CBC Radio One - 99.1 FM/1010 AM

Here are some highlights from my House Wine or Local Drinks column on CBC Radio Calgary.

These are some of the most recent ones!

March 17, 2023 - Kilkenny Irish Cream Ale

Happy St. Paddy’s Day! Forget the green food colouring. I’d rather pop open a can of Kilkenny Irish Cream Ale. In my books, it ranks up there with Guinness Stout and Harp Lager. Like Guinness it has a nitro ball inside the can called a widget. It is a clever invention that replicates the creamy head of a draught Kilkenny. That is why it is vital to pour this beer into a glass. Unlike other beers, you will want to turn the can fully upside down to enable the widget to work its magic. If you don’t the beer may taste flat. It is beautiful to watch when it is poured in the glass. Watch how it begins to settle from the bottom up to the top. On the palate it is creamy, smooth and easy drinking. At 4.3%, it is light bodied and I can see why it would be easy to have 1,2 and even 3.

Pick up a 4 pack at your local liquor store. This Irish beer should be easy to find. Look for it in the fridge beside Guinness stout.

Column – House Wine

February 17, 2023 - Sattlerhof Sauvignon Blanc 2021

I may be pushing you out of your comfort zone by asking you to try a familiar grape from an uncommon country. We don’t see much Austrian wine in our market for two reasons – Austria is a small wine producer and Austrians drink most of the wine they make! The Sattler family have been making wine in the South Steiermark region since 1887. Everything here is done by hands due to the steep slopes of the vineyards. This Sauvignon Blanc is pale straw in colour with aromas of apple blossoms, lime and star fruit. On the palate it is light bodied with a zingy acidity (textbook for Sauvignon Blanc).

Pick up a bottle at one of these fine stores in Calgary and taste along with me and host Chris Dela Torre. Call ahead to ensure availability – Silver Springs Liquor Store, Vine Styles, Vine Arts 17 Avenue, Kensington Wine Market, Sundance Wine Market, Willow Park Wines, Cork Fine Wines, Oak & Vine (Inglewood), 4th Street Liquor and Spring Creek Cellars (Canmore).

Column – House Wine

January 19, 2023 - Grand Tokaji Szamorodni 2018

Dessert wine is one of the most under appreciated wine categories. That’s too bad because people don’t know what they are missing! The good news is that there are some great buys to be found on the market and this Grand Tokaji Szamorodni from Hungary is definitely one of them. Hungary has a long history of epic sweet wines. This Szamorodni is a good gateway wine. When it comes to dessert wine, a little goes a long way so my usual pour is 2 ounces. Grab some cheese or a piece of carrot cake and a glass of this wine. It has aromas and flavours of apricots, oranges, peaches and honey. The perky acidity helps to make this wine medium sweet with a lifted finish.

Column – House Wine

December 23, 2022 - Holiday Wines

This is my last column of 2022.  I thought it would be fun to talk about wines that would make good adult stocking stuffers and suggest a tasty bubbly to ring in the new year. My two picks for stocking stuffers is the Messias Miniature Ports and the Lulu Spritz cocktail. The Messias gift pack is a selection of 5 different ports – 2013 LBV, a 10 year old tawny, a 2 year old tawny, 2008 Colheita and 2005 Colheita. You can either give this box set to the wine lover in the family or break up the box and give individual 50 mL bottles in a few stockings! The Lulu Spritz wine cocktail is a combination of pinot grigio, tonic water and orange bitters. I prefer to pour it in a glass but you can drink it right out of the can. It’s a delicious balance of sweet orange meets bitter tonic. A fun drink to have on hand when you are entertaining or put in an adult’s stocking. It’s always good to have some bubbly in the fridge. The Salentein Cuvee Exceptionelle Brut is from Argentina and I can only imagine how many of bottles of this was consumed this week following Argentina’s win in the World Cup! It is a blend of 55% Pinot Noir and 45% Chardonnay.  It is a great choice for New Year’s eve or to mix with orange juice to make a Mimosa on New Year’s morning.

Column – House Wine

December 9, 2022 - Gruber Riesling Eiswein 2021

I love the purity of ice wine but usually it is too expensive to showcase on the air. The Gruber Riesling Eiswein (aka Icewine) is from the village of Roschitz in Austria. At around $40, it is an excellent value when you think of the lengths a winemaker must go to in order to make a bottle. Riesling is my favourite grape for this style of wine due to its lazer-like acidity. The sweet juice and the vibrant acidity weave together to create a beautifully balanced dessert style wine. Serve it chilled in either a white wine or port style glass. It makes a wonderful gift!

Region – Weinviertel,  Austria

Column – House Wine

November 18, 2022 - Zonte's Footstep Love Symbol Grenache 2019

This Friday we are travelling to south Australia and the region of  McLaren Vale. I am excited to introduce you to the man behind the label of Zonte’s Footstep, Brad Rey. Brad grew up in Calgary and moved to Australia over 25 years ago. He was in Calgary recently and I sat down with him to taste his wines and hear his story. Brad is larger than life and a fabulous story teller. His Love Symbol is a salute to the Grenache grape which thrives in the Mediterranean climate. This is an easy drinking red with flavours and aromas of plums, cherries, raspberry and black pepper.

Region – McLaren Vale, Australia

Column – House Wine

October 14, 2022 - Luigi Einaudi Dolcetto Dogliani 2020

Interesting fact – Luigi Einaudi was the 1st democratically elected President of Italy. He was 74 when he was elected in 1948. So if you ever think to yourself, “I am too old to do something new”, think of him! Of course, his time owning the winery predates his rise to the presidency. He founded the estate back in 1897. Now, his great grandson Matteo Sardagna Einaudi runs the company. They make many tasty wines and I chose the Dolcetto because I think it is one of the most underrated grapes. It has a taste profile that most consumers would love, if only they tried it! In Italian, the word Dolcetto means little sweet one. I think of it as more juicy than sweet. Make no mistake, this wine is a dry table wine. It’s medium bodied with aromas and flavours that echo each other – black fruits (plums, cherries and berries), spice and a bit of grip from the tannins. It is easy to pair with food. I matched it with a ratatouille that I made with all my ripe tomatoes. It was a natural match with the eggplant and garlic in the dish.

Region – Piemonte, Italy

Column – House Wine

September 2, 2022 - Flat Rock Twisted White 2019

I am stoked that I am squeezing the Flat Rock Cellars Twisted White 2019 just under the wire because it is a classic summer sipper. A blend of 80% Riesling, 10% Gewurztraminer and 10% Chardonnay. It is a crowd pleaser with aromas and flavours of lime, green apple, flint and lychee. It is a wine that pairs with a wide spectrum of foods from sushi, to pub grub to grilled veggies!

Region – Niagara Peninsula, Ontario

Column – House Wine

August 19, 2022 - Romero Distilling Renegade Cuba Libre

Romero Distilling Company is a father and son collaboration, owned and operated by Diego and Tomas Romero. Walking up to the distillery you can’t help but notice the antique car parked at the front entrance. It is a McLaughlin Buick which, back in the early 1900’s, was the car of choice for bootleggers. This was the first hint of the fascinating rum running tales of Emilio Picariello that I would be introduced to at the distillery. (To learn more I would recommend booking a tour.) Did you know that to be called rum, it must be made from sugar cane? Romero uses Canadian molasses made from sugar cane from Guatemala as their base. All their rums are aged in used Woodford Reserve Bourbon barrels. In Canada, to be called rum it must be aged for at least one year in a wood cask. Today I am tasting their Renegade Cuba Libre ready-to-drink cocktail. It is a rum and coke cocktail with a squeeze of lime. The name dates back to the Cuban War of Independence in the late 1800s.

Region – Calgary, Alberta

Column – Local Drinks

August 5, 2022 - Tailgunner Linton Stephenson Czech Pilsner

Tailgunner is one of two lager focused breweries in Alberta. (Blind Enthusiasm in Edmonton is the other.) It is owned by Mike MacLeod and Cael Tucker, business partners and childhood friends who decided to branch out into the beer business. A Tailgunner is the person who operates the guns at the rear or tail of a military plane. Mike MacLeod’s grandfather, Linton Stephenson was a tailgunner in World War II. Mike and Cael wanted to honour Lint’s service and named the brewery Tailgunner. Lint passed away in 2015 and Mike told me that his grandfather placed great value on community and that he also enjoyed a good beer.  Their head brewer is Blake Enemark. Blake uses a traditional Czech technique called triple decoction in this Czech Pilsner. I love a good Czech Pilsner for its crisp and clean mouthfeel and its impressive balance of sweet and bitter flavours. When I walked into the taproom at Tailgunner, it reminded me of  a traditional Czech beer hall with its communal wood tables and impressive beer tower. It is a place to meet new friends over a good glass of beer.

(in photo from left to right – James Hill (general manager), Blake Enemark (head brewer) and Mike MacLeod (co-owner)

Region – Calgary, Alberta

Column – Local Drinks

July 22, 2022 - Cabin Brewing Super Saturation New England Pale Ale

This week I’ve picked Cabin Brewing Company in the Manchester Brewing District. When I think of Cabin Brewing, I immediately think of this beer in its bright blue can with the 1970s vibe. What was supposed to be a one off seasonal has turned into their biggest selling beer! The Super Saturation New England Pale Ale is a hazy, juicy, fruity beer. There are 3 different types of hops – Citra, Mosaic and Simcoe. We have the hops to thank for all of those pineapple, mango and orange aromas and flavours.

Region – Calgary, Alberta

Column – Local Drinks

July 8, 2022 - Burton City Raspberry Cider

I love a good road trip. So, on the Canada Day weekend, I decided to pack up my Westfalia van and head west to visit Burton City Cidery in the West Kootenay Valley. I wanted to meet up with 2 transplanted Calgarians, Barbara and Alan Ross, who started Burton City Cidery. What started off as a vacation property has turned into a full-time business. All of the fruit in their cider is BC grown. A good portion is grown in the adjacent orchard next to the cidery. Most of the raspberries come from the Fraser Valley. The aromas of their raspberry cider reminds me of standing in an orchard in the spring! This is a dry cider with flavours of crisp apples and tart raspberries. It is super refreshing.

Region – Burton, B.C., Canada

Column – Local Drinks

June 24, 2022 - Canada Day Drinks

Happy 155 Canada! I have found 3 unique drinks to toast the day. For the beer drinkers in the crowd, you’ve got to try Calgary Beer. It is a collaboration between Village Brewery and Molson’s. It is a lager that pays homage to the Calgary Brewing and Malting Co., Calgary’s 1st brewery established back in 1892 by A.E. Cross. It is light, crisp and crushable! Also in my cooler is Fallentimber Sea Dog Mead Radler. Fallentimber has put their own spin on it by replacing the beer with mead. It is a blend of 2 parts mead and 1 part citrus juices. At only 3.5% alcohol, it is very refreshing on a hot summer’s day. I also want to have a tasty non-alcoholic drink in my cooler. My pick is the Wild Folk Vermouth Spritz. This mocktail is zero proof and is infused not distilled.  The Vermouth Spritz is a mix of ginger, chamomile, hops, coriander, cinnamon and basil. I love the complexity of this drink.

Region – Calgary, Alberta, Canada

Column – Local Drinks

June 10, 2022 - Heimann SZRD 2019

This time of year, I’m always on the lookout for a fun Summer Barbecue wine. I want something fruit forward and versatile to cover the gamut from veggie burgers to pork tenderloin, and burgers to sirloin steak. I also want something unique so that there won’t be worry for duplication when I am invited to a party. The Heimann SXRD from Hungary is my red pick for Summer 2022. If I had to sum it up in a few words I would say – smooth and spicy. It is a blend of 4 grapes – Kekfrankos, Merlot, Cabernet Franc and Portugeiser. It reminds me of a cross between an old world Pinot Noir and a Chianti Classico!

Region – Szekszard – Hungary

Column – House Wine

May 20, 2022 - Croft Pink Port

It can be a bit of a challenge to find the right wine for the May long weekend as you never know what Mother Nature will throw at us! The Croft Pink Port is good over ice if you are playing cards by the fire at the cabin OR in a cocktail at the campsite! It has aromas and sweet flavours of dried cherry, strawberry with a hint of grapefruit. If you’d like to whip up a cocktail, check out the website – www.croftpink.com or pick up a ready-to-drink cocktail called Croft Pink & Tonic.


Region – Duoro Valley, Portugal

Column – House Wine

April 22, 2022 - Yalumba Organic Viognier 2021

I’ve picked the Yalumba Organic Viognier to celebrate the 52nd Anniversary of Earth Day. Viognier is a very particular grape. Picking the right site is critical. After working with the grape for over 30 years, winemaker Louisa Rose understands its quirks. She knows where to grow it and how to handle it. The result is a dry styled Viognier with textbook aromas of honeysuckle and stonefruit. A wine easy to sip on its own or to pair with food. It is my go-to for Thai and Vietnamese cuisine as it matches well with cilantro!


Region – South Australia

Column – House Wine

March 18, 2022 - Catena San Carlos Cabernet Franc 2019

We are travelling to the high mountains of Mendoza, Argentina for this months House Wine. The Catena family have been making wine for over 100 years and are recognized around the world for their high altitude viticulture. As the name implies, this Cabernet Franc hails from San Carlos where some of the family’s oldest vineyards can be found. Catena was crowned the #1 World’s Most Admired Wine Brand by Drinks International.


Region – Mendoza, Argentina

Column – House Wine

February 25, 2022 - Wolfberger Cremant d'Alsace Brut NV

February 25th marks Homestretch host Doug Dirks last day at CBC. Over the 10 years that Doug and I have been doing House Wine together, I’ve learned that Doug loves a good bottle of bubbles. I’ve picked the Wolfberger Cremant d’Alsace Brut Non-Vintage to send him off into retirement in style. Made using the same method as Champagne but with different grapes. It is dry and refreshing with aromas & flavours of golden apples, lemons, peach with hint of almonds. Join me to raise a glass in Doug’s honour.

Region – Alsace, France

Column – House Wine

January 21, 2022 - Leitz Alcohol Free Sparkling Rose NV

Dry January? Yes it is a thing. That doesn’t mean you need to abstain from all wine. Why not try an alcohol free wine? This Leitz Sparkling Rosé starts its life off as a classic wine and then through a process called vacuum distillation 99.95% of the alcohol is removed. It is made by Weingut Leitz an estate winery in Germany with a renowned reputation for making premium Rieslings. Their Eins Zwei Zero line is dedicated to alcohol free and lists a range of wines from sparkling, white, rosé and red. This sparkling rosé is crisp and refreshing with aromas and flavours of strawberry, lemon and apple.


Region – Rheingau, Germany

Column – House Wine

December 29, 2021 - Ready for New Years!

All set for New Year’s with 2 sparklings and a red wine! Starting with the Giusti Rosalia Prosecco Rose. Many people are surprised to learn that Prosecco can be a Rose! The Giusti Rosalia is a blend of 90% Glera and 10% Pinot Noir. Dry, refreshing and very pretty in the glass. Next up is the Sovi Non-Alcoholic Sparkling Wine. I picked this as the trend for no and low alcohol drinks is hot right now. As the name implies, the Sovi started its life as a regular wine and then had all the alcohol removed. I recommend pouring it into a glass to see the intense salmon pink colour and the active bubbles. Finally, I will wind this trio up with the Gerard Bertrand Heritage “An 806” Corbieres 2017. A blend of Grenache, Syrah and Mourvedre grapes from the southern edge of France, the Corbieres region is still not well known outside of Europe. This wine could be described as tall, dark and handsome. Black raspberry mingling with black pepper and plums. I recommend checking out www.liquorconnect.com to find a store near you that stocks these wines. Search by either name or product number. Here is the link if you missed my live column – https://www.cbc.ca/listen/live-radio/1-97-the-homestretch/clip/15886504-laurie-mackay-year-wines

  1. Giusti Rosalia Rose Prosecco (849515)
  2. Sovi Sparkling Wine Alcohol Removed (856653)
  3. Gerard Bertrand Heritage “An 806” Corbieres 2017 (790131)

Column – House Wine

December 9, 2021 - Chateau de Montifaud Pineau des Charentes Rouge

This pick is all about the holidays. Either to give as a special gift or to have as a special drink. Pineau des Charentes, or Pineau as it is often called, is a French fortified wine. It comes in White, Rose and Red. I’ve picked the Red which is extremely rare even in France! Made of a blend of Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon. With aromas and flavours of pomegranate, sour cherry, dried strawberries, grapefruit and warm spices, it won’t take long for you to be hooked on it! Serve it well chilled, either neat or on ice. It’s super versatile mixed with soda or sparkling wine. Here is the link to my column if you missed it – https://www.cbc.ca/listen/live-radio/1-97-the-homestretch/clip/15884172-wine-columnist-laurie-mackay-shares-holiday-pick


Region – Petite Champagne, France

Column – House Wine

November 19, 2021 - Zsirai Harslevelu 2017

This Hungarian white wine may be a little tricky to say, but don’t let that stop you from giving it a try! (Pronounced jeer -EYE HARSH-lev-a-loo) It is delicious. Smooth and spicy with aromas & rich flavours of stone fruit (apricots and nectarines), apple and ginger. Here is the link to my column if you missed it – https://www.cbc.ca/listen/live-radio/1-97-the-homestretch/clip/15883296-laurie-mackays-wine-column

Region – Tokaji, Hungary

Column – House Wine

October 8, 2021 - Maison Tramier Pinot Noir 2020

Talking turkey wine today, or more specifically wine to pair with Turkey. I’ve selected a wine that  I think is a “ringer” for Thanksgiving Dinner – Tramier Pinot Noir 2020. Tramier is a “vin de France” which gives the winemakers a lot of latitude – they are allowed to blend grapes from different regions in France or blend non-traditional grape varietals. In this case, it is 100% Pinot Noir grown in Burgundy in the north and Languedoc-Roussillon in the south. The end result is light body red wine full of flavour. Here is the audio link https://www.cbc.ca/listen/live-radio/1-97-the-homestretch/clip/15871329-laurie-mackay-tramier-pinot-noir

Region – Vin de France – a blend of Burgundy and Languedoc

Column – House Wine

September 17, 2021 - Jim Barry Assyrtiko

This Jim Barry Assyrtiko has an interesting story to tell. It is an Aussie wine made from a Greek white grape! Peter Barry discovered this grape when he was vacationing on the Greek island of Santorini. He became so captivated by its crisp, dry and mineral flavours that he became determined to plant it in the Clare Valley in south Australia (home to Jim Barry Wines).  In 2012, he planted 3 hectares (7.5 acres) in his Lodge Hill Vineyard. I for one, am happy he did. This wine caught my attention immediately as a ringer with raw oysters. It’s zingy acidity and prominent lemon lime flavours play perfectly with the delicacy of the oyster. It is also good with any food that you may be inclined to squeeze a fresh lemon over (think fish & chips, chicken souvlaki or saganaki).

Region – Clare Valley, South Australia

Column – House Wine

September 3, 2021 - Eighty-Eight Brewing Summer Camp Sangria Sour

Eighty-eight Brewing Company is tucked away in an industrial mall in the corner of the neighbourhood of Ramsay. From the front, you’d never know what a big facility awaits inside the doors. It is owned by 4 friends, who are self-proclaimed beer nerds! They started home brewing in 2013 once the province of Alberta changed the legislation for craft brewing. In August 2018, ’88 Brewing Company opened its doors and continues to remind patrons of the festive spirit of the 1988 Calgary Winter Olympics games. The Summer Camp Sangria Sour is a collaboration beer with Camp Brand Goods. Duotang Dry Hopped Sour is blended with a homemade Sangria. A one of a kind beer that is absolutely delicious! You can buy this beer directly from the brewery or from many shops in Calgary, Red Deer, Lethbridge, Canmore and Medicine. In Calgary, shops include Oak & Vine, Vine Arts, 5 Vines, Willow Park Wines & Spirits and Collective Craft Beer Shop. (Photo – Carson Peterson – brewmaster at ’88 Brewing Company)

