From a blistering hot afternoon on the patio to hibernating in front of a fireplace after a record snowfall, there’s a wine for that! Picking a wine out of a vast selection may seem pretty intimidating, but when you narrow down some parameters, your choice can become considerably easier.


Hopping into Spring Wines

When I think about spring, I think about bluebird days on the ski hill. When I think about premium skiing, I think about the French Alps. Did you know that the French Alps also grow premium wine? With a cool climate and high altitude, the Savoie is a premium growing region for French grapes Jacquère and Gamay. Both varieties are essential for Après-Ski activities.

Jacquère

Jacquère is a white grape variety native to Savoie packed with thirst quenching acidity and citrus fruit. I crave it after a crisp spring day on the slopes. This is a must indulge with cheese fondue in a log cabin.

Gamay

Gamay is a red grape variety widely known for its light and fruity characteristics and made famous in Beaujolais. The Gamay in Savoie shows notes of raspberry, plum and violet pushing up through freshly thawed earth. This wine pairs perfectly with a cheese and charcuterie board, sore quads, and rosy cheeks.

Not a ski-bunny? That’s okay! Enjoy either of these wines after a long day of gardening or spring cleaning.


Summer Lovin’ this Wine

Summer sippers, patio pounders…summer is the season of crushable wines. Crisp, cold, citrus forward white wines are a classic to contrast the heavy heat and beaming sun, but we also have some other options to keep us cool.

Albariño

Pinot Grigio, Sauvignon Blanc and, if I’m feeling fancy, Chablis (unoaked Chardonnay) are some of my favorites to crush on a sunny day due to their easy drinkability. If you’re looking for something outside of the classic options, Albariño is a Spanish grape that comes from Rias Baixas in the North next to the Portuguese border. It boasts refreshing citrus notes and white flowers on the nose followed by just-ripe peach and apricot on the palate. This wine is awesome with a shrimp cocktail picnic by the river.

Rosé

Rosé is a go-to for the hot and dry summer months in Calgary. Rosé wines are made from red grapes with little time left to ferment on the skins (normally no longer than a few hours). This gives the wine a pink hue and light fruity flavours without depositing too much tannin (grape skins) into the finished wine. This leaves us with a fun, pretty, and refreshing style of wine that has a high crushability level. Rosé can be made with many different grape varieties, but the Provence-style blend of Grenache, Mourvèdre, and Cinsault takes my top pick. These wines are dry, crisp, cheap, and cheerful. This style of rosé can stand alone with a good chill but would be complimented well with a plate of cold grapefruit and a romance novel.

Pinot Nero

If you’re looking for a red option for the summer, the Italian style of pinot noir aptly called “pinot nero” in Italian is a fun take on a lighter bodied, lighter tannin wine. This wine is bursting with tart red cherries, cranberries, and field strawberries. A glass of this is extra refreshing when chilled before drinking with hot dogs by the lake in Invermere.


Fall-ing for Wine

Fall, though fleeting in Calgary, is my all-time favorite season. The air turns crisp and everything is red wine coloured. We take out our toques while simultaneously trying to soak up the last bit of warmth we’ll get before we hunker down for the inevitable winter snow Armageddon. So, let’s dig into our cellars or stop by our favourite local wine shop for some fabulous Fall wines.

White Burgundy

I will use any excuse to open up a white burgundy, and fall is the perfect season for the occasion. If you’re “not a fan of chardonnay” but you’ve never tried a white burgundy, I promise your opinion will change. White burgundy is a wine with beautiful complexity and texture, which makes it perfect for fall without yet diving into the reds. My favourite white burgundies show intricate notes of lemon curd, ripe orchard apple and pear, almond flour pastry and vanilla. Pair with seafood pasta after back-to-school shopping.

Garnacha

Speaking of different styles and variations, grenache is also one of those grapes that can take on many forms. From the famed Chateauneuf-du-Pape to the Spanish Garnacha, this wine is light in the glass but medium bodied and powerful on the palate. Grenache boasts lively red cherry and raspberry with a cinnamon spice reminiscent of hot apple cider at the pumpkin patch. Its brisk acidity makes this wine perfectly refreshing but still comforting as we transition into the cold months. Enjoy with hamburger soup post trick-or-treating.

Zinfandel

What screams Fall more than barbequed ribs and a big, jammy red wine? Zinfandel is one of my favourite Fall wines known for its dark, smoky fruit characteristics and sweet tobacco spice. Made popular in California (and known as ‘Primitivo’ in Italy), it has grippy tannins and decadent body. Not to be confused with its counterpart, White Zinfandel (which is a medium-sweet rose wine), this red is high in alcohol and pairs beautifully with charred meats or vegetables and anything Cajun. A wine glass full of Zin in your left hand and BBQ tongs in your right is the perfect Fall match.


Winter Wonder-Wine

Winter is a precious time for family gatherings with great food, ice skating, snowpeople, and of course, celebrating the new year! The longest and most prominent season in Calgary is also the best season to drink some cozy, body-warming wines.

Shiraz

Though Australia may be hot, they are famous for the full-bodied Shiraz perfect for the winter. Shiraz is the same grape as Syrah, but there are regional and stylistic differences that make each wine unique. Shiraz typically comes from a warmer climate, demonstrating riper fruit notes and distinct black pepper spiciness. Bring a bottle of Shiraz to a holiday dinner party dressed in deep ruby velvet. Spicy!

Bordeaux

Bordeaux wine is a historic red blend featuring Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Cabernet Franc, and a handful of other permitted grapes grown in Bordeaux, France. These wines are known for their incredible ageability and complex flavours due to their high tannins and earthy characteristics. This famous blend is also called a “Meritage” in Canadian wineries. Bordeaux is the perfect wine to pair with a steak or lamb dinner alongside savory mushrooms and mashed potatoes. Pull this wine out of your cellar 10 years after its vintage or decant it for a couple of hours while you shovel your driveway.

Champagne

Every holiday season needs a bottle of bubbles. From celebrations at midnight to starting off your evening with something fun, popping a bottle of Champagne never disappoints. Sparkling wine comes in many different styles depending on grape varieties, wine-making styles, and regional naming laws. Champagne must be grown in the Champagne region in northern France and has 7 permitted grape varieties. My favourite styles are “blanc de blancs,” meaning they are entirely composed of white grapes (“blanc de noirs” is composed of black grapes). These wines have gorgeous, pronounced notes of green apple pie and finesse. Drink while wearing sequins or sweatpants, the choice is yours!

At the end of the day, wine is such a versatile beverage. Go ahead, enjoy a Shiraz on the patio or a white wine with steak. What you enjoy is the most important thing. Whatever makes wine a little less scary is the right wine for you. So grab your sunnies, bundle up, plant your tomatoes, carve your pumpkins, and most important of all, keep your corkscrews close by. Cheers to a wine filled year!