The Judgement of Paris

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

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?

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

Wine For The Big Game

Most people think the big football game on Sunday is all about the beer.   I wrote this blog last year on this weekend to share my favourite wines with football snacks!  Thought I would share it again.

Image result for the big game

Yesterday at work, the vacation day notifications were piling in, as people were taking holiday days on Monday so they can stay up and watch the big football game tomorrow.  It’s a great day with everyone’s favorite snacks, and although beer is probably the biggest beverage of choice for tomorrow, there are those of us that are true blue wine drinkers.  And wine is a great beverage for those Super Bowl snacks.

Hot wings

One of my favorite foods in the world are chicken wings.  I love them dry spiced, saucy and even hot.  The National Chicken Council estimates 1.33 Billion wings will be eaten tomorrow.  Over a billion wings!  Not bad for a what used to be the throwaway part of the chicken.  Chicken wings were born at the Anchor Bar in Buffalo New York in 1964.  And which wine goes perfect with chicken wings?

 

Riesling!  I love Riesling and here are two great examples and both hail from Washington State.  The Charles & Charles and the Kung Fu Girl Riesling are vibrant and fresh with gorgeous flavors of peaches and lemons.  The acidity and hints of sweetness in some Rieslings make it a great compliment to spicy wings!  If you like something a little sweeter, try this wine

Jacob's Creek Moscato Rose

The Jacob’s Creek Moscato is a little sweeter than a Riesling.  Serve it ice cold and it’s a great accompaniment to those wings.

Image result for pizza during super bowl

You know what else gets eaten a lot on Super Bowl Sunday?  Pizza.  It is the biggest day of the year for pizza sales, followed by New Years Eve, Halloween, the night before Thanksgiving and New Year’s Day.  One pizza company, it’s drivers will log 4 million miles tomorrow.  And between the big 3 pizza companies, 4.4 million pizzas will be ordered.   That’s a lot of pizza.  And you know what goes with pizza?  I realize 325 million gallons of beer will be consumed tomorrow, but in my opinion, wine tastes better with pizza.

The Gerard Bertrand Corbieres which is a blend of Grenache, Syrah and Mouvedre, commonly referred to as a GSM, is a perfect pizza wine.  From the Languedoc region of France, this is a $20 bottle of wine that tastes like a $40 bottle of wine.

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Another great wine that goes well with pizza is Petite Sirah.  Very common in blends, some winemakers are doing a fantastic job of making Petite Sirah the star grape, and The Crusher from California is a prime example.  81% Petite Sirah with small percentages of Merlot, Barberra, Tempranillo and Malbec added in, this wine is full-bodied and rich, with notes of chocolate. And it’s $20 and a steal of a deal

And now for my wine of the week….

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Italian awesomeness!!  Piano Del Cerro Aglianico Del Vulture is an Italian wine from the Basilicata region in Italy.  Monte Vulture, an extinct volcano which dominates the skyline and landscape of northern Basilicata, is an area where amazing Aglianico grapes are grown.  Many people are not familiar with Aglianico grapes.  They are mostly grown in the southern region of Italy, especially Basilicata and Campania, however it originated in Greece and was brought to Italy by Greek Settlers.  This is a spectacular treat wine, coming in at $38 a bottle here in Nova Scotia, but worth every penny.  The fruit was amazingly rich but it bought the palate to life.  It was an explosion of flavor in the mouth, that’s the only way I can describe it.

wine-glass-broken-again

Have a great Super Bowl Sunday and if you’re not into football, there’s nothing better than a great book and a good glass of wine.

Thanks for reading, till next week Cheers

Darlene

 

The Health Benefits of Wine

Image result for health benefits of wine

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.

Image result for wine benefits for skin

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.

Image result for tuscany italy

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