Region – Calgary, Alberta

Column – Local Drinks

August 20, 2021 - Spirit Hills Dande Flower Wine 2020

Spirit Hills is a flower winery owned by the Bonjean family who emigrated from Belgium 24 years ago. The terroir comes from the wildflowers and its nectar from the beautiful Rocky Mountain foothills. The two most common flowers grown here are the fireweed and the wild rose. For the Dande wine, they harvest ripe dandelion flowers at the beginning of June. The Dande wine reminds me of an off dry Chenin Blanc grape wine. It has aromas of fresh cut straw and honey comb. On the palate it is off dry (meaning it has a hint of sweetness) with flavours of peach, apricot, honey and a bit of beeswax. This wine is a pairing dream. It pairs well with barbecued salmon, white meats (chicken/turkey), curry and cheese. I encourage you to step out of your comfort zone and try this wine. Chill it like you would a white wine. (Photo – Hugo Bonjean – owner/winemaker)

Region – Millarville, Alberta

Column – Local Drinks

August 6, 2021 - Marda Loop Brewing Jenkins Grapefruit Ale

Marda Loop Brewing launched onto the craft beer scene in August 2018. Owner Mike de Jonge started as a home brewer and soon his hobby project became a second career! Located on a quiet street, the patio is a nice place to seek refuge on a hot summer’s day. At any one time they have 5 core beers and 4 rotational taps. The 5 core beers were named in a contest by the community and have historical significance. The Jenkins Grapefruit Ale is named after Mark and Mada Jenkins the original landowners of the area now called Marda Loop. It is straw yellow in colour and is a bit hazy from the grapefruit puree. It’s very refreshing and the carbonation and flavour is spot on! (Photo – Mike de Jonge – owner/brewer)

Region – Calgary, Alberta

Column – Local Drinks

July 23, 2021 - Half Hitch Brewing Papa Bear Canadian Cereal Ale

Half Hitch Brewing Company is located in Cochrane, Alberta. It is owned by the Heier and Kosloski families. The name Half Hitch refers to the half hitch knot. During Covid-19, they expanded into a take out & delivery model called The Mash. They used Front Funder, a crowd sourcing platform, to raise capital for their new venture called The Mash.  It has been an extremely successful campaign raising close to $1 million dollars! The name the Mash refers to the spent grains leftover from the brewing process.  The family wanted to reduce waste and find a way to upcycle these spent grains. At the Mash, they take these spent grains from the Papa Bear Ale and put them in the pizza crust. If you want a fun tasting, pop into the Mash and order a pizza and pair it with the Papa Bear ale! (Photo – Brittany Kosloski & Kyle Heier – owners)

Region – Calgary, Alberta

Column – Local Drinks

July 9, 2021 - Bridgeland Distillery Gewurztraminer Brandy

Bridgeland Distillery is aptly named after the community of Bridgeland in which it is located. It is owned by two engineers, Jacques Tremblay and Daniel Plenzik, who met at a distilling course in the Okanagan. They joke about calling the distillery Jacques Daniels! They focus on European spirits – brandy, grappa, limoncello, amaro and whisky – they also make wine and bourbon (they spell it berbon due to proprietary laws). One thing they do that I have never seen before is that they make the Gewurztraminer grape 3 ways – as a wine, a brandy and a grappa. They source the grapes from St. Hubertus winery in Kelowna. They first make the Gewurztraminer wine by doing a cool ferment for 4 weeks and then bottling it (it is only available at the distillery). To make the brandy, they take the wine and distill it twice in their copper pot still and then age it in French or Bulgarian oak barrels for at least one year To make the grappa, they let the grape skins ferment in the barrel before distilling it twice in their pot still (named Louise after the Louise bridge). The clear spirit can be bottled straight away or aged in a barrel. It is fun to compare all 3 on a flight available at the distillery. (Photo – Jacques Tremblay & Daniel Plenzik – owners)

Note – There are now 47 distilleries in Alberta. Bridgeland opened in 2019 and is #26.

Region – Calgary, Alberta

Column – Local Drinks

June 25, 2021 - Wild Tea Ginger Lime Hard Kombucha Cider

Wild Tea Kombucha (WTK) is the brainchild of Emily Baadsvik and Brigette Freel. Emily was the one who first caught the kombucha bug when she was training for the 2014 Olympic games. She was looking for a hydrating drink other than water! Kombucha is a fermented food, rich in probiotics, digestive enzymes, vitamin B and vitamin C. It is considered  “super drink”! They launched with the cocktail inspired kombucha, soon followed by the low sugar kombucha sodas, and recently added the hard kombucha ciders to the line-up. They are all gluten free, low in sugar and vegan friendly. The hard Kombucha ciders are delicious alternative to wine or beer. They come in 3 flavours – blueberry hibiscus, mango passion fruit and ginger lime. Perry (pear cider) is used as a base and then blended with fresh pressed juice. I particularly like the crisp, tangy flavours of the ginger lime! (Photo – Emily Baadsvik – owner)

Region – Calgary, Alberta

Column – Local Drinks

June 11, 2021 - Lapis Luna Cabernet Sauvignon 2018

It’s been ages since we’ve tasted a Cabernet Sauvignon on the air. The Lapis Luna 2018 from California is an excellent match for summer barbecues and for Father’s Day coming up on June 20th. It has bold flavours of black currant, blueberry, cinnamon and dark chocolate. The tannins are nicely entwined in this plush fruit core. I am ecstatic that I managed to find a good value wine in the $20 price point with the current exchange rate with the US dollar. This wine comes from the Lodi AVA in the Central Valley east of the Napa Valley where the cost of land is much more affordable. The warm weather days help to ensure that the Cabernet Sauvignon has enough heat and time to ripen fully. So fire up the barbie and pour yourself a glass. Grill up some steaks and a basket of veggies (don’t forget to add some yams or sweet potatoes to the blend) and give thanks to the moon & stars!

Region – Lodi AVA, Central Valley, California

Column – House Wine

May 7, 2021 - La Peyriere Cuvee Prestige Entre-Deux-Mers 2018

I’ve chosen this wonderful Bordeaux Blanc blend from Entre-Deux-Mers to celebrate both International Sauvignon Blanc Day (May 7th) and Mother’s Day (May 9th). La Peyriere Cuvee Prestige 2018 (CSPC 804982) is a blend of 80% Sauvignon Blanc, 15% Semillon and 5% Muscadelle. Sauvignon Blanc is one of those grapes with lots of personality. It is often described as zippy, lively and tart. I’d urge you not to paint all Sauvignon Blancs with the same brush! Climate plays a pivotal role whether a Sauvignon Blanc is more grassy and gooseberry or peach and melon in flavour. La Peyriere, being a blend, offers another expression of the grape. The Semillon grape in the blend contributes lemon and beeswax notes that you wouldn’t find in a 100% Sauvignon Blanc. The Muscadelle grape adds pretty floral aromas. This wine also has some oak influence since 50% of it is aged in oak barrels. Most Sauvignon Blanc is unoaked, which helps to maintain the lively fruit flavours. There are a few exceptions, the most notable being Pouilly-Fume from the Loire Valley and Fume Blanc made mainly in the United States. One thing I respect about Sauvignon Blanc is that it is both easy to enjoy on its own or paired with food. You can’t go wrong pairing this wine with goat cheese, seafood or asparagus. As asparagus is in season right now, I made some asparagus soup and enjoyed a glass of La Peyriere with it. It would also be perfect with a spinach salad with goat cheese and strawberries.


