Tis The Season To Treat Yourself

Most weeks this wine blog focuses on great tasting wines that tend to be under the $25 mark. I started this wine blog many years ago to let people know you can find good wines at prices that won’t break the bank. We’ve also had some treat wines along the way. I’ve been very blessed lately, between gifts from dear friends, and a little treat for myself, this wine blog is about some fantastic wines that are great for special occasions, gift giving, or just to treat yourself after a busy week.

Let’s talk some jingle juice…

Last Saturday night I wanted to try something new. So I picked up this wine. Frenchie Collage wine is a blend, and quite the blend it is. 35% Petite Verdot, 29& Cabernet Sauvignon, 24% Petite Sirah and finished with Malbec and Tempranillo. The dog featured on the label is the French bulldog owned by the owner of the winery. This wine was made in California with grape varietals from all over. It’s been aged mostly in stainless steel with a little bit aged in American oak. So not much in the way of oak notes so very fruit forward. Here was my only issue with the wine. It wasn’t filtered, so after the first glass I was left with a mouthful of grit and must, and I had to rinse my glass. Then I shared the wine with two friends, but had to pour it through a paper towel to filter it. I don’t mind paying $30 for a good wine, and the wine was very good, but I don’t want to have to filter it through a paper towel.

December is here. The month for Christmas parties and get togethers. It’s the season for family and friends. And it’s the season for gift giving. My friend Cassandra gave me a pretty Starbucks cup and my favorite Christmas blend coffee this week. Perfect with coffee & Baileys!! Another kind of jingle juice.

My friend Anthony pictured here with me about 9 years ago, enjoying a great Pinot Noir called Sea Smoke.

We’ve both gotten a little greyer since than, and maybe even a little wiser. Hmmm maybe LOL. Well, we still work together and he’s been a rock of support for me and this week he gave me a very special gift, and it’s my wine of the week.

This past year I had the honor of going to Bordeaux France with a wonderful group of people. This wine is one of the best Bordeaux wines I have ever had. Now this is a treat wine, selling here for $47 a bottle so definitely a treat. I had it last night after the end of a challenging week, while enjoying my happy place, at my grill.

My nephew Riley is coming up tonight so I did some ribs for him on the pellet grill. Considering these take about 5 hours, I got a head start. It was a nice evening and Anthony gave me that wonderful wine to enjoy. Some great tunes and it was a great Friday night.

D’Angelus has been making wines in Bordeaux for 120 years, and I’ve read it was the wine responsible for turning martini drinking James Bond into a lover of Bordeaux wines. Merlot with some Cabernet Franc and Cabernet Sauvignon, this delicious wine is delicious to drink now and it also could age it if you wanted.

That’s it for this week. Stay safe my friends. Till next week, Cheers

Darlene

It’s Beginning To Look….

You guessed it… it’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas.

I know it’s not December yet, but it’s hard to avoid. This week if you go out, you’re going to hear one of two things, Christmas and/or Black Friday.

One of the things I enjoy most about this time of the year, are the get togethers. Let’s face it, the Christmas parties start around the 1st of December. If you’re invited out this holiday season, maybe I can help with some wine ideas to bring along, which will make you the hit of any party.

I don’t care what the occasion is, you can’t go wrong giving a nice sparkling wine. I always have one in my wine rack.

Normally I have a Prosecco, which I love over the holidays. Especially when you make it a Mimosa. Plus Prosecco and Spanish Cava are excellent sparkling wines, that are super affordable. This Champagne was a gift, and I’m saving it for a special occasion because it’s pricier than most wines I write about in this blog. I have had this Champagne before, and it’s lovely and light and perfect for a special occasion. Gorgeous light flavors of toast, pear and apple, and the Brut tells you it’s very dry, not sweet.

A long time reader of my wine blog, Jean from Ottawa came for a visit last week. She bought some amazing wines, and here’s one we tried.

The Strata Cabernet Sauvignon is out of Australia, and it’s a gorgeous blend of 85% Cabernet and 15% Petite Verdot. It’s a medium-bodied Cabernet that is easy to drink and the price is easy on the wallet, just $15.99 a bottle. It will definitely have a home in my wine rack again.

I have a confession to make, I love Hallmark Christmas movies. And this is by far my most favorite movie so far this year.

3 Wise Men & A Baby was one of the funniest movies I’ve seen. Great movie for the entire family, so when I went to our local liquor store last week and saw this, I just had to buy it.

If you look closely at the label you will see this wine, called Jingle, and at the top you will see Hallmark Movie Channel. So is there a more perfect wine when watching Hallmark Christmas movies? I don’t think so! And the wine was good too. Really good. It’s a California Cabernet Sauvignon with hints of holiday spice. Delicious, and priced under $19. There’s also a Jingle Sauvignon Blanc available for my white wine loving friends and readers. Hallmark Channel Wines were handcrafted by the winemaking team of Evan and Andrew Nelson – recently named 2020 Wine Enthusiast’s ‘40 Under 40 Tastemaker’. Give it a try, you won’t regret it.

As we start planning Christmas parties and get togethers, please don’t drink and drive, and please don’t text and drive, I see way too many people doing that here in Halifax. Stay safe.

Till next week, Cheers

Darlene

Wine Me Up & Watch Me Go

My work sister Violet, gave me this t-shirt this past week. It absolutely made my day and I can’t wait to wear it. So I’m dedicating this week’s wine blog to this awesome saying. Her sister customizes t-shirts and made this one. I love it.

I have a confession to make. My profile picture was taken about 8 years ago. Hair was longer and during the start of the pandemic in 2020, I decided to go au naturel and short. I am in the process of changing over my profile pictures. I do not take a good picture, every time I smile, my eyes disappear, LOL.

This was taken Thursday at work by my friend, and fellow wine lover, Anthony. Ok, let’s talk some wine.

Thursday evening, my work family and I attended a dinner, and on the table was this wine. Any time you’re at a work event, and the wine is 90-Point wine, well you have to try it. It also happens to be the first Argentinian wine that carries the Bodegas De Argentina Certified Sustainable Seal on its label. This Malbec was fabulous and sells for $19 a bottle here in Halifax. It was rich and full-bodied and I could really taste the terroir of the Mendoza region of Argentina, kind of an earthiness. I hope that makes sense.

This wine was also on the table, and I love this white wine. Not only is it good, it’s one of the best values you can get. Same goes for the red.

Il Padrino Pinot Grigio comes in a 1-litre bottle for about $17. It’s fresh and crisp and has lemony and citrus flavors. You get a few extra glasses of delicious wine, and it doesn’t break the bank.

And last but certainly not least….

My friend Anthony and I were talking about how much we love Cabernet Franc, and although he is not a huge Cabernet Sauvignon fan, I am. So when I saw this blend for the first time, I had to pick it up and give it a try. It’s priced at $20 and it’s not a heavy wine. I was kind of surprised that it was more medium bodied, because both Cabernet Sauvignon and Cabernet Franc tend to be more full bodied wines. And the oak did not over power. To any readers in Ontario, it’s only $14 there. (insert eye roll here) We pay way too much for wine here on the East Coast.

I would just like to take a moment to recognize Remembrance Day yesterday and say a huge heartfelt thank you to everyone who is serving, and who has served in the past. I loved this when I saw it, ‘We don’t know you all, but we owe you all’.

Have a great week.

Darlene

Fall Back With Some Great Wine

Many of us are not big fans of time changes. Although I find Spring Ahead a little harder personally, many people don’t like the Fall one because it gets darker earlier in the evening. Hey, it’s probably acceptable to start at 4 p.m

I have to apologize to my white wine loving friends and readers. I don’t have a white wine to share with you this week. My apologies and I will definitely have one next week. I do have a couple of new reds to share with you.

The first one I’m calling this one my wine of the week.

This is the best $17 wine I’ve tasted in a long time. And to my Newfoundland friends and wine-lovers, it’s the same price. I shared a bottle with some friends Thursday night, and had it again last night with my smoked baby back ribs and wings. Delicious. Nice rich feeling on the palate, deep fruit flavors and hints of black pepper. I can’t talk about this wine enough, I loved it.

Back in September of 2020, I wrote about the Cabernet Sauvignon. One of my lockdown wines. I have to say the Cabernet was good, I liked the Merlot better.

Some personal news to share, about my kitty Gabriel.

Gabriel is a kitty I started fostering 4 and a half years ago. He was badly abused and it took him months to trust me and feel at home here. Well, he has turned into a baby. He now trusts people, because everyone that comes here gives him love and attention. Well he had surgery on Thursday to remove a cyst. Look at how much they shaved. I feel I should get him a sweater. But he’s doing good, and he’s getting his stitches removed on the 16th.

One more wine to share before I call it a day.

RH Phillips is the same is the same company that makes this wine, which I’ve written about before. The Toasted Head Barrel Cabernet Sauvignon. This was an easy to drink Cabernet, well priced at $17, and went well with food.

The oak on the RH Phillips Cabernet was not as prominent as on this one, but this label tells you it’s going to be oaky. When they toast the oak, it accentuates those flavors.

Well, that’s it for me for this week. Enjoy the extra hour this weekend.

Till next week, Cheers

Happy Hallowine!

I’m back in Halifax. Arrived home yesterday. It was great to sleep in my own bed. It’s wonderful to go home for a visit with family, it’s also great to come back to my own place.

We are almost at the end of October, which means Halloween. Halloween is the toughest occasion for me to pair wine with. A friend of mine, Lorraine, asked me about this, and if I had ever done a blog on pairing wine with Halloween candy. Well, today is the first time.

M & M’s & Pinot Noir:

So M & M’s are one of my favorite candies, and Pinot Noir goes with everything. In my opinion, it’s one of the best food pairing wines out there. Honestly, I prefer it with chicken or some other savory dish, but it would work with M & M’s too. Here’s one of my favorite Pinot Noir wines.

The Bread & Butter Pinot Noir is scary good. Easy to drink, smooth and very reasonably priced at $22 a bottle. The slogan of this company is a good one, “We believe good things shouldn’t be complicated”. And that’s the perfect slogan for this Pinot Noir.

Snickers & Sauternes.

I can honestly say I don’t know if I would share this wine with a Snickers bar. Sauternes makes some of the most delicious and expensive dessert wines in the world. And as a Sommelier, we learned the wine in the glass should be sweeter than the dessert on the plate. I love dessert wines as dessert, after a big meal, it eases the sweet tooth but is not overly filling. These wines are delicious dessert wines, served very chilled, and those flavors of honey and apricot make for one of my favorite desserts. This bottle retails for around $100, so it’s definitely a treat wine. I’d have it after a big steak meal, not with a Snickers bar, but that’s just me.

Dark Chocolate & Zinfandel

Regular readers of this blog know I just love a good Zinfandel.

Here’s one you can get in just about every province, and is kind of a benchmark for Zinfandel. 7 Deadly Zins, named after Zinfandel grapes being harvest from 7 different locations in California, is a seductive and rich wine. Zinfully delicious, it retails for about $25 a bottle and is also my favorite wine to have with ribs.

Starburst & Off Dry Riesling

Personally, I’m not a fan of overly sweet candy like Starburst, but I do love a good off dry Riesling. The very first time I tried Riesling, it was many many (many) years ago, and it was one of the sweeter ones. I decided I didn’t like Riesling. Then in our studies to become a Sommelier, I was introduced to off dry and dry Rieslings. Love them!

This was taken a few years back, before I went all grey, but my friend and I were enjoying a birthday lunch in Halifax and we were having Riesling. Here’s one of my favorites.

The Kung Fu Girl Riesling is off dry and aromatic. It’s a great wine to go with some spicy cuisines. And very reasonably priced, right now in Newfoundland I noticed it was on sale for under $17.. There are also some great Riesling wine made here in Nova Scotia, and you can get the Gaspereau Riesling outside of Nova Scotia, including Newfoundland.

That’s it for the wines this week. One of the highlights of my trip to Newfoundland was meeting one of my Twitter friends.

Jackie Coates is a Twitter friend, who is as sweet in person as she is on Twitter. She works at the Deer Lake Airport, and when Maggie and I went to pick up Jackie & Craig when they were coming back from Hawaii, I saw her walking down, and had to approach her. Although my profile picture shows me before I went au naturel with the grey hair, I introduced myself and we had a great chat. Such a beautiful person on the inside and outside, and it was one of the best highlights of my trip.

That’s it for me this week. Stay safe this Halloween.

Till next week, Cheers

Darlene