It’s October, Already?

October?

Ok… What happened to September? I feel like I blinked Labor Day Weekend and here we are October 1st. Thanksgiving is next weekend.

I know, right?

I swear the older I get, the faster time flies. My Mom arrived yesterday. Speaking of time, she is 87, she’ll turn 88 in January. Still looking great an still on the go.

My Mom

My Mom lives on her own, in the Senior’s cottages in Corner Brook, Newfoundland. But she doesn’t drive anymore. So my sister Jackie, and her husband Craig, who also live in Corner Brook, are her primary care-givers. Today, they leave for Hawaii for 4 weeks. Lucky!! They deserve it though. They work so hard and they also do so much for my Mom, since my sister is the only sibling that lives in the same town as my Mom. So my Mom is here for 2 weeks and then I fly home with her and work from home from my sister’s house for 2 weeks. I’m staying at my sister’s house, because my Mom’s cottage is really small, and I’ll be taking care of this baby. I’m dogsitting Maggie.

So with my Mom here, I’ll be doing some cooking. She says she is really craving BBQ, and you know I’m her girl. I’m sure next week, I’ll have more recipes to share. I made my maple curry chicken pasta this past week for some colleagues of mine who loved it. I forgot to take a picture. But it turned out well. I have shared it before, in this previous wine blog.

I have one wine this week. And it’s my wine of the week, and an amazing wine.

Gauchezco Reserve Cabernet Franc

My friend Anthony and I were talking this past week about how much we love Cabernet Franc. And I had to tell him about this one.

Master of Wine Tim Atkin gave it 91 Points

This is the perfect wine for all your favorite Fall comfort foods. A full-bodied wine with hints of pepper and spice, it has a long lasting finish and was a beautiful treat. Priced under $25, this is a perfect example of a great wine price under $25. Someone at work was asking me about $25 wines and $100 wines, and I said ‘You can get a great wine for $25’ and this is one of those examples.

Well, that’s it for me for this week. Till next week, Cheers

Darlene

Warmth, Wind & Wine – My Trip to Newfoundland

Approaching Newfoundland

I’m back from 8 days in Newfoundland. I left on Saturday the 23rd, and took the night crossing. This was my view as the ferry was ready to dock Sunday morning in Port aux Basques, on the province’s West Coast. It was a Come Home Year in Newfoundland and I was one of many thousand who went home for a time this Summer.

I left the day after I turned the big 60! Here’s to another great decade. My friend Cassandra took me out to lunch on my birthday. The restaurant was kind enough to serve me a special dessert, which I thoroughly enjoyed. She also introduced me to a new drink.

Cold Stream Rum Cream

OMG, you have to try the Cold Stream Rum Cream. She gave me Starbucks Iced Coffee and a bottle of the rum cream and it is sooooo good!! I know it’s not wine, but I do enjoy other cocktails, and this one tops the list. Coldstream is a local company founded by a young man and his family and friends. It opened in 2015 and makes top quality products. Check out their story here.

Coldstream Rum Cream

Another highlight of the trip was my friend Angie flew down and joined us for 4 days.

Angie flew into Deer Lake

She flew down on the Wednesday and then we drove back together on Sunday. We took in many sites including Gros Morne National Park with my Mom, who turns 88 on her next birthday.

My Mom & Angie
Gorgeous panoramic views

We stayed at my sister and brother in law’s cabin in George’s Lake, which also had some pretty impressive views. Do you know what I found out? I’m really good at building fires. Built one every night I was there. However, a big thanks to my brother-in-law for cutting all the wood and kindling for us beforehand.

My fire building
Mom & Angie enjoying a sip

Angie and I both drink red wines for the most part, and being in Newfoundland, we tried a couple of wines that we hadn’t had before. For example….

Confessions Cabernet

This should be a wine of the week, because it was a great Cabernet Sauvignon blend at a fantastic price. It comes from California, and is mostly Cabernet Sauvignon with some Merlot & Petite Sirah to make a deliciously interesting wine. And while we were there, it was on sale for $13.99 a bottle. You can get this wine across Canada, but not here in Nova Scotia, and it’s too bad, because it was an amazing value.

Did I mention that although we stayed in a cabin, we didn’t really rough it!

Sipping in the hot tub
We had a good time

Craig & Jackie have a hot tub on their deck, yeah it was really rough. So one evening we poured a sip and enjoyed the hot tub which overlooks George’s Lake. One of Angie’s son’s had a great line, ‘George has a really nice lake’. It was a great trip home and I really loved having Angie join us. My mom really enjoyed it as well. The drive home was a little long, 16 hours. Whew.

