Every few months or so, sommelier Nicole Weinkauf and chef Daniel Costa hold a night called Prova — an intimate food and wine tasting where attendees explore a particular Italian region’s wine paired with typical dishes. The setting at Bar Bricco on a Sunday night is casual and easy, the wine and food top-notch. There are none scheduled for January or February so far, but when you do come across a Prova notice, book it, as they sell out quickly.
|Keep your eye on Hahn Family Wines from Monterey California. The SLH 2012 Pinot Noir ($40) is hand-picked fruit from their Lone Oak, Smith, Doctor’s and Hook vineyards in the Santa Lucia Highlands, with fresh cherry, plum and all-spice notes and a lovely velvety texture. On a more everyday note — love the fragrant and spicy Grenache fruit in the Hahn GSM and the $20 price tag equally as much.|
|The star-studded tequila, Casamigos, created by George Clooney, Rande Gerber and Michael Meldman has officially launched in Alberta. Expect a small batch, ultrapremium tequila made from hand-selected 100 per cent Blue Weber agaves, grown in the rich red clay and cool climate of the Highlands of Jalisco. Both the blanco and the reposado are available in over 30 locations in Alberta and are featured in The Keg’s national cocktail program.|
Alessandro Lunardi, director Frescobaldi Group, visited Edmonton last year to talk about the iconic Ornellaia and the other wines they produce, Le Serre Nuove and Le Volte. These delicious wines, affordable enough to drink every day, bring a little Ornellaia magic to the dinner table. The estate is in Maremma, which overlooks the Tyrrhenian Sea near Alba. Maremma has become an important wine growing region in Tuscany, and is also home to another iconic Italian wine, Sassicaia.
More wine business news: Unwined opened a second shop in late fall, taking over the location at 203 Edmonton Centre, 780-421-0015; Jordan Lee has signed on with Crush Imports, and Valerie Albrecht is now with Enotri Wine Marketing.
Oenologist Christian Chabirand (Prieure La Chaume) spent several years making Champagne which explains his masterful touch with chard and pinot in his estate’s Prima Donna blend. Now he considers himself more of a vine grower. A decade or so ago, he found a little island of chalk in the south Vendee, equidistant between the Loire Valley and the Medoc; a geographical oddity. He gambled on it being an excellent place to grow wine. The bet has paid off.
The Chardonnay and Pinot Noir in a still white wine is an unusual blend. Rarely do we see these grapes together in a still wine, and from the Loire? It’s just not done. Christian gets away with this because, technically, from a French wine rules perspective, his estate isn’t in the Loire.
We’ll leave the French wine rules to the French wine police. We’re content to drink these unforgettable, vibrant, elegant, rich without heaviness, delightful examples of well-grown fruit, communicating their terroir without effort. Now, you’re saying that’s a lot for a wine to express. Yes it is, but the most interesting wines always have something to say.
Look for the luscious Prima Donna, the approachable Bel Canto; the well-aged 2008 Orpheo, and the exuberant Rigoletto in better wine shops.
Doug Hicks was introduced to fine wine while playing hockey in Europe, opening Crestwood Wines in 1994, after a 15-year pro-hockey career, three of them with the Edmonton Oilers. Fast forward to the present — after selling Crestwood to Satesh Narine and living in the Caribbean for three years, Doug is back with Hicks Fine Wines. “The opportunity to open a store in a beautiful new shopping centre in St. Albert was too good to resist,” he says, “I’m looking forward to getting to know new people and welcome my former clients.” Marcia Hamm (WSETLevel3) followed her love of wine into retail, and is now managing the store. Visit the website for information on upcoming tastings, special guests and events. Hicks Fine Wines, #109, 150 Bellerose Drive, St. Albert, 780-569-5000, hicksfinewines.com.
Juanita Roos (AIWS) has opened Color de Vino, a charming shop on east Whyte near the Unheardof Restaurant. It’s a family affair, Juanita’s Dad built most of the shelving, daughter Kelsey and son-in-law Ramon can be found in the shop most days helping customers. The selection of craft beers, spirits, and wine is well-curated with an emphasis on affordable, small-production selections. The store is arranged by colour, rather than the usual wine-by-country layout, which helps shoppers discover new tastes. 9606 82 Avenue, 780-439-9069, colordevino.ca