Casal Thaulero Sangiovese

I like free stuff.  I love entertaining.  So hosting a Stella & Dot jewellery party was a no brainer.  You invite your friends, family, neighbours, and mom’s friend’s over and supply some appies and wine, while they shop for trendy jewellery in your house.  Then you get a percentage of the sales in free jewels.  Perfect.

Except I’m kinda on a budget.  So while I was getting free jewellery, I was also dishing out some dough to host this party.  Enter cheap alcohol.  Here were my conditions:

  • Has to be under $10 a bottle
  • Has take taste like I did not spend under $10 a bottle
  • Can’t be a familiar cheap brand (Fuzion, I’m looking at you)
  • Cannot skimp on the food

White wine was already established – Ogio.  It’s my always-wine…cheap, non-cheap, just for me, for company, it is always Ogio.  But red.  Wow a cheap red really sticks out.  Plus mom’s friends are a little posh.  So I did what anyone would do – Googled it and asked my fellow fake-wine connoisseur at work.   Google led me to a great discussion on chowhoud.com, and funny enough, my wino buddy had the same recommendations as the Chowhound discussion.  He suggested Misterio (tried it, loved it, stay tuned for a review) and Casal Thaulero.  My ears perked up when he said it was Italian, as most good cheapies are from Argentina.  I practically ran to the LCBO when he told me it was under $7 a bottle.

Then at my party I only drank champagne.  With a raspberry in the bottom of the glass.  It made me feel classy.

BUT I did get around to drinking it.

Casal Thaulero Sangiovese

Italy

$6.95

casal th

The first LCBO I went to, I couldn’t find it.  I didn’t ask for help and I didn’t look very hard so there’s a very good chance it actually was there.  The next LCBO I went to, I found it in the Italy section, on the bottom shelf.  I crouched down to inspect it.  Hmm.  Looks neither cheap nor expensive.  Perfect.  Awesome price confirmed ($6.95).  Then I proceeded to fill my mini cart with many bottles.

When I finally cracked it 2 months after my party, I was not the least surprised to learn it was a screw top.  No biggie.  Lots of good wines have screw tops now, even though I hate them.  A bright red watery wine spilled from the bottle into my glass.  Not bright red like cherry Koolaid.  It was purple with bright red highlights.  Enter worry #1.  Then I did a quick swirl, and the wine was watery and didn’t leave any luscious residue on the side of the glass.  Hello, worry #2.  Immediately an aroma drifted from the glass.  It was fragrant, but smelled light, like a Merlot.  Worry #3.  This isn’t looking promising.  Already I’m thinking of the lies I’m going to tell my co-worker since this is his everyday table wine.

I let the wine breath for 5-10 minutes, then took my first sip.  A sharp and peppery liquid assaulted my taste buds.  They were bracing for something mellow.  I took a second sniff.  This time it smelled peppery and strong.  This could have been a result of letting the wine breath, or mind over matter.  My second taste was milder than the first, but still sharp.  However this time there was a hint of fake-grape aftertaste.

The subsequent drinks were pleasant.  They didn’t wow me, but they didn’t disgust me.  I quickly concluded this wine is best drunk when you’re busy.  If you sit and try to enjoy each sip, you will be disappointed.  But if you’re sharing a bottle with a girlfriend while gossiping about Katie Holmes and Tom Cruise entering Splitsville, then you will enjoy the bottle.

I would absolutely buy again.  I recommend for just about every situation, except for those times you really just want to savour a good bottle of wine.  This will be my house wine.  This will be my bring to a big party wine.  Not my first choice to bring to a dinner party, BUT if it’s the only wine left in my rack, I’d absolutely bring it rather than make an extra stop at the LCBO.

Oh you want to know what scrumptious appies I put out?  Prosciutto and Boursin-Wrapped Pretzel Rods, mom’s nacho dip, brie and pepper jelly, and good ol’ spinach dip.

