Archive for the Red Wine Category

March Madness

Posted in Red Wine on March 4, 2017 by darmyers

Image result for hello march

It’s official.  The worst of winter is behind us.  That’s  not to say we won’t get another snowstorm (or 2) in eastern Canada, but I love to see March.  The days are noticeably longer and Spring is definitely in the air.  You know what’s also awesome about March?  More barbecues! I have tried a couple of new wines this past week, and they would be a great match at your next barbecue.


Let’s start things off with this kick ass Malbec my friend Judy bought over last weekend.  An award winner, and 91+ points across the board, including a 92 from wine critic James Suckling.  We enjoyed the 2013 vintage, and it had spent 12 months in French oak, and personally I thought it needed to breathe for 30 minutes.  You could taste wood, and it was a little hot on first sip, but once we let it sit, it was magnificent.  The winemaker, Germán Di Césare, has been quoted as saying ‘The best measure of a wine’s worth is an empty bottle’!  I love that quote.  And we weren’t long pouring the last sip from this wonderful Malbec.  It was a dark inky purple color and very aromatic, and a  nice long finish.  Two thumbs up!


Next up, this lovely organic wine out of Italy.  The Amastuola Primitivo (cousin to Zinfandel) is a perfect wine for BBQ fare.   The organically farmed vines sit on a plateau at an altitude of 210 meters above sea level which provides slow ripening and beautiful flavor.  This wine is aged for 18 months, half in oak, the other half in stainless steel.  So, in no way does the oak overpower the wine.  Primitivo is known for its generous fruit and this one has a nice hint of spice as well.  Loved it, and for just $20, I will be buying it again.

And now for my wine of the week…


All 3 of the wines I have written about this week could easily claim my wine of the week.   Wine of the week started when I wanted to get myself out of a wine rut, because I felt I was drinking the same wines week in and week out.  I made a commitment to my blog readers and to myself that I would try at least 1 new wine per week.  This week I happened to try 3.  They were all so good.  I love discovering new wines, and here’s another that did not disappoint.  Col di Sasso means Stony Hill, and this Cabernet Sauvignon and Sangiovese grapes in this blend were cultivated on the most rocky slopes of the Banfi estate in Montalcino, Italy.  This was a full-bodied wine but the two grapes are blended very well and super smooth. Steal of a deal at just $19, it’s a great expression of an Italian wine.


That’s it for me this week.  Have a great weekend everyone, and till next week, Cheers



90+ Points That Won’t Break The Bank!

Posted in Red Wine on June 14, 2014 by darmyers

90 Points

I know some people aren’t a big fan of wine scores, but I am.  And here’s why.  Wine scores make it easy for the average consumer to buy a decent wine without having to be a Sommelier.  Most people when they go to their favorite wine store or liquor store, it can be confusing to buy wine, especially from countries that do not label by grape varietal, but by region.  A rating system makes it easy for them.  Allowing for the fact that not every person likes every grape variety, however if you like a Shiraz, and you see one at 90 points or more, you don’t have to be a wine expert to figure out that, the 90+ wine could be a pretty decent wine.   There are other scales some critics and wine associations like to use the 1 to 5 scale.  Me, I like the 100 Point System designed by Robert Parker.  As a Sommelier in Training, Wine Blogger, Wine Writer and Wine lover I like the easy to understand language of the 100 Point System.  When I say to someone at work, 92 Points, they know I really really like the wine.


Once a year, our local NSLC store puts out the 90+ list.  I love this time of the year for discovering new wines, new wines that are at least 90 points, and I especially love it if they come in for a great price.  Like this one…..

Santa Rita Reserve Syrah

The Santa Rita Reserve Syrah was given 92 Points by Wine & Spirits and it comes in at the delicious price of just $16.99.  I can’t remember if I have ever seen a wine at 92 Points for $16.99, so of course I had to buy it and try it immediately.  Fantastic wine.  It’s my new best deal at my local Liquor store.  Santa Rita is one of Chile’s historic wine estates, founded in 1880.  So they have been making wine for a very long time, and they hit it out of the ballpark with this one.  This 100% Syrah beauty is flavorful with ripe dark fruits and some spice.  Great wine for BBQ season, and will also pair well with pizza, pasta and OH, does it not scream out for pork!  This has become a new staple in my wine rack.


Here’s another beauty.  94 Points by Wine & Spirits and under $20!  That is not a typo.  $19.99 for this gorgeous Finca El Encinal Tempranillo.  It’s the stuff dreams are made of.   Here’s what Wine & Spirits had to say

  Pay no attention to the toasted oak scents that introduce this wine, because they soon leave the scene. Fix your attention instead to the generosity of its fruit, voluptuous and smooth. This is richly layered in flavors (some closer to meat than fruit), with a density that traps and wraps in a lovely way. All in all, a complex wine and an astonishing value. Finca El Encinal is a project from the traditional bodega Franco Españolas de la Rioja” 

And here’s what I have to say.  I had this wine last night with a creamy pasta dish I made.  It’s a kick-ass pasta dish if I do say so myself, with a homemade green olive paste and four cheeses baked in the oven.  I know!   There are a lot of complex flavors in that pasta dish with the different cheeses, olives, garlic and different spices.  And this wine went perfectly with it.

Finca Antigua label  Finca Antigua white

Here’s another Spanish beauty that rated 90+ and came in at under $20.  The Finca Antigua Crianza made from a blend of grapes that will tantalize your senses.  Tempranillo (50%), Cabernet Sauvignon (20%), Merlot (20% and Syrah (10%)  It was then aged in French oak for 12 months .   The grapes were also harvested a little later than usual, in late September and early October.  You know what that means…It will be rounder and fuller and  it’s a fantastic wine for any meat you would want to serve…can you say BBQ !   It also comes in a white variety at an even better price.. $16.99 here.  Made from the yummy Viura grape, one of my favorite white grapes in Spain.  It’s a light-bodied white with fruit and citrus flavors and moderate acidity.  The vineyard, Finca Antigua, was named after the old vines growing on the estate when the Bujanda family bought the vineyard,  in the middle of the La Mancha, which is known for being one of the best wine sites in Spain.

Charles and charles label

Another 90 point rated wine that came in at $18.99 was the Charles & Charles Post 35 Cabernet Sauvignon Blend.   It’s a blend of 58% of Cabernet Sauvignon and 42% Syrah from the beautiful Washington State and will go with everything from steak, to meatballs,  and from pasta to burgers.  This is a big chewy wine that will stand up for itself no matter what hunk of meat your man puts on the grill.  Dark berry fruit with a hint of spice and some chocolate, let’s sit back and enjoy this wine while the men do the cooking.

Wine Time

You know it’s wine time when you get these fantastic wines at decent prices.  Enjoy, and I would love to hear your feedback on these wines.

Until next week, Cheers





New World Wine in Old World Styles

Posted in Red Wine on March 29, 2014 by darmyers

Halifax storm 2 BBQ in storm

So last week’s wine blog was about Spring…. and how many people tend to have their first barbecue of the season right about now.  Well, this is what Wednesday,  March 26th looked like in Halifax, the left being a view outside of the Radio Station I work at, and the second my poor BBQ tied down so it didn’t blow away in 120 kmh winds.   We’ll try the BBQ and wine matching blog again a little later on in the Summer.   Spring in Atlantic Canada… come on California.

New world vs old world

Speaking of California, I’ve been doing a fair bit of research lately on New World Wine done in Old World Style.  I’m doing a presentation for my wine school as part of my journey to becoming a Sommelier.  So I thought I would share some of what I’ve learned and share some really unique tasty wines from New world Countries done in Old World Style.

Bordeaux 1 Napa 2

Quick run-down on what I mean by Old World and New World.  Old World wine regions have been making wine for a thousand years or more and include countries like France, Italy, Spain, Portugal, Germany – just to name a few.  When many people think of Old World they think of European countries.  New World vineyards have been making wine for under 200 years, and many of them, including California and Canada, just finding their stride in the last 50 years or so.   Old World wine regions tend to be revered by many, and make their wine with terroir in mind and tend to be bound by tradition.   New World wine, not so much.  However, don’t get me wrong, I love New World wine.  Wines from New Zealand, Australia, California, Oregon and Canada rank among some of my favorites.  And I especially like their attempts at making New World Style Bordeaux.  I know many are going to disagree with me on this, but the blog is called ‘In My Opinion’ for a reason – what can I say I like them.

