Bordeaux Part 2 – My Journey Home

Last night was my first time in a week having a glass of wine!

I know right? Well, I arrived home from France last Thursday night and woke up Saturday morning with a headache, sore throat, cough and run down feeling. Booked a PCR test, and the next morning it confirmed what I already knew, I had Covid-19. Although France is in Level Alert 3, they don’t have mask mandates. There were only 63 passengers in total on the river cruise, and we wore masks everywhere, so I’m thinking it was the airport in Paris. Shoulder to shoulder and most people weren’t wearing masks.

So, I guess you could say I had lots of time to recuperate from the 23-hour journey home and boy did I sleep lots. I definitely feel 10,000 times better than I did earlier in the week, and after having wine for lunch and dinner for a full week, my body didn’t object from taking time off from the vino.

Chateau Lafitte Rothschild

I had a wonderful trip before hit by Covid. One of the highlights of the trip for me was getting to see the winery of Chateau Lafitte Rothschild. We didn’t get to go in, but check your local liquor store and check out the prices of the wine from this winery. Here in Nova Scotia they start at $1000 per bottle and go up from there.

Although most people think all Bordeaux wines are red, they do make some mighty fine white wines as well. The grapes are Sauvignon Blanc and/or Semillion or a blend of both.

Bordeaux Blanc

White wines in Bordeaux cannot be labelled to a specific regions or appellations, for example Saint Emilion or Margaux, or Pomerol. White wines in Bordeaux are labelled as Bordeaux, like the above Bordeaux Blanc.

Saint Emilion = luscious Merlot

We enjoyed some fantastic wine, and fantastic foo.

Amazing Food

But my favorite part of the entire trip, were the people I went with. I met some great new people and we had so much fun.

Mark & Janet
Ed & Juanita
Our last night
Richard & Cathy
Gary & I
Gerard & I
Cathy & I

I didn’t do a lot of shopping while there, I really soaked up the area and the culture and enjoyed time spent with these fun & fabulous people. I did however, buy one item very unique to the area.

Wine salt! It’s a real thing

Wine Salt

It came to by an accident. Salt was a very valuable commodity and a wine barrel tipped over and coated the salt. They couldn’t afford to throw away the salt and wine salt was born. It’s delicious on meats and vegggies. I had it on a steak and it was so flavorful.

So what was the wine I had last night?

Gran Passione Rosso

Gran Passione Rosso is an Italian blend made of Merlot and Corvina. It hails from the Veneto region around Venice and is priced at $20 a bottle here. Delicious, full-bided and fruity, it’s a great wine at a great price.

That’s it for me for this week. This is Day 8 and I’m feeling much better. Staying put for today. Stay safe everyone, and till next week, Cheers.

Darlene

Bordeaux Part 1

Our fun & friendly group

Where do I start? I just got back from the trip of a lifetime. A River Cruise aboard the Ama Waterways ship Amadolce. The river cruise definitely made the experience, with the amazing staff and spectacular food and wine. But I can’t go any further without thanking Richard, Gary, Duane and the staff of Atlantic Tours & Travel. We ran into some difficulties getting over there, with a delay from the start in Halifax, but Richard made it all stress free for all the guests. I cannot say enough about Atlantic Tours. I am living proof that when it comes to their slogan of ‘Worry Free World Travel’, that they not only talk the talk, but they walk the walk. If you are thinking of travelling anywhere, I recommend you check out the website or give them a call.

Richard Arnold & my friend Cathy

If this lady looks familiar, it’s because I went to Italy with Cathy 5 years ago, and she was on this trip. I love travelling with Cathy, and she has the most courageous palate of anyone I’ve ever met. She inspires me to try new things. Thanks to Cathy, I tried Carpaccio for the first time, which is an Italian appetizer that has thinly sliced raw beef and herbs tomatoes.

Carpaccio

And Duck

And I finished both dishes. I’m not going to spend a lot of time talking about all the wines I tried, as we can’t get them here. I did enjoy many reds

As well as white wine. I liked most, there were a couple that weren’t my favorite. But that’s to be expected.

