I Love Fall

One thing I know for certain, Atlantic Canada is a stunningly beautiful place in the Fall. Between the gorgeous colors and the cooler crisp temperatures, it is my all time favorite time of the year. I currently live in Halifax, Nova Scotia, but I am originally from a beautiful area of Atlantic Canada, Corner Brook, Newfoundland. The West Coast of Newfoundland is home to the amazing Gros Morne National Park, Marble Mountain Ski Hill and this is where I grew up.

Steady Brook on the West Coast of NL

This next picture doesn’t do the view justice, as I was grilling last night, as the sun was going down, I tried to capture the gorgeous sky and the pretty Fall colors. Yes, I keep clear lights on my balcony all year round. Now that it is getting darker much earlier, I like them on when I’m out using my barbecue.

The view from my deck

It’s also a great time for comfort food and great wine. I have a great maple curry chicken pasta dish I made this past week. I’ll share the recipe shortly, yes, that is homemade cheese toast and a robust red to compliment.

Bowtie pasta with cheese toast
Trapiche Reserve Malbec

Speaking of robust reds, my friend Angie bought this Trapiche Reserve Malbec and shared with me. I don’t buy a lot of Malbec, but I enjoyed this very much, and it’s as wonderful on the wallet as it is on the palate, coming in under $15. Plum and spice notes, with a hint of vanilla. We were playing our weekly game of Rummikub but it would also go nicely with food.

Bread & Butter Pinot Noir

I know I’ve written about this wine in the past, but I bought it again last Friday night. I was do some meal prep for my nephew, and was sipping along. This is so smooth and so flavorful, it’s one of my favorite PInot Noir wines and it’s only $22 a bottle. And that really is a great price for a great Pinot.

Maple curry chicken pasta

I don’t know why, but I don’t eat a lot of pasta in the Summer. So last weekend, I made one of my favorites, a maple curry chicken pasta. I cut chicken breast up in bite size pieces and cooked that in olive oil and some curry powder. I used bowtie pasta, but you can use penne. This is so quick and easy. Saute onions and bell peppers, add the cooked pasta & cooked chicken, and pour in maple syrup. Let that simmer. Then I normally add cream and curry paste, but I was out of curry paste, so I used curry powder, heavy cream and some of the pasta water to make the sauce and let that simmer. Oh, and I added bacon. I mean, pasta is so much better with bacon.

You could enjoy this with a hearty white wine, like this one

Trinity Oaks Chardonnay

Or you could try this new red, which I enjoyed last night for the first time

It’s very seldom I see a red wine in a clear bottle. A rule of thumb, any wine, whether red or white, that comes in a clear bottle should be consumed within 3 years. Which is why most whites are in clear bottles, the majority of them should be consumed within 3 years. So I was a little concerned when I got this home and realized it was a 2016. It was on clearance, regular priced at around $17, on for $13.50. Honestly, I feel our liquor store was a little late putting this on clearance.

It was the Bree Merlot from France, and I love Merlot from France, normally. Most of the French Merlot wines I’ve had have been in Bordeaux blends, but I love the Left Bank of Bordeaux where Merlot dominates. And although it was good, I could tell it was starting to show its age. There was a little bit of a bitterness, but otherwise it was tasty. I wish I had found it earlier. But the fruit still shone through and the empty bottle this morning will tell you it went down more than OK.

Till next week, Cheers

Darlene

Thankful

It’s Thanksgiving weekend here in Canada, and although everyone will admit, the last 19 months have been extremely challenging, I hope we can all find something to be grateful for. Much of Canada is experiencing its 4th Wave of Covid-19 and some families and friends are not able to get together for Thanksgiving for the second year in a row. This has been very tough for many people, and hard on people’s hearts and mental health. Covid fatigue is a real thing, and I understand it completely.

Me voicing ads

But this weekend I am going to focus on the good things, and there are many of them. I have a great family, my Mom will be 87 in 3 months and she is doing great. I have a sister whom I adore, and her family is my family too. I have wonderful friends, that I feel I can count on and have helped me a lot over the past 19 months. I have a job that I really enjoy, (most of the time LOL). And I am grateful for this little fella, Gabriel.