Burrowing Owl Meritage label

So, a Bordeaux wine is always a blended wine using allowable grapes.  The allowable grapes include Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Cabernet Franc, Petit Verdot, Malbec and Carmenere.  In the New World, a wine done in the style of Bordeaux is called Meritage.  This one from Burrowing Owl in the Okanagan is one of my favorites.   This wine, meant for aging, has delicious aromas of plums, cassis, cherry and cocoa.  And on the palate – smooth and elegant with big juicy flavors of plums, cherry, raspberry and spice.  This is a beautiful wine to go with roast beef, or once it warms up, anything done on the grill.

Mondavi meritage

Here’s another Meritage, this one from Robert Mondavi in California.  At $20 a bottle, this is a great wine at a great price.   Robert Mondavi was inspired to create this wine after travelling abroad and tasting the wines.  Lots of beautiful ripe fruits on this wine that can be enjoyed now or it can be aged if you so choose.


When Eleanor of Aquitane married the King of England, Bordeaux was under English rule.  It didn’t take long for the English to fall in love with wines from Bordeaux, and put the name Claret on them.  (not Clar-ay – .. Clar-it is how it’s pronounced)  I have written about one of my favorites – the Francis Ford Coppola Black Diamond Claret out of the Napa Valley.  This Cabernet Sauvignon dominant wine is full-bodied, well structured and full of flavor.  It’s a big wine that will hold its own against any meat.

And it’s not just Bordeaux that get’s copied.  Oregon is on the map as some of the finest producers of Burgundian style Pinot Noir.  And they are doing Riesling, a wine that many people think of Germany when they think Riesling,  in fine style as well.

Firesteed RieslingFiresteed Pinot

Here are two examples.  The Firesteed Riesling and the Firesteed Pinot Noir.   The Riesling is a gorgeous example of a Riesling from Oregon.  Full of aromas mandarin orange, lemon zest, and melon.  This is one of my favorite wines to have with spicy food, Asian cuisine or Chinese food.  It can also be paired very well with chicken and a whole array of other dishes.  If you’re reading this, please feel free to share your favorite Riesling dishes.  The Firesteed Pinot Noir with its vibrant flavors of cherry and spice will feel like your first taste of summer.  And heaven knows we all need a little summer.

If you have been dumped on this week by snow or cold temperatures – hopefully some of the wines mentioned will help warm you up.  If you’re enjoying Spring like temperatures, please share with the rest of us where you live!

Till next week, Cheers







Mrs. Claus’ Favorite Wines Part II

Posted in Red Wine on December 14, 2013 by darmyers

Mrs. Claus 2

Last week we told you about some of the Mrs. Claus’ favorites wines, however we only got a few countries covered.  We did Canada, the United States, Chile, and Argentina.  Now it’s time to go across the pond and tell you about Mrs. Claus’ favorite wines from a few other places.  Let’s travel to New Zealand, where they are famous for Sauvignon Blanc and Pinot Noir.


Above is the Saint Clair Sauvignon Blanc, and like all Sauvignon Blancs from New Zealand, this is a beautiful crisp white wine, with refreshing acidity and loaded with flavors of citrus and a hint of tropical flavors.  This is Mrs. Claus’ all time favorite wine with a salad, and it goes great with Sushi as well.  The next one is Kim Crawford Pinot Noir.  Kim Crawford Winery has been winning awards for their Pinot Noir wines and Sauvignon Blanc wines, and is one of Mrs. Claus’ favorites vineyards in New Zealand.   Many wine critics are saying New Zealand Pinot Noir can compete with the best from Burgundy, France.  Mrs. Claus likes the vibrant fruit flavors with spicy and herbal notes.  She thinks it’s one of the best wines that go with most dishes she serves the jolly red fellow.

When Santa leaves New Zealand, he usually heads to Australia, and while’s he’s there he knows he better pick the Mrs. up a bottle of wine from Wolf Blass.   Wolf Blass has been make great wines since 1966, and if the truth be known, Mrs. Claus has a little crush on Wolf, rascal that he is.


Most places around the world, people leave out milk and cookies for Santa.  Wolf knows to leave out a bottle of his Platinum Label Shiraz for Mrs. Claus.  A great representation of the terroir, Mrs. Claus loves the big bold flavors of blueberries, spice, dark chocolate with a hint of coffee.   I have a feeling this will be on many people’s Christmas list this year, it’s spectacular.


