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Wines of South America

Posted in Uncategorized on September 14, 2019 by darmyers

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The Festival of Wines is coming up the last week of September here in Nova Scotia, and this year I am attending a couple of the events.  I will tell you all about them in future blogs.  People often ask me where the best values are coming from and I have to say South America tops the list each time.  Chile and Argentina are putting out some fantastic wines at great value.  And although they are considered ‘New World’, they have actually been making wine since the 1500’s.

Nova Chardonnay

If the ‘Nova’s’ name seems familiar, it’s because I have written about the two sister red wines in the past.  They are regular visitors to my wine rack.  This past week I’ve had the opportunity to try the white Chardonnay.  If you like American Chardonnay, you will like this one.  The oak is a little more prominent, than say in a French  Chardonnay.  The apple and pear flavors are very delightful and it’s a great value at $16 a bottle, which is a great price for an organic wine.  Yes, you read that right, it’s organic.

Alamos

Certain regions are known for certain wines, like Tidal Bay coming out of Nova Scotia, or a Cabernet Sauvignon coming out of the Napa Valley in California.  The same could be said for Malbec coming out of Argentina.  Even though Malbec originated in Bordeaux France, it got wiped out in the late 1800’s due to disease, and Argentina made it its National Grape.  Altitude, climate and soil all play a role in the tremendous success Argentina has seen with Malbec, and this one from Alamos is no exception.  It’s $18 a bottle and grown in the mountainous region of Mendoza.  The winemaker is a knowledgeable female by the name of Lucia Vaieretti.  She was not only born in Argentina, but her parents worked at vineyards, so she has been hanging around vineyards since she was a small child.  This wonderful wine has rich plum flavors and hints of cocoa that helps make it another fantastic value out of Argentina.

And now for my wine of the week…

If this wine bottle looks slightly familiar, its because its sister wine was my wine of the week last week.

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Although the Black Label is slightly more expensive, at $28 a bottle, it is still an amazing value.  Argentina is also famous for its ‘Flying Winemakers’, winemakers from other other countries like France and the United States, coming to help produce an excellent product.  The Black Label wine started for me when I gave it to a friend for his 50th birthday, and he raved about it.  I don’t usually give wine for gifts unless I’ve tried the wine first, but I fell in love with the label and I knew I would get a great wine out of Argentina for that price.  When he raved about it, I went out and bought one myself, and have had it several times since.  Fantastic full-bodied wine with lots happening on the palate.  This is a big wine that would really compliment hearty meat dishes.  If you try it, let me know what you think in the comments.

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One day, with the advancement of technology, they may happen.  I think that’s how they can improve on Alexa, get her to fetch wine!

Till next week, Cheers

Darlene

 

 

 

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Storm Wine

Posted in Uncategorized on September 7, 2019 by darmyers

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I was really hesitant to call this week’s wine blog ‘Storm Wine’.  I would not want to give the impression I was making light of the catastrophic outcome Hurricane Dorian has had on places like the Bahamas.

I am sitting in my home in Halifax Nova Scotia, sipping a coffee, watching it rain, watching the wind pick up, and waiting for Dorian to hit as a Category 1 later this afternoon.  Mild, compared to the devastation of how it has hit other places, but scary just the same.  Wind and rain can wreak havoc and cause a lot of damage in communities.

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I’m on the third floor, it can get breezy.  So please don’t take this as making light of that situation, but if you’ve seen the line-ups at the Liquor stores in Nova Scotia the past two days, you would probably smile.

Here’s what’s in my wine rack, as I ride out this storm.

I always like to have a few white wines on hand, and I thought I would pick up the Arrogant Frog Chardonnay.  This wine is made by Paul Mas who had one of my top wines from 2018, so I was excited to try this one.  From my wine blog, The Top 10 of 2018, the Paul Mas GSM made #2.  Read that blog Top 10 of 2018

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Needless to say I wanted to try this excellent priced Chardonnay ($16.99).  Although the Languedoc is not the most notable Chardonnay region in France (think Burgundy), but I really liked this wine and found it to be a great value.    It also contains some Viognier, which brings some acidity and mango flavours.  It’s dry, and fruity, it had some tropical notes, and I found it not to be overly oaky.  I will definitely buy this wine again.

