Wine Trends of 2022

Every year, I take one of my first wine blogs of a New Year and talk about upcoming trends in the wine world. I’m always reading about wine and so I find it interesting when they come to fruition. In the past, I have written about wine in cans, Rose becoming even more popular and online wine sales growing. Here’s a few trends to look for this year.

  1. Chilling Red Wines

Putting light and fruity red wines into an ice bucket, just like you would white wines, has been a practice of Sommeliers in culinary hot spots like New York and San Francisco for years now. This trend has taken off everywhere. It’s no longer taboo to chill red wines, and people were once embarrassed for putting ice in red wine, but our room temperatures are too warm for red wine. This is a topic that comes up in every wine tasting. People admitting to chilling red wine. Well, I do too. I try to bring it down to 15-degrees Celsius. And your lighter fruitier wines like Beaujolais, Pinot Noir and Zinfandel taste much better when chilled. Here’s a wine you can try chilling and let me know what you think.

Bread & Butter Pinot Noir

This wine has made a bit of a comeback in my wine rack. I’ve had it the last few Friday nights and I just love it. Smooth, easy to drink and much better when chilled. It’s $23 a bottle and available in just about every province in Canada. I enjoyed it while home for Christmas as well.

2. Low Alcohol Wines

People are choosing a healthier lifestyle and many people can be conflicted with choosing healthy and still enjoying their favorite beverage, whether it be with a meal or all on its own. Wine makers are listening, and more are coming out with low alcohol or zero alcohol wines.

Nova Scotia’s award winning winery Benjamin Bridge has come out with a non-alcohol version called Piquette Zero.

I haven’t tried it yet, but their website describes it as

“Piquette Zero is a lively and delicious alcohol-free wine-style beverage, offering a creative and unprecedented craft option to industrially dealcoholized wines that are so often stripped of their character.”

3. Cocktails will be popular and simple

One of my favorite cocktails

I made this cocktail for guests last Christmas and have served it several times since. Easy. Cranberry juice, Prosecco, lime juice and fresh cranberries in the glass to give it a festive look, and a lime wedge. You could take it a step further by adding a liquor like Grand Marnier.

Beauty of Chaos Cabernet

I have tried this beauty recently, and it’s appropriately called Beauty of Chaos. On sale right now, it’s under $17 a bottle. From the Columbia Valley in Washington State, this big juicy Cabernet is a great wine at a great price. Gorgeous berry flavors.

Well, the Omicron variant has hit Atlantic Canada hard. I did get to Newfoundland for Christmas, which was awesome. As the sign says, wine is the glue that is holding this shitshow together.

Stay safe everyone. Till next week, Cheers

Darlene

Wine Tastings Are Fun

Some they tasted blind

Last Saturday evening I did a wine tasting. It was my 4th tasting in this building. We had some first-timers and some familiar faces. We had a lot of fun, some great laughs and we tried some great wines. My challenge for this wine tasting was two fold. It was important I didn’t bring any repeat wines, and I wanted to mix it up a bit.

A fun group of people

Some of you might feel intimidated at the thought of going to or attending a wine tasting. Don’t be! I’ve done wine tastings for as few as 6 people and as many as 30. Although last Saturday’s wine tasting was in the Common Room of an apartment building, I’ve done most in people’s homes. Get a group of friends together in your home, bring someone in that knows wine, and it will be fun and informative. Food is always a nice touch. Most people do a charcuterie board style with cheese, crackers and some meats.

So let’s talk some wine.

Grand Pre Sparkling

We kicked off the evening with a locally made Sparkling wine, from Grand Pre Vineyard in Nova Scotia. Champlain Sparkling Brut was named after Samuel de Champlain, the person credited with mapping Nova Scotia. This wine was made in the traditional method and is a gorgeous dry Sparkling wine.

Then we did comparisons, in both a white and a red. Let’s start with the white wine that won the evening.

Vinho Verde

Hands down the winner of the evening. Vinho Verde is a region in Portugal that is putting out some great wines at even greater prices. It is not a grape variety, it is a region. Most have some effervescence, this one had very little. Vinho Verde means green wine or young wine. Beautiful wine with great acidity and priced at $13.99. Pick one up this season to enjoy with family or friends. Great food wine.

As I mentioned earlier, we did a comparison of a couple of expensive wines, with reasonable priced wines, to show people that great wine doesn’t have to be expensive. We tasted them blindly, I had the wines in paper bags and we tasted them side by side. The lower priced wines won both times.

The top photo is the Heritage Chateauneuf du Pape, priced at $55. Almost 3 times the amount of the Cote du Rhone in the bottom picture. Most people liked the bottom wine more. Both from France, both from the same region, Cote du Rhone, and both made with the Grenache grape. The Cote du Rhone on the bottom also has Syrah added. It’s less than $18 at $17.78 and what a deal. Spectacular wine. And a great wine to have with your favorite comfort foods, now that the temperatures are dropping.

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

Darlene

Fun Facts About Wine

I must be a Genius

If this statement is true, I must be a freaking genius! I know wine can be responsible for some witty come-backs and awesome dance moves. We are going to have a bit of fun in this week’s wine blog with some fun facts about wine and I’ll tell you about a couple of new wines I tried this past week.

Did you know grapes are the most planted fruit in the world.

Now, grapes are used in making more than just wine. Some people eat them as is (boring!), they can also be used to makes jams, jellies, and juice. My favorite way to consume a grape, happens to be in a glass. A tonne of grapes can also produce 720 bottles of wine, so here’s to a tons of grapes.

Wine is mentioned in the Bible

There are all kinds of references to wine in the bible. The Bible also speaks of wine in general terms as a bringer and concomitant of joy, particularly in the context of nourishment and feasting. One of my favorite quotes “Go, eat your food with gladness, and drink your wine with a joyful heart”

During the early Roman times, it was forbidden for women to drink wine.

I’m a Champion

Officially, by Roman law, drinking wine by a woman was a crime and even the death penalty was sentenced. In addition, at Roman “parties”, the closest ones could kiss the girl on the lips to see if she had not been drinking before. Thankfully I wasn’t born back then. Whew! Hey, if you’re kissing my lips, there’s going to wine on them. Just a heads up.

 “Aroma” is the term for the fragrance of young wine, while “Mellow” is for old wine.

When I was studying to become a Sommelier, I learned the importance of smelling wine. Smelling your wine, is an important part of the tasting ritual. Wine tasters will stick their noses deep into a glass (an important reason not to fill it too high) and inhale deeply, then angle the glass this way and that as they continue to assess the wine’s aromas. In blind wine tastings, the aroma was very important in identifying a grape variety. My instructor used to say, you identify by your nose and confirm by tasting. And swirling the wine helps release the aromas. As a matter of fact, you’ll see me smell the wine first, swirl and smell it again. We learn the different aromas that are released by swirling.

Spitting wine can be acceptable.

But honestly, why spit. When I was studying to become a Sommelier, we tasted many wines each evening. One night it was up to 50. In a case like that you have to spit. At a wine-tasting event, it is also acceptable to spit the wine out. It is OK to take a sip of wine and hold it in your mouth for a few seconds and then decide to swallow or spit it out. This allows people to taste many different wines without getting drunk.

Fred, Angie, Joan & Me

My friends Fred & Arla got home from Alberta recently and we got together to have a glass of wine with Angie and Joan. We shared a wine that was given to me by my niece and her husband, when I had them over for dinner last Sunday.

Doug Gilmour 93 Red

I met Doug Gilmour briefly at the Radio Station I work at, when he was in for an interview while visiting Halifax. He was such a gentleman, kind and gracious to the staff. At the time, I had no idea he was such a wine lover. Apparently, wine has long been a passion of the Maple Leafs legend. I definitely would have chatted about that if I had known. Doug Gilmour 93 comes in both a white and red, and we enjoyed the red the other evening. It was a very interesting wine. It’s a blend of Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Cabernet Franc and Pinot Noir, and I can honestly say, it’s the first time I have had Pinot Noir mixed in with a traditional Bordeaux type of blend.

That’s it for me for this week. Happy Halloween!

Darlene

Thankful

It’s Thanksgiving weekend here in Canada, and although everyone will admit, the last 19 months have been extremely challenging, I hope we can all find something to be grateful for. Much of Canada is experiencing its 4th Wave of Covid-19 and some families and friends are not able to get together for Thanksgiving for the second year in a row. This has been very tough for many people, and hard on people’s hearts and mental health. Covid fatigue is a real thing, and I understand it completely.

Me voicing ads

But this weekend I am going to focus on the good things, and there are many of them. I have a great family, my Mom will be 87 in 3 months and she is doing great. I have a sister whom I adore, and her family is my family too. I have wonderful friends, that I feel I can count on and have helped me a lot over the past 19 months. I have a job that I really enjoy, (most of the time LOL). And I am grateful for this little fella, Gabriel.

Gabriel

Gabriel is a cat that was severely abused, and I started fostering him over three years ago. He was so scared when I first got him, he lived under the bed and hissed at me for 3 straight months.

Gabriel feels safe now

Now he’s turned into Mr. Social. He greets my friends at the door, and is just a gorgeous kitty. As you can see he had parts of his ears chopped off, and had his teeth kicked in, so you can understand why he was hesitant to trust. He is the baby of the household now, and he knows it.

Me & Tigger

I wasn’t always a cat person, I adopted Tigger when I lived out West and together we lived in 8 cities and towns in 4 provinces. He was over 20 years old when he passed, I had him for 20 years and the vet figured he was 5 months old when I adopted him. This is what good living looks like, Tigger was well known and well loved.

Leo aka Batman

After Tigger died, I didn’t know what to do. So I fostered a kitty cat that was very sick. He had feline leukemia and had limited time, but I got 2 years of wonderful enjoyment out of this ‘little’ fella! I swear Leo had it so good he hung on a lot longer than anyone thought he would. I always said he didn’t want to give up the treats or the good life. I only ever have 1 kitty at a time, and they seem to love all the attention.

So, let’s talk some wine.

Ruffino Prosecco

I’ve tried a new Prosecco recently and if you are planning on having any kind of celebration this weekend, try it. Prosecco is an Italian sparkling wine, that is tasty and inexpensive. This wine is $20, and most of them are under $20, so they are easy on the wallet. This one is dry and crisp with a light acidity and nice tart citrus flavors. Great for your appetizers, and we enjoyed this with a charcuterie board, and it was wonderful.

655 Miles Cabernet

Here’s a wonderful new red I’ve tried recently. 655 Miles Cabernet Sauvignon out of California. When I bought it, it was $17 and what a great price on a great wine. Well, I just checked and its on sale here in Nova Scotia, so I’ll definitely be adding a couple of bottles to the wine rack. It’s actually a blend of 92% Cabernet Sauvigngon, 5% Petite Sirah and 3% Syrah, so it’s a super interesting and complex wine. I searched and searched but couldn’t find the reason behind the name, 655 Miles. But it’s a beautiful bottle and the wine is full-bodied with a generous lingering finish and good tannins.

Have a wonderful Thanksgiving weekend to my Canadian friends and readers, and to the rest of the world, have a great weekend. Till next week, Cheers

Darlene

Wine Tastings Are Back

Last Friday I did my very first wine tasting in 18 months. Ask me if I was excited. It was so great to start them again, and what a way to kick off another wine-tasting season. We had so much fun and so many great wines.

Such a fun group

A very big thank you to Barb for hosting and to Donna for passing along my name, and to all the ladies who made it such fun. I hope the rest of your weekend was just as fun. We had some great laughs, tried some good wines, and some great wines. And the higher priced wines weren’t necessarily the best ones. We did 8 wines, and I’m going to start with the whites this week, and I’ll cover the reds next week.

We actually started with a Rose wine

Gerard Bertrand Rose

I absolutely loved this wine, and some of the ladies had had it before. This should become a new classic. It’s an excellent price at just $19.99 and a vibrant non-sweet rose wine that’s a blend of 3 grapes, Grenache, Cinsault and Syrah. I think it’s my new favorite rose. I’ll definitely be buying it againn.

Then we tried an amazing sparkling wine from award winning winemaker Jean Benoit Deslauriers at Benjamin Bridge here in Nova Scotia.

The hand-crafted small lot 2015 Brut from Benjamin Bridge was spectacular. Normally when I do wine tastings, I bring a great sparkling wine at a great price, like a Prosecco. However, when it’s a limited edition, small lot, and there was literally only 2 bottles left, you had to have one. Once this is gone, it’s gone, so what a wonderful treat for the ladies to share this wine. I have also bought the non-vintage Brut which is about $28. This beauty was $50, but it was a spectacular example of a traditional made sparkling wine, and we enjoyed every sip.

The true temperature of ‘room temperature’ red wine is always an interesting discussion at wine tastings.

The next white was a bit of a surprise to us, as it was the most expensive but no one picked it as their favorite.

Rose Rock Chardonnay

Oregon is one of my favorite Pinot Noir producing areas. And I thought that since Oregon is so similar in terroir to Burgundy France that the Chardonnay would be exceptional as well. This wine was $52 a bottle, and sadly, I don’t feel it was worth the money. The slogan is ‘French Soul, Oregon Soil’, and although I didn’t find the Chardonnay overly oaky, one of the ladies couldn’t drink it because she found it oaky. Everyone has a different palate. It was tasty, but I’ve tasted better for less money.

And now for the wine of the week, and the hands down favorite white from last week….

Picpoul De PInet

This is always an interesting wine to bring to wine-tastings. No one has heard of the ‘Picpoul’ grape. Picpoul, also known as Folle Blanche, is originally from the south of France, and was used initially in making Cognac and Vermouth. This was a fantastic wine and most everyone was shocked to learn of the $17.50 price tag. It had subtle citrus flavors and just the right amount of acidity. This is a wonderful food wine. The ladies had a charcuterie board which paired very well, and it would also be great for appetizers and salads.

Thank you again ladies, next week I’ll cover the red wines we did.

So our wine tour to the Niagara region of Ontario didn’t go on October 2nd. The rising number of cases were concerning, so we played it safe. I do, however, have a Nova Scotia wine tour to tell you about, a day trip.

Myself and my friend Richard Arnold from Atlantic Wine Tours are doing a day trip to the Annapolis Valley on Tuesday, October 12th. We are going to visit 3 wineries and do tastings, and have a lovely lunch. All the details can be found right here!

The Annapolis Valley

The colors are just gorgeous in the Fall of the year in the Annapolis Valley, and Richard is from there, so he doesn’t an awesome tour. I hope you’ll come join us for a fabulous day in Nova Scotia.

Till next week, Cheers

Darlene