NEW – Vine Arts Cocktail Club

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We are excited to announce the launch of our new cocktail of the month subscription service! Subscribers will receive a new box each month with all the ingredients to make a tasty cocktail along with the recipe to follow! We’ll be pairing up with our friends in the cocktail community and from some of North America’s best bars to get unique cocktail recipe’s that you can make at home. This is a great way to build your back bar with interesting ingredients, and to have a new cocktail idea each month with the ingredients to make it.

The cost is $75 per month for pick-up, with an added cost for delivery. As a bonus for being one of our first to sign up, we’ll be including a set of beautiful rocks glasses from our friends at Fifth & Vermouth – a $24 value (Sign up by April 15th to qualitfy). Members will also get 10% off at to help stock up their bar tools, and we’ll be including additional benefits as we go along.

Sign up today! The Vine Arts Cocktail Club also makes a great gift, and you can sign up for a set number of months or choose an ongoing subscription that can be cancelled at any time with no penalty.

For more info or if you have questions, please drop us a line at and we’d be happy to help!

Featured Wine – 2014 Chateau le Puy– Bordeaux, France

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Featured Wine –  2014 Chateau le Puy– Bordeaux, France | $43

We’re excited to introduce you to this amazing winery that has been making their wine in a very old school style for over 12 generations! The winery became famous in Japan after being featured in the cult Japanese manga called The Drops of God which described the 2003 vintage as a “miracle wine…produced for 400 years without a drop of pesticide”. The winery has been refused the right to use the name of its own appellation several times for being “a typical” (a point the owners are proud of), and Decanter Magazine said, “This is surely one of Bordeaux’s most overlooked wine estates…”. A hidden gem to be sure. Catch a great article on tasting 100 years of Chateau le Puy, along with a more detailed description of the wine from our own Andrew Macleod

Château le Puy is an anomaly. In a region known for big wines, big châteaux, and big bank rolls, here you have a winery that harkens back to a bygone era. Located on the “Right Bank” of Bordeaux on the same plateau as Saint Emilion and Pomerol, Jean-Pierre Amoreau and his son, Pascal make wine in a fashion that proceeds conventional winemaking. Le Puy was “natural” decades before anybody knew such a thing existed. As Jean-Pierre says, “My grandfather was too stingy to buy chemicals”. Today four horses are used to plow their 125 acres of wines. In the cellar indigenous yeast is used for fermentation, very little sulphur is added, and ageing is done in old oak barrels. What does Château le Puy taste like? As Amoreau’s son-in-law puts it, “It’s the best Burgundy wine from Bordeaux”. It’s a wine that speaks of people, tradition, and place. Flavours of dark berry and plum are complemented by notes of leather, tobacco and forest. The blend for the 2013 Château le Puy Emilien is 85% Merlot, 7% cabernet franc, 6% cabernet sauvignon, 1% malbec and 1% carménère. Because the fruit for this wine comes from the lesser known Côtes de Bordeaux appellation, it is absurdly underpriced and offers insane value. We cannot recommend this wine enough. Drink it a lot, and drink it often!

Wine Club March 2018

Full Line Up

Hello wine clubbers and welcome to the March edition of our wine club newsletter. We have some great wines for you as always, and are particularly excited to be able to offer an exceptional red from Lebanon, a full bodied Pinotage, a dry rose from Campania to help you ring in the coming Spring and more. Thank you as always for your support and don’t hesitate to reach out should you have any questions or concerns. If you’re picking up, your wines are already at the location you’ve selected. If we are delivering you will see them today!


Vignemastre Freccia Bianco IGT Toscana – Tuscany, Italy $22


Tuscany requires very little introduction. Along with Piedmont and Veneto, it produces some of Italy’s best-known wines. The countries fifth largest wine region, it’s bordered to the north by Emilia-Romagna, to the east by Umbria, to the south by Lazio, and to the west by the Tyrrhenian Sea. Vineyards planted at elevation on rolling hills (68% of the region is hilly) enjoy a temperate climate tempered by the Mediterranean and the Apennine Mountains. A grapevine’s playground, it’s no wonder that winemaking here goes back to the Etruscans.  


