Wine Maven

Northern Lands, Vietti, Tenuta san Guido and Eau Claire Distillery

Canadian sparkling wine ruled at Northern Lands.

There was a tremendous lineup of great wine to be tasted at Northern Lands this year. One of the standout events was the Canadian bubbly tasting; superb quality, with lots of variety in techniques and flavours and so much fun. Wines ranged from Benjamin Bridge Rosé to OK Crush Pad’s superb Narrative Ancient Method. Summerhill broke out a 2008, which was in great shape. Love that Joie Farm calls their Brut Quotidean. Yes, we agree, bubbles every day.

Canadian sparkling wine ruled at Northern Lands

Priscilla Incisa della Rocchetta is the traveller in the family. Her father Nicolò Incisa prefers to stay in Bolgheri, managing the family estate Tenuta San Guido, which (along with Ornellaia) created the category of super-Tuscan, placing Bolgheri on the fine wine map.

“We don’t make a lot of wine, but the idea of my father is to be everywhere. Alberta gets about 150-200 cases, 40 per cent stays in Italy and the rest goes to 90 different markets.”

The history of the family is the theme of our conversation. The Guidalberto is named after an ancestor, the same one who planted the cyprus avenue that runs from the main road in the village. The chapel on the label refers to the 13th century chapel dedicated to St. Guido, a relation on Priscilla’s grandmother’s side. On her grandfather’s side is Pope Alexander the 7th (1600s).

“You need to have a saint and a pope in the family,” says Priscilla.

Priscilla Incisa della Rocchetta

Luca Currado of Vietti (Castiglione Falletto, Barolo) is talking about grape varieties, specifically about Arneis. “My father planted Arneis 50 years ago. It had almost disappeared in Piedmont, only 4,000 vines, about an acre, so nothing. Since its rescue it’s become very popular.

“Italy produced 1,000 bottles in 1967, now 13 million bottles are made.” Why now? “Arneis is not too ample or not too heavy and has a lot of minerality. It is in the same category as Albariño, loved by a new generation trying to escape from oaky Chardonnay or light Pinot Grigio.

“I think every grape variety naturally selects its own environment, such as Alsace and Mosel for Riesling; Sangiovese in Tuscany; Cab Franc in the Loire; Nebbiolo in Piedmont and Arneis as well. Every variety has its own homeland, an unwritten rule we should respect. Sometimes we forget it’s agriculture.”

Luca Currado

Congrats to Turner Valley’s Eau Claire Distillery!

Their Prickly Pear EquineOx took gold, while Parlour Gin garnered a bronze at the prestigious San Francisco World Spirits Competition. Eau Claire also cleaned up at the 2017 Spirits International Prestige (SIP) Awards, where Parlour was awarded the Consumer Choice Award and a Best in Class Platinum award. EquineOx won silver in its infused/flavoured vodka category. Try the EquineOx, made from a barley-based spirit with southern Alberta prickly pear, in the delicious #No.5 cocktail at Bar Clementine. The Parlour Gin, with its lovely blend of botanicals including juniper, Saskatoon berries and rosehips, is perfect for all your G&Ts this summer.

Event Calendar

Wednesday, July 5
Pig Roast and Patio Party, Hazeldean Community League, $65, Eventbrite.Thursday, July 6
Eagle and Condor, a celebration of Indigenous Foods at REDx Talks, $50-$100,

fri-mon, July 7-9
Pysanka Festival Vegreville

Saturday, July 8
Elk Island Dinner by Kitchen
by Brad, Elk Island National Park

Sunday, July 9
Savour Strathcona County
Sherwood Park,

Monday, July 10
High School Culinary Challenge Fundraising Dinner, Nineteen, price TBA,

Saturday, July 15
Ukrainian Village Dinner by Kitchen by Brad, Ukrainian Cultural Heritage Village, $130,

Wednesday, July 19
Vasse Felix Winemaker’s Dinner
The Glass Monkey

thu-sun, July 20-29
The Taste of Edmonton, Sir Winston Churchill Square,

Tuesday, July 25
Consider the Eat Yer Veggies –
Drink Yer Wine Dinner
Canteen, $125,

Saturday, July 29
Elk Island Dinner by Kitchen
by Brad, Elk Island National Park

Saturday, July 30
Locavore Lacombe, Lacombe
Research and Development Centre
$25 in advance,, August 11
Flagstaff County Country Roots Tour
Forestburg, $50,

Saturday, August 12
Elk Island Dinner by Kitchen
by Brad, Elk Island National Park

Saturday, August 19
Bison Festival, Elk Island National Park,

sat-sun, August 19-20
Alberta Open Farm Days

Thursday, August 24
High School Culinary Challenge Fundraising Dinner Workshop Eatery, price TBA,

Saturday, August 26
Elk Island Dinner by Kitchen
by Brad, Elk Island National Park

Saturday, August 26
Slow Food Edmonton + Real Bread Edmonton Collaboration
The Ruby Apron $65,

Saturday, August 26
Culinary Lab Canada 150 Dinner, $150

sat-sun, August 26-27
Babas & Borshch Ukrainian Festival Andrew,

SUnday, August 27
Viva Italia, Viva Edmonton Little Italy