Great Wines Under $25

Posted in Uncategorized on August 24, 2019 by darmyers

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I conducted a wine tasting last Saturday night with a new group of people, which is always a lot of fun.  This time we had 10 wines, which honestly is probably too many for a tasting.  The host of the event asked that we do wines that were all reasonably priced so except for two that were around the $28 mark, we kept it for the most part under $25.  I love discovering great new wines under $25.  Here are a couple from that night.

The first wine of the evening was a new rose wine from Argentina.

Earlier in the Summer I had discovered another rose wine from Argentina and it was fabulous.  I took it to several events.  That wine is sold out so I tried this one, and loved it.  I think a couple of people at the tasting were pleasantly surprised this wine was not sweet, as at one time most people felt all rose wines were sweet.  This rose is made from the Syrah grape, so it had very limited skin contact, as the Syrah grape is a thick-skinned grape with lots of color.  This was crisp and light and very dry.  A fantastic wine that sells for $16 a bottle.

The Bila Haut Red from Chapoutier is a staple in my wine rack, I just love it.  Last Saturday I bought both the red and its sister white wine.  This was amazing, Chapoutier is one of the most respected wineries in the Languedoc region of France.  These grapes were picked by hand so it’s a pleasant surprise that it’s only $16 a bottle.  This was so close to making my wine of the week for that reason.  This white blend is Grenache Blanc, Grenache Gris and Macabeu.  It is a very vibrant fresh white wine with great acidity and it’s a great wine for food.  Try it with chicken, shellfish or with your favorite appetizer.

The sister red wine was also a hit, this a little more expensive at $18 a bottle, but still a wonderful value.  This red blend is predominately Syrah with Grenache and Carignan.  Georgeous notes of black cherry and spice and a great wine to go with any red meat dish you may be serving.

And now for my wine of the week…

Bordeaux

What?  A Bordeaux under $25.  Bordeaux wines can be some of the most expensive in the world.  One wine critic called this  Bordeaux wine “A classic Bordeaux for everyday meals”.  Using modern methods but respecting traditional values and principles, The Jury of Grand Cellar Masters says this wine is a full-bodied wine with a beautiful garnet appearance.   And it’s only $20 a bottle.  You have to try this wine!

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I had writers block last weekend, and could not come up with a wine blog.  I appreciate everyone that came back this weekend!

Also, a note to all the wonderful people that have hired me for wine tastings in their home.  I really enjoy doing this, and I always look forward to them.  My Fall is booking up fast, I only have one date left in November.  So don’t hesitate to reach out if this is something you are thinking about doing in the Fall.

Cheers,

Darlene

 

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Top 5 Wine & Food Pairing Tips

Posted in Uncategorized on August 10, 2019 by darmyers

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As I sit here preparing for another wine-tasting next weekend, I always try to think of some of the questions people might ask, so I can be prepared to answer them.   One of the questions that I always get asked, in a variety of ways, it’s how to pair wine and food properly.  Gone are the days where it is expected you drink white wine with fish and red wine with red meat.   It’s all about choosing a wine you like, to make the meal more enjoyable.   You are not going to enjoy your meal, if you don’t like the wine!

There are some basic things you can keep in mind.

  1.  Salt vs Acidity

Saltiness in food is a great contrast to acidity in wine.   I really love Thai food and Chinese cuisine, which I really enjoy pairing a Riesling with.   A lot of these dishes contain soy sauce, which is salty and the Riesling cuts through that saltiness .   Think smoked salmon and Champagne/ Sparkling Wine or Parmesan cheese with a Chianti wine.  A wine with a bit of acidity will really cut through and compliment the saltiness of food.

2.  High Fat Foods with Full-bodied Wines

There is a reason a big bold Cabernet Sauvignon pairs well with a big juicy steak.  Foods high in fats, like red meat, or dishes that contain heavy cream, usually calls for a more intense full-bodied wine.   Think Chardonnay for white wine drinkers and Cabernet Sauvignon or Merlot for the red wine drinkers.

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3.  Fruity dishes + Fruity Wine

Any dishes that have a fruit component, for example, duck with figs, chicken with an orange or peach glaze, or pork with apples or apple sauce, think a fruity wine.   If you are a red wine drinker think Pinot Noir!  If you’re a white wine drinker, think Riesling again or a fruity Pinot Grigio.  The fruitiness of the wine won’t compete with the fruit in the dish, they go hand in hand.

4.  Sweet with Sweet

Pairing dessert wines with dessert can be a little tricky.   In one of my very first classes when I was learning to become a Sommelier, the instructor said the wine in the glass should be sweeter than whatever’s on the dessert plate.  If the desert is sweeter than the wine, your wine is going to taste dull and flat.  And if you are not a fan of sweet dessert wines, no worries, enjoy your dessert with your favourite hot coffee.

5.  Keep It Simple

It’s really easy to overthink wine and food pairing.   I always say to people, keep it simple.   If you are a white wine drinker, experiment with different white wines and different foods.   You’ll not only become a pro at recommended pairings, you’ll have a lot of fun in the process.   Same goes for my red wine loving friends.   Don’t be afraid to step out side of your wine comfort zone and try a new wine with a favourite dish.  A person doesn’t have to be a professional to recommend a wine with a dish, if you like the pairing, chances are one of your friends will like it.

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Have a great weekend, until next weekend, cheers

Darlene

Chilled Red Wines for Summer

Posted in Uncategorized on August 3, 2019 by darmyers

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Ahhh, the warm days of Summer.  Temperatures are soaring and many people think its time to put away all red wines and just drink whites and rose wines.  But that doesn’t have to be the case.  I’m going to share some great red wines that can be served chilled and are perfect for Summer.  Keep in mind the ‘room temperature’ of red wines was the temperature of the underground wine cellars in Europe, hundreds of years ago, and still to this day.  The room temperature of these cellars is about 15-degrees Celsius, so remember as our temperatures hover around the 30-degree Celsius mark, this is not a good temperature to serve any red wine.  When served too warm the flavors of red wine will be very muted and sappy.  So don’t be afraid to introduce your red wine to the refrigerator.  Believe me when I say, this time of the year they’ll be great friends.

Gamay is a great red wine and should be served chilled all year round.  Gamay is the grape used in Beaujolais, the region at the very south of Burgundy.  In all other 4 regions of Burgundy, Pinot Noir is the red grape, but in Beaujolais it’s Gamay.  Gamay is a light grape with candied fruit flavors and perfect for the patio.  It’s also a great wine to go with charcuterie boards, with cheese and cured meats.  This Fougeres Beaujolais is just $17 a bottle and you white wine lovers might really enjoy this wine as well.

Elouan

Speaking of Pinot Noir, this is another grape that chilling brings out its complex flavors.  I love this Elouan Pinot Noir from Oregon and have featured it at many wine tastings.  It’s a gorgeous medium to full-bodied wine with blueberry and spice flavors and this is a wonderful wine to have at your next Summer BBQ.  At $35 a bottle, it’s a treat, but so worth it.

With wines like Gamay and Pinot Noir, it is recommended you refrigerate them for 1 hour before serving, especially with the temperatures we’ve been seeing.  Even with your big bold reds like Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and Shiraz, keeping them in the fridge for even 30 minutes will liven them up and bring them to life.  You’ll also notice that once the wines are out on the table, in the heat, the flavors will start to change.

And now for my wine of the week…..

If this bottle looks slightly familiar, it’s because its sister wine is a staple in my wine rack.  The aged 7 years Tempranillo from Anciano is one of the best deals in the wine store, and now it has some competition from its sister.

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The red label Anciano is made from the Grenache grape, which is another grape that tastes great chilled.  Grenache is a wonderful grape, used in making Chateauneuf du Pape, but you don’t need to spend $50 – $200 on a bottle.  You can enjoy this Grenache for just $15 a bottle with this wonderful wine.  It’s a diverse grape and extremely food friendly, and an all around great deal.

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It’s a long weekend here in Nova Scotia, and I know I’m going to enjoy it to the fullest.

Till next week, Cheers

Darlene

40+ Years of Friendship

Posted in Uncategorized on July 27, 2019 by darmyers

 

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I didn’t have a wine blog last weekend because I was home on vacation, and while I was there I attended my 40th high school reunion.   It is hard to believe that we all graduated high school 40 years ago.    I had the chance to reconnect with friends that I went through my school years with and it was the most wonderful time.   Many of them I haven’t seen in years.

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My friend Paula and I reminisced about a school trip we took in Grade 6, when we were 12 years old, to Northwest River Labrador.  Susan and I talked about the joys of her becoming a grandmother recently,

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My friend Jackie’s daughter got married recently and all of us had things to share but the underlying theme was how happy we were to get together and have a drink.   Sadly, I had to leave a little early and we were just getting into the wine really good.    I didn’t take any pictures of the wines that evening but I will share a couple of good wines I had while on vacation

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My dad was intent on buying me a bottle of wine while I was home visiting, so I chose this one.  Here in Nova Scotia, we can get Dada #2, and it’s a staple in my wine rack because it’s a really good organic Argentinian Merlot at $15 a bottle.  What a treat it was to get #1 while I was home, which is a blend of 50% Malbec and 50% Bonarda.   Although Bonarda is not a very well known grape,  it was planted about 3000 years ago in the Padana region of Italy but nowadays most of the Bonarda in the world is grown in Argentina.   Great wine for about a $15 price point.

And now for my wine of the week…

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I love Spanish wine.   I also love the Grenache grape, or as it is known in Spain, Garnacha.   Grenache, or Garnacha, was once mostly used as a blending grape especially in France with Syrah and Mouvedre.    I love how more and more wine makers are taking the chance and having Grenache (Garnacha) the star of the show. This particular wine is mostly Garnacha with some Carignan blended in.   Gorgeous flavours of cherry and raspberry with some vanilla from the toasted oak.   A fantastic wine for just $16 a bottle.

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Here’s to great friendships and good wine, may they always go together!

Till next week, cheers

Darlene

 

 

 

 

 

Vacation Time!

Posted in Uncategorized on July 13, 2019 by darmyers

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I’m officially on vacation and a little later today I’m flying to my hometown of Corner Brook Newfoundland, on Canada’s East Coast.   Visiting family, attending my 40th High School Reunion and maybe even enjoying a glass of wine.  (or 2?).   Corner Brook is located on Newfoundland‘s west coast, and is very picturesque.   Very close by would be the famous Marble Mountain ski hill and we’re also only about 45 minutes from Gros Morne National Park.  Thought I would share a couple of more pictures.

 

For me it’s also a chance to enjoy some of my favorites, that I can’t get here in Nova Scotia.  It may be a small island but the Newfoundland Liquor Corporation has done a wonderful job with wine selection.  My colleague Marc is asking me to bring back this wine.

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Although Nova Scotia does carry a big selection of Las Moras wine from Argentina, they do not carry this beauty.  It’s the Las Moras Pacha-Mama.  This Malbec is easy to drink, and easy on the pocketbook at $16 a bottle.  Check for it in your favorite wine store, I think it’s a great value wine.

I know when I’m home, my family will get me to cook up a feed of barbeque ribs, they always do.   Doing barbeque ribs is an artform, the secret being ‘slow and low’, and this will be my wine of choice.

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The Seghesi Zinfandel from Sonoma County is splendid.  Seghesio planted its first Zinfandel vines back in 1895.  Winemaker Edward Seghesio says his grandmother’s favourite word was “Pazienza”, which means patience.  I’m so sad this is not available where I live, but I do look forward to the treat when I go home.    If you see it, try it and let me know if you love it as much as I do.

And now for my wine of the week….

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It’s summertime and that means I’m drinking more white wines then I do the rest of the year.  I always keep a bottle of Pinot Grigio in my fridge because a lot of my friends that come to visit love Pinot Grigio.  Beringer makes one of my absolute favourite steak wines, so I couldn’t wait to try this Pinot Grigio.  It’s refreshing and light with crisp flavours of pear and citrus and at $12.99 a bottle, it’s one of my new favourite finds this Summer!   This is truly a steal of a deal.

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I love Karen from the television show Will & Grace.  There will be no wine blog  next Saturday as I will be in Newfoundland and travelling.

See you in two weeks

Darlene

 

 

Heat Wave

Posted in Uncategorized on July 6, 2019 by darmyers

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There is a heat warning in effect for Halifax, as there is in many parts of the world.  And although I love a glass of wine as much as anyone, and most days two, don’t forget the water and I encourage you all to stay safe.  Extreme heat is no different than extreme cold, in that you have to be very careful, because it can be dangerous.  Stay safe and stay hydrated.

Now back to why you visit this site each week, wine!

Sandhill Pinot Gris

I tend to drink a variety of beverages during a heat wave, including local craft beer and I’ve been known to imbibe with a vodka soda as well.  I find them refreshing.  I also tend to drink more white wine, including this beauty from Canada.  Winemaker Howard Soon is so good at what he does and I love the Pinot Gris he created.  Pinot Gris is different than Pinot Grigio, in that it doesn’t have the acidity the Grigio does.  It’s a very easy to drink refreshing wine with tropical flavors and hints of pear.  A great wine for smoked salmon, delicate fish or your favorite pork tenderloin.

As you know, I’ve have been doing a lot of wine tastings lately, and I always get asked about a red wine that a regular white wine drinker might enjoy.  I always say Pinot Noir or Beaujolais.  Beaujolais is made from the Gamay grape which features ‘candied’ flavors.  Honestly, when you sip it you will taste flavors of candy.  And a Beaujolais wine is served very chilled, so white wine drinkers tend to like that.  Keep in mind with this heat wave, please do not serve any red wine at current ‘room temperature’.  Heavens, 30-degrees is too warm for any wine.  Red wine should be served anywhere from 11-degrees to 18 degrees at the absolute maximum.  So please put your red wine in the fridge for at least 20-30 minutes.  Or you can do what I do, and keep it in the fridge and take it out about 20-30 minutes before I go to serve it.  I had a couple of glasses of wine with a great group of friends last night, and one lady bought her wine and it was so warm I encouraged her to chill out a little.   She thought room temperature was room temperature no matter what the room temperature was.   Remember, it’s the room temperature of the old underground wine cellars hundreds of years ago in places like France and Italy.

And now for my wine of the week.  It is a wine I enjoyed for the first time this past week in a long time….

Corbiere bottle

This Corbiere from Gerard Bertrand is a blend of Grenache, Syrah and Mourvedre, and is from France.  It is so well made and so easy to drink.  It’s also $3 off right now, and a steal of a deal at just $16.99 a bottle.  Great for Summer BBQ!

I have to say hello to one of my American readers and fellow wine blogger who is always amazed at the prices of wine here in Eastern Canada.   So while I’m rejoicing at paying $16.99 a bottle for this wine, Allison will probably be able to get it for half that.   Allison writes a wonderful wine blog under the name ‘Okie Wine Girl’ and you can find it at http://www.okiewinegirl.com.  Check it out!

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Have a great weekend everyone.  Till next week, Cheers

Darlene

Happy Canada Day!

Posted in Uncategorized on June 29, 2019 by darmyers

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Monday is Canada Day and who doesn’t love a long weekend in the Summer.  This girl does.  I had another great wine tasting with a great group of people last weekend.  We not only had a few laughs, we had some amazing food and we tried a couple of really great wines.

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We enjoyed a total of 7 wines last weekend, we opened with a sparkling, had 2 more white wines and finished off with 4 red wines.

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The opening sparkling wine was the first one I wanted to talk to you about

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This is a exceptional sparkling wine, it’s the Benjamin Bridge Non-Vintage Brut which originates right here in Nova Scotia.  Non-vintage means the grapes doesn’t necessarily come from the same vintage year, as a matter of fact, winemaker Jean-Benoit Deslausiers uses grapes from up to 13 vintage years.   It’s a spectacular sparkling wine, everybody enjoyed it, with no bitterness just a refreshing effervescence.

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We tried to more white wines after the sparkling, one was enjoyed by some the other was enjoyed by no one, LOL!  I don’t normally talk about wines that I don’t like, just because I don’t like them doesn’t mean other people won’t.   And apparently when this was poured for a food tasting event at a previous occasion everybody loved it.   At this party not so much.

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The Bukettraube grape is also called Bouquet Blanc, and it is very aromatic.   Originating from Germany, this group is only grown in Germany France and South Africa.  I found it it had similarities to Gewurztraminer, which is another grape  you’ll either love it or you’ll hate it.

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The other white wine we had that evening was the Morgan cellars Chardonnay from California.  Personally I loved it because I didn’t find it overly oaky, but the crowd was definitely split on this one.  I live in Nova Scotia, originally from Newfoundland, and this wine would be perfect for things like lobster and other seafood favourites.  I loved the fact that only 33% of this wine sees French oak, so the oak is subtle not overpowering.   I also found the acidity really nice for a Chardonnay, it was smooth and easy to drink with notes of citrus and it’s under $18.

My wine of the week this week……

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The red wines we enjoyed included some favourites I’ve written about before.   The 3-finger Jack Zinfandel was my wine of the week a couple of weeks ago, Labaume Syrah from France is so good I have about four bottles of it in my wine rack right now.

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The San Fabiano Chianti Classico from Italy.   There are nine Chianti regions in Italy, only one of them designated Classico which is evident on the bottle by the picture of the black rooster.

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Chianti is a very dry red wine from Italy, but I think it’s a super wine for food including food from the region which includes pasta and pizza.   A Chianti wine can cut through those tomato sauces and bring out the flavour of both the food and the wine.   This is a bit of a treat at $27 a bottle,  but a great Italian red wine.

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Have a great long weekend, till next week

Cheers

Darlene