Archive for the Wine Category

The Health Benefits of Wine

Posted in Wine on May 13, 2017 by darmyers

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The best news in any wine lovers day comes in the form of health benefits of wine.  For us wine lovers, it’s another benefit alongside the great taste.  For starters, it promotes a longer life.  And what would life be without wine!

It has been said, Wine drinkers have a 34 percent lower mortality rate than beer or spirits drinkers. **Source: a Finnish study of 2,468 men over a 29-year period, published in the Journals of Gerontology, 2007.

White wine benefits

I’m going to start with the benefits of white wine.  Many people don’t know this, but white wine has many of the same benefits of red wine.  It prevents blockage of the arteries and white wine also contains antioxidants that prevent disease and brings a glow to your skin.  And I bet you thought the glow was from too much wine.  Here are a couple of white wines that you can start enjoying the benefits of.

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The first wine on the left is a locally made wine, hailing from the Gaspereau Vineyards in the Annapolis Valley of Nova Scotia Canada.  Gaspereau Vineyards Muscat is a very aromatic wine and I loved the passion fruit and grapefruit flavors.  On the nose there is a tinge of sweetness, but the wine is actually nice and dry with no sweetness.  There are over 200 varieties of the Muscat grape, and so the wine can range from sweet to dry  to rose.  It’s a very food friendly wine too and great for appetizers and charcuterie boards.  On the right, is a refreshing Chardonnay out of Australia and Hardy Vineyards.  Actually, it was one of the wines made to celebrate William Hardy’s 40 years in the wine business.  I had the opportunity to meet him and he was such a nice gentleman, and I bought a few of the bottles to celebrate his 40th Anniversary and he was kind enough to sign each and every one of them.  Did you know that Chardonnay is the most popular wine variety in the world?  That’s a true statement.  And this one is really yummy and has nice peach flavors and hints of nectarine.  Chardonnay is also super food friendly and would go with just about any meal you would like to serve.

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The benefits of red wine are mind-blowing as well.  Not to mention it tends to put everyone in a good mood, there is also an ingredient in red wine called resveratrol, and that is said to have heart-healthy benefits.  Keeping in mind if you drink too much, it can do bad damage to the body, everything in moderation.  But studies have shown that benefits range from lowering cholesterol, boosts your brain power and fights off colds.  As if we didn’t already love it enough.

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Argentina is putting out some very good wine and this is no exception.  You probably won’t believe me that I paid $12.99 for this wine.  It’s the truth.  The wine is regularly priced at $14.99 and is $2 off right now, so I got to enjoy this wine for under $13.  It’s a medium bodied blend of Cabernet Sauvignon, and you guessed it… Syrah.  Lots of structure on this one and the oak is very noticeable.  If you are a person who doesn’t like oaky wines, you may want to stay away from this one.  But I liked it, it’s a good wine, and a great meat wine.  And you can’t beat the price.

And now for my wine of the week….

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It’s Italian!!  One of the wine tours I am doing in Tuscany is the Banfi vineyard, and I couldn’t be more excited.  One of the people I am going with is the wine rep here in Nova Scotia for Banfi wines, who happens to be Italian.  Dominica Bona Mancini is our guide tour and she and I are leaving a couple of days early to do Rome.  So the Toscana Cum Laude 2011 is $32.99 a bottle and so delicious.  It is mostly Cabernet Sauvignon with Merlot, Sangiovese and Syrah added in, it’s a Super Tuscan wine. There are all kinds of flavor going on in this wine from blackberries to olives, from plums to licorice.  Fantastic wine for  the price point.  I loved it.

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There will be no wine blog for the next 2 Saturdays as I am here…. our villa, a piece of heaven for the next 2 Saturdays.  I look forward to telling you all about it when I get back.

