@winejennifer

I love wine and my boys.

The Grape Escape


This weekend is Calgary Co-Op’s Wine, Spirit and Beer Festival, The Grape Escape.

Once again, it’s completely sold out, but I do have a couple of tickets to the Friday afternoon VIP tasting session to give away.

I’ll be pouring Nollen Notorious Rooster Riesling, Road 13’s Honest John’s Red, Castano Monastrell and Freixenet Carta Nevada at the Grape Escape.

Nollen Notorious Rooster Riesling 2010
“Every once and a while an inexpensive Germany riesling, almost always from the Mosel, over delivers and that is the case with Notorious a delicious little riesling. We love the fresh nectarine skin aromas and the peachy, watermelon fruit all with freshness and balance.”
Anthony Gismondi

Castano Monastrell 2009
“It is a dark ruby-coloured wine with a fragrant nose of underbrush, blueberry and plum. Super-juicy on the palate and densely packed, this is a pleasure-bent effort for drinking over the next 2-3 years.”
– Robert Parker

Honest Johns Red 2010
“The fruit explodes out of the glass with aromas of red currant, black raspberries and bing cherries. The nose also shows signature Okanagan character, followed by subtle layering of chocolate, cedar and tobacco.”
– JM Bouchard, Winemaker

Freixenet Carta Nevada
“As semi-dry Cavas go, it’s hard to lodge a complaint against this one. It has a full bouquet of powdered sugar and white fruits, and the palate is sturdy and shows sweet mango and papaya flavours.”
– The Wine Enthusiast

**UPDATE** Congratulations to Erin Darroch for winning my tickets!

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Calgary Needs A Champagne Friday Food Truck

freixenet food truck

The Freixenet Tastings & Tapas Truck

I like to celebrate Champagne Fridays. It’s nothing fancy, just at the end of each week a cork flies across my home office instead of getting cracked with a corkscrew.

In Dallas, this week, Champagne Fridays took on an entirely different meaning as The Freixenet Tastings & Tapas Truck rolled into town. It’s been cruising across the states all summer offering people the opportunity to taste Freixenet [87 points Wine Access] sparkling wine, nibble on “tapas” and play games.

The perfect definition of a Champagne Friday, in my books.

Today, in Calgary, we experienced our first snow of the season and the food trucks are turning their menus to more comfort food selections. Still, a little rolling Freixenet Friday in the Stampede City could do us all a bit of good.

Don’t you think?

Movember Handlebar Moustache Corkscrew

My husband is growing a moustache this month as a part of Movember. While I agree that doing all you can for prostate cancer awareness is a good thing, I just wish it didnt involve the scratchy, unsexy moustache.

I don’t like them on him. BUT .. I did find a moustache I can love, this fun Handlebar Moustache Corkscrew from Fred & Friends on Amazon for less than $10.

Cheap enough that I can be a Mo’ Sista with my own (non scratchy, totally cute) moustache and still have enough left over to donate to Movember.

The best part? None of my Famiglia Bianchi Malbec (90 points Wine Access) will get lost in the loose furry friends.

Road 13 Is One Of The 25 Best Wineries In Canada

road 13 rockpile

Road 13 2009 Rockpile

Wine Access Magazine is counting down the Top 25 Wineries in Canada. This morning they reached number 6, the Okanagan’s Road 13 Vineyards.

Road 13 Vineyards is a family owned and operated winery located between Osoyoos and Oliver, at Highway 97 and Road 13 on the Okanagan Valley’s historic “Golden Mile.” The winery has a short but colourful past and continually receives ongoing critical acclaim for making wines that many feel are a quintessential expression of Okanagan Valley terroir.

The winery has moved primarily to blended wines and away from single varietals. Many varietals have vanished from Road 13’s portfolio because the grapes now go into Rockpile, a 4,500-case red blend, and Stemwinder, a 1,800-case white blend.

Still, the winery’s single varietals are noticed with the 2008 Jackpot Pinot Noir and 2008 Home Vineyard Sparkling Chenin Blanc both receiving 90 points from Wine Access.

Wine Themed Napkins

I found these cute wine themed napkins at Pier 1 Imports last week. As we head into the holiday party season, they make a cute addition to any table at $5 a pack.

 

Oh, and for those of us turning 40 sooner than we’d like, we’re covered too.

forty

If Forty Is The New Twenty, Then Cellulite Must Be The New Tattoo

How To Decorate Wine Bottles For Halloween

Freixenet Cordon Negro All Spooked Up For Halloween

Halloween is a Monday this year, which means the holiday will be turned into a 3 (maybe 4) day celebration. You’ll have events on Friday, Saturday (maybe Sunday) and Monday.

The kids get Monday for the trick or treating. That’s a given. Mom and Dad might take one of the other days on the weekend to get ghoulish with some friends. If a house Halloween party is on tap for your crew, don’t show up empty handed.

A bottle of Spanish bubble Freixenet Cordon Negro makes the perfect host(ess) gift. The matte black bottle (murdered out as Rob Dyrdek would say) easily lends itself to the spirit of the season and it’s simple to dress up.

A tissue, elastic and felt is all you need to turn your bottle into a spooky and festive ghost. The plain silhouette of the bottle is also a great canvas for stickers you might have left over from decorating with the kids.

The wispy curls of “smoke” that pop with the cork and when it’s poured also chime in time with the mood of the party.

It’s affordable too, with prices around $15.

This latest bottling of the classic Cordon Negro Brut is as clean, fresh, fruity and balanced as ever; infinitely drinkable without demanding too much contemplation. [Wine Access]

Visit Freixenet on Facebook for more fun Halloween ideas.

Bodegas Lustau Sherry Tasting with Christopher Cannan

Cannabis presents Bodegas Lustau

“In North America, sherry needs an education.  In the UK, sherry is a birthright,”  remarked one of the attendees of a recent Bodegas Lustau tasting. Not being from the UK, and needing the education, The Delf Group invited Europvin‘s Christopher Cannan to host the tasting.

Mr. Cannan is one of the wine world’s most recognized wine exporters.  His regions range from Spain to Portugal to Hungary to, of course, Bordeaux.  His portfolio features more than 300 labels and with more than 30 years in the industry, his humility is only superceded by his experience.

Bodegas Lustau is from the southwest of Spain, almost in North Africa.  The region is very warm and is buffeted by 2 winds; one from the Sahara, the other from the Atlantic.  The soil of the region is mostly chalky and that’s where you’ll find the sherry vines, struggling in the white dusty earth.

Sherry grapes are picked in August and on their own make a very boring and insipid white wine. So they are fortified to add some depth along a scale that ranges from very dry to very sweet.  Sherry doesnt typically have a vintage.  Fractional blending, where portions from various casks are blended for each bottling, insures the product has a consistent taste from year to year to year.

For the sweeter sherries, the grapes are picked and left in the sun for 3 weeks to dry.  What’s left is more sugar than juice, but they are pressed nonetheless.

Surprisingly, sherry is very affordable considering the age, effort and quality required to produce each bottle.  The Bodegas Lustau flight presented by Mr Cannan wholesales from $9 – $24.

Bodegas Lustau

Lustau Manzanilla “Papirusa” Solera Reserva – $9

Bone dry, light, fresh, very tangy.  Pairs wonderfully with tapas, shellfish, seafood and sushi.

Lustau Palo Cortado “Peninsula” Solera Reserva – $24

Given 92 points by Wine Advocate, Robert Parker writes “Great balance, intensity and acidity as well as a scorched earth / roasted nut character.”  Pairs well with meats, poultry, game and consomme.

Lustau East India Solera – $13

With 94 points from Wine Advocate, Parker calls it “weighty, sweet and provocative. It boasts a dark amber color as well as a huge nose of melted toffee, caramel, figs and prunes.”  This was given the name “East India” after sailors found the sherry tasted better after the long trek between England and India.  Whether it was the motion of the ocean, or the humidity of India, the sherry tasted better in the colony.

Pumpkin Pie and Pinot Noir

Rabbit Ranch Pinot Noir 2008

Rabbit Ranch Pinot Noir 2008

You’re knee deep in stuffing and the phone rings.  It’s your Thanksgiving guests.  “What can we bring?” they invariably ask.

You’ve got the pumpkin pie, potatoes, turkey and stuffing on the go.  So ask them to bring some wine.

Pinot Noir is a great  pairing choice for Thanksgiving and Rabbit Ranch 2008 Pinot Noir was just chosen by Wine Access Magazine as a top value wine.

This is a strident, intense and complex pinot that could use more restraint and elegance for a higher rating. But it has very interesting aromas of dried cherry, tomato, herbs and sweet oak. It’s medium full-bodied, with considerable tannin, heat and acidity. Very good to excellent length. Best now to 2014.

You’ll find on shelves in Alberta for around $25.  A bargain for your guests compared to the feast you’re about to serve and a perfect pairing for everything on the table – even the pumpkin pie.

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