Calgary Wine Life: Dom Pérignon Luncheon with Winemaker Nicholas Lane

13 12 2018

By Dan Steeves

It’s hard to believe that almost six months has passed since my last post on Pop & Pour (I’m still getting used to the deprivation of free time with a further expansion to our family!) and I was thrilled at the opportunity to get back into it by attending a luncheon with the beautiful wines of Dom Pérignon, paired with stellar cuisine from Chef Dave Bohati at Murrieta’s Bar & Grill Calgary.  Thrilled is definitely an understatement, actually. I’ve always enjoyed Champagne, but after travelling to the region a few years ago, I really fell in love with the bubbly concoction for which the region is so famous. Seeing with my own eyes the vineyards, the massive underground cellars, how these magical wines are actually made, and tasting many different bottles from various Champagne houses, all gave me a connection with the region that I am reminded about every time I pop open a bottle. So having the opportunity to try the legendary wines of Dom Pérignon with one of the actual winemakers…well, let’s just say it was more of a dream come true!


A throwback to the time we were crazy enough to vacation in Champagne with a 6 month old baby. Luckiest baby ever? Definitely!

Dom Pérignon is the prestige brand from Champagne giant Moët & Chandon, and is one of the oldest prestige cuvees to be marketed by any of the top Champagne houses, with the first vintage being the 1921, which was released in 1935. It is named after the Benedictine monk, Dom Pierre Pérignon, who in 1668 became the cellarer at the Abbey of Hautvillers, located just outside the Champagne capital of Épernay. Although he is commonly credited as being the creator of Champagne, Dom Pérignon did not invent sparkling wine (at the time it was considered a fault), but he did provide many advances to wine production in Champagne. His goal was to create the best wine in the world, an ambitious task for anyone and especially those in the cool and harsh Champagne region, but his work perfecting the science of blending various grape varieties and pressing to create white wines from black grapes set the foundation of the great Champagne wines we have today. Read the rest of this entry »

Calgary Wine Life: Tabarrini Montefalco Tasting Seminar @ Model Milk

12 03 2018

By Raymond Lamontagne and Dan Steeves

We have always been impressed by the selection of Austrian and German wines in Salivate Wines’ portfolio, so we were thrilled at the opportunity to sample wines from one of the importer’s Italian producers, Tabarrini.  Hailing from smack dab in the middle of Italy, in Montefalco within the Umbria region (the only wine region in Italy that does not have a coastline or border another country), Tabarrini is a well-respected winery known for its big, brooding single-vineyard reds based on the Sagrantino grape, as well as for an interesting white wine made from the little-known Trebbiano Spoletino. Although maybe not quite as famous as other Umbrians such as Saint Francis of Assisi, Monica Bellucci or black truffles (a full 60% of the world’s supply of the latter originates from the region), there is no doubt that Tabarrini is producing some serious wines that have rightfully been getting global attention.

Tabarrini’s director of sales and marketing, Daniele Sassi, led us through an informative (and entertaining – Daniele is a natural comedian, and the jokes are not always politically correct!) tasting of three of the winery’s offerings:  the Adarmando Bianco (a white Trebbiano Spoletino), the Boccatone Rosso (a Sangiovese and Sagrantino red blend), and the Colle Grimaldesco Sangrantino (one of the estate’s premium single-vineyard dry Sagrantinos).  Read on for our combined thoughts and notes on each bottle. Read the rest of this entry »

Goals & Milestones

27 10 2011

Once more into the breach!

One of the things I wanted to do in 2011 (other than making sure I muddled through figuring out how to keep our first child alive — so far so good!) is get some formal wine education.  I had read a ton of books and articles, gone to tastings, talked to shop owners and, of course, drank a lot of vino, but I wanted to take things a step farther and actually get into the classroom, which prompted me to enrol in the WSET Intermediate program a few months ago.  Thankfully, I successfully completed and passed the course, coming out of the summer with my Intermediate Certificate, and I enjoyed the experience so much that I immediately signed up for the WSET Advanced class later in the year.  Well, “later in the year” is now two days away — for the next three weekends I will be shut away in a conference room downtown with other like-minded wine die-hards, trying desperately to absorb reams of technical and geographical information while simultaneously tasting 20-30 wines a day.  If my course materials are any indication, the Advanced course will be WAY more, well, advanced than the Intermediate, so if you don’t see as many PnP posts as normal until mid-November, you can assume it’s because I’m studying.  The blog will be back up to full throttle once my exam (which includes a blind tasting this time) is blissfully behind me.