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The festival of wines is coming up at the end of this month, and it’s one of my favourite times of the year .  This year’s theme is South American wines, and Trapiche is one of the most well-known names in Argentinian wine.  I had this wine last night, tasting it with my friend Amber at the NSLC.   Well, I tried it, she watched, as she is expecting her second child.   I have to say, I was pleasantly surprised.  I am not a huge Malbec drinker,  but I found the toasty plum flavours in this particular wine really really good.  It’s $24 a bottle, great value.

And now for my wine of the week,,,

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Yes, you are looking at an empty bottle, don’t judge!   I still find it really hard to believe that this wine is $18 a bottle.  It’s the Castano GSM, Grenache, (Garnacha in Spain), Syrah and Mouvedre.    A spectacular blend of the three grapes, and a perfect pairing for all those comfort foods you may want to be enjoying during the storm.

That’s it for me for this week.  Stay safe everyone

Darlene

 

 

Hello September

Posted in Uncategorized on August 31, 2019 by darmyers

Hello September

Don’t hate me, but I’m excited for September.  I love Autumn.  I live in Eastern Canada in Halifax Nova Scotia, grew up on the West Coast of Newfoundland, and I love Fall.  I love the pretty colors, the cooler temperatures and the way the air feels.  I have to admit, I’m not a huge fan of extreme weather either way.  Too hot or too cold, it’s hard to get outside.  But Autumn, I love being outside in Autumn.  It’s also a great time for comfort food and big bold wines.  I love that part of it too.

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Take this Tuscan beauty for example.  If you’re like me, colder weather brings some of my favourite foods like pasta, and this is a perfect match for any Italian food that tickles your palate.   This Italian blend is made up of 50% Cabernet Sauvignon, 30% Merlot, and 20% Sangiovese.  If you’re looking for a superhero, let the Dark Knight thrill you this weekend with its bold rich fruit and subtle spice notes.   A great Italian wine for only $20 a bottle.

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In 1843, Dr. Lindemann started a winery, and one of his goals was to offer some local ruffians a distinguished drop of wine, thus the basis for the Gentleman’s Collection.   It comes in a stand-alone Cabernet Sauvignon, but this past week I bought the red blend, which is a blend of Cabernet Sauvignon, Grenache, and Shiraz.  Delicious hearty blend, perfect for grilled meats, with notes of black pepper.   A great value at just $18 a bottle.

And now for my wine of the week,

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Please excuse the wine stains on the bottle LOL   I forgot to take the picture before I opened the wine and started enjoying it.   The Three Thieves Pinot Noir will steal your heart.   I can’t begin to list the number of awards this wine has won.  It is 76% Pinot with some Syrah and Petite Sirah.   This is nobody’s wimpy Pinot Noir.  Very flavourful with great structure and made my wine of the week because its $19 a bottle.

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Happy long weekend everyone, till next week cheers

Darlene

Great Wines Under $25

Posted in Uncategorized on August 24, 2019 by darmyers

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I conducted a wine tasting last Saturday night with a new group of people, which is always a lot of fun.  This time we had 10 wines, which honestly is probably too many for a tasting.  The host of the event asked that we do wines that were all reasonably priced so except for two that were around the $28 mark, we kept it for the most part under $25.  I love discovering great new wines under $25.  Here are a couple from that night.

The first wine of the evening was a new rose wine from Argentina.

Earlier in the Summer I had discovered another rose wine from Argentina and it was fabulous.  I took it to several events.  That wine is sold out so I tried this one, and loved it.  I think a couple of people at the tasting were pleasantly surprised this wine was not sweet, as at one time most people felt all rose wines were sweet.  This rose is made from the Syrah grape, so it had very limited skin contact, as the Syrah grape is a thick-skinned grape with lots of color.  This was crisp and light and very dry.  A fantastic wine that sells for $16 a bottle.

The Bila Haut Red from Chapoutier is a staple in my wine rack, I just love it.  Last Saturday I bought both the red and its sister white wine.  This was amazing, Chapoutier is one of the most respected wineries in the Languedoc region of France.  These grapes were picked by hand so it’s a pleasant surprise that it’s only $16 a bottle.  This was so close to making my wine of the week for that reason.  This white blend is Grenache Blanc, Grenache Gris and Macabeu.  It is a very vibrant fresh white wine with great acidity and it’s a great wine for food.  Try it with chicken, shellfish or with your favorite appetizer.

