Better Late Than Never

Money well spent

I had a few technical difficulties yesterday morning, and wasn’t able to get my blog done. Thank you for your patience, and for this week, hopefully you’ll enjoy this Sunday read. Again this morning I am having trouble doing my blog on WordPress, between yesterday and today it’s taking me between four and five hours to get this blog out. I can’t be doing that every week, so if anybody has any suggestions for blog sites, could you pass them along. The site keeps producing an error message on my laptop, and it’s more difficult on my iPad because I can’t edit pictures or link in any way. Let’s talk some wine!

December is almost upon us, and with December comes a ton of opportunities to enjoy some wine. Christmas cooking, putting up the lights, putting up the tree, or gathering with friends, (only 5), wine can bring joy to many of these occasions and chores. A friendly reminder to not to drink and drive.. please! This is for the chores at home, when you know you are home for the evening. And let’s face it, with the second wave of the Covid-19 pandemic hitting us here in Nova Scotia and across Canada, most of us are staying very close to home.

At least 14 times

Do you have any Christmas cooking to do this year? Well, have I got a Riesling for you? And it’s made right here in Nova Scotia!

Gasperau Vineyards Riesling

I’m a big fan of Riesling’s, even though I don’t tend to imbibe in many German Rieslings, which is the country many people think of when they think of Riesling. I love Canadian and American Riesling wines, they don’t tend to be as sweet, and I really enjoy the crisp acidity. This medium dry beautiful Riesling comes from Gasperau Vineyards right here in the Anapolis Valley of Nova Scotia and it’s delicious. In my opinion, this is a true classic Riesling, beautiful apple and floral flavours, and the grapes are grown in 3 different regions right here in Nova Scotia.

Red or White, great holiday colors

It’s the most wonderful time of the year, even though it gets dark early everything is lit up with a pretty Christmas lights . Inside, everything is so warm and cosy. I normally have my Christmas decorations up by December 1, but because it’s 2020, I had them up a few days early.

I love greeting this guy as I come in the door

And a great wine to enjoy while doing your inside Christmas decorating? Every year I do a wine blog that features my Top 10 finds of that year. In 2018, a Ripasso from Zonin was the number one spot and you can read about it here

Zonin Prosecco

Zonin has an easy to drink Prosecco that is perfect for holiday entertaining. It’s on sale right now here in Nova Scotia, and hopefully where you live too. From Veneto in Italy and featuring the Glera grape, it’s crisp and light and perfect for any nibbles you are putting out.

And now for my wine of the week…..

A new wine my friend Angie and I discovered this past week . I have never seen it before at the liquor store so I picked it up for our game tonight. If you think Australia is only known for Shiraz, let me introduce you to the Magic Box Cabernet Sauvignon. It’s a full body, a beautiful deep purple color, with fantastic flavours of smoke, plum, and rich fruit. If you’re like us here on the East Coast of Canada, and enjoying some unusually mild weather for this time of year, it’s a great time to get that barbeque going and here’s your wine for it. And the only thing better than the taste, is the price tag, because right now it’s on sale for $14.99.

Essentials

Well that’s it for mr for this week, till next week’s blog, Cheers and stay safe.

5 Months In

My favororite pour

Would you believe this coming Thursday, August 13th will mark 5 months since I’ve worked in my office. My friends know the story. When we got the email on Sunday March 15th to come in the next day and get our computers and other work things, I said to everyone “See you in 2 weeks”. True story. Never in a million years did I imagine the global scale of this pandemic, and the effect it would have on every one. But here we are, I’m very grateful to have a job that I love very much and we are making it work. It was tough at first, getting used to working from home, but now I’ve gotten in a groove, and I’m enjoying it. But enough pandemic talk….

Let’s talk some wine…. and food!! My two favorite things from all this.

Rhone To The Bone

I had a couple of friends in for dinner last Saturday night and this was how we started the evening. We are still in the middle of our heat wave, so I opened this new Rose wine, and all I can say is ‘Wow!’. This Rose wine is (you guessed it) from the Cote du Rhone region of France and is a blend of 80% Grenache and 20% Syrah. Two full bodied, high alcohol content grapes, Grenache is used in making Chateauneuf du Pape and this particular Rose wine has some impressive people behind it. In house oenologist Pierre Viellescazes (I won’t even try to pronounce that name) and Vallee du Rhone specialist Phillipe Cambie, who was named ‘Best Oenologist of 2010’ by Robert Parker, together, they have made a specitacular rose wine. An Oenologist is an expert in the field of viticulture, which is grape-growing and the fields, and wine-making. Gorgeous citrus and watermelon flavors and priced under $18, this almost made my wine of the week. A great compliment if you are serving up a charcuterie board or as an evening kick-starter.

