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International Champagne Day

Posted in Uncategorized on October 12, 2019 by darmyers

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Coming up this Friday is International Champagne Day.  And I have to share a few new sparkling wines I’ve had recently, including some from Champagne.  So let me start by giving you a little Champagne history.  Champagne is a region in Northern France, as far north as you can go and still grow grapes.  They have been perfecting this bubbly wine for hundreds of years, to the point, the traditional method of making sparkling wine, is also called the Champagne method.  A sparkling wine can be made in the traditional method, but unless it hails from the Champagne region in France, it cannot be called Champagne.  It’s called ‘Cava’ in Spain, Any time you see Cremant, it is also traditional made sparkling wine, but not from the Champagne region.

I recently had a wonderful Cremant wine at the Festival of wines from Bordeaux

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Made from Semillion, Muscadelle and Sauvignon Blanc, this bright vibrant sparkling wine is a great substitution when you have something to celebrate but don’t want to spend the money associated with Champagne.

Here’s another great bubbly that won’t break the bank

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My friend Youjeen was pouring this wonderful Spanish Cava at the Festival of Wines.  In Spain, the word Hola is how people greet each other.  And that was the premise behind the name of the wine.  This Cava was made deliciously dry with hints of apple and citrus.  A beautiful sparkling wine ready to celebrate at under $22 a bottle here.

If, however, nothing but the real deal will cut it, try this one authentic Champagne from Duval-Leroy

 

The Champagne house of Duval-Leroy was founded in 1859 so they have been producing top quality Champagnes for many many years.  However, this Champagne house is known for more than just Champagne, it was a pioneer when it came to promoting sustainability in the vineyard.  I personally like a dry Champagne, which you will be able to tell if the word Brut is in the title.  Champagne doesn’t come cheap, which makes it the ultimate treat.

And now for my wine of the week…..

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Critics are giving this wine 91 points, and I have to agree whole heartedly.   Super smooth combination of Grenache, Syrah, and Mourvedre.    A GSM blend is one of my favourites and this wine did not disappoint.  Velvety blueberry and blackberry notes and although I know it saw some oak, except for the smoothness you couldn’t tell.  It is priced at $20.99 a bottle so it’s a really good value.

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Happy Thanksgiving weekend everyone

Cheers

Darlene

 

 

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Festival of Wines Part 2

Posted in Uncategorized on October 5, 2019 by darmyers

So many great wines, so little time.

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My friend Cassandra and I took a few hours last Saturday afternoon and spent it tasting wine at one of the grand tastings during the Festival of Wines in  Halifax.  Although the country to be featured this year, Wines of South America’, all countries are represented and we tried some great wines.  We had a great time, and I had the opportunity to speak to many people about the wine they were featuring.

This was one of my favorites.

 

I have written about Tommassi wines previously but this was my first time trying the Tommasi Ripasso.  This is what the winemaker had to say

“Tommasi “Ripasso” is the unique result of refermenting Valpolicella Classico Superiore on the warm grape skins from which Amarone has been fermented. This process, used only in rare vintage years, imparts the richness of character and personality of a great wine to an already superior wine.”

It was elegant and delicious and one of my favorite finds at the Festival of Wines.  If you get a chance, try it.

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Both Cassandra and I loved the look of this bottle, and the wine in it was so good I bought a few home with me, because I’m pretty sure at the moment the only place you can buy it was at the show.  Sadly, it’s not available at the NSLC yet, but if you can find it where you live, grab it.  A blend of Merlot and Primitivo (Zinfandel), this is a fantastic wine for $17.99.  In my opinion it was a luscious and rich wine that is the perfect compliment to any pasta dish.

We had some fantastic rose wines while we were there, but this one stood out for me because it was delicious and the price point is amazing.

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This wine has earned 92 Points by some wine critics and it’s under $17 a bottle.  Again, one of those great wines not yet available at my liquor store, but this is a fantastic find.  Now, I have to be honest, I drink the majority of my rose wines in the Summer, but this is a wonderful wine for appetizers and meet and greets.  Crisp and refreshing, both myself and Cassandra really liked it.

And now for my wine of the week….

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And one of the best values I found at the Festival of wines. From the Languedoc region of France, this beauty is only $15.99 a bottle.  Yes, you’ll notice the bottle is empty, don’t judge!  LOL  I did, however, buy a full case of it.  Great wine at a great value.  It’s a blend of Cabernet Sauvignon and Syrah, so it’s full-bodied with a hint of spice.  Easy to drink and super food friendly, there’s no guilt when you open this great wine on a Tuesday night.