The sister red wine was also a hit, this a little more expensive at $18 a bottle, but still a wonderful value.  This red blend is predominately Syrah with Grenache and Carignan.  Georgeous notes of black cherry and spice and a great wine to go with any red meat dish you may be serving.

And now for my wine of the week…

Bordeaux

What?  A Bordeaux under $25.  Bordeaux wines can be some of the most expensive in the world.  One wine critic called this  Bordeaux wine “A classic Bordeaux for everyday meals”.  Using modern methods but respecting traditional values and principles, The Jury of Grand Cellar Masters says this wine is a full-bodied wine with a beautiful garnet appearance.   And it’s only $20 a bottle.  You have to try this wine!

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I had writers block last weekend, and could not come up with a wine blog.  I appreciate everyone that came back this weekend!

Also, a note to all the wonderful people that have hired me for wine tastings in their home.  I really enjoy doing this, and I always look forward to them.  My Fall is booking up fast, I only have one date left in November.  So don’t hesitate to reach out if this is something you are thinking about doing in the Fall.

Cheers,

Darlene

 

Top 5 Wine & Food Pairing Tips

Posted in Uncategorized on August 10, 2019 by darmyers

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As I sit here preparing for another wine-tasting next weekend, I always try to think of some of the questions people might ask, so I can be prepared to answer them.   One of the questions that I always get asked, in a variety of ways, it’s how to pair wine and food properly.  Gone are the days where it is expected you drink white wine with fish and red wine with red meat.   It’s all about choosing a wine you like, to make the meal more enjoyable.   You are not going to enjoy your meal, if you don’t like the wine!

There are some basic things you can keep in mind.

  1.  Salt vs Acidity

Saltiness in food is a great contrast to acidity in wine.   I really love Thai food and Chinese cuisine, which I really enjoy pairing a Riesling with.   A lot of these dishes contain soy sauce, which is salty and the Riesling cuts through that saltiness .   Think smoked salmon and Champagne/ Sparkling Wine or Parmesan cheese with a Chianti wine.  A wine with a bit of acidity will really cut through and compliment the saltiness of food.

2.  High Fat Foods with Full-bodied Wines

There is a reason a big bold Cabernet Sauvignon pairs well with a big juicy steak.  Foods high in fats, like red meat, or dishes that contain heavy cream, usually calls for a more intense full-bodied wine.   Think Chardonnay for white wine drinkers and Cabernet Sauvignon or Merlot for the red wine drinkers.

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3.  Fruity dishes + Fruity Wine

Any dishes that have a fruit component, for example, duck with figs, chicken with an orange or peach glaze, or pork with apples or apple sauce, think a fruity wine.   If you are a red wine drinker think Pinot Noir!  If you’re a white wine drinker, think Riesling again or a fruity Pinot Grigio.  The fruitiness of the wine won’t compete with the fruit in the dish, they go hand in hand.

4.  Sweet with Sweet

Pairing dessert wines with dessert can be a little tricky.   In one of my very first classes when I was learning to become a Sommelier, the instructor said the wine in the glass should be sweeter than whatever’s on the dessert plate.  If the desert is sweeter than the wine, your wine is going to taste dull and flat.  And if you are not a fan of sweet dessert wines, no worries, enjoy your dessert with your favourite hot coffee.

5.  Keep It Simple

It’s really easy to overthink wine and food pairing.   I always say to people, keep it simple.   If you are a white wine drinker, experiment with different white wines and different foods.   You’ll not only become a pro at recommended pairings, you’ll have a lot of fun in the process.   Same goes for my red wine loving friends.   Don’t be afraid to step out side of your wine comfort zone and try a new wine with a favourite dish.  A person doesn’t have to be a professional to recommend a wine with a dish, if you like the pairing, chances are one of your friends will like it.

Wine per gallong

Have a great weekend, until next weekend, cheers

Darlene

Chilled Red Wines for Summer

Posted in Uncategorized on August 3, 2019 by darmyers

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Ahhh, the warm days of Summer.  Temperatures are soaring and many people think its time to put away all red wines and just drink whites and rose wines.  But that doesn’t have to be the case.  I’m going to share some great red wines that can be served chilled and are perfect for Summer.  Keep in mind the ‘room temperature’ of red wines was the temperature of the underground wine cellars in Europe, hundreds of years ago, and still to this day.  The room temperature of these cellars is about 15-degrees Celsius, so remember as our temperatures hover around the 30-degree Celsius mark, this is not a good temperature to serve any red wine.  When served too warm the flavors of red wine will be very muted and sappy.  So don’t be afraid to introduce your red wine to the refrigerator.  Believe me when I say, this time of the year they’ll be great friends.