Last night’s dinner

Last night I made my first ‘one pot’ pasta dish, ever. And it turned out delicious. I have always boiled the pasta in a separate pot in salted water. This recipe called for cooking the pasta in broth, right in the sauce. OMG! This is my new favorite way to cook pasta, right in the sauce. I had some spinach in my refrigerator that was going to go bad soon, so I made a chicken and spinach penne pasta. The recipe is here. The only addition I made, I added some bacon. A creamy chicken pasta loves bacon! And as you can see from the picture above, the wine I had with it, is my Wine of the Week.

Canyon Road Cabernet Sauvignon

You know how I love finding good deals. Well, this one may have taken the cake… and the pasta… and what else did I have with it, oh yes, ribs. My friend Angie bought this down last week and I really enjoyed it. So I bought a couple more, after all, this wine is only $10.99 a bottle. That is very unusual here in Nova Scotia, to pay under $11 for a California Cabernet. And it was good. So good that I went out and bought several more and enjoyed it with a wide variety of dishes this past week. Hailing from California’s Alexander Valley, this wine is a delicious easy to drink Cabernet Sauvignon. Not overly oaky, this wine has been given 4 out of 5 stars by many wine reviewers. For $11 a bottle, you have to give this a try. You won’t be disappointed.

Enjoying Summer

Well, that’s it for me for this week. Till next week, Enjoy the Summer, Cheers

Darlene

Birthday Shenanigans!

This past week, I celebrated my birthday! Some friends came down and surprised me, and we drank some wine…. Actually we drank a lot of wine! LOL One of the bottles I opened was a special gift given to me by a good friend for Christmas in 2013. He passed away suddenly three years ago and I’ve been waiting for a special occasion to open this bottle. Since this was my first birthday since my dad passed away, and I was hoping he and Ron were having a cold beer somewhere, I decided to open and enjoy the special bottle of wine with a couple of special friends.

My friend always wrote the year he bought the wine
2006 Etude Cabernet Sauvignon

The wine I opened was a 2006 Étude Cabernet Sauvignon from California. As you can see, every time he gave me a bottle of wine, he signed the bottle. I’ve done some research on this particular bottle of wine, and found some interesting information. Etude was started in 1982 by Tony Soter, and although he was never formally trained as a winemaker, he was sole winemaker until he sold in 2000. Although Tony stayed on for an additional 7 years in a consultant role, Jon Priest became the winemaker at Étude, and he is making widely-acclaimed wine. He says, in 2006, ideal weather conditions and low yield made for a great well structured Cabernet Sauvignon. It was very good but it comes with a heft price tag of $90.

MJ Mas Janeil Le Petite Pas
Syrah, Grenache, Carignan & Mourvedre

Another bottle we opened birthday night was this wine, I had never tried before. Both ladies who came to visit for my birthday like really full-bodied heavy wines. And I’ll be honest, I really thought this wine was going to deliver that. Syrah (Shiraz) is a thick-skinned grape which normally is very dark in color, and heavy. However, this blend of Syrah, Grenache, Carignan and Mourvedre was medium-bodied, light and fruity. After some research I found they used carbonic maceration as a way to ferment the grapes. This is the same process they use for Beaujolais, which means it releases very little tannins and gives wine a very fruity, light feel. It was very tasty and it’s on sale right now, less than $17. But if you’re looking for a light, easy to drink wine, this is the wine for you. It’s a great wine for charcuterie boards and even pork tenderloin.

And now for my wine of the week…

Ava Grace Rose

Last week, my wine of the week was the Ava Grace Merlot, a wine I discovered while being in Newfoundland. This week, I discovered its sister wine, and it hails from California, but is sold right here in Nova Scotia. This Rose wine was given 93 Points in the Ultimate Wine Challenge and it’s less than $20 a bottle. It’s fresh, crisp and delicate with beautiful apricot flavors the wine and has a wonderful palate.

Summer sipping on the patio

That’s it for me for this week. Thanks for reading. Till next week, Cheers

Darlene

Summer Wine Time

10 Summer Wines Perfect for the Season
Summer is here

Nothing says Summer quite like the Canada Day holiday here in Canada and the 4th of July for our neighbours in the U.S. And as many parts of Canada and the U.S. are experiencing extremely high temperatures, there is a wine for that.

When I think the hot days of Summer, I think Rose. And I can’t remember if I discovered this particular one last Summer or the Summer before.

Arrogant Frog Rose

One of the great things about Rose wine, other than the taste, is that it doesn’t have to break the bank. This beautiful fresh Arrogant Frog Rose is just $15.99 a bottle here. From France, this Rose is made from the Syrah grape (think Shiraz), but of course limited contact with the skins. Harvested at night to avoid increased sugar levels, this wonderful wine is perfect for the patio or that Summer picnic.

Me too!

Between wild weather throughout much of Canada this Spring, (it snowed in Halifax May 13th) and Covid-19, people are ready to get out and enjoy Summer. Safely of course!

I’m also going to share a couple of beverages I love in the Summer that isn’t wine.

Sandpiper Pomegranate - We Can So You Can Take It Outside - Hike ...

