The King of Reds

Cabernet Sauvignon, you classy bastard.

You were conceived from Cabernet Franc and Sauvignon Blanc grapes and they made the most popular grape in American wine drinkers.

This grape is so great because it has thick skin and is easy to grow in many areas of the world.

It’s full-bodied, dark, dry, has a lot of tannins and a medium level of acidity. Your tongue will likely get that dried up feeling from the tannins when drinking Cab Sav..

This bad boy is best served with food, especially red meats. Try pairing your Cab. with fatty foods or rich tomato sauces and cheeses.

Pyrazines is an organic compound group in unripe Cabernet Sauvignons that smells like green bell pepper. That’s why many wine tasters detect green pepper in their Cab Savs..

Wines that are Cabernet Sauvignon, but aren’t called Cabernet Sauvignon:

Bouchet, Bouche, Petit-Bouchet, Petit-Cabernet, Petit-Vidure, Vidure, Sauvignon Rouge.

Fun Fact: August 31, 2017 is #CabernetDay, just in case you really dig the grape and want to celebrate that. I probably will.


Rose All Day

Rosé is like the Gretchen Weiner of wines: Pink, popular and goes down easy.


The best place for rosé is Provence, a region in France. Provence exports the most rosé, makes more rosé than any other style of wine, and is consistent with their flavours.

These names also mean Provence, but say something different:

Côtes de Provence,
Coteaux d’Aix-en-Provence,
Coteaux Varois

Rosé is perfect for summer drinking outside and is best served cold. It is also great to mix in sangrias or cocktails!

Rosés are usually cheaper than red wine because it is easier to make and doesn’t have to be aged.


This photo has nothing to do with wine, but pizza and wine are delicious and I’m ready for summer.

Fun fact: the fresher your rosé is, the better the wine is. Unlike most wines, you don’t want rosé to age, and you probably won’t find any at your local liqueur store that is older than a few years.

White Zinfandel and rosé are the same things — kinda. They are made the same way, but White Zins are way sweeter, like, way sweeter. If you want to get into it then you can read the history of White Zin here. It’s pretty interesting.

Rosé from Europe is drier, which is what people want in their pink wine.

Rosé from anywhere else is probably sweet like White Zin.

They go through the same process, called maceration. Winemakers juice red grapes and then they allow the juice to soak with the skins for a few days until it turns pink. So, the longer the juice sits in the skin, the darker pink the wine is.

Something that’s like rosé, but is not rosé is Spanish rosados.

SOMETIMES white and red wine is mixed together to make rosé, but that is rare and kind of frowned upon in the wine world.

Wine Roulette

First, wine tasting is not easy. If anyone tells you that, they are liars.

I don’t mean having a sip and tasting what is in your mouth. I mean smelling your wine, having a sip and being able to tell me what fruits, flowers, herbs and hints of whatever is in the wine.

To even have a decent shot at picking out the flavours and scents you need to be able to concentrate and not be around any smells like perfume, cooking smells, or pet smells. Even a glass that is the wrong shape or size can alter what you are able to smell.

The temperature, age of the wine, what you were eating before you sampled the wine, all of these things play a factor into what you taste.

I had ordered a glass of wine at a restaurant that I know I love, but I was eating a different kind of food with it, and it tastes totally different and kind of gross. It’s amazing the difference that makes.

Real experts at this can look at the shade and transparency of the wine can tell you what type of wine it is. I could probably tell you the difference between a pinot noir and a cab sav, but that’s about where it stops. I know Syrahs or red Zinfandels are usually a dark purple/black colour and Pinot Noirs or Sangioveses are a lighter, more browny/red colour.

Fruits are usually the most prominent smell and taste you can pick out. Herbs, spices and flowers are sometimes apparent.

Then there are the smells from the barrels. You could have oak, vanilla, smoke, chocolate, espresso, or even things like nuts.

Overwhelmed yet? Each part of your tongue tastes different things, so when you are ready to taste you have to swirl the wine around in your mouth to catch all the flavours.

To me, that seems like using mouthwash and also is going to make me have red wine mouth. I don’t want to. Especially if the wine has a lot of tannins in it, it will give your whole mouth that bitter dry feeling.

I invented a game to test out your skills in a way that, hopefully, isn’t infuriating.

Go to your favourite restaurant with a friend, hopefully on half price wine night, ask your server for the wine menu and to surprise you with a glass of wine. Each of you try and pick out the flavours, you will have the wine menu in front of you so it’s not super overwhelming and a complete shot in the dark. The person who guesses correctly doesn’t’ have to pay for the wine!

After you guess, get the server to bring over the bottle of wine so you can look at what it’s supposed to taste like and try to find those flavours in your wine.

You actually will be learning something and it won’t break the bank. It will show you what to look for in a particular type of wine, hopefully help you with picking out flavours, and you might find some new wines you love or hate!

Wine tasting is learned. It’s not easy, and it’s not something you are going to learn overnight. Make it fun.

I’m going to try this with Scott and see how it goes. Wish me luck!

A little tip for a bubbly sip

Champagne: The beverage of choice for many celebrations.

I, actually, do not like it.

I do not like it saying “cheers”

I would rather have some beers.

I do not like that Baby Duck.

I really think it does taste YUCK.

I do not like it here, or there.

I do not like it anywhere.

I think I am just scarred from years of Baby Duck — yes I know Baby Duck is not champagne. It’s sparkling wine, but for the purposes of what I’m saying, I’m sure this trick would work for sparkling wine as well.

It’s the only reason I don’t have graphic Ts that talk about mimosas. But my goal is to have a closet full of graphic shirts for every mood, so who knows, maybe my tastes will change?

But, I do have a trick for you if you want to keep your bubbles in the bottle over night.

This is one of the things that I would have thought is ridiculous until I tried it for myself — like chips in the freezer. Seriously, try it.

So, you can’t put the cork back in the champagne bottle, and even if you could, it doesn’t help much with keeping the bubbles in.

Don’t ask me how this works, but if you put a metal fork in your bottle and put your bottle in the fridge, your champagne will stay bubbly! It’s honestly a miracle. I suppose a spoon or knife would work, but a knife seems dangerous and it might fall into the bottle.

I first discovered this method at my cousin’s house in Vancouver. She likes champagne and there was just a straggler bottle of Moet hanging around with a spoon in it. I thought it was weird until I tried it. Pink champagne is the exception to my dislike of champagne. My brain tricks my tongue into thinking it’s delicious because it’s pink. I’m ok with that.

The Need-to-Know for Pinot

Pinot Noir – The crowd pleaser – a safe red to serve to crowds because it goes well with many different foods and has subtle flavours, so it’s easy to drink. The tannins are pretty low in Pinot Noirs, so it doesn’t give your mouth that dry, bitter feeling.


Born in Burgundy Region of France — nicknamed Red Burgundy out there. This wine has flavours of red berries, mushrooms, sweet black cherries, and the smell of damp leaves.

It’s pale, transparent, and best served “cool to the touch.” It’s lighter in colour because the skin of Pinot Noir is so thin.

Pinot Noir grapes are hard to grow, and thrive in cooler regions.

Pinots are infamous with wine snobs. The movie, Sideways, was based around Pinot Noir and how amazing it can potentially be.

More affordable pinots come from Oregon, California, Chile, Australia and New Zealand — these pinots are generally fruitier than their French sister.

Names for Pinot Noir that aren’t Pinot Noir, but still mean the same dang thing:

Savagnin Noir (FR SZ), Bourguignon (FR), Pinot Nero (IT), Pignola (IT), Spätburgunder (GR), Blauburgunder (GR), Klevner (AS), Nagyburgundi (HG), Modri Pinot (SV), Bourgogne, Côte de Nuits, Gevrey-Chambertin, Morey-St-Denis, Chambolle-Musigny, Vougeot, Flagney-Echezeaux, Nuits-St-Georges, Vosne-Romanee, Aloxe-Corton, Côte Challonaise

Other blogs about this popular grape:

Cheap wine all the time

Life is hectic. Sometimes you need a night out with your friends, but you don’t want to spend a lot of cash. Me neither. I compiled a list of restaurants that offer wine specials across the city.

On weekends you are pretty much hooped because restaurants are already busy and they don’t need a reason to lure you in with discounts.



Chop – ½ price glasses

Tavern United – bottles from 12.99



Original Joes – ½ price bottles

Moxie’s Classic Grill– ½ price glasses

Carbone – reduced bottles

Peasant Cookery – ¼ off wine bottles



Moxie’s Classic Grill – ½ price bottles

Pony Corall – $5 off wine bottles

Mona Lisa – 30% off glasses

Earls – $6 glasses of wine

Smitty’s – ½ price glasses

Clay Oven – 25% off any wine over 25$



Elevate Eatery – 1/2 price bottles of wine

Shark club – ½ price glasses

Carbone – reduced glasses

Jekyll and Hydes – ½ off bottles

The Canadian Brewhouse ½ bottles and $1 off glasses

State and Main – ½ price bottles

JOEY and Earls have Happy Hours from 3-6 every day with $4 drinks and after 9pm from Sunday – Thursday.

Santa Ana – has possibly best pizza in the city and definitely the cheapest bottles of wine. Every. Single. Night.

Make sure to call in advance. They are often full and take reservations.


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The Skinny on Chardonnay

It’s starting to feel warm again and I am debating putting sunglasses on when I drive, so that means it’s white wine time again!

When I think of Chardonnay I think of a middle-aged blonde female who gets day drunk during the week while wearing high heels, white pants and some type of fur — into it.

That’s completely irrelevant to what I’m about to tell you about chardonnay.

This bae was born in the Burgundy region of France, where it’s known as White Burgundy — opposite of Pinot Noir!

It’s known as an elegant white wine and is best served cold. This wine is super versatile and goes great on patios in the summer or pairs well with hearty soups in the winter.

Chardonnay grapes are easy to grow, and are very different depending on the region and climate (aka terroir). That’s why you could have one Chardonnay that’s super dry and made from less-ripe grapes that tastes like green apple or lemons and hate it, or you could have one that’s made from very ripe grapes and tastes like guava, mango or pineapples.

They other huge difference is whether the Chardonnay is oaked or unoaked.

  • Oaked Chardonnay has a buttery flavour and are pretty rich.
  • Unoaked Chardonnay is similar to a pinot gris or sav blanc and tend to be more crisp and tart.

Safe foods to pair with Chardonnay:

  • Soft cheeses
  • Fish with herbs
  • Chicken, Turkey
  • Shrimp, Lobster, Crabs, Scallops, Oysters, Clams
  • Mushrooms, truffles
  • Almonds
  • Yellow squash, lemons, peas, asparagus

Wines that aren’t Chardonnay, but are pretty close to Chardonnay:

Marsanne, Roussanne, Viognier, Semillon, Fiano (Italy), Antão Vaz (Portugal)

Fun Fact: Chardonnay is the wine used to make sparkling wines.

This clearly isn’t everything to know about Chardonnay, but it’s a good starting point. The links below go into more detail about the grape if you are interested.