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Malbec World Day 2017

Malbec World Day occurs annually on April 17th.
It commemorates the day in 1853 when President of Argentina, Domingo Faustino Sarmiento declared his mission, to transform Argentina's wine industry. He hired a French soil expert to bring vines from his native land and among them, Malbec.
Today, Malbec has found its home in Argentina, where it is known far more than its French counterparts.

Here are spot-on suggestions for you to join in and help celebrate this April 17th.

Wines for Valentine's Day

"I don't want to live; I want to love first, and live incidentally."
~Zelda Fitzgerald

"Wine enters through the mouth, Love, the eyes. I raise the glass to my mouth, I look at you, I sigh."
~W.B. Yeats

"Wine makes every meal an occasion, every table more elegant, every day more civilized."
~Andre Simon

"Love - a wildly misunderstood although highly desirable malfunction of the heart which weakens the brain, causes eyes to sparkle, cheeks to glow, blood pressure to rise and the lips to pucker."
~Author Unknown

Hmmm... seems like a wine causes a similar reaction...

Budget Bottles 2017

No need to break the piggy, or jump on the wagon as you deal with your holiday spending hangover.
I've put together a list of wines, white, red, rose and bubbles all under $17.
Here are the first 60 wines part 1 of my annual list.

Budget Bottles 2.0, 2017

Part 2 of my annual Budget Bottles. Wines under $17 that won't put a cramp in your style of a dent in your budget.

TOP 50 Wines (over $20) 2016

Here they are, my annual TOP 50 Wines!
These are wines, which are over $20 and have scored 91+ points on my sister site, WineScores.ca.
These special bottles are perfect gifts during the holiday season, or really, anytime throughout the year.

Happy holidays and cheers!

TOP 100 Wines of 2016

Here is it, my annual TOP 100 list!
These are wines I have reviewed in 2016, which have scored 89 points + on my sister site WineScores.ca and are priced at $20 or less.
They are wines perfect for everyday drinking, as dinner wines, wines for hosting get-togethers or, pretty much any other time.

*$20 or less shelf price. Prices may vary by individual retailer and do not include tax.
*Wines are listed in order of tasting date, not preference.

Get Fizzy

Truly, anytime is perfect for sparkling wine, however, at this time of year, people get fizzy far more often.
Here are a fine assortment, from value to premium, sparklers, to add some bubble to your holidays!

GoneCrackers Blue Cheese & Cracked Pepper

Ahh, blue cheese - the tangy, sharp and creamy supporting character behind salad dressings, bar dips and every classic cheese platter...
These Blue Cheese & Cracked Pepper will be a standout completely on their own, as a piquant and peppery snack.
GONE CRACKERS suggests the Blue Cheese & Cracked Pepper cracker is, "great with a seafood pate, or fig tapenade. A simple dollop of cream cheese works fine too..."

Blue Cheese needs special consideration when pairing with wine. It comes in many forms and varies in strength, but the sharp, tangy elements and blue veined penicillium are nicely offset by some sweetness...

Wines such as: Port, Sauterns, Icewine, late harvest wines and Viognier are perfect for after dinner. Meanwhile the peppery component of these crackers will compliment similar characters in Cabernet Franc or Syrah...

Gone Crackers Roasted Shallot & Herb

The Roasted Shallot & Herb might be my favourite Gone Crackers flavour. I love the savoury, earthy characters offset by the sweet nuances of the roasted shallots.
These sweet/earthy flavours are a perfect foil for exotic wines with sweet fruity tones, while the earthy/herbal elements compliment wines that have similar characters.

For instance, try: a fruity, sparkling Moscato, an Alsatian Gewurztraminer, a lively, fruity Riesling, and earthy and light-bodied Pinot Noir or surprise...a British Columbian Cabernet Franc.

I think these trans fat, sugar and yeast free crackers are terrific on their own, but top with a dollop of creamy goat cheese, some caramelized onions and fresh thyme leaves and these tasty treats will leave you addicted, craving more.

Gone Crackers Parmesan & Rosemary

A delicious cracker, inspired by a love for Italian food.
GONE CRACKERS folks say this cracker makes the best crouton for Caesar salads. It's great on its own with wine, but is also good with a simple soft cheese.
Likewise, I love the simplicity of Italian food and these Parmesan & Rosemary crackers bring back memories of tempting overflowing platters of chunked, crumply Parmesan set out at so many of the Italian wineries I've visited.

I often have people in a panic, asking me the trick to about food & wine pairing. My answer is simple; just relax and use common sense. Think about weight and balance and most of all think about the coutry of origin of your dish or your wine. If you are serving Italian, why not pour Italian?

Saying that, my first choice for serving most styles of Parmesan cheese will always be Italian wines. Although Parmesan comes in many forms, we generally refer to the hard, aged, salty and protein dense version that will pair well with any robust red, especially with wines that need to have their tannins smoothed out.
These crackers are perfect topped with my home-made garlicky, Tuscan white bean dip and served with...

Wines such as: Barolo, Barbaresco, Montepulciano d'Abruzzo, Bordeaux-style reds (Meritage), Cabernet or Carmemere too.

Gone Crackers Olive Oil & Cracked Pepper

A staple in every kitchen, olive oil is like salt to many foodies.
During my travels abroad, I return with more olive oil packed in my suitcase than I do wine - from Chile, Australia, California, Argentina, Italy, Spain and Portugal. All of them taste different and are made from a variety of indigenous varieties.

The Gone Crackers Olive Oil & Cracked Pepper are a great base for any number of toppings, the richness of the olive oil and piquant complimentary pepper are a wonderful base for - white bean dip, creamy cheeses like delicious Tallegio cheese or mushroomy brie, oven roasted tomatoes, olive tepanade, artichoke and almond tepanade...

Likewise, the options for wine pairing are nearly endless.
Peppery wines like Syrah or Shiraz will play well with the Olive Oil & Cracked Pepper but crisp or voluptuous whites will also sing - experiment with wines and toppings to find your perfect match!

Gone Crackers Canadian Cheddar & Chive

The folks who developed these tasty, wine-friendly crackers at GONE CRACKERS say, "A line of Canadian crackers had to have the classic flavour of aged Canadian Cheddar as one of its flavours".
I certainly won't disagree with that!
The Canadian Cheddar & Chive crackers are like comfort food to me, (I like to crumble them in my childhood favourite, creamy tomato soup) with their dry and slightly sharp cheddar flavour accented by a hint of chive.

And, it is the same dry, sharp flavours of crumbly cheddar cheese that pair so well with bold red wines which allow these crackers to take the edge off hearty and slightly more tannic wines.
Slightly salty, protein-dense cheeses, those that are crumbly and aged, work to soften the tannins found in big red wines, just as these Canadian Cheddar & Chive crackers do.

Wines such as: Cabernet, Syrah, Merlot, Meritage blends and Nebbiolo (or Barolo and Barbaresco) and even big, buttery Chardonnays...

Gone Crackers Undressed

Several years ago, select BC wineries if GONE CRACKERS would create a tasty, wine-friendly and palate cleansing cracker to serve at their wine tastings. So they created this simple style of cracker with just a few ingredients: flour, sea salt and olive oil.
People loved them!

Kudos to GONE CRACKERS - you don't have to be a wine writer to appreciate a cracker that acts as a palate cleanser. When I 'm tasting several dozen wines in an afternoon, the last thing I need is something interfering with an already tired palate...

But this Undressed cracker also works as a blank canvas to produce your own work of art upon...as the folks at GONE CRACKERS say, "Their delicate flavour makes them the perfect cracker for any dip, pate, tapenade, cheese... you name It!"

Wine: The sky is the limit!

Holiday Dinner Wines

Thanksgiving and Christmas are synonymous with turkey and stuffing. However, there are other elements.
Holiday dinners often consist of seasonal dishes - earthy root vegetables (often caramelized) turkey, roast chicken, honey ham and buttery mashed potaotes, creamy soups and sauces or cranberry sauces.
But often salmon, smoked sausage, vegetarian turkey with mushroom gravy or sometimes richer lamb and duck show up at the table.
Below are a broad selection of those wines I think pair best with these dishes: Rieslings, Viogniers, Gewurztraminers, Rhone white blends and other ripe aromatic whites. Also Pinot Noir, elegant earthy reds and bubbles be they white or rose are all suitable...

Quick hint: Balance is the key for simple food/wine pairing. Think about the weight and richness of your food and choose a wine you think will have similar weight and richness.
Turkey is great with whites, lamb is better suited to Pinot Noir or savoury reds

International #GrenacheDay

September 16th is International Grenache Day, the divisive variety, which also goes by the name of Garnacha (Spain) and Cannonau (Sardinia).
I love this varietal, in all of it's manifestations, including cherry twizzler...

Canada Day

This year, Canada Day launches us into a long weekend.
That means, plenty of socializing, sun (hopefully), and good food.
I've put together a list of wines, to help you ring in the weekend and celebrate Canada's 149th Birthday!


Father's Day

June 19th is Father's Day.
Forget the handkerchiefs and ties, what Dad really wants is a nice bottle of wine!
Something he can sit back and relax with, once the kids have gone to bed, or back to their own homes...

Check out these options!

South Africa Shines

This June, South Africa is the feature region in British Columbia Liquor Stores.
If you haven't already, it's time to discover these wines, which offer not only great substance, structure and value but diversity.
South Africa has been making wine for more than 350 years, their time has come and they continue to impress the world with their quality and approach-ability.


TOP 115 Wines of 2015

Here it is!

My entire list of TOP 115 wines of 2015. They are $20 or less, scoring 89+ points. Some of these wines are widely available across Canada, some are only available in private wine/liquor stores and some are available through the winery.
These wines have been reviewed by me between January 1/2015 and November 24/2015 and are listed by date reviewed.

*The prices have all been quoted to me as $20 or less, but those prices may vary by retailer or region. Prices may also be quoted before tax added.

Winoscope - Virgo

August 22 - Spetember 23

Virgo's are modest, meticulous and reliable, diligent, intelligent and analytical but she can also be worrisome and fussy, very critical and harsh.
Virgos are perfectionists and have conservative personalities.
She appreciates good health, hygiene and likes to those who are wholesome but does not like filth, poor health and sloppy people.

Colour: Dark Greens into Browns
Planet: Mercury
Symbol: The Virgin
Stone: Sardonyx (dark redish-brown)

Winoscope - Taurus

April 21 - May 21

The Taurus gal is patient, reliable, loving and determined. She likes tranquility in relationships.
But she can also be possessive and very jealous, resentful, inflexible and quite self-indulgent.
She also likes stability and comfort but hates to be pushed, disrupted or rushed.

Colour: Pink
Planet: Venus
Animal: Bull
Stone: Emerald

Winoscope - Scorpio

October 24 - November 22

The Scorpio is ruled by passion.
She is determined and forceful, deeply emotional, very intuitive, investigative, powerful and very magnetic.
But her passions also cause her to be jealous, resentful, obsessive/compulsive, secretive and also very stubborn.
The Scorpio gal likes to be persuasive, truth is very important to her, she likes hidden causes too but does not care for withheld information.
She dislikes shallow people, people who attempt to take what is hers, flattery and in turn flattering.

Colour: Maroon
Animal: Scorpion
Stone: Opal

Winoscope - Sagittarius

November 23 - December 22

Sagittarius is an optimistic sign, she is jovial, honest, straightforward and philosophical.
But she can also be falsely optimistic, almost careless and tactless, and she can be both irresponsible and superficial.
She likes traveling and being free and she does not want to be bored with details...

Colour: Purple
Planet: Jupiter
Symbol: Centaur
Stone: Topaz

Winoscope - Pisces

February 20 - March 20

The Pisces is a sensitive sign - she is imaginative and gentle, compassionate and kind.
She is not worldly but is very sympathetic.
She is also idealistic and vague, she can be weak-willed and easily led.
She likes to live in a dream world, odd and ridiculous things, she does not care for people who "know-it-all" and being criticized.

Colour: Soft Seagreen
Planet: Neptune
Animal: Fish
Stone: Moonstone

Winoscope - Libra

September 24 - October 23

The Libra gal is diplomatic, romantic, easygoing, sociable and idealistic.
The is also easily influenced and gullible, indecisive, flirtatious and self-indulgent.
She appreciates the finer things in life and sharing she also dislikes violence and people who are slaves to fashion.

Colour: Blue
Planet: Venus
Symbol: the Scales
Stone: Sapphire

Winoscope - Leo

July 23 - August 21

The Leo is generous and big hearted, creative, enthusiastic, open-minded, faithful and loving.
But Leo can also be vain, patronizing, bossy, interfering and intolerant.
The Leo also likes drama and living a lavish lifestyle but does not care for mean people or a boring, staid existence.

Colour: Gold
Planet: Sun
Animal: Lion
Stone: Ruby

Winoscope - Gemini

May 22 - June 21

The Gemini gal is adaptable, communicative, eloquent and witty with a youthful persona.
But she can also be nervous and easily stressed, cunning, superficial and inconsistent.
She likes to talk, she likes to multi-task but she does not like to be be either tied down or alone.

Colour: Green
Planet: Mercury
Stone: Moss Agate

Winoscope - Capricorn

December 23 - January 20

The Capricorn gal is practical and ambitious, disciplined, patient and cautious, humorous but reserved.
She can also be fatalistic, her glass half-empty and she can hold grudges.
She likes professionalism and reliable situations.
Capricorn dislikes mockery and people who live their lives in fiction or fantasy.
Colour: Brown
Planet: Saturn
Animal: Goat
Stone: Black Onyx

Winoscope - Cancer

June 22 - July 22

The Cancer gal is emotional and loving and protective, Intuitive, shrewd, careful and sympathetic.
She is also moody, can be too emotional, touchy and clingy.
She is a romantic, likes babies but dislikes, failure, being given advice or told what to do.

Colour: Silver
Planet: Moon
Animal: Crab
Stone: Pearl

Winoscope - Aries

March 20 - April 20

The Aries gal is courageous, adventurous and energetic, confident and a quick thinker.
She can also be selfish and hot-tempered, impulsive, foolhardy and impatient.
She likes winning and spontaneity but dislikes getting advice and admitting to failure.

Colour: Red
Planet: Mars
Animal: Ram
Stone: Diamond

Winoscope - Aquarius

January 21 - February 19

The Aquarian gal is friendly - she can be considered a humanitarian, she is honest, loyal, she like to be original she's independent and an intellectual.
But she can also be intractable, perverse, unpredictable and fairly unemotional.
Aquarian's prefer to plan their future and dream big.
She likes having fun but hates to be lonely and imitation.

Colour: Turquoise
Planet: Uranus
Symbol: the Water Bearer
Stone: Turquoise

TOP 100 Wines of 2014

The wait is over!

My entire list of TOP 100 wines, $20 and less scoring 89+ points.
Some of these wines are widely available across Canada, some are only available in private wine/liquor stores and some are available through the winery.

These wines have been reviewed by me between January 1/2014 and November 20/2014.

*The prices have all been quoted to me as $20 or less, but those prices may vary by retailer or region.

TOP 100 (+13) for 2013

Each year I taste more than 2000 wines. Many of those reviews are posted on my sites, which allows me to narrow down those wines into great lists and best of all, make life easier for you.
In my annual TOP 100 you'll find my Top 100 (+13) picks, which have scored 89 points or higher on WineScores.ca!
These wines are all $20 or Less!

* Don't forget to score the wines you've already tasted in order to get FREE recommendations!

*These wines are listed as $20 or less. Prices may vary at some retailers and in some provinces.
Wines are listed by date reviewed, not by score.


Exploring Argentine Wines

Here are some recent reviews of Wines from Argentina that I think you'll enjoy!

Wines for the Tasting Room Radio

Everyday Bubbles!

Delicious and affordable sparkling wines - perfect for any occasion (meaning everyday) and never, ever, pretentious...

Top Sellers & Reader Favourites

Here are some top selling wines, wines, which are also reader favourites.
Look through this list and see if there are any wines you have already tasted - if so, begin by rating them.
How many stars would you give some of these wines you are familiar with?

It's really that simple.

Begin rating wines now, and before long, I'll be recommending wines just for you!