Locally made in Nova Scotia, I love these refreshing Vodka soda coolers. Fun to drink with no added sugar, these are not the sweet coolers of past years. The top one is made by local brewer Nine Locks and is the delicious Pomegranate and the bottom one is the Blue Lobster Lemon Lime by the Nova Scotia Spirit Company. Fabulous delicious drinks for Summer, that are only about 5% or 6% alcohol content, so you can have more than 1.

Back to the wine

Last year on my Canada Day blog I wrote about a great Canadian red wine from the See Ya Later Ranch. Check it out here.

See Ya Later Ranch Riesling

This year I want to tell you about the Riesling from that same vineyard. Located in the Okanagan Valley in beautiful British Columbia, the See Ya Later Ranch gets its name from how the owner, Major Hugh Fraser, signed off on all his letters. He didn’t want to say Good-bye, so he said ‘See Ya Later’. And a vineyard was born. The Riesling is a great wine for under $20 and is light and refreshing. Another great wine for sipping on the patio or served with your favorite meal. Riesling is actually one of my favorite white wines to pair with food. I love it.

And now for my wine of the week…..

Conviction Pinot Noir

I love an interesting label on a wine bottle, and since I’m very adventurous when it comes to trying new wine, I will admit I’m a bit of a sucker for a great label. I am in Newfoundland. My father is not well and I’m on Day 11 of self-isolating, before I help get my Mom ready to go into a home, and hopefully see my Dad come out of the hospital. So while I’m in Newfoundland, I sent my brother-in-law to the liquor store for me and ask him to get me a Pinot Noir. I loved what he bought home. The great news is you can also get this wine at the NSLC in Nova Scotia, but I had never tried it before. Another great wine from British Columbia, it’s vibrant and delicious and went great with the chicken kabobs I did that evening on the BBQ. A decent price as well, coming in at around the $26 mark.

The extreme heat is a little much for me

That’s it for me for this week. Stay cool. This past weekend in Newfoundland it was in the mid-30’s and that’s very unusual temperatures for June. Enjoy the weekend everyone.

Darlene

I Miss Wine Tastings

You never know!

I am in Newfoundland. In self-isolation. My parents are quite elderly and I drove to Newfoundland Tuesday (18 hours including a ferry) and started self-isolating for 14 days in the basement apartment in my sisters home. It’s given me some time to think, and I was thinking this week I really miss doing wine tastings. As a Certified Sommelier, I get asked a lot to do at home wine tastings for people. I go to their homes, or to the Common room of their apartment building, and I guide people through a wine tasting. I did one in January and one in February this year, and that was it. Normally March, April & May are quite busy with wine tastings, but then Coronavirus happened.

My favorite part is meeting new people and getting them to enjoy new wines. We all know wine is expensive, especially here in Canada, so we don’t want to waste it. Some people tend to buy the same wine over and over, and a wine tasting is a chance for people to step outside their comfort zones and try some new wines.

Here are some of my favorites from previous wine tastings.

It’s always a great time when friends gather
Image result for villa de conchi cava
Villa Conchi Brut

I always bring a sparkling wine to a wine tasting for two reasons. 1. Many people think all sparkling wines are sweet, ie Baby Duck or Reunite. Sparkling wine has come such a long way since those days. You can now buy Italian Prosecco or Spanish Cava at a fraction of the price of a ‘Champagne’ and get a great quality dry sparkling wine. One of my favorites to bring to a wine tasting is the Villa di Conchi Spanish Cava. Such a pretty bottle, such a great price. Just $19 for this sparkling wine that is made in same method as Champagne from France. A perfect way to welcome a guest, it made my Top 10 Wines of 2018. Hint: This is on sale in Nova Scotia right now for $17 a bottle, run out and buy more than 1.

There’s always a wide variety
Elouan Pinot Noir

Another wine I love bringing to wine tastings because of the misconceptions around it, is a good Pinot Noir. And we all know Oregon state, sandwiched between California to its South and Washington State to its North, is making spectacular Pinot Noir wines. I have bought them in all price ranges, but this is a fan favorite. The Elouan Pinot Noir is not the most expensive Pinot, just $33 a bottle, but it’s one of the tastiest. Many people tend to think Pinot is ‘wimpy’, I’ve been told that a dozen times. Because the skin of the grape is so thin, it doesn’t have the dark color of a Merlot or a Cabernet, but it packs a ton of full-bodied flavor. And so food friendly. I love Pinot Noir.

Botter Primitivo is Organic

Last but not least, I always love bringing a surprise wine. A wine that is such a good value, to drive home the point good wine does not have to be expensive. Primitivo, which is the same grape as Zinfandel in Italy, is another grape that can be a little higher priced. Not this Botter Primitivo. It’s under $15 a bottle and with Summer here, it’s the perfect BBQ wine. By the way, it was 33-degrees in Halifax yesterday, a heat wave. Here on the West Coast of Newfoundland, it was 10-degrees.

This was taken at 12 Noon
25+ Best Wine Tasting Memes | the Memes, Finish Memes, When Memes

Well that’s it for this week. Cheers

Darlene