Happy Easter

I’m not a big lover of chocolate, I like the salty snacks more, nuts and chips. I always hoped that the Easter bunny would bring wine, not chocolate, but that’s just me. Well, it happened this year.

Our Office Manager, Violet, organized a golden Easter Egg hunt this year, and I was the lucky person to find the golden egg. And what was the prize? A $50 gift card to the liquor store. Easter wine, my favorite gift from the best Easter bunny.

We also had the NS Auto Dealers dinner this past week. Hosted by our very own Bobby Mac and attended with Cassandra and the rest of the gang

My good looking works peeps, we have worked together a long time and I consider them family.

This was the white wine they were serving

A very popular white wine here in Nova Scotia, it sells at a store here in Halifax called Bishops Cellar. They sell them for $17 for a 1 litre bottle and regularly put them on sale for $14. A great wine at a great value. I’ve had this wine many times and it’s crisp and refreshing with gorgeous flavors of tropical fruit and zesty citrus. They also make a good red Rosso.

I’ve treated myself a couple of times in the past couple of wines, because the NSLC appear to be discontinuing some good wines and really reduced them. Here’s one my friends and I shared last weekend.

I wrote about this J. Lohr Merlot a few years back when I tried it at the Port of Wines tasting. One of the best Merlot wines I have ever had. It’s so rich and full-bodied and was like velvet going down. We enjoyed it so much with it’s rich fruit and notes of baking spices. There are still some stores that have some, it was $33, and it was reduced to $27. Delicious

My friend Angie and I kicked off the long weekend with a visit and this Zinfandel Thursday evening. The J. Lohr Merlot I just wrote about came from Paso Robles California, and this wine did as well. In my opinion, when you see Paso Robles on a label, you are getting some of the best wine California has to offer. Paso Robles offers warm days and chilly nights, perfect for wine. The Zinfandel grapes are picked at night, which makes for a better wine. Wine Enthusiast Magazine gave this wine 92 Points, and it’s $6 or $7 a bottle off right now.

If you live in Atlantic Canada, have a look around your favorite wine store. You may find some really good deals, and it’s a great way to enjoy a higher priced wine. I hope everyone has a wonderful Easter weekend.

Till next week, Cheers


Hello April

I had to double check the calendar, it is April, right? It doesn’t look much like April here in Halifax.

I took this picture this morning. Hello April? It is April Fool’s Day, I guess Mother Nature is playing a bit of a joke on us.

Later in the blog, I’m going to share some great news I received this week. But for now, let’s talk some wine.

I’m not sure if our liquor stores here in Nova Scotia are getting rid of this, but it was on clearance. If you’ve been reading for a few years, you may remember this. The Bogle Vineyards Merlot was a favorite of mine. Any wine drinker in Nova Scotia knows that it seems every time you go to the liquor store, there’s another increase in the price. So, this wine was priced out of my weekly price range for a while. It’s a delicious full-bodied Merlot, and received an award as ‘America’s favorite Merlot’. I had pork last night and it was a perfect pairing, and right now you can get this wine for about $25 or $26. Try it while it’s on clearance.

I had a bit of a rough week procedure wise, but it was worth it with the good news I received. As you probably are aware by now, I was diagnosed with Cancer on November 25th. I have completed 25 rounds of Radiation and was doing oral chemotherapy at the same time, twice a day. I took a bit of a break from writing my wine blog. Well this past week I got the results of those rounds of radiation and chemotherapy. I had a scope on Wednesday that showed the tumor shrunk ‘a lot’ (doctor’s words) and the CT scan showed there was no spread. Phew! I start my next round of chemo in April. My friends and I did a toast Wednesday evening. And my friends Fred and Arla, who were kind enough to bring me down to my appointment on Wednesday, were drinking this.

Il Padrino makes a wonderful red Rosso and this Pinot Grigio is a favorite among my white-wine drinking friends. This 1 litre bottle is normally priced at $17, which is an excellent buy, but it was on sale this past week for $14, which makes it a steal of a deal. Crisp, refreshing, with gorgeous flavors of citrus and tropical fruits.

I tried something new in my air fryer. I pounded a chicken breast out, put it in with some shake and bake and cooked it in the air fryer for the first time. I will be honest, I over cooked the chicken. I was reading on the internet all kinds of different time frames, and because I was cooking two, I went with the higher number. Mistake #1. I cooked them 23 minutes. It was too long. The thing with an air fryer is, you should start in intervals, and check the produce along the way. You can always add more time, you can’t take away the time. I will definitely try it again but less time. The cheesy bacon mashed potatoes and buttered carrots were delicious. The wine I enjoyed with this meal was this one.

