May 4, 2020
It’s probably not surprising that a lot of Albertans aren’t familiar with the Alsace wine region of France. After all, in a province where the vast majority of the wines we buy are reds, this primarily white wine-producing region might never come onto the radar for some of us. It’s time for that to change. The wines of Alsace are just as bold, complex and well rounded as some of our favourite reds.
The White Wine Region Red Wine Lovers Will Love
“Alsatian white wines are typically very high quality yet great value wines. These whites are missed by many Albertans as we tend towards red wines,” according to Mike Roberts, Sommelier Manager, Calgary Co-op Wine Spirits Beer. “The vast majority of Alsace whites are dry even though we see Riesling and Gewürztraminer on the labels. The area is also known for tremendous value sparkling wines—and great Pinot Noir.”
An Introduction to Alsace
Alsace is a small wine region in northeastern France that unfolds along the Rhine River. Bordering on both Germany and Switzerland, it has alternated between German and French control over the centuries and the area today still reflects a mix of those cultures.
The region is known for its Riesling and Gewürztraminer, but you’ll also find outstanding Pinot Gris, Muscat, Pinot Blanc and Pinot Noir.
Alsatian wines are incredibly food friendly. They have a striking ability to bring a dish alive with their light sweetness and bright vibrancy. Alsace wines tend to pair well with salty and savoury dishes such as those found in classic Bavarian cuisine: think sauerkraut, sausages with mustard and buttery roasted potatoes.
Meet the Famille!
Many of the wineries in Alsace have been there for generations and can trace their lineage back hundreds of years. Recently Co-op Wine Spirits Beer held a tasting with Jean Frederic Hugel, of Famille Hugel winery. Eight wines (seven whites, one red) were sampled as the group of tasters was entranced by Monsieur Hugel’s stories of family winemaking and his gentle and good natured ribbing of his neighbours.
The Famille Hugel wines are just one of the fine producers of Alsatian wines that are available at Calgary Co-op Wine Spirits Beer.
Kindred Spirits: Wolfberger
Wolfberger is another. This producer of quality wines from Alsace is another example of a winery making a wide range of tastes and styles, from bold and audacious to simple and easy to drink.
“We do sell lots of the Gewürztraminer and Pinot Gris,” Roberts shares. “Both are very easy drinking wines, great as libations and wines that show the breadth of the Alsace region and what you can expect for those types of wines. The Pinot Gris from Wolfberger is excellent for big meals and special occasions when there is a large spread of food, or for a hearty, savoury meal.”
Co-op feels a special kinship with Wolfberger, since it too is a co-operative, working with 450 member winegrowers in Alsace.
Learn & Sample the Wines of Alsace
If you’re looking to learn more about Alsace and expand your palette, ask one of Co-op’s sommeliers for an Alsatian recommendation.
When we think of the world’s wine regions, France, Italy, Spain, South America and California come to mind.
It may not feel like spring is coming yet, but soon enough it’ll be here.
Many of us are wondering if our favourite places like restaurants and cafes will still be around once the COVID-19 pandemic finally releases its grip...
Co-op Wine Spirits Beer sommeliers are happy to introduce the latest offering in The Social Collection wine lineup.
Easter celebrations may look a little different this year, but whether you’re putting together an Easter dinner for immediate family or looping in friends via...
Though it may not be as well-known globally as the Bordeaux region of France or Tuscany in Italy, British Columbia has a dynamic, diverse, and...
If you pass by the shelf, it’s a bottle that immediately catches your eye among all the dark glass standing sentinel among the rows.
For some folks, Valentine’s Day is considered an old fashioned and possibly outdated celebration.
If you or anyone in your family is a die-hard football fan, you’re likely already planning for the biggest game of the year.
As those holiday bills start rolling in, many of us are feeling like a thrifty January is a smart way to go.
The holidays, or other times of celebration, are usually when we turn our eyes to Champagne.
We’ve probably all heard of fondue, but how many of us have actually tried to make it, or even wondered where it came from? The...
Let’s admit it—for many of us, one of the exciting things about the holidays is the opportunity to share fun and festive drinks with friends.
As you’re working away at your holiday shopping list, there’s always a few folks who are hard to buy for.
When you’re planning a special meal, you want everything to be just right.
There is something so festive and satisfying about enjoying cheese and wine at parties.
Hosting an at-home wine tasting is a great way to gather your friends over the holidays and do something fun and memorable.
If you’re tasked with making a dish for a holiday potluck, you might be wondering if you should bring the same old tired spinach dip.
You have to admit there’s something especially festive about the idea of baking cookies around the holidays.
Are you the planner in your family or at the office? If you’re just not up for being the host or the organizer again this...
The holidays are just around the corner and in today’s globetrotting society, so many of us live far away from our families and friends.
If you’re the type of person who throws awesome holiday parties you’ll want to make sure your supplies are in order.
Looking for a one-of-a-kind gift idea that keeps giving year round? Consider gifting your special someone or valued employee a Vin Bin at Co-op Wine...
Looking for a little something different? Want a beverage that feels a little festive this holiday season? Fallentimber Meadery has some extra special offerings that...
It was an omen that became a family legend.
Our sommeliers are thrilled to share that The Social Collection wines, a Co-op Wine Spirits Beer exclusive, have recently made headlines for their award winning taste.
If you’ve ever seen the wine flick Sideways, you’ll know there are two wines that are pitted against each other; Pinot Noir and Merlot.
While many of us might have that dream of running away and buying a winery, it actually takes a tonne of work and many years...
You'd think a winery with a name like Red Rooster might have a feathery mascot on site, ready to crow the arrival of visitors.
You’ve got to respect a person who’s not afraid to air their own dirty laundry.
Sword fighting isn’t usually a trait you’d associate with a wine entrepreneur. But Joseph Luckhurst is different from a lot of wine guys.
When he was born, Graham Nordin's father bought a case of port that bore the same name he'd just bestowed upon his son.
You may think naming a winery after the process of oxidizing decay is a bad idea.
Rosé sales may be booming in Alberta, but it was not always that way.
Red wine drinkers need some refreshment too!Let’s face it, the vast majority of Albertans love the big, bold, full throttle reds most of the year...
Whether you consider yourself a collector, connoisseur, or just someone who wants to learn more about wine, Co-op Wine Spirits Beer's new World of Wine...
Rosé wine seems less pretentious than white or red wine. You rarely hear anyone—even wine professionals—alienate others by going on and on about how pink...
This romantic region’s pink wines have never been so popular
If the last rosé you had was called white zinfandel, it’s time to get re-acquainted.
You’ve likely heard about the folks who dreamed of one day owning a winery, and end up buying one on a whim, with little to...
For some toddlers, learning how to say ‘butterfly’, or ‘banana’ might be a feat. But Dave Carson taught his three-year-old son some decidedly more complex words.
Justin Hall knows the wine business from the ground up. As Winemaker for Nk’Mip Cellars in B.C., he’s had his fair share of experiences in...
Have you ever hidden something away, saving it for just the right moment? Whether it’s a birthday present purchased in anticipation of a milestone age,...
You already know Co-op Wine Spirits Beer as the place you can pick up everything from a great Wednesday wine, to a special celebratory bottle.
When Uncommon Cider set out to make an Alberta-centric cider they knew they wanted to be unique, and keep their focus on western Canadian ingredients.
There’s a scene in the cartoon food film Ratatouille where the protagonist rat is tasting flavours; strawberries and cheese.
B.C. has some of Canada’s best wine growing territory. Summerhill Estate Winery has been growing grapes and producing wines in British Columbia since 1991.
We love cocktails that give people unexpected, but pleasant surprises. Using champagne, sparkling wine or prosecco is a perfect way to set a festive tone...
Hockey fans know Mario Lemieux for many reasons. The hockey great’s best game was also one that was voted one of the greatest hockey moments...
Sure, wine is great by itself, but did you know you can also use it to create delicious cocktails that you and all of your...