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It’s the weekend, feel free to be awesome all weekend.  Till next weekend, Cheers

Darlene

 

 

 

 

Festival of Wines Part 1

Posted in Uncategorized on September 28, 2019 by darmyers

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Yes, part 1, because there are so many events and so many wines to try during the Festival of Wines, that one wine blog just won’t cut it.  I went to my first event Wednesday evening, which was the “Tasting:  The World of Wines Experience” at the Casino Nova Scotia.  Only 120 tickets, and it’s all about the wine.  I love it.

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This is one of my favorite finds of the Festival of Wines so far, this beautiful sparkling Cremant from France.  It is Sauvignon Blanc, Semillion, and Muscadet and it is refreshing, bright and fruity.  It’s also a fantastic price for a well made Cremant from Bordeaux.  Cremant sparkling wines are made in the same method as Champagne, and is a great option if you have a ‘Champagne taste on a beer budget’, as my father would say.  Bordeaux France is best known for its red blends, but this was a fabulous surprise find.

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One of the thrills for me at this event was Chef Renee Lavallee, winner of Top Chef Canada.  What was even more exciting was to learn she has teamed up with a Champagne house, Duval Leroy, who have been making Champagne for 160 years.  Renee says this Champagne is in harmony with her own style of cuisine.  It was well aged, but so very vibrant on the palate.  When I tasted, I told her it woke my mouth up in a big way;  A treat at $87 a bottle, but a great Champagne.

And my Wine of the Week,

The handsome Chris from the NSLC is pouring my favourite wine from Wednesday evening’s event, the 2015 Chateau Guillou Montagne Saint Emilion.   Comprised mostly of Merlot, it also contains small amounts of Cabernet Sauvignon and Cabernet Franc.   I tasted wines Wednesday evening that were way over $100 a bottle, and this was still my favourite – it’s that smooth!   And because I like great values, it is difficult to get a Bordeaux wine of this quality for this price point.

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I have another festival of wines event this afternoon, the general tasting.  Till next week, cheers

Darlene

Fall Into Some Great Wine

Posted in Uncategorized on September 21, 2019 by darmyers

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Monday marks the first day of Fall this year, my favorite time of the year.  Crisp fresh air, cool nights and great wine.  What more could a girl want!

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It’s a gorgeous day here in Halifax, the sun is shining and the temperatures are supposed to hit 23-degrees Celsius.  I have some great wines to share with you to enjoy these beautiful Fall days.

First I have to tell you about a wine my friend Steve told me about.

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I have yet to try this wine, but my friend Steve and his wife are regular wine drinkers and I trust their opinion.  I know you can get this in Ontario, but it has yet to make an appearance here in Nova Scotia.  This Spanish blend of Tempranillo and Merlot sells for $7.95 a bottle in Ontario, and they just love it.  LESS THAN $8!  I’m heartbroken you can’t get this wine here, but if you can find it, please share your comments below.  The LCBO website says it is medium-bodied and smooth and perfect for grilled pork.   Steve says he is going to bring me a bottle the next time they visit Halifax, so when he does, I’ll tell you all about it.  There’s also a white for the same price.

Image for Toro Bravo Verdejo Sauvignon Blanc DO La Mancha from LCBO

The white Toro Bravo comes in at $7.95 as well and is a blend of Sauvignon Blanc and Veredejo.  I know, I’m telling you about wines I haven’t tried, but we’re all friends.  And I want to share these great value wines.  Great wine for $8, sign me up!

Ok, on to a wine I have tried.

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This limited edition label looks awesome and the Cabernet Sauvignon inside the bottle is a favourite that’s been around a while.  Chile makes some incredible Cabernet Sauvignon and Casillero del Diablo has probably been doing it the longest and is owned by Concha y Toro.  It’s full-bodied and flavourful and is priced ay just $20.

And now for my wine of the week,,,

I’m so excited about this wine.  1) It’s delicious and 2) It’s priced under $19.   I love finding great wines, in this case a 92-Point wine, at reasonable prices.   Coming from Valle Del Maipo, one of the most prestigious growing areas in Chile.   This wonderful wine is elegant and has some amazing complex flavours, think vanilla- think chocolate and think rich bold fruit.

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Till next week, Cheers

Darlene

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.

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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

 

 

 

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