Archive for the Uncategorized Category

How Merlot Can You Go

Posted in Uncategorized on September 15, 2018 by darmyers

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Ever since Paul Giamatti said ‘I’m not drinking any f*&kin’ Merlot’ in the movie Sideways, Merlot has take a bit of a bad rap.  Merlot, however, has a noble history.  The earliest recorded mentions date back to 1784 when a local official called this dark wine from the Libournais region of Bordeaux as one of the best. It is believed to come from the French name merlau, which means blackbird.  Merlot is being grown all over the globe.

Dada No.2 Merlot 2016

Merlot may not be Argentina’s most well known export, but most Merlot in Argentina is grown around the Mendoza region.  This particular Merlot wine is a staple in my wine rack, because it’s a fantastic Merlot that comes in around the $16 mark.  Luscious fruit and hints of mocha makes it easy to enjoy this wine any night of the week.

Merlot, originates from Bordeaux France, and France has two thirds of the world’s plantings of Merlot grapes.  Wines from Bordeaux tend to be blends and the Bad Boy is no exception.  This wine is 95% Merlot and 5% Cabernet Franc, and is a delicious silky wine, consistently given up to 93 Points from wine critics.  I had a chance to taste this wine not long ago, and I really liked it.  Here’s the thing I can’t get my head around.  Here in Nova Scotia, this wine is $35 a bottle, but in other parts of Canada and the States it is quite a bit cheaper.  In Ontario, Canada, it is $25 a bottle.  So if you look for it, I would love to know how much it costs where you live. It really is a good wine, but I can’t help but feel I’m paying too much for it where I live.

And finally my wine of the week…

Bogle Merlot (2)

Historically, Merlot was primarily used as a 100% varietal wine in California.  It wasn’t until winemaker Warren Winiarski encouraged taking the grape back to its blending roots with Bordeaux style blends, that this started happening in the United States. This is the wine I had last night and it’s been years since I’ve written about it, but it has always remained one of my favorite Merlot wines.  Bogle Vineyards were first planted in 1968 and 50 years later Warren, Jody and Ryan Bogle are keeping the traditions of quality wine started by their grandfather.    This Merlot comes in at $24.99 a bottle here, but it’s great quality wine at an affordable price.  Smooth and full-bodied with notes of blueberry and mocha, this wine is exceptionally food friendly.

Wine glass broken again

That’s it for me for this week, till next week, Cheers

Darlene

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Grape From The Heart

Posted in Uncategorized on September 8, 2018 by darmyers

Wine Answer

I couldn’t get the song ‘Straight From The Heart’ by Bryan Adams out of my head yesterday, so I decided to use that as the basis of this week’s wine blog. I do love wine so these wines come ‘grape from the heart’, if you’ll pardon the pun, are beautiful wines to try.

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The state of Washington, on the Pacific Coast of the U.S. has been called ‘The Quiet Giant’.  It is the second largest wine producing state behind California, and contains over 1000 vineyards and wineries.  Washington has ideal growing conditions for two Burgundian greats, Chardonnay and Pinot Noir, and many winemakers from this state tend to spend time in Burgundy France, to learn from the greats.

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Washington State happens to be home to one of my favorite Riesling wines, Kung Fu Girl.  Crisp and fruity, this is a great wine to pair with foods that have a little zip.  I bought it to a recent wine tasting, and I was surprised about the response, and to hear people say ‘I didn’t know I liked Riesling’.  So if you don’t think you like Riesling, they can vary greatly in sweetness levels, give this one a try, and I would love to hear what you think.

Here’s a fantastic example of a magnificent red wine from the state of Washington.  Located near Seattle, the legendary Chateau St. Michelle names this Indian Wells wine after the vineyard where the grapes are grown.  There are 7 different varietals in this wine, but Syrah and Merlot make up the majority.  Winemaker Bob Bertheau creates a beautiful blend that embraces the palate.

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Got to see a couple of friends this past week that I haven’t seen in over a year, way too long.  Judy moved back to Ottawa last August and I really miss my wine-drinking friend.

The Festival of Wines is just around the corner, and our NSLC started introducing the wines.  A returning favourite is my wine of the week

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If the label looks slightly familiar, it’s because last year it was yellow.  This California wine made by an Italian wine maker is a winner!   It’s a new world wine with a hint of the old world.  Beautiful notes of fig, chocolate, and cooked blueberries make for a full bodied,  well rounded wine.   And probably the best part, this fantastic wine is under $20 per bottle, grapes from my heart!

Thanks for joining me for another blog

Till next week, Cheers

Darlene

National Red Wine Day

Posted in Uncategorized on September 1, 2018 by darmyers

National Red Wine day

Tuesday past was National Red Wine Day and I found myself the subject of a radio interview, on Mix 96-5, a radio station here in Halifax, Nova Scotia.  I was trying to upload the interview, but I can’t seem to be able to do it on this site.

Mix 96-5 logo

On the program, I was asked about some of my favorite red wines and some of my favorite values.  So I thought I would compile a list of some great wines for every price point.

Under $15

On the show I was asked about where some great value wines are coming from, and my answer was Argentina and Chile.  These 2 countries are providing great wines at fantastic price points.  Here are a couple of my favorite under $15 wines.  The Los Moras blend of Cabernet Sauvignon and Syrah hails from Argentina and is a great full-bodied wine with spicy notes.  The one on the right is an easy to drink Merlot from Chile with great plum fruit flavors and both wines have a price tag of just $13.99

Under $20

I think this is my favorite price point on wine.  There just seems to be a huge variety of good wine that comes in around the $20 mark.  Here’s #1 on my list

 

The Zonin Valpolicello Ripasso was given 96 Points by Decanter magazine and comes in at just $19.99.  As I had mentioned in one of my previous blogs, when this was my wine of the week, these grapes are hand picked and only the best are used, which is rare in a wine under $20.  Regular readers of my blog know that a Ripasso is Valpolicello wine passed over the skins and must of an Amarone, giving it great flavor.  This wine spent 20 days with the Amarone must and the flavor is incredible.  This is definitely my new favorite wine.  Tonight I am BBQ’ing ribs and wings, and this is the wine I have chosen.

Under $25

There are a lot of great wines in this price range as well.  It seems to be the point when Pinot Noir starts getting good.

This $24.99 wine is out of New Zealand and is a wonderful expression of Pinot Noir from this region.  It’s very earthy and well structured, with a great lasting impression on the palate.

Another great wine under $25 is this Zinfandel from the Lodi region of California.  7 Deadly Zins.  Made by brothers, Michael and David Phillips, who comes from a family that has been making wine in this region since 1850.  This was a close second for my choice of which wine to have with my BBQ ribs tonight.  This too is a great wine for all foods BBQ!

Under $35

We are going to stay in California, while I introduce you to my favorite steak wine.  The Beringer Knights Valley Cabernet Sauvignon is structured so well with distinct tannins and fruit that come alive on your palate.  A great wine to pair with beef, stews and other hearty foods, this wine is constantly being given 90 – 93 Points by wine critics.

Under $50

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Coming in at $50 is last week’s wine of the week.  This Pangea Syrah was just magnificent.

Another favorite under $50 is from Oregon.  I think there are some Pinot Noir wines coming out of Oregon that are just as good as those in Burgundy.  Domaine Drouhin Roserock Pinot Noir is a beautiful expression of this great grape.

And last but not least… if you really want a treat tonight.  I got to try this wine last week

Under $100

Speaking of great BBQ wines.  The E & E Black Pepper Shiraz is from the Barossa Valley region of Australia.  Both Wine  Spectator and Wine Align gave it 94 Points and it comes in at $90.  Full-bodied and rich, this interesting wine lingers on the palate, and is very delicious.

So that’s it for me for this week.

Till next week, Cheers

Darlene

Why Is This Wine Expensive?

Posted in Uncategorized on August 25, 2018 by darmyers

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Dating back to when I was studying to become a Sommelier, the #1 question has always been ‘What makes a good wine’?  My answe?  A wine that you like.  Question #2 has always been ‘Why are some wines more expensive than others’?  Now that answer is a lot tougher to answer.  Maybe not tough, but it definitely has more factors to it.

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Location, Location, Location!

Like real estate, the location where the grapes are grown play a huge role in the price of a wine.  Cabernet Sauvignon grapes coming out of France’s famous Bordeaux region are going to be more expensive than those coming out of Chile or Argentina.  When a region has hundreds of years of history of producing fine wines, they get to charge premium.

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Chateau Lafitte Rothschild was awarded #1 Vineyard in Bordeaux in 1855 and has never lost that status.   In damp conditions they are known to hire helicopters to hover over the vineyards to dry them out!  They will not always put out a vintage to boost the price of next year’s vintage.   Thats money!  And that is reflected in the price, as this bottle sellsfor about $1000.   Be careful though, because in 2012 police in China seized 10,000 bottles of counterfeit wine, with this label, but ir was counterfeit.

If you would like a taste of Bordeaux but don’t have $1000 to shell out for a bottle of wine, try this one.

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Vited one if the best Bordeaux wines under $30; this wine is $16.50, affordable for every wallet.  Chateau Courteillac was really turned around when Dominic Menert bought it in 1998,  and although he sold it in late 2016 to a large wine retailer in China, all the staff have stayed on to make this quality wine.

Labor!

Certain  vineyards in parts of the world are situated so that it is impossible to get equipment in to reap the harvest.   When that is the situation, you need to hire workers to go in and get the grapes.

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Check out the slopes on this Vineyard in Lombardy, France.  You’re not getting equipment to harvest those grapes!   As I said, champagne has many slopes.   Mini wine makers feel slopes are ideal for growing grapes because of drainage and light.

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It’s probably why this Ace of Spades Champagne starts at about $300 and can be as high as $650.

Now for my wine of the week….

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My friend Amber  had me taste this with her this past week, and I’m in love.  Vivino, the wine app, calls it one of the Top 25 Syrah wines in Chile.  Sometimes wines from Chile get the label of affordable, drinkable quaff at reasonable prices.  And don’t get me wrong, there are a lot of fine wines that come out of Chile under $20.  This wine sells for $52 here in Halifax, but it is so good, it is worth every penny.   We are actually getting a good deal, as the average price for this wine in the United States is $60 a bottle, and while doing research online about this wine, actually found a place that sells it for $85 a bottle.  So $52 is a bit of a steal, and the flavors are fantastic with a great finish that stays with you.

Well, thats it for me this week

Till next week, Cheers

Darlene

Wine A Little, Wine A Lot

Posted in Uncategorized on August 18, 2018 by darmyers

0FFEB635-A4E5-4D50-BDB1-16676F76A8C4My apologies to my family and friends who have had to endure me complaining about the high temperatures over the past few weeks. I’m sorry, but extremely high temperatures are no different than extremely low temperatures. They both suck!  I have been vacationing with family in town and there have been times I have missed the air conditioning at work.  I’ve still managed to enjoy a glass of wine here and there.

 

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My parents and I were invited to supper at the place of fabulous friends, the Golden Girls, some of my favourite people in the world.  We bought this wine and my Mom loved it, so we bought it again. My mom loves Chardonnay and this fabulous find is from Chile’s most established and well known Vineyard, Concha y Toro,   It’s a triple white blend of Chardonnay, Pinot Grigio and Pinot Blanc. A fantastic wine for under $17 and super food friendly.  Because of the three different grape varietals, it would pair well with a wide range if foods.  We enjoyed it all on its own, playing a few ganes of cards.

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While visiting the Anapolis Valley with my parents, we stopped into the beautiful Lightfoot and Wolfville Vineyard.  It was my first time visiting the location but not the first time enjoying their spectacular wines.  I did however try their version of Tidal Bay fir the first time later that day.

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Tidal Bay is a wine that many Nova Scotia Vineyards produce with guidance from the Wine Association of Nova Scotia, and each Tidal Bay is a little different.  They do, however, reflect the terroir of Nova Scotia and is designed to pair well with seafood.  It also pairs well with a wide variety of tapas and appetizers.  This is a wonderful version of Tidal Bay from a wonderful organic Vineyard.

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My nuece surprised us all with a visit from Ontario, with her twins Abigail and Quentin.  It was great for my parents seeing their great grandchildren and we had a fantastic week.

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And now for my wine of the week…

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When I was in California, visiting the Coppola Vineyard was one of the highlights.  Getting 95 points at the California State Wine Fair, thus fantastic wine is under $20.   When Francis Ford Coppola was growing up, wine was a part of their daily life, so he designed this wine meant to be enjoyed every day.  Gorgeous flavours of plum, mocha and cherries, it’s so good I went back and bought two more.

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That’s it for this week

Till next week, Cheers

Darlene

It’s Wine-Thirty Folks

Posted in Uncategorized on August 4, 2018 by darmyers

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It’s a long weekend here in Nova Scotia, with Monday being the Natal Day holiday.  Do you find in the Summer everything feels like a reason to get together and enjoy a beverage?  It’s like Summer is one big patio party, and I’m OK with that.  One of my favorite things about Summer, and life in general, is getting together with friends and family and enjoying a glass of good wine.  Here’s a few you may want to try.