Thankfully, this blog continues to get amazing support even when I’m a bit lax about regular posting.  Sometime in the next two days Pop & Pour will clock over the 10,000 (!!!) hit mark, which is both gratifying and astonishing to me.  In each month of its operation, PnP has attracted more views than the month before, and I have all of you to thank for your interest in this site.  Once the WSET is done I’ll crack and review a suitable tribute bottle to celebrate both this latest round-number hit target and the fact that school’s officially out for winter.  Cheers!

Tips & Tricks: How To Come Up With Wine Flavour Descriptions

15 08 2011

If only it were that easy...

Believe me, I used to be at the front of the line making fun of wine folk for picking guava, pomegranate, shoe leather, pencil shavings and innumerable other bizarre tastes and aromas out of a glass of boozy grape juice.  The whole process seemed overwrought and fanciful at best and horribly pretentious at worst — not the kind of thing I’d ever sign off on.  But as I started getting more and more into wine, and then as I started WRITING about being into wine, I began to see the method to the madness (or I drank the Kool-Aid and joined the legions of uptight overanalyzers, depending on your point of view) and understanding the necessity behind the efforts people put into sorting out what’s in their glass.  By far the coolest and most interesting thing about wine is that, unlike almost any other alcoholic beverage that starts out from a piece of fruit, it ends up smelling and tasting like so many other things apart from, or in addition to, its source material.  Apple cider tastes like apples; dark rum tastes like molasses; wine tastes like everything, and the more different wine you try, the more words and comparison references you need to describe it.  This, I’ve learned, is doubly important if you ever want to put this description in writing and give a reader who may have never heard of your wine a flavour impression that sets it apart…suddenly descriptions like “plum” and “cranberry”, and its weirder, more memorable cousins like “Band-Aids” and “pickles”, become totally invaluable. Read the rest of this entry »

Poll: Vote On the Next PnP Wine!

20 05 2011

So I’m still sick, making this currently the most wine-free wine blog on the Internet.  Since I can’t DRINK wine right now, I’m doing the next best thing, which is THINKING about drinking wine, and to pump up the anticipation for my triumphant return to vino I thought I’d get your input about what bottle I should crack on that illustrious occasion.  I have picked four wines that have been tangentially featured or mentioned in previous PnP posts, and now it’s up to you to decide which one will get top billing in my next review…whichever one gets the most votes by the time my illness goes away (hopefully sometime this weekend if there’s any justice in this world) will be the lucky winner.  Without further ado, the very first Pop & Pour Wine Poll:

Here’s a little additional info about each of the four contenders and their PnP history:

  1. 2008 Mercer Estates Dead Canyon Ranch Cabernet Sauvignon:  I reviewed Mercer’s $30ish Columbia Valley Cabernet Sauvignon from Washington State at the end of March (see the review here) and liked it (88 points), but to me it actually didn’t live up to Mercer’s own significantly cheaper $20ish Dead Canyon Ranch Cabernet Sauvignon.  I’ve had the DCR multiple times before (I tend to pounce on wine that good for that price), but I’ve never written it up on the blog…yet.
  2. 2007 Amavi Cellars Syrah:  I had the 2005 vintage of this wine in mid-March and absolutely adored it (see the review here) — I gave it 92 points at the time, and in retrospect I might even want to bump that up another point.  It was everything higher-end Syrah should be:  fruity, meaty, savoury, long, lingering and endlessly complex.  I’ve now obtained the 2007 version of Amavi’s Syrah and am dying to see if it lives up to its predecessor.
  3. 2008 Enzo Boglietti Dolcetto d’Alba:  I TRIED to review this wine once before, back in mid-April, but it only took a sniff and a sip to force me to change plans and write about how to detect corked wine instead — yecch.  I saved my ruined bottle, and the Ferocious Grape was good enough to take it back and give me a replacement, no questions asked.  I now sort of feel like I owe Enzo a mulligan and have been waiting for the right time for a take two on his Dolcetto.
  4. 2009 Loosen Dr. L Riesling:  When I reviewed Charles Smith’s Kung Fu Girl Riesling in early April, I suggested that the only entry-level (sub-$20) Riesling that I’ve had that could go toe to toe with KFG was Loosen’s Dr. L, which is available at Superstores everywhere for around $15.  At some point I will do a Dr. L vs. KFG head to head taste-off, but I figure I owe Dr. Loosen a starring role in a review first.
There you have it — I await your votes!  I will readily admit that I have hesitated putting up any kind of poll on PnP before in fear that the ultimate results would end up being 2 votes to 1 or something equally embarrassing, so I am counting on you to keep this blog from looking third-rate…make it seem second-rate at least.  Please vote, and please pass this on to anyone else who might want to weigh in!  If you want any more info on the contending wines, leave a comment and I will answer ASAP.  Cheers!

%d bloggers like this: