Hello April

I had to double check the calendar, it is April, right? It doesn’t look much like April here in Halifax.

I took this picture this morning. Hello April? It is April Fool’s Day, I guess Mother Nature is playing a bit of a joke on us.

Later in the blog, I’m going to share some great news I received this week. But for now, let’s talk some wine.

I’m not sure if our liquor stores here in Nova Scotia are getting rid of this, but it was on clearance. If you’ve been reading for a few years, you may remember this. The Bogle Vineyards Merlot was a favorite of mine. Any wine drinker in Nova Scotia knows that it seems every time you go to the liquor store, there’s another increase in the price. So, this wine was priced out of my weekly price range for a while. It’s a delicious full-bodied Merlot, and received an award as ‘America’s favorite Merlot’. I had pork last night and it was a perfect pairing, and right now you can get this wine for about $25 or $26. Try it while it’s on clearance.

I had a bit of a rough week procedure wise, but it was worth it with the good news I received. As you probably are aware by now, I was diagnosed with Cancer on November 25th. I have completed 25 rounds of Radiation and was doing oral chemotherapy at the same time, twice a day. I took a bit of a break from writing my wine blog. Well this past week I got the results of those rounds of radiation and chemotherapy. I had a scope on Wednesday that showed the tumor shrunk ‘a lot’ (doctor’s words) and the CT scan showed there was no spread. Phew! I start my next round of chemo in April. My friends and I did a toast Wednesday evening. And my friends Fred and Arla, who were kind enough to bring me down to my appointment on Wednesday, were drinking this.

Il Padrino makes a wonderful red Rosso and this Pinot Grigio is a favorite among my white-wine drinking friends. This 1 litre bottle is normally priced at $17, which is an excellent buy, but it was on sale this past week for $14, which makes it a steal of a deal. Crisp, refreshing, with gorgeous flavors of citrus and tropical fruits.

I tried something new in my air fryer. I pounded a chicken breast out, put it in with some shake and bake and cooked it in the air fryer for the first time. I will be honest, I over cooked the chicken. I was reading on the internet all kinds of different time frames, and because I was cooking two, I went with the higher number. Mistake #1. I cooked them 23 minutes. It was too long. The thing with an air fryer is, you should start in intervals, and check the produce along the way. You can always add more time, you can’t take away the time. I will definitely try it again but less time. The cheesy bacon mashed potatoes and buttered carrots were delicious. The wine I enjoyed with this meal was this one.

The Knotty Vines wine is becoming a staple in my weekly wine purchases. The label says Cabernet Sauvignon but its actually a blend of Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Petite Sirah and Zinfandel. Delicious.

Before I go, thought I would share this chart of the health benefits of wine.

Maybe it will help us all feel better about the sips we take this evening. Have a great weekend everyone. Stay warm

Darlene

The Wines of March

You’ve heard the saying “Beware the Ides of March”, well this wine blog is about the wines of March. I hope everyone had a wonder St. Patrick’s Day yesterday. I’m sure some celebrations will continue throughout the weekend. I had a busy but uneventful week, still feeling really good, and enjoying my time in between treatments.

I want to take a moment to share a fun story. At work, we had a contest. It was to try and identify your co-worker from their baby picture. This was my picture at 10 months old, weighing in at a whopping 36 pounds. Look at the size of the head on me, I’m glad I grew into that head. It’s a wonder my Mom is still speaking to me. LOL

I also have a recipe I tried this past week to share with you called Chicken Diane. OMG, I eat a lot of chicken, because I can’t eat fish. I’m always looking for new ways to do chicken. I found this on a site called http://www.outgrilling.com and had to give it a try. You can find the recipe here.

I used both boneless skinless chicken breasts and boneless skinless chicken thighs. I live alone, so I took one chicken breast, cut it in half, and pounded them to a uniform thickness.

I cooked my sauce ahead of time on the stove.

It turned out delicious. I hope the picture does it justice. This is how it turned out.

Grilling them first was yummy, but I think they would also be delicious if I had done them in a cast iron frying pan on top of the stove.

Ok, it’s time to talk some wine.

Last Saturday evening I had some friends in, and my friend Angie bought this wine. Josh Cabernet Sauvignon is a great wine priced at $25 a bottle. Named after his Dad, Josh Carr, Joseph Carr is the winemaker and started selling the wine out of the back of his truck. He started with one wine, this Cabernet. His vineyard now features many different wines, but it all started with this one. Delicious, full-bodied and a great pairing with meat of any kind.

