscan movement in Italy. Then in 1995 he went to Argentina. He is focused on using modern technology to express the terroir potential in making high end wines, while respecting the true nature of the grape. This was a great Malbec with a gorgeous rich mouthfeel on the palate, and the wine is only $21 a bottle.

I must be on a Malbec kick, because my friend Anthony told me about this wine, and I bought a bottle yesterday to have tonight with my friends.

I’ll tell you all about it next week. It’s a gorgeous Saturday morning here in Halifax. I hope all my readers have a wonderful weekend. I would also like to take a moment to thank everyone that reached out after I revealed here that I had Cancer. I am truly appreciative of your kind supportive words.

Till next week, Cheers


Round 2 Begins

Happy Saturday everyone. I’m sitting here enjoying my Saturday morning with a cup of coffee, and reflecting on my favorite day of the week. Saturday is my fun day, I sleep in a little bit and usually get together with friends on a Saturday evening. I am feeling great this morning, after Round 2 of my chemo started yesterday. It came as a little surprise.

On Tuesday afternoon I found out Round 2 of my chemo started Friday. So I have 15 weeks of chemo, in 3 week cycles. Every 3rd Friday I get to sit for 3 hours and have IV chemo. My first one was yesterday, and I’m feeling great today. Wild side effects though, I can’t eat or drink anything cold. It has to be room temperature or warm. It feels like shards of glass in my throat. That will last 3 – 5 days. The funniest part for me is I have to keep a pair of gloves by my refrigerator because I’m not allowed to touch anything cold from my fridge or freezer. It causes a lot of pain. Numb fingers, hands and arms, but that will go away in a few days.

So, this has been my beverage of choice for the last few days. It’s Vino Zero Merlot & Vino Zero Cabernet Sauvignon. I was invited to a dinner party Thursday evening and since I didn’t want to drink the day before my treatment, this is what I bought. It was ok and it served the purpose. Same thing, I visited some friends last night and had a glass of this wine. I was still shaky yesterday evening, and I can’t drink more than 1 glass of real wine while on treatments, I’m discovering the non-alcohol wines. The above wines can be found at your favorite grocery store and they are $11.99 a bottle. There’s one here in Halifax I’m dying to try, it’s called Proxies.

It’s $35 a bottle, which is a lot. At first, I said I can’t justify paying $35 for a bottle of wine, without getting a buzz. $35 is a treat bottle of wine, when there is alcohol present. But I’ve been doing a lot of research and it’s been recommended by Master of Wines, James Beard award winning chefs, Sommeliers and more. It’s supposed to be quite good. So I think I will treat myself and I’ll tell you all about it if I do get to try it.

In addition to the IV chemo, I’m on oral chemo for 2 weeks, and then I get one week off. These are my medications for the next two weeks. Honest to God, I felt like a drug dealer when I picked them up on Thursday. Because IV chemo is so much stronger and I’m on 10 chemo pills per day (instead of 6 last time) there is much more anti-nausea meds.

On to some food and wine. I have tried a few new wines over the 5 weeks I had off from treatments, so I’ll tell you about them one at a time, where I’m not drinking much wine at the moment. But first, OMG my homemade chicken nachos.

If you’ve ever bought the taco package from Costco, you’ve tried the lime and cilantro crema. Well here’s the knock off recipe.

BBQ chicken breast pieces and bacon over taco chips and cheese. With my homemade salsa and homemade lime and cilantro crema. I have actually gained a couple of pounds in the past two weeks because I’ve had these almost every evening. But that’s not a bad thing going into chemotherapy. Here’s my homemade salsa recipe. So good. You can use white sugar or brown sugar, I like using brown sugar, it just adds another flavor profile.

Ok, let’s talk some wine. Actual wine…. you know, with alcohol.

If you’re looking for a great wine at a great price, here it is. Montgras Day One Cabernet Sauvignon is your new wine. It’s new here to Nova Scotia and priced at just $17.99 a bottle. It’s full bodied, not oaky, and I think in this picture you can see my plate of nachos. This wine is also great for BBQ, meat and pork dishes, and if you’re like me, nachos. You should definitely try this wine, I think you’ll love it, and it won’t break the wallet.

That’s it for me for this week. Enjoy whatever you’re drinking this week.

Till next week, Cheers


Happy Easter

I’m not a big lover of chocolate, I like the salty snacks more, nuts and chips. I always hoped that the Easter bunny would bring wine, not chocolate, but that’s just me. Well, it happened this year.

Our Office Manager, Violet, organized a golden Easter Egg hunt this year, and I was the lucky person to find the golden egg. And what was the prize? A $50 gift card to the liquor store. Easter wine, my favorite gift from the best Easter bunny.

We also had the NS Auto Dealers dinner this past week. Hosted by our very own Bobby Mac and attended with Cassandra and the rest of the gang

My good looking works peeps, we have worked together a long time and I consider them family.

This was the white wine they were serving

A very popular white wine here in Nova Scotia, it sells at a store here in Halifax called Bishops Cellar. They sell them for $17 for a 1 litre bottle and regularly put them on sale for $14. A great wine at a great value. I’ve had this wine many times and it’s crisp and refreshing with gorgeous flavors of tropical fruit and zesty citrus. They also make a good red Rosso.

I’ve treated myself a couple of times in the past couple of wines, because the NSLC appear to be discontinuing some good wines and really reduced them. Here’s one my friends and I shared last weekend.

I wrote about this J. Lohr Merlot a few years back when I tried it at the Port of Wines tasting. One of the best Merlot wines I have ever had. It’s so rich and full-bodied and was like velvet going down. We enjoyed it so much with it’s rich fruit and notes of baking spices. There are still some stores that have some, it was $33, and it was reduced to $27. Delicious

My friend Angie and I kicked off the long weekend with a visit and this Zinfandel Thursday evening. The J. Lohr Merlot I just wrote about came from Paso Robles California, and this wine did as well. In my opinion, when you see Paso Robles on a label, you are getting some of the best wine California has to offer. Paso Robles offers warm days and chilly nights, perfect for wine. The Zinfandel grapes are picked at night, which makes for a better wine. Wine Enthusiast Magazine gave this wine 92 Points, and it’s $6 or $7 a bottle off right now.

If you live in Atlantic Canada, have a look around your favorite wine store. You may find some really good deals, and it’s a great way to enjoy a higher priced wine. I hope everyone has a wonderful Easter weekend.

Till next week, Cheers


Hello April

I had to double check the calendar, it is April, right? It doesn’t look much like April here in Halifax.

I took this picture this morning. Hello April? It is April Fool’s Day, I guess Mother Nature is playing a bit of a joke on us.

Later in the blog, I’m going to share some great news I received this week. But for now, let’s talk some wine.

I’m not sure if our liquor stores here in Nova Scotia are getting rid of this, but it was on clearance. If you’ve been reading for a few years, you may remember this. The Bogle Vineyards Merlot was a favorite of mine. Any wine drinker in Nova Scotia knows that it seems every time you go to the liquor store, there’s another increase in the price. So, this wine was priced out of my weekly price range for a while. It’s a delicious full-bodied Merlot, and received an award as ‘America’s favorite Merlot’. I had pork last night and it was a perfect pairing, and right now you can get this wine for about $25 or $26. Try it while it’s on clearance.

I had a bit of a rough week procedure wise, but it was worth it with the good news I received. As you probably are aware by now, I was diagnosed with Cancer on November 25th. I have completed 25 rounds of Radiation and was doing oral chemotherapy at the same time, twice a day. I took a bit of a break from writing my wine blog. Well this past week I got the results of those rounds of radiation and chemotherapy. I had a scope on Wednesday that showed the tumor shrunk ‘a lot’ (doctor’s words) and the CT scan showed there was no spread. Phew! I start my next round of chemo in April. My friends and I did a toast Wednesday evening. And my friends Fred and Arla, who were kind enough to bring me down to my appointment on Wednesday, were drinking this.

Il Padrino makes a wonderful red Rosso and this Pinot Grigio is a favorite among my white-wine drinking friends. This 1 litre bottle is normally priced at $17, which is an excellent buy, but it was on sale this past week for $14, which makes it a steal of a deal. Crisp, refreshing, with gorgeous flavors of citrus and tropical fruits.

I tried something new in my air fryer. I pounded a chicken breast out, put it in with some shake and bake and cooked it in the air fryer for the first time. I will be honest, I over cooked the chicken. I was reading on the internet all kinds of different time frames, and because I was cooking two, I went with the higher number. Mistake #1. I cooked them 23 minutes. It was too long. The thing with an air fryer is, you should start in intervals, and check the produce along the way. You can always add more time, you can’t take away the time. I will definitely try it again but less time. The cheesy bacon mashed potatoes and buttered carrots were delicious. The wine I enjoyed with this meal was this one.

The Knotty Vines wine is becoming a staple in my weekly wine purchases. The label says Cabernet Sauvignon but its actually a blend of Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Petite Sirah and Zinfandel. Delicious.

Before I go, thought I would share this chart of the health benefits of wine.

Maybe it will help us all feel better about the sips we take this evening. Have a great weekend everyone. Stay warm