Monthly Archives: February 2012

The Bothy – a warm corner in chilly Edmonton

3.18pm, Tuesday 28th Feb, Jasper Avenue, Edmonton, Alberta, Canada

OK – back from the streets, and I’ll pick up where I left off – about to introduce you to a great Scots mate of ours, Doug Townshend. He just happens to own one of the nicer holes in the world that we know about – The Bothy – out on the Calgary Trail here in Edmonton. We met Doug two years ago at our first Yalumba in Edmonton trade show, and he adopted the Signature right then and there with The Bothy only open at the time for 6 months, and has had it on the list since – along with 160 malt whiskys!! It’s one of the best places to hide out when the snowdrifts are piled high across the city – at least that would be a good excuse for why you had trouble ever leaving The Bothy! Here’s the sort of food that Chris the chef turns out – plus they make a magic Beef & Mushroom pie or Chicken & Leek pie – Australian style. The Beef & Mushroom made it onto a recent list of 20 best things in Edmonton list. I shouted our sharp wine boy rep in Edmonton – Curtis – one of these pies for dinner, and he did not speak for at least 10 minutes that it took to put it away! Decision endorsed!

Here’s the meat and condiment plate that we ordered for the wines we presented this trip. You can choose up to 5 options from a good long list, and then the sauces, chutneys and mustard concoctions from a local home cook The Jam Lady get added according to what you’ve chosen.


Going clockwise from the centre : arugula and basil pesto, directly above that is the sweet curry mustard, to the left is the pork rillette, then in the top right corner is the severely fabulous Zinfandel and garlic jelly – magic with the meats and cheeses, down to the Hungarian salami, blazing sweet Chilli and carrot jelly, calabrese salami, honey horseradish, bresaola cured meat, above that is The Jam Lady’s own Branston style chutney pickle, finishing in the top left corner with freshly shaved proscuito. We had the 2009 Y Viognier, 2009 Bush Vine Grenache, 2009 Barossa Shiraz Viognier, 2009 Scribbler Cabernet Shiraz, and the last bottle of 2004 Signature that we retired at two thirds full because we sold the complete vintage out this morning. Each one of those wines found a friend on the antipasto plate!

The good news is that we’ll see Doug and Chris on the weekend, as they’re coming to the Aussie BBQ which is part of the Vancouver Wine Fair program – being held this Saturday lunch time at the Vancouver Rowing Club. But for the record…..we love being on the shelf at The Bothy – nice folks and even nicer hideout! Thanks a huge amount, and we’ll see you boys both Saturday.


PS That’s the 2004 Signature fifth from the left – the long yellow label.

Urban Snowdrifts Edmonton

10.16am, Tuesday 28th Feb, Jasper Avenue, Edmonton, Alberta, Canada

Morning folks, This is our last day in snowy Edmonton on this flying visit, as we head through to Vancouver tomorrow for the fabulous International Playhouse Wine Fair. Yesterday we had a great run though, as we battled our way through the urban snow drifts! We got off to an excellent start with the extremely bubbly in love with what she’s doing Irene at Sunterra Cellar – go and have a chat, shes tops and has the gourmet food right next door. On to meet Shafiq and Shirin at City Centre Wines & Spirits – check out their Peter Lehmann fan club wine shelves – it’s pretty special to see such an outpost of Barossa support so far from Tanunda!

Our meet the journalist lunch was at the Hardware Grill with Mary Bailey who is the editor of The Tomato – “the flavor of Edmonton’s food scene”. We had the 2009 Eden Valley Viognier, 2009 Bush Vine Grenache, 2009 Barossa Shiraz Viognier and 2009 The Scribbler Cabernet Shiraz blend on board – so I went with the Short Ribs on the menu. In fact, they are the ” Red wine braised short ribs, root vegetables, sour cream mashed potatoes and black coffee BBQ sauce”


Here’s the good news – the Barossa Shiraz Viognier is a perfect match for the short ribs. Just the touch of sweet fruit and spice, a bit velvety too – and wraps itself easily around those fall apart ribs. We covered a lot of wine growing ground with Mary, plus made a video for fun – thanks a huge amount gal for making time for us when you’re still recovering from surgery……it was a nice catch up, and we look forward to catching up again without such a long time “between drinks”.

