Grilling & Wine

It’s grilling season. Bring on the barbecue. And in my opinion, nothing pairs better with BBQ than wine. Regular readers of this blog know how much I love to grill, on both a BBQ and my pellet grill. I’m going to share a recipe for the BEST potatoes I’ve ever eaten in this blog, stay tuned. But first, let’s pair some great wines with grilled food.

I’m on my week off from chemo treatments, so my appetite has been good and I’ve been firing up both my BBQ and my pellet grill. I did a stuffed butterfly pork chop the other evening. Stuffed with bread crumbs, sauteed onions & carrots, apples, salt and pepper, and good old Newfoundland Savory. The best

This stuffed pork chop turned out so good and there are a few wines that would pair well with it. Some recommendations for pork would include a Pinot Noir, Zinfandel and a Riesling. Here’s what I had with it

I went with the Cigar Box Pinot Noir from Chile. A very light to medium pinot noir, that didn’t clash with some of the bold flavors I had in my stuffed pork chop. As you can see from the above picture I put my pork chop low on my pellet grill for about 30 minutes to add some smoke flavor and then seared it on the BBQ. Yum! This pinot noir also has some smoky notes and is really well priced at just $18 a bottle here.

Now the potatoes…..

I cubed the potatoes and boiled them for about 5-8 minutes to cook them halfway. My friends Fred and Arla picked me up some fresh garlic from the Annapolis Valley when they were there this week, and it was so good.

So I put cream cheese, mayonnaise, cream cheese, 2 cloves of the fresh garlic, salt and pepper, and shredded cheese. Then I put them on my pellet grill on low for about an hour to finish cooking and absorb all those great flavors.

I added some parsley towards the end. I grow my own, and you don’t want to add fresh herbs too early or they will char. You could finish these in the oven or on the BBQ, just be careful about having them on direct heat. On the BBQ, I would light one side and put the potatoes on the other side, the side with no heat.

We are getting a warm weekend here. Supposed to be 22-degrees today and 27-degrees tomorrow. It also may be our first 30-degree day. And warm weather means Rose. Here’s a Rose you may want to try this weekend.

At a mere $617 a bottle, it’s truly a weekend treat. If you’re like me, this may be more along your price point

This Arrogant Frog Rose wine is a delicious crisp wine that comes in at $18 a bottle, a little more affordable for most of us. It’s light and tasty and a great example of Rose.

One last wine before I go.

Look at that color. That dark purple says one thing….. Malbec

I try new wines all the time, and more and more I’m reaching for a Malbec, a wine that I really didn’t drink a lot. This wine appealed to me because of the Gran Reserva, which is aging. And the $17 price point. Gran Reserva wines tend to be aged and this one was delicious. It’s a big wine bursting with flavors of plums, vanilla and tobacco. Definitely worth a try and definitely a great wine for BBQ.

That’s it for me for this week. Have a wonderful weekend, and a great week,


A Tribute to Mom

That time of the year, when we honor our Mom’s, whether they are with us or not. I am lucky enough to still have my Mom, and this year, for the first time since I moved to Halifax, she is with me for Mother’s Day. She is 88 years young and going quite strong. Here she is in January on her 88th birthday.

And here we are yesterday evening, as we open a very special bottle of wine.

My brother-in-law Craig bought this back in March when he was here. And I was saving it for something special. And what’s more special than getting to spend Mother’s Day weekend with your Mom, who lives in another province.

Caymus is one of my favorite Vineyards in California, and they know how to make Zinfandel. This is a 95-Point Wine, beautifully full-bodied and lush with spicy herbal notes. One of my friends asked me yesterday evening if it was worth the treat price tag and I said yes. Absolutely yes. The Wagner family make amazing wines, including the line of Mer Soleil and Conundrum Wines, however, the Caymus line is their top notch line. Started in 1972, this vineyard is still in the family. This wine retails here for $75, so it is a treat wine, but my Mom is worth it. And I didn’t buy it LOL

Thank you to all the Moms. Thank you to all the Moms of fur-babies as well. I hope you all have a wonderful weekend


Drink The Good Wine

Most of the readers of my wine blog know I got diagnosed with a form of colon cancer the end of November. I started treatments January 30th with Radiation and Chemotherapy. And a couple of weeks ago started an aggressive 15 week Chemotherapy regimen. So I don’t want you thinking, well, she has Cancer, she’s drinking all good wine. That is not the case, but I will get into why I named my blog ‘Drink The Good Wine’ in a moment.

My friend Angie was down this past week

Still one of the best values in our liquor store. It’s under $13 here and one of the best wines under $15.

I had an experience this past week with non-alcoholic wine. A few weeks ago I mentioned I wanted to buy Proxies non-alcoholic wine, but held off because of the price tag of $30 + HST ($34.50)

Yesterday I had an infected tooth taken out, and was on anti-biotics and prescription pain killers. So I didn’t want to drink alcohol. So I splurged and bought a bottle.

Wasn’t impressed when I poured. It was very cloudy and murky. I thought, OK, so it’s not filtered. Odd. I made pasta for me and my Mom for dinner and thought this would be a great pairing.

I have to tell you, I took a sip, and thought it tasted more like tea than wine. I too another sip, and another, and then poured the glass and the bottle down the sink. It was awful. Terrible. I’ll take my Mom’s $7.99 non-alcoholic wine any day. I gave my Mom a sip and her words were ‘It has no taste’. I felt it smelled like a dirty pet store and tasted like stale tea. That’s why I named my blog Drink The Good Wine. If I can treat myself to a $35 bottle of wine with no alcohol, and pour it down the sink, treat yourself to one bottle of wine that’s in the $25 – $50 range. We all deserve it, and I’m betting you won’t pour it down the sink.

Last Saturday night I shared this wine with friends. I thought it was a great value at $19.99. I found out today if you’re driving through Quebec you can get a bottle for $12.95. Anyway, I digress. I don’t drink a lot of Malbec, but I do like it. This was a rich dark purple when we poured it, it was one of the first comments I made. 646 is named after the year a monk discovered the Cahors region. Cahors is located in Southern France and known for some great Malbec wine.

On Wednesday night, I treated my Mom and I to a great steak, tenderloin. Worth every penny of the $38 I paid for the two steaks. My Mom is worth it. We did corn, roasted potatoes and crispy wings as sides.

I like my steak medium normally, and I know this is more of a medium rare, it was still delicious. This was the day before I thought the tooth was coming out. Here’s the wine I had with it.

I’ve had this wine several times, and love the Peeps Old Vine Zinfandel. Aged in French oak for 2 months, this beautiful Zinfandel is delicious, and a great value at $22.99. The fruit of the wine shines and it has peppery notes, which paired with my steak perfectly.

My mom and I are cleaning cupboards today. I may fire myself. LOL.

Have a wonderful Saturday everyone. Because of the infected tooth, my IV chemo got moved to Monday. And my next 2 week regimen starts Monday as well. Till next week, Cheers


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