Gabriel

Gabriel is a cat that was severely abused, and I started fostering him over three years ago. He was so scared when I first got him, he lived under the bed and hissed at me for 3 straight months.

Gabriel feels safe now

Now he’s turned into Mr. Social. He greets my friends at the door, and is just a gorgeous kitty. As you can see he had parts of his ears chopped off, and had his teeth kicked in, so you can understand why he was hesitant to trust. He is the baby of the household now, and he knows it.

Me & Tigger

I wasn’t always a cat person, I adopted Tigger when I lived out West and together we lived in 8 cities and towns in 4 provinces. He was over 20 years old when he passed, I had him for 20 years and the vet figured he was 5 months old when I adopted him. This is what good living looks like, Tigger was well known and well loved.

Leo aka Batman

After Tigger died, I didn’t know what to do. So I fostered a kitty cat that was very sick. He had feline leukemia and had limited time, but I got 2 years of wonderful enjoyment out of this ‘little’ fella! I swear Leo had it so good he hung on a lot longer than anyone thought he would. I always said he didn’t want to give up the treats or the good life. I only ever have 1 kitty at a time, and they seem to love all the attention.

So, let’s talk some wine.

Ruffino Prosecco

I’ve tried a new Prosecco recently and if you are planning on having any kind of celebration this weekend, try it. Prosecco is an Italian sparkling wine, that is tasty and inexpensive. This wine is $20, and most of them are under $20, so they are easy on the wallet. This one is dry and crisp with a light acidity and nice tart citrus flavors. Great for your appetizers, and we enjoyed this with a charcuterie board, and it was wonderful.

655 Miles Cabernet

Here’s a wonderful new red I’ve tried recently. 655 Miles Cabernet Sauvignon out of California. When I bought it, it was $17 and what a great price on a great wine. Well, I just checked and its on sale here in Nova Scotia, so I’ll definitely be adding a couple of bottles to the wine rack. It’s actually a blend of 92% Cabernet Sauvigngon, 5% Petite Sirah and 3% Syrah, so it’s a super interesting and complex wine. I searched and searched but couldn’t find the reason behind the name, 655 Miles. But it’s a beautiful bottle and the wine is full-bodied with a generous lingering finish and good tannins.

Have a wonderful Thanksgiving weekend to my Canadian friends and readers, and to the rest of the world, have a great weekend. Till next week, Cheers

Darlene

New Friends & New Favorites

Riley & Maggie

Starting this week’s wine blog with some serious cuteness! 2 of my loves, my nephew Riley and my sister’s Bernadoodle puppy Maggie. Yes, she is a puppy, about 8 months now.

Something exciting happened to me in the past week. I got to meet one of my readers that lives in Ottawa. When you’ve been writing a weekly blog for several years, no matter what the topic, you always question yourself and “are people reading”? That’s why I really appreciate any comments and feedbacks, and the friends and readers that share my wine blog with their family and friends on social media and through email.

Jean from Ottawa

This is Jean from Ottawa, and when I met her I had to give her a hug. I felt I knew her through our mutual friend Angie, and she said she felt she was getting to know me through my wine blog. That’s why I’ve always felt wine is so much more than just a beverage. It helps make a good time even more special and brings friends, old and new, together.

My friend Judy

Jean was visiting so my friend Angie decided to open a special bottle of Champagne that she received for a very special birthday. The above picture is of my friend Judy, who I also met through Angie, enjoying the special champagne.

Veuve Clicquot Champagne

I love a good dry not sweet Champagne, and this one was damn near close to perfect. When you see the word ‘Brut’ on a label, you know the wine inside is not sweet, it’s dry. Champagne is made with 3 grapes, 2 of which are red. Chardonnay, Pinot Noir and Pinot Meunier with no skin contact. Sparkling wines are made worldwide, but you know when you see the word ‘Champagne’, it came from Champagne France. No other sparkling wine is allowed to use that word, even if it’s made in the same traditional way, using the same grapes. The winemaker, also called the Blender, has the job of combining grapes and vintages so that the ‘House Champagne’ tastes the same year after year.

I tried another awesome white wine this past week.

Director of Fun Richard

This is my friend and the Director of Fun for Atlantic Tours, Richard. Richard came to my building last week and did a talk to some of the residents about upcoming trips. We enjoyed a glass of wine, and one of them was a white Bordeaux. Go to http://www.atlantictours.com and find out about our River Cruise to Bordeaux France in 2022. This fantastic blend consists of Sauvignon Blanc, Semillion and Muscadelle. The 2018 we enjoyed received the honors of Best Value Buy of 2019 by Wine Enthusiast Magazine. With its gorgeous bright flavors, I think Richard told me it’s on sale right now for $15 or $16 right now. Still just around $20 a bottle, it’s a great wine.

Before I get into my new red, and I have tried a couple of new ones recently, I have to tell you about a pork tenderloin recipe that changed my mind on pork tenderloin. Pork tenderloin it’s like a blank canvas, and really needs a lot of flavour thrown at it. If it’s overcooked, it’s pretty boring. I have found a fabulous pork tenderloin recipe.

It starts with butterflying the pork tenderloin. My stuffing was simple. I sauteed onions and apples in butter and oil, with a dash of cinnamon and a drop of maple syrup, and salt and pepper of course. I added that mixture to the bread crumbs and stuffed the tenderloin.

Bacon makes it better

I’m not usually one for bacon wrapped meat, but my friend told me about this recipe and I decided to try it.

Then I put that on the grill.

Always let it rest

I used a meat thermometer to bring it to a medium, 145-degrees. Then I covered it in aluminum foil and let it rest.

Oh. My. God. It’s like the bacon became part of the tenderloin, and was so moist and tasty. I’m addicted.

Now, The new red wine…..

Roscato Dark Red Blend

Richard bought this red to our event, and I really enjoyed it. it’s a fantastic value at $16.99 and it’s a red blend that consists of Merlot and two indigenous grapes from Italy, Teroldego and Lagrein. it’s medium to full bodied, it has been aged in oak, but the fruit definitely shines from the wine. It’s plump and juicy with subtle hints of coffee, vanilla and chocolate, and a perfect wine for meat.

Here’s to a wonderful week of new friends and new favourites. Cheers

Darlene

The Reds of Last Week’s Wine Tasting

Last week I told you I did my first wine-tasting in 19 months, and we had such a great time. We did 8 wines at this particular tasting, so last week I covered the first 5 wines, which were the sparkling, the rose and the whites. This week I’m going to share the red wines.

We had 3 red wines, and started the evening with a Pinot Noir

MacMurray Pinot Noir

From the Russian River Valley in California, I love this Pinot Noir. One of the ladies who didn’t think they liked Pinot Noir, because their experience in the past was a ‘wimpy’ one, like this. This is not a full-bodied wine, it’s medium bodied, but lots of flavor. I found how they used the oak was very interesting. It spent 8months in both French and American oak, but the really interesting part was 20% new barrels and 80% used barrels. The used barrels imparts less oak flavor onto the wine, but ages it smoothly.

Septima Gran Reserva from Argentina

This wine is a blend of Malbec, Cabernet Sauvignon and Tannat. When I opened this wine during the wine tasting, the cork crumbled in my hand. I was very concerned. I tried the wine, and although it hadn’t gone skunky yet, you knew it wouldn’t be much longer before the wine was tainted. This is a big bold full-bodied red, great for red meat. All the ladies agreed it wasn’t their favorite wine to sip on, but would compliment food, and I had to agree. Even though it was breathing for about 90 minutes, it didn’t soften the wine. This wine comes in at $42.50 a bottle.

And last but not least, my personal favorite of the evening

Casella 2010 Cabernet

I don’t usually take Australian wines to a wine-tasting, but on a leap of faith from Alex at the NSLC, I took this wine and it was my favorite. Many lesser priced Australian wines can have manipulated oaky flavors, and be a little too oaky for me. Not all, but many. This was not the case with the 2010 Casella Cabernet Sauvignon. It was spectacular. Full-bodied but the oak didn’t overpower, and the 2010 vintage has won awards all over the world. This wine was $50 a bottle, and I have to say it was totally worth it. This is a wine you can sip on its own, or enjoy with food.

Relaxing weekends

If you are interested in having a wine tasting in your home, reach out to me at darlenemyers@hotmail.com. I can do a wine tasting that fits your budget. Next week, I have a Champagne to share with you, a pork tenderloin that changed my mind on pork tenderloin and a new red.

Till next week, Cheers

Darlene

Wine Tastings Are Back

Last Friday I did my very first wine tasting in 18 months. Ask me if I was excited. It was so great to start them again, and what a way to kick off another wine-tasting season. We had so much fun and so many great wines.

Such a fun group

A very big thank you to Barb for hosting and to Donna for passing along my name, and to all the ladies who made it such fun. I hope the rest of your weekend was just as fun. We had some great laughs, tried some good wines, and some great wines. And the higher priced wines weren’t necessarily the best ones. We did 8 wines, and I’m going to start with the whites this week, and I’ll cover the reds next week.

We actually started with a Rose wine

Gerard Bertrand Rose

I absolutely loved this wine, and some of the ladies had had it before. This should become a new classic. It’s an excellent price at just $19.99 and a vibrant non-sweet rose wine that’s a blend of 3 grapes, Grenache, Cinsault and Syrah. I think it’s my new favorite rose. I’ll definitely be buying it againn.

Then we tried an amazing sparkling wine from award winning winemaker Jean Benoit Deslauriers at Benjamin Bridge here in Nova Scotia.

The hand-crafted small lot 2015 Brut from Benjamin Bridge was spectacular. Normally when I do wine tastings, I bring a great sparkling wine at a great price, like a Prosecco. However, when it’s a limited edition, small lot, and there was literally only 2 bottles left, you had to have one. Once this is gone, it’s gone, so what a wonderful treat for the ladies to share this wine. I have also bought the non-vintage Brut which is about $28. This beauty was $50, but it was a spectacular example of a traditional made sparkling wine, and we enjoyed every sip.

The true temperature of ‘room temperature’ red wine is always an interesting discussion at wine tastings.

The next white was a bit of a surprise to us, as it was the most expensive but no one picked it as their favorite.

Rose Rock Chardonnay

Oregon is one of my favorite Pinot Noir producing areas. And I thought that since Oregon is so similar in terroir to Burgundy France that the Chardonnay would be exceptional as well. This wine was $52 a bottle, and sadly, I don’t feel it was worth the money. The slogan is ‘French Soul, Oregon Soil’, and although I didn’t find the Chardonnay overly oaky, one of the ladies couldn’t drink it because she found it oaky. Everyone has a different palate. It was tasty, but I’ve tasted better for less money.

And now for the wine of the week, and the hands down favorite white from last week….

Picpoul De PInet

This is always an interesting wine to bring to wine-tastings. No one has heard of the ‘Picpoul’ grape. Picpoul, also known as Folle Blanche, is originally from the south of France, and was used initially in making Cognac and Vermouth. This was a fantastic wine and most everyone was shocked to learn of the $17.50 price tag. It had subtle citrus flavors and just the right amount of acidity. This is a wonderful food wine. The ladies had a charcuterie board which paired very well, and it would also be great for appetizers and salads.

Thank you again ladies, next week I’ll cover the red wines we did.

So our wine tour to the Niagara region of Ontario didn’t go on October 2nd. The rising number of cases were concerning, so we played it safe. I do, however, have a Nova Scotia wine tour to tell you about, a day trip.

Myself and my friend Richard Arnold from Atlantic Wine Tours are doing a day trip to the Annapolis Valley on Tuesday, October 12th. We are going to visit 3 wineries and do tastings, and have a lovely lunch. All the details can be found right here!

The Annapolis Valley

The colors are just gorgeous in the Fall of the year in the Annapolis Valley, and Richard is from there, so he doesn’t an awesome tour. I hope you’ll come join us for a fabulous day in Nova Scotia.

Till next week, Cheers

Darlene