Skip to content

DeVines Wine Spectator Top 100 Tasting

January 18, 2009

Now I love wine, and I love to drink wine, but I don’t talk much about wine.  I do not have an intelligent vocabulary to chat up vino, so I just keep my mouth shut.  I do know I love any Meritage, most Cabernet Sauvignons, Chianti, Montepulciano D’abruzzo and my favourite Canadian winery is Nk’Mip (although this wine is very hard to find in Edmonton). 

In an attempt to rectify this knowledge gap, I bought Mike for Christmas two tickets to the DeVines Wine Spectator Top 100 Tasting, which was last night.  Actually, buying him two tickets for that is kind of like him buying me a cooking pot for Christmas because I got to reap the benefits too.  Hey, wait, he did buy me a cooking pot for Christmas.  So I think we are even.

Mike is the sommelier in the family, so this gift did make sense.  Plus, DeVines is one of our favourite liquor stores.  The staff are very knowledgeable without one ounce of snottiness in them, and they have a beautiful selection of all things vino.  I sadly think that Liquor Depots are poised to take over Edmonton, so I’m very happy to support a local business. 

Dirk Chan hosted the evening, and he is down to earth, but has a wealth of knowledge about wine, regions, grapes, wine growers, growing seasons, and pairings.  There are so many elements to wine that it makes my head spin. 

Having never been to such an event, I did not know what to expect.  Except maybe that it would be impossible to find parking around 104 Street (that was correct).  The tickets were $50 each, and the crowd was diverse, but well heeled.  There were plenty of young couples, two rasta guys, and then a bunch of people like us (um, older).   The set up was very informal – it was a milling about the store session, with plates of cheese, meat and bread for cleansing palates, and water and buckets to do swishing and dumping.  

Two staff members, Hayley and Nick, walked around pouring the wines, and Dirk did most of the talking.  There were seven different wines, all from this past year’s Wine Spectator’s Top 100 list.  I won’t embarrass myself by trying to describe them extensively, but here they are:

NV Duval-Leroy Brut – I’m not an avid champagne drinker, but I do know enough not to mix this $57 bottle of champagne with orange juice for Sunday morning brunch.  This champagne stands well on its own, thank you very much. 

White Wine
2005 Byron Chardonnay (Santa Clara, CA)– Again, this is why we came – we don’t drink much white wine, and this experience opened us up a bit.  This wine is a white wine for red wine drinkers – all oaky and full bodied. 

Red Wine
2006 Felisina Berardenga (Tuscany) – I liked this wine just fine, but it didn’t do much for me.  A medium bodied, contemporary Chianti.
2005 Condado de Haza (Ribera del Duero, Spain) – This wine was very unusual and kind of cool.  It had a very strong aroma and super big tannins.  It isn’t the kind of wine you could drink every day, but if you want to wow someone with a red wine, this is it.
2005 Chateaue de Beaucastel (Cheateauneuf-du-Paper, France)– This was the pricey wine of the bunch – $93 a bottle. Now once I spent $45 on a bottle of Nk’Mip Meritage, but I’ve never spent $93 on a bottle of wine.  Mike liked this a lot – he’s more of a pinot guy, so this ‘Wine of the Pope’ suited him well – this was a ‘young’ wine that needed ageing for at least three years.  An investment wine.  If you have a wine cellar.  Which we do not. We have a basement full of kids’ junk instead.
2007 Seghesio Zinfandel (Sonoma County, CA) – Having not experienced Zinfandels much, Mike and I met in the middle with this wine.  It is a good compromise wine for us – a lighter, summery wine. 

Dessert Wine
2005 Chateau Guirand (Sauternes, France) – OK, because I’m such a philistine, I have never had dessert wine.  I’m not crazy about port, so I shyed away from this genre.  BUT MY GOD.  This wine was blonde and creamy and extremely YUMMY.  Sadly, Devines didn’t have any in stock, and also sadly, it is $60/half bottle.  But maybe dessert wines are in my future.

The whole affair lasted about 90 minutes, and after about an hour, the conversation level of the group increased dramatically.  Because everybody had five tastings of wine sloshing around in their bellies.  We crossed the street to Sobey’s to find Mike some chapstick, and then arrived an hour early to Revolutionary Road, which wasn’t about food at all, but was about drinking hard liquor and constant smoking, and was quite depressing for those of us who are mothers in the crowd. 

This morning I have a wicked headache.  I guess this isn’t a surprise.

DeVine Wines and Spirits
10111 – 104 Street

We also like to shop at (and love the way the wine bottles are displayed):
Vines Riverbend Wine Merchants
2331 Rabbit Hill Road

And the tasting flights at:
4th and Vine
11358 104 Avenue

4 Comments leave one →
  1. January 18, 2009 1:07 pm

    I’m not a wine person, but I always look at the tastings at DeVine Wines when I’m there, wondering if I should go and learn about it (I’m waiting for the 101 Intro course). Thanks for sharing the details… it seems much less intimidating now.

    I think tastings are great, they make you to stop and think about what you are enjoying (wine, chocolate, coffee or anything else).

    I love DeVine Wines also… they have the best local beer selection in the downtown/university area (or somewhere easily accessible through ETS), so I head there often.

  2. January 18, 2009 3:23 pm

    I was anxious beforehand, thinking I’d be intimidated, but noooo it was a casual atmosphere. All you have to be able to do is drink wine and eat cheese. Because you all aren’t sitting at a table staring at each other, if you don’t swirl your wine, or hold your glass correctly – nobody will notice. In fact, I don’t think anybody would care…we were all pretty immersed in the tasting itself!

  3. January 19, 2009 1:34 pm

    I believe that City Centre Liquor in City Centre Mall carries Nk’Mip. They did at one point in time. But, I haven’t been there in quite a while, since I no longer live across the street, so they may have stopped carrying it.


  1. deVine wines and spirits tasting « foodie suz

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: