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Chase Away January Blues

Posted in Uncategorized on January 13, 2018 by darmyers

Beat the january blues

After the fun-filled month of December, January can seem like a very long month.  But I know a way to help chase away January blues.  A couple of great new wines.

Because I end the year with a  ‘The Best of 2017’ blog and start the New Year with a ‘2018 Wine Trends’ blog, I haven’t had the opportunity to tell you about some of the amazing wines I had over Christmas.  This was a banner season for trying great new wines.

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Beringer is one of the long standing wineries in California, started back in 1876 by two brothers.  Beringer puts out some amazing wine, and they have something for everyone’s price range.  The Founders Estate Cabernet Sauvignon is the wine my parent’s had waiting for me when I got off the plane in Newfoundland.  Sadly you can’t buy this great wine in Nova Scotia, and it runs about $21 there.  When I arrive, my parents like to sit down with a glass of wine and we catch up.  Even though I talk to them on the phone at least twice a week, it’s still not the same as doing it face to face.  This was very good with cherry and vanilla notes, and although I enjoyed it sitting and chatting, it would be very food friendly.

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So when I was home it snowed……. a lot!!  My parents live in an area of senior’s cottages, and normally snow clearing is included.  However, I guess the snow clearing guys had all of Christmas off, because we didn’t see them through 4 days of snow.  I shoveled a lot while I was home, which made this wine even more enjoyable.

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I’ve always said ‘if anyone thinks I’m hard to shop for, they don’t know where the wine store is”!  My nephew paid attention and bought me this gorgeous wine as a Christmas gift, which I enjoyed fully after a day of shoveling in Corner Brook.  The winemaker for this lovely wine, Steve Peck, says this is a great expression of the kind of grapes and wine that really shows the Paso Robles region.  Paso Robles is situated between Los Angeles and San Francisco and is known for wine and olives.  This is a favorite of mine with notes of black currant and cocoa.  Beautifully structured with a good grip making for a great steak wine.

And now it’s time for my wine of the week….

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My wine of the week this week hails from Argentina.  I’ve written about this sister wine previously,  the Trapiche Gran Medalla Cabernet Sauvignon.  It had made my wine of the week about two years ago, when I gave a bottle of it to my friend Bobby Mac for his 50th Birthday and bought one for myself.  It was spectacular, so the Malbec was on sale recently and I decided I wanted to try it.  Well, one of my better decisions.  I had the 2013 vintage and it was a fantastic wine .  The Decanter World Wine Awards gave this wine and this vintage 95 Points.  And regular price it’s only $26.  That’s why it’s my wine of the week, I can’t remember a 95 Point Wine for under $30.  Opulent fruit flavors, great structure, and a really nice finish help make this wine my first wine of the week for 2018.

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On the bright side, we are almost half way through what some consider the longest month of the year.  I can already see the days getting longer.

Till next week, Cheers

Darlene

 

 

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2018 Wine Trends

Posted in Uncategorized on January 6, 2018 by darmyers

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I do a fair bit of reading about wine, and it always amazes me at some of the trends.  For example, last year I wrote about wine in a can, never really expecting it to come to fruition.  However, in 2017 I actually drank wine from a can.

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I got to try the Big House Zinfandel and the Big House Pinot Grigio in 2017.  Apparently the industry feels this appeals to a younger demographic and they want these young people to start drinking wine earlier.   So here are some of the upcoming trends in wine.

  1.  The Bigger The Better 

Magnums, which is the equivalent of 2 bottles, saw an increase in sales of 378% in 2017 and the industry doesn’t see this slowing down any time soon.   We are also seeing more variety in the magnum size bottle.  Think of the convenience.  Champagne immediately comes to mind for me, as many Champagne vintners have been bottling in magnums for a long time now.

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Don’t think for one moment magnum means cheap.  The most famous Champagne in the world is probably Dom Perignon and they bottle in a magnum size.  Bit of a hit on the wallet as it sells here for just over $600 a bottle.  However, I am seeing more and more boxed wine, which conveniently holds 3 or 4 bottles of wine.  Every party I went to in December there were at least one, sometimes two boxes of wine.  The quality is improving every year.

The Black Box wines is selling like hotcakes across Canada, as a matter of fact, we went to our local liquor store to pick some up in December and we were sold out.  The Black Box makes 11 different varietals from California, Chile and Argentina.

2.  Sparkling and Rose Wines are on the Rise

No surprise here.   Both sparkling and Rose wines are so versatile, I’m not surprised sales are increasing year after year.  Even ‘non-sparkling’ drinkers have no problem sipping on a Mimosa.

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And Rose wines have gone from a Summer favorite to a year round staple.  These great wines are perfectly suitable for appetizers, charcuterie boards and a nice ‘Welcome to the Party’ drink!   I had the opportunity to try many sparkling wines this past year as I have made them a big part of my wine tastings.

 

From rose Champagne to our local Nova Scotia grown Grand Pre Rose,  Rose wine sales are on the rise.  And not just in Canada, I was reading an article in Fortune Magazine about the increase of sales in Rose wines across the United States as well.  They are giving a lot of the credit to Millennials, but I definitely helped with the surge in Canada, buying 4 times as much as the year previous.

3.  Chilean Wine Becomes a Superstar

For years Chilean wines have become more and more popular.  People are realizing that a spectacular quality of wine is coming out of Chile at very reasonable prices.  Chile has become the 5th largest exporter of wine in the world.  I think the trend for 2018 will not only be the ‘lesser-priced’ Chilean wines, but I think you will see an increase in the more premium wines that are coming out of Chile.

 

The Nimbus Pinot Noir at $30 per bottle and the Concha Y Toro Terrunyo Carmenere Lot 1 at $50 a bottle, are two examples of prime wine coming out of Chile.  The Nimbus Pinot Noir has been given 92 points by some wine critics, which is extraordinary for a $30 wine.  The Terrunyo Carmenere is beautifully structured and aged in new and used French oak barrels for 17 months.  Smooth and beautifully crafted, it’s still a great value.  And the Terrunyo Cabernet Sauvignon is a steal of a deal at just $35 a bottle.

4.  Red Blends Continue to Shine

I wrote about Red blends last year, and I don’t see them slowing down.  There can be something found in every price range.

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From Bear Flag Red Blend out of California at $14 a bottle

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To the Beringer Quantum Red Blend, which sells for $68 a bottle here where I live.  The backbone of this wine is Cabernet Sauvignon at 74% but it also includes Merlot, Cabernet Franc and Malbec for a classic American made Bordeaux style of blend.  Another wine with wonderful structure and fruit flavors that just shine.

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As we settle into another new year, my wish for you is a wonderful 2018 and I hope you enjoy a few new wines.

Till next week, Cheers

Darlene

Best of 2017

Posted in Uncategorized on December 30, 2017 by darmyers

Best of 2017

Every time you open a news feed these days it’s the ‘Best of Lists’ and I’m no exception.  This is one of my favorite wine blogs of the year.  Looking back at all the wines I have written about, my favorites and picking my top picks from 2017.  I enjoyed some good wine in 2017, and I would like to share some of my favourites with you.  Let’s start with my favourite white wine of the year!

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We are heading back to March of 2017 for this beautiful French Chardonnay.  Quite the name isn’t it?  Chateau Arrogant Frog  is Chardonnay at its finest.  Subtle nuances of oak  that allow the flavour of the fruit to shine through.   Another great attribute to this wine is that it comes in at about $20 a bottle.  Spectacular wine at a spectacular price.

 

One of the highlights for me in 2017 was finally becoming a Sommelier after 5 years. I’ve worked really hard for it, and it was the source of a great deal of satisfaction.

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My favourite Rose wine of the year hails from Italy!

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The Pipoli Basilicata Rosato is a gorgeous refreshing Rose wine that comes from the Basilicata region if Italy, which is the instep part of the boot.  Gorgeous citrus flavours with a crisp minerality and priced to please at about $19 a bottle.

The Ladies

I have made some great friends this year, and so blessed to call these fabulous ladies friends and family.  We have enjoyed some great wine together.  Getting together with them has been another highlight for me this past year.

My favourite dessert wine comes from Sauternes France.

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The Chateau Coutec Sauternes  comes from the southwestern part of France and from one of the oldest wine producing vineyards in Sauternes.   Bordeaux wines are known for great ageing potential and that includes their sweet dessert wines.  I tried the 2000 vintage, and it was awesome.   This Vineyard dates back to the 1600’s,  so they have been making fantastic dessert wines for a long long time.   This is the perfect ending to the perfect meal.  Rich flavours of apricot and honey will compliment any special occasion.

Another highlight for me in 2017 was my trip to Italy

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I loved Italy, the people, the food and especially the wine.  Which made it especially hard to pick my favourite red and a wine of the year.   One of the criteria that I use for my one of the weeks is great wine and also great value so this one was the clear winner for me.

Caparzo

I stayed on a vineyard site in Italy just outside of Montalchino called Carpazo, and while there we tried the full line up of their wines.   This is one that is now available in one of our local wine stores.  At $16 a bottle, it is probably one of the best values I have ever tasted, I still think it’s a mistake.  We would wake up each morning to beautiful fields of Sangiovese grapes, and those were the grapes used to make this wine.  Medium bodied with flavours of tart cherry and soft oak, I love this wine.   And because of the combination of great wine at an amazing price this is my wine of the year.

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Thank you for all the support in 2017 and here’s to another wonderful year of discovering  some great wines together

Here’s to a healthy happy 2018

Darlene

 

 

Merry Christmas Wine Lovers

Posted in Uncategorized on December 23, 2017 by darmyers

Wine lovers Christmas

Is it just me, or did this year fly by incredibly fast?  I was thinking this past week it’s soon time to do my favorite wines of 2017, which will be next week’s blog.  But this week it’s all things family, as I head home to Newfoundland later today to celebrate Christmas with the family.

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Yes, there’s a wine for that!!  Large gatherings can be stressful for some, and I’m here to tell you wine always helps.   And although the weather outside can be frightful, here’s some delightful wines for you to try.

Beringer

The Black Label Beringer Cabernet Sauvignon is one of my favorite steak wines.  This wine has great structure and hints of winter spice are almost guaranteed to put a smile on your face and warm your soul.  I love this wine with steak, but it’s also a great pairing with hearty beef stews, lamb or even your favorite shepherd’s pie.

Ernie

South African wines continue to take me by surprise, and this Ernie Els (yes, the golfer) Big Easy Red is a fantastic wine.  And at $18 per bottle, let’s pick up more than one. The wine is mostly Shiraz, but also has some Cabernet Sauvignon, Viognier, Grenache and Mourvedre added in, so it is a very complex wine with lots of interesting layers.   A winner for sure.

A great tasting full-bodied Chardonnay comes in the form of this Chateau St. Jean from California.  It too has some winter spice notes, hints of vanilla and toasty apple flavors.  This is no wimpy white wine, with lots of bold flavors and a great finish.  A great wine to go with any chicken dish, and a nice compliment to cod and certain fish dishes.

And now for my wine of the week….

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From the heart of the Entre-Deux-Mers region in Bordeaux, comes this magnificant value of a Bordeaux wine.  As you can see I enjoyed the 2014 vintage, so it’s still quite young for a Bordeaux, but very approachable, because it’s mostly Merlot.  This vineyard has been in the Fernandez family since 1956 and is now run by the grandson Jean.  This is a great wine at a tremendous value, only $20 a bottle, and I could shake myself for only buying one.  Try this Bordeaux, you’ll be glad you did.

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Too all my readers, family and friends, have a wonderful Christmas season and I hope there is joy.

Till next week, when we countdown my favorite wines of 2017, Cheers

Darlene

I’m Dreaming of a Wine Christmas

Posted in Uncategorized on December 16, 2017 by darmyers

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Who’s with me?  The Christmas season is in full swing.  We even had our company Christmas party last night and look what I won.

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I couldn’t have won a better present LOL  A gift card to our local Wine Store.  I’m looking forward to treating myself to a special bottle.  I’ve tried some new wines this past week, and thought I would share them with you.

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Grenache is a grape many people have heard of,  but did you know it originated in Spain as Garnacha.  This Sangre de Toro is from the Penedes region, just South of Barcelina and is a great value.   Finding good wine under the $16 price point is great news this time of the year because the season can be costly.  Cherry notes with vanilla flavours from the oak, it’s a great wine for the winter stews we tend to cook to warm us up.

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Nothing says Christmas like sparkling wines.  Sparkling lights and sparkling wine go hand in hand.  This Zonin Prosecco is a spectacular value that you can use to serve with an apertif at a Christmas party or even bring in the New Year.

And my wine of the week…..

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It’s not often you see a South African wine as my wine of the week but this one definitely deserves the title.   This Plum Pudding Hill Syrah by Stellenzicht is a mouthful to say and a fabulous mouthful of wine.    It’s a bit of a Christmas treat at $35 a bottle but worth every penny .  Gorgeous flavours of baking spice and plums, this wine is my new favourite from South Africa.

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I know it’s a busy time of the year for everybody getting ready for the upcoming big day .   Thank you for taking the time to read my blog

Till next week, Cheers

Darlene

 

Christmas Wine List

Posted in Uncategorized on December 9, 2017 by darmyers

 

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I really believe I”m quite easy to shop for, all a person has to do is head up the street to the wine store.  And I like a wide variety of wine, so you really can’t go wrong.   Don’t be intimidated by high price tags this season.  I’m going to show you a couple of my favorites, paired with more reasonable facsimiles.

I’m not a big dessert person, especially after a big meal like Christmas dinner, but I do like something sweet.  And my favorite sweet wine in the world is Sauternes.

The sweet wine from Bordeaux is fabulous with rich golden flavors of honey and dried fruits.  However, at $160,  it’s a little out of reach for my wallet.  Here’s one that is delicious, but much more affordable.

The Borealis from Nova Scotia winemaker Benjamin Bridge is just $36 a bottle and is one of my favorite dessert wines.  Honey, apricot and peach flavors in the glass is not only a good replacement for dessert, it also compliments dessert if you are splurging.  Serve it nice and chilled.

 

 

I need these wine glasses in my life.

I get asked a lot what’s my favorite wine, and I don’t know if I have a favorite, but I do love Pinot Noir.  And you’ve heard me say before, no one does Pinot Noir like Burgundy France.

Chambolle Musigny is a commune in the highly prized region of the Cote d’Or in Burgundy France, and is known as one of the best.  The Pinot Noir is delicate and subtle and winemakers there know how to showcase the fruit in the Pinot.  It’s a treat at $74 a bottle.

Normally you would never see me compare Pinot Noir from New Zealand to Pinot Noir from Burgundy France, because Burgundy (Bourgogne) really highlights terroir, which means all the characteristics from the land shine through in the wine.  This Pinot though is one of my all time favorites and at under $25 this is a great value wine.  It’s earthy and the Pinot reflects some plum flavors and it’s on sale right now where I live, so I suggest nabbing a bottle or two.

And now for my wine comparison of the week….

Clos d'Ora

The Clos d’Ora from French winemaker Gerard Bertrand is Syrah at its finest.  It’s a wonderful example of a bio-dynamic wine and Ora means prayer in latin.  The winemaker says enjoy this as a spirtual experience.  I have had the opportunity to sample the wine at a tasting from the wine representative and it’s very good.  Given 95 Points by some critics, it comes in at $220 a bottle, so it’s a treat.

Tautavel

From the same winemaker comes the Grand Terroir Tautavel, a Syrah that is a 91+ point wine with the spectacular price point of $22.99.  33% of this wine is aged in oak, while the rest is aged in vats.  What that means is that the wine is not ‘overly oaked’.  I like when wine is not overly oaked as the fruit gets to be the shining star.

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There are some great wines out there at great prices,  and what better way to celebrate the season.

Till next week, Cheers

Darlene

 

 

 

Great Christmas Movies & Wine

Posted in Uncategorized on December 2, 2017 by darmyers

I don’t know about you, but a lot of my weekend is going to be spent watching Christmas movies, they are everywhere.  And I have a confession to make, I love them.  And as I was enjoying one last night while also enjoying a glass of wine, it got me thinking, what a great way for people to de-stress during the busy month of December – sit back, enjoy a Christmas movie and a glass of wine.  You’ll thank me for it.

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Who’s not going to watch the movie Elf at least once?  This is a very unique movie plot and its one of my favorites to watch each year.  My family loves this movie.

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Here’s a great wine to go with that.  Gunsight Rock Cabernet Sauvignon from the Paso Robles region of California.  I absolutely love wine from the Paso Robles region.  They put out spectacular Cabernet Sauvignon.  And they are located south of San Francisco and to the best of my knowledge, they weren’t destroyed in the horrible fires northern California experienced recently,.  There were some fires, but the news stories that I found indicated they were contained.  Please correct me if I am wrong.  This wine is a perfect expression of Cabernet Sauvignon with earthy tannins and juicy fruit on the palate.  A great steak wine.

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Although there are about 3 additional sequels to this movie, the original remains one of my favorite Christmas movies of all time.  This movie will ignite a smile into the heart of any family member… so what’s a wine that goes with everything?  Pinot Noir.

This is one of my favorites from the Burgundy region of France, and it’s on sale right now here in Nova Scotia.  The smooth tannins and bright cherry flavors make Pinot Noir one of the food friendliest wines on the planet.   And I have to admit I love the way the French do Pinot Noir  with very subtle useage of oak

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If you’re going to be watching the Grinch this year, you’ll need something bright and cheery.  And when I think of bright and cheery in the wine aisle, I think Prosecco.

Here is a fantastic value from the Veneto region in Italy.  The Zonin Prosecco Special Cuvee is on sale right now here in Nova Scotia, and is still a good value at the regular price.  It’s regularly $18.99 a bottle but you can nab it now at $16.99 a bottle and not only does Prosecco make a fun and bubbly sparkling wine, it makes excellent holiday mimosas.  Add it to pink lemonade and add some cranberries and you have a wonderful festive drink.

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And now it’s time for my wine of the week…

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Anyone that knows me knows I love finding good value wines.  My idea of a good value is a great tasting wine at a great price.  The Pardon My French Fitou is just $17 a bottle but is very tasty.  It’s from the Languedoc region of France, known for its Chateauneuf du Pape, and is made from the same grape as Chateauneuf, Grenache.  I love the raspberry and spicy notes on this wine, and if you’re serving lamb anytime soon, this is your wine.

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It’s December, the month of parties, socials and events.  And those events usually involve wine.  Here’s to apologizing to our liver in advance.

Have a great week

Darlene