Posted in Wine Review | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment

Cake Beauty–Jack Frost Bath & Shower Gel

Winners.  Marshall’s.  TJ Maxx. 

While I like the concept, they’re just not for me.  Don’t get me wrong – I love a good deal.  Actually I am obsessed after I get a good deal.  I check out all the prices of the same object online and at stores to make me feel even better.  Then I tell everyone I know about the fabulous deal I got.  I get all smug and I love it.

What bothers me with Winners (and the other stores, but for the sake of simplicity I’m just going to lump them all under “Winners”), is the bargain-rack actions that you must undertake 90% of the time.  I despise whipping hanger after hanger along the metal rack hearing the screechy “shleck shleck” sound and using superwoman eyesight to quickly spot a piece of clothing that interests me.  This involves the ability to look at both the garment and the label at the same time.  I will shallowly admit that I will whip past a generic turquoise top, but should I notice a designer label, all of a sudden that top is spectacular and I must have it.

I don’t avoid Winners, but I rarely intentionally go there.  When I do go, this is always my plan of attack:

  • Shoe Section: always fashionable footwear and always good designers (at least designers I like/afford like Jessica Simpson, Steve Madden, Nine West, and Guess)
  • Home Section: love love love every aisle in their home section!  Wonderful selection whether it be crème brule coffee, a funky mirror, a martini glass, or a zebra print serving platter.
  • Clothes Racks on the Perimeter: this is where they’ll feature a lot of their designer goods or hot garments in season.  The racks are small, circular, and with multiple sizes of the same item, which makes it much more manageable to search through

However, I do enjoy StyleSense.  It’s like the Winner’s shoe section x1,000.  Now this can be hit and miss, but I never tire of wandering upon row on row of gorgeous tall boots, spikey pumps, sexy sparkly shoes, and high-end shoes I can’t afford (even at a deep discount – Prada I’m looking at you). 

So I found myself at StyleSense today.  At none of the above-mentioned aisles.  Instead I went to the athletic aisle to procure a pair of running shoes.  I’ve trained for and ran 2 half marathons in my Nikes and they are beat.  Seriously – it looks like someone beat the crap outta them with a meat cleaver.  So you can imagine how my feet feel after running in them (missing toe nails, blisters, and sore).  I’d love to go to The Running Room and have an expert find me the perfect shoe but that ain’t gonna happen while I’m on mat leave.  So I went to StyleSense with my fingers crossed that #1 they had an athletic shoe section , and #2 that they carry Asics, the brand that I have my heart set on getting.

nike moto 7

Wouldn’t ya know, I found a pair of Asics in my size (never happens since I’m size 8.5 along with the rest of the female population) for $48, regular $90.  In a perfect world I’d be skeptical of buying lower-end Asics, as the prices range from $90 to $190, but I have custom orthotics that pimp any shoe, plus really, beggars can’t be choosers.

I also had a 20% off coupon from my thoughtful cousin who works at Winners head office.  So savings on top of savings made me happy.  And smug. 

On my way to the cash, I got distracted by a small display of bath items.  Obviously I stopped and checked them all out.  I almost peed my pants when I saw Cake Beauty products.  OhmygodIloveCake!  I always lust after Cake at Sephora where I longingly inhale the intoxicating sweet scents.  I window shop their online store.  All the time.  But I do find them out of my budget, so I can only indulge when there is a sale.  Like when I bought their Sweet Cheeks sugar scrub and body butter for 50% off at The Bay. 

But these Cake products were different.  This was their holiday line up apparently.  Regardless, I got to sniffing them all out and decided on the scrumptious Jack Frost (which is a stupid name – I mean what does “Jack Frost” tell you about the pink contents of the bottle?)

cake beauty style sensecake beauty ruby

All afternoon I couldn’t stop thinking of the indulging bath I was going to pour once my baby went to sleep. 

 

Cake Beauty

cake beauty

Jack Frost

$7.99 regular $20 (according to the StyleSense label)

Unscrewing the lid and deeply inhaling, I was in lust.  Ripe sweet strawberries meets vanilla custard.  It made my mouth water.  The contents were cotton-candy pink and thick and shimmery.  Even in line at the store, I keep sneaking a sniff.  Delicious.

I added a generous amount to running water as per the directions, and immediately my bathroom was engulfed in a soft fruity baked-good aroma.  Not a heavy-baked goods aroma that you would associate with Christmas baking, but a light, delicate, and fresh scent.  Then it all went away.

I submerged myself through the flight fluffy bubbles into the hot water hoping that the beautiful scent would emerge, but it was gone.  I sniffed the soft bubbles and brought my arm to my face to see if the scent lingered on my skin.  Nothing. 

I grabbed the bottle and took a nice long sniff.  Ahhhhhh.  Lovely.  But unfortunately only sniffing the bottle brought about these magical scents.  The bath water was void of any aroma. 

The bubbles were soft and heavenly, not like some stiff industrial bubbles from cheaper bubble baths.  The water was kind of soft, but I’ve felt softer.

I was disappointed, but not ready to give up on Cake.  I’m still not ready to give up.  This is a bath and shower gel, so I’m hoping it fairs better as a shower gel.  I’d also love to buy the lotion (if they have one in this scent) as I’m pretty much obsessed with the scent. 

Makes me wonder if this lack lustre performance is why it was sold at StyleSense?  I couldn’t locate this product on their website.  A Google search made it seem like this product doesn’t even exist. 

My verdict?  While I don’t recommend Cake Beauty Jack Frost, I’m still fiercely loyal to their brand and will absolutely buy Cake again.  But this time, I think I’ll stick to their mainstream products.

Posted in Bath Reivew | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment

Gabbiano Chianti 2010

There is something so satisfying with strapping on an apron, pouring a glass of wine, and cooking up a storm.  It makes me feel like a housewife from the 60s and I love it.

 

VintageHousewifeCooking

 

It makes it feel even more fancy when the recipe involves lots of chopping, dicing, and requires many pots on the stove. 

 

IMG-20111125-00595

 

What made last week’s vintage cooking session even more special were Christmas carols and the Milk Calendar.  And a glass of chianti. 

The Milk Calendar comes out every December , and features a different recipe each month.   Sponsored by the Dairy Farmers of Ontario, the Milk Calendar has been an Ontario tradition for the past 35 years.  I don’t actually use mine as a calendar, I flip through the contents and rip out each recipe that appeals to me.  And most do, as the majority of recipes involve a creamy sauce…since the key ingredient is milk.

 

milk calendarFirst up for the 2012 calendar was Chicken and Vegetable Casserole with Basil.  Egg noodles, chicken, green beans, and grape tomatoes in a creamy sauce topped with melted mozzarella.  Except I made major substitutions.  I subbed broccoli for the green beans.  I added red pepper.  I used penne because I didn’t have egg noodles.  And I added 4 cloves of garlic because there was no garlic in this recipe.  Seriously.  How can garlic not be in a pasta recipe?  Then I sprinkled paprika in the cooked sauce and totally forgot to add basil.  So I basically butchered the original recipe. 

The recipe claims to only be 15 minutes prep time and 30 minutes cook time.  I cooked the chicken, chopped the veggies, boiled the pasta, and made the creamy sauce all at the same time.  It was frantic.  I actually found it hard to drink my glass of wine. 

It was a simple recipe yet did not feel simple when I prepped/cooked.  But it was deeeeelicious!  I highly recommend.  I’m not a fan of cooked veggies (but love them raw) so I steamed the broccoli for 2 minutes and I didn’t even cook the peppers before tossing them in the casserole (but they did bake in the oven for 15 minutes as part of the casserole).  Then the tender-crisp veggies were coated in a cream sauce.  This is a great way to make veggies enjoyable for your kids.  Or for adults who don’t like mushy vegetables. 

So if you’re looking for an excuse to have a glass of wine, try this recipe.  The chopping, multiple pots, and time involved make it wine-while-cooking-worthy.

2010 Gabbiano Chianti

gabbiano_chianti_750

$13.95

Italy

First off, in case you don’t know, Chianti is pronounced “key-on-tea”.  You don’t want to be one of those people that make others cringe when you mispronounce a word….like “ex-presso” instead of “es-presso”, Queens “Qu-way” instead of Queens “Key” ( actual spelling is Queens Quay) (really only applicable for you Torontonians), and “foy-yer” instead of “foy-yay” (foyer).

 

IMG-20111125-00592

 

As I madly prepared dinner, I took a few moments to pause and reflect on the dark purple glass of chianti I just poured.  Before even tasting it, I pegged iIMG-20111125-00594t for an all around, medium wine.  The texture was not watery, but not thick and syrupy.  There was a nice aroma. The scent didn’t jump out at you once poured, but it also was evident without deeply inhaling. 

Upon tasting it, my first thoughts were mild, yet flavourful.  I was right – it had a medium body.  There was a slight sharpness, but it wasn’t harsh.  Gabbiano Chianti had enough of a bite to make it interesting without being over-powering.  There is a slight aftertaste – this lingering flavour is just enough to make the the wine memorable.  I hate weak wines that go down like fruit juice. 

Chianti is a blend of wines, with at least 70% coming from the Sangiovese grape, and 10% canaioli.  The remaining portion can be from a wide varieties of grapes.  This particular blend had Colorino as the third grape.   Recently the Chianti regulations changed, which allows for 100% Sangiovese grape.  This creates a very rich, and expensive wine.

Overall, Gabbiano Chianti is a medium wine that may be a little too vibrant for non-wine drinkers, and too pale for those who like a nice kick to their grape juice.  I would recommend for a dinner party, as it’s a nice compromise.  It’s also a great wine to enjoy on your own when you’re slightly distracted, like say  running around the kitchen like a mad-woman cooking.

I liked this wine, and am very interested in exploring more Chiantis.  I would buy this again, and I would serve this to company and bring it as a hostess gift.  However, there are several wines that I like more than Gabbiano Chianti.   So while I would buy it again, there are other bottles that I will pick up before this makes it into my LCBO cart. 

Posted in Chianti, Wine Review | Tagged , , , , , | 1 Comment

Jackson-Triggs Proprietor’s Reserve Cabernet Franc

Cabernet Franc reminds me of that unfortunate kid who is always compared to his perfect sibling. 

In this case, the favoured sibling is Cabernet Sauvignon.  Poor Cabernet Franc.  Each statement about Cab Franc compares it to Cabernet Sauvignon.  It can’t just have a medium aroma – it’s more aromatic than Cab Sauvignon.  Instead of describing the colour as a pale red, it’s described as lighter than Cab Sauvignon.  What’s the perfume like?  Well it has a more pronounced perfume than Cab Sauvignon

Cabernet Franc is a major black grape variety. So what gives?  Why can’t Cabernet Franc stand on it’s own?

Because it’s rarely vinified alone.  Instead it’s used for blending, especially in the Bordeaux style.  Bordeaux refers to the Bordeaux Region in France, it is not a grape.  Not that I thought it was.  Ok I totally thought it was.  I find regions and grapes are constantly used interchangeably as a description for a wine – you hear of Merlot (grape), Champagne (region), Malbec (grape), Burgundy (region), etc. 

So while it’s one of the 20 most widely planted grape varieties, it is most commonly blended with other wines (usually Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon) and is therefore not mainstream enough to warrant it’s own description.  But I still feel bad for it. 

Cabernet Franc has less tannins than Cabernet Sauvignon, yet has the same level of richness and intensity.  Less tannins results in a smoother mouthfeel (than Cabernet Sauvignon) and less of that dry mouth red wine is famous for.

It’s one of the best grapes produced in colder climates (makes sense as this bottle is from the Niagara Region) and is commonly used in ice wines.

Using a sibling analogy isn’t actually so far fetched, as Cabernet Franc is actually is crossed with Sauvignon Blanc to create Cabernet Sauvignon.

So that’s Cabernet Franc in a nutshell.  And after tasting it, I really like it.  As much as I like Cabernet Sauvignon.

Jackson-Triggs Proprietor’s Reserve Cabernet Franc

21553_ 033

$12.95

Cabernet Franc

 

Another purchase from the Wine Rack.  Which means another Ontario wine.

Oakville-20111027-00512Oakville-20111027-00511

 

First thing I noticed is a beautiful deep colour – purplish red.  There was a film of water gently floating on top so I instantly thought this would be weak.  But then I couldn’t help but notice a nice strong aroma.  My first sip there was a beautiful bite and an enjoyable burn as I swallowed.  But not harsh.  First thoughts – I like this and I’m surprised I like this.

My second sip I noticed it doesn’t tingle my tongue, it was very smooth.  The taste lingered as it travelled down my throat which I love – I hate an unforgettable wine. 

I like!  I like! 

This Cabernet Franc is not harsh, yet has a nice bite.  In terms of flavour, the best I can come up with is it’s not sour.  It’s got a great body, a wonderful aftertaste, is interesting, and enjoyable.  I’m still surprised I like it this much.

Jackson Triggs Cabernet Franc is definitely a wine I would buy again, even if it is an Ontario wine.  The black label makes for an attractive label and once opened it sure delivers.

So if you’re like me, get over your fear of Ontario wines and try Jackson Triggs Proprietor’s Reserve Cabernet Franc.

Posted in Cabernet Franc, Wine Review | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

Jackson Triggs Unity Pinot Grigio

Saturday night.  Glass of white wine is clutched in my hand.  A bottle of Heineken is clutched The Husband’s hands.  Little Monkey is in his crib.  Fire is roaring.  (If an electric fire place can roar).  UFC on the tv.  Feeling snuggly in my red fleece snowflake pyjamas.  A perfect cozy November evening.

I glance at my glass of wine, and fondly think of our trip to Niagara-on-the-Lake when we visited the Jackson Triggs Winery. 

P1010221

Me: “Remember our lovely day wine tasting at Jackson Triggs?”

Him: “Mmmmm Hmmmm” (in sports-induced coma)

Me: “Do you remember when we went?”

Him: “Nope”

Me: “Do you remember if we went for the day, or stayed over night, or why we went?”

Him: …………………………………

Me: “hello??”

Him: “Nope”

 

Frig.  I can’t really get mad at him because I can’t remember those details either.  But I clearly remember what I learned about wine that day.  I had one of those Oprah “A-ha” moments where the world just made sense.  I mean the wine world. 

P1010223P1010218

Being as this trip was a few years ago (I think) and I’m by no means an expert on wine, I’m going to do my best to recap what I found fascinating about the beautiful world of grapes and wine.

 

Different labels, same wine.

  • One wine.  Two labels.  One significantly more expensive than the other.  Is this a marketing ploy or is there a difference between the bottles?  For example, Jackson Triggs has their Black Label which is more expensive than their “normal” label.   I usually grab the cheaper bottle without even thinking twice – I’m mean duh…they’re both Jackson Triggs but one is way more expensive.  NOT SO FAST.  There is a huge difference.
  • The first difference starts out in the vineyard.  The black label grapes are pruned differently, so that the grape plant yields less grapes.  Why?  Well let’s just say a typical grape plant has 30 grapes on it (totally making up this number, I have no idea how many grapes are on each plant.  I don’t even think it’s called a “grape plant”.  But keep reading, I swear I’ll teach you something).  So typical grape plant has 30 grapes and those 30 grapes must share the sun’s rays and the nutrients from the soil.  The Black Label grape plants are pruned so only 15 grapes grow.  These 15 grapes share the same sun and the same nutrients but it’s only divided over 15 grapes instead of 30.  Therefore these 15 grapes get double sun, double nutrients.  They are overall, better grapes than their non-Black Label friends.  Genius. 
  • The preferential treatment continues through the wine making process, in which the Black Label grapes (no longer grapes at this point, now wine) are aged in oak barrels for much longer.  You see, the longer the wine hangs out in the barrel, the more the flavours develop from the oak in the barrel.  This creates a more complex wine in both flavour and experience.  The Black Label is also stored in barrels with better oak.  Oak basically seasons the wine. You’ll taste more flavours (smoke, chocolate, etc) and the wine won’t just glide down your throat – you’ll notice a few different tastes and sensations as it travels over your tongue and down your throat
  • And if you’re as naive as I was, the wine is actually store in barrels in a cellar. 

P1010226

Oaked.

  • What’s the deal with oaked wine?  Specifically white wine.  There’s a wine on the market called “Naked Grape” which cutely professes to be unoaked…hence naked.  Oak is a term you hear a lot with wine.  Well my tour of Jackson Triggs shed some light on this burning question I had, and now I love to share this tidbit of info with everyone I see drinking Naked Grape
  • As mentioned above, oak adds flavour to the wine.  It’s essential to flavouring red wine.  However, it creates a buttery taste with white wine.  Buttery = Chardonnay.  If you like a light, crisp, wine, then it’s probably un-oaked.  But what does that really mean?  It’s simple – if a wine is un-oaked, it means it is not stored in an oak barrel.  Rather, it is stored in a stainless-steel barrel.  These days, the majority of white wines are stored in stainless steel barrels (unless it’s a chardonnay)
  • So the “naked wines” – a crock.  While truthful, what they don’t tell you is that most wines are actually “naked” but just aren’t marketed that way.

Red vs White

  • This was probably the most ground-breaking information I have ever learned about wine.  One of those things that makes you feel so.stupid for thinking otherwise.  I’ll fess up.  I thought the difference in red wine were the grapes – red wine = red grapes and white wine = white/green grapes.  FALSE.
  • All wine is made with red grapes.  The difference in red and white wine is that the skin is removed with white wine, therefore the wine’s only source of colour is the flesh inside the grape….which is…white.  The skins create tannins, which gives it the red colour and among other things, is responsible for the dry mouth you get from drinking red wine

So while this wine tour was apparently not significant enough to create a lasting memory in our marriage, it was absolutely a turning point with my appreciation for wine. 

Jackson Triggs Unity Pinot Grigio

jackson-triggs-unity-pinot-grigio-canada-10291850

$8.95

Wine Rack

I’ll quickly cover the three points I seem to start my recent reviews with…

1.  Purchased at the Wine Rack out of convenience, which is why I’m reviewing another Ontario wine

2.  ABC (anything but chardonnay)

3.  I find white wine difficult to review

Oakville-20111109-00553Oakville-20111109-00554

I crack the lid, unscrew, and pour into my wine glass.  Stand back, take a look at the colour.  Move closer, and deeply inhale.  Light colour, light scent.  Inhale again to take note of any specific aroma.  All I can smell is a dry white wine.  Since that’s what I like, this is a good thing.

My first sip is surprisingly a little sour.  I take another.  It tastes like a normal dry white wine.  Which is perfect.  I still struggle to identify some sort of flavour or scent.  There is a faint floral taste, and the wine lightly tingles tongue and cheeks with a tart, but not unpleasant sensation.

This wine is dry and refreshing.

Jackson Triggs Unity Pinot Grigio is a lovely light white wine, and at $8.95 a bottle is a steal.  I would definitely but this again, even if I was at the LCBO and had more options than just Ontario wine.

Posted in Pinot Grigio, Wine Review | Tagged , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Antolini Mazia Pinot Grigio

Ontario wines have a bad wrap.

To be perfectly honest, I generally stay away from them because everybody else does.  However I haven’t tasted an Ontario wine I didn’t like.  Yet I don’t buy them.  It’s just not the in-thing to do.  I know we have award-winning wineries and a vast selection of Ontario wines.  But I just can’t do it.

I sashay into the LCBO and head for the France, Italy, or Australia sections and browse away.  I put my hard-earned Canadian dollars into the hands of foreign wineries and call it a day.  Well…technically I do contribute to the province of Ontario as the provincial government monopolizes liquor and wine sales and we pay atrocious taxes on wines. 

LCBO3

Which is also why I was forced to buy Ontario wine last week.  Forced?  Yup forced.  As I mentioned above, the Ontario government monopolizes the alcohol market and is the only store allowed to sell hard alcohol in Ontario.  How I wish I could pick up a bottle of wine at Walmart.  Or a case of beer at the corner store.  Or a case of wine at Costco.  Such is life in Ontario.  However, there is one teeny tiny loophole.  It’s called the Wine Rack.  It’s found in some grocery stores.  And the Wine Rack sells wine!  But only Ontario wine. 

I never intentionally go to the Wine Rack.  But it’s so convenient to pick up a few bottles of wine while I’m grocery shopping, as it’s one less stop to make.  Especially when my shopping companion is an adorable 8-month old baby.  Strapping him in and out of the car seat as I run errands is just a pain in the butt.  And this is why I consider myself forced to purchase Ontario wines.  It’s either buy Ontario wine, or don’t buy wine.  

P1020380          P1020379

With a cart full of groceries and a near-empty wallet, I entered the Wine Rack looking for a nice white wine.  I have no idea why I’ve been on such a white wine kick lately, but I just can’t get enough of the crisp, cold, tart beverage. 

When it comes to white wine, I’m not that picky.  Just keep the Chardonnay away from me.  The friendly sales lady was enchanted with my little monkey sitting like a big boy in the grocery cart, so I was on my own to select a bottle.  I prefer to stick around the $10 point for white wine.  Not because I’m cheap, but because I can’t appreciate an expensive white wine.  I can’t tell the difference and I truly like all the whites I select.

So when I saw a sign that said “2 for $20” I grabbed the only Pinot I saw.  And a Cab-Sauvignon.  Gotta take advantage of the sale.  I purchased Antolini Mazia Pino Grigio, which is a blend of Italian and Ontario grapes. 

Only wines made from 100% Ontario grapes can qualify for classification as VQA – the Vintners Quality Alliance which is Ontario’s wine appellation (basically the wine police).  While my wine wasn’t considered Ontario-enough to be a VQA, it was considered to have enough Ontario DNA to be sold at the Wine Rack.  And due to my unfounded-snobbery regarding Ontario wines, the Italian mix suited me just fine.

P1020387           

Antolini Mazia Pino Grigio

Ontario/Italy

$10

White wine tasting isn’t too exciting for me.  The components I notice are:

  • colour
  • sweetness
  • frutiness
  • aftertaste

P1020385

 

This pinot grigio was a 9/10.  Light colour, crisp, tart, un-fruity, and light aftertaste.  The only reason I didn’t give it at 10/10 is because there was nothing special about it.  It was an average wine that I would absolutely buy again, but isn’t one that I’d call up my friend and tell her she MUST try. 

Unfortunately, like other Ontario hybrid wines I’ve reviewed, the main reason I wouldn’t rush back to buy this is simply because of the ridiculous Ontario stigma that I must get over.  I have actually bought this since reviewing it…only because the husband was at Longo’s buying cat litter and we were expecting company and I needed a white wine…so I asked him to pick up any chilled white wine from the Wine Rack inside Longo’s.  And that’s why I will buy this again – it’s just too convenient.

Posted in Pinot Grigio, Wine Review | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment

EVOO

Extra Virgin Olive Oil has been a press-whore in the past few years. 

  • Rachaeal Ray cleverly refers to it as “E-V-O-O”, a catchphrase which is now officially listed in the Oxford American Dictionary
  • Dr Oz promotes it as a healthy fat and recommends eating one slice of whole wheat bread lightly drizzled in EVOO prior to dinner every night to curbe over-eating
  •  Olive Oil tours are the new wine tours, with foodies taste-testing their way across Spain and Italy

EVOO is also one of the best-kept beauty secrets.  It’s an all-natural hypoallergenic product that sooths, moisturizes, and repairs our skin.  It contains antioxidents which heals damaged skin, and is rich with emollients which assist the skin’s ability to retain moisture.  Commerical mositurizers contain complex chemical agents to create emollients, however emollients are naturally-ocurring in EVOO making it a pure and simple method of hydrating the skin and locking in moisture.

In researching the vast benefits of epsom salts, I recalled reading that soap interferes with the actions of the salts.  I typically add epsom salts to all my bubble baths as the salts are scent-free and I need the aroma from the bubble baths to to fully enjoy my de-stressing soaks. 

So this is something I need to further investigate, but after completing my half-marathon this past weekend, I wasn’t about to take any chances that epsom salts wouldn’t work their wonders on my sad sore muscles.  I couldn’t risk adding any form of soap, but epsom salts on their own are just so boring.  Enter EVOO.

I added a generous amout of EVOO to running bath water (perhaps 2 to 3 tbsp) along with 4 scoops of epsom salts (see scoop inside apothacary jar in photo). 

Immediately the oil separated into small clusters and floated on top of the bath water.  I gave it a quick swirl with my arm and hopped in.  Ok I didn’t hop in.  Firstly, that was impossible as a result of running for over 2 hours.  Secondly, the bath floor was slick from the addition of EVOO so hopping in would have surely resulted in several broken bones.  Where was I?  Right.

As I entered the tub the water felt thick and greasy.  Then I was hit by the strong aroma of salad dressing.  Not so good on the senses.

However as I rested and recovered, I actually grew to enjoy the oily water as it immediatly coated my skin in a gorgeous soft oily embrace.  Wayyy better than any bath product I own.  And slightly better than the Johnson’s Baby Oil I frequently use.  To remind myself that I was relaxing in a bath and not cooking in the kitchen, I lit a lavender-vanilla candle

I enjoyed a well-deserved 20 minutes of muscle recovery, then reluctantly exited the tub as my Running Partner had a bottle of champagne chilling at her house that was calling my name.

After drying myself with my huge fluffly towel, my skin felt like I had just liberally applied a body butter.  There was a very very slight greasiness, but not uncomfortable or annoying.  I don’t think my skin has ever felt so moisturized.  And this is soley from the few tablespoons of EVOO in the tub – I did not apply anything to my skin afterwards.

EVOO will be my new bath buddy.  Not always, as I do love me some bubbles and aromatherapy.  I can see using it with epsom salts in the tub, applying it as a mositurizor (especially after exfoliating), and perhaps mixing it WITH epsom salts to exfloliate.

The only drawback is the scent (while not offensive – it just smells like EVOO, but not quite soothing and relaxing), and the residue it leaves in the tub.  The next day every single bit of dust in my house found it’s way to my ensuite and settled on the inside of my tub.  And a few drops of oil remained in the tub after draining, which my hubby mistook for cat pee.

I recommend adding a few drops of essenetial oils to create a lovely scent or light a candle like I did.  And as for the residue it leaves – you’ll have to do a quick clean up as the water drains.  Ya that sucks.   But trust me – your skin will thank you for pampering it with EVOO. 

 

 

Posted in Bath Reivew | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment