The Demystified Vine

Taking the mystery out of wine exploration!

There are a few yearly holidays out there that require some thoughtfulness on what wine(s) to pair with the meal. Thanksgiving and Christmas are two that spring to mind first, and both are usually very bird-focused. So, with the holidays fast approaching, I put together a few suggestions for what wines would pair the best with turkey dinner.

Basting a bird? Look no further for your wine pairing suggestions.


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Well folks, I don’t know about you, but here in the Pacific North West, it seems winter has hit already. Technically, we still have a few weeks to go until the official arrival of Mr. Cold & Bitter, but whatever, it’s not sunny.

As such, we need to be ahead of the game with our winter wonderland picks for those frigid evenings when all we want to do is cozy up by the fire. Oh wait, that’s just a dream for me. No fireplace pour moi.

Here are a few of my recommendations for “winter wines to swear by”. Hope you’ll try some (or all) of them, and let me know what you think!



If you’re a white wine drinker, and still enjoy sipping a chilled white on wintery evenings, may I suggest this wine. Vintage after vintage, it delivers for its price point. This Viognier always leaves a great impression on me; it is filled with floral and stone fruit notes, and its body can hold its own with a variety of foods including hard cheeses, Asian dishes, and soups. ~$13.00 CAD after tax


BENCH 1775 CABERNET FRANC clone 214 [2013]


This wine will keep you comforted as you discover its beauty. It has ageing potential, so feel free to keep it until late winter or very early spring (if you can wait that long)! It shows notes of black cherry, cassis, crushed raspberry, pepper, tobacco, and dark chocolate. The tannin structure is slightly grippy, but if you are a meat lover, be sure to try this with dinner. Pair with beef short ribs, hearty chilli, or some Tony Bennett. Has won various silver medals and accolades. ~$34.50 CAD winery price



This vino rosso is a blend of 12 different varieties, and not to worry, it will still tickle your tastebuds. This 12.5% abv wine is medium bodied and well suited for pairing with a good book. Fresh cracked, black pepper, dark fruit, eucalyptus, and wine gum are just a few notes you’ll discover in this bottle of dry vino. Cassis and plum are also evident on the palate. This wine is a journey to take. ~$32.00 CAD after tax




Cool climate Pinot Noir can be quite delish! This particular vintage carries all of the classic characteristics of the heartbreak grape though this is a “drink now” Pinot Noir. Tart cherry, cranberry, and hints of leather and spice are present. It is a light bodied wine, so enjoy on its own or with hummus, Greek salad, or chicken in a mushroom sauce. ~$20.00 CAD after tax




Feel like poppin’ some bub? I know many of you are on that #bubblequest. Cava is always a good choice if you are in the mood for a bit of something different. Cava is Spain’s sparkling wine, much like Champagne belongs to France. This particular kind of wine always delivers for the price, and won’t break the bank. Citrus, almond skin, dried apple, and a dusty minerality are all yummy notes you will find in this light intensity wine. ~$20.00 CAD after tax


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Negroamaro is a dark horse. It is one of those wines that tends to sit quietly on the shelf awaiting its next passerby. If you have had it before, then you likely think about buying it when you are standing in the Italian section of a wine store. If you haven’t, you uncomfortably look at it with a “side eye glance” wondering what the heck it is and shake in your boots at the thought of buying something with such a brooding name. [cue dun-dun-dun music]

…at least that is how I “experience” Negroamaro. [shrugs shoulders]

The name literally means “black bitter”,  and this wine hails from the region of Puglia in southern Italy, where it produces medium to full bodied wines with dark, black fruit and spice notes.

The Contrade Negroamaro showed itself with a rustic bitterness, dark fruit, dark chocolate, minerality, and some notes of crushed thyme. The palate was dry, with high acidity, medium bodied (think 2% milk), and was an extension of its bouquet characteristics with black tea notes in addition to cured meats and pepper. The finish was medium-long in length and hinted at black olives. A fantastic value wine! It over-delivers for the price.

I served this vino with sausage and spinach gnocchetti, and it paired really well with it! If you have not had a chance to try this red wine, I would encourage you to. For wine lovers who really enjoy Malbec, this will give you a new adventure in the dark-wine-that-is-spicy category. Then let me know what you think!

ABV: 13.5%
Grape: Negroamaro
Production: Unknown
Price: ~$20.00 CAD

Have you ever had Negroamaro? What did you think of it?


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Primitivo – have you heard of it? You likely have, as its synonym is Zinfandel! Since I’m doing a wine profile, I won’t get into the history of that particular aspect at this time, however, I do want to introduce you to a wine that I think you’ll enjoy.

Luccarelli PrimitivoIf you’re the kind of wine lover who enjoys hearty Shiraz from Australia or brooding Cab Sav from California, then you should really give the Luccarelli Primitivo a try because it carries that jammy, dark fruit character that you would just adore.

This particular wine was opened at wine club this past Saturday evening, and our focus was southern Italy. Primitivo is a grape that hails from the wine region of Pulgia, which you can find at the “heel” of Italy’s boot. According to Tony Aspler in his book entitled the Wine Lover’s Companion, “Northern winemakers used to order deeply coloured, high-alcohol Puglia wines to beef up their blends, both white and red. However, modern winemaking techniques have produced local wines of more finesse and style” [p. 194]. The inference here is that even the traditionalists of the north have been seeking out the wines of this region to assist in their own winemaking practices. What it also says is that the south is a reliable source of tasty grapes!

By character, Primitivo is well known for its focus on black, ripe fruit, dried fruit, and spicy characters. So, let’s get to the nitty-gritties, shall we?

Tasted on 11 November 2017, this vintage of the Campo Marina showed a developing character with a prominent vanilla and plum character in addition to black cherry cola, cocoa, and blueberry pie notes. The palate was medium dry (the residual sugar was detectable), medium acidity, and very soft tannin. Black fruits, baking spices, and red licorice were the dominating notes on the palate.

ABV: 14%
Grape: Primitivo
Production: unknown
Price: ~$30.00 with taxes CAD

Have you tried this wine? Leave a comment below!


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Adega on 45th Estate Winery, whose motto is “A nossa casa é a tua casa” meaning “Our house is your house”, has been around for a number of years now, and I have to say that I have started to enjoy their wines more in the last few years. They are located in Osoyoos, BC and are making both white and red wines. A range of wines are made at the winery including Viognier, Pinot Gris, Syrah, and Malbec.


Malbec is doing its best down in Argentina, but I have to say that I loved the Adega on 45th Malbec enough to do a wine profile on it. Malbec wines tend to have a dark, brooding character about them, and this wine is no exception. The biggest characteristic that is known of Malbec is that it offers notes of ripe, black fruits and spiciness. Malbec wines are often full bodied and have potential to knock your socks off. No weak hearts here, please!

This particular vintage is showing very well right now. I adored its perfumed nose which spoke of black fruit, vanilla spice, and tar. It had a really nice peppery kick on the palate mid-tongue, and was balanced out with the cassis influence on the fruit side of the spectrum. Good acidity, medium bodied, and medium tannins. I’d leave it in bottle for at least a few more years, although it is drinking really well right now.

ABV: 14.7%
Grape: 100% Malbec
Production: # of cases unknown
Winery Price: $24.00/750ml CAD

Have you had this wine? Leave a comment and tell me what you thought!

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