Twas The Wine Before Christmas

Christmas chuckle

Twas the week before Christmas, and all through the cellar,

The bottles were resting, the tannins becoming mellower

The wine glasses were hung by the fireplace with care

In hopes Santa & a corkscrew, would soon be there

The bottles were nestled snug in the rack,

Waiting for a guy holding a red sack

Papa with his white, me with my red,

Enjoying a glass before we headed to bed

When out on the lawn, arose such a clatter

I spilled my wine, to see what was the matter

I ran to the window, I flew like a flash

In time to see Santa in quite the mad dash

The Moon on the face of a newly poured wine Gave the luster of Merlot a beautiful shine

Gave the luster of Merlot a beautiful shine

When what to my eyes, should suddenly appear

But a miniature sleight and 8 reindeer

With a Jolly driver, so lively and quick

I knew in a moment, it must be Saint Nick

I ran to get a glass, so happy he came

When one by one, he called them by name.

Now Dancer, Now Dasher, Now Prancer and Vixen

On Comet, On Cupid, On Donner, On Blitzen

Out to the porch, I gave him a call

Red or white I called out, you can have it all

I’ll be happy

It looked as if this wasn’t his first stop of the night,

His purple stain teeth proved I was right

He came in and headed directly to the glass,

And asked if I had anything from Alsace

He filled all the stockings, and turned with a jerk,

He gave a big smile and returned back to work

And I heard him explain as he drove out of sight

Merry Christmas to all, and to all a good night

A little bit of fun with a classic. And now it’s time for my Wine of the Week…

Bouchard Aine & Fils Beaujolais Superiore

Last week I told you about an easy to drink great-priced Pinot Noir from Bouchard, Aine & Fils. This week, I had the opportunity to try its sister wine, the Beaujolais Superiore. My small bubble of 3 other friends get together Tuesday evenings for a games night. Because my friend Angie & I both drink red, so we take turns bringing the wine. This is the wine Angie bought this week, and it’s so funny, because I have a friend Nancy who gave me a bottle as well, that’s still in my wine rack.

This is a great wine for Christmas, because it’s so food friendly. This wine pairs well with charcuterie boards, cheese, cold cuts, fish dishes like salmon and chicken and turkey as well. Bouchard Aine & Fils have been part of the wine trade in Burgundy and Beaujolais for over 200 years, so you know they make a good Beaujolais. Beaujolais is a medium-bodied easy to drink wine with notes of cherry and candied bananas. The Superiore means the grapes were picked at the height of ripeness, thus making it ‘superior’. This wine is also an amazing deal. Are you sitting down? It’s $16.99 a bottle here in Nova Scotia. A reminder this is not a wine that is meant to be aged. Drink it within 2 years for best results.

A friend of mine Sandra, has a kitty cat, Bidou, who will only drink his water out of a wine glass. I have the proof on video, and was hoping to share it. However, the file size was too big, the blog wouldn’t accept it. It is the cutest thing I’ve ever seen.

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

Darlene

Wine – Gift Giving Made Easy!

I’m easy to shop for

I’ve always said, I’m the easiest person in the world to shop for. Head to the closest place that sells wine, and you’re my new best friend. Don’t think for a minute that wine lovers look at a gift of wine wine as an ‘easy’ gift. For me, it’s a great gift, of which I am very appreciative. And when I’m enjoying that particular wine, I always think fond memories of the person who gave it to me. 2020 has been has been stressful enough. So I’m going to give you some great gift-giving ideas for the wine lover in your life.

When I became a Certified Sommelier in April of 2017, I started doing a lot of wine tastings. I did them for small and larger groups, and I always bought a sparkling wine. Did you know there are still so many people that believe sparkling wines are sweet. This Mionetto Prosecco was a crowd favorite.

Mionetto Prosecco

It is such a great time to buy Prosecco right now. I was at the NSLC the other day (surprise surprise!) and so many are on sale, including this one from Mionetto. Prosecco makes a great gift because even if you don’t feel like drinking a sparkling wine, there are so many cocktails you can make with Prosecco. Mionetto has been making Prosecco since 1887, when Francesco Mionetto opened a winery just north of Venice, Italy. It’s a great wine, a great gift, and it’s under $18 right now.

Another great wine for the white wine lover on your list.

Gianmaria Cesari

A couple of years ago I had the privilege of meeting Italian winemaker Gianmaria Cesari, the son of Umberto Cesari, when he spoke in Halifax a couple of years ago. He introduced me to one of my favorite white wines and I have been bringing it to wine tastings ever since.

Moma White

Moma white is made from the Trebbiano grape, with Sauvignon Blanc and some Chardonnay, and comes from the Emilia Romagna region of Italy, known more for Balsamic Vinegar and Parmesan cheese. This winery is also making some spectacular wine. This delicious elegant white wine features flavors of apple and pear, and is priced under $18. A perfect party pleaser.

Here’s a fun side dish for any holiday entertaining you are thinking of doing.

Roasted Garlic Butter Parmesan Potatoes

So I posted this recipe on my Facebook page, saying I was going to make the potatoes last Sunday. The potatoes I had in my pantry had gone a little wonky, so I decided not to make them. I had almost 100 people reach out to see how they turned out. So I made them mid-week. I did mine on the BBQ, but you know you can use your BBQ like a hot oven as well.

My finished version

I have to say, they turned out pretty darn good. One difference, the recipe calls for 6 cloves of garlic, I used 3 cloves of fresh garlic, and they were lots garlicky! You may want to be careful with this recipe if you’re planning a passionate evening, unless both of you are eating the potatoes. You can get the recipe for the Roasted Garlic Parmesan Potatoes here.

Melted butter, garlic, Italian seasoning, salt & Pepper

I parboiled them at first and then coated them in this marinade of goodness. Cooked them, and in the final minutes melted more butter, added chopped up bacon, and more parmesan. A delicious and different side dish. God I love potatoes, they are so versatile and you can have them so many different way. Let’s get back to the wine. I’m so excited to tell you about the new wine I tried this week.

My Wine of the Week….

Pinot Noir Perfect

You know me, I love Pinot Noir, it’s probably my favorite grape. And I love finding great wines at great prices. This one hit the jackpot. The Bouchard Aine & Fils might be a mouthful to say, but its also a mouthful of flavor. It’s a French Pinot Noir from the Languedoc-Roussillon region of France, which is known more for GSM’s, Grenache Syrah & Mourvedre wines, but this Pinot Noir is delightful.

Bouchard, Aine & Fils Pinot Noir

It’s a great light to medium-bodied easy to drink wine. This is a great wine for white wine drinkers, who want to dip their toe in the red wine world. And it’s so affordable right now. It’s on sale here in Nova Scoita for $13.99, which makes it an unbelievable value. This wine is also a perfect pairing for food this holiday season. From appetizer snacks like cheese, fruit and crackers, to your main meal of ham, chicken or fish. At this price, don’t walk to the liquor store, run!

A trip to Bordeaux, France

I want to invite all of you to join us for a free webinar on Wednesday, December 9th. You’ll learn about River cruising and the trip to Bordeaux in 2022. We all need something to look forward to after this year. We’re going to have a sip of wine (of course), talk about a wonderful trip, and did I mention it’s free. You can sign up here.

A big welcome to all the new followers this week of this blog. Welcome to the wine journey.

Darlene

New to Wine (Part 2)

Lots to choose from

There was such an overwhelming response to my wine blog last week, New to Wine, Maybe I can Help, that I decided to expand on that. One of the things I always try to do with my wine blog and with my wine tastings, is take the intimidation out of buying and trying wine. Most people who read this blog already like wine on some level, but if you know someone wanting to dip their toe into the wine world, pass along this blog. If you are just getting started, here are a few wines to start your wine journey. And for those readers who love wine already, if you haven’t already tried these 5 wines, you should give them a try.

Bolla Prosecco – $17.99
  1. Prosecco

Prosecco has done such an amazing job of winning the Sparkling wine world over. It’s a beautiful crisp dry sparkling wine (not sweet) that is not expensive. It is delicious all on it’s own, perfect with appetizers and hors d’oeuvres, or you can turn it into a holiday cocktail.

Cranberry Pomegranate Cocktail

Check out this Cranberry Pomegranate holiday cocktail, you can get the recipe here.

The remaining 4 wines that critics and wine lovers feel you should try, are 2. Chardonnay

3. Pinot Grigio

4. Pinot Noir and

5. Cabernet Sauvignon.

Personally I recommend you try something lighter than a Cabernet Sauvignon or a Shiraz, if you are just starting out in the wine world. Here’s the wine I always get people to try when they want to try red wine, or are white wine drinkers but would like to try red, or even new to wine. I present ‘Beaujolais’.

Beaujolais

It’s not only fun to say, it’s fun to drink. On the 3rd Thursday in November, considered World Beaujolais Day, the year’s wine crop is released to the world. Beaujolais is consumed as new and fresh as possible to keep those candied fruit flavors. There are 5 regions of Burgundy (Bourgogne) and Beaujolais is the southern most tip. It also produces more wine than all the other 4 regions combined. Wine expert Karen McNeil says Beaujolais is ‘the only white wine that is red in color’. You also serve this wine very chilled, and it goes great with salads, picnics and appetizers. The Bel Air Beaujolais I have here is one I haven’t tried yet, but bought it yesterday and I’m looking forward to it. Beaujolais is not expensive and tends to be under $20 a bottle.

And now for my wine of the week…

But first, I have to tell you about my new BBQ.. yes the knobs light up for BBQing in the evenings when its dark (Yay!)

I love the fact the knobs light up
It has a rotisserie
Had both the BBQ & the Traeger Grill going

And yes, that is a glass of red wine between the two. You can’t be barbecuing and grilling without a beverage to keep you company.

And what was in that glass?

It’s on sale right now

Whenever I see this wine on sale, I absolutely have to have one. And its on sale this week! Meomi Pinot Noir is one of the richest Pinot Noir wines I have ever tried, and it’s complex flavors of mocha and cherries from winemaker Jason Becker gives it this week’s wine of the week. If you don’t think Pinot Noir can stand up to big grilled meats, you have not tried Meomi. The grapes come from 3 regions, Sonoma, Monterey and Santa Barbara, and you’ll be bringing all the classic and dramatical flavors from the California coast, without the price tag that usually accompanies that.

This is why I’m single

Well, that’s it for me for this week. Have a great week, and thanks for reading.

Till next week, Cheers

Darlene

Happy Hallowine!

A great day to drink some wine

I would like to thank everyone who reached out last week, disappointed because I couldn’t do a wine blog because of Internet issues. I am really appreciative to everyone who takes time to read my blogs each week about wine and food. It warms a girl’s heart. You know what else warms a girl’s heart… Wine! Let’s talk some food & wine.

My friends Fred & Arla left Thursday to head to Alberta to take care of their grandson for 3 months. And the best news I received this week, is that they are letting me babysit their Traeger Grill!

Traeger Grill

I can’t tell you how much I am loving cooking on this grill. The other night I had my BBQ going to do the potatoes, I had chicken wings and a steak on the Traeger.

Before
After

I had a glass of wine on the go, I had some tunes going, and I was grilling and smoking my steak and wings on the Traeger. As they say on the website, Welcome to the Traeger-hood! I love adding smoke flavor to my wings, chicken, steak and I did the ultimate last night,,,, ribs

OMG! Smoked ribs

They were so good. And while some guys might love a beer while they are grilling, I love a glass of red while cooking outdoors. Here’s what I enjoyed last night while grilling and eating!

Burnt Ship Bay Cabernet Merlot

From the Niagara region in Ontario, a big thank you to my friends Fred & Arla for bringing me this wine, a Cabernet Sauvignon / Merlot blend. Burnt Ship Bay Winery is named after a small bay that lies in the heart of the Niagara River, where these grapes are grown. The bay is known for being the final resting place for treasure-laden French ships. This blend, which also contains some Cabernet Franc, is about $13.50 right now. Sadly, you can’t buy this wine where I live, so my friends had it shipped in, because the winery is offering free shipping on a case of wine right now. It says right on their website to pair this wine with grilled meats, so I did! A match made in heaven.

Burnt Ship Pinot Grigio

I’ve also had the opportunity to try the Pinot Grigio. Arla loves the Pinot Grigio, so a few weeks back I got to try this gorgeous white as well. It was a great Pint Grigio with tasty citrus and tropical notes. This wine is priced under $14 as well, and is really a steal of a deal.

Want to know the really funny part?

Fall is so pretty in Halifax

I live in an apartment building in Halifax, in an area that has a lot of apartment buildings. And every once in a while, the Traeger will release this plume of smoke. It smells awesome, but I was worried one of my neighbours was going to call the fire department last night! LOL I had the ribs on the smoker for almost 3 hours, and they came out amazing. I was so anxious to eat them, I forgot to take a picture of the finished product. But no worries, it won’t be my last time doing ribs on this grill. Best I’ve ever made.

Time for my wine of the week…

Portillo Pinot Noir

There used to be a saying ‘Never trust a Pinot Noir under $20’! That rule no longer applies. Pinot Noir was traditionally a more expensive red, because its known as the ‘heartbreak grape’. The skin of a Pinot Noir grape is so thin, its easy for an entire crop to be wiped out. This wine is just $14.49 a bottle and it’s a very light, fruity and easy to drink Pinot Noir. It hails from Argentina, and a warm climate Pinot Noir can taste a little jammy, because the consistently warm weather allows a red grape to fully ripen. Some people would miss the acidity that comes with a cool climate Pinot. Try a Pinot Noir from Canada and you’ll know what I mean. It’s a great wine at a great price and definitely worth the try.

Stay safe tonight

So tonight its Halloween, the clocks go back an hour, and it’s a full moon. 2020 continues to be interesting! Stay safe everyone. I’m going to stay in and enjoy some wine.

Till next week, Cheers

Darlene

Thankful

Who would have thought, last Thanksgiving, (here in Canada) that a year later Thanksgiving might looks quite different. I know with 2020 being an absolute wonky year with a Global pandemic, some people may find it hard this Thanksgiving. I hope you can find something to be grateful for, and I hope you are safe and healthy. I am thankful for so many wonderful things in my life.

Riley

I have my family, who are all healthy, and my nephew Riley, who is going to St. FX this year. He is up for a turkey dinner and a visit with his Aunt Dar. We’re having it earlier than most people, but that’s OK! So grateful he is living in Nova Scotia.

Road trip to Liverpool

I have amazing friends, I am so very grateful for.

My stuffed Turkey

I am grateful to have food on my table, coffee in my cup and wine in my glass.

Let’s talk about some wine, and even pair it with your Thanksgiving dinner. You can’t talk turkey without talking about the white wine.

Wine of the Week last week

The Wine of the Week last week would be a great wine for turkey. Flavorful, but not over-powering, it would be a great compliment for the gobble gobble. And at $14.49 a bottle, you can afford to feed it to your family.

Pinot Grigio is another great turkey wine

Pinot Grigio is another great turkey wine. With its crisp acidity, in my opinion, it’s the perfect pairing for a turkey. But here’s the thing about wine, if you like the wine with turkey, it’s a great wine to go with turkey. Wine is a very personal choice, and I’m only here to give a couple of suggestions, if needed.

If you’re a die hard red wine person, here’s the wine I had last night with my turkey dinner with Riley.

Pepperwood Grove Zinfandel

I shouldn’t tease you with this wine because I’m pretty sure the NSLC is sold out of it. But where ever you live in Canada or the U.S., if you see this wine, it’s really really good. We found out through the website Yarmouth, Nova Scotia had 6 bottles, and my good friend Angie has a daughter that lives in Yarmouth.

My friend Angie and I

So low and behold, we bought them out, and was able to enjoy the delicious Pepperwood Grove Old Vine Zinfandel. Any Zinfandel would go great, or if you love Italian wine, try a Primitivo. They are not expensive and it’s the same grape as Zinfandel. You would never know if you tried an American Zinfandel and an Italian Primitivo side by side. Even though they are the same grape, the Americans and the Italians have different ways of working with the grape, but both are delicious.

And now for my Wine of the Week

Montes Cabernet Sauvignon

The Colchagua region of Chile are putting out spectacular Cabernet Sauvignon wines. Chilean winemakers have had help from skilled winemakers all over the world, including the Napa Valley and France. The great thing about a Chilean Cabernet Sauvignon is that you are not paying the same price tag. This Chilean Cabernet Sauvignon is under $19 a bottle and goes perfect with all your favorite Fall comfort foods. Don’t you find as the weather gets cooler, you are drinking more Cabernet Sauvignon?

In 1987, Aurelio Montes and Douglas Murray, both highly experienced wine professionals in Chile, wanted to produce Chilean wines a quantum-leap higher in quality than the standards of the time. In 1988, they joined up with the other two founders, Alfredo Vidaurre and Pedro Grand, who brought their own complementary skills and expertise to the venture. Thus Montes was born. And now you too can enjoy a fantastic Cabernet at a wonderful price. Enjoy!

To all my readers, I am especially grateful for you as you come with me on this wine journey I am so very much enjoying. Have a wonderful long weekend, and stay safe!

Darlene