I love wine and my boys.

Archive for the category “events”

What To Try At Calgary’s WineFest 2012

Calgary’s WineFest goes this weekend at the BMO Centre and I’ll be in the booth with Delf Wines pouring up some samples for the masses.

Before I tell you about the wines in the flight we’ll be sampling, make sure you check out these tips on How To “Do” A Winefest. While some treat it as a wild open bar party, it really can be an educational experience (and party) if you approach it properly.

This year at WineFest, I’ll be pouring 13 wines from Italy, Spain ,and Argentina, here are a few of the highlights:

Finca Los Primos Syrah 2010Finca Los Primos Syrah 2010
Peppery, earthy, tea, black cherry, smoky nose. Soft, round, smooth, slightly sweet entry with good acidity. Spicy, black cherry, cedar, meaty, pepper flavours.

Famiglia Bianci Cabernet Sauvignon 2007Famiglia Bianci Cabernet Sauvignon 2007
90 points | Category Champion | Wine Access 2011 International Value Wine Awards
“The nose has intense aromas of cassis, plum and hints of the menthol and dried herbs that are typical of cabernet sauvignon. The palate is quite complex, offering a lot for this price point.”

Castano Lujuria 2009Castano Lujuria 2009
89 points | Killer Value & Best of Spain | Wine Access Magazine 2011 International Value Wine Awards
“Bright red fruit (strawberry, raspberry), blackberry and perfume notes on the nose are elegantly simple and alluring. It’s a silky, medium-bodied red that delivers raspberry and cherry notes with light acidity and soft tannin.”

Castaño Hecula 2008Castaño Hecula 2008
89 points | The Wine Advocate
“The 2008 Hecula is 100% Monastrell sourced from 35 to 60 year-old vines and aged 50% in tank and 50% in French oak. Ripe, sweetly-fruited, and forward, this crowd-pleaser can be enjoyed now and over the next 4 years.”
Robert Parker

Villa Teresa Organic Rose FrizzanteVilla Teresa Organic Rose Frizzante
Vancouver Magazine Wine Awards 2011 – Best Sparkling
“Put a little pink on the table! Delicate cherry, strawberry and oral aromas with lovely red fruit avours and gentle bubble keep it fresh and fun.”
BCLDB Taste Magazine – Fall 2010

Villa Teresa Organic Merlot 2010Villa Teresa Organic Merlot 2010
Medium-bodied with full flavours of cherries and plums — all the fruit but without the sweetness. Its Italian character comes through in earthy and herbal notes. Excellent with salami, pork and white roasted meats.

If you’re coming to WineFest this weekend, please introduce yourself to me in the Delf booth.

Wine Festival Pet Peeves

Now that you know all the best ways to navigate the aisles of a wine festival, let’s go behind the table and peek at some of the pet peeves of the people working it:

1. This is their Christmas. Most pourers have been pulling 12+hour days pouring wine and entertaining VIPS all week, so be patient with them.

2. Sloppy drunk people may be fun at the bar, but they’re not fun at WineFest. Have a good time, but keep it under control.

3. Raising your glass and clinking it on the bottle isn’t necessary. Say “when”, when you mean “when” and they’ll stop pouring.

4. Perfume and smelly hairspray. One of the most powerful qualities of wine, is its bouquet. Dousing yourself in Curious by Britney Spears and emptying a bottle of Final Net on your head before you leave will not only kill all of your senses, but those of the people around you. You think we’re kidding, we’re not. Not even a quick spritz. Go au naturel to this event. PLEASE!

