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Ever been curious about a River Cruise? There are specialty Cruises in Europe that not only deliver great food, scenery, tours, excellent rooms, but fabulous wine and great value for your money!  Come to Privada on January 30 at 6:30pm to find all about this fabulous River Cruise from north to south France in October, 2017! See below for all the information!

REDEFINING THE WINDOW OF OPPORTUNITY

Avalon Waterways, B-Side Travel and Hicks Fine Wines
would cordially like to invite you to join us for a travel information
session with our Special Guest Mark Wismeijer, Cruise Director
with Avalon Waterways.
Learn more about European River Cruising with Avalon Waterways,
Europe’s newest and most spacious river ships, included
on-shore experiences and unmatched service.

DATE: January 30, 2017
TIME: 6:30 pm
VENUE: Privada Wine & Tapas Bar
100–21 Perron St., St. Albert, AB T8N 1E6
FOR MORE DETAILS, PLEASE CONTACT:
Heidi Haddrell

 heidi.bside@gmail.com

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Make sure you sign up for the first tasting of the new season, which is slated for September 10, 2015 at 7 pm!  Marcia will lead you through a discussion and tasting of Merlot grapes and wine! Come and find out what makes this grape so special, when some think it’s just a so-so grape! Tasting is $40/pp and you can hold your spot by calling or emailing!  Phone 781-569-5000, or email marcia@hicksfinewines.com.  There is a $25 deposit to hold your spot for this tasting.

Stay tuned to the Newsletter due to be released this week!

Cheers!

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A little Portugese anyone? Great value here!  From left to right – $15.95, $21.95, $23.95

2013 Vinha do Rosario – from the ladies at Casa Ermalinda in the Setubal Peninsual,  is this blend of Castelao, Touriga Nacional, Syrah and Cabernet Sauvignon.  Don’t let the inexpensive price fool you! Great structure and balance! $15.95

2011 Lagarada Douro – Made from Touriga Nacional, Touriga Franca and Tinta Roriz (Tempranillo), this inky black wine is full of blackberries, spice and herbal notes.  Great with a ribeye! – $21.95

2013 Feuerheerd’s Anchor Wine – Also from the Douro, this wine features four of the “big five” port grapes.  It’s no wonder they’re making a table wine, they’re a great port producer also!  Fruity elegance, this is a wine that truly shines! $23.95

 

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20150407_094234Here at Hicks Fine Wines, every month the staff chooses a favourite wine that they would like to share with others.  It’s a compilation of tasting many wines during the course of a day, week or month and deciding which one the general public might like the best.  It goes without saying that we are going to pick the wine we like the most as an individual, but in some cases, it’s all about the season too!

For those that are unaware, the “hands” in the upper level of the store feature our monthly choices with a brief description of each wine.  It’s become a bit of a contest around here!  Whose “pick of the month” will sell the most bottles? With a selection of both old and new world wines, it’s anyone’s guess as to what will sell the most!  Our owner Doug Hicks has seemingly chosen the most popular wines on quite a regular basis! (And…he let’s us all know it!)  But for April, because we’re getting into some “warmer” weather, the whites (let’s not forget the rose…) are tipping the scales as staff picks.

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Yvonne’s pick of the Hanna Sauvignon Blanc from the Terlato Wine Group of the Russian River Valley AVA seems to be selling quite well. This crisp, stainless steel fermented Sauvignon Blanc with tropical fruit notes is seemingly what everyone wants to start drinking, if only to remind them of their Spring Break trips to sun-drenched beaches and tempertures far above what we would ever see here at this time of year! Not your typical New Zealand grassiness in this one, but also a slight hint of dairy flavours as this little wine is aged on the lees.  For only $24.95 per bottle, you may just want to get a case…Great for the patio…I insist!

Marcia’s pick of the Whispering Angel rose also seems to be a popular choice.  20150407_094412With a prime location just inside the front door, this stunning little pink is almost leaping out of the box into the consumers hands!  And it’s no wonder…with this wine being sold out for the entire 2013 vintage in all shapes and sizes, I had to be sure to get my hands on as many cases as possible.  Five cases later, and we are ready to put in for the second round!  And according to the write-up, this little beauty is hard to resist.  With its beautiful salmon pink colour and notes remeniscent of a strawberries and cream angel food cake dessert, who wouldn’t want to have one of these in their fridge, not to mention a few more in the basement, cellar or wine fridge? Seriously, this wine is a no brainer for summer and it’s great for the patio and with your summer fare such as chicken salad, poached salmon dishes and creamy pastas! It’s $32.95 on the shelf for an authentic Provence rose- a mix of Grenache, Rolle and Cinsault! Cheers!

 

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This past weekend, Edmonton hosted a great Canadian event called Northern Lands.  Canadian winemakers, distillers, craft brewers and chefs added to our population to showcase their products and skills to us “rednecks” of central Alberta!  Along with that, many of the producers came around to the store with the companies that represent them and had us taste their wines in the hopes we might bring them into the store to sell.

I’m keeping a running tally of how many wines I’m tasting this year, with a daily total, a monthly total, and eventually a yearly total.  Not specific names of wines, but if it’s a new wine I’ve never tasted before, it gets a “tick” and I will have an answer for those who specifically ask me how many wines I actually taste in a years time.  With that in mind, on Friday, due to all the visits, I tasted 32 wines…all of them Canadian!  The whole idea of this event was to get more recognition for our country’s wines.  Yes, we make Icewine (and some REALLY good ones too), but we also make other wines, notably some excellent Pinot Gris from the Naramata Bench by Kelowna, British Columbia, some Bordeaux style blends from the Golden Mile Bench of Osoyoos, British Columbia, and some stunning, searing acidity Rieslings from the Niagara Peninsula in Ontario.  I have to say, for the most part, impressed with the lineup that came before me last Friday.

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(L-R) Don Triggs, Culmina Family Winery, Marcia J. Hamm, Manager, Hicks Fine Wines, Paul Speck, Henry of Pelham

Later on that day, Doug (the big boss) and I got a chance to sit down with two of the winery owners that had visited us earlier in the day.  It was a privilege to sit with Paul Speck of Henry of Pelham (Ontario), and Don Triggs of Culmina Family Winery (British Columbia). A meeting of east and west, sitting with a group of a few talented, seasoned people in the wine industry. We sat down at a trendy little restaurant called North 53.  Now, it just so happens that we are now supplying the wine to this little late-night hot spot!  Packed full with people being turned away, it was great to sit down, and be part of the fun!  And the food!  I was so wrapped up in the wine and the company that I failed to take pictures until dessert! From the popcorn chicken (ok, don’t even BEGIN to think about KFC at this point…)to the homemade pasta tossed in butter, with a kickin’ mushroom sauce, to the apple tart for dessert, our wines paired beautifully from the Henry of Pelham Riesling, Chardonnay, Cabernet Merlot, and the flank steak and potatoes with Culmina’s Hypothesis Bordeaux style blend. It was like a match made in heaven and we got to be part of the action. I felt privileged to be invited and even moreso to be in the company of these amazing Canadian icons of the wine industry!

If you have a chance to taste or pick up these wines, we carry the following:

Henry of Pelham Sauvignon Blanc- $22.95

Henry of Pelham Chardonnay- $22.95

Henry of Pelham Baco Noir- $22.95

Henry of Pelham Ice Wine- $74.95

Culmina Hypothesis – $61.95 (Chardonnay to come later on this year)

And here are a couple of other photos from the evening!

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Apple Tart extraordinaire!

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A very unique unfiltered saké (that looked pink) with egg white and rose petals on top. It was slightly sweet and quite refreshing!

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Some of our wines from the evening. The estate Cab-Merlot and Baco Noir (which paired nicely with the pasta and mushroom dish) from Henry of Pelham and Culmina’s Hypothesis Bordeaux style blend with went with the flank steak and mashed potatoes.

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Mary Bailey (centre), editor of the Tomato magazine, Edmonton’s classic food and drink magazine, sits in discussion with Don Triggs and Paul Speck

 

 

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20150328_1235182010 Drouhin Vosne-Romanée
 
Just north of Nuit St. Georges in the Cote de Nuit, comes one of the most celebrated villages in all of Burgundy, producing such wines as Romanée-Conti and Richebourg
 
Tasting note by Véronique Boss-Drouhin
“Supreme elegance! Beautiful colour, with intense and bright reflections. The diversity of the aromas is striking: wild cherry, nutmeg, camphor wood, fine leather…Later on, the wine takes on a subtle aroma of truffle, producing the most varied palette. With its perfect balance between tannin and acidity, the wine has a fleshy, sturdy body. Powerful and long aftertaste. A wealth of harmonious sensations characterizes this great Burgundy”. 
 
Great for cellaring!  You can drink now with decanting or hold for 10-30 years
$129.99
20150328_1236142013 Droin Les Clos Chablis Grand Cru
This father and son team of Jean-Paul and Benoit Droin are located in Chablis, Burgundy’s north for steely, minerality driven expressions of Chardonnay. With centuries of winemaking behind them, this wine has great finesse, is always developing with hints of vanilla.  wine.  A stunning wine that is beautiful now, but suggested to hold for 4-5 years before drinking and can cellar for 10 years and beyond.
$97.95
 
20150328_1235582010 Staglin Family Vineyards Estate Chardonnay
 
From the estate vineyards in the Rutherford Bench comes this unfined and unfiltered Chardonnay.  Don’t let the cloudiness fool you.  This wine is stunning with layers of fruit, minerality and creaminess.  100% barrel fermented and aged for 11 months in 68% new oak, and some malolactic fermentation, there are tropical notes of key lime, banana cream pie and notes of Madagascar vanilla with just a wisp of toasty oak. Absolutely stunning now, but some age will add even more layers of complexity.  Drink now to 2020.
 
$95.95

 

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20150318_180606Here at Hicks Fine Wines, we LOVE rosés! Today (Wednesday) is delivery day, and let me just say….I’ve gone a little crazy on pink and have many different shades coming into the store today!  They’ll be stacked at the front of the store as well as on the shelves!   But not only from Provence, there is rosé from Portugal, Spain, Chile, Canada, Tavel (France), Italy and and still more to pink to come from Italy! Sparkling or still, high end or low end, there will likely to be something within your budget you will love and want to try!

20150318_180728And now to the Whispering Angel of Chateau D’Esclans….ahhh…can I tell you how excited I am to see this baby girl? Sold out in the entire province for vintage 2013, I made sure I jumped on the bandwagon and ordered six cases for the store.  (Which btw, may not even be enough…) And I got the middle sister too, stopping short of getting the other sisters! At $31.95, Whispering Angel, made mostly from Grenache, carries a little Cinsault and Rolle (also known as Vermentino in Italy) to finish off the blend.  Subtle aromas and flavours of strawberries and cream, the battonage totally gives this wine its long lasting flavour. Go for the middle sisters Chateau D’Esclans, Les Clans, or step it up to the big sister, the Garrus for a cool $128 retail. a super premium rosé with barrel ageing.  Check it out here. Definitely worth the wait for these rosés!

Take your time, and choose wisely….but it’s only March…so you have plenty of time to taste many of these expressions of rosé! Stay tuned for more posts!  Cheers!

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20150304_174548From one of the oldest family producers in the region, considered “pioneers” of the regions winemaking, comes a big, punchy Zin, currently featured on the wine menu at Privada. We love this place here at the store, and will support them as much as possible!  They in turn, are letting their patrons know that any of the wines they pour on the menu that have an “H” beside them, are available here at the store.  It’s a win-win, so if you taste this wine at the restaurant, come on down to the store and pick up a bottle to take home! From century-old vines, this delicious Zinfandel has the brightness of black cherry and young blackberries mixed with dark chocolate and laurel. There is a brambly quality that adds depth. The tannins are smooth on the finish, but the bright acidity carries it all the way through. Great for barbeque!  As we change our clocks in a mere four sleeps, our days will get longer, so fire up that grill!

Zins don’t age well, though, so if you put one in your cellar, don’t forget about it!  You may, if you’re lucky, get 5-6 years out of them! Enjoy and Cheers!

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Happy New Year!  I don’t know about you, but I always “wax nostalgia” this time of year…thinking about what I accomplished in this past year, and what is yet to come.  How will 2015 be better, and how can I make it better!

I always wish I had taken better notes of the wines I’ve tasted…with the store being opened and sourcing wines, there were a LOT of wines tasted, I can’t even begin to count!  Perhaps this year, I will at least COUNT how many wines I’ve tasted.  At least that’s something right?

We’re always getting new wines here in the store.  Every week there is something new.  Even though we are at the point of repleneshing some of the wines on the shelf because we have sold out not once, but twice or even three times, there will always be something new! Come on into the store and see what we have!  Here are just a couple of “newbies” that you might like to try over the next coming weeks.

Quinta de Ventozelo – From one of the oldest quintas, as well as one of the biggest and best locations, I had the opportunity to taste this wine with a tasting group that I’m a part of.  100% Touriga Nacional from the Douro region of Portugal, this wine showed great value and great potential to age.  Unfortunately, they are not making it anymore, but they have other wines from this Bodega that have been brought into the store.

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2005 Ventozelo Touriga Cabernet – blending two of my favourite varietals from one of my favourite countries, and I think we have a match made in heaven!  Already 10 years old, this wine is approachable now, but can also benefit from patient cellaring.  This wine is clean, bright with a deep dark purple colour. Lucious blackcurrant and blackberry jam notes, with a touch of smoke and dark chocolate on the nose along with vanilla and coffee brought from ageing in new barrels.  Very well structured, intense ripe blackberries and chocolate that is well balanced with a long lasting finish.  Already 10 years old!  For a wine of this quality and age, a real steal at $38!!

 

2012 Septima Gran Reserva – out of Mendoza, Argentina, this blend combines Malbec, Cabernet Sauvignon and Tannat, sourced from the best vineyards in the region.  Aged for 18 months in a combination of French and American oak, this wine offers great value for quality! Oh. My. Goodness…this is an AMAZING wine!  I opened it for my staff, subsequently sampled it for a customer, and just like that, three bottles walked out the door!  Incredible aromas of blackberries, plums, wet leaves, tar and roses, the palate screamed of black fruit integrated with a subtle earthiness and a touch of tar and roses.  Full bodied with great balance and a beautiful long finish.  $32 on the shelf for this little beauty and two more 6-packs on order!

Tis the season for full bodied red wines…it IS cold after all!  These wines would be a GREAT choice for a snow day by the fireplace.  Cheers!

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With Christmas a short two days away, and New Years hot on its heels, everyone should be stocking up on the bubbles for the festive occasion!  Whether it’s Cava, Prosecco, Cremant, Champagne, Sparkling Wines, we have a GREAT selection!  Roses too!

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Let’s have a brief lesson: (and we’ll go through the picture from left to right)

– Prosecco is from ITALY, typically fermented in a tank, leading to fresh citrus and green apple flavours with a sharp mousse (in otherwords, the bubbles kind of explode in your mouth!)  Try the Canella…great value at $23! Buon Natale!

– Cava is from SPAIN, and made in the traditional method.  Which means it’s made exactly the same way as Champagne, but with the traditional Spanish grapes, Maccabeo, Paralleda and Xarel-lo.  This particular Cava happens to the biggest selling Cava in Spain, and also has some Chardonnay in it.  And the super fun thing about THIS Cava, is that you get to DRAW on the bottle! Comes with a fun gold pen and you can go crazy!  Who wouldn’t want to draw on their bubbles bottle? 😀 At $17 a bottle, why not buy 2??? Feliz Navidad!

– The Cremant de Vouvray is from…well, Vouvray in the Loire Valley. Also made in the Traditional method (2nd fermentation occurs in the bottle that you actually buy off the shelf) but made with the Chenin Blanc grape.  I LOVE this Cremant!  Beautiful,  off dry flavours and GREAT acidity, the mousse is creamy and smooth.  This one goes down a little too easy!  If you want to try something different from Champagne, this is your baby!  $26 on the shelf. Joyeux Noel!

– Piper Heidsick Champagne – a TRUE Champagne made from the region.  Made mostly from Pinot Noir with some Pinot Meunier on the side. Light and refreshing with flavours of pear, citrus and hints of star fruit with a smooth creamy finish. But look!  The packaging is WAY cool with the lid of the box transforming into a tealight holder!  Oh the marketing promos they come out with for Christmas!  Not your most famous Champagne, but a lovely one for $63!  And for all you points seekers…93 points on Wine Spectator.

Buon Natale, Feliz Navidad and Joyeux Noel!  Merry Christmas folks!  See you at the store!

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