Santa heads up to France, never forgetting to pick up a special dessert wine from Sauternes.  After a big meal, sometimes Mrs. Claus doesn’t want a big heavy dessert, but loves this 2007 dessert wine from Chateau de Myrat.   Luscious full-bodied flavors of apricot, toffee and a slight raisin flavor makes this wine of her favorites.   And he also treats her to a Bordeaux, from Pomerol on the Right Bank of Bordeaux.  This Christian Mouix Pomerol has gorgeous plum flavors and good structure.  It’s a good value for a Bordeaux wine from the region of Pomerol, some of thse can get quite expensive.

And last but not least, on his stop in Italy, he picks up a Masi Amarone.  Mrs. Claus just loves the rich, opulent,  mouth-watering feel of a good Amarone.  Dried fruit, cinnamon, and cherries on a full-bodied palate with a great finish.   This is one of Santa’s favorites with pasta.

Well, Santa gets pretty tired after all his travels on Christmas Eve.  And while he rests, Mrs. Claus tries to decide which wine to open first.

Merry Christmas everyone, and please drink responsibly this holiday season.  A cab is the easy way to go.

Cheers, Darlene

Wine Season!

Posted in Red Wine on November 16, 2013 by darmyers

Grumpy Xmas

Well folks, unless you’ve hiding under a rock, the Christmas stuff is out.  And if you are a customer of certain stores, you’ve been looking at Christmas ornaments since July.   So I have decided to share my Christmas Wish List.

Le Clos Jordanne
For those that know me, know I love Le Clos Jordanne, Le Grand Clos wine.  I haven’t tried the Pinot Noir yet, but I would love to, so it’s going on my wish list.  And the Chardonnay is liquid gold.   I enjoyed a bottle this year on my birthday, and this elegant complex wine would go with anything you are serving for Christmas this year.  When I spoke to winemaker Sebastian Jacquey this summer, I asked him what I could expect from Le Clos Jordanne Le Grand Clos Pinot Noir, and he told me I could expect an ample wine with a hint of limestone, and soft tannins.  A very elegant expression of Pinot Noir.  I’ve been a good girl Santa, and I would love one of these wines.  Ok, maybe I’ll buy it myself.
I get asked all the time about my favorite wines, and this is one that is in the top 5 for sure.  And I think I’m missing it more and more, because I don’t have access to it in Nova Scotia.  It was a regular treat when I lived in Newfoundland, but alas, I haven’t had it in a while.  However, since I am going home to Newfoundland for Christmas, this will definitely be on the wine list.  This winery was awarded European winery of the Year for 2013 by Wine Enthusiast magazine, and if you’ve ever tasted this wine, you would understand why.  A beautiful Tempranillo wine from Rioja that feature aromas and flavors of rich dark fruits, spices and toasted oak.  It looks elegant with the gold netting, and a beautiful gift to give or receive.
Another favorite of mine that I can’t get in Nova Scotia, and will definitely be enjoying when I go home for Christmas.  When Eleanor of Aquitane married the King of England, Bordeaux France came under British rule for 200 years.  The British fell in love with Bordeaux wine, and called it Claret.  (the ‘t’ is not silent, as in most French words.  It’s a British word so it’s pronounced “clar-ette).  This is Francis Ford Coppola’s version of the Cabernet Sauvignon based Bordeaux.  This gorgeous blend has not only Cab Sauv, but also Merlot, Cabernet Franc, Petite Verdot, and Malbec.  Can you say flavorful!  And full-bodied!  Smooth tannins meet succulent wild berries and plums.  Finished by a little toasty oak.
This is the Wolf Blass Grey Label Shiraz.  Did you know Grey Label was the first wine Wolf Blass made?  This gorgeous wine still reflects the Wolf Blass winemaking philosophy of quality, character and consistency.  And fun.  I had the pleasure of meeting the man in Newfoundland a year ago, and this is a man who loves what he does.  And his fun-loving spirit is reflected in his wines.  This is my favorite steak wine but will go with so many dishes and comfort foods for this upcoming holiday season.
And to get you in the holiday season, my friend Natalie Maclean is hosting the Great Holiday Match.  I have 6 wines nominated, I encourage you to vote and have fun.  Check it out here
Till next week, don’t be a Grumpy!  Enjoy every minute of the season and the time leading up to it.