Need a bottle of wine to bring to a holiday celebration, dinner or the office holiday wine pool? Don't just pick up something cheap, or familiar.
When it comes to the international wine industry, you might assume that wine makers from all over thew world are aching to move to France...
It may seem odd for a family to take on a business where the workers could kill you.
Thanksgiving is the perfect time to get together with family and friends, and while there’s always lots of catching up to do, once that’s over,...
So many wine drinkers dream of running away from their dull daily lives and starting a winery.
Summer is in full swing and patios, terraces, and backyards are the entertainment venue of choice.
The Calgary Stampede is many things; officially it's a chance to take in the rodeo and celebrate community spirit through shows, rides, events, and pancake breakfasts.
There's something so summery about Rosé. This wine which ranges from blush to raspberry-hued evokes the colour of garden blooms, dusky summer sunsets and fresh...
Do you find wine enjoyable, but intimidating? With wine regions spanning the globe, it’s easy to feel overwhelmed by all the choices out there.
Easter is when families spend time together and often share a big meal.
For many Canadians, St Patrick’s Day is an excuse to wear green, while kids cut shamrocks from paper and fashion cardboard leprechaun hats.
Co-op Wine Spirits Beer is more than just a store. It’s an experience. Shop here and you’ll get education, assistance, and great customer service.
The Academy Awards or the Oscars are known as the biggest night in Hollywood.
February may seem like the dead of winter, but it's actually a month of wonderful celebrations.
It's resolution time! And if yours is to make smarter choices and maybe cut back on some vices, we've got some ideas when it comes...
The food is picked out, your place is all set up, you even have a sweet playlist ready.
With so much activity going on in the house, so many people to entertain, and so many timers and buzzers and pots to watch, the...
Pinot Noir is said to be one of the most difficult, yet rewarding grapes to grow.
Many visitors to our stores are unaware of the world of champagne alternatives for every taste and budget, because champagne has become a catch-all term...
What does a gift card, a rare bottle of scotch, and a taster pack of beer all have in common? They all make great gifts,...
Handling all the drinks for your holiday party can be daunting.
There is nothing better to sip on during the cold festive season than a warm glass of mulled wine.
As the nights get a little cooler and you begin to reach for a sweater for the first time in a while, you may notice...
Whether it’s their award-winning Syrah or a unique blend from their small lots program, Sandhill Estate Vineyard does not disappoint.
Prosecco is one of my all-time favourite beverages to sip on in the summer, or anytime of the year for that matter.
There’s nothing better to sip on in the sun than a crisp, cold glass of Rosé wine.
ARGENTINA AND ALBERTA: KINDRED COWBOY SPIRITS
This week, Canadians will celebrate the 150th anniversary of our dominion formation, when the country established its confederation in 1867.
As the end of our journey exploring Canada’s bounty of alcoholic beverages draws near, we want to go out with a splash.
It's known as Canada's left coast and if you've spent any time out there you'll know B.C. has a whole different vibe.
As we explore all the different ways to toast Canada’s 150th, the wines of BC loom large, and for very good reasons.
How about something a little out of the ordinary to toast Canada’s 150th – wine from Alberta.
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...
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.
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...
The perfect way to celebrate Canada’s birthday? With reds and whites of course.
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).
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,...
Syrah or Shiraz great for the Grilling Season.
Expansive, not Expensive!
Taking Another Look as Beaujolais Wine
WHAT CAN THE COLOUR OF YOUR WINE TELL YOU?
KING OF WINES. WINE OF KINGS.
CHOOSING THE RIGHT STEMWARE TO MAKE YOUR WINE SING
Just like your mother always told you, “There are some words that are simply inappropriate to use.”
What’s your style?
POPPING THE CORK ON THE THREE WAYS TO CREATE SPARKLING WINE
Pairing with tricky food styles doesn't have to put a halt to a great food and wine experience.
Are you feeling confused and mystified by all the "rules" of food and wine pairing? Let us help with our hints and tips.
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...