Till then, Cheers

Darlene

Expanding My Wine Horizons

Posted in Wine on April 22, 2017 by darmyers

Since my passion for wine started many years ago,  I’m always trying to encourage people to expand their wine horizons.   I understand some people are hesitant to buy a new wine unsure if they’re going to like it.  After all, wine is not cheap.   Thankfully some places where you buy wine allow you to taste.   This is always a great way for people to try new wine.   There are so many great wines, it would be a shame to just keep drinking the same one over and over!  Wine blogs are also a great way to get people’s opinion on wine.

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Now that the warmer weather is moving in, more people are starting to barbecue.  My running group met one day last week and I swear the entire town of Timberlea was barbecuing that night.  Here’s a great wine for all things barbecue.  The Chateau de la Tuilerie has been family owned since 1955 and make beautiful wines in the Rhone Valley region of France.  This Syrah is exceptionally interesting because it doesn’t see any oak, which is unusual for the Syrah / Shiraz grape.  However, it’s not missing any flavor or personality.  I thought this was a great wine and at $18 a bottle, it is definitely worth a try.

Collepino

Here’s another interesting wine at a great price.  One of the people I am going to Italy with is the wine rep here for Banfi wines, an Italian winery that has been making wine since 1919.  Once known for Lambrusco, ir as you might know it, Reunite.   Do you remember Reunite from the 70’s?

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The Colle Pino  May come from the same winery but is a completely different wine.  It combines a nice plump juicy Merlot with the traditional Italian grape Sangiovese for a really easy to drink pleasant wine.  It makes for a very interesting blend that I have come to associate with Tuscany.  It’s only $16.29 a bottle here and a perfect wine for pizza, mild cheeses, roast chicken and pasta.  At that price, it’s a wine you can enjoy any night of the week.

And now for my wine of the week…. And it comes with a story…

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Regular readers will know on May 18th I am heading to Italy.  We are spending a day and a half in Rome, before we head North to Tuscany.  We have a villa at a winery rented, and the winery is called Carpazo!  It’s in the heart of Montalcino, one of the regions of Tuscany.  Here are a couple of pictures.  Imagine my surprise when I walk into one of the boutique wine stores here in Halifax, and see a selection of wine from this winery.  So of course I had to buy one.

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Last Saturday night, my friend Judy and I popped open the 2014 Rosso Di Montalcino from the winery I will be staying at while in Italy.  It was so good.  It was $30 a bottle here, and I have to be honest, I am looking forward to seeing how much this wine is going to cost me over there.  But I had to buy it, and I’m glad I did.  Made from the Sangiovese grape, this easy to drink wine was young and fresh but very tasty.  Caparzo was established in the later part of the 1960’s.  The estate is located on a hillside area 220 metres above sea level, facing south and south-east. They grow Sangiovese, Sangiovese Grosso, Cabernet Sauvignon, Chardonnay, Sauvignon Bland and Traminer. The company has grown and adapted with the times all while maintaining and respecting the traditions of the terroir.  The villa on site, which is known as The Casa, is available for rent, and that’s where we will be staying. Wine Saturday 2

That’s it for me this week, and remember, so many wines, so little time!

Till next week Cheers

Darlene

 

 

I’m Officially A Wine Sommelier

Posted in Wine on April 15, 2017 by darmyers

 

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5 years, 200+ hours in the classroom, 23 exams, countless projects and papers, and blind-test tasting approximately 600 wines… but I did it.  On Sunday night I officially became a Certified Sommelier with the Canadian Association of Professional Sommeliers.

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Here I am accepting the designation from the two greatest instructors a girl could ask for.  Mark DeWolf, who is President of the Canadian Association of Professional Sommeliers, just taking over the National Presidency January 1st of this year, and Carman Mills, who is a Professor at Dalhousie University and one of the most knowledgeable wine people I have ever met.