Chianti, Brunello di Montalcino, and Vino Nobile di Montepulciano; the Tuscan three. We know them, we love them, we drink them by the gallon. Red wines are the region’s biggest export (70% of overall production), and Sangiovese is the regions signature grape. Tuscany's white wines are lesser known by comparison. Interestingly though it was a Tuscan white wine, Vernaccia di San Gimignano, that was awarded the very first Italian Denominazione di Origine Controllata (a kind of gold star) in 1966. Still, Tuscan white wines have fought an uphill battle. In that battle, many winemakers have pegged Trebbiano as their main contender. The most planted white variety in Tuscany, Trebbiano accounts for 1/3 of all Italian white wines. At one point a percentage of Trebbiano was included in the traditional Chianti red blend. Trebbiano vines are generously high yielding, producing wines that are fruity and fresh. This is the case with the Trebbiano dominant (65%) Freccia Bianco. Trebbiano picked from cooler vineyards in Tuscany is blended with a mixture of Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc, Vermentino, and Moscato. No oak is used in either fermentation or maturation to maintain freshness.


Vignemastre is the spinoff project of Le Uve winemakers, Filippo Artini and Dario Parenti. Founded in 2005, they make two wines, a red and a white. Their approach has from the start been about simple hands-off grape growing and winemaking. In the vineyard they don’t use fungicides, herbicides or pesticides, and farming is done according to sustainable principles. In the cellar, micro-oxygenation is used rather than ageing in oak barrels. The resulting wines benefit from oxygen, but are not flavoured by oak. Any final addition of sulphur to the wines is kept to the bare minimum. Mixed agriculture is still very much a part of them Tuscan way of farming, so the winery also produces a small amount of Extra Virgin Olive Oil from olive trees on the estate. 


Trebbiano with Chardonnay is a solid combination. Both are pliable and amiable varieties. They form the core of this wine, lending notes of zesty green apple and bitter almond. Vermentino and Moscato contribute notes of apricot and orange blossom. Sauvignon Blanc, crisp acidity. All together, they add up to one easy drinking wine. It would be well paired with a Tuscan Risotto di Mare, made with mussels, squid and prawns. 

Feudi di San Gregorio Rose

Feudi di San Gregorio Ros'Aura Rosato Irpinia – Campania, Italy $23


Campania Felix - the “Happy Land”. The shin of the Italian boot, Campania was a prized part of Magna Græcia, an area of southern Italy settled by Greeks during the 8th century BC. To these new arrivals Italy was referred to as Onotria, “the Land of Wine”. The grape vine took well to the volcanic soil and Mediterranean climate, and still does. Modern Italy’s third most densely populated region, it has 350 kilometers of coastline punctuated by the gulfs of Naples, Salerno and Policastro. The landscape is hilly and mountainous, with a small smattering of flatlands. As the thousands of tourists that flock to the Amalfi Coast can tell you, Campania bathes in the luxurious sunshine of long, dry, and hot summers. More inland winegrowing areas benefit from cooler continental influences. Aside from the likelihood that looming Mount Vesuvius will once again blow it’s top, Campania is near perfect for growing grapes.


Aglianico derives its name from the latin vitis hellenica, or “Greek vine”. Like other classical varieties such as Fiano and Greco, it is thought to have been brought to Italy by Greek settlers. When Roman generals came home after a rough day of expanding the empire, they quenched their thirst with Aglianico based Falernian, the grand cru wine of the time. Campania’s most widely planted grape, it’s capable of fantastic depth and ageing potential. Many consider the wines of Taurasi to be the peak expression of Aglianico. With lean acidity and firm tannins, Aglianico requires some breaking in. Modern winemaking, lower alcohol levels, and better equipped cellars tame its wild soul. That rustic character is what gives the Feudi di San Gregorio Ros'Aura Rosato (rosé) it’s comparatively deep color. Made from hand harvested Aglianico sourced from 10 - 20 year old vineyards in Taurasi, Pietradefusi, Castelvetere and Paternopoli; it undergoes 12 hours of skin contact followed by 4 months maturation in steel tanks.


Founded in 1986 by the Capaldo family, Feudi di San Gregorio is Campania’s most prestigious winery. From the beginning they have been proud supporters of the regions native grape varieties. Situated in Sorbo Serpico, they hold around 600 hectares planted to vine. If not for their efforts, as well as a handful of like-minded growers, unheralded grapes like Fiano would very well have gone the way of the dodo. Though they give due respect to tradition, they are a thoroughly modern operation with an eye for the future. In 2004 a sleek new winery was constructed. You have to tip your hat to Feudi di San Gregorio for achieving so much in such a short amount of time.       


