Buyers’ Guide to VINTAGES – September 30, 2017

Thanksgiving Pairs, Global Reds and Canada’s Best Sommelier
By Sara d’Amato with notes from the team

Sara d'Amato

Sara d’Amato

Instead of focusing this fall column on the annual turkey and wine pairing dilemma, I though it may be more worthwhile to turn the tables and make perfect pairs of wine for your festive fare. This upcoming VINTAGES release offers a very mini Thanksgiving feature as well as an “All in the Family” grouping of wines from well-known family-owned producers such as Cave Spring Cellars, Famille Perrin and Torres. This is a cutesy way to build a feature based on longstanding consumer favourites of good quality, but there is very little in this grouping you haven’t seen before. Regardless, there are plenty of gems to be found and we’ve sourced the best from across the globe in an attempt to make holiday entertaining that much easier.

When choosing wine for dinner gatherings, we generally think about the individual merits of wines rather than how they may compliment or follow each other. Here are a few pairs that would make a statement side-by-side at your table this Thanksgiving.

Thanksgiving Sets

Local families

Showcase local wines from family-owned wineries this Thanksgiving as you celebrate with your own kin. Although both of these wines can stand on their own, they offer complimentary weight and flavours. Cave Spring Cellars 2015 Estate Bottled Chardonnay Musqué ($16.95) is consistently widely appealing with ethereal weight, a bouquet of fresh blossoms on the nose and a balanced palate. Due to such balance, it will compliment everything from spinach salads to gravy drizzled poultry. …

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Canada’s New Best Sommelier

Ever wonder what it takes to become Canada’s Best Sommelier? Carl Villeneuve Lepage of Toqué in Montreal needs to wonder no more as he was awarded the title two weeks ago in Vancouver. Nine competitors from across the country rose to the occasion after successfully achieving this title in their respective provinces. Of the nine, three were shortlisted after a written theory exam and blind tasting.

WineAlign’s own John Szabo MS was on hand to judge the competition along with Veronique Rivest of Soif and Pascaline Lepeltier MS from New York and former Best Sommelier of the World finalist. Friends of WineAlign and judges of the Canadian Wine Awards DJ Kearney and Michelle Bouchard were instrumental in organizing the competition.

The finalists were subject to a grueling on stage exam, in front of a live audience and viewing parties in major cities across the country streaming the competition. The competitors were grilled on wine and food pairings, given minutes to identify errors in wine lists and were subject to timed blind tastings, among the many challenges.

For the first time ever, the Best Sommelier of the Americas will take place in Canada, in May of 2018 in Québec. Villeneuve-Lepage will represent Canada at the competition and if successful, at the Best Sommelier of the World competition in Belgium in 2019. In second and third place respectively, were Quebec born Pier Alexis Souliere of Manresa Restaurant in Los Gatos, California and Ontario’s own Steve Robinson of Atelier Restaurant in Ottawa.

Stay tuned next week for John Szabo’s Tuscan picks after he and Michael Godel return from a week under the sun.


Sara d’Amato

Use these quick links for access to all of our Top Picks in the New Release. Non-Premium members can select from all release dates 30 days prior.

Szabo’s Smart Buys
Lawrason’s Take
Sara’s Sommelier Selection
Michael’s Mix

New Release and VINTAGES Preview