Co-op's Iron Sommelier

May 2, 2017

It's time to break out the bubbly at Co-op. Mike Roberts, Co-op's Sommelier Manager was the overall winner at the city's annual Iron Sommelier Competition, presented by CityPalate Magazine.

The friendly competition pits local wine experts against each other for bragging rights as the city's best when it comes to pairing food and wine, or food and beer. The goal of Iron Sommelier is to make the best food-wine and food-beer pairings for a dish prepared by a Calgary restaurant.

Roberts relished the challenge. As a certified sommelier, he says he lives for the art of finding the perfect beverage for a great meal.

Mike iron Sommelier

"What's got me hooked, the reason I went into the wine industry and became a sommelier is because there's so much more to wine than just being a drink,” says Roberts. “There's geography and culture and of course you learn about food, language, history and civilizations. The world of wine is about all of those things. That's what's behind the wine label."

This year, the Iron Sommelier competitors gathered at Modern Steak in Kensington where the chefs created a flat iron steak dish with apple cider vinegar-braised cabbage and a side of braised beef tortellini pasta. With those different flavours and textures on one plate, it was game-on for the sommeliers.

21945Roberts chose a red; Le Tense Sassella Valtellina (available for $26.99 at Calgary-area Co-op Wine Spirits Beer stores) as his wine pairing.

"My tasting note on the dish was that it reminded me of these Scottish meat pies and HP sauce," laughs Roberts, who says that combination reminded him of his youth. "Because the braised cabbage had baking spices and cinnamon and stuff it was really savoury and it reminded me of that. The braised cabbage was a dominant flavour because you could really taste the apple cider vinegar. You need a wine that is also going to be potent and flavourful, so I chose with a good sweet and sourness that matched the sweet and sour notes of the cabbage."

Roberts says that when selecting wines for a meal, the goal is either to compliment a dish or contrast it. Contrasting it can be risky, so Roberts opted to match and enhance the flavours on the plate for this competition.

Competitors also selected a beer that would work well with the same dish. Roberts went with a dark wheat beer from Germany, the Weihenstephaner Hefeweissbier Dunkel (also found at Calgary-area Co-op Wine Spirits beer stores).

weihenstephaner hefeweissbier dunkel 500ml bottle 600x601

"With that cabbage, the sourness was a big part of the dish and it's quite flavourful, so I chose a beer from Germany; a wheat beer that gives you a citrus note, a bit of sourness. It’s also quite malty and a darker beer so you get this sweet-sour thing happening."

The judges agreed and selected Roberts' pairings as their favourites.

Roberts has been a Sommelier since 2009 and has worked with Co-op for the last six years.

"It's fun to work for Co-op because we're not a boutique and we're not hoity-toity or snobby wine sommeliers. We're a full-service liquor store; we've got wine in the store for under ten bucks and I'm just as happy to help you find that. But we also carry wine going into four digits. Co-op is a leader in our industry and our market.”

 

CityPalate published the full details on the competition including Roberts' success in the May/June issue, which is available for free pickup in Co-op Wine Spirits Beer stores across the city.

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When it comes to beating the heat of the summer we can rely on some tried, tested and trusted wine styles to keep our palates...

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Prairie Pairings

Prairie Pairings

When we think of the Prairies, we think rolling hills, miles upon miles of wheat, soybeans or corn blowing in the wind and a horizon...

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Great Western Brewing Company's Inspiring Past

Great Western Brewing Company's Inspiring Past

It’s a story of determination, camaraderie, and a serious love of brewing beer.

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Why Wayne Gretzky is a Natural for Our 150th All-Star Liquor Team

Why Wayne Gretzky is a Natural for Our 150th All-Star Liquor Team

In this year of celebrating 150 years of our great nation, we will pause and reflect on many things that make our nation great. Like hockey.

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Ontario Food and Drink Pairings

Ontario Food and Drink Pairings

For some, it's the de facto centre of the universe for Canada, but others cast a more wary eye on Ontario, which can often be...

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The Perfect Way to Celebrate Canada’s Birthday

The Perfect Way to Celebrate Canada’s Birthday

The perfect way to celebrate Canada’s birthday? With reds and whites of course.

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A Booming Brewing Industry

A Booming Brewing Industry

It's fair to say that the craft beer industry in North America has exploded over the past decade.