Dona

How about a great valued Malbec from Argentina?  90 Points by many wine critics including Robert Parker and priced under $18.  Yes, please!

Saint Clair Riesling

I had the opportunity to recently try this Riesling from the Saint Clair Family Estate, and it was one of the best I’ve had in a while.  Other wine critics seem to agree as it has been awarded as high as 93 Points.  I had the pleasure to meet Saint Clair winemaker Kyle Thompson a couple of years back.  A very sweet and very talented guy. He is the Senior Winemaker at Saint Clair and I enjoyed trying a few wines with him.

And now for my wine of the week….

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Would you look at all the golden circle surrounding this wine bottle!  Those are awards.   This beautiful baby was a birthday gift from one of my best friends, Sandra   Voted the mist admired wine brand in the world, Concha y Toro celebrates 135 years in business this year.  This robust Cabernet Sauvignon is full-bodied with distinctive tannins and notes of leather and cedar.  This 2015 is a keeper with lots of aging potential.

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Enjoy the weekend, dont drink and drive, and play it safe in the heat

Till next week, Cheers

Darlene

Exercise and Wine

Posted in Uncategorized on July 28, 2018 by darmyers

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There is a lot of truth in the abovce cartoon.  Lets face it, drinking wine is always more fun than exercising!  I am in the process of training for a half marathon, my very first one.  Last year I ran my first 16.2K when I ran the Tely 10 in St. John’s, Newfoundland.  I started running, very slowly, 4 years ago, and it’s the one exercise I continue to love.  It will never replace my love of wine, but it’s up there.  And the best part, there are more and more studies that show drinking wine and exercise are both very good for you.

Wine Running

We all know cardio is good for your heart, said to strengthen the heart and blood vessels and contributes to a healthy blood flow.  It also lowers blood pressure and cholesterol.  I always knew wine was good for the soul.  However, the Mayo Clinic has come forward and said red wine and something in red wine called Resveratrol might be heart healthy.  Wine also contains another antioxidant called Proanthocyanidins that is said to be good for the heart.  ** Please keep in mind, everything in moderation, including wine.

So raise a glass my wine-loving friends, and Cheers to a healthy heart.    Here’s a few new wines that got my heart beating faster in the past couple of weeks.

Liberado

My work colleague, Marc, told me he and his wife have been really enjoying this wine out of Spain, so I decided to try it.  The Liberado Espana has a beautifully colorful label celebrating the movida madrilena, a cultural movement that allowed the Spanish community to express themselves through art, music, food, and more!  It’s a blend of Tempranillo and Cabernet Sauvignon and it’s on sale right now here in Nova Scotia.  It’s delicious and easy to drink, with notes of spice and medium-bodied fruit.  This wine is under $13 right now and is a steal of a deal.  Go grab some, before the price goes up to $15 again.  And it’s a good deal at $15.  I love finding tasty wines at great prices that allows you to enjoy a glass of wine on a Tuesday guilt-free!

This was a treat when I tried it, because it was a 2012 vintage, and it’s a blend of 90% Tempranillo and 10% Graciano.  Graciano is only grown in Spain, in the Rioja region, and is harvested in late October.  The grape is known for its deep red color and the ability to age very well.  This is a treat wine at $33 a bottle, and if you are not a big fan of oak, you may want to stay away from this wine.  Personally I liked the oak and cedar notes, and it’s full-bodied and it would made a great pairing with a hearty beef stew.

And now for my wine of the week…

Suret

Straight out of Paso Robles California and Secret Cellars comes a new Cabernet Sauvignon that I just loved.  It is 91% Cabernet Sauvignon and 9% Petite Verdot, grown in an area with warm days and cool nights, which is optimum for growing grapes.  Then it is aged very subtly in a combination of French and American oak, and the American oak only accounts for 15%.  This produces a very smooth wine where the fruit shines through and not the oak.  It comes in at around the $26 price mark, which is excellent, and if you’re going to treat yourself to a good cut of meat like steak, pair it with an exceptional wine.  I suggest this particular wine.  It’s a 10 in my opinion!

Wine text drunk

I saw this yesterday and it made me chuckle, so I thought I would share it.

Have a great weekend, and till next week, Cheers

Darlene