Safe wines

Safe wines are bottles under $20 that you know you love. These are the wines that you have on hand for surprise company coming over, or you just feel like having a glass or three after work…or CreComm.

The thing with safe wines is that your tastes are always changing and evolving, especially with wine. And if you live with someone, you both have to agree to the same safe wines. Finding wines that have the wow factor for two people can be a challenge.

I am lucky enough to live with a guy who loves wine, and actually has a good idea of what he is talking about in the wine world. However, we have been having a difficult time picking our safe wines.

He has expensive taste in wine — well I do too, but I can’t afford it and I’m not that picky. Don’t get me wrong, I love coming home to a bottle of wine that I just pass in the LC and look at for a little too long, but that isn’t what we are looking for here.

Scott likes J. Lohr. Well, everyone and their grandma loves J. Lohr. I just don’t. If you want me to slow down my wine consumption for the evening then crack a bottle of J. Lohr and you will be onto the next two bottles before I can finish that glass.

I used to LOVE Apothic Red. It was also in my price range, so that was a safe wine for a while. Now I think it tastes like melted red lollipops. Yuck. Plus you get corpse mouth after like half a glass, and that is the worst.

Fun Fact: I don’t like sweet reds but l love sweet whites.

Obviously Mirassou, from my last post, would be on my safe wine list, but my boyfriend is “meh” about it.

If you like spicy reds, 19 Crimes is one of my safe wines, that I sadly have to cross off the safe wine list because Scott isn’t in love with it.

Penfolds Konnunga Hill shiraz cab is the next one I plan on trying with him. I’m crossing my fingers he likes it.

We found our first safe wine pretty easily: Grandes Vinos Y Vinedos Monasterio De Las Vinas Reserva Do. $14.99 is also right in my price range.



That’s not to say we both don’t like the same wines, but safe wines have to be perfect.

Let me know your safe wines!



One of my (cheap) go-to wines

Mirassou pinot noir is one of my go-to wines. It is perfect for a student budget (around $13) and never disappoints.

This pinot noir is super easy to drink. It is very light, so there is little chance of corpse mouth after a few glasses.

Plus, pinot noirs generally pair well with a wide rage of food. This one would be great with salmon, roasted chicken or pasta; but also great if you are planning on doing some snacking on a bunch of different things.

Oh, this wine is also the top selling pinot noir in Manitoba, so if you don’t want to take my word for it then you can take our province’s opinion into account.

If you have read any of my previous blog posts, you know I love food and wine, like, so much. Shockingly, salad is one of my favourite foods. If you pair it with pizza that is even better, but I found this recipe on the Mirassou website:

It sounds amazing and I am going to give it a try this week sometime. After I get caught up with my homework, so maybe next week, or when work placements start. But I will try it.


Just a quick note, Mirassou has four types of red wines and four types of white wines, so make sure you grab the right bottle!

How can wine smell like cat pee when it is made from grapes?

Did you know there are 10 000 smells? The average human can smell about 2000 of them.

Experts have determined that there are about 200 smells in wine.

How can wine smell like cat pee when it is made from grapes? This is super common in Sav. Blancs. And it’s actually a good thing!

I’m a CreComm, so I can’t tell you the science behind it, but I can tell you it is because of yeast in the fermentation stage of wine making.

Yeast eats the natural sugars in the wine. Then the yeast multiplies. This makes carbon dioxide, alcohol, and everything you smell, which most often for me is not a lot. I am starting to enjoy picking out aromas in the wine.

Because of where the grapes are grown, and the conditions they are grown (terrior) each wine smells different.

When you taste wine, you smell the aromas caused in the fermentation stage and the tastes of the grape. Over the years your brain has associated smells with different tastes. So when you smell raspberries and apples in wine and then taste it, your brain is expecting a different taste. This is why sometimes you don’t like the taste of a wine, even though you like the aroma.

There are a whole bunch of weird smells in wine like mold, barnyard (poop), forest floor (decomposing plants, mushrooms and dirt), iodine, gas, tar, wet gravel and many more gross things you think you wouldn’t like, but you probably do.

Côtes-du-Rhône, some Napa wineries and some pinot noir are known for the smell of Brettanomyces or ‘Brett’, which gives that barnyard scent. Ask someone at your local wine store to show you one and give it a try!

Cheers, friends!


What is a sommelier?


A sommelier is a trained wine professional. Sommeliers usually work at fancy restaurants and specialize in food and wine pairing.

You can’t just call yourself a sommelier.

Banville & Jones offers a Professional Sommelier Program. But first, you need to complete 3 levels of Wine Steward training. Level one costs around $500, level 2 is around $800, and level 3 costs about $1300. Plus training hours, and the cost to become a sommelier at Banville & Jones is $4500!

Then there is a master sommelier. They do a three-day test that can only be taken one per year. They have a theory exam, a service test, and a tasting. The tasting is of three white wines and three red wines. The sommelier has to say if the wine is old world or new world, explain the structure, body, alcohol, what region it is from, the varietal, if it is from a warm or cold climate and the age range of the wine.

I don’t know about you, but sometimes I can’t tell a difference between a pinot noir that cost $12, or a $500 bottle of shiraz.

So why do it?

After watching the movie SOMM, I am inspired. I wont do it because I don’t have that much time, but wow, I am impressed. A “somm” knows about culture, history, pairing food with wine… It’s pretty cool.

Each vintage has its own story. They know if it was a bad year for harvest, the family history of where the wine was grown, and, if they are a good somm, they can take you across the world with how they tell you the story of where your wine is coming from.

The good news is that you don’t need to be a somm to talk about wine — Thank God, I would need to find a new blog topic.

There is so much to know, you don’t need to know it all. Don’t be discouraged. People love to talk about wine, and it’s a great thing to bring up in a crowd. It’s kind of fun to learn as you go with wine. Try looking up the bottle of wine you purchase next time you drink some!

Plus, wine tasting is learned. If you really want to become a sommelier, you can. You aren’t born with a special ability

Happy tasting, friends!


Wine delivery!

The first rule about wine club … is don’t talk in clichés.

Just kidding, you can do whatever you want.

You know what is great about Manitoba? Besides honey dill and ketchup chips, we are one of three provinces that can have wine shipped to us from wineries outside the province, but we pay the other province’s tax instead of our own!

Wine clubs are generally offered by boutique wineries. You select the type of wine you want (red, white or a combo) and the quantity, and it is shipped right to your home or office. They wineries usually have a couple different options to cater to different price ranges.


This is great for people wanting to try new wines and build up a great wine collection. You will always have delicious wines on hand when guests come over! It is also perfect for lazy people who want wine delivered right to their door.

Beginners to wine could consider going in on one of these packages in a group and having a monthly meeting. This would give them opportunity to try different kinds of wine each month and discover what you truly enjoy. Plus, meeting up with a group of friends every month is always a nice thing. Eventually you could try pairing snacks and wine to expand your knowledge even further!

These are just some of the wine club options offered in Manitoba:

The WineCollective offers wine you can’t find at the MLCC. They source their wine from the Alberta wholesale market. The prices range from $66.00 for two bottles to $144.00 for six bottles — monthly. They also offer a gift option, if you are stuck for your holiday shopping.

I am a big fan of Poplar Grove Winery. They are out of BC and have some delicious wines and a great website. It is a little pricey at $150-$230 every three months (for six bottles), but they offer wines they only produce in small quantities, and sometimes only to wine club members.

The Wine of the Month Club comes from, which offers many monthly subscriptions. It is cheaper at $55 per month for two bottles.

The WINE of the MONTH CLUB offers different packages ranging from $55 per month for two bottles to $179 per month for six bottles. They have in-house wine experts choose the wine each month.