Region – Entre-Deux-Mers AC, Bordeaux, France

Column – House Wine

April 9, 2021 - Unsworth Vineyard Allegro 2018

The Unsworth Allegro 2018 (CSPC 781960) smells like “spring in a glass”! It comes from the Cowichan Valley on Vancouver Island. There are over 30 wineries on Vancouver Island and the Gulf Islands! It is a blend of 3 cool hybrid grapes – Sauvignette, Petit Milo and Amiel. These grapes are well suited to the cool climate of Vancouver Island and ripen earlier than most traditional varieties. It is crisp & refreshing and full of flavour – peach, pear, mango and lime. It’s an easy drinking wine to sip on when you are sitting in the sun on your back deck. It pairs well with sushi, fish & chips, sweet & sour pork and tomato basil salad. Unsworth winery makes a variety of wine, including sparkling, fortified, rose, white and red. It is only 30 minutes from Victoria and the first winery you come to when you enter the Cowichan Valley. Next time I am out that way, I think I will make a point to have lunch at their restaurant, which is in a restored farmhouse.


Region – Cowichan Valley G.I., Vancouver Island, BC, Canada

Column – House Wine

March 12, 2021 - Telmo Rodriguez Al-Muvedre Tinto Monastrell 2018

My pick this month is the Telmo Rodriguez Al-Muvedre 2018 (cspc +783593). Telmo Rodriguez is one of the most sought-after winemakers in Spain. He makes no bones about his passion for working with native Spanish grapes. This Monastrell (aka Mourvedre in France) is a terrific example of the heights this grape can reach when in the right hands. It’s a medium bodied red packed with fleshy flavours of blackberry, black plums, black pepper and a hint of wild herbs. It gets even better as it sits in the glass and has time to open up. It is a natural match with Alberta beef so light up the barbie and get grilling!


Region – Alicante D.O., Spain

Column – House Wine

February 15, 2021 - Field Stone Black Currant Dessert wine and Bramble Cider Lotta Love

I’ve picked 2 drinks to ring in the lunar new year and to celebrate Valentine’s Day. Field Stone Dessert winery is located in Strathmore, Alberta and is Alberta’s 1st estate winery. At Field Stone, they make wines from raspberries, black currants, saskatoons, rhubarb, strawberries and cherries. I selected their black currant dessert wine which is a fortified wine. There are many ways you can drink this wine. If you have it on its own, treat it like a white wine – serve it chilled and pour 2 ounces into a white wine glass. It is also very good mixed with vodka for a martini or in a cocktail (more info on my blog page). The balance of flavours in this wine is very impressive. I love the woodsy character of the black currants! Cheese partners = Corsu Vecchiu (creamy sheep’s cheese) and Bleu d’Auvergne (mild blue cheese).

I also recommend the Bramble Cider Lotta Love Apple Cider. It’s a collaboration between Sunnycider and City & Country Urban winery. MacIntosh apple must is left to ferment with leftover Zinfandel skins. I recommend pouring the cider into a glass so you can see its pretty colour. This is a dry cider with crisp, refreshing notes of cranapple. Cheese partner = Avonlea cheddar.

To find a store where you can buy these drinks, check out their respective websites – www.fieldstonefruitwines.com and www.sunnycider.ca


Region – Alberta, Canada

Column – House Wine

January 15, 2021 - Barone Ricasoli Brolio Chianti Classico DOCG 2018

Not only is Chianti Classico one of Italy’s most famous wines, it is also one of the world’s oldest demarcated wine appellations.

The Ricasoli Brolio is a benchmark and an excellent introduction to this amazing place. It is the oldest winery in Italy and has been making wine continuously for over 800 years! It was Baron Bettino Ricasoli, sometimes called the Iron Baron, who invented the recipe for Chianti in the 19th century. The Ricasoli Brolio 2018 is textbook Chianti Classico with its ruby red colour and flavours of cherry, dried herbs and leather. It is a blend of 3 grapes – Sangiovese 80%, Merlot 15% and Cabernet Sauvignon 5%. This wine is built to go with food, and the acidity has a lot to do with it. It particularly shines with tomato based dishes such as cannelloni, pizza and simple spaghetti & meatballs.


Region – Chianti Classico, Tuscany, Italy

Column – House Wine

December 30, 2020 - New Year's Drinks

I have 3 different drink suggestions to ring the New Year in with style. The first is the Bernard-Massard Cuvee de L’Ecusson Brut Rose NV from Luxembourg. It is made using the same method as Champagne (methode traditionelle) but is much easier on the pocket book at half the price! Made from 100% Pinot Noir grapes, it is loaded with flavours of cherry, strawberry, red currant and brioche. A great pick for a cheese & charcuterie platter. My red wine pick is the Kolonist Odessa Black 2018. This wine is from the Ukraine and is made from a native grape called Odessa Black. It is full-bodied and smooth with flavours of blackberry, plum, saskatoon with a hint of black tea on the finish. This wine is exotic and unusual, and a real people pleaser. Last but not least, I’ve picked a ready-to-serve Classic Old Fashioned cocktail from The Fort Tumbler & Rocks. It comes in a classy 4 oz (120 mL) glass bottle that is ready to drink with little to no fuss. Just grab a highball glass and some ice. It is a delicious blend of bourbon whisky, aromatic bitters, orange and demerara sugar. To find a store to buy the wines, check out www.liquorconnect.com and for the cocktail go to www.tumblerandrocks.com  Happy New Year!

Column – House Wine

December 17, 2020 - Pievalta Perlugo Zero NV

At this time of year, it is essential to have a bottle (or two) of bubbly chilling in your fridge. Join me and Homestretch Host Doug Dirks as we taste a festive Italian sparkler called Pievalta Perlugo Zero NV. It is crisp and refreshing with flavours of green apples, lemon zest and a hint of toasted bread!

December 17th is also Blitz Day for the Annual CBC Calgary Food Bank Drive. This year we’ve gone virtual and can be found at Elevate Auctions. I’ve partnered up with 5 wonderful local businesses to create the ultimate Staycation Sparkling Staples package, which includes – a 1.5 litre and 375 mL taster of Barone Pizzini Animante Franciacorta NV from Salivate Wine Consulting. Pair this darling sparkling with 3 tasty cheeses compliments of Peasant Cheese Shop, 2 artisanal Italian sausages (Soppressata and Finocchiona) from Salt and Smoke Charcuterie and a 375 mL bottle of Kessler-Zink Trockenbeerenauslese Ortega 2014 from Silver Springs Liquor Store. Serve the cheese and charcuterie on a beautiful cedar charcuterie board with a handmade bench knife from Ferrous & Fibre. As part of the package, I have included a 30 minute Zoom chat where I will explain the history of Franciacorta and why it is Italy’s version of French Champagne! Let the bidding begin! Go to www.elevateauctions.com/CalgaryFoodBankAuction and look for the Laurie MacKay’s Staycation Staples Wine and Food Experience.