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It was an action packed weekend as my friend Judy and I took a master wine class from the Languedoc-Roussillon region of France. It was hosted by Jean-Phillipe Turgeon, representing the wines of Gérard Bertrand.  We started the afternoon with 15 gorgeous wines, including white, red  and rose.   They also sponsored the gala dinner that night and provided the wines.   It was a fabulous evening with some spectacular wines .  I would like to share some of my favorites from that day and night.

Picpoul

This was my favorite white wine of the day, and they served it with the appetizer course at dinner.  Most of the people at the gala dinner had a scallop appetizer, but because of allergies, I had the salad.  Not only was the salad delicious,  this was a delightful pairing.   Picpoul, also known as Folle Blanche, is a white grape variety that originated around the Cognac and Armagnac region of France.   Picpoul is sometimes blended in with red wines but this standalone was fantastic and a great wine for an appetizer.

Legend

What a treat… we got to enjoy the 1969 Rivesaltes Legend by Gerard Bertrand… at $199 a bottle, let’s just say it was the treat of the night.   It’s a very full bodied wine with Granache as the grape variety.  Fortification haltsthe activity of the yeast before it can convert all the sugar into alcohol,  giving it a tinge of sweetness.  This wine is then aged in wooden casks for as much as 50 years.   Beautiful cherry brandy flavours along with some tobacco makes for a great wine.

Corbieres

 

This is the Gerard Bertrand Corbieres (pronounced without the ‘s’ on the end, like Corbiere.  This is a great wine at a great value.  This wine is $19.99 a bottle here in Nova Scotia, and again is made with the Grenache grape.  Did you know Grenache is the grape variety used to make Chateauneuf du Pape!  Licorice and spice accompany the fruit flavors  and is a great wine for the upcoming barbeque season .

And now for my one of the week….

Hospitalites

I know what you’re thinking, she didn’t pick the $199 bottle of wine as her wine of the week.  This is still a treat winebut I enjoy this one much more.  Again from Gerard Bertrand, the L’Hospitalitas is made from a blend of Syrah and Mourvedre.   This vineyard is along the coast of the Mediterranean Sea and the grapes benefit from that beautiful Mediterranean climate.   This particular plot is at the bottom of a 90 foot cliff protecting it from wind.   Probably makes for a challenging harvest,  can you imagine picking those grapes?   It is $67 a bottle here where I live,  and in my opinion it’s worth every penny.

Well,  that’s it for this week.  Thank you to all my readers and supporters who sent me messages of support!  I really appreciate it.

Till next week, Cheers

Darlene

Arriverderci March!

Posted in Wine on April 1, 2017 by darmyers

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And good riddance!  It’s April 1st, thank goodness.  We had worse weather in March than we did in January…. It’s like once winter came it didn’t want to go away.  I’m sure you didn’t miss the Italian reference in the title.   The countdown is on for May 18th,  which is the day I leave for Italy.   There are four wine tours included plus a cooking class so I’m super excited.

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It’s only fitting that our first wine of the day comes from Italy.   The beautiful Sartori  L’Appassione is a gorgeous wine from Veneto made from the Corvina grape.  The Corvina grape makes for a deliciously smooth juicy wine that’s easy to drink.   This is a wonderful wine to go with any pork dish and it’s under $18 a bottle .   I love wines that are easy on the palate and easier on the pocketbook

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Our next wine  of the day takes us to Spain,  with a delicious Ribera Del Duero.   Now that’s the region in Spain where the wine comes from, the grape is Tempranillo.   Tempranillo  is probably one of the grapes from Spain that make up the backbone of some of the finest wines that come out of the country.   Wines from Ribera Del Duero and Rioja tend to have Tempranillo as its base.  This was a medium to full-bodied wine with a beautiful finish on the palate that just stayed with you.  Gorgeous tannins, great fruit and that nice finish.  A great price point, coming in under $18.

And  now it’s time for my wine of the week ….

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This is brand-new for me, and probably one of the hottest deals at our liquor store.  All 3 wines featured today were all under $20 and spectacular wines to boot.

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And you will notice from the sticker on the label,  Robert Parker gave this wine 91 Points.  And the best part…. It’s $15.99 a bottle.  That’s not a typo, it’s under $16.  Had it last night for the first time, and it was outstanding.  The flower on the bottle is a passion flower, and I am so passionate about good wine at great prices.  Monastrell is the Spanish name for Mourvedre, and Mourvedre tends to be the famous ‘M’ in a GSM blend, which is Grenache, Syrah and Mourvedre.  Spain was gutsy enough to have the ‘M’ stand on its own, and made a beautiful Monastrell wine.  I had it with a barbecue last night, but this wine will go with everything and is great all on its own.  Fantastic wine at a spectacular price point.  This is the wine I will be telling all my friends about.

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Well, that’s it for this week.  Have a wonderful weekend, and till next week, Cheers

Darlene

 

 

 

Italy – Here I Come

Posted in Wine on March 25, 2017 by darmyers

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So, this happened this week.  I booked a trip to go to Tuscany, Italy.  I’ve never been to Europe before, so it’s my first time crossing that ocean.  I am going as part of a wine tour.  Going with a like-minded group of people, who all love wine, and we’ve rented a villa in Tuscany.  And it has a pool, and there’s going to be wine, lots of wine.  Apologies to my liver in advance.  So for the beginning of this blog, we are heading to Tuscany,  The launch vibrant rolling hills of Tuscany!

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I got to enjoy this beauty when I was taking my Methods in Modern Winemaking course.  This is a beautiful Classico Chianti from Marchesa Antinori.  Is it a coincidence that my first wine is from the Tuscany region, I think not!  It’s a beautiful Chianti that is 90% Sangiovese and 10% Cabernet Sauvignon.  Antinori was the first vineyard to ignore DOC regulations and make a Chianti style wine that blended Sangiovese and Cabernet, back in 1971.  Others followed suit and Super Tuscan wines were becoming a fantastic hit among consumers. Regular readers will remember me talking about Super Tuscan wines in the past.  They are wines from Tuscany that incorporate non-Italian grapes like Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon.  We enjoyed it in a blind taste test and the brownish hue told me it was an older wine. There were some wood notes on the nose, along with stewed fruits and spice.  Aged in oak for 14 months, the tannins are great on this wine and it says Italian all the way.

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Another well known winemaker from Tuscany is the Frescobaldi name.  This is one of the vineyards we will be visiting on our wine tours, and I am so looking forward to it.  The name Frescobaldi and Tuscany go hand in hand, as the family has been making wine there for 700 years.  Imagine how well you do something, when you’ve been doing it for 700 years.   This is also one of the very affordable Frescobaldi Chianti wines, selling for just $18.  Medium-bodied and very fruity, its a lovely expression of a Tuscan wine.

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We are going to leave Italy and head to Nova Scotia.  Isn’t it great how wine allows you to do that.  This locally made Baco Noir from Blomidon Estate was fantastic.  Baco Noir is grown in several areas of Canada, including Nova Scotia, and I love its inky dark color.  It’s a hybrid grape, which means its a cross between two other grapes, and grows well in cooler climates like Canada.  This one has hints of smoky blueberries and is a fantastic wine to go with pork dishes.

And now for my wine of the week, we head to France…

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This delcious wine is from the Burgundy region in France, and is of course Pinot Noir.  Very fruity wine with strawberry and cherry flavors, and its also a very balanced wine.  Soft tannins makes for a smooth journey from  palate to tummy.  I was reading that the wine cellars of this vineyard in Burgundy contains over 100,000 bottles of wine, the oldest dating back to 1908.  Imagine getting locked in that wine cellar!  At $50 a bottle, it’s a treat, but worth it.

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Well, that’s it for me this week.   In the upcoming week I may have to be trying a few more Tuscan wines.  I don’t leave until May 19th so it won’t be all Italian between now and then?

