Merry Christmas to my Readers

Here we are, the Saturday before Christmas Eve. It will also be my last blog of 2023. Heading to Newfoundland on Wednesday for Christmas for 10 days. When I return, I will do my annual blog on my favorite new finds of 2022. I would like to take a moment to wish each and every one of you, the readers of this blog, a very special holiday season and the best Christmas & the New year has to offer. Although 2022 has had its challenges, there have been many blessings as well.

Let’s talk some wine and food

My friend Joan came down last Saturday night and bought this wine.

Wow. The Casillero del Diablo Chardonnay was fabulous. A Chardonnay that is not overly oaky, it was clean and fresh and just fantastic on the palate. Great body and a nice lasting finish. I loved this and will be buying it for my Mom when I head home for Christmas.

So I tried a new pork tenderloin recipe this past week….

I sauteed some onions and celery in buttery until they were softened. Then I added that to bread crumbs, added bacon and feta cheese, and stuffed my pork tenderloin.

I then seared it on my BBQ on each side, and then I put it on my pellet grill. Using a combination of apple, maple and hickory chips, I let that my cook low and slow.

It came out perfect. As you can see I tend to buy a smaller pork tenderloin, because I live alone and its just me. Well, I’ll be doing this again. I like my pork tenderloin done medium, with some pink.

I served it with a chow, that I bought from a local company here in Halifax.

I don’t know much about Gator pickles, only that I discovered them at a craft fair, and everyone at the Radio Station where I work love these pickles. I bought the Gator pickles (not pictured) and this Yellow Squash Chow Chow. Wow! A bit of sweet, a bit of heat, I loved this with the pork tenderloin.

I bet you’re curious as to which wine I had with this?

Many wines go wonderful with pork tenderloin. On the white side you could have a Chardonnay, like the one I talked about above. Or a crisp Pinot Grigio. In my opinion, there are more reds that pair well, but that’s just me. I didn’t have a Pinot Noir on hand, because I probably would have gone that route. Perfect pairing. But this was good too.

The Morgan Cellars Cabernet Sauvignon was one of the easiest drinking $20 Cabs I have ever tasted. From the Silverado Trail in California, this Cabernet was not overly tannic, which I liked. Soft tannins and rich fruit, I really enjoyed this Cabernet and will definitely buy it again.

Before I go, if you live locally here in the Halifax / Dartmouth area, you should give Delectable Desserts a try.

Dennis & Melissa Mbeba are wonderful real life husband and wife who opened Delectable Desserts just before the pandemic hit. She does the baking, he does the business. They make amazing desserts, cheesecakes, scones and this wonderful holiday cake they gave me as a gift. Check them out at www.delectabledesserts.ca

Have a wonderful Christmas season. Enjoy to the fullest.

Till next year, Cheers

Darlene

It’s The Most Wonderful Time of the Year

I’m willing to bet you sang the title of this blog. It’s that time of the year, Christmas party season!

This is my work family, or I should say a portion of them. Because of some other commitments, some people had to miss the Christmas party, and we missed you. And they are my family here in Halifax. I am so lucky to work with some of the greatest people in the world. For those of you that don’t know, wine is a bit of a hobby for me. I started studying to become a Certified Sommelier to meet new people when I first moved to Halifax. I work at 2 local Radio Stations here in Halifax, Q104 & 96-5 The Breeze. That’s what pays the bills, and I love what I do. We had our Christmas party Thursday night and it was one of the best ones ever.

So when I got there, my friend Anthony was drinking the Pinot Noir, and I joined in. This is the Pinot Noir we were drinking that evening.

Anthony was saying he didn’t have a lot of experience drinking French Pinot Noir, but if you see Bourgogne, or Burgundy in the wine store, it’s Pinot Noir in the bottle. This wine had a gorgeous dark color, and was very tasty. Hints of cherry and herbs, and no sharp edges or tannins. We continued drinking this wine all evening, and they served prime rib that night, and it was a dream pairing with this wine. The Puy de Dome is a great Pinot Noir that sells for $24.

I’m trying to slow down this month. I love the month of December, homes are decorated so nicely, the inside of my home looks warm and cozy and I love my Christmas decorations. And the month is flying by way too fast. Plus, I’m way behind. I don’t have all my Christmas shopping done, which is a first for me. And I have a lot of wrapping and baking left to do. Whew. It’s a good thing there is wine.

I’ve had people tell me that they don’t like Zinfandel, because it’s too ‘jammy’. That is one of the notes that you often see associated with Zinfandel. Well, this is for all you people who don’t think you like Zinfandel. This is Peeps Old Vine Zinfandel. I was telling Anthony that in a blind taste test, I wouldn’t have guessed Zinfandel. It was clean on the palate, a bold flavorful wine, but not the ‘jamminess’ usually associated with Zinfandel. I loved it. At $23 a bottle, I’ll be having this again.

I know many of us are feeling this way this month. LOL Tis the Season

Enjoy every day in December. Cheers

Darlene

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