[Cross-posted at www.calgaryisawesome.com]
I am truly excited to kick into gear what I hope will be a long and, well, awesome collaboration with site-around-town extraordinaire Calgary Is Awesome. For those regular CIA visitors who don’t know me, I’ve been writing local wine blog popandpour.ca for almost a year now, a site that contains reviews of a number of bottles available in town and other thoughts and musings aimed at demystifying (and glorifying) the incredible world of wine. One of the things that I’ve wanted to do with Pop & Pour, but that I couldn’t really figure out how to approach, was to highlight the remarkable people and places that illuminate Calgary’s local wine scene, which remains almost criminally underrated. Well, CIA has given me that chance. My monthly posts for Calgary Is Awesome will focus on YYC wine shops, events, personalities and other home-based vinous topics of interest that will hopefully showcase the amazing depth of talent and energy that our fair city has directed towards my favourite beverage. If you want to know how lucky you are to be a Calgarian who likes wine, read on.
I used to live in Altadore three places and five years ago, and even back then I thought that the area needed a specialty wine store…Liquor Depot wasn’t quite cutting it. Now that land in my old neighbourhood costs more than my soul and Marda has become THE inner-city-but-not living destination for many Calgarians, this need has only amplified, and in December 2010 it was finally addressed when Highlander Wine & Spirits opened a massive new store in the heart of the Loop (2112 – 33rd Avenue SW). As soon as you walk in, you can immediately tell that the shop was designed to be a temple of wine. The large, open-profile modern space is lined with dark-wood-rack after dark-wood-rack of bottles, organized by country and region; there’s a huge tasting table in the back of the store, right beside cupboards full of wine glasses and an Enomatic machine that keeps a dozen or so open sample bottles free of invading air; it’s an oenophile’s dream. Of course, there’s still plenty of beer and spirits available for sale, but if you were to walk in the front door and take a look around, you would definitely say: ”This is a wine store.” This focus on fine wine is completely intentional.