My wine of the week has to be the wine my brother-in-law bought for us to enjoy. As you all know, I was in Bordeaux France this past April, and my brother-in-law Craig had a special bottle of French wine for us to enjoy.

We enjoyed the 2015 and so it had time to age nicely. It’s a Merlot dominant wine with Cabernet Sauvignon blended in, and it was the best Bordeaux wine I’ve tasted in the $23 price range. This is one of the best values under $25 I’ve tasted from Bordeaux.

It was a great trip home and I want to thank my family for being awesome hosts.

Also, got to spend some time with my girl Maggie.

Love the Yellow bow

Well, that’s it for me for this week. Enjoy the Summer, and stay safe.

Till next week, Cheers

Darlene

International Merlot Day

International Merlot Day

Anyone who is a regular reader of this blog, knows I’m a huge Merlot fan. It’s luscious and sexy, easy to drink and very food friendly. Merlot is known as a chameleon because it adapts to many climates, taking on the character of both its location and winemaking techniques. Which makes Merlot so interesting. Depending on where its grown, and who the winemaker is, it can have subtle nuances. I find it a super interesting wine. Here are some of my favorites.

Carta Vieja Merlot from Chile

Chile is producing some fantastic Merlot wines. Chile is producing some great wines period. Although Merlot was bought to South America in the 19th Century, it wasn’t until the Chile & Argentina wine boom of the 1990’s that people started appreciating the Merlot made there. This is a great Merlot for $18.

This one is fantastic as well, also from Chile at just $20 a bottle.

Santa Ema Gran Reserve Merlot

Merlot is also a big grape in a Bordeaux blend. Bordeaux labels its wine by region, so it’s a little more hard to determine which has more Merlot, and which has more Cabernet Sauvignon. A Bordeaux is always a blend, and If you buy a wine from the Left Bank, regions like Haut-Medoc, Margaux or Paulliac, they will contain Merlot, but be Cabernet Sauvignon dominant. The Right Bank of Bordeaux is Merlot dominant. Regions like Saint Emilion and Pomerol. These tend to pricier Merlot wines.

Chateau Le Puy

This Chateau le Puy is a spectacular wine, and is a blend. 85% of this wine is Merlot with some Cabernet Franc and Cabernet Sauvignon blended in. Bordeaux wines age extremely well so at $36, this is a great value.
A wine from next-door to this region, is the Château Puyfromage

This wine is also from Bordeaux, it’s also a blend, and comes frm right next-door to the region of Saint Emilion. Merlot is still the dominant grape but it’s a little more affordable at $22.79 a bottle.

Another French Merlot

This Merlot is also from France, but much more affordable, I tried it last night for the first time. Baron Philip De Rothschild Merlot is on sale in my area right now for less than $15 a bottle. I found this to be a softer Merlot, some notes of raspberry, coffee and spice. Tasty, but definitely a softer medium bodied Merlot, whereas most Merlot wines are more on the full-bodied side.

Candor Merlot

And last but not least, one of my favourite Merlot wines. California can make some beautiful Merlot wine, and this one from Paso Robles is so very good. This wine is luscious and plummy on the palate. (Plummy is a word, right?) I just love it, and it comes in that around the $25 price range.

That’s it for me for this week. Have a fun weekend. Don’t forget to put your clocks back and enjoy the extra hour sleep. and our trip to Bordeaux France is going ahead in April 2022, check out all the details here. I would love to see you on the trip.

Darlene

The Reds of Last Week’s Wine Tasting

Last week I told you I did my first wine-tasting in 19 months, and we had such a great time. We did 8 wines at this particular tasting, so last week I covered the first 5 wines, which were the sparkling, the rose and the whites. This week I’m going to share the red wines.

We had 3 red wines, and started the evening with a Pinot Noir

MacMurray Pinot Noir

From the Russian River Valley in California, I love this Pinot Noir. One of the ladies who didn’t think they liked Pinot Noir, because their experience in the past was a ‘wimpy’ one, like this. This is not a full-bodied wine, it’s medium bodied, but lots of flavor. I found how they used the oak was very interesting. It spent 8months in both French and American oak, but the really interesting part was 20% new barrels and 80% used barrels. The used barrels imparts less oak flavor onto the wine, but ages it smoothly.

