Have you tried this affordable bubbly red wine? The lowdown on Lambrusco.

Hello my wine-loving friends!

I know it must be a shock to see Wining with Mel re-appearing out of the blue like this after such a long absence. Five months, to be exact. Rest assured that despite the lack of posts, you have not left my thoughts. I have been battling a heavy dose of guilt for not writing. Did you think of me a little while I was gone?

It goes without saying that coming back to the “real world” after a year off – first traipsing around Europe, then sailing around the Caribbean – has been a bit of an adjustment. I have gone from a completely unstructured life on a boat to being back in an office 5 days a week. I have gone from wearing flips flops or going barefoot to donning high heels. Continue reading

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French kiss: a glimpse into the food and wine of Languedoc

Languedoc. Land of three kisses. Everyone knows that the French greet each other with kisses on the cheek. However, the French kissing custom can garner intense confusion for visiting foreigners. Like a secret code that only locals are privy to, the number of kisses exchanged varies based on geography, ranging anywhere from 1 to 5 (!!) kisses. Continue reading

Resurfacing…with big news

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Friends!

I know, I know. It has been a while. My excuses are valid, I assure you, but I don’t want to bore you with them. Let’s just say that I have been struck with a case of shifting priorities, and unfortunately this blog was one of the things that got shuffled to the bottom of the list, along with many other things that are dear to me. But it was all for a good cause! Read on, and you will see: this is a post of big news…

Continue reading

Under the Weather Wining

Going to the dentist. Taking a flight. Going on a first date. Having no kleenex/soup in the house.

All things that SUCK when you are sick.

That’s right. Yours truly has come down with a cold. And considering the subject of this blog, I must add to the above list: drinking wine.

Just like going out for a nice meal when you are sick, drinking a nice bottle of wine when you have a cold is such a waste. It just takes all the enjoyment out of it. And yet, some research shows that moderate consumption (8-14 glasses per week) of wine, particularly red wine, may help prevent the common cold.

Now when I first read these articles’ claims, I pshawed*. First of all, that seems pretty high for a “moderate” weekly consumption. And second of all, I drank wine all week and look what good it did me! However, after a bit of thought, I realized that 8-14 glasses is likely exactly where my weekly consumption is at so I clearly need to stop being so judgmental. And secondly, I had a glass (or two) of red wine every night this week until last night, which is when the sinus explosion hit me. Maybe this research is onto something and I should be increasing my red wine intake.

So my friends, learn from my errant ways and go ahead and drink that second glass of immune-boosting red wine tonight. Otherwise soon you may be the one sitting at home in sweatpants with a blanket and a box of kleenex at 8 o’clock on a Saturday night.

* Although Google Chrome disagrees, “pshaw” is actually a word, thank you very much. The fact that the Oxford Dictionary considers it dated makes me think I maybe read too much Sir Arthur Conan Doyle and Agatha Christie as a child.

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Luckily, I drank a couple of nice bottles before getting sick (over the course of the last week, not one right after the other in the name of prevention), so I at least have something to report this week. They may or may not have played a pivotal role in me making it through the work week before this cold hit.

  1. Gérard Bertrand La Clape 2011

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This wine was the perfect way to start a weekend. This Coteaux de Languedoc from the south of France boasts a lovely blend of syrah (aka shiraz), carignan and mourvèdre (one of my favourite varietals, FYI, and a key component of Côtes du Rhône wines). Medium ruby red in colour, there is definitely a hint of garnet, which is sometimes a sign of age (how was 2011 already 4 years ago??). On the nose, it’s quite fragrant, showing dark fruit, floral notes and spices.

The structure of this wine is really nice and quite balanced: medium bodied, medium tannins, medium acidity. On the palate, same dark fruit, with cedar, black pepper and those spices again (Kim Marcus describes them as “savory herb flavors”).

We paired this with some leftover Moroccan beef stew and the pairing was surprisingly fantastic. I wasn’t sure how the Moroccan spices would work with the wine, but they actually brought out its fruit flavours, which was delicious.

There aren’t too many bottles of this left in Ontario (we’re pretty much out in Ottawa – I bought this bottle a couple of months ago). So check stocks at the LCBO nearest you, and maybe grab me a bottle (Mom?). This wine is also available at the SAQ for those of you in Quebec.

  1. Viña Bujanda Rioja Reserva 2010

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A delicious pairing at Das Lokal

Earlier this week, the ladies in my yoga class and I decided to reward ourselves with a nice glass of a wine. A restaurant in the area called Das Lokal offers half-priced bottles of wine on Tuesday, so we decided to check it out! We were not disappointed with this decision. We ordered the abovementioned Spanish rioja and could not have been more pleased.

It was pretty dark in the restaurant, but the wine’s colour seemed dark ruby  to me, and smelled of dark fruit (by this I mean plum, blackberry, blueberry, black currant, etc.), cedar, tobacco and sweet spice. This is the type of wine aroma that makes me swoon a little. This particular rioja spent 20 months in oak so that really brings out the last three aromas.

On the palate, this rioja was very dry, but with juicy tannins. There was dark fruit here too, specifically blackberry and red currant, and it had a loooooong finish.

Though we had it with the typical German sausage dish pictured above, I found it went really nicely with the balsamic/oil the restaurant served with their sourdough bread.

Keep well, friends. Keep taking your vitamins and a healthy dose of red!