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Molson Canadian

Molson Canadian

Canadians have a great reputation both at home and abroad, as a peaceful nation, with a polite population (“sorry” for everything), hockey crazy, and beer loving.

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Vive la Quebec Libations

Vive la Quebec Libations

Quebec plays a starring role in Canada’s history (some of Canada’s earliest settlements were Quebec City in 1608, and Montreal in 1642).

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French Cuisine and Libations

French Cuisine and Libations

Some of the most famous 'Canadian' foods have their origins in La Belle Province.

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Toast the 150th with Brews Canada’s Founding Fathers May Have Sipped

Toast the 150th with Brews Canada’s Founding Fathers May Have Sipped

In 1867, Canada became a country with four provinces; New Brunswick, Nova Scotia, Ontario and Quebec.

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A Toast to the Coast!

A Toast to the Coast!

When the world’s largest ice cubes float past your door each day, you might have a different outlook on life, and cocktails.

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Gather Your Friends and Throw a Ceilidh

Gather Your Friends and Throw a Ceilidh

There is a long-standing tradition on Canada's East Coast. When there's a celebration to be had, Maritimers throw a kitchen party or ceilidh (pronounced kay-lee).

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Let's Kick Off our Tour Across Canada with a Kitchen Party

Let's Kick Off our Tour Across Canada with a Kitchen Party

On July 1st Canada marks the 150th Anniversary of Confederation, where the British Colonies, New Brunswick and Nova Scotia joined in one Dominion.

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Craft Beer from Across the Globe

Craft Beer from Across the Globe

There’s no denying that craft beer has exploded in popularity over the past five years.

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Big Boots Brew Day

Big Boots Brew Day

Did you know that brewing beer was at one time a woman’s job, not a mans? In fact, in ancient Egypt beer was traditionally brewed...

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Syrah or Shiraz great for the Grilling Season.

Syrah or Shiraz great for the Grilling Season.

Syrah or Shiraz great for the Grilling Season.

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The Voyage to Discover Spanish Wines

The Voyage to Discover Spanish Wines

Expansive, not Expensive!

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Taking Another Look at Beaujolais Wine

Taking Another Look at Beaujolais Wine

Taking Another Look as Beaujolais Wine

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Shades of Red

Shades of Red

WHAT CAN THE COLOUR OF YOUR WINE TELL YOU?

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Celebrating Over 300 Years of Chianti

Celebrating Over 300 Years of Chianti

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Wine Pairings with Your Turkey Dinner Feast

Wine Pairings with Your Turkey Dinner Feast

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Barolo, Revered as the Wine of Kings

Barolo, Revered as the Wine of Kings

KING OF WINES. WINE OF KINGS.

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Loire Valley

Loire Valley

LOIRE VALLEY

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Choosing the Right Stemware

Choosing the Right Stemware

CHOOSING THE RIGHT STEMWARE TO MAKE YOUR WINE SING

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Why the 'Sweetness' in Wine is Misunderstood

Why the 'Sweetness' in Wine is Misunderstood

Just like your mother always told you, “There are some words that are simply inappropriate to use.”

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What's Your Style

What's Your Style

What’s your style?

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Behind the Bubbles

Behind the Bubbles

POPPING THE CORK ON THE THREE WAYS TO CREATE SPARKLING WINE

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Alsace in Winter

Alsace in Winter

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Asparagus, Ice Cream and Wasabi, Oh My!

Asparagus, Ice Cream and Wasabi, Oh My!

Pairing with tricky food styles doesn't have to put a halt to a great food and wine experience.

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Quick and Easy Wine Pairing Tips

Quick and Easy Wine Pairing Tips

Are you feeling confused and mystified by all the "rules" of food and wine pairing? Let us help with our hints and tips.

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Discover the World of Gluten Free Beers

Discover the World of Gluten Free Beers

Gluten free has typically meant that beer was no longer an option.

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Stout to Lager: A Quick Guide to Beer Styles

Stout to Lager: A Quick Guide to Beer Styles

Confused about all the different types of beer? This is an easy guide to a couple of the common types.

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How to Pair With Beer

How to Pair With Beer

Learn a little bit more about how to cook and pair different foods with beer.

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Wine and Chocolate Pairings

Wine and Chocolate Pairings

Wine and chocolate can be paired together to create a perfect harmony in your mouth, but when pairing it is important to keep in mind...

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