Until next week, Cheers

Darlene

 

 

Try Something New!

Posted in Wine on March 18, 2017 by darmyers

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Last weekend I took a wine course, ‘Methods in Modern Winemaking’, which is another chapter as I move closer to my Sommelier accreditation.  I am so close.   This course was taught by the talented winemaker of Blomidon Estate Winery in the Annapolis Valley region of Nova Scotia.  And while we were learning, we were also experimenting.  I think we tried 31 new wines last weekend, and although I had to spit out most of them as I was driving,  there were a few that I finished.  Here are a few of the highlights.

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You know how some people like to eat dessert before their main meal.  I’m going to take that approach with this week’s wine blog and start with a dessert wine.  The Chateau Coutet Sauternes Barsac comes to us from the southwestern part of Bordeaux, and is one of the oldest Sauternes producing vineyards.  Making heavenly dessert wines, I always thought I didn’t like sweet wines, until I experienced Sauternes or Royal Tokaji from Hungary.  This is a taste of heaven in a glass.  This estate dates back to the 1600’s, which means they have been making wine for a long long time…. and they are getting it right. I think it’s a perfect after-meal compliment, it will satisfy that sweet tooth without needing a heavy dessert.  Gorgeous rich flavors of apricots,honey, and vanilla.  Worth the treat, and you deserve it.

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I can’t talk about dessert wines without mentioning the locally made Blomidon Vin de Paille. (pronounced Vin de Pie!)  This is an exciting new style for this Nova Scotia vineyard, as it is a straw wine.  As a matter of fact, Vin de Paille is french for straw wine.  It is 100% Chardonnay grapes laid out on straw beds to dry for a significant time at the Blomidon estate.  Once sufficiently dried, it is pressed and fermented and then it sits in oak casks for two years before bottling.  Lovely orange and citrus flavors, with a very long lasting finish on the wine, this is a winner.  And the national critics agree, one giving it 90 Points and a great price point at just $35.

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So let’s head to the main course.  One of my colleagues taking the course with me bought in this wine for us to try and we all shared it together.  It was fantastic, and it’s another Canadian beauty.  From the Niagara region in Ontario, the 2011 Domaine Quelus Cabernet Franc Merlot blend was made by legendary winemaker Thomas Bachelder.  Named 2009’s winemaker of the year and known for his elegant European style, it came as no surprise this was awesome. This particular vintage won Gold at wine competitions and is regularly given 92+ points across the board.  I love a good Bordeaux style blend, and this didn’t disappoint.  Full-bodied with juicy fruit flavors from the Merlot and a nice floral note from the Cab Franc, it also has some nice tobacco flavors from the oak.  A stellar wine, and a big thank you for allowing me to share this.

And now for my wine of the week….

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Please excuse the Tim Horton’s cups in the background, we were using them as spitoons during the wine tasting.  This Luis Felipe Edwards 2012 Dona Bernardo is a spectacular Bordeaux style blend from the Colchagua Valley in Chile.  The lovely lady on the bottle is the winemaker’s mother.  It’s primarily Cabernet Sauvignon with some Shiraz, Carmenere and Petite Verdot added in, for a wonderfully complex and interesting wine.  This wine is $40 a bottle here where I live in Nova Scotia and worth every penny.  If  you are going to treat yourself to a good cut of beef, add this wine to the list and make it a Wow dining experience.

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What a week for wine it’s been.  And then  yesterday I went to visit my friend Rayell and we tasted a couple of spectacular Italian wines.  I will tell you all about them next week.

Till next week, Cheers

Darlene

 

2017 Wine Trends

Posted in Wine on February 11, 2017 by darmyers

 

The world of wine is constantly changing.  It’s one of the things I enjoy most about wine, however that can be confusing for some wine drinkers.  Each year I do a wine blog on information I have read from wine experts around the world, predicting what the upcoming trends will be.  Trends can come and go, so don’t feel bad if your taste in wine stays the same.  Just so you know, I get this information from several sources, and put it together in what is, hopefully, an easy-to-read wine blog.

