Archive for the Wine Category

New to Wine? Maybe I Can Help

Posted in Wine on November 14, 2020 by darmyers
Wine is always the answer

One of the things I have missed about 2020, were the wine tastings I was doing. I loved doing the wine tastings for a couple of different reasons. I really loved meeting new people, and fellow wine lovers, One of my most favorite parts were getting people to try new wines. Wine is not cheap, so most of us are not too adventurous in the wine store. It’s way too expensive to take the chance on something you may not like. At the wine tastings, I’ve also met several spouses that ‘weren’t into wine’ but sipped along. These were fun, because most times they would end up finding a wine they really liked. Are you fairly new to wine? Let me help take away some of the mystery and hopefully make it a little easier to enjoy my favorite beverage.

This is true

When I do a wine tasting, I tend to bring 6 wines, in different styles. I always bring a sparkling wine. Did you know that most people think sparkling wine is sweet. It seems here in Canada, our first introduction to sparkling wine was Baby Duck.

Baby Duck

I don’t know about your house, but in my house, it wasn’t Christmas Dinner unless Mom & Dad bought out the Baby Duck. How many of us had this as our first taste of wine? Launched in the 1970’s, it once dominated the sparkling wine market. Not any more. Sparkling wine doesn’t have to be an expensive Champagne, it can be a crisp, food-friendly foray into deliciousness. Take this one for example.

A Spanish Cava

When starting out with Sparkling wine, start with an Italian Prosecco or a Spanish Cava, like this Hola wine. You never tend to pay more than $20 for a bottle of this wine, which is made in the same method as traditional Champagne. These delicious wines are a great way to start any get together or dinner party. They are perfect with appetizers, whether you are serving, cheese, oysters or a salad. You would have a hard time finding an appetizer that doesn’t pair well with a good dry sparkling wine.

A great white wine

Most people dip their toe in the wine world by starting with white wine. Great wine doesn’t have to be expensive and this wine is proof of that. This is one of my favorite white wines, La Vielle Ferme is a French white wine that comes in under $15. I know buying French wine can be a little intimidating, because they don’t always put the grape varietal on the label. For whites, Chardonnay is a big heavy wine, tends to be aged in oak. Something like a Pinot Grigio is lighter, crisper and hasn’t seen oak.

Going from White to Red?

So many people I meet, who drink white wine, would also love to expand into red wine. Here’s the biggest complaint I receive about red wine from white wine drinkers. The temperature. People tend to serve their red wines at ‘room temperature’. Well, in the Summer, the room temperature in my house tends to be about 26 degrees, and that is way to warm for any wine. On average, our rooms temperatures tend to be in the 20’s. Still way to warm for any wine. Room temperature was designated as the room temperature of the underground wine cellars, which were about 55-degrees Fahrenheit, which is about 13 – 15 degrees Celsious. Put your red wine in the refrigerator. And if it’s there a little long, take it out 20 or 30 minutes before serving. You’ll be amazed at how many of your friends will ‘love’ red wine once its served at the proper temperature, or even a little chilled. Start light with a Pinot Noir, or a Beaujolais (Gamay grape) or a Valpolicella and then work your way to the heavier reds of Cabernet Sauvignon or Shiraz.

My wine of the week was a big bold Shiraz. So, a cute story to start

Loves her I do!

My sister Jackie and her husband came for a visit this past week. We had such a great time. She lives in my hometown of Corner Brook, Newfoundland. Her son is going to St. FX University here in Nova Scotia, so I am getting to see her more often. Her husband Craig, did some chores for me.

I had lots of projects for him

My brother in law Craig was kept very busy, so on Wednesday evening, we were going to do a big feed, and Craig wanted a glass of red wine. I was saving this wine to share with someone special, and couldn’t have picked a better person.

Wolf Blass Gold Label 2008 Shiraz
Signed by the man himself!

In 2012, just before I was transferred to Halifax, I had the opportunity to meet Wolf Blass, as he was visiting St. John’s, Newfoundland. I bought a couple of bottles of 2008 Gold Label Shiraz, two I gave away as gifts, and two I kept for a special occasion. I had opened one not long after this. It was very good. And I saved the other one. This was worth the wait! I was waiting for an opportunity to open it and share, and this seemed like the perfect day. So, this wine had a screw cap, had been bought 8 years ago, and was actually bottled 12 years ago. Living proof a screw cap can age a wine, some say as good as a cork does. The wine was aged in both new and seasoned French oak, and because of the high tannin content in Shiraz, that is a wine that ages very very well. This was spectacular, and if critics gave this wine 93-points after a couple of years, aging it turned it into a 95 or 96 point wine. Spectacular. If you see a Gold Label in the wine store, buy one or two, and keep one for a few years. You’ll love it.

Happens all the time

Have a great week. Cheers

Darlene

Cruise With Me to Bordeaux France

Posted in Wine on November 7, 2020 by darmyers
A Taste of Bordeaux River Cruise

Join your hosts, Richard Arnold of Atlantic Tours & Travel and Sommelier Darlene Myers for your Taste of Bordeaux cruise adventure. 
*Book before December 30, 2020 and receive Complementary Onboard Gratuities, an Early Booking Savings, in addition to “Travel Waiver Plus Protection” valued at $175 per person , there are free gratuities right now and an early booking bonus. Total combined Savings of almost $800 per person*

I’m taking a trip to Bordeaux, France in 2022, would you like to come with me? In a previous blog, I had mentioned I have partnered with Atlantic Tours and AMA Waterways for a River Cruise through the spectacular region of Bordeaux in April of 2022. I had met one of the owners of Atlantic Tours at a wine tasting in 2019 and we became friends. He came up with the wonderful idea of working together on some wine trips. YAY! Who doesn’t love a good wine trip. And after 2020, we all need something to look forward to.

Richard Arnold of Atlantic Tours

We are still hoping to do a wine trip to the Niagara region of Ontario in June of 2021, but we will have to see how things are with the global pandemic. I am still hoping this wine tour goes ahead, because it would be spectacular. Check out the details here.

And here’s a snap shot of where we are staying at Niagara Falls. I mean, you know you want to come with us!! We are doing a stop in Old Quebec City, we are doing a tasting at Caves Du Chateau Montmagny Winery, and the 1000 Islands Dinner Cruise, all part of this trip. Wineries we will be visiting include Wayne Gretzky’s & Trius, just to name two. Fingers crossed it’s a go.

HILTON NIAGARA FALLS/FALLSVIEW HOTEL & SUITES $64 ($̶1̶2̶8̶) - Updated 2020  Prices & Reviews - Ontario - Tripadvisor
The Hilton Niagara Falls

But back to Bordeaux, we are having a sip and sail Webinar. It’s free to register and you can register here. You’ll find out about River Cruising, which I have never done before. You’ll also find out about this particular River Cruise to Bordeaux. And we will probably enjoy a sip of wine in the process. What have you got to lose? It’s a free webinar, it will be informative and fun, and we’ll drink some wine, all at the same time.

Let’s talk some wine!!

A great Italian value

I tried this wine a few weeks back, but never got a chance to include it in a previous blog. I really want to, because it’s not often you can find enjoyable wines under $11. The La Baldoria Sangiovese from Puglia, known as the bread basket of Italy, also known for its Olive Oil, is 100% Sangiovese grapes and a great match for anything tomato sauce. Whether its pizza or pasta, if you are serving up some Italian food that features a tomato sauce, this wine is definitely worth trying.

Speaking of bread…

I’m making homemade bread

I grew up in Newfoundland, and my Mom made the best homemade bread in the world. We always had homemade bread, and being kids, thought store bought bread was a treat. Years after moving away, one of my biggest regrets was not learning how to make homemade bread from my Mom. So, there’s nothing like a pandemic to change all that. I started making bread, and consulting with my Mom over the phone. The first couple of loaves were a little crumbly, but bit by bit, I’m happy with the results. There really is nothing like the taste of homemade bread

My bread with beef barley soup

If I get home for Christmas though, I will take a lesson from the master! She will be 86 years old in January and doesn’t make bread anymore. But she does buy it from a wonderful local bakery. Yes, that’s my bread with a batch of beef barley soup I made in the slow cooker for the first time. That recipe is here. Cost efficient delicious soup, perfect for the cooler weather.

Now for my wine of the week…

Smoking Loon Cabernet Sauvignon

I was watching the election results from the U.S. with some friends Tuesday evening, and we opened this wine. I have had the Smoking Loon Zinfandel, and I love it, but tried the Cabernet Sauvignon for the first time. We really enjoyed it. Usually it’s $17 a bottle, but right now it’s $15 a bottle, and as my friend Maggie said “This is really good wine”. And that’s what most people like in a wine. A really good wine at a really affordable price. That’s what makes me happy.

Smoking Loon Pinot Grigio

Here in Nova Scotia, we just carry the two reds, but for my white wine loving readers, they do make several white wines as well. Including a Pinot Grigio, a Sauvignon Blanc and an unoaked Chardonnay. The company slogan is ‘Why fly when you can soar’! These wines are based out of California, and if I had access to more of them, I would try them all.

Well that’s it for this week. Till next week, Cheers

Darlene

The Judgement of Paris

Posted in Wine on October 17, 2020 by darmyers
The Judgement of Paris

Interesting story (if you’re a wine lover like me). Last night I had a wine from Chateau Souverain. A great Cabernet Sauvignon from the Napa Valley in California, that is priced under $20 at my local NSLC. It was a great Cabernet Sauvignon, that went deliciously with the Beef I had.

Chateau Soverain Cabernet Sauvignon

The interesting part is that this vineyard in Napa Valley hired winemaker Mike Grgich, a Croatian born winemaker, in his very first wine-making job. Mike Grgich would later go on and become quite famous. He would produce one of the Chardonnay wines that won the famous Judgement of Paris Wine Tasting. This Paris Wine tasting, which took place on May 24th, 1976, put the wine world on its ass. It upset the wine world, not only because 11 judges picked a California Chardonnay over a French Chardonnay, but because California beat France in a blind tasting of red wines as well. A California Cabernet beat out the most famous Red wines in France, including Chateau Lafitte Rothschild. So while that wine starts at $1000 and goes up from there, check out this one at our local NSLC that has a $3063 price tag. Yep, it’s over $3000.

Chateau Lafitte Rothschild $3063

And I know wine experts will probably blast me for comparing the two, but I love finding the story behind the wine, and I thought this one was pretty cool. Imagine, a California wine rated best in each category, which caused much surprise as France was generally regarded as being the foremost producer of the world’s best wines. As I enjoyed the Château Souverain, I really felt like I was drinking a winner.

Bottle Shock (2008)
Bottle Shock, the movie

There was a movie made about The Judgement of Paris in 2008. The movie was called ‘Bottle Shock’ and starred Bill Pullman and Alan Rickman, who starred as Steven Spurrier, the real life guy who organized the event, never dreaming in a million years that French wines would lose. It was a great movie, there are some love scenes, so you may want to watch it after the kids go to bed. Sit back, enjoy the movie, with your favorite California white or red wine.

And now for my wine of the week… The Judgement of Darlene if you will!

LaMura Rosso

I was thinking, how do I touch a wine, from a winery, where the first winemaker was one of the winners of the Judgement of Paris? And the wine is priced under $20, that is literally the epitome of a wine of the week! Let me tell you, last week was a great week for wine LOL! Because I found this beauty on Thanksgiving Monday and it is now my new favourite wine priced under $15. Thanksgiving Monday you ask? We are very lucky here in Halifax to have a few independent wine stores and they are open most holidays. And at one of those stores I found this amazing Italian wine. Grapes for this wine, Nero D’Avola, are grown on the slopes of the Marsala and Salemi regions of Sicily. This wine is fully organic, however that does not take away from the taste in any way. It’s a bold red, that in my opinion just sits beautifully on the palate and has a great lingering flavour. Did I tell you it’s $14.49 a bottle?

Chuckle of the Day

That’s it for me for this week. Have a great week, and I hope you discover an amazing wine.

Darlene

Fall in Love with Great Wines

Posted in Wine on September 26, 2020 by darmyers
5 Fun Things To Do in Halifax This Fall – Discover Halifax
Nova Scotia is beautiful in Fall

Autumn, my absolute favorite time of the year. I ran into someone in the elevator of my apartment building, who said I was looking happy. Well, today is sunny, a comfortable 22-degrees, and I had a great night sleep last night because it was nice and cool. What’s not to be happy about. Nova Scotia is just gorgeous in the Fall, with stunning colors and for the most part great weather.

Speaking of Nova Scotia, friends (only 7) got together and we did a bit of a wine tasting with some of the white wines from Avondale Sky Winery. Known as the home of the church that walked on water!! I’m not kidding, they moved this church by land and water, and you can see the journey of the church through photos at the Winery. But let’s talk some wine.

Here was the first one.

Avondale Sky Chevrie

The Chevrie from Avondale Sky is most (89%) L’Acadie with small amounts of Muscat, Vidal & Geisenhelm, a true Nova Scotia blend. And it was delicious, my favorite of all 3. The winemaker says the Muscat is added to lift aromatics, and Vidal and Geisenhelm is added for acidity, which adds a vibrancy to the wine. Gorgeous hints of peach and melon, and it’s a great wine for any appetizer.

Avondale Sky Tennycape
Avondale Sky Ortega

The other two we tried was the Tennycape and the Ortega. I thought the Ortega might have had some Gewurtztraminer in it, because the aromatics were quite strong, but it doesn’t. It was the most full-bodied of them all, and the vineyard recommends Indian cuisine, chicken, pork and seafood. This is your main course white. The Tennycape, was a little lighter. I really enjoyed this wine. I liked the brightness of the wine, and the blend of Vidal and L’Acadie Blanc makes for a true Nova Scotia experience. A great wine for the Nova Scotia seafood, and it’s so bright it would pair well wtih spicy food as well.

Top 30 Spilled Wine GIFs | Find the best GIF on Gfycat
Everyone wants wine

The next wine I want to tell you about, my wine of the week, is over the top delicious.

The Santodeno Sangiovese Appassimento is a rich full-bodied wine that I had this past week. Appassimento is the process of letting the grapes dry first, which adds depth and flavor. For this particular wine, the grapes are hand picked, and then left in small crates to dry.

Delicious Italian red wine

It creates a delicious wine, full of flavor, with hints of nutmeg, that is a perfect pairing for all your favorite comfort foods. So what’s the problem?

Wax covers drive me crazy

You need a degree of some kind to get into the wine. More and more I’m seeing winemakers use these hard wax coverings, instead of a foil. This looks jagged because I had to take a knife to it, and put my life and limbs at risk, trying to get it open. Winemakers say it helps keep the wine fresh. No oxygen is getting into the wine. Makes sense. One thing you should never do, is try to put your corkscrew through the wax. I did that once. Learn from my mistake.

Got it off with my fingers in tact

The wine was fantastic, the price point the same. It’s only $18 a bottle. But my recommendation to wine makers, don’t make it so hard for me to get into the bottle. Thankfully, it was the first bottle of the evening, because I would hate to try and get into this wine with a few glasses under my belt.

Red or White?

Well, that’s it for me for this week. Have a great week, till next Saturday, Cheers

Darlene

Too Hot To Wine?

Posted in Wine on August 15, 2020 by darmyers
True Story

Here in Nova Scotia we have been having a relentless heat wave. My hat goes off to all my friends that love it, enjoy it while you can. Me? 38-degrees is a tad uncomfortable, and everyone knows my favorite season is Autumn. So, it being too hot to put the stove on, I did enjoy a glass while working the BBQ.

Enjoying a sip while working the Q

Did you know this heat wave is not good for your favorite wine? This is not the room temperature any wine should be served at. I always say wine, especially reds, should never see 25-degrees (77 F), as some people like their homes very warm. Anything warmer than that and your wine is in trouble. It will ‘cook’. Yes, that’s right. At that temperature your white and red wine will cook and taste a little nutty. Your reds, if it sees over 26-degrees Celsius, you run the risk of the cork coming out. So even if you are loving this hot weather, your wine is whining! Pardon the pun!

Pelee Island Pinot Noir

So what was in the glass next to my BBQ? A soft Pinot Noir Reserve from the Pelee Island Winery, which is located on Pelee Island in Lake Eerie, Ontario. Part of the Ontario VQA, which is the Vintner’s Quality Alliance, which ensures all grapes used in the wine are from Ontario, and a host of other quality requirements. As I have mentioned, in 2021, I am going to be part of a group that is heading to the Niagara region of Ontario for some wine tours, with Atlantic Tours, so you’ll see me trying more and more Ontario wines. I really want to get a taste for the region. This wine is a very soft Pinot Noir, with delicate flavors of cherry and vanilla, and it’s not oaky at all. A little too soft for BBQ meats, but a Pinot Noir can be served colder than some other reds, and I felt it was a good one to enjoy that evening. Pinot Noir can be served between 11 – 13 degrees Celsius, whereas your bigger, heavier reds, are between 16 – 18 degrees. No wine, no matter which color or which grape, should ever be served above 18-degrees Celsius. So if your home is warmer than that, put the wine in the fridge for a bit, no matter if it’s red or white.

Lola Rose

Pelee Island also makes a Blush Sparkling Rose wine that we can get here in Nova Scotia. I can’t wait to try it, because it’s a strawberry frizzante wine which would be super refreshing. The Pinot Noir was just $16.99 a bottle here, and this Rose is $18.99 here. Picture yourself on your patio with a charcuterie board and a glass of this chilled sparkler. Perfection.

This made me laugh

You know when you enter the websites of some wineries, they make you put in your birth date to verify you are of age. I was doing this recently and they had one of those rolling birth years. And it felt just like I was spinning the big wheel on the Price is Right or Wheel of Fortune. Then I saw this meme, and I laughed out loud, and thought I would share it.

And now for my wine of the week… It’s actually 2 wines, a white and a red!

Santa Carolina Cabernet Sauvignon
Santa Carolina Sauvignon Blanc

I love the fact I have friends that are as adventurous as I am when it comes to trying new wines. And if you’re going to be adventurous, Chile is a great place to start. Chile is putting out some amazing wines at fantastic price points. So my friend Angie bought the Santa Carolina Cabernet wine to my place and if you’re looking for a great BBQ wine, look no further. And at less than $14 a bottle, you can BBQ and enjoy this wine 7 nights a week. The Santa Carolina Sauvignon Blanc is also under $14 a bottle and I’ve had this wine many times. Both wines made the wine of the week because they are exceptional value wines, and taste very delicious. The red is full-bodied and fruit forward, and the white is crisp and vibrant. If you’re doing grilled fish on the BBQ, this Sauvignon Blanc would hit the spot.

Smile, it’s Saturday

Thank you for reading my weekly wine blog and sharing it with your friends, I really appreciate it. Till next week, Cheers

Darlene