Region – Marche, Italy

Column – House Wine

November 13, 2020 - Taylor Fladgate 10 Year Old Tawny

The Taylor Fladgate’s 10 year old Tawny is made from 6 native Portuguese grapes, each one adding an unique flavour to the final blend.  A typical serving of Port is 3 ounces. I like to drink my port slightly chilled, around 15 degrees. Being a little chilled helps to lift the fruit and make it more refreshing. The colour of this wine is a brick red/orange colour. Over time in the barrel, the young, dark purple colour turns to a tawny shade. This is where the wine gets its name – TAWNY! It is aromatic with notes of dried cherries, nuts, toffee and pepper. The palate is balanced with flavours of orange peel, apricot, fig and toffee notes. It is sweet but isn’t cloying or sticky in the mouth due to the ample acidity. I like to wow my friends and serve this wine with a charcuterie and cheese plate.

Region – Douro Valley, Portugal

Column – House Wine

October 9, 2020 - Henry of Pelham Baco Noir 2018

The Henry of Pelham Baco Noir 2018 is Canadian classic. Baco Noir is named after French botanist Francois Baco. He created this hybrid grape in 1902 by crossing Folle Blanche with Grand Glabre. Baco Noir has adapted well to the cool growing climate of Canada, especially in Ontario. It ripens early in the fall and is winter hardy. If you aren’t familiar with Baco Noir, it is medium bodied, soft and mellow. I chose it for Thanksgiving because it is extremely turkey friendly! Similar to Pinot Noir or Gamay, it doesn’t overpower the turkey and can stand up to the wide spectrum of flavours on the Thanksgiving table from roasted yams to savoury stuffing and gravy.

Region – Short Hills Bench – Niagara Peninsula, Ontario, Canada

Column – House Wine

September 25, 2020 - Gehringer Brothers Private Reserve Pinot Gris 2019

Gehringer Brothers Estate winery is one of the wine pioneering families in the Okanagan. The winery is located on the Golden Mile Bench and as the name implies, is owned by 2 brothers – Walter and Gordon Gehringer. Both Walter and Gordon studied winemaking in Germany so it’s no wonder that traditionally Gehringer Brothers was known for their German white wines. Over the years, with climate change making the winters warmer and the growing season longer, the Gehringers have also planted some red varietals. The white grapes are planted on the cooler west side of the valley with its morning sun and the reds are planted on the hotter east side with its intense afternoon sun.

The Gehringer Pinot Gris 2019 is medium bodied and mellow with aromas and flavours of pear, apple, honeydew melon and spice. It is one of those wines that can be enjoy on its own, or paired with a wide variety of foods from calamari to fettucini alfredo to Thanksgiving turkey!

Region – Golden Mile Bench, Okanagan Valley, British Columbia

Column – House Wine

Heathen’s Brewery opened in Calgary’s Craft District in June 2019. It is one of 2 dedicated gluten-free breweries in Canada. (The other one being Glutenberg in Montreal.) Owner and Head Brewer Wes Maxwell decided to focus on making gluten-free beers because several members of his family are celiac and he wanted to make beers that they can drink! When I explained to him that most of the gluten-free beer I have tasted is insipid, he quickly countered this claim by blaming sorghum. It’s commonly used to keep costs down, unfortunately, it tends to have the same effect upon flavour. At Heathen’s, Wes Maxwell is on a mission to make the most flavourful gluten-free beer possible so he avoids sorghum at all costs. Instead, he relies on ancient grains like millet, buckwheat, quinoa and rice.

At anyone time, there are more than 8 different gluten-free beers available on tap. I picked the Kvasir Peanut Butter stout. I’ve tasted coffee stouts and chocolate stouts but this is my first one made with peanut butter. It is delicious!  It reminds me of Reese’s pieces in a glass. At the taproom, they also serve a Peanut Butter and Jelly stout which is a mix of hibiscus tea and the Peanut Butter stout. I recommend trying a flight of beers, whether you are gluten-free or not. (I am not by the way.) In the same industrial center as Heathen’s you will also find Sunnyside Cider and Broken Spirits Distillery. This little corner in Calgary’s northeast has become a coveted gluten free drink triangle!

Photo – Head Brewer & Owner – Wes Maxwell

Heathen’s Brewing – 3300 – 14 Avenue NE, Calgary

Column – Local Drinks

August 21, 2020 - Confluence Distilling

I first came across Confluence Distilling when I was researching my column for Born Colorado Brewery. After reading their impressive cocktail menu, I made a mental note to return to do a story later in the summer. On the morning that I was there, I met two of the owners, Ross Alger and Pheelan Mah. Confluence is a “grain to glass” gin distillery, with a focus on locally grown ingredients. They ferment and distill everything in-house. All of their spirits are made with Alberta red wheat grown on a farm outside of Innisfail. They make a Contemporary style gin rather than a London Dry style that is juniper dominant. Juniper can be a little difficult to find in Alberta so, in a contemporary style, other botanicals (saskatoon berries, cucumber and rose petals) take center stage and juniper plays a minor role.

Confluence makes a range of products from gin, vodka, a pre-mixed negroni cocktail, canned gin sodas and even an aquavit! I am crazy for a good negroni. It can take a bit of planning since you need to have all the ingredients on hand – gin, sweet vermouth, and Campari. Whereas with the Confluence Negroni all you need is a couple of ice cubes and a highball glass! It is a cocktail that is meant to be sipped slowly with its grapefruit, cherry, orange notes and its signature kick of bitterness imparted from the Campari. #CBCyycLocalDrinks

Photo – Confluence Distilling – Founder, Ross Alger, standing in front of a portrait of his grandfather, Ross Alger Sr., who was the mayor of Calgary from 1977- 1980.

Confluence Distilling – 507 – 36 Avenue SE, Calgary

Column – Local Drinks

August 7, 2020 - Uncommon Cider

Uncommon Cider started in 2016 and is Alberta’s first craft cidery. From the moment you walk into the taproom with its glowing hot pink walls, you realize this is a place that isn’t afraid to stand out from the crowd! Uncommon prides itself on making traditional English Cider, a dry low carbonated style of cider with alcohol levels around 6 – 7%. Uncommon doesn’t use apple juice concentrates or sweeteners in their ciders. All the sweetness comes from the fruit. The fruit for their apple cider comes from locally grown crab and hardy apples in Calgary as well as orchards in the Okanagan. Besides apples, they also source haskap berries and rhubarb.

The YYC Community Cider is a vintage Cider from the harvest of 2018. All the apples were the result of a very successful Fruit Drive that saw Calgarians donate a tsunami of crab and other hardy apples from their backyard trees. This cider which is aged for 18 months on its lees, is a delicious example of “terroir” or sense of place. In this case, the place is Calgary. This cider with its mouthwatering acidity would pair well with fatty foods, especially cheese or pork loin. For more information on the upcoming 2020 YYC Community fruit drive, check out www.uncommoncider.com #CBCyycLocalDrinks

Photo – Uncommon Cider Founder – Brodie Thomas

Uncommon Cider – 3921 Manchester Road SE, Calgary

Column – Local Drinks

July 24, 2020 - Olds College Barley Trail Lager

On the label of this Olds College Barley Trail Lager can is a QR code that reveals its complete story from field to glass! This is a fully traceable and transparent beer. The entire process of growing the barley, malting it at Red Shed, to brewing and packaging at Olds College Brewery was tracked and recorded by Blockchain technology. All you need is the camera on your smart phone. Aim it on the QR code and a weblink will appear. Click on the link to see the journey of the beer. It started with the planting of the CDC Copeland barley seed at the Olds College Smart Farm in May 2019 and ends with brewing and packaging at the Olds College on campus brewery in June 2020. It took 13 months from start to finish. It’s everything I look for in a good lager – light and crisp with a nice dry finish. All the ingredients are 100% Canadian, even the Sasquatch Hops which is grown in Abbotsford, B.C.  Due to its small production, it is only available at the Olds College Brewery store and at select Co-Op Wines Spirits Beer locations in Calgary – Oakridge, Crowfoot, Mid-town, Shawnessy, Auburn Bay, North Hill and Richmond Road. #CBCyycLocalDrinks

History of my can of beer – Planted May 2019 in Olds, Devoured July 2020 in Calgary.

Column – Local Drinks

July 10, 2020 - Born Colorado Brewery

I’m having a great time exploring locally made drinks this summer.  In my glass this week, is the catchy named, and very tasty, Born Colorado Hi Cutie! Mint Raspberry Wheat Ale. Brewer and co-owner, Wade Brown, was born in Colorado and came to Calgary in 2012. He and Erin McQuitty started Born Colorado in 2018 making it the 4th brewery in the Barley Belt district. The location is a real hub with Cabin Brewing and Confluence Distilling across the street, and Paddy’s Brewery, Banded Peak, Annex Ale and Uncommon Cidery, within an easy walking distance.

The Hi Cutie! is a “collab beer” with Paddy’s Brewery & Barbecue. What was supposed to be a one hit wonder caught on like wild fire, so it is now a staple summer seasonal. It tastes just as you imagine – mint, raspberry and wheat in perfect harmony.  It’s on tap at both Born Colorado Brewing and Paddy’s Brewery taprooms and the 4 pack cans are well distributed throughout Alberta. If fruit beers aren’t your thing,  Born Colorado has 9 other beers on tap at any one time.  One I’d definitely recommend is the Autumn Amber. It’s crisp, toasty and a bit malty. It is one of their original core beers and a staple on their menu. #CBCyycLocalDrinks

Photo – Born Colorado owners – Wade Brown and Erin McQuitty

Born Colorado Brewing – 414-36 Avenue SE, Calgary

Column – Local Drinks

June 26, 2020 - Happy CAN-ada Day!

Fill up your cooler and celebrate July 1st  with these 3 quality crafted cans – Fallentimber Meadjito (CSPC 825108), Eau Claire Distillery Cherry Gin Collins (CSPC 815459) and Benjamin Bridge Nova 7 (CSPC 832062). What do these 3 have in common? They are all Canadian and extremely quaffable! Happy 153 Birthday Canada!

The Fallentimber Meadjito is a twist on the iconic Mojito cocktail where Alberta mead replaces the white rum. It’s light and refreshing with flavours of mint, honey and lime. The Eau Claire Cherry Gin Collins screams summer! It is a take on the Tom Collins cocktail and is a combination of Eau Claire Cherry Gin, lemon juice, simple syrup, tonic and soda water. Last but not least is the Benjamin Bridge Nova 7 wine. This is the 12th vintage and the first to be available in a can. (The 750 mL bottle has wide distribution across Canada.) Nova 7 is based on the Moscato d’Asti style from Italy so it’s aromatic and off dry with a bit of spritz. Serve well chilled. #CBCyycLocalDrinks

Column – Local Drinks

June 12, 2020 - Klinker Brick Brickmason 2016

Klinker Brick winery is located in Lodi, California. The Lodi AVA is a historic wine region nestled between the San Francisco Bay and the Sierra Nevada Mountains. This is Zinfandel country! Vines have been planted here for over 150 years.

The Brickmason is a blend of 4 grapes – 80% Zinfandel, 10% Syrah, 5% Cabernet Sauvignon and 5% Petite Sirah. The Zinfandel is sourced from 2 different vineyards. The Burney Mettler vineyard at 58 years old is an Old Vine plot. These vines produce full bodied, rich Zinfandel full of black fruit character. The other vineyard is the younger block of the Costa Old Vine vineyard. These younger vines were planted in 1987 right beside the established vineyard and contributes bright red fruit flavours. The other 3 grapes include, Syrah (adds depth), Cabernet Sauvignon (adds tannins) and Petite Sirah (adds structure). With its lush flavours of plums, black raspberries, cherries, black pepper and vanilla, it is a natural match with grilled meats on the barbecue. It would make a great prezzie for Dad on Father’s Day this Sunday!

Region – Lodi AVA, California, USA

Column – House Wine

May 8, 2020 - Gerard Bertrand Cote des Roses Rosé 2018

A bottle of Rosé is always a great present for Mother’s Day. With this bottle you get 2 roses in one. Flip the bottle upside down to reveal a stunning sculpted glass rose on the bottom. The Gerard Bertrand Cote des Roses comes from the Languedoc-Roussillon region in southern France.  Spanning the Mediterranean coastline, it is wedged between Spain and Provence. It has a winemaking tradition dating back 2,000 years and is the largest wine region in the world.

The Gerard Bertrand Cote des Roses is a dry, elegant rosé.  It is a blend of 3 red grapes – Grenache, Cinsault and Syrah. All of these grapes grow well in the hot Mediterranean sun. Rosés make up 14% of the total production in this region. This Rose is loaded with fresh flavours of watermelon, red currants, strawberries and citrus zest. It’s an easy going partner with food. It will pair with everything from Quiche Lorraine & Eggs Benedict to shrimp cocktail & roasted chicken. Available in 3 different formats – ½ bottle (375 ml), regular bottle (750 ml) and magnum (1.5 liter).  For Mother’s Day, I picked the 375 ml bottle because maybe this year Mom doesn’t want to share!

Region – Languedoc-Roussillon, France

Column – House Wine

April 17, 2020 - World Malbec Day

It’s World Malbec Day! Argentina loves its’s flagship grape so much that in 2011 they dedicated April 17th as World Malbec Day. Today rather than showcasing one wine, I will be talking about why Argentina is the perfect place to grow Malbec. I encourage you to grab a bottle of YOUR favourite Argentinean Malbec and taste along. In my glass will be the Zorzal Terroir Unico 2018. Tune in and taste along with me and CBC Homestretch Host Doug Dirks. Doug will have a different Malbec in his glass and we will compare tasting notes and uncover the common thread.

Region – Uco Valley, Argentina

Column – House Wine

March 27, 2020 - Protea Chenin Blanc 2019

The Protea Chenin Blanc 2019 smells like “spring in a bottle”! It has pretty aromas of apple blossoms, pear and lemon peel. It is dry with excellent concentration of fruit flavours – apricot, nectarine and white grapefruit. Chenin Blanc is such a versatile grape. It can make many different styles of wines from still to sparkling, and dry to sweet.

You can’t help but notice the decorative bottle. Anthonij Rupert winery wants people to upcycle the bottle. No soaking is required to remove the labels, they peel off fairly easily. It has a helix cork which is a new type of enclosure that is a cross between a cork and a screw cap. The bottle can be cleaned and re-used for juice, olive oil, vinegar, even non-edibles like bubble bath. The design changes for each vintage and for the different grape varieties. Very clever!

The Protea Chenin Blanc makes a nice sipper on a sunny patio. If you like Pinot Grigio, you are going to love it. I suggest pairing it with seafood, poultry, antipasti and charcuterie.  It’s also a great pick for Easter. I think it will pair particularly well with ham.

Region – Swartland, South Africa

Column – House Wine

February 14, 2020 -Chateau Petit Vedrines Sauternes 2015

Soulvines Sauterne for Valentines

It’s Valentine’s Day, so let’s go crazy and pick something on the sweeter side.

Chateau Petit Vedrines Sauternes is a blend of two white grapes – Semillon and Sauvignon Blanc. It has exotic aromas and flavours of peaches, honey, orange marmalade and candied ginger that will dance in your mouth! It comes in a half bottle (375 mL) making it the perfect “liquid” dessert.

Sweet wines often are forgotten when people pop into their local wine shop. I find this so sad because magic can happen when you pair this luscious Bordeaux with a cheese plate. (see my blog post)

It’s really good with mango cheesecake or pineapple upside down cake.

Region – Bordeaux, France

Column – House Wine

January 24, 2020 - Georges Duboeuf Beaujolais-Villages 2017

I chose this wine because of the man – Georges Duboeuf.

Georges passed away from a stroke on January 4, 2020 at the age of 86. He was a French wine icon who some wine critics called the Pope of Beaujolais! He was a winemaker and a négociant who dedicated his life to putting Beaujolais wines on the global wine stage. He was instrumental in expanding the Beaujolais Nouveau craze of the 1970s to become an international obsession. His catch phrase, “Le Beaujolais Nouveau est arrivé!” was echoed across the globe every year on the third Thursday in November. When the hype behind Beaujolais Nouveau eventually fizzled out, Georges set his sights on teaching growers new farming techniques in order to create wines of higher quality.

The Georges Duboeuf Beaujolais-Villages 2017 is a juicy red wine made of 100% Gamay grapes. It’s silky smooth with flavours of raspberries, black cherries and spice. It’s known as a “bistro wine” for its ability to pair with a wide variety of foods. I recommend serving it slightly chilled to bring out the acidity in the wine.

My favourite pairing is with a big bowl of mussels and frites.

Region – Beaujolais, France

Column – House Wine

December 27, 2019 - New Year’s Eve Drinks - Cava, Cremant and Cocktails

A special New Year’s province-wide broadcast with guest host Jim Brown. We talked about 3 different drinks that are worthy of saying adieu to 2019 and hello to 2020. A bottle of bubbly is essential for me on New Year’s Eve. Two of my favourites are – Cremant and Cava.

1st Sparkling – CUNE Cava Brut (812216). Go to any tapas bar in Barcelona and the Cava will be flowing! The bubbles, sweetness level and mouthfeel of Cava is quite similar to Champagne BUT the aromas and flavours are very different. The CUNE is an excellent example of Cava. It is dry and refreshing with aromas and flavours of green apple, citrus and a hint of almond.

2nd Sparkling – Louis Bouillot Rose Cremant de Bourgogne (745430). Cremant is a term used in France for any sparkling wine NOT made in the Champagne region. This wine comes from the Burgundy region located just south of Champagne. The Bouillot is a blend of Pinot Noir, Gamay and Chardonnay. Rose is a specialty of the winery.

3rd Sparkling – A Classic Cava Cocktail. This is my twist on a Classic Champagne Cocktail. (recipe on my Blog page)

Regions – Penedes, Spain & Burgundy, France

Column – House Wine

December 19, 2019 - Annual Blitz Day Fundraiser - 2 wines from Paul Jaboulet Aine

2019 marks the 33rd year of the CBC Calgary Food Bank. Blitz Day is the final day of the annual Christmas campaign.

I contributed to the campaign by auctioning off a stunning 3 litre bottle of Paul Jaboulet Aine Hermitage La Chapelle 2013. This is one of the top wines that money can buy! Only 100 jerobaums (winespeak for 3 litre bottle) were produced in 2013 and this was the only one that came to Alberta! Paul Jaboulet Aine Hermitage La Chapelle 2013 is from the northern Rhone Valley in France. Hermitage is one of the star appellations. The name La Chapelle is named after the small hermit’s chapel built in 1235 on the top of Hermitage hill. At 6 years old, the 2013 is still young. This large bottle will reach its peak in 20 – 30 years.

To taste on the air, I brought with me the Paul Jaboulet Aine Crozes-Hermitage 2016. A more affordable wine from the same winery. Crozes-Hermitage is a large appellation that surrounds the hill of Hermitage.  Although Syrah may not be an obvious choice for Christmas dinner, this wine would be delicious with turkey, brussels sprouts and cranberry sauce. Decant for an hour, so it can open up and shine.

Happy to report that CBC Calgary surpassed their goal and raised $1.4 million for hungry Calgarians.

Region – Hermitage, Rhone Valley, France

Column – House Wine

November 15, 2019 - Weingut Prieler Blaufrankisch 2017

The Prieler Blaufrankisch comes from Austria which is a relatively small player in the world of wine production. In 2013, it ranked 19th in the world in terms of production. When people think of Austrian wine, they think whites. The reds are now coming on strong and that’s why I want to taste one.

Today we are tasting a grape called Blaufrankisch. It is the second most planted red grape in Austria after Zweigelt. This is interesting since Zweigelt is the offspring of Blaufrankisch! Blau means blue in German referring to the deep blue colour of the grape skin. Frankisch dates back to the middle ages and refers to the noble French wine grapes. The Prieler estate is located in Schuetzen in North Burgenland. This is the sunniest region in central Europe.

This wine is textbook Austrian. It is a medium bodied red wine with spicy, juicy red and black fruits (raspberry, blackberry and cherry) The tannins are fine, a bit grippy, and nicely woven into the fruit. The thing that stands out here is its lively acidity. Its the acidity that makes it such a good partner with heavy rich food.

Region – North Burgenland, Austria

Column – House Wine