Cheap and Cheerful? Weird and Wonderful? All the reviews from my last couple of videos, including a couple you do NOT want to miss!

Let’s get right to it! If you missed my last couple of YouTube videos, you can catch them here:

Huge Wine-R TV Volume 88: Weird and Wonderful Episode 1

Huge Wine-R TV Volume 89: Cheap and Cheerful Episode 10

Of course, for those of you who prefer to read then watch, here they are!

First, from the “Weird and Wonderful” video, some wines that I’ve never had before, and I bet many (all) of you haven’t either!

This Vranac was so good that I also put it at the start of the next video, “Cheap and Cheerful”.

That’s it for today! Next up: Lots of stuff we’ve been enjoying over the past weeks and months to catch up on, and coming up in the not-too-distant future, Part 1 of my annual BC Rosé series! Can you believe it’s almost that time already? The first 2022’s have arrived, with many more to come. Stay tuned!

Oscar time! Who will win? More importantly, who SHOULD win??

OK, here we are again, just hours before the Academy surprises and disappoints me 🙂

Hopefully not.

So, we have to talk about the elephant in the room (and, no, I’m not talking about nominee The Elephant Whiperers). There is one pretty significant movie that we didn’t get to see. You may have heard of it.

Avatar: The Way of Water

Yes, the 3rd-highest grossing film of all time, and we missed it. We had planned to see it this weekend and when I went to book the tickets, realized it was no longer playing in our area! Good grief. Well, I think it’s pretty likely to win just one award, and has zero chance to win Best Picture, so probably no real impact to my predictions. Still, it’s been a few years since we went into Oscar night without having seen all the Best Picture noms!

There were a few more we didn’t get to see because they just didn’t become available. It seemed tougher to find some of the shorts and foreign films this year. Movies we didn’t see are in red below. Oh, and for movies that were nominated for only “Best Song”, we didn’t necessarily watch the movie, just listened to the song. Close enough.

Best Picture

“All Quiet on the Western Front,” Malte Grunert, Producer

“Avatar: The Way of Water,” James Cameron and Jon Landau, Producers

“The Banshees of Inisherin,” Graham Broadbent, Pete Czernin and Martin McDonagh, Producers

“Elvis,” Baz Luhrmann, Catherine Martin, Gail Berman, Patrick McCormick and Schuyler Weiss, Producers

“Everything Everywhere All at Once,” Daniel Kwan, Daniel Scheinert and Jonathan Wang, Producers

“The Fabelmans,” Kristie Macosko Krieger, Steven Spielberg and Tony Kushner, Producers

“Tár,” Todd Field, Alexandra Milchan and Scott Lambert, Producers

“Top Gun: Maverick,” Tom Cruise, Christopher McQuarrie, David Ellison and Jerry Bruckheimer, Producers

“Triangle of Sadness,” Erik Hemmendorff and Philippe Bober, Producers

“Women Talking,” Dede Gardner, Jeremy Kleiner and Frances McDormand, Producers

Will win: Everything Everywhere All at Once has been dominating awards season, and it would be a major upset if it doesn’t win this one too

Should win: Everything Everywhere All at Once should win almost Everything It Is Nominated For. It was the best film of the year and it’s not even close.

Best Director 

Martin McDonagh (“The Banshees of Inisherin”) 

Daniel Kwan, Daniel Scheinert (“Everything Everywhere All at Once”) 

Steven Spielberg (“The Fabelmans”) 

Todd Field (“Tár”) 

Ruben Östlund (“Triangle of Sadness”)

Will win: The Daniels!

Should win: The Daniels

Best Lead Actor

Austin Butler (“Elvis”) 

Colin Farrell (“The Banshees of Inisherin”) 

Brendan Fraser (“The Whale”) 

Paul Mescal (“Aftersun”) 

Bill Nighy (“Living”) 

Will win: Lots of late love for Austin Butler who seems like a nice young man and might be a good actor but his portrayal of Elvis wasn’t particularly special. Brendan Fraser, a Hollywood darling, wins here.

Should win: I will literally scream with joy if Bill Nighy gets recognized for his flat-out perfect performance in Living. Scream. Literally scream. You will hear me.

Best Lead Actress

Cate Blanchett (“Tár”) 

Ana de Armas (“Blonde”) 

Andrea Riseborough (“To Leslie”)

Michelle Williams (“The Fabelmans”) 

Michelle Yeoh (“Everything Everywhere All at Once”)

Will win: Michelle Yeoh finally gets recognized.

Should win: Seriously, Riseborough was so good I would not be sad to hear her name called, but Yeoh was just as good and is so incredibly deserving. No disrespect to the other nominees, but if it’s anyone else I may quietly remove my TV from the wall and toss it over the balcony.

Best Supporting Actor

Brendan Gleeson (“The Banshees of Inisherin”) 

Brian Tyree Henry (“Causeway”) 

Judd Hirsch (“The Fabelmans”)

Barry Keoghan (“The Banshees of Inisherin”) 

Ke Huy Quan (“Everything Everywhere All at Once”) 

Will win: Quan has won everything possible this season and this will be no exception.

Should win: Quan

Best Supporting Actress

Angela Bassett (“Black Panther: Wakanda Forever”) 

Hong Chau (“The Whale”) 

Kerry Condon (“The Banshees of Inisherin”) 

Jamie Lee Curtis (“Everything Everywhere All at Once”) 

Stephanie Hsu (“Everything Everywhere All at Once”)

Will win: All the late love has been for Kerry Condon. The two from Everything will probably cancel each other out. Bassett was winning early in the season but Condon has taken over, so I’ll sadly predict that the Marvel movies don’t get their first acting Oscar here. Condon.

Should win: We walked out of the theatre and the first thing my wife said was “Bassett should get an Oscar for that performance” and she was right.

Best Adapted Screenplay

“All Quiet on the Western Front,” Screenplay by Edward Berger, Lesley Paterson & Ian Stokell

“Glass Onion: A Knives Out Mystery,” Written by Rian Johnson

“Living,” Written by Kazuo Ishiguro

“Top Gun: Maverick,” Screenplay by Ehren Kruger and Eric Warren Singer and Christopher McQuarrie; Story by Peter Craig and Justin Marks

“Women Talking,” Screenplay by Sarah Polley

Will win: It will either be Quiet or it will be Talking. I’m going to call for a mild upset here and go with Sarah Polley’s Women Talking; this could have been a total snooze-fest if not for an excellent cast and a brilliant script.

Should win: Living

Best Original Screenplay

“The Banshees of Inisherin,” Written by Martin McDonagh

“Everything Everywhere All at Once,” Written by Daniel Kwan & Daniel Scheinert

“The Fabelmans,” Written by Steven Spielberg & Tony Kushner

“Tár,” Written by Todd Field

“Triangle of Sadness,” Written by Ruben Östlund

Will win: By the time it gets it’s 6th or 7th Oscar, people will be calling it Everything At the Podium All the Time.

Should win: Everything. The Daniels are going to have themselves a night.

Best Cinematography 

“All Quiet on the Western Front”, James Friend

“Bardo, False Chronicle of a Handful of Truths,” Darius Khondji

“Elvis,” Mandy Walker

“Empire of Light,” Roger Deakins

“Tár,” Florian Hoffmeister

Will win: All Quiet on the Western Front

Should win: Quiet. It looked incredible.

Best Documentary Feature Film 

“All That Breathes,” Shaunak Sen, Aman Mann and Teddy Leifer

“All the Beauty and the Bloodshed,” Laura Poitras, Howard Gertler, John Lyons, Nan Goldin and Yoni Golijov

“Fire of Love,” Sara Dosa, Shane Boris and Ina Fichman

“A House Made of Splinters,” Simon Lereng Wilmont and Monica Hellström

“Navalny,” Daniel Roher, Odessa Rae, Diane Becker, Melanie Miller and Shane Boris

Will win: Navalny. It’s topical, it’s important, and it’s very well made.

Should win: Navalny

Best Documentary Short Film 

“The Elephant Whisperers,” Kartiki Gonsalves and Guneet Monga

“Haulout,” Evgenia Arbugaeva and Maxim Arbugaev

“How Do You Measure a Year?” Jay Rosenblatt

“The Martha Mitchell Effect,” Anne Alvergue and Beth Levison

“Stranger at the Gate,” Joshua Seftel and Conall Jones

Will win: The Elephant Whisperers

Should win: We enjoyed all four of these, but the Elephants and their Whisperers are a clear winner.

Best Film Editing

“The Banshees of Inisherin,” Mikkel E.G. Nielsen

“Elvis,” Matt Villa and Jonathan Redmond

“Everything Everywhere All at Once,” Paul Rogers

“Tár,” Monika Willi

“Top Gun: Maverick,” Eddie Hamilton

Will win: Everything Everywhere All at Once gets all the flowers

Should win: EEAAO. Give them all the statues.

Best International Feature Film 

“All Quiet on the Western Front” (Germany) 

“Argentina, 1985” (Argentina) 

“Close” (Belgium)

“EO” (Poland) 

“The Quiet Girl” (Ireland) 

Will win: You don’t get nominated for Best Picture and lose here. All Quiet on the Western Front.

Should win: All Quiet on the Western Front

Best Original Song 

“Applause” from “Tell It Like a Woman,” Music and Lyric by Diane Warren

“Hold My Hand” from “Top Gun: Maverick,” Music and Lyric by Lady Gaga and BloodPop

“Lift Me Up” from “Black Panther: Wakanda Forever,” Music by Tems, Rihanna, Ryan Coogler and Ludwig Goransson; Lyric by Tems and Ryan Coogler

“Naatu Naatu” from “RRR,” Music by M.M. Keeravaani; Lyric by Chandrabose  

“This Is a Life” from “Everything Everywhere All at Once,” Music by Ryan Lott, David Byrne and Mitski; Lyric by Ryan Lott and David Byrne

Will win: Is Diane Warren going to lose this category for the FOURTEENTH time?? She’s going to win eventually, right? Not with this sappy mess from a movie that nobody saw. Lots of predictions online that “Naatu Naatu” will win here, but I’m sorry, it’s just awful. I’ll say that star power wins out here and Rihanna gets the nod for “Lift me Up”.

Should win:  “This is a Life” from the best movie of the year, by a mile, and it fits the movie perfectly.

Best Production Design 

“All Quiet on the Western Front,” Production Design: Christian M. Goldbeck; Set Decoration: Ernestine Hipper

“Avatar: The Way of Water,” Production Design: Dylan Cole and Ben Procter; Set Decoration: Vanessa Cole

“Babylon,” Production Design: Florencia Martin; Set Decoration: Anthony Carlino

“Elvis,” Production Design: Catherine Martin and Karen Murphy; Set Decoration: Bev Dunn

“The Fabelmans,” Production Design: Rick Carter; Set Decoration: Karen O’Hara

Will win: I’m seeing a lot of predictions for Babylon, but I’m going with All Quiet on the Western Front.

Should win: All Quiet on the Western Front.

Best Visual Effects

“All Quiet on the Western Front,” Frank Petzold, Viktor Müller, Markus Frank and Kamil Jafar

“Avatar: The Way of Water,” Joe Letteri, Richard Baneham, Eric Saindon and Daniel Barrett

“The Batman,” Dan Lemmon, Russell Earl, Anders Langlands and Dominic Tuohy

“Black Panther: Wakanda Forever,” Geoffrey Baumann, Craig Hammack, R. Christopher White and Dan Sudick

“Top Gun: Maverick,” Ryan Tudhope, Seth Hill, Bryan Litson and Scott R. Fisher

Will win: A movie franchise known for its Visual Effects, the 3rd highest grossing film of all time as of this writing….Avatar, right?

Should win: Haven’t seen it, but tough to imagine that Avatar isn’t worthy.

Best Animated Feature Film 

“Guillermo del Toro’s Pinocchio,” Guillermo del Toro, Mark Gustafson, Gary Ungar and Alex Bulkley

“Marcel the Shell With Shoes On,” Dean Fleischer Camp, Elisabeth Holm, Andrew Goldman, Caroline Kaplan and Paul Mezey

“Puss in Boots: The Last Wish,” Joel Crawford and Mark Swift

“The Sea Beast,” Chris Williams and Jed Schlanger

“Turning Red,” Domee Shi and Lindsey Collins

Will win: In my review I mentioned I was cheering for a wood-chipper, but I think the very-irritating Pinocchio is a winner here.

Should win: Marcel the little Shell was a revelation.

Best Animated Short Film

“The Boy, the Mole, the Fox and the Horse,” Charlie Mackesy and Matthew Freud

“The Flying Sailor,” Amanda Forbis and Wendy Tilby

“Ice Merchants,” João Gonzalez and Bruno Caetano

“My Year of Dicks,” Sara Gunnarsdóttir and Pamela Ribon

“An Ostrich Told Me the World Is Fake and I Think I Believe It,” Lachlan Pendragon

Will win: My Year of Dicks

Should win: Dicks all day. It was pretty adorable. Shout out to The Boy the Mole, etc, as well, which would be a worthy winner.

Best Costume Design 

“Babylon,” Mary Zophres

“Black Panther: Wakanda Forever,” Ruth Carter

“Elvis,” Catherine Martin

“Everything Everywhere All at Once,” Shirley Kurata

“Mrs. Harris Goes to Paris,” Jenny Beavan

Will win: This might be the only place the Academy honors Wakanda. Black Panther.

Should win: Everything Everywhere All at Once should just win everything it’s up for, including this.

Best Live Action Short

“An Irish Goodbye,” Tom Berkeley and Ross White

“Ivalu,” Anders Walter and Rebecca Pruzan

“Le Pupille,” Alice Rohrwacher and Alfonso Cuarón

“Night Ride,” Eirik Tveiten and Gaute Lid Larssen

“The Red Suitcase,” Cyrus Neshvad

Will win: I’ve heard a lot of great things about The Red Suitcase, so I’ll go with that.

Should win: Ivalu, of the three I saw.

Best Makeup and Hairstyling 

“All Quiet on the Western Front,” Heike Merker and Linda Eisenhamerová

“The Batman,” Naomi Donne, Mike Marino and Mike Fontaine

“Black Panther: Wakanda Forever,” Camille Friend and Joel Harlow

“Elvis,” Mark Coulier, Jason Baird and Aldo Signoretti

“The Whale,” Adrien Morot, Judy Chin and Anne Marie Bradley

Will win: The Whale. The most incredible fat suit I’ve ever seen.

Should win: The Whale

Best Original Score 

“All Quiet on the Western Front,” Volker Bertelmann

“Babylon,” Justin Hurwitz

“The Banshees of Inisherin,” Carter Burwell

“Everything Everywhere All at Once,” Son Lux

“The Fabelmans,” John Williams

Will win: All Quiet on the Western Front

Should win: I know, I know, he’s 100 years old and a living legend, but I’m choosing John Williams. Again.

Best Sound

“All Quiet on the Western Front,” Viktor Prášil, Frank Kruse, Markus Stemler, Lars Ginzel and Stefan Korte

“Avatar: The Way of Water,” Julian Howarth, Gwendolyn Yates Whittle, Dick Bernstein, Christopher Boyes, Gary Summers and Michael Hedges

“The Batman,” Stuart Wilson, William Files, Douglas Murray and Andy Nelson

“Elvis,” David Lee, Wayne Pashley, Andy Nelson and Michael Keller

“Top Gun: Maverick,” Mark Weingarten, James H. Mather, Al Nelson, Chris Burdon and Mark Taylor

Will win: The movie with “Quiet” in the title, of course.

Should win: Quiet.

So let’s see how we do! Now, two more things:

Lock of the night: Best International Feature “All Quiet on the Western Front”. It’s a rarity when you get the double nomination, and no film has ever been nominated for both and lost this one.

Award that would make me cheer the loudest: Tough one, I’m going to cheat and say it’s a tie between:

Best Supporting Actress: Angela Bassett
Best Actor: Bill Nighy

Enjoy the show!!!

ALL the wine reviewed during our two-week trip to Florida!

Oh, what a fortnight! If you’ve been following along via my YouTube channel, you’ve seen a lot of these already (but not all of them). For the rest of you, reviews of a whole lot of stuff that we enjoyed – mostly – during our recent trip to Disneyworld!

It started at SEATAC airport with a tasting of a few wines at Vyne, the wine bar that replaced Vino Volo.

They had a digital menu where you can scan a QR code and then just order directly from there. We ordered three to start with, and our waiter came over to find out which one we didn’t want. Oh no, I know there are two of us, but yes, we want three wines 🙂

By the time the tasting was over, the number of wines doubled, as he brought us a few samples to taste free of charge.

Washington State wine is really underrated!

So, to the rest of the trip. We had a bit of wine. No, really.

And, last but not least….with all the great wine we enjoyed on the trip, I would have expected more than just one bottle to make the “Best of the Best” list, but alas, that was not to be. This beauty that we enjoyed at our wonderful dinner at Toppolino’s Terrace at the Riviera Resort wins the trip, and it wasn’t that close!

If you made it this far… really like wine!! 🙂

Up next: Full reviews and scores of the wines that I’ve featured in my last couple of videos. And, for the movie buffs amongst you, my annual Oscars Predictions will be released here shortly before the ceremony begins on Sunday. Stay tuned!!

Goodbye Zoey. We will miss you more than we could possibly put into words.

Without a doubt the toughest blog post I have ever written. We’ve lost so many amazing cats over our lives that it seems unfair to single out this one loss as if this dog’s life meant more than the cats; that’s not what I’m trying to say. However, this dog changed our lives in a way that we never would have expected. She brought so much joy into our lives, so much love, so much laughter. And, now, so much incredible sorrow.

Our little Pork Chop

She came to us about four years ago. She had been my Mom’s dog, but when Mom’s dementia progressed to a stage where she could no longer take care of the dog, we inherited her. Neither Tracey nor I had ever owned a dog, at least not since we were kids. We’ve always been cat people. Cats are just EASIER. I started to type “they give unconditional love just like dogs” but that’s only partially true, I suppose. Cats are wonderful, but I’m not sure they do anything “unconditionally”. They do things on THEIR timeline. They’re in charge. It’s their world, and if we take good care of them, they let us live in it.

Dogs are different. This dog was different. Her name was Zoey, but we didn’t call her that much. She was “Zo-zo”. “Idiot”. “Burnt Orange”. Sometimes just simply “Dog”. If we were trying to get her to do something that she was ignoring, it might become “Zoey the Dog!”. Her groomer coined the nickname “Pork Chop” because she had become of an aggressively large nature in the belly region.

And, sometimes, she was just “Zo”.

Losing a pet is heartbreaking, and this one is the worst we’ve ever felt. It’s sadly ironic that the thing that brought her to us – dementia – is the thing that has taken her away. She’s been changing for months. It started out with what we called the occasional “bad night”. She’d be up all night, anxious, panting, growling at us, barking at nothing. Experts call it “sundowning”, where dogs can no longer distinguish night from day. It started to get more common, and for the last couple of weeks, it has been every night. Medication worked to calm her anxiety a bit at first, but it was a very temporary solution to a problem that was only getting worse by the day. She got so aggressive at night that we started to fear for our safety, and the safety of our cat, Ashley. At that point, we knew what we had to do. We also knew where this was headed (and, given the rapid progression of the disease the last few weeks, probably quickly). The next steps are similar to what Alzheimer’s disease does to humans: confusion, fright, forgetting who we are, violence. It’s common for dogs suffering from this condition to cower, afraid, in a corner. We didn’t want her to suffer like that.

Even though we knew it was the right thing to do, it was tough to reconcile the mean, aggressive nighttime dog with the sweet, loving, affectionate, adorable dog that she still was, mostly, during the day. There had been signs of the daytime dog changing a bit as well, particularly her aggressiveness with the cat. Zoey had always been very protective of her stuff, baring her teeth if a cat got too close….but at this point, she was going well past ‘teeth baring’, and was chasing the cat away with such fierceness that we were sure there would eventually be some injuries. It was heartbreaking to witness.

I’m reminded of a touching poem that Jimmy Stewart read on the Tonight Show with Johnny Carson in 1981, about the loss of his dog, Beau. I’m borrowing it below, with slight modifications to fit our situation.

“Zo”, by Jimmy Stewart

She never came to me when I would call even if I had a tennis ball
Unless she felt like it
But mostly, she didn’t come at all.

When she was young, she never learned to heel, or sit, or stay
She did things her way.
Discipline was not her bag
but when you were with her, things sure didn’t drag.

She’d dig up the blankets in her bed just to spite me, and when I’d grab her, she’d turn and bite me
She bit lots of folks from day to day – our little niece was her favorite prey
She didn’t bite hard, it was more like a ‘nip’, however it got worse when she started to slip

On evening walks, and Tracey took her, she was always the first out the door
the wife and I brought up the rear because our bones were sore

She’d charge up the street with Mom hanging on, what a beautiful pair they were
And if it were still light and the people were out, they created a bit of a stir

But every once in a while she’d stop in her tracks and with a frown on her face look around,
just to make sure that Daddy was there, to follow her where she was bound

We’re early-to-bedders in our house, I guess I’m the first to retire
And as I’d leave the room, she’d look at me and get up from her place by the fire

She knew where the biscuits were in the bedroom and we’d give her one for a while, and she’d push it under the covers with her nose and we’d dig it out with a smile

But before very long she’d eaten the biscuit, and then several more,
and then she’d be asleep in her bed, and she’d start to snore

There were nights where we’d feel her climb up on our bed and lie between us, and I’d pat her head

And there were nights when I’d feel her stare, and I’d wake up to see her sitting there, and I’d reach out to stroke her hair

And sometimes I’d feel her sigh and I think I know the reason why
She’d wake up at night and she’d have this fear
Of the dark, of life, of lots of things
And she’d be glad to have us near

And now she’s gone

And there are nights when I think I feel her climb upon our bed and lie between us, and I’d pat her head
And there are nights when I think I feel that stare
And I reach out to stroke her hair
And she’s not there

Oh, how I wish that wasn’t so
We’ll always love a dog named Zo.

We are going to miss this little monkey more than I could possibly convey in a blog post; the only thing that makes it a bit easier is knowing that she’s been reunited with my Mom, in a place where there is no dementia – only love. And what a glorious reunion that was, I am sure.

Goodbye, Zo-Zo. We love you so much.

The Top 10 Wines of 2022!!

OK here we go, a list of my favorite wines reviewed on this blog in 2022! As always, some spectacular wine was enjoyed, but I feel like 2022 was a bit of a down year with, for the first time ever (I think), some wines scoring less than 95-points making the list. 94 point wines!? Oh the horror!

Let’s get to it!

Starting with a bevy of the more interesting 94’s I tasted this year, consider this a 6-way tie for 7th place! And, yes, I realize this actually makes this a top-12 list, but I couldn’t exclude any of these beauties!

At #6, I challenge anyone to find a better Pinot Noir in BC!

#5 – It wouldn’t be a “best wines of the year” list without something from Turnbull. They just keep over-delivering year after year!

#4 sees us with the quintessential Chateauneuf-Du-Pape. The first time I’ve had this wine, and it certainly won’t be the last!!

At #3, a beautiful decade-old favorite from a top producer in Napa Valley!

Coming in at #2, it’s rare that you’ll see Sparkling wine on my list, but when you do, they generally cost an arm and a leg. Both arms and both legs, in this case. Truly spectacular!

And at #1, as we still chase that elusive 100-point table wine, a true stunner from Washington State that, despite it’s brilliance, will probably be even better the next time I have it!

That’s it for today! I guess as “down” years go, that was still pretty darn good!

Up next! Lots of random stuff to update you on, and coming up next weekend we head to one of our favorite places on the planet where much fun, much frivolity, and much good wine will be enjoyed and discussed! Stay tuned!

Finally wrapping up the Okanagan trip at a perennial favorite, Little Engine!!

A beautiful spot and always beautiful wine, let’s get right to it!

As always, a spectacular lineup of wine from one of the best wineries in the Okanagan!

Whew, finally finished the trip five months ago! LOL. Up next? My hotly anticipated “Top 10 Wines of 2022” post! Don’t miss it!


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Theme nights return as we take a bite out of Portugal!

So, for those of you who haven’t yet seen my latest vlog in the “Cheap and Cheerful” series, you can check it out here. It features three wines from Portugal that served as our ‘welcome wines’ at the beginning of our evening. It wasn’t really a warm welcome as everyone agreed they were, at best, underwhelming.

Now, to the main event of the evening! I was unable to find any really good advice online about what to pair with these traditional Portuguese dishes, so I just tried to do the best I could. All the links are clickable if you want to see the entire recipe.

Course 1

Sopa de Grão de Bico

Basically a chickpea soup, and I don’t like chickpeas, but I enjoyed this quite a bit. Lots of cilantro flavor. Everyone really enjoyed this dish, and the wine pairing was OK. The wine was actually better without the food.

Course 2

Shrimp Mozambique with Arroz de Tomate

This was good but the shrimp could have used more seasoning. The directions on the recipe seemed to be indicating to include way more spice than logically possible, but I think it was right and I should have followed it 100%. Still, it was enjoyable and the tomato rice was excellent. The wine pairing was good, but the first wine actually paired better with this dish.

Course 3

Peri Peri Chicken with Crispy Potatoes

A couple of my guests are not OK with spice of any kind, so rather than make the sauce included in this recipe, I used store-bought Nando’s “garlic and herb” Peri Peri sauce. It was good, but it still added a bit of a kick, especially to the potatoes. Wine pairing didn’t work at all.

Course 4

Molha de Carne

This was beef stew with potatoes and it was not any good at all. It tasted of allspice and cinnamon, which are prominent in the dish. I guess it’s a very traditional Portuguese stew, but it’s not to our taste. The wine pairing was irrelevant as hardly anyone ate the stew, but it featured two long-aged wines that are still available at Liberty Wines (or were, recently) on Granville Island, for those of you in the Lower Mainland.

Course 5

Portuguese Prego Rolls

I probably wouldn’t make this again because it’s basically just a steak sandwich and I can make a better one, but that doesn’t mean it wasn’t good. Just different. And it paired well with the wine of the night!



This was my favorite thing of the night. Basically just crushed up Digestive cookies and cream, but it was really fabulous. I’d make this again any day.

We had a Port to pair with it but by this point, everyone was wined-out so it stayed in the wine fridge for another time.

A great night of wine, and the food was hit-or-miss, but it’s always nice to experience another culture. Hopefully many more of these theme nights to come!

That’s it for today! Next up, I finally finish up my Okanagan report (Little Engine coming up), and I have lots more to report on. Stay tuned!

Okanagan trip continues at a winery we’ve missed, @lafrenzwinery!

Firstly, I hope all my fellow Canadians are having a wonderful Thanksgiving! I sure have a lot to be thankful for, and I hope you do as well.

During our recent Okanagan trip we stopped in at La Frenz, a winery we have always enjoyed but haven’t been to for a few years. Were the wines of the same quality as we remembered? Let’s find out!

As expected, not a bad wine in the bunch. This winery always comes through with quality and consistency!!

Next up! We head just up the road to one of our favorites, Little Engine!

Okanagan trip continues with our first ever visit @RocheWines!

Up early for an 11 AM appointment at Roche Wines! We get to taste in the barrel room, always a special experience. Our guide, Angie, was friendly and knowledgeable, and the wines were universally good! Let’s check them out!

Next up! I still need to post final reviews and scores from my recent rose vlog, and the Okanagan trip churns along at a winery we have loved in the past but have not visited in a few years, La Frenz!!

Last, but not least, you’ll notice something different at the bottom of this blog; an opportunity for you to contribute to the blog if you are so inclined. I got an Email the other day telling me that they had added a payment processor and I could include this widget in case anyone wants to make a donation to help offset some of the costs incurred in my blog and/or vlog. Totally optional of course, no pressure. If you are interested, it’s below. If not, I’ll see you next time!


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Great food, great friends, great wine. What else IS there??

Last weekend we attended a fabulous wine event at some friends’ house. Everyone brought a bottle of wine (or several bottles in some cases) and we all got to taste some excellent wine. Included was an Amarone that was born in the last decade of great music: The 80’s!!

Also included is a BC wine from a grape that I had never heard of until this evening. I had to Google it.

That’s a pretty great lineup!!

To start, I brought a couple bottles of a wine that I have tried several times and have never been impressed with. I left the other bottle behind for anyone who liked it more than I did. It’s the first and only vintage of this wine, and for good reason, IMO.

So now we come to the bizarre portion of the evening. My old high school friend, who owns Blasted Church winery, brought a bunch of his wares including almost every one of their lesser-known wines. This one, in particular, sent me to Google to look up the grape:

<<A family of closely related varieties found Northern Italy and neighboring Slovenia with genetic links to the grapes of Valpolicella. Wines range in body and style but usually feature deep color and elevated acidity.>>

So, OK, let’s see what it’s like!

And now back to our regularly scheduled programming of grapes I have heard of 🙂

Next up, my choice for wine of the night. It so happens to be one of the wines I brought. We picked this up at auction during the Vancouver International Wine Festival in 2021; there was no actual festival that year, of course, but they still held the auction and I paid $800 for a lot of 6 well-aged wines from Chile. Four of them were just terrific, one was corked, and this was the last of the lot. This lot was a real treat, worth every penny.

And the last table wine of the night, an Australian beauty that our host picked up at a recent auction. It’s usually Grenache-heavy but this particular vintage had more Shiraz.

To finish up a beautiful evening, a little dessert wine that I brought along!

What a fabulous night of great food, friends, and wine. Nights like this are tough to beat!

Next up! Still have to finish off last month’s Okanagan trip, and also have to give the scores for the rosés from my latest vlog. Stay tuned!!