The Knotty Vines wine is becoming a staple in my weekly wine purchases. The label says Cabernet Sauvignon but its actually a blend of Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Petite Sirah and Zinfandel. Delicious.

Before I go, thought I would share this chart of the health benefits of wine.

Maybe it will help us all feel better about the sips we take this evening. Have a great weekend everyone. Stay warm


To Oak or Not to Oak

I love red wine that has been oaked. Many times you’ll hear people say ‘I don’t like oaky wine’. I am not a huge fan of what I call ‘manipulated oaky wine’. Unfortunately, some lesser priced wines can taste oaky, even though they have never seen the inside of an oak barrel. Some mass produced wines use oak chips or oak staves inside of tanks to give it an ‘oaky flavor’. This is why you’ll hear me say I’m not a fan of overly oaked wine, but I love wine that has been aged properly in oak. 50 of the world’s most expensive wines are oak aged in some way.

Old world winemakers have been using oak for hundreds of years and have it down to a science. There are 3 types of oak used for wine, and each imparts a different flavor and nuance. There is French oak, American oak and Hungarian oak (also called European oak). Most of the wines available to us here use mostly French oak or American oak. I have, however, had Hungarian oak.

This Mas Buscados Tempranillo, Syrah & Petite Verdot blend from Spain, which we used to be able to buy here, was aged in Hungarian Oak. The tannins were soft and the fruit of the wine highlighted. This was such a great wine at a great price, it’s too bad we can’t get here in Nova Scotia anymore.

The interesting part about oak is that the more an oak barrel is used, the more subtle the flavors it imparts. If you are into reading the back of the wine bottle, like I am, you’ll see sometimes they use ‘new and used’ oak. The newer a barrel, the more oak flavor it imparts.

MacMurray Wines used this technique a lot with their fantastic Pinot Noir wines. Run by Kate MacMurray, she is the daughter of Hollywood actors Fred MacMurray and June Havers.

American Oak imparts a lot of flavor, more so than French oak. Wine experts often describe the American Oak flavors as vanilla. You’ll often see the word ‘vanilla’ flavors mentioned on the back of a wine bottle, and that flavor comes from the oak. One thing is for sure, it adds ruggedness to clean, fruit-forward new world wines. An American oak barrel costs between $350 – $650 and a French oak barrel costs between $650 – $3600, depending on quality. Wow.

Let’s talk some new wines. This is so good, I’m going to call this my wine of the week.

From Central Chile, this beauty is called the perfect blend of wine and art on its label. Quatro means 4, which a perfect blend of 4 grapes, Cabernet Sauvignon, Carmenere, Shiraz, and Malbec. My friends Angie and Pat shared this wine with me, and they both loved it. So, there you have it, 3 opinions, all loving this wine. And it’s priced at $21, which is a great value for this wine.

Quick update for my readers and friends I have enjoyed a two week break from treatments, but that is coming to an end. On Monday, I have a CT scan, and on Wednesday another scope, which will determine how the first 5 weeks of Radiation and Chemo did to that tumor. Then the next round of treatments will be determined. Feeling great though.

I hope you have a great weekend.


The Wines of March

You’ve heard the saying “Beware the Ides of March”, well this wine blog is about the wines of March. I hope everyone had a wonder St. Patrick’s Day yesterday. I’m sure some celebrations will continue throughout the weekend. I had a busy but uneventful week, still feeling really good, and enjoying my time in between treatments.

I want to take a moment to share a fun story. At work, we had a contest. It was to try and identify your co-worker from their baby picture. This was my picture at 10 months old, weighing in at a whopping 36 pounds. Look at the size of the head on me, I’m glad I grew into that head. It’s a wonder my Mom is still speaking to me. LOL

I also have a recipe I tried this past week to share with you called Chicken Diane. OMG, I eat a lot of chicken, because I can’t eat fish. I’m always looking for new ways to do chicken. I found this on a site called http://www.outgrilling.com and had to give it a try. You can find the recipe here.

I used both boneless skinless chicken breasts and boneless skinless chicken thighs. I live alone, so I took one chicken breast, cut it in half, and pounded them to a uniform thickness.

I cooked my sauce ahead of time on the stove.

It turned out delicious. I hope the picture does it justice. This is how it turned out.

Grilling them first was yummy, but I think they would also be delicious if I had done them in a cast iron frying pan on top of the stove.

Ok, it’s time to talk some wine.

Last Saturday evening I had some friends in, and my friend Angie bought this wine. Josh Cabernet Sauvignon is a great wine priced at $25 a bottle. Named after his Dad, Josh Carr, Joseph Carr is the winemaker and started selling the wine out of the back of his truck. He started with one wine, this Cabernet. His vineyard now features many different wines, but it all started with this one. Delicious, full-bodied and a great pairing with meat of any kind.

So, remember last week I told you I visited my friend Rick, who manages The Port downtown Halifax. He told me if I was going to buy one wine from his store, make it this one.

I don’t buy many wines from South Africa, but Rick told me this wine was the best wine under $25, voted by their staff, and I believe he said it was two years in a row. Don’t quote me. At $22 it’s a big robust wine Internationally acclaimed wine journalist Jancis Robinson, who says when producers offer more than one tier of a particular wine, the ‘best buy’ at release is more often than not the second-tier wine. This Cabernet Sauvignon is considered a second tiered wine from this producer. It’s getting some good critiques, it was a little earthy and had notes of cedar and spice.

That’s it for me today. Thanks for reading. I hope you have a wonderful weekend.


I’m Baaack!

I’m back baby. For a while anyway. It’s been an interesting 6 weeks since my last blog. I’ve done 25 Radiation treatments and during those 25 days I did 2 chemo treatments per day for a total of 50. Everyday Monday to Friday except for holidays and weekends.

The Radiation techs who work in this department of the Cancer Clinic are amazing, kind and so understanding. Every day I would trek to the VG hospital in Halifax and change into these gowns to do my daily treatments.

Everyone that I had to deal with was wonderful. OMG, people are so heartwarming and helpful. Thank you to everyone who works helping people with Cancer. And all those who work in Health care. It takes a special person.

During the last couple of weeks of my treatments my Mom, my Sister, my Brother-in-law and of course Maggie came to visit.

My Sister and Brother-in-law have more money than me, LOL, and Craig decided I needed a wine treat because I was going through Cancer treatments. So he came home with 3 bottles of wine that cost $240.

The amazing line up includes a Zinfandel and a Cabernet Sauvignon from Caymus Vineyards and a Cabernet from Stags Leap. When he went to the Liquor Store he said ‘My sister-in-law likes California wine”. The lady said ‘I have some amazing ones, but you’re not going to like the price. He bought them anyway. The first one we tried was the Stag’s Leap.

Spectacular. And probably one of the best Cabernet Sauvignon wines I have ever tried. Now this wine sells for $70 a bottle here in Nova Scotia, so it’s definitely a treat wine. But if you have a special occasion coming up and would like to treat yourself, I recommend this beauty. So easy to drink, it was flavorful and nuanced and smooth. Fabulous.

My Mom drinks white wine, and Craig bought her the Conundrum White, Chardonnay based wine. Craig and I ended up finishing the bottle Saturday evening. This is one of my favorite white wines, because it’s a blend of Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc, Semillion, Muscat and Viognier. There are grapes with acidity and grapes with body. Together they make a great blend that is one of the most interesting white wines I have tried. In this case, I actually like the white blend better than the red. And it’s affordable at $25 a bottle.

After we finished the Conundrum and were playing some cards, we opened this beauty. It was actually my second time enjoying it, I went to visit my friend Rick, who manages the Port downtown Halifax, and they had it opened and he let me try it.

It was so great to see Rick and Taylor again. We danced, we laughed, we hugged. Now at $110 a bottle, I know this is a very special bottle of wine. Caymus is located in the heart of Napa Valley in California run by Chuck, Charlie & Jenny Wagner. This group also makes the Conundrum wine and several other brand names. Fantastic wine makers, but this Cabernet is the jewel in the crown. Like I said, it’s $110 a bottle but it’s Cabernet perfection. The other wine in the trio is the Caymus Zinfandel, which at $75 a bottle, is sitting in my wine rack.

I’m going to end the blog with something a little more affordable.

This is a treat wine for my pocketbook. This is a fantastic Cabernet Sauvignon from Knotty Vines. This winemaker is all about taking wine and making it indulgent yet affordable. At just $21.99 this is an amazing wine with mostly Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Petite Sirah and a splash of Zinfandel. Together they make a juicy full-bodied delicious wine that we all can afford. It’s new here to Nova Scotia, and I’ll definitely have it again.

I want to take quick moment to say thank you

When I wrote my last wine blog 6 weeks ago, telling you about my Cancer diagnosis, I heard from hundreds and hundreds of people. I am completely blown away by the love I was feeling from all my readers. This blog was something I started many many years ago, and never had I imagined I had so many wonderful people follow the blog. On March 27th I have another CT scan booked, they want to make sure it still hasn’t spread anywhere else. Around that date, I will also have another scope. This will determine if the radiation and chemo that I’ve done has shrunk the tumor. Then it looks like it will be another round of chemo, and then possibly surgery. I was lucky, I had minimal side effects. There were some, fatigue among the top one. I’ll keep you all up to date as I go.

Thank you again, it’s great to be back. Till next week, Cheers