And then we parked up in front of The Bothy for dinner before heading off to the ‘Sublime’ Wine Store for the consumer tasting with their wine club. I’ll tell you about The Bothy visit this afternoon when I get in from our trade calls.

See ya in a few hours.

We’re in Edmonton Oiler country now

9.27am, Monday 27th Feb, Jasper Avenue, Edmonton, Alberta, Canada

Ice hockey is the national sporting obsession here in Canada folks – much like rugby is in New Zealand. Here in Edmonton, even the Tim Hortons folk get on board – here’s the local team having its own doughnut! Go the Edmonton Oilers!


Welcome to snowy Edmonton … it’s -13 degrees C!

3.03pm, Sunday 26th Feb, Edmonton Airport, Alberta, Canada



And downtown we go, and this is last night’s snow dump – pretty much calf deep snow all over the place. This is me making big footprints in the little drift out front where we’re staying, at the Union Bank Inn.


And there’s my footprints from my hotel room window:


And then it’s off down the street in search of an early dinner:


And I find that the Sunday special is roast beef and vegetables at the Sherlock Holmes pub!


And now it’s the chores – catch up the receipts and business cards from the last week, wash the socks in the sink, and get an early night – with the Academy Awards about to start in about 20 minutes.

See ya when we’re out and about in Edmonton tomorrow.

Happy Birthday, Johnny Cash

10.53am, Sunday 26th Feb, Gate 52, Denver Airport, Colorado, USA


Morning, folks, it’s right on 32F or 0 degrees Celcius outside in the Denver sunshine, and I’m halfway on the trip through to Edmonton – in the Canadian province of Alberta. This bar is Lee’s Liquor Lounge, and you’ll find it on the corner of Glenwood & 11th Street – just like Dale Watson the Texas Troubadour tells us in the song that he wrote about the place. It’s an oasis of Americana, and if you haven’t been, go quick before the fun police find it! Last night we were singing along with Scotty and The Country Killers in her tribute to The Man In Black, and all was good in the world!

See ya when we’re back in the Commonwealth … and thanks Twin Cities – Minneapolis & St Paul – we love ya heaps!

PS thanks also to the Denver International Airport for the free wi fi!

New World and Old World wine style tasting – Minneapolis

5.25pm, Saturday 25th Feb, South 6th Street, Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA

Afternoon, folks – just in from the ice air outside after a terrific tasting over at the new – open for only 14 days – Eat Street diner in South Minneapolis. We did something a bit off the wall with our Yalumba wines: compared and contrasted to similar things from the Old World – specifically France – that we’ve pretty much used for inspiration when it comes to making these wine styles.

I have notes and will put them up tomorrow, but here’s what we did:




Dippy Eggs at Ike’s in Minneapolis

12.24pm, Saturday 25th Feb, South 6th Street, Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA

Just about to head out to the Yalumba vs The Old World red wine tasting lunch, but this a quick one for Robin, who owns and runs our new distributor in Chillyville – my new name for Minneapolis! I know it’s not been much of a winter by local standards – this time last year they’d had 9 feet of snow, this year only a few inches! – but I’m very grateful all the same. It’s 20 degrees F out there in the bright sunshine, which is MINUS 6 degrees C … and I’m getting all of those minus bits!

But I headed out for breakfast a few doors down the road at Ike’s Cocktail Bar with their famous brunch. You start with a “gooey caramel cinnamon roll the size of your head”, but I went with two poached soft runny eggs and toast that I buttered myself and cut into ‘soldiers’ or strips – to dip in the egg. So here you go Robin – this is what Dippy Eggs & Soldiers look like. All I needed was some Vegemite on the soldiers and it would have been the breakfast choice of champions.


Here’s the sticky bun I didn’t eat………