Septima Gran Reserva from Argentina

This wine is a blend of Malbec, Cabernet Sauvignon and Tannat. When I opened this wine during the wine tasting, the cork crumbled in my hand. I was very concerned. I tried the wine, and although it hadn’t gone skunky yet, you knew it wouldn’t be much longer before the wine was tainted. This is a big bold full-bodied red, great for red meat. All the ladies agreed it wasn’t their favorite wine to sip on, but would compliment food, and I had to agree. Even though it was breathing for about 90 minutes, it didn’t soften the wine. This wine comes in at $42.50 a bottle.

And last but not least, my personal favorite of the evening

Casella 2010 Cabernet

I don’t usually take Australian wines to a wine-tasting, but on a leap of faith from Alex at the NSLC, I took this wine and it was my favorite. Many lesser priced Australian wines can have manipulated oaky flavors, and be a little too oaky for me. Not all, but many. This was not the case with the 2010 Casella Cabernet Sauvignon. It was spectacular. Full-bodied but the oak didn’t overpower, and the 2010 vintage has won awards all over the world. This wine was $50 a bottle, and I have to say it was totally worth it. This is a wine you can sip on its own, or enjoy with food.

Relaxing weekends

If you are interested in having a wine tasting in your home, reach out to me at darlenemyers@hotmail.com. I can do a wine tasting that fits your budget. Next week, I have a Champagne to share with you, a pork tenderloin that changed my mind on pork tenderloin and a new red.

Till next week, Cheers

Darlene

Don’t Wine For Me Argentina

Couch Wine Tour

Although our first full week of full lockdown did provide some challenges, it also held a very bright spot for me. My friend Nancy Johnston and the fine people at Univins and Spirits, shared some Argentinian wines with me and asked could I share them with you.

I get asked all the time where the greatest values in wine are located and Argentina is definitely at the top of the list. These are excellent quality wines at easy to swallow prices. And although Malbec is widely considered the ‘National Wine of Argentina’, they are doing fantastic things with other grape varietals.

I know everyone is missing travelling at this time, and we can’t go in person. Let’s take a little trip to Argentina through our wine glass.

My in-house wine tour

Outside the city of San Juan, lies the Pedernal Valley & Tulum Valley, which are becoming more and more acclaimed for great quality red wines. It is hotter and drier in these Valleys, as opposed to Mendoza, which is the biggest wine making region in Argentina. What does that mean for the wine? Grapes ripen faster, which means a more full-bodied wine with a little higher alcohol content. Don’t mistake that for ‘boozy’, as the wine is not boozy at all, and the alcohol content comes in at around 13.6%, which is very average in a red wine. This Cabernet Syrah blend from Finas Las Moras, is a delicous blend of the two grapes. It’s medium to full-bodied, with a very generous mouthfeel. It’s a perfect pairing for when you are enjoying a grilled piece of meat, and the $16 price tag means you can enjoy more than one bottle.

Smooth and delicious

Do you know what blew me away about the Fincas Las Moras winery? It was founded in 1993. It’s so hard to believe it’s that new. They started small and now export to 45 countries around the world. When you think of wineries in France and Italy making wine for hundreds of years, this vineyard has been doing it since 1993, and doing it really well. This Syrah is an absolute delight. Do not confuse this Syrah with some of the heavy-bodied, oak-laden Shiraz wines out of Australia. Although Shiraz and Syrah are the same grape, it is referred to as Syrah in France, Chile, Argentina, New Zealand and South Africa. Some people have written that Shiraz is ‘New World’, and Syrah is Old World, however, Argentina, Chile and New Zealand are New World wine-making regions. Australia called it Shiraz and kind of made that name its own, and in the U.S. it’s generally known as Shiraz. This Syrah is light to medium bodied, fruit forward and very food friendly. A steal at $15.

And last but not least, one of my favorite wines from Argentina.

After a stressful week, La Mascota Cabernet Franc is a great way to eend the week, it’s perfectly balanced and elegant. Cabernet Franc is the mother grape of Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot. It was once known as a ‘blending’ grape’ in Bordeaux, but it is so interesting and complex on its own. Hand harvested and aged in both French and American oak for 15 months, this gorgeous full-bodied wine has rich fruit and spicy notes. A fantastic wine for under $18.

A very big welcome to all of our new wine loving friends, from near and far. I see that our new friends and followers are from Canada and the U.S., so welcome to my wine journey.

Stay safe everyone. Till next week, Cheers