By rosé standards, this wine is gutsy. Cherry hued, it has spicy aromas of wild raspberries and strawberries. On the palate, it is both dry and crisp, with a heavier body than your typical Côtes de Provence rosé. Savoury with a little tannic grip, you couldn’t ask for a better partner for a board of spicy salami and bocconcini cheese.

Château Musar 'Musar Jeune' Red – Bekaa Valley, Lebanon $29.50

Château Musar 'Musar Jeune' Red – Bekaa Valley, Lebanon $29.50


Once the “Switzerland of the East”, Lebanon has seen tremendous ups and downs. Beirut in the 60’s, the “Paris of the Middle East”, was a destination for luxury European travelers. A shattering civil war and regionally tension brought things crashing down. It’s that much more impressive that Lebanon’s 6,000 year old wine industry has managed to persist during such hard times. Situated on the eastern Mediterranean coast, bordered by Syria and Israel, the country enjoys a sunny and warm climate. The main grape growing areas are found in the south east of the country along the Syrian border. The Beqaa Valley, the most important region, accounts for around 70% of all Lebanese wine. 30 kilometers east of Beirut, it’s vineyards are sandwiched between Mount Lebanon and Anti-Lebanon mountains. A reliable rain shadow keeps vines dry and healthy.


Lebanese wine goes back, way back! It is one of the world's oldest winemaking traditions. Modern Lebanese wine traces its roots back to a more recent time with the arrival of the French. The French, whose Jesuit missionaries planted some of the first Lebanese vineyards in the 1800’s, were instrumental in growing the industry when the Syrian civil war came to a close in 1990. It’s no surprise that Lebanese wines are often compared to the wines of Bordeaux and the Rhône. Like in France, a Lebanese winery is called a château. Of the wines made by 30 plus châteaux, the majority are red wines made from southern French varieties. In the case of the Château Musar 'Musar Jeune', the blend is 45% Cinsault, 45% Syrah, and 10% Cabernet Sauvignon. Fruit for this wine, sourced from organically farmed old vines, is fermented and matured in concrete vats. 


No other family has done more for Lebanese wine than the Hochar’s. They have literally dodged gunfire and bombshells to transform grape to wine. In 1930 the scion of the family, Gaston Hochar, established a winery north of Beirut in Ghazir. Only 20 years old, he set out to make wines in the fashion of French Bordeaux, with respectful deference to Lebanon’s winemaking traditions. His wines caught on quickly with French officers stationed in country. In 1959, his son Serge took on the mantle of winemaker. Unceremoniously he told his father: “I want to make the wine my way, I want it to be known world-wide – and I want you to quit!” Tutored at the University of Oenology in Bordeaux by Jean Riberau and Emile Peynaud, Serge understood modern winemaking. Even during the bloody civil war that ravaged the country from 1975 to 1990, grapes were transported to the winery from vineyards in the Beqaa Valley. 1976 was the only year when no Château Musar was made. 1984’s Decanter Man of the Year, Serge died prematurely in a swimming accident in 2014. It’s tough to follow such a winemaking giant, but Serge’s son Gaston has proven himself worthy of the task. Château Musar is today still exceptional.  


This blend is Château Musar’s youthful side. Bottled a short 11 months after the harvest, it retains vibrant freshness and concentration. Neither fined or filtered, it does leave a little sediment in the glass. The palate is quite fruity with blueberry and blackcurrant flavours, leading into soft tannins. For a full-bodied wine, this is very easy drinking stuff.


Le Soula Trigone Rouge n°15 - $30.50

Le Soula Trigone Rouge n°15 - $30.50


The French wine producing region of Languedoc-Roussillon stretches from the border with Spain to the Rhône River, some 240 km. This beautiful part of France is in many ways similar to neighbouring Provence. The regions sunny Mediterranean climate is ideal for nurturing vines. Although joined together, Languedoc and Roussillon have distinct differences. The Languedoc, where vineyards are typically on coastal plains, is more classically French. The Roussillon, where vineyards sit in the shadow of the Pyrenees Mountains, has tinges of Catalonia and Spain. There is a sparseness to beauty here. The dry scrubland, known as garrigue, perfumes the air with aromas of wild herbs and flowers. 


For years the Languedoc-Roussillon has been billed as the next big thing. Previously responsible for an ocean of uninspiring wines, its vineyards were finally recognized for their untapped potential in the 1990’s. Its wines were lauded as France’s counter-punch to American and Australian fruit bombs. So-called “Flying Winemakers” from around the world swarmed on mass to exploit the regions riches. Full bodied red wines made from the “Holy-Trinity” of Syrah-Grenache-Mourvèdre have become the regions vanguard. Carignan, a grape of Spanish origin that was originally planted for its ability to produce high yields, was often pulled in favour of more fashionable Cabernet Sauvignon. Luckily some particularly old vines survived. In the case of the Trigone Rouge, 40% Carignan is blended with 55% Syrah and 5% Grenache. Uniquely this is a blend of multiple harvests (10% 2015, 55% 2014, 20% 2013, 10% 2012, and 5% 2011).  


Gérard Gauby leaves quite the impression. Roussillon’s leading winemaker, his wines are as imposing as the Cathar fortresses that dot the landscape of the Agly valley. So in 2001, when Gérard joined forces with English wine importers Roy Richards and Mark Walford, you knew Le Soula would be special. The two Englishmen are themselves famous for being veritable truffle dogs at discovering excellent wineries. A charismatic man, Gérard Gauby embraces biodynamic viticulture and non-interventionist winemaking. In a thick Catalan accent, he professes: “We have the soils, the grapes and the climate to make subtle and authentic wines. But we must work very hard with the vines”. In 2008 Gérald Standley came on board to share the workload in the vineyard. It’s hard work farming 23 hectares of high altitude vineyards, which are subjected to extreme bouts of heat and gail force winds. We think the end result is worth it.


You’ll often hear that great wine will have a great sense of place. An excellent example of this, Gauby describes the Trigone as his “little wine”. There is a great sense of vibrancy and freshness to it. Primary red fruits are peppered with meaty spice and just the right amount of earthy funk. Selling the benefits of lightness, Mark Walford aptly states: “big wines are ultimately boring.” While this is not always the case, it’s easy to see what he’s talking about. This wine served with Char Siu (Chinese BBQ pork), absolute bliss!     

CARM Douro Tinto – Douro Valley, Portugal $22

CARM Douro Tinto – Douro Valley, Portugal $22


Centered on the Douro River in northern Portugal, the Douro wine region is a testament to hard work and plain stubbornness. Steep terraced vineyards planted on thin, sunbaked schist soils, tower over the mosquito populated river below. For 2000+ years grape growers have trudged up and down the 60 degree slopes under the punishing Portuguese sun. Standing in the highest vineyards, everything below takes on the appearance of a topographical map. The orderly terraces built of man-made stone walls, have been recognized by Unesco as a World Heritage site. The Douro River itself is one of the longest rivers of the Iberian Peninsula, flowing from its source through some of neighbouring Spain’s most famous wine regions. Three regions comprise the Douro: the inland Douro Superior, the central Cima Corgo region, and the closer to the ocean Baixo Corgo. The further inland the vineyards go, the more continental and extreme the climate gets.


The Douro is the source of Portugal’s most famous wine, Port. Taking the name of the coastal city of Oporto, fortified wines have been made here since the 17th century. Barrels of wine from inland vineyards were shipped up river on flat-bottomed ships called rabelos, destined to be cellared in warehouses that line the docks of Oporto’s sister city, Vila Nova de Gaia. During the Napoleonic era, when French wine shipments were blockaded by English warships, anglo-friendly Portuguese wines filled London’s wine glasses. 

Due to Port’s fame, the region’s still wines have often suffered from underexposure. Unfortified, these wines are made using the same varieties; most often Touriga Nacional, Touriga Franca, Tinta Barroca, Tinto Cao and Tinta Roriz (Tempranillo). Touriga Nacional is considered the best of the bunch, although Touriga Franca is more widely planted. Starting in the 1990’s, still wine from the Douro started gaining momentum, in part based on the demand for powerful “Parkeresque” wines. Inherently robust and tannic, Douro wines can often be the “Old World” wine for “New World” wine drinkers. In the case of the CARM Douro Tinto , we have a blend of 40% Touriga Nacional, 30% Touriga Franca, and 30% Tinta Roriz. The wine is aged for 12 months in stainless steel (50%) and a mixture of (mostly) French and American oak.


The Casa Agricola Roboredo Madeira, or CARM for short, is situated in the Douro Superieur. Located within a protected area inhabited by eagles, griffins and partridges, the estate also grows almond and olive trees. Not just wine alone, CARM also produces olive oil, vinegar, honey and almonds. Owned by the Roboredo Madeira family, there are a total of 6 different properties, with a total of 125 hectares of land planted to vine. Whether wine or olive oil, everything from the estate is produced using organic methods.