So, remember last week I told you I visited my friend Rick, who manages The Port downtown Halifax. He told me if I was going to buy one wine from his store, make it this one.

I don’t buy many wines from South Africa, but Rick told me this wine was the best wine under $25, voted by their staff, and I believe he said it was two years in a row. Don’t quote me. At $22 it’s a big robust wine Internationally acclaimed wine journalist Jancis Robinson, who says when producers offer more than one tier of a particular wine, the ‘best buy’ at release is more often than not the second-tier wine. This Cabernet Sauvignon is considered a second tiered wine from this producer. It’s getting some good critiques, it was a little earthy and had notes of cedar and spice.

That’s it for me today. Thanks for reading. I hope you have a wonderful weekend.

Darlene

I’m Baaack!

I’m back baby. For a while anyway. It’s been an interesting 6 weeks since my last blog. I’ve done 25 Radiation treatments and during those 25 days I did 2 chemo treatments per day for a total of 50. Everyday Monday to Friday except for holidays and weekends.

The Radiation techs who work in this department of the Cancer Clinic are amazing, kind and so understanding. Every day I would trek to the VG hospital in Halifax and change into these gowns to do my daily treatments.

Everyone that I had to deal with was wonderful. OMG, people are so heartwarming and helpful. Thank you to everyone who works helping people with Cancer. And all those who work in Health care. It takes a special person.

During the last couple of weeks of my treatments my Mom, my Sister, my Brother-in-law and of course Maggie came to visit.

My Sister and Brother-in-law have more money than me, LOL, and Craig decided I needed a wine treat because I was going through Cancer treatments. So he came home with 3 bottles of wine that cost $240.

The amazing line up includes a Zinfandel and a Cabernet Sauvignon from Caymus Vineyards and a Cabernet from Stags Leap. When he went to the Liquor Store he said ‘My sister-in-law likes California wine”. The lady said ‘I have some amazing ones, but you’re not going to like the price. He bought them anyway. The first one we tried was the Stag’s Leap.

Spectacular. And probably one of the best Cabernet Sauvignon wines I have ever tried. Now this wine sells for $70 a bottle here in Nova Scotia, so it’s definitely a treat wine. But if you have a special occasion coming up and would like to treat yourself, I recommend this beauty. So easy to drink, it was flavorful and nuanced and smooth. Fabulous.

My Mom drinks white wine, and Craig bought her the Conundrum White, Chardonnay based wine. Craig and I ended up finishing the bottle Saturday evening. This is one of my favorite white wines, because it’s a blend of Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc, Semillion, Muscat and Viognier. There are grapes with acidity and grapes with body. Together they make a great blend that is one of the most interesting white wines I have tried. In this case, I actually like the white blend better than the red. And it’s affordable at $25 a bottle.

After we finished the Conundrum and were playing some cards, we opened this beauty. It was actually my second time enjoying it, I went to visit my friend Rick, who manages the Port downtown Halifax, and they had it opened and he let me try it.

It was so great to see Rick and Taylor again. We danced, we laughed, we hugged. Now at $110 a bottle, I know this is a very special bottle of wine. Caymus is located in the heart of Napa Valley in California run by Chuck, Charlie & Jenny Wagner. This group also makes the Conundrum wine and several other brand names. Fantastic wine makers, but this Cabernet is the jewel in the crown. Like I said, it’s $110 a bottle but it’s Cabernet perfection. The other wine in the trio is the Caymus Zinfandel, which at $75 a bottle, is sitting in my wine rack.

I’m going to end the blog with something a little more affordable.

This is a treat wine for my pocketbook. This is a fantastic Cabernet Sauvignon from Knotty Vines. This winemaker is all about taking wine and making it indulgent yet affordable. At just $21.99 this is an amazing wine with mostly Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Petite Sirah and a splash of Zinfandel. Together they make a juicy full-bodied delicious wine that we all can afford. It’s new here to Nova Scotia, and I’ll definitely have it again.

I want to take quick moment to say thank you

When I wrote my last wine blog 6 weeks ago, telling you about my Cancer diagnosis, I heard from hundreds and hundreds of people. I am completely blown away by the love I was feeling from all my readers. This blog was something I started many many years ago, and never had I imagined I had so many wonderful people follow the blog. On March 27th I have another CT scan booked, they want to make sure it still hasn’t spread anywhere else. Around that date, I will also have another scope. This will determine if the radiation and chemo that I’ve done has shrunk the tumor. Then it looks like it will be another round of chemo, and then possibly surgery. I was lucky, I had minimal side effects. There were some, fatigue among the top one. I’ll keep you all up to date as I go.

Thank you again, it’s great to be back. Till next week, Cheers

Darlene

Our First Snowfall

Would you believe our first snowfall of the year came yesterday! That’s very unusual for Halifax. My hometown of Corner Brook received 114.9 cms in November alone. Being home at Christmas felt like I was living in a snow globe. I have to admit, I do love a snow day.

However, it did not stop me from smoking and grilling some ribs. Hey, I’m from Newfoundland, outdoor cooking in the snow is something I grew up on.

A warm hat, jacket and scarf and I smoked some ribs, grilled some chicken and did some potatoes. I have an overhang over my balcony so I was fairly well protected. While cooking, I had one of the best red wine blends I’ve tried in a while.

You know I love an interesting label, and this one caught my attention. It was funny, I was strolling through Port of Wines and was in the New Zealand section, and I didn’t realize I was actually in the Australia section. This red blend from South Australia is a blend of 50% Cabernet Sauvignon, 30% Shiraz and 20% Merlot. It was over the moon delicious, but I think our local NSLC may be clearing it out. It was $25 and I got it for $21, and it wasn’t on sale, it said clearance. So run, don’t walk to try this wonderful wine. It was full-bodied and rich and not oaky like some Australian wines. The Mo Sisters, are 3 sisters that grew up in a prominent wine family in Australia, and they have only just launched in 2019. This wonderful wine was from the 2017 harvest. I loved it and it was definitely my wine of the week, so it wouldn’t be fair to the other new wines I have tried recently. I had no intention of going out today, but I’m having friends in today and I want to share this wine. That’s how much I loved it.

Where ever you are, I hope the clean up is not too much of a pain. And if it’s snowing where you are, enjoy the snow day

Till next week, Cheers

Darlene

Trends to Look for in 2023

Each year in January I do a wine blog on the wine trends to look for in the coming year or years. For example, a few years ago people thought I was crazy when I told readers to be on the look out for wine in cans. But here we are, and sales of wine in cans is expected to see double digit growth in 2023. Here are some of the trends to look for in 2023.

  1. Bubbles Surge in Popularity
    • Bubbly wines are no longer for special occasions. Bubbly wines will see a surge in 2023 as an everyday wine. Because great tasting sparkling wines are affordable, wine experts predict people will buy more at things like brunches, and afternoon sipping. Think Prosecco and Spanish Cava, just to name a few, most are priced at around the $20 mark.

2. The Environment is Very Important

More and more you are seeing the words ‘organic’, ‘vegan’ ‘natural’ and ‘sustainability’ on the wine bottles on the shelves of your favorite wine store. A recent poll found that 50% of American wine drinkers said sustainability was important to them. If you’ve tried some natural wines and didn’t really like them, you can still buy wines from vineyards that focus on sustainability. Sustainability winegrowers focus on biodynamics and environment friendly farming practices.

Errazuriz has a fantastic line of wines, a winery founded by Robert Mondavi & Eduardo Chadwick that uses sustainability. This Reserva Cabernet Sauvignon is priced at about the $20 range and represents how good Chilean wine is.

A little side note. It’s January, comfort food time. I made a pot of chili this past week and it was probably one of the best ones I’ve ever made. You want to know the secret? Bacon. I’ve never put bacon in chili before, but it adds a nice smoky flavor. I also put a rind of parmesan cheese in the slow cooker. That adds amazing flavor. If you Google ‘best chili recipe’, you’ll get this recipe from Sugar Spun Run and that’s the recipe I used. Plus, I did chop up a jalapeno pepper and put in the chili because I like a little kick.

Add some cheese, a few tortilla chips and a great wine, you’ve got yourself some comfort food. Here’s the wine I enjoyed with the chili

If you go to your favorite wine store and the label is black, it’s the same wine. This is new to our NSLC and the Birdman has a red label. This fantastic wine is $16 a bottle and was tasty and easy to drink. I also made a stuffed pork tenderloin this past week and this wine would have paired great with that wine as well. From Chile, it’s another example of the quality of wines that are coming out of Chile.

To my friends and readers doing dry January, best of luck, you are almost halfway through. Me, I’m keeping the wine.

Have a great week, till next weekend, Cheers

Darlene