It’s Beginning To Look….

You guessed it… it’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas.

I know it’s not December yet, but it’s hard to avoid. This week if you go out, you’re going to hear one of two things, Christmas and/or Black Friday.

One of the things I enjoy most about this time of the year, are the get togethers. Let’s face it, the Christmas parties start around the 1st of December. If you’re invited out this holiday season, maybe I can help with some wine ideas to bring along, which will make you the hit of any party.

I don’t care what the occasion is, you can’t go wrong giving a nice sparkling wine. I always have one in my wine rack.

Normally I have a Prosecco, which I love over the holidays. Especially when you make it a Mimosa. Plus Prosecco and Spanish Cava are excellent sparkling wines, that are super affordable. This Champagne was a gift, and I’m saving it for a special occasion because it’s pricier than most wines I write about in this blog. I have had this Champagne before, and it’s lovely and light and perfect for a special occasion. Gorgeous light flavors of toast, pear and apple, and the Brut tells you it’s very dry, not sweet.

A long time reader of my wine blog, Jean from Ottawa came for a visit last week. She bought some amazing wines, and here’s one we tried.

The Strata Cabernet Sauvignon is out of Australia, and it’s a gorgeous blend of 85% Cabernet and 15% Petite Verdot. It’s a medium-bodied Cabernet that is easy to drink and the price is easy on the wallet, just $15.99 a bottle. It will definitely have a home in my wine rack again.

I have a confession to make, I love Hallmark Christmas movies. And this is by far my most favorite movie so far this year.

3 Wise Men & A Baby was one of the funniest movies I’ve seen. Great movie for the entire family, so when I went to our local liquor store last week and saw this, I just had to buy it.

If you look closely at the label you will see this wine, called Jingle, and at the top you will see Hallmark Movie Channel. So is there a more perfect wine when watching Hallmark Christmas movies? I don’t think so! And the wine was good too. Really good. It’s a California Cabernet Sauvignon with hints of holiday spice. Delicious, and priced under $19. There’s also a Jingle Sauvignon Blanc available for my white wine loving friends and readers. Hallmark Channel Wines were handcrafted by the winemaking team of Evan and Andrew Nelson – recently named 2020 Wine Enthusiast’s ‘40 Under 40 Tastemaker’. Give it a try, you won’t regret it.

As we start planning Christmas parties and get togethers, please don’t drink and drive, and please don’t text and drive, I see way too many people doing that here in Halifax. Stay safe.

Till next week, Cheers

Darlene

Wine Me Up & Watch Me Go

My work sister Violet, gave me this t-shirt this past week. It absolutely made my day and I can’t wait to wear it. So I’m dedicating this week’s wine blog to this awesome saying. Her sister customizes t-shirts and made this one. I love it.

I have a confession to make. My profile picture was taken about 8 years ago. Hair was longer and during the start of the pandemic in 2020, I decided to go au naturel and short. I am in the process of changing over my profile pictures. I do not take a good picture, every time I smile, my eyes disappear, LOL.

This was taken Thursday at work by my friend, and fellow wine lover, Anthony. Ok, let’s talk some wine.

Thursday evening, my work family and I attended a dinner, and on the table was this wine. Any time you’re at a work event, and the wine is 90-Point wine, well you have to try it. It also happens to be the first Argentinian wine that carries the Bodegas De Argentina Certified Sustainable Seal on its label. This Malbec was fabulous and sells for $19 a bottle here in Halifax. It was rich and full-bodied and I could really taste the terroir of the Mendoza region of Argentina, kind of an earthiness. I hope that makes sense.

This wine was also on the table, and I love this white wine. Not only is it good, it’s one of the best values you can get. Same goes for the red.

Il Padrino Pinot Grigio comes in a 1-litre bottle for about $17. It’s fresh and crisp and has lemony and citrus flavors. You get a few extra glasses of delicious wine, and it doesn’t break the bank.

And last but certainly not least….

My friend Anthony and I were talking about how much we love Cabernet Franc, and although he is not a huge Cabernet Sauvignon fan, I am. So when I saw this blend for the first time, I had to pick it up and give it a try. It’s priced at $20 and it’s not a heavy wine. I was kind of surprised that it was more medium bodied, because both Cabernet Sauvignon and Cabernet Franc tend to be more full bodied wines. And the oak did not over power. To any readers in Ontario, it’s only $14 there. (insert eye roll here) We pay way too much for wine here on the East Coast.

I would just like to take a moment to recognize Remembrance Day yesterday and say a huge heartfelt thank you to everyone who is serving, and who has served in the past. I loved this when I saw it, ‘We don’t know you all, but we owe you all’.

Have a great week.

Darlene

Thankful!

Busy Busy

It’s been such a busy week, I almost didn’t write a wine blog this week. But I really wanted to, so my apologies it didn’t come out on Saturday. I hope you enjoy reading the on his holiday Monday. Work has been super busy, my mom is visiting and we’ve been keeping super busy, getting her Christmas shopping done. Plus our Social Committee in my apartment building, which I am the President, kick-started the new year with a Meet & Greet last night.

But it’s my favorite long weekend, Thanksgiving, and I have a lot to be thankful for. I’m thankful for many people and many things, especially the people who take time out of their week to read my wine blog.

So, my Mom is here and she is a Chardonnay drinker.

Great value

We got her this one and she loved it. I have to say, I liked it too. It is a full-bodied Chardonnay from Chile. Rich and velvety, with hints of pineapple, citrus and apple. This is priced at just $11.45 here in Nova Scotia, which is a fantastic value.

Cornect Bee Sting Honey Mustard

My friend Cassandra gave me this gift this past week, from Cornect Farms here in Nova Scotia. Savory and sweet with a hint of heat, delicious. And I’ve been trying it on different things, including my BBQ pork chop.

My red wine this week is a Chilen Cabernet Sauvignon

This Espino Cabernet Sauvignon was very tasty. Full-bodied and juicy with notes of dried fruit and coffee, this Cabernet Sauvignon has a splash of Carmenere and Cabernet Franc. it’s priced at $19 a bottle here, which is a spectacular value given the fact it was awarded 94 Points at a competition, along with several gold medals.

Finished this puzzle last week. And heading to Newfoundland next Friday for 2 weeks. I’m flying back with my Mom, and staying at my sister’s for 2 weeks, taking care of Maggie. My sister is in Hawaii for 4 weeks and my Mom doesn’t drive anymore, so someone has to be here.

Happy Thanksgiving everyone. I hope you had a wonderful long weekend, I know I did. My mom and I didn’t do traditional turkey for Thanksgiving, we did filet mignon steaks. Thank you for taking the time to read my blog, I’m very thankful for each and every one of you.

Cheers

Darlene

Oh Fiona

Fiona kicked some ass

As I sit here Sunday morning, with the beautiful sunshine pouring in, I think back to how Fiona kicked some ass this weekend. And thankfully, here in Halifax, we didn’t get hit as hard as I had expected. I was a little nervous, especially reading when it could have been worse than when Hurricane Juan paralyzed Halifax 19 years ago.

Dartmouth got hit hard

Areas of Halifax and Dartmouth got hit harder than I did and people are still struggling without power. We lost our power for about 19 hours, so I’m grateful, as I sit here sipping a hot coffee. I was lucky in that the wind was coming down the street, so the front of our building got hit harder. Being on the back of the building, I was sheltered.

I would like to take a moment to send a prayer to people in the Southwestern Newfoundland. Port aux Basque, Newfoundland is the entryway to Newfoundland, when travelling by ferry.

They got hit so hard by Fiona, my heart is broken for the devastation in this beautiful town.

I hope everyone is safe. This beautiful community got battered, and my heart goes to out to everyone who lives there and the family and friends of people who live there.

Other parts of Southwestern Newfoundland got hit hard including Burgeo, and a friend of mine, Olive, her sister’s home got completely destroyed. So sad.

On another note, some stressful moments when my Gabriel developed a cyst on his back.

A big thanks to Dr. Hartman at The Cat Clinic for taking care of my boy. All good now

I know many people go crazy for storm chips when a storm is on the way. As a matter of fact, here in Halifax, someone posted chips sell out a lot faster than vegetables.

This made me chuckle

Some people do storm potato chips. I do storm potatoes

Butter, Olive oil, salt, pepper and some Trader Joe’s seasoning my friend Arla gave me. You can use your favorite seasoning. I melted the butter first, added the olive and seasonings, and put them on my pellet grill.

One of the things I love most about my pellet grill, is that you can adjust the smoke by adjusting the temperatures. The higher you go, the less smoke. It can grill or sear without adding lots of smoke flavor. So when I cooked these potatoes, I added just a hint of smoke flavor and then grilled them. Delicious.

And of course during this storm, there was some wine.

Tried a new wine last week. The Lost Poet.

This was the saying on the back of the bottle. ‘Don’t be scared to change the name of the Prince’s name in your story’. I loved that. I also loved the fact the winemaker said ‘wine is poetry’, and that’s where the name came from. This is a blend of Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon and Syrah (Shiraz). Delicious. It’s juicy and plush and priced under $22.

Well, that’s it for me for this week. To all my friends in Cape Breton and Newfoundland, send me your pics from the storm. Also, feel free to s hare the wine you were enjoying during the storm. Stay safe. Thinking of all of you.

Cheers

Darlene

Red, White & Rose – Summer Favorites

We are into the doggy days of Summer, almost mid-August. I know a lot of people switch to Rose and White wines during the Summer. There are also those of us who like the lighter reds we can chill with. There is no such thing as a wrong choice, when it comes to your favorite wine.

Benjamin Bridge Rose

My favorite Rose wines are made from red grapes that would produce full-bodied red wines. Like the Cabernet Franc grape, used in making this Benjamin Bridge Rose, made here in Nova Scotia, but available to my Newfoundland friends as well. Obviously to make it a Rose wine, there is very limited contact with the skin of the grape. But the grape itself makes an interesting and complex rose wine. This is not your grandmother’s rose wine.

When I decided to call this week’s wine blog Red, White & Rose, I had in mind to feature a red wine, a white and a rose. There are so many great white wines out there, it’s really hard to choose. And I also like to feature wines you can get in most places across the Country. I had a friend from Newfoundland send me a note a few months back, saying they liked my wine blog but couldn’t get many of the wines I talked about. So I like to feature wines that you can get in both provinces.

Stoneleigh Sauvignon Blanc

If you’re looking for a bright crisp white wine to enjoy on this hot and muggy day, try the Stoneleigh Sauvignon Blanc. You’ll love the passionfruit flavors and it’s one of the most food friendly wines.

Speaking of food….

I have to share this quick and easy recipe for Cashew Chicken. Yesterday evening was one of those evenings I had no idea what I wanted for supper. I considered going up to the grocery store and getting a steak, but honestly was too lazy to go to the store. LOL

10 Minutes from start to finish

Cashew Chicken

I cut up a chicken breast in bite size pieces, coated them in corn starch, and put them in a frying pan. I cut up red pepper in chunks and added unsalted cashews to the pan. The sauce is so easy, soy sauce, rice wine vinegar, sesame oil, honey and hoisin sauce. If you’re not familiar with hoisin sauce, it’s a little sweet and a little salty. A thick sauce known for being used in Cantonese cuisine, your sauce will thicken a bit with the corn starch from the chicken.

I let that simmer while I warmed up some leftovers from the night before

Some leftover rice and wings, and a spring roll, and I had supper made in 10 minutes. If you’re feeling lazy any night of the week, try my Cashew Chicken dish.

And yes, I had a glass of wine with it. It was, after all, a Friday night. It’s not a new wine, but it is a favorite.

La Mascota Cabernet Franc

La Mascota Cabernet Franc hails from Argentina and makes a regular appearance in my wine rack. Priced under $20, it’s an elegant, well-balanced wine. Deep rich flavors with notes of black pepper, it’s a great wine at a great price.

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

Darlene