5. Going right for the decanter. It’s not necessarily the most expensive. Jen and her team have been known to take the cheapest bottle they’re pouring and drop it in a decanter just to fool the smart asses. ASK first, they might even reach under the table and pull out a secret bottle for you to sample 😉

6. The know-it-all is almost as bad as the candy perfume girl. Yes, you’ve been to Napa. Maybe you’ve even golfed with Ernest and Julio, but remember tips 1 and 8 from above. You may be bragging to someone even more special than yourself, and, in the end, everyone is there to learn and have fun

So now that you’re well versed in the behind-the-scenes secrets of WineFest, you’re almost set. One final thing to remember: plan a way to get home. These open bar shenanigans can get out of hand very easily. Unless you’re spitting, you’ll be done in half a dozen booths or less. So get home safe.

Everyone loves wine. Nobody likes a dead drunk.

How To “Do” Wine Festivals

There are a variety of Wine Festivals in Calgary each year, one seems to happen every few months.

Liquor Depot sponsors the Rocky Mountain Wine and Food Festival in October, Co-Op sponsors The Grape Escape a couple of times a year, Calgary WineFest is in February, while Willow Park Wine and Spirits has events at their store year round.

Here are my tips and tricks as you head down to get your grape on.

1. Respect the person pouring. They’re not $10/hr hostesses, but actually knowledgeable sales reps, maybe the President of the company, or perhaps even the Winemaker

2. Respect your palate. Start with the light wines and finish heavy (ie save the Ports til last) If you’re going on 2 separate nights, do white one night, red the other.

3. Leave your big purse at home. It’s tough to balance all that and a glass, a wristlet with your id and keys should be enough. That said …

4. Bring a journal or notebook to take notes on what you’re trying. Trust me, 5 glasses in you’ll forget what you had first.

5. Try something different than what you always buy – here’s your chance to go on an adventure with minimal risk.

6. Don’t wear white. Even if you don’t spill, someone else might. Jen saw someone in a beautiful white suit one year, with a lovely streak of shiraz right down her back.

7. There are no dumb questions, you’re there to learn, and the pourers are there to help.

8. Have something to eat before you go. You’re going to be drinking a lot, and you don’t want to do it on an empty stomach. Which leads us to …

9. Spit spit spit spit! You’re going to be drinking a lot, so even if you’re looking to get your drunk on, spit.

10. Don’t rinse your glass with the water at the table, people think they’re spittoons (see #9). Instead, ask the pourer for a splash of the wine you’re about to sample to rinse out your glass.

11. The good stuff will be gone first. All the expensive bubbles etc are in limited quantities, so look for them Thursday and early in the night on Friday

The Grape Escape

This weekend is Calgary Co-Op’s Wine, Spirit and Beer Festival, The Grape Escape.

Once again, it’s completely sold out, but I do have a couple of tickets to the Friday afternoon VIP tasting session to give away.

I’ll be pouring Nollen Notorious Rooster Riesling, Road 13’s Honest John’s Red, Castano Monastrell and Freixenet Carta Nevada at the Grape Escape.

Nollen Notorious Rooster Riesling 2010
“Every once and a while an inexpensive Germany riesling, almost always from the Mosel, over delivers and that is the case with Notorious a delicious little riesling. We love the fresh nectarine skin aromas and the peachy, watermelon fruit all with freshness and balance.”
Anthony Gismondi

Castano Monastrell 2009
“It is a dark ruby-coloured wine with a fragrant nose of underbrush, blueberry and plum. Super-juicy on the palate and densely packed, this is a pleasure-bent effort for drinking over the next 2-3 years.”
– Robert Parker

Honest Johns Red 2010
“The fruit explodes out of the glass with aromas of red currant, black raspberries and bing cherries. The nose also shows signature Okanagan character, followed by subtle layering of chocolate, cedar and tobacco.”
– JM Bouchard, Winemaker

Freixenet Carta Nevada
“As semi-dry Cavas go, it’s hard to lodge a complaint against this one. It has a full bouquet of powdered sugar and white fruits, and the palate is sturdy and shows sweet mango and papaya flavours.”
– The Wine Enthusiast

**UPDATE** Congratulations to Erin Darroch for winning my tickets!

Post Navigation