France is gorgeous, and the city of Bordeaux is beautiful, day and night. I could do a full vacation in the city of Bordeaux.

France is beautiful
At the airport in Bordeaux

Now I’ll tell you about a wine we can get here.

Il Padrino Rosso

This was an easy to drink wine. It’s Il Padrino Rosso from Italy. Less than $20 per bottle, and if you can’t get this particular brand, try a different brand. Rosso is a red fruity wine from the village of Montalcino in Tuscany, the same village I stayed at when I visited Italy 5 years ago. They are Sangiovese based and sometimes can be blended with other grapes. Give one a try, it’s so food friendly.

That’s it for me for this week. It’s a bit short, still have some jet lag.

Till next week, Cheers

Easter Wine Pairings

It’s not only Easter Weekend, this will be my last wine blog for a couple of weeks. In case you weren’t aware, on Wednesday, I am heading to Bordeaux France to taste some of the world’s finest wines. I’m doing a full tour of Bordeaux, which includes the regions Saint-Emilion, Bourg, Paulliac and Libourne, to name a few.

Now, I know this is a weekend of sweets. I am not a fan of sugary candy and wine, however, I did fine this wine pairing chart for you courageous few who would like to try.

A wine for every candy

So for my last blog in a couple of weeks, I have a great wine for you. I also did a stuffed pork tenderloin and had wings and asparagus. I know, not a meal medley that you’ll see on any menu, but I thought it was tasty. Different textures and flavors, some spicy, some savory, it worked.

Didn’t use the BBQ this time, I used a cast iron frying pan. And I have to admit, I think it’s my new favorite way to do pork tenderloin. Finishing it in the oven. Stuffed it, sealed it with toothpicks, seared on both sides in a hot pan, and put the entire pan in the oven. It took about 15 minutes.

What wine did I enjoy with this meal? I’m so happy you asked. I had a new wine, and it was out of this world delicious.

Three Thieves Cabernet Sauvignon

From the Monterey and Lodi regions of California, this medium to full-bodied Cabernet Sauvignon didn’t disappoint. And it’s priced under $21. I loved every sip. The Three Thieves are 3 long time friends, winemakers Joel Gott, yes, this Joel Gott.

The group of 3 also includes Charles Bieler from the Bieler Family Wines, which has a really diverse portfolio, and I’ve enjoyed The Show Cabernet in the past.

The Show Cabernet Sauvignon

The 3rd member of the Three Thieves is Roger Scommegna, who has many titles in addition to winemaker.

These guys also make a Pinot Grigio, a Chardonnay, a Rose, a Pinot Noir and a Red Blend. I will be keeping my eye out for more of the Three Thieves line. Fantastic wines at great prices.

That’s it for me for this week. Happy Easter. Stay well, I will share details of my trip when I return.

Cheers

Darlene

Spring Has Finally Arrived

I don’t want to jinx anything, but I’m sitting here on this Saturday with my patio door open, and birds have been chirping since 6:30 this morning. It would appear Spring has finally arrived. It’s soon time for drinking outside.

I hope to do some of that when I head to France later this month. But in the meantime, let’s look at some affordable wines for Spring.

If you walk into your favorite wine store, you’ll probably see a display for Rose wine. It’s that time.

Rose is a favorite of mine, especially for food pairings. It’s perfect for a lunch / brunch wine or to have with your salad or appetizer of choice.

Gerard Bertrand Rose

I like a dry Rose wine, and this is my favorite Rose wine that I discovered last Summer. Gerard Bertrand Cote des Roses is made with mostly red grapes, with limited skin contact. Grenache, Cinsault and Syrah sounds like a favorite Cote du Rhone, and this rose version does not disappoint. It’s round $22 and just a gorgeous rose wine, in a gorgeous bottle, that also makes it a wonderful gift.

Balsamic tomatoes with basil

Food wise I don’t have much for you this week. I made burgers for my work colleagues, and one of the condiments I bought were these tomatoes. One of my work peeps called it the best condiment he’s ever tasted, and started naming other foods these could be used with. They are grape tomatoes, sliced thin, with salt, pepper, balsamic vinegar, balsamic glaze and fresh basil. I have a basil plant that is doing very well this Spring. Then I cooked it down a bit, just put it in the corner of my BBQ. I have to say, it was pretty tasty.

And now I’m going to tell you about the wine I had last night, that is one of my new favorites.

Wee Angus Merlot

I have to be honest, I don’t spend a lot of time in the Australian section of the wine store. I find many of the wines over-oaked. However, I took a stroll down that lane because I wanted to try a new wine and I didn’t know what I wanted.

My love affair with Angus the Bull wines started with this one.

Angus the Bull Cabernet

My first experience with this vineyard was Angus the Bull Cabernet Sauvignon. Marketed as ‘red meat’s perfect partner’, it really is. A great steak wine, priced around the $26 mark here.

Then I got introduced to Wee Angus.

Back when I was living in Newfoundland, I was introduced to Wee Angus Cabernet Merlot. Loved it. Priced around the $20 mark.

And now there is Wee Angus Merlot

Wee Angus Merlot

Love love love this wine. I’m going back to buy more today. Priced around $20, this yummy delicious Merlot tastes like a much more expensive wine. Not overly oaky, it’s smooth and juicy and I just loved it. I had it with my supper (pork) and I can’t wait to have it with ribs, or a steak.

True!

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

The Patio Will Have to Wait

As I sit here on the first Saturday in April, I just finished reading a Special Weather Statement from Environment Canada calling for a snow storm on Monday. Halifax could receive up to 25cms. (insert eye roll here). It’s April, it’s time for flowers and rain showers. Well, April for me, brings a trip to Bordeaux France. I leave on Wednesday April 20th, and after 2 cancellations last year of our trip to the Niagara region of Ontario, this trip to Bordeaux France, which was planned 2 years ago, is going ahead.

Bordeaux Wine Region

Bordeaux is known as the Wine Capital of the World. Some of the most expensive wines in the world come from the Bordeaux region of France, including Chateau Lafitte. We are doing the tour of Bordeaux on a riverboat cruise, my first one. I’m very much looking forward to cruising the two rivers of Bordeaux on the Ama Dolce.

Our first stop is in my favorite wine region of France, Saint Emilion. Bordeaux grapes are limited, Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Cabernet Franc and a couple of others. The region is divided into ‘Left Bank’ & ‘Right Bank’, with the Left Bank being Cabernet Sauvignon dominant and the Right Bank being Merlot dominant. Saint Emilion is on the Right Bank, and feature full-bodied juicy Merlot dominant wines. Saint Emilion wines can be expensive but this past week I found a great one at a great price.

Chateau De Courtillac

This is the Chateau De Courteillac is available everywhere in Canada, and is a Merlot Cabernet Franc blend. Delicious. My friend Angie left for a month in Florida yesterday and on Wine Wednesday we got together for a sip. This is the wine we enjoyed. Although we had the 2020, which is young, 2020 is still listed as one of the vineyards greatest vintages. There is still room for aging here. Well structured and full-bodied with lots of fruit, and priced under $18. Not a typo. It’s under $18 a bottle. Try it, I think you’ll really enjoy it.

The other wine I want to tell you about was recommended by my friend Joan Decker Hilton. I was writing about the Bread & Butter Merlot, and she said her husband loved the Cab.

Bread & Butter Cabernet Sauvignon

So last night I had this wine, for the first time, and I loved it. Again, it was a 2020, with lots of time for aging, it was still delicious last night. California has gained a world-class reputation for great Cabernet Sauvignon, and this is a prime example of that. Full-bodied with toasty notes of black pepper and ripe fruit, a great wine to pair with red meat.

That’s it for me for this week. Here’s to a mild April for all my readers. Thank you for reading!

Truth