Gamay is a great red wine and should be served chilled all year round.  Gamay is the grape used in Beaujolais, the region at the very south of Burgundy.  In all other 4 regions of Burgundy, Pinot Noir is the red grape, but in Beaujolais it’s Gamay.  Gamay is a light grape with candied fruit flavors and perfect for the patio.  It’s also a great wine to go with charcuterie boards, with cheese and cured meats.  This Fougeres Beaujolais is just $17 a bottle and you white wine lovers might really enjoy this wine as well.

Elouan

Speaking of Pinot Noir, this is another grape that chilling brings out its complex flavors.  I love this Elouan Pinot Noir from Oregon and have featured it at many wine tastings.  It’s a gorgeous medium to full-bodied wine with blueberry and spice flavors and this is a wonderful wine to have at your next Summer BBQ.  At $35 a bottle, it’s a treat, but so worth it.

With wines like Gamay and Pinot Noir, it is recommended you refrigerate them for 1 hour before serving, especially with the temperatures we’ve been seeing.  Even with your big bold reds like Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and Shiraz, keeping them in the fridge for even 30 minutes will liven them up and bring them to life.  You’ll also notice that once the wines are out on the table, in the heat, the flavors will start to change.

And now for my wine of the week…..

If this bottle looks slightly familiar, it’s because its sister wine is a staple in my wine rack.  The aged 7 years Tempranillo from Anciano is one of the best deals in the wine store, and now it has some competition from its sister.

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The red label Anciano is made from the Grenache grape, which is another grape that tastes great chilled.  Grenache is a wonderful grape, used in making Chateauneuf du Pape, but you don’t need to spend $50 – $200 on a bottle.  You can enjoy this Grenache for just $15 a bottle with this wonderful wine.  It’s a diverse grape and extremely food friendly, and an all around great deal.

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It’s a long weekend here in Nova Scotia, and I know I’m going to enjoy it to the fullest.

Till next week, Cheers

Darlene

40+ Years of Friendship

Posted in Uncategorized on July 27, 2019 by darmyers

 

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I didn’t have a wine blog last weekend because I was home on vacation, and while I was there I attended my 40th high school reunion.   It is hard to believe that we all graduated high school 40 years ago.    I had the chance to reconnect with friends that I went through my school years with and it was the most wonderful time.   Many of them I haven’t seen in years.

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My friend Paula and I reminisced about a school trip we took in Grade 6, when we were 12 years old, to Northwest River Labrador.  Susan and I talked about the joys of her becoming a grandmother recently,

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My friend Jackie’s daughter got married recently and all of us had things to share but the underlying theme was how happy we were to get together and have a drink.   Sadly, I had to leave a little early and we were just getting into the wine really good.    I didn’t take any pictures of the wines that evening but I will share a couple of good wines I had while on vacation

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My dad was intent on buying me a bottle of wine while I was home visiting, so I chose this one.  Here in Nova Scotia, we can get Dada #2, and it’s a staple in my wine rack because it’s a really good organic Argentinian Merlot at $15 a bottle.  What a treat it was to get #1 while I was home, which is a blend of 50% Malbec and 50% Bonarda.   Although Bonarda is not a very well known grape,  it was planted about 3000 years ago in the Padana region of Italy but nowadays most of the Bonarda in the world is grown in Argentina.   Great wine for about a $15 price point.

And now for my wine of the week…

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I love Spanish wine.   I also love the Grenache grape, or as it is known in Spain, Garnacha.   Grenache, or Garnacha, was once mostly used as a blending grape especially in France with Syrah and Mouvedre.    I love how more and more wine makers are taking the chance and having Grenache (Garnacha) the star of the show. This particular wine is mostly Garnacha with some Carignan blended in.   Gorgeous flavours of cherry and raspberry with some vanilla from the toasted oak.   A fantastic wine for just $16 a bottle.

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Here’s to great friendships and good wine, may they always go together!

Till next week, cheers

Darlene