8.33am, Gate 50, Edmonton Airport, Alberta, Canada
I’ll be on my favourite flights in the world shortly – direct to Vancouver. It’s become a home away from home for me over the last seven travelling years, and I’m already there in my head, stretching out my legs under one of those tables in the rooftop garden at Joe Forte’s, or lining up for some of those lamb popsicles at Vij’s. Or even just snaffling one of those new blueberry bloom doughnuts that Tim Horton comes out with when it’s spring – and trundling down to the waterfront to watch the seaplanes land and take off. Yep, I like it.
But I like Edmonton too, now that I’ve had a chance to spend more than one day here. Yesterday makes two days, a year apart! Our distributor Mark Anthony did a complete portfolio tasting in the main Dreamcatcher lobby at the beautifully renovated Sawridge Inn. We did much the same as we did in Calgary – talked our faces off for about three hours – as we had another really strong turnout from the local trade. I did a Signature vertical tasting mastercalss for about 20 people before hand, which went well. The folks up this way are incredibly attentive and polite, so when they sat there soaking up both the wines and stories so intensely, I thought they were either bored stressless or really liked it! Turned out to be the latter – good o!
We showed six vintages of The Signature Cabernet Shiraz – 1991, 1993,1994, 1998, 2001, 2004. We opened two bottles of each – nothing corked, everything pretty well in shape, and only the 1991 showing the first signs of warm raisin or baked fruit on the nose indicating a touch of age. The 1993 was a gitty youngster and has softened out nicely, the 1994 is stellar and travelling very well.
The highlight of the tasting (there’s always one, and you’re never sure where it will emerge) was the comparison between the 1994 and 2004 vintages. Very similar fruit to weight powerhouses, and a nice way to set your reputation as a house that can make solid wines that age well.
We met some great folks on the day as well and ended up going back to a new wine and whisky bar/restaurant called The Bothy. It’s owned by Doug, who is a Scot from Dundee, so no surprise about the name of the place. A bothy is traditionally a small hut – lots to be found made of stone in the Scottish Highlands – that were used for overnight shelters by workers or travellers. Apparently they were also semi-legal drinking houses as well. So again – no surprise that Edmonton’s The Bothy is a cozy little corner nook on Calgary Trail where you can find a massive range of wines by the glass and whisky by the measure plus some of the best food I’ve struck on this trip. And this is why we ended up there: It’s the home stove of Edmonton’s Pie Queen – Angela Counsel – a Melbourne lass who has introduced the Australian savoury pie to this part of the world.
Just got to head off, as we’re boarding in 10minutes, so I’ll finish this off in Vancouver and send through the photos.
See ya later.