How to Get Your Dad to Drink Pink

Fathers day is coming up and that means backyard barbeques in the warm June sun. Your Dad will probably grab his go-to bottle of red to wash back that barbeque. This is to be expected, as most people think red wine pairs best with barbequed food like burgers. And Dad isn’t wrong, red wine does work great but Rosé can also bring out the best in your burger! With the right type of Rosé it can actually be a delicious pairing and something different to switch up the typical Father’s Day barbeque. But how to get your Dad to drink pink?

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The 13th Street Burger Blend Rosé is how to get your dad to drink pink! It’s a great pick for those who don’t think they like Rosé and an excellent gateway into the world of pink wine. The 13th Street Burger Blend Rosé is made from 100% VQA grapes –  33% Pinot Noir, 31% Cabernet Sauvignon, 24% Merlot, 12% Cabernet Franc. It was specifically produced to complement a burger and the combination does just that. The delicious blend of red grapes creates a medium-bodied crisp Rosé with flavours of ripe red berries, spice and a juicy finish. The 13th Street Burger Blend Rosé  is not your light pretty french Rosé, but a big juicy blend designed to stand up to your favourite barbequed burger. This is how to get your Dad to drink pink!

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While The 13th Street Burger Blend Rosé was designed to pair well with a variety of different burger combinations, I think it pairs exceptionally well with a blue cheese burger. The juicy red berry flavours and crisp spiciness work great to cut through the strong flavours of beef and blue cheese. If your Dad is still on the fence about drinking pink, this combination should sell him! The deliciousness of this food and wine combo cannot be denied!

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Now that the question of how to get your Dad to drink pink has been solved, how do you get the Burger Blend Rosé? You can pick up this wine at The 13th Street Winery in Niagara or order it from their online store. It’s an excellent value wine at only $14.95 a bottle. If you head over to my Instagram page, a lucky follower also has the chance to WIN two bottles of the Burger Blend wines!

Cheers!~GDW

Girl on a Budget: Wine Magnums Under $20

The Victoria day long weekend marks the beginning of summer in Canada. And summer in Canada means weekend cottage trips, camping adventures and lots of barbeque parties. All of these events go best with great wine and friends. But if you’re a girl on a budget, the wine can add up! I find that when I’m packing wine for a weekend trip or stocking up for a summer party, wine magnums are the best value. Wine magnums are 1.5L bottles, which is equal to two regular wine bottles. If you can find a magnum for under $20, then you will have plenty budget left to pick up that cute swim suit for the cottage! But are wine magnums under $20 any good? They are not going to be the BEST wine that you’ve ever had, but I’ve listed below my top picks.

  1. Aveleda Vinho Verde  $19.60 – This wine is listed at #1 because it is definitely my #1 pick for wine magnums under $20! A light Portuguese white with zesty spritziness, it’s perfect for sipping by the pool. Plus, with a lower alcohol level, 9.5%, you can sip all day without the worry of a hangover!
  2. Barefoot Pinot Grigio $19.95 – The Barefoot Pinot Grigio is another light a crisp white, but with more an off-dry style (dry but with a slight sweetness). On a hot day on the dock, I enjoy this wine over a large tumbler of ice.
  3. Bodacious Smooth Red $18.75 – A mix of Shiraz and Cabernet Sauvignon, the Bodacious red is full bodied and smooth. It is definitely a crowd pleasing wine, so a great choice when hosting a backyard barbeque. It’s on sale until May 27th for $16.75, so now would be a good time to stock up!
  4. Cono Sur Bicicleta Viognier $18.95 – The Cono Sur Viognier is bursting with aromatic flavours of tropical fruits and rounded out with great acidity. I just discovered this wine last month and was very happy to see it came in a magnum. Enjoy this wine with an extended al fresco Sunday lunch.
  5. Mateus Rosé $17.40 – This rosé is on the sweeter side, so I find that it works best mixed with sparkling water and ice to make a rosé spritzer. There’s nothing better than a rosé spritzer at the beach on a hot summer day!
  6. Folonari Soave $16.95 – The Folonari Soave has been one of my go-to magnums for years! It’s light, crisp and dry style makes it perfect for pairing with picnic pot locks in the park. Be careful though, this wine goes down like water!
  7. Jackson Triggs Shiraz $18.95 – When you’re having guests over for a charcoal grilled steak dinner, the Jackson Triggs Shiraz is a great choice. It’s a full bodied and easy drinking red wine that pairs well with friends and warm summer grill nights.
  8. Peller Estates Rosé $16.95 – This rosé is also on the sweeter side, but that makes it perfect to make frosé, sangria, rosé pops and spritzers. When you’re heading out of the city for a girls cottage weekend, pack a couple of these bottles to rosé all day!
  9. Two Oceans Sauvignon Blanc $18.75 –  I always have a magnum bottle of the Two Ocean’s Sauvignon Blanc in the fridge during the summer. It’s light and crisp with nice grapefruit, herb and citrus flavours. I find it works great as an après-work drink on the balcony.

If you’re a girl on a budget, wine magnums under $20 are your best choice to wine all summer! Weekend cottage trips, backyard parties and long beach days require wine at good value. While wine magnums aren’t always the BEST wine, my top 9 picks are all good choices that I’m sure you’ll enjoy!

Cheers! ~ GDW

Sparkling Margarita

I love Mexican food, but don’t really like the tequila based drinks that come along with it! So, I’ve put a wine twist on the popular margarita drink. With no tequila involved, I’ll be drinking this sparkling margarita all summer long! Read below for instructions on how to make the super simple sparkling margarita.

Sparkling Margarita

Ingredients

Sparkling wine (I used semi-sweet bubbles from Yellow Tail)

Lime juice

Agava

Sugar

Salt

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Instructions

Combine sugar and salt on a plate and rim your glass. Fill the glass with sparkling wine, add the juice from 1/4 of a lime and 1/2 teaspoon of agave. Enjoy!

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Cheers!~GDW

No Cook Wine & App Night

I love to host friends and family, but I don’t always love to cook. When I’m in a no-cook kind of mood, apps are the easiest option. Pair with some really nice wine and no one will be upset you didn’t make a 3 course dinner! I have a few go-to apps that are easy, simple and use all store bought items. When I’m serving no-cook apps, I like to include one stand out item, and I can’t wait to share my favourite with you!

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And, as with all hosting, it’s all about the presentation! Even if you’re using all store bought items, make sure to take them out of the packing and serve them on nice dishes. I have quite the collection of serving ware, as I find this to be one of the most important things about hosting. It doesn’t have to be expensive – I pick up a lot of my pieces from Homesense at really reasonable prices.

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So what are my 3 favourite no-cook apps? A charcuterie/cheese board, crudités platter and mussel stuffed olives. Read below for how I put these apps together, the ingredients and how to display.

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If my charcuterie/cheese board is part of several apps, I like to keep it small with high quality items. I typically include 5 items: a cheese, meat, nut, pickled vegetable and a cracker. For this wine and app night I chose my current favourite cheese, L’etivaz. This is a Swiss cheese made with unpasteurized cow’s milk, similar to a comté. I bought it at the St. Lawrence Market, but you could find it at any specialty cheese shop. The meat I used is a fig and port wine dry sausage by the Irresistibles Artisan brand from Metro – trust me, it’s so good! To keep the nut interesting I picked up the crowd pleasing macadamia, and a jar of pickled mushrooms. To finish off my board, I added pre-made sea salt and rosemary crostini’s from Stonemill Bakery.

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Crudités is just a fancy French way of saying vegie and dip platter, but it sounds so much better right?! For the crudités, stay away from pre-cut basic vegetables and choose some more interesting items. For this platter I used snap peas, endive, mini cucumbers and heirloom carrots. Same goes for the dip – try something different than the typical ranch, like a artichoke asiago sauce. I buy this artichoke asiago dip up from the St. Lawrence Market, but you can find similar at the grocery store.  Just make sure to take it out of the plastic container and put it into a nice serving bowl – will look homemade!

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And last, the pièce de résistance! My favourite, and easiest, no-cook app is mussel stuffed olives. I had these at a market in Madrid several years ago and have not stopped making them since! This app only requires three items – large green olives, mussels and toothpicks. Slice the olive, stuff with mussel and secure with a toothpick. Done! Super simple and easy to make, but they stand out as a unique and different app.

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A wine and app night is not complete with a great bottle of wine. When I’m doing apps, I’m not too picky about the wine pairing as it’s difficult when you have a lot of different foods and flavours. I instead pick a wine that I love and want to share with my guests. For this night I chose the Frog’s Leap Zinfandel, which I  bought on a trip to Napa last year. I was excited to share the bottle, and found memories of the winery, with our fellow wine loving guests. Plus, it’s great that the Frog’s Leap Zinfandel is now available at the LCBO.

With this no-cook wine and app night you will spend less time in the kitchen and more time enjoying your guests company!

Cheers!~GDW

 

Wines for Easter Dinner

If you’re like me and always put in charge of bringing the wine to family celebrations, then I’m sure you’ve started thinking about what will pair best with Easter dinner. Most Easter dinners involve pork or bird roasts that are complimented best by medium-bodied white and red wines. I’ve found three local Ontario wines that will work great with your dinner and satisfy different wine tastes. Each bottle is under $20 and available at most LCBO locations. I suggest picking them up now before that the weekend rush!

Strewn Chardonnay Barrel Aged VQA

The Strewn Chardonnay from Niagara is a full-bodied and rich white that will pair really well with turkey or Cornish hen. It has toasty peach aromas and buttery fruit flavours. If you tend to steer away from oaked Chardonnays because of their overwhelming butteriness, you don’t have to worry with the Strewn Chardonnay as it’s really balanced with good acidity and a clean finish.

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G. Marquis The Silver Line Pinot Noir

The more adventurous culinary family is having lamb or duck for their Easter dinner, and these types of meats deserve a delicate and refined red wine. The G. Marquis Pinot Noir is a medium-bodied dry red that will match the flavours of the lamb or duck nicely. It’s really elegant with a smokey spice aroma, cherry flavours and a hint of violet.

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Cave Spring Dry Rosé VQA

The Cave Spring Rosé is a versatile and food friendly wine. It will pair well without a lot of menus, but particularly if you’re having ham or salmon. This rosé is a medium-bodied dry wine made up of 57% Pinot Gris, 18% Riesling, 14% Pinot Noir, 7% Cabernet Franc, 4% Gamay. It’s lovely aroma of ripe red cherries is followed by flavours of red berries and finished with a refreshing acidity.

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Hope you have a wonderful Easter weekend filled with fresh new wines for Spring!

Cheers!~GDW

 

 

 

Girl on a Budget: Wines Under $10

Sometimes a girl is on a budget and needs decent wine for cheap. While it’s nice to drink expensive vintages, there are times that call lower price point wines, like a when you’re hosting a big party or saving for a trip. But a girl on a budget does not mean that good taste has to be compromised! I’ve rounded up my top three wines from the LCBO that are under $10 and don’t taste like bathwater.

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1. Beso de Vino

Beso de Vino is a red blend from Spain. It’s a full bodied dry wine with a deep purple colour.  I was introduced to it by a friend several years ago and it’s been a constant go to since then for hosting, gifting and weeknight drinks. Beso de Vino is a crowd pleaser! I haven’t met someone that doesn’t enjoy this easy going wine. It’s has luscious dark fruit flavours with a hint of spice and licorice. Available at the LCBO for $9.95.

2. L’Orangeraie Rosé

If you’re in the mood for Rosé, the L’Orangeraie is a great budget friendly option. From the South of France, this wine is medium bodied and extra dry with good acidity. Notes of herb, bell pepper and floral are followed by tart cherry and citrus flavours. A classic example of a southern French Rosé, L’Orangeraie is sure to please any pink drink lover. When I was first putting together this post, L’Orangeraie was at the LCBO for under $10, but recently increased to $10.25 – still a good deal!

3. Two Ocean’s Sauvignon Blanc

Most wine drinkers at some point have probably had the Two Ocean’s Sauvignon Blanc. This white wine from South Africa is light bodied and dry  with flavours that will not offend anyone. Easy drinking and crisp, the Two Ocean’s Sauvignon Blanc has light tastes of soft citrus and grapefruit. It’s guaranteed to be enjoyed on a hot summers day! The 750ml bottle is $9.95 at the LCBO, but you can get the 1500ml bottle for only $17.95 – perfect if you’re hosting a summer party!

Cheers!~GDW

 

A Galentine’s Brunch

I’ve never been a big fan of Valentine’s Day, but have always loved celebrating with my girlfriends. When Leslie Knope introduced the idea of Galentine’s Day, I was definitely on board! This year I celebrated with a 3-course brunch and wine pairing. If you’re not totally sold on the Galentine’s idea, this event could be replicated for any brunch occasion with friends or family – no cheesey hearts involved!

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I welcomed my Galentine’s with coffee and baked goods. We had the most delicious coffee from Velvet Sunrise, called Velvet Espresso, and I picked up fresh pastries that morning from my favourite bakery at the St. Lawrence Market, Stonemill Bakehouse. To add a little “fancy” to our brunch, I served the coffee in china teacups and the baked goods on an antique silver tray.

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After our caffeine and sugar fix, we moved onto the main event. I made coconut French toast – using coconut milk and a baguette is a really nice alternative. For sides, we had market bacon, berry salad and homemade maple syrup. I served the main course with the Jackson-Triggs Grand Reserve Entourage Sparkling Brut. With warm flavours of toasty brioche and structured tropical acidity, this bubbly paired nicely with the French toast and bacon. I tried this wine for the first time a few weeks ago and haven’t stopped drinking it since! You can purchase it directly from the Jackson Triggs Winery or at select Wine Racks for $29.95.

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We finished off our Galentine’s brunch with sugar cookies and pink bubbly. My girlfriend made the cookies using a great recipe from Zoella – these cookies turn out better every time she makes them! I chose the Pelee Island LOLA Rose VQA 2016 to pair with the cookies, and it was a hit! The LOLA Rose is a light and fruity sparkling wine with tastes of strawberry and orange. This wine is one of my local favourites – plus, labels don’t get much prettier than this one! At $14.95, it’s also a great price-point and available at most LCBO stores.

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Happy Galentine’s Day!

Cheers! – GDW