 

1`.  More Information

The more people drink wine, it seems the more they want to learn about wine.  I am constantly being asked to host at-home wine tastings so that people can learn more about wine.  Wine tastings give people the opportunity to try some different wines that they may not normally buy.  I read an article this past week that said my home province of Nova Scotia has more Sommeliers than any other province in Canada.  Isn’t that great!  And, fingers crossed, I will graduate and join those ranks in April.  And more knowledge doesn’t have to mean accredited Sommelier, it can be as simple as learning more information about your favorite wine or the region it comes from.   For many people it’s discovering what they like about their favourite wine so they can try new wines that are similar.

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2.  Drinking In vs Drinking out

I read an article in the past few weeks that says ‘on-site’ wine drinking is seeing a bit of a decline, while liquor stores and wine stores are seeing an increase in sales from year to year.  So we are drinking less in restaurants, and more at home.  And it makes sense.  First of all, Congratulations if you don’t imbibe while out and about. That way you don’t have to worry about the drinking and driving.  I think  there was a time in the past many people felt a couple of drinks wouldn’t hurt and they were still safe to drive.  I think people are becoming more and more careful when it comes to drinking and driving.  Plus eating out can be expensive.  Even among my group of friends,I notice we get together for dinner’s  in one of our homes, as opposed to going out to a restaurant.  I think more and more, people are entertaining in their homes.  It’s cozier, more intimate, more relaxed and definitely easier on the pocketbook.

3.  Red Blends Remain Hot

I write quite frequently about Red blends, I personally am a big fan. The mind shift of ‘blends’ is changing and blended wine sales grew by over 10% in 2015.  There was a time many years ago, a blended wine was considered a lower quality.  This is no longer the case, as quality vineyards and qualified winemakers are putting out spectacular wine blends.  And it’s interesting to note in the United States, for a label to carry just one of the grapes,  it doesn’t necessarily mean there’s just that one grape in the bottle .  For example, for a label to say ‘Cabernet Sauvignon’, there must be at least 85% Cabernet in the bottle, and 75% of those grapes from the region stated on the label.  The other 15% of varietals can be made up of a combination of grapes ‘blended in’.  In Oregon, that percentage must be 95%, and 100% of the grapes must be from Oregon.  And different countries and different regions have different labelling laws.  I’m telling you this so you realize you could be drinking a blend and not know it, because the manufacturer is just listing one grape on the front of the bottle.   Here are some of my favorite blended wines.

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4.  Wine in A Can

I couldn’t ignore it.  Believe me, I tried.  Several articles are listing one of the hot trends for 2017 is wine in a can.  I’m sorry, let me rephrase that.  Increased sales of wine in a can.  Wine in a can is already a thing.  And they say you are going to be able to get good wine in a can.  If it comes to Eastern Canada, I will be trying it.  Canned wine sales doubled last year.  People are looking for convenience, and since Millenials are going to be playing a huge role in the world of wine, apparently they are not drawn into the romance of popping a cork.  They would just as soon pop the tab of a can.

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And  now it’s time for my wine of the week ….

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The Tallimba Grove Uncensored Shiraz hails from Australia and  it is very very good.  It has a price point of about $17,  and after tasting it I had to double check the price.   It had been in my wine rack for a few weeks and I had forgotten the lovely price point.   I know it’s only February but you may want to pick up a couple of bottles for when you start barbecuing.  This is a great wine for all things barbecue.  Rich fruit with spicy notes and a really nice lingering finish.  Its my pick of the week.

Wine bad weather

I think all of Canada is experiencing quite the cold snap and some nasty snowstorm is as well.   Our friends on the eastern seaboard of the United States also had a rough week weatherwise.  I thought this was a fitting end to this week’s wine blog.

Till next week, Cheers

Darlene