Compared to some Douro reds, this wine is very approachable and fruit forward. Tannins are ample, but they aren’t a “punch in the face”. Fruits on the palate are of the blue/black variety, like blackcurrant and plum. This is a great alternative to Argentinian Malbec. Open this one when your friends drop by and you need a bottle that everybody can get into.

Carrol Boyes “Elements” Pinotage - Stellenbosch, South Africa $35

Carrol Boyes “Elements” Pinotage - Stellenbosch, South Africa $35


southwest coast of South Africa, only 50 kilometers east of Cape Town, this region boasts ideal ripening conditions for a wide range of grape varieties from cool climate Sauvignon Blanc and Chardonnay, to more warm climate varieties like Shiraz, Cabernet Sauvignon, and Merlot.  The best parts of Stellenbosch are on the alluvial fans that spread out below the granite mountains of the area.  The soils here are over 600 million years old, and give the wines a fine, lithe backbone of structure. 


Pinotage, South Africa’s unique contribution to the world of wine.  The grape was developed in 1925 by Abraham Perold, the first professor of viticulture at the University of Stellenbosch.  He pollinated a Pinot Noir vine with Cinsault, a grape variety mostly found in the Languedoc of southern France, locally called Hermitage in South Africa.  He then planted the four resulting seeds in the garden of his residence and forgot about them when he left the university to go work for the KWV winery in Paarl in 1927.  The seedlings were rescued a former colleague of Perold’s who transported them to a nursery at Elsenburg Agricultural College, and were grafted on to rootstocks.  The two men decided on the name Pinotage – a contraction of its parents.  The best of the four plants was then selected to become the base material for all Pinotage vines.  Although the first commercial planting of Pinotage was in 1943, the first varietal Pinotage was not seen until 1959.  Nevertheless, the varietal gained in popularity domestically and became a bit of a curiosity from a consumer perspective outside of South Africa.  It was initially praised for its honest, bucolic charm, but fell out of favour as consumers wanted more polished, refined wines – Pinotage was always seen as being ‘rustic’.  Today it is enjoying a bit of a renaissance as quality has increased across the board, and styles have shifted toward modern, fruit-forward, soft, flavour-filled wines, away from the rustic, foursquare wines of the past. 


Carrol Boyes is the sister of John Boyes.  John is a farmer & viticulturist, and his partner, Neels Barnardt is an accomplished winemaker with vast experience both internationally and in South Africa.  Carrol is a world famous artist and designer, mostly known for her illustrations and her functional art.  Each wine under the Carrol Boyes label is handcrafted, and each new vintage brings a new artistic label design. In addition of the artistic merit of Carrol Boyes’s work, there is the handcrafted nature of the wine, a tribute to the capability of Pinotage if handled correctly and made with care.  This is a great expression of modern Pinotage – hand-selected old vineyards that are bush-vine trained, giving small amounts of highly concentrated fruit.  This is aged in 85% French and 15% American oak, of which 70% of the total of those barrels is new. 


The nose of this powerful Pinotage boasts warm, custardy notes of vanilla and coconut on the nose, combined with a chocolately-caramel note like Milk Duds, along with Black Forest cake, raspberry confiture, smoke, dried tobacco, and a hint of bacon fat.  On the palate the wine is much more elegant than the nose suggests, but nevertheless is concentrated and full with Christmas cake, smooth, creamy tannins, vibrant acidity, and a long finish of dark fruits and hickory.  

Pinotage, being a medium-to-full bodied, fully-flavoured wine pairs well with a variety of dishes, but, the must-try pairing is Sosaties- South Africa’s version of shish kebabs.  A good version to make is lamb Sosaties which are flavoured with smoked paprika, clove, cumin, and coriander, skewered with fresh rosemary stems, and barbecued over charcoal. 

Winery in Focus: Adelina / Some Young Punks

  Some Young Punks

Some Young Punks

Adelina is an extremely small boutique winery located near the town of Clare in South Australia. The winery is owned and run by the dynamic duo of Col McBryde and Jen Gardner who craft an amazing line-up of wines from their historic vineyard as well as with fruit purchased from small growers in the Clare Valley and Adelaide Hills. These aren’t your average winemakers – Col sports a set of full tattoo sleeves, has multiple PhD’s and was named the Young Gun Winemaker of the Year. Jen has a PhD specializing in wine yeast metabolism and they source fruit from her family’s tiny 2-acre vineyard that was originally planted in 1910.

The duo have two lines of wine – the Adelina wines are their higher end bottlings focused on wines made from their estate vineyard along with other top vineyards in the area. The Some Young Punks wines are all about fun, fresh and unpretentious wines. I had the pleasure of hanging out with them on a trip to Australia in 2014, and was struck by the complete lack of pretention the duo showed despite their accomplishments, and also with the purity and freshness of the wines. We were very excited to finally get our hands on some of their wines! The amazing labels don’t hurt either. Below is what we currently have available, get ‘em while they last.

Some young Punks Monsters, Monsters Attack Riesling - $27.95

A slight touch of sweetness helps to balance out the vibrant acidity in this stellar Clare Riesling. Notes of petrol, granny smith apple, spiced pear and slate ring through this crushable number. Try it with a Thai green curry, freshly shucked oysters or a juicy pork chop.

Adelina Polish Hill River Riesling - $32.00

This dry, zippy Riesling comes famed Polish Hill sub-region of the Clare Valley, known for making some of Australia’s greatest Rieslings. The fruit comes from farmers Lyn and Robert Jaeschke’s estate, and the vines were planted in 2000 on loam and sandy limestone. This is a nervy, energetic Riesling with mouthwatering acidity and showing lifted notes of lime zest, lime leaf, chamomile and classic wet stone. For those with patience this is an amazing deal for a wine that will easily age for a decade. Definitely worth putting a couple of bottles in the cellar to follow as they age.

Some Young Punks Naked on Roller Skates Shiraz/Mataro - $25.95

This may take the prize as the best name/label in the group, and features a playful blend of Shiraz and Mataro. This is smooth and dangerously easy drinking, with notes of strawberry, dark chocolate, cassis and spring flowers. The kind of wine that makes you want to drop those burdensome clothes and run naked through a field (or roller skate down a hill).

Some Young Punks The Squid’s Fist Sangiovese/Shiraz - $27.95

Sangiovese is one of Italy’s most iconic red grapes, and it’s rare you see it planted in the land down under! In this case it works though, delivering a deliciously dark wine with notes of blueberry, blackberry, freshly cracked black pepper and lavender. A crowd pleaser that’s perfect for curling up on a cold YYC night. 

Adelina Mataro - $45.95

This is 100% Mataro (known in France as Mourvedre) from a 2 acre block of 80 year old vines from the Ashton vineyard which is up the road from their home property. The wine spends 97 days on skins and 12 months in neutral barrels (only 3 barrels total were chosen for this wine!).  This is a wonderfully pure example of this grape, with lots of bright red fruit, wild herbs, violets and liquorice. The total production of Adelina is only around 1,500 cases per year, and we were fortunate enough to get a small amount of this unique wine. 

Adelina Estate Grenache - $45.95

This wine is sourced from the wineries 2-acre vineyard planted in 1910 on the family’s home vineyard, which is a stones throw from the famed Wendouree vineyard. This is made in a fresh style that could almost be mistaken for a fuller bodied Pinot Noir, and Col and Jen are influenced by the legendary wines of Chateau Rayas in Chateauneuf-du-Pape. Definitely a worthy pick for fans of the new wave of brighter, fresher Australian wines!

Brunching off the Beaten Path

 Fermented Potato Bread at Donna Mac

Fermented Potato Bread at Donna Mac

5 Calgary Restaurants Offering Delicious Brunch Alternatives

You have to look no further than the long line-ups stretching out the doors of traditional diners in the city every weekend to know that Calgarians really love their brunch. While there are plenty of amazing spots to grab a more traditional selection of fare, there are also some restaurants serving up delicious brunch alternatives, often without the long wait times. These can range from interesting ethnic options which may be new to those of us who were raised on bacon, eggs and pancakes, to contemporary twists on North American classics. If you’re looking to get out there and break out of your normal brunch routine, here are our picks for five YYC spots to consider.

Donna Mac

Located at the corner of 10th avenue and 9th street SW, Donna Mac is a relative new comer to the Calgary restaurant scene. Their brunch runs Saturday and Sunday from 11 am – 4 pm and features unique takes on classics along with some “out there” creations. Options include the restorative Hangover Cheese Toast, a soulful Vegan Tourtiere, a dense and delicious Fermented Potato Bread topped with pork belly and a poached egg, and more. After your brunch you can also purchase a loaf of their amazing  red fife sourdough and a bag of Calgary Heritage Roasters coffee to go. If you’re looking to try some unique dishes and to avoid the long line-ups of traditional brunch spots, Donna Mac should definitely be on your radar.


Calcutta Cricket Club

If you’re looking to spice up your brunch next weekend, look no further than the newly launched brunch menu from the Calcutta Cricket Club on 17th avenue. Brunch runs Saturday and Sunday from 11 am – 3 pm, and features both classic Indian brunch/breakfast dishes along with some original creations. For a sweet note try the Ovaltine-Chai Pancakes, or for a Northern Indian classic try the Puri Chole – deep-fried flatbreads with spicy chickpea curry, pached egg and onions. Their $5 Pineapple Mimosas are also an excellent idea.




Chef Roy Oh has won over the hearts of Calgary foodies with his unique takes on Korean cuisine largely inspired by his mother’s cooking. While Anju may be best known for their amazing dinner dishes and bar snacks (including the famed Gochuchang Chicken Wings), their brunch game is also exceptionally strong. Try the Porkbelly and Kimchi Eggs Benny for a Korean twist on a brunch classic, or the Breakfast Hash Stone Bowl served with kimchi hollandaise and two poached eggs for a sizzling savoury delight. The Shin Ramen Caesar is also a personal favourite when a hair of the dog session is required.



Native Tongues

Another great alternative if you’d like to warm up with the flavours of Mexico, Native Tongues rocks a great brunch menu Saturday and Sunday from 11:30 am – 3:00 pm. If you’re feeling like eggs, try the Huevos Divorciados with fried eggs on top of tostadas with salsa roja and verde, avocado and queso, or if you’re feeling decadent give the Pollo Frito a try with fried chicken, donuts, chorizo gravy and avocado. Wash it all down with a Tequila Sunrise or a Michelada for good measure.



Brasserie Kensington

Turn up for the brunch at Brasserie Kensington on any given Saturday or Sunday, and you’re sure to find a fair number of restaurant industry staff crushing a meal. This is a perennial favourite for good reason – the portions are generous, the beer list is amazing and nobody flinches if you order a shot of Buffalo Trace Bourbon at 11 am. The Breakfast Poutine is one of the best poutine’s in the city of any kind, and the Duck Confit & Quinoa Waffles is always amazing. Get there early to catch their creative specials, which tend to sell out fairly quickly and always include interesting spins.


Wine Time: 2014 Mio de M.O Tempranillo


The fourth most planted grape variety in the world of wine, Tempranillo, has been grown since the 1st century BC.  In Spain specifically, it has been well documented that Tempranillo has been used in winemaking since around 800 BC.  The vines there have survived not only the phylloxera epidemic of the 19th century but also yearly bouts of extreme cold and brutally hot summers, with some vines even reaching the age of over 150 years old.  The harsh conditions in Spain mean that only the most bullheaded of varietals, such as Tempranillo, would dare to thrive there. While Rioja may be the most famous region for Tempranillo, we'd like to introduce you to another area killing it with Tempranillo - Toro. 

The Spanish love to use multiple names for the same grape variety, and in the region of Toro the Tempranillo grape is known as "Tinto de Toro".  The hottest and most continental of Spain's wine regions, Toro is located in north west Spain and is known for making powerful examples of Tempranillo. Due to their relative obscurity the wines from Toro tend to be excellent value, and if you are someone who loves a big juicy new world wine or letting loose with a handsome stranger this might be just the region for you.

If you'd like to give Toro a try, we suggest checking out the 2014 Mio de M.O.  Aged for 14 months in French oak, the grape’s big personality explodes on the palate.  Silky, dark, and rich this bottle oozes juicy red fruit, cedar, tobacco smoke, vanilla mochaccino and cherry preserves. 100% Tinta de Toro, this smooth, brooding Spanish wine is the perfect pairing for a hot date or Neflix & chill.

Available now at both locations. $23 + tax.

Rare & Collectible – Compass Box “No Name” Blended Malt Scotch Whisky - $136 + tax

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Compass Box founder John Glaser has become known as something of a rebel in his field.  Focusing on what he calls boutique blends, John refuses to conform to the norms in the sometimes stodgy world of Scotch whisky and defies the suggestion that single malts are automatically superior to blended whiskies. Compass Box sees blending as an art form, and John and his team work tirelessly to create unique and interesting blends from barrels sourced from some of Scotland’s top distilleries.

The “No Name” is a part of the Compass Box limited edition series, and is the peatiest whisky they have ever created (even peatier than their famed “Peat Monster” bottling!). The majority of this powerful dram comes from the Ardbeg distillery, with whiskies from the Caol Ila, Clynelish, and small proportion of blended Highland whisky to round things out.

The No Name is a beast, showcasing aromas of ash, campfire, iodine, seaweed, damp earth and saltwater taffey. The palate is bold and textured, with notes of caramel apple and poached pears mingling with the aforementioned peat/smoke notes. This is a beautiful blend that is sure to please even the most hardcore peat-head.  I guess a whisky this good doesn’t need a name…it speaks for itself!

Wine Predictions for 2018

  Chablis and other cool climate wines are on fire

Chablis and other cool climate wines are on fire

Wine is always evolving, and new trends emerging. With 2017 in the rearview mirror, here are 3 trends that we predict will help to define the world of wine in 2018.


The Triumphant Return of Chardonnay

To be clear Chardonnay has never disappeared, it has just been the victim of broad generalizations and an overall poor image in the eyes of many consumers in recent years. The world's second most planted grape variety by the mid 90’s, the soaring rise of this noble grape was followed by a meteoric fall from grace. Some have said that this was triggered by a so-called “Bridget Jones” effect. Many wine drinkers were exposed to poor quality examples that were bludgeoned with oak chips and massive alcohol levels, and these innocuous butter-ball styles of Chardonnay were guillotined by upstarts Sauvignon Blanc and Pinot Grigio. Maligned, Chardonnay was vilified as over-oaked and “flabby” which is regretful considering there have always been winemakers around the world producing brilliant Chardonnay with love and care.

You can’t keep a good grape down though - Chardonnay has bounced back and wine drinkers are once again being seduced by its charms. The round and buttery type persists (and can be delicious if done well), but we’re particularly excited about the bright new face of this classic white grape. The focus has moved to brighter, fresher version with Chablis, the classic region for this style, leading the charge and making the world safe again for Chardonnay. If you haven’t already revisited Chardonnay, 2018 will be the year to do it! Look for wonderfully fresh examples from California, Argentina, South Africa and more.

The Natural Wine Revolution Continues

2017 was a towering year for natural wine, making major strides into the mainstream. In 2018 the movement will move further in from the fringe. Media outlets like Esquire and Vogue, with their enormous reach and influence, have spread the word and drummed up huge interest. Those familiar with Aziz Ansari’s Master of None may be surprised that 6.5 foot tall Arnold (comedian Eric Wareheim) has even made a Natural wine with Bay Area winemaker Joel Burt. Sommeliers and wine buyers flock to the RAW wine fair, which has gone international with events in London, Berlin, NYC, and LA. Here in the YYC you can pull up a stool at spots such as Bar von Der Fels, Frenchie, Pigeon Hole and Donna Mac (to name a few) to savor a glass of unfiltered skin-contact Chenin Blanc from South Africa or Pétillant Naturel Chardonnay from Australia. At Vine Arts you can find biodynamic wine made by a young winemaker with a less than a hectare of vines, or wine made by a 10th generation oenologist whose family have been farming sustainably for centuries. In 2018 follow the shaman-winemakers down the rabbit hole in search of the weird, wacky, and thoroughly delicious.

Cool Climate is Hot

2017 was the second hottest year in modern history, second only to El Niño-influenced 2016. Wildfire ravaged California experienced a vine wilting heatwave in September, with temperatures reaching a whopping 45 degrees Celsius. Italy had its smallest harvest in 60 years, thanks in part to a heatwave nicknamed “Lucifer”. Is there a positive spin to be made? In Champagne it’s been historically difficult to just get grapes ripe enough. Today average temperatures are up 1.5°C, leading to a winning streak of excellent vintages. The Champenois are so keen on rising temperatures that they’re investing in the emerging English sparkling wine industry. Champagne house Taittinger has announced that it is planting vineyards in Kent. 20 years ago in Oregon, good vintages (when grapes fully ripen) were 1 in 10…today they’re 9 in 10. German winemaker Ernst Loosen seems particularly happy with rising temperatures in the Mosel, saying “I don't want to have the time back of my grandfather and my father. They had only three vintages in a decade getting ripe and had to deal with seven vintages in 10 years which were awful, undrinkable to very mediocre.” At that time winemakers needed to add sugar to their under-ripe grapes. Closer to home, the so-called “magical climate zone” for grape growing is shifting north to our own Okanagan Valley. If the trend continues, and 2018 is as hot as the previous 2 years, cool climate will only be getting hotter. In 2018 we urge you to seek out wines from cool climate regions such as the Jura and Savoie in France, Hungary, Croatia, Austria and many more!