Welcome to Andrew Hilton Wine
Andrew Hilton Wine and Spirits is Southern Alberta's destination for fine wines, spirits and beer since 1985. In addition to having one of Southern Alberta's Largest and Best Wine Selections, we endeavor to provide a fun, relaxed, and educational approach to help you find what you're looking for.
- Over 1100 wines from around the world, many of which are exclusives. From the classics to the truly eclectic, we truly have something for every palate.
- Southern Alberta's largest selection of Single Malt Whiskey, with 190+ different whiskies available year-round.
- A full range of Domestic, Import, and Micro-brewed beers.
September News: Rockford is Back & Scotch Season Starts Soon!
Some News of Note:
Rockford is Back! - Australia's bst kept secret has returned to Alberta - with a surprisingly large release of their best-selling wines. For 18 months we have been waiting for another release from Rockford - whose wines are made in a tiny winery that's as much a museum of 18th and 19th century winemaking equipment as it is a functioning winery. This extremely old fashioned and hands-on approach to winemaking results in some truly world class wines.
The August Organic Sale is OVER! - But look for 30 NEW wines On Sale for the month of September from fantastic wineries like Glaetzer, Ochoa, Dominio Dostares, and Wild Goose just to name a few.
Scotch Tastings begin September 18th! - Break out the haggis and dust off the bagpipes because our 15th season of our Free Fall Whiskey Weekends begins September 18th! Being as this is our 30th Anniversary, we ALREADY have 4 Guest Speakers lined up for this fall, and we're not done yet. Full Schedule is due to be released Tuesday, September 15th.
August Organic Wine Sale Has Begun!
Our organic section needs some love! Some of our best wines in the store are hiding in the organic section, and I yet I see so many people walk on past it without a second look. CARM, Joncier, Luigi Bosca, and two of our best cheap Bordeaux sit unloved, spurned like the rest of their organic brethren, while people willingly spend money on Apothic Red...
Well no more - We're putting every organic red, white, and rosé in the store on sale for $2-5 dollars off. And I think you folks will be surprised at just how many top-class wines we really have from around the world in our Organic Rack. If you're looking for a shortlist of top choices, I would most highly recommend:
CARM Douro Classico
Goisot St. Bris Exogyra Virgula
Covert Farms Rosé
Cono Sur Organic Carmenere/Cabernet
CARM Douro Reserva
Luigi Bosca Reserva Malbec
Our New Growler Bar is Live and Awesome!
In case you haven't been through the store lately, we have a gorgeous new Growler Bar with a top of the line Counterpressure Filler head to guarantee you the freshest, most carbonated, highest-quality growler fills available in Southern Alberta.
This means that we can fill growlers without foam, which means that the beer in the bottle is better carbonated, AND allows us to lower our prices quite substantially.
We will continue to support local breweries, so you will still see plenty of Wild Rose, Village, and other local brewers, but with this new system we can now offer beer from Deschutes, Gigantic, Lagunitas, and many many more!
Thank You Lethbridge!
We are Best of the Best for Liquor Stores in 2015!
This Friday!!!: Bill Bishop from Steele Wines
Our Favourite Winemaker is Back for One NIght Only!
Oenologist, Global Sales Director, and all-around pretty cool guy Bill Bishop returns to Lethbridge this Friday for a tasting of the always wonderful Steele Wines from Lake County, California. We will be hosting Bill from 4:00PM - 7:00PM this Friday, March 27th, and we will be opening a broad range of his award winning wines.
For those of you who don't know Bill - he is a trained winemaker who has been the global sales director for Steele Wines since the 1980s - his wealth of knowledge, experience, and his familiarity with the history and people of the region make him one of our most engaging guest speakers.
So we invite you to join us for an exceptional evening with one of our very favourite people.
Rare Drams Tasting with Bob Kyle: February 3rd, 2015
Our First Scotch Tasting of 2015!!!!
Rare Drams is one of our very favourite suppliers; they import from some of the very best Independent Bottlers out there including Douglas Laing and Carn Mor, and distilleries such as Tomintoul and Glencadam.This tasting will be of six officialSingle Malts, plus a very special 7th whiskey, which will be announced at the event itself. The tasting will be hosted by Robert (Bob) Kyle - owner of Rare Drams Imports, who is coming in from Vancouver to run the tasting for us.
The whiskies to be sampled are:
The tasting will begin at 7PM sharp, on Tuesday, February 3rd. Tickets are available for $20. This is just the first event in what will be a very exciting year for us in 2015 - we hope to see you there!
Happy New Year 2015!!!
I hope everyone had a fantastic holiday season! We sure did - I even managed to sneak in a week off around New Years which was much-needed. But I'm back, and the website, which was much-neglected around the holidays will be fully updated over the next day or so. I've got a fair bit already planned for 2015, including Andrew Hilton's 30th Anniversary Celebration - which will be a TON of fun, and have several unique tastings and events to celebrate the milestone.
Thanks to all of you for making 2014 such a great success for us, and I hope we will be able to make 2015 even better.
Seriously. Thanks You Guys.
Black Friday Sale! 10% OFF EVERYTHING!
Well I tried - I have tried to avoid buying into the "Shopping Holiday" thing for as long as I could - but with virtually everyone else doing it, I can't avoid it anymore.
So - This Friday, November 28th - We are taking 10% off absolutely everything in the store, with two very small exceptions:
- Gift Certificates (duh)
- Stuff We've already got on sale.
...and that's the only exceptions - 30 year old Cellar-release Bordeaux? 10% off! 40 year old experimental Scotch that was only made once in the 1970s? Same deal! Everthing great and small in the shop is 10% off for the entirety of Friday!
PLUS - We have some pretty smoking deals besides:
- The ENTIRE Majella line - INCLUDING Musician - is on sale - This is our best Coonawarra (Australia) house - the Shiraz and Cabernet, which are normally $38 are on for just $29.95
- We are clearing out Canada - as it is changing places in the shop with the USA - over 40 Canadian wines will be clearance priced, starting Friday.
- The Mitolo Jester Shiraz and Cabernet are currently $4 off, and will be all weekend!
- PLUS - While you're here, take advantage of a KILLER Tuscan Wine Tasting, PLUS a remarkable Single Malt Tasting!
Monthly Mocha Tasting: December 1st, 2014
Sparkling WInes and Champagne -
This is an annual tradition, and my favourite Mocha Tasting of the year - our annual Champagne Night! This year we are pulling out all the stops to make this event one for the ages! We will be sampling 5 wines, 4 of which are true Champagne!
Now Champagne is a glorious thing, but we can't do all Champagnes - we will start with a wine that has been an absolute revelation for me this year - The Laurent Cognard Blancs de Noir - Just a glorious, delicate, floral expression of Pinot Noir grapes - almost Champagne in quality, but not quite.
The other four wines will explore the quality of Champagne fruit - from the Philipponatt Royal Reserve (neither Premier Cru nor Grand Cru) to Pierre Gimonnet Brut Gastronome (Premier Cru) to the Taittinger Prelude (Grand Cru) to finally, the Lallier Zero Dosage (a spectacular Grand Cru Brut Sauvage).
This would be a $50.00 tasting any other place, any other tim. But on December 1st, for one night only, you can have a spectaucular tasting event for just $30.00
First Friday Tasting: November 7th, 2014
First Editions Spirits Tasting with Andrew Laing
This Friday, Andrew Hilton Wine & Spirits is pleased to announce at Tasting Event featuring Andrew Laing of First Edition bottlers. Andrew is the grandson of Douglas Laing - creator of such incredible brands as Old Malt Cask, Provenance Bottlings, Old & Rare, and Platinum Bottlings.
First Editions is a new venture for the Laing family, and one of two (The other being Hepburn's Choice) that Andrew himself is involved in. This tasting will feature six whiskies, all from First Editions, including local favourites Blair Athol and Miltonduff - as well as perennial top-sellers Glen Grant andLittlemill - among others.
The whiskies will be open at 3PM as always, but our Special Guest won't arrive until 5PM.
Whiskies to be Tasted:
Stone Brewing Has Arrived!
That's right folks! The famous and multi-award-winning Stone Brewing Company has finally launched in Alberta! We are rolling out with EIGHT delicious examples from this fantastic brewhouse:
- Stone IPA: The Flagship: THE classic ultra-pale, ultra-hoppy "Hop Tea" style IPA that has made San Diego County so renowned for incredible IPA!
- Stone Ruination IIPA: Just like the above, but with EVEN MORE HOPS! This is the beer I am most excited for!
- Stone Arrogant Bastard Ale: Big, burly, malty, hoppy - A big damn punch in the mouth!
- Stone Stochasticity Quadro-Triticale: A big Belgian Quad, brewed with the Triticale grain.
- Stone Go-To IPA: An India Session Ale by any other name, but when it's made by hop genoiuses like Stone, you know you're in for something good!
- Stone Cali-Belgique IPA: A big, potent IPA, but made with a Belgian yeast strain: Fruity, hoppy, complex, lovely!
- Stone Matt's Burning Rosids: A bloody stupid name for a beer! BUT - This is an Imperial Saison, made with Cherrywood Smoked Malt - A really neat brew!
- Stone Coffee Milk Stout: Not a beer I was terribly excited about when it was announced. HOW WRONG I WAS!!!! This stuff smells like café au lait, and is just incredibly satisfying in the mouth. After Ruination, this is now my favourite Stone beer on this release.
Come grab some Stones while they last - 'cause they won't last long!
Glenmorangie Tasting: Monday, November 3rd:
Hosted by Ruaridh MacIntyre of Glenmorangie
On Monday, November 3rd, we are extremely pleased to announce that we will be hosting a Glenmorangie Tasting, with Glenmorangie Canadian Brand Ambassador Ruaraidh MacIntyre. A collaboration between Andrew Hilton, Glenmorangie and Charton Hobbs Agencies, this tasting will be an absolute masterclass on Glenmorangies new limited edition bottlings!
Ruaraidh MacIntyre is a professional whisky tutor, and is a highly sought-after speaker on both Single Malt Scotch and the Whiskey Industtry as a whole. With 4 years of experience working at Ardbeg distillery as well as several years working with Glenmorangie - he brings a wealth of knowledge and experience that we are delighted to bring to Lethbridge.
Whiskies to be Tasted:
The tasting will be here at the store, starting at 7PM sharp. Tickets are $20.00 available NOW!
SAAG Craft Beer Festival 2014 Tickets Available!
Lethbridge's Beer Festival is October 18th!
Hey there all my fine folks - The 3rd Annual SAAG Craft Beer Festival is just around the corner, and tickets have been released. This year's festival will feature over 60 beers from 14 different vendors and breweries!
UPDATE: Late Session tickets are already Sold Out!
- Your ticket gets you entry to the event, a FREE slice of Two Guys Pizza, and a 7 Free Samples.
- Additional sample tickets are available on-site for $1 each.
- Ticket Prices are as follows:
- Regular Beer Fest Ticket (non-SAAG Member pricing): $30.00
- Regular Beer Fest Ticket (SAAG Member pricing): $25.00
- Designated Driver ticket [Good for entry to the event, a slice of pizza, and a soft drink]: $7.50
- Designated Driver ticket (SAAG Member pricing): $5.00
We have a TON of new vendors this year, like Granvilee Island and Brasseurs Sans Gluten, so come check it out - It's a really fun night, and ALL proceeds go to the Southern Alberta Art Gallery!
Save the Date: Free Fall Whiskey Weekends!
Our Classic Scotch Tasting Series Opens September 26th
UPDATED! September 9th! - Tasting Schedule Released!
- That's right folks! In less than a month, we will be kicking off our much-anticipated, always beloved Free Fall Whiskey Weekends. A "rough draft" of this year's series is already done, and this year promises to be one of the very best, with not one, not two, but THREE Special Guest speakers for this year's program.
- Of course one of these is the September 7th visit from Bruichladdich's Jim McEwan, which is a tasting that I have been working on for over ten years! That one is sold out.
- There are two more tastings ahead however, one with the Alberta Sales Director for a particular independent bottling company - the other will be a gentleman from Scotland.
- You can download the full Schedule in PDF format HERE
First Friday Tasting: September 5th, 2014
The saying is - there are no great Burgundies, therea are only great BOTTLES of Burgundy. This statement, while untrue, does tend to highlight one of the reasons that Burgundy is so interesting to the hardcore wine geek - it is insanely difficult to produce, even more difficult to produce well, and the variation in quality between vintages is staggering.
So in short: Here there be dragons.
We will be sampling 4 relatively new arrivals to the store, all top-class stuff at surprisingly reasonable prices. Come try, and be amazed! Wines will be opened about 300PM and we will be pouring right until we close at 9:00PM.
So come check us out, for another fabulous First Friday Tasting!
Domaine Jaeger * Defaix Ruller 1er Cru 2011
Domaine Gaston & Pierre Ravaut Ladoix 2011
Domaine Gaston & Pierre Ravaute Aloxe Corton Vielle Vignes 2011
Domaine Robert Sirigue Vosne Romanée 2011
Duncan Taylor Tasting: July 25th: 6:00PM
Hosted By Jonathan Bray of Purple Valley Imports
Join us for a wonderful evening of whiskies, hosted by Purple Valley Imports partner Jonathan Bray, as we sample six new whiskey releases from this new(ish) to the market bottler. We are hosting this tasting in association with the Lethbridge Scotch Society, so their standard dues of $40 do apply. The tasting will include six whiskies, all from the Highlands:
First Friday Tasting: August 1st, 2014
It's officially warm outside - and we here at Andrew Hilton want to help you beat the heat. As such, this coming Frist Friday, we are pleased to present SangriaFest!!! Six our our team members will be making up a batch of Sangria - either red or white, and we will be sampling all six head-to-head. Battle lines will be drawn, fruit will be sliced, and the sangria will flow. Try the sangrias, vote for your favourites, and take home the recipe cards.
There can be only one winner - well except for you guys, since all this sangria madness is free, you're all winners!
We will start pouring at about 3:00PM, and we will be sampling sangrias until 9:00.
So come check us out, for another fabulous First Friday Tasting!
Summer 2014 Update: July 15th, 2014
I'm trying to get every page of the website updated this week, so look for changes across the full site. We also have a TON of news, so I'll get right to it:
Wine: Well, we are clearing out most of our Chilean section, trying to make more space for the faster selling French and Spanish wines (more on those in a moment) - we are bringing the axe down on fully three quarters of our Chilean section. We will be keeping our best and most innovative wineries: Mayu, Kingston, and Falernia will live on, as will some perennial favourites like Santa Rita Medalla Real, but most will be going away. Needless to say, you can get some CRAZY good deals on Chilean wines right now, as we have heavily discounted anything we don't intend to keep!
As I said, as Chile moves out, we will be expanding our Spanish and French wine sections, adding new wines to each section over the next couple of weeks. Look for new wines from across Burgundy - both white and red - and some new Rhone offerings as well. We will be tempering our "Summer of Spain" tasting series with a bit of French in order to give you folks a chance to try these new arrivals.
We have also received new stock from Best's, including the new vintage of the Bin 1 Shiraz, and their brand new Grampians Shiraz - plus a top-up on thier other brands.
Beer: We have had tremendous success finding more interesting beers for both the shelves, and our Growler Station - new beers from Gigantic, Unibroue, Hitachino Nest, and others are on their way for the growlers, while there are new Innis & Gunn beers as well as Maine, Rough Draft, and Lagunitas in bottles.
Spirits: Following on the heels of the big Duncan Taylor release, we will be receiving all our Signatory scotches on Friday, June 18th! That will be 19 new Scotches arriving this Friday, including some exceedingly rare whiskies: An experimental peated Jura, a 1979 Mosstowie, a 1980 Glenlochy, a 1973 Craigduff, a 1992 Glen Keith, a 1977 Glenisla and a 1976 GlenCraig, among others!
Special Guest Tasting: Wednesday May 14th, 2014
Chris Pfeiffer of Pfeiffer Wines
Longtime friend of the store Christ Pfeiffer returns Wednesday, May 14th, from 4PM - 8PM to sample his wonderful and award-winning wines. Drawing from nearly 40 years of winemaking experience, Chris has owned an operated Pfeiffer Wines in Australia's Rutherglen wine region since 1984. While the region is best known for their dessert wines, Chris produces a number of elegant, classic table wines from Shiraz, Riesling, and even Moscato. We welcome you to join us for a wonderful evening of wine tasting with a fantastic winemaker!
Wines to be sampled:
Bill Bishop Returns: March 7th, 2014
That's right, folks! Our favourite Californian ambassador of wine will be here March 7th, from 4 in the afternoon til 7 in the evening, pouring a wide range of his remarkable Steele wines. Bill is a fantastic speaker, and a near-bottomless resource of knowledge; his events are always very well attended, and you stand to learn a tremendous amount from Bill even just speaking with him for a few minutes. You'll have all evening with him on this night - and we will be pouring more than a few of their award winning wines. We will of course have meat and cheese trays, and Max will be back by then, so we'll have two special guests!
First Friday Tastings are always a great time!
This list isn't all-inclusive, but AT LEAST these wines will be opened and sampled:
Steele Outkaste Red
Steele Bien Nacido Pinot Noir
Steele Stymie Merlot
Steele Stymie Syrah
Shooting Star Pinot Noir
Shooting Star Chardonnay
Lagunitas Sucks, Red Chair, Red Racer, and More!!!
Looking Ahead to 2014: Great Events Ahead!
2013 was a bit light on events - and for that I blame myself. We had the renovations going on, we totalyy re-did our liqueurs section, we put on an AMAZING Free Fall Tasting Series, but we had a distinct lack of what I call our "Signature" events. For thisyear, I intend to fully remedy that: For one, Steele's Billy Bishop will be back in March to give us another wonderful presentation - we have a pair of excellent Scotch personalities we are working on; we are planning a full March Rum series, much like our Free Fall Whiskey Weekends - PLUS a tequila tasting near Cinqo de Mayo PLUS a wine and chocolate pairing event, PLUS another cocktails night PLUS a whole bunch more. I will be updating the Tastings page like crazy over the next few weeks , so keep your eyes peeled for an INCREDIBLE 2014!
Looking back on 2013,
Well, 2013 is thoroughly behind us, we have taken down the Christmas decorations, re-alphabetized the Scotch Wall, held our Top Ten Tasting (more on that below) and taken a bit of time off. Time to look back on the year that was, before looking ahead to 2014.
2013 was a fantastic year for us! I've never seen the Scotch Bar busier - Let's get this out of the way first: Thank you all, so much for making the Free Fall Whiskey Weekends our best-attended tasting series in our history. This year was an absolute revelation for us in terms of attendance, and we all had an incredible time hosting you all. From myself, Steve, and all of us, thank you again for making our fall series such an amazing event.
Second, 2013 saw some pretty incredible events otherwise - Especially for our private import wine portfolio - Early in the year our 2011 Best's Bin 1 Shiraz won BOTH the 2012 Jimmy Watson Trophy and the inaugural Trevor Mast Award. Shortly thereafter, the 2010 Best's Bin 0 Shiraz also carried home the Wolf Blass Award as well. Also, for the very first time in our history, one of our Private Label imports was named Wine Spectator's Wine of the Year for 2013: the 2004 CVNE Imperial Gran Reserve Rioja. So yeah - not a bad year awards-wise!
Third: Alberta's Craft Beer Boom rolls on - this was our first full year with our Growler Filling Station running, and Wow - did we have some neat beers roll through - from experimental fresh-hop IPAs, to big barrel-aged stouts, to crazy Belgian stuff, to good old fashioned Albertan favourites like Big Rock and Wild Rose, we poured a whole lotta draught and had a great time doing it. Further - Alberta's craft beer selection became an even greater embarrassment of riches with the arrival of Deschutes, the Burery, Fifty/Fifty, Trou du Diable and more, making Alberta possibly the best beer Province in Canada - Not bad for a Province where, two years ago, you were crossing your fingers that your local would have something as risqué as Rickards Red on tap!
Fourth: This was a fun year, as we saw a really remarkable turn to classic cocktails, and our Bitters sales were absolutely through the roof. Couple that with a resurgence in spirit sales across the board (especially in Cognac and Gin), plus a blossoming Spanish wine scene, a hiuge upshot in Argentine wine quality, a Californian wine rennaissance, and yeah - 2013 was one heck on an interesting year, and we're going to have to work pretty darned hard to make 2014 just as fun!
Downtown Lethbridge Plaid Day Specials:
Over 70 Wines & Spirits on Sale
Single Malt Scotch Tasting
All Regular-Priced Merchandise 10% Off!
SAAG Beerfest Tickets Released!!!!
Lethbridge's Largest and Best Craft Beer Festival Returns October 19th
That's right folks, it's that time again! SAAG Beerfest has arrived once again, and the event is bigger and better than last year!
15 Vendor tables, over 60 different beers, the event is bigger and better in every way. Several vendors who I had really hoped to nail down last year have confirmed for this year, including Dieu du Ciel, Deschutes, Wild Rose, and Laughing Dog! This festival is the culmination of a year's work for me, and I can personally guarantee that we aren't filling out our 60+ beers with a bunch of fizzy yellow stuff - We're talking seasonals, one-offs, rarities and specialties from some of the finest breweries in Western Canada and around the world!
As with last year, your $25 ticket (all of which goes directly to the Southern Alberta Art Gallery) gets you 7 beer samples, a slice of Two Guys pizza, plus a goody bag with a FREE half-growler fill from us, and a $10 Gift Certificate from Plum. All that for just $25? That's just madness!
As with last year, there will be two "seatings" (tough to call it a seating when there are no seats, but you get the general idea) - One from 5PM - 7:30PM, the other from 7:30PM - 10:00PM, with both sessions featuring the full lineup of beers.
Tickets are available through either the SAAG Giftshop OR right here at Andrew Hilton.
Tickets are $25 for General Admission, and just $20 for SAAG Members - As an aside, being a SAAG member gets you 10% off hereat the shop every day, so why aren't you a SAAG member already???
We're only releasing 350 tickets total, and this event sold out FAST last year, so get your tickets today!
Free Fall Whiskey Weekends Schedule Released!
This is a little bit of Old News actually, since the paper version has been available for pickup in the store for almost three weeks now, but I'm back from vacation and the schedule is now ready for download.
It's a very good lineup this year, with some very interesting new whiskies - I myself am REALLY looking forward to Week Ten - should be a tremendous week.
Schedule can be downloaded in PDF format here
Lethbridge's Destination for Bitters!
Hey folks, due to popular demand, we have gotten seriously into Bitters! In addition to the standard Campari, we have added Italian classics like Cynar, Aperol, Fernet Branca, Accademia and Punt e Mes, which are ideal low-alcohol options with soda.
In addition, we are now carrying nearly the ENTIRE line of Fee Brothers Bitters from New York State.
In Stock RIGHT NOW:
Fee Brothers Aromatic Bitters
Fee Brothers Peach Bitters
Fee Brothers Orange Bitters
Fee Brothers Rhubarb Bitters
Fee Brothers Plum Bitters
Fee Brothers Mint Bitters
Fee Brothers Grapefruit BItters
Fee Brothers Celery Bitters
Fee Brothers Chocolate Bitters
Fee Brothers Lemon Bitters
Fee Brothers Cherry Bitters
Fee Brothers Cranberry Bitters
COMING THE WEEK OF SEPTEMBER 23RD:
Fee Brothers Black Walnut Bitters
Fee Brothers Gin Barrel-Aged Orange Bitters
Fee Brothers Whiskey Barrel Aged Aromatic Bitters
Now for some of you, this is the best news you've heard all year! For the rest of you, I have even better news - We will be having a very special tasting and bartending class on the uses of bitters in classic cocktails in the very near future! Watch this space for news on this upcoming event!
News for Summer:
Well, Spring has gone whipping by pretty quickly - and we've seen some pretty serious changes in the market -
1. Spain is here to stay, and in a BIG way - Spain is up for us this year - WAY up! Apart from the usual best-sellers, like Vina Real Crianza and the CVNE Reserva Rioja, a few other gems have recently risen to become new hot ticket wines. A shade lighter in body than most New World wines, and with a higher degree of acidity, which makes them more appealing in the heat, here are three perfect Spanish Wines for your summer:
- Dominio Dostares Leione: Hailing from the far Northwestern corner of Spain, in the distirict of Léon, this wine is made of the brilliant, but rare and unrecognized Prieto Picudo grape variety. Not even permitted to list the wine as being a recognized D.O. the fine folks at Dominio Dostares have cheekily named this wine as a homonym for the region, and also crafted a deep, brilliant wine that really shows off what this grape variety can do: $28.50
- Zios de Lusco Albarinho: This is a white wine with the sizzling acidity and freshness of a Sauvignon Blanc, but with the nearly perfumed aroma of a Gewurztraminer or a Viognier: Intrigued? Well you should be! Ethereally light, with a light chalkiness just in the finish, but with delicate apricot, and whie peach from beginning to end: Just a fantastic white! $22.95
- Proyecto Vintae Garnacha: Spanish Garnacha (or Grenache, if you prefer) is far too often over-fruited, heavy, boozy, and "baked" - just a big ol' brick of fruit and alcohol - good fun on a Friday night, but not a serious red. This wine is the opposite - sourced from young, Northern vines, this is a fresh, rich, earthy wine, that has great fruit, but there's something more behind it too. One of my favorite finds this year! $17.95
- Dominio de Tares Baltos Bierzo: I'll be honest here: Bierzo is my favorite red wine region right now. I LOVE the Mencia grape variety, and I love the earthiness and "dried currant" character that I get from these wines - Now there is a fair bit of avergae-to-poor Bierzo out there right now (and I've tried most of them) but this is pretty well the best bang-for-your-buck Bierzo for under $25 out there right now. Grand on its own, but even better with food. $21.95
2. It's Summer! Bring on the HOPS!!!! - Happily for an utterly hopeless hophead like me, this summer has brought some real hoppy love into the local market. Apart from the Descutes Hop Henge, which sold out in about three hours, we have seen some fabulous offerings from Parallel 49, Deschutes, Phillips, and Lighthouse!
Phillips Bottle Rocket India Session Ale: As I said, I REALLY love hops, but I don't always love having a few beers when they are all at or over 7% alcohol - Enter the India Session Ale - All (well, most) of the hops of an IPA, at the same strength as a can of Kokanee or Canadian, or other, soulless lager. All the flavour, less buzz - definitely my speed. As an extra plus, this one comes in cans, which is perfect for camping, hiking, cycling, or just sitting by a lake. It's my go-to summer beer, and it should be yours as well! $12.25 per 6pk.
Parallel 49 Lord of the Hops: First up, look at the label - It's big blue-bearded hop-wizard, which is reason enough to buy this beer! Beyond the obvious, this is an insane value in terms of bomber-format IPAs - I'm getting tired of shelling out $7-8 or more for 650mL IPAs from Lagunitas, Rogue, or other Californian producers, and this B.C. offering comes in at a far more reasonable $5.60 a bomber! Beyond the price, this IPA is right up my alley - offering loads of tangerine, grapefruit, and tropical hop aromas, while keeping the sticky English-style caramel to a bare minimum. Awesome! $5.60 per 650mL
Deschutes Chainbreaker White IPA: White IPA is a fairly new concept, only having been commercially brewed for the past 4 or so years. The Chainbreaker is likely the best known version of this style, which combines the fresh snapiness of an IPA, with the smooth, zesty, and easy drinking nature of a wheat beer. It's the two best summer beers combined in an unholy (and tasty!) alchemy that is uniquely well-suited to hot weather. Behold the Chainbreaker White IPA! All Hail! $17.60 per 6pk.
Lighthouse Switchback IPA: Again, this is very much in "my style" of IPAs - Pale, grapefruit-driven, ludicrously West Coast in style, low on the pine, spruce, and caramel, big on the citrus, peach, and tropical fruit. At 6.5% it's no lightweight, but this is close to a "Session IPA' as you can get at this strength. Just hitting shelves in mid-May, this is perhaps the most exciting New Arrival of the Summer.
Best's Great Western Wine Dinner with Jonathan Mogg: - SOLD OUT!!!!!
February 10th, 2013: 7:00PM
We're extremely excited to have a Best's Great Western evening Sunday, February the 10th. Coming fresh off the heels of Best's winning not only the 2012 Jimmy Watson Trophy, but also the 2012 Wolf Blass Award, this is an extremely timely event. Our guest for this evening is Best's General Manager of Sales; Jonathan Mogg. Best's has undergone a number of changes over the past year: discontinuing the Victoria series, changing the packaging for the Great Western line, and forming a strong social media presence for a company that has existed since the 1860s...
This will be a four course meal, prepared by our friends at Plum, paired with wines from the winery. The menu is TBA, and as soon as I know, you'll know. Otherwise, we have secured a tiny amount of the Bin 1 and the Bin 0, both of which we are sold out of, in order to pour both wines at the tasting.
What: Best's Great Western Wine Dinner with Jonathan Mogg
When: Sunday, February 10th, 2013: 7:00PM
Where: Plum: 330 - 6th St. S.
How Much: $75 per person, limited to 25 guests SOLD OUT! Thanks for the support everyone.
You can book tickets via email, in person, or by calling 403-320-9464
It's 2013, and We're Back!
First off, sorry for the site being down for about 10 days there. We got hacked on Boxing Day, and the site didn't really come back online until a few days into 2013. I'll have retrospective posts on the world of wine, beer, and scotch up in the next few days on their respective pages. 2013 is already off to the races for us, with a Best's event coming up in February, as well as a TON of new and exciting wines hitting the shelves. So let's get to it:
UPDATE - January 10th: Beer Page is Updated!
Save the Date: Best's Wines Event February 10th:
Fresh off the heels of winning their first Jimmy Watson Trophy, we have secured a visit from Best's General Manager of Sales; Jonathan Mogg. Tasked with re-inventing and repositioning a historic, and treasured Australian wine brand, Jonathan brings a unique perspective to the Australian Wine scene, and is by all accounts a fascinating speaker. Stay tuned for more info on this timely, and upcoming event.
Well the Growlers are doing well...
To say the very bloody least. I thought I had ordered a year's worth back in September. That lasted a month. We're now on our third order of growlers, with another on the way. It's been an absolute DELIGHT tasting all these beers with you folks, and has easily been the most interesting part of 2012, and promises to be a big part of 2013 as well.
TONS of new wines on the shelves:
One downside of Christmastime is that we are so busy that finding homes for new wines on the shelves is difficult, almost to the point of impossible. However, January offers many opportunities for doing just that, so look for many, many new listings from Finca Nueva, La Macchiole, Fisher, San Leonardo, and a few others that aren't springing immediately to mind. On a related topic, we are very nearly sold out of our last Corvidae Wines shipment, so if you wanted some Rook, or Lenore you should probably get down here sooner rather than later, as the Ravenna is already gone...
New Bruichladdich Shipment:
Looks like Christmas came late for us: Port Charlotte 10yr, as well as the highly-anticipated PC10, along with Black Arts 3 should be here very shortly. Can't wait for these to arrive. Only getting 18 bottles of each, firstcome, first served. Speaking of PEAT, Balvenie 17yr. Peated should be here in the next few weeks as well.
Our Exclusive Wines Just Keep Winning Awards!
As many of you are now aware, the 2011 Best's Bin 1 Shiraz has carried off two of Australia's most Prestigious wine awards: the 2012 Jimmy Watson Trophy, as the best one year old dry red wine from Australia, as well as the inaugural Trevor Mast Memorial Trophy as the best Shiraz at the Royal Melbourne Wine Show:
But that's not all!
Immediately following that, at the National Wine Show in Canberra, The 2010 Best's Bin 0 Shiraz carried off the Wolf Blass Award for top Shiraz in Show.
Finally - Our favorite French supplier - Les Vins de Vienne has been named Wine & Spirits Magazine's Winery of the Year 2012!
This is just huge news for us! We've always said that our Private Label wines were among the best in the world, it's just nice to hear that we're not alone in that opinion!
Hot Ticket! Best's Great Western Bin 1 Shiraz 2011:
- Winner! Jimmy Watson Trophy 2012 (Best Australian Red Table Wine)
- Winner! - Trevor Mast Memorial Trophy 2012 (Best Australian Shiraz)
Well, we've been singing Best's praises for years, and it appears that we were right all along, as the 2011 vintage of the Best's Great Western Bin 1 Shiraz has won not only the Jimmy Watson Trophy, Australia's most prestigious wine award; but also the inaugural Trevor Mast Memorial Award, as Australia's finest Shiraz.
This is no mean feat, as the BIn 1 Shiraz is something of a latecomer to fame. The Thomson Family Shiraz is considered to be one of Australia's "Perfect Wines" the Bin 0 is an absolute classic, and is acknowledged by many, many sources to be nearly the pinnacle of Victorian winemaking. The Bin 1 however, has not shared in as many accolades, having only been made since the early 2000s. Made from 100% Great Western grapes, the Bin 1 is a powerful, and mocha-driven effort that will stagger you with its quality.
Even beyond the quality, is the value here. Bin 1 runs a princely $26.95, which is absolute peanuts compared to past winners like Penfolds Grange ($300+), Wolf Blass Black Label ($90+), Glaetzer-Dixon Mon Pere ($50) etc. It's also the first Great Western wine to win the award since 1964.
We only have 10 cases, and strangely the winery has stopped returning our calls about ordering some more, so get it while it lasts!
Our Price: $26.95
Plaid Days Sales Event Runs Friday and Saturday!
In association with the Downtown Lethbridge BRZ, we are very excited to be having a Plaid Days Sales event this weekend. With discounts of up to 50% off some items, and sale items throughout the store, this should be a very exciting week-end indeed! Based on how well they are selling, this may well be your last chance to grab up the 2012 Jimmy Watson Trophy and 2012 Trevor Mast Memorial Trophy winning 2011 Best's Bin 1 Shiraz, and the 2012 Wