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.
(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!
Apple Tart extraordinaire!
A very unique unfiltered saké (that looked pink) with egg white and rose petals on top. It was slightly sweet and quite refreshing!
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.
Mary Bailey (centre), editor of the Tomato magazine, Edmonton’s classic food and drink magazine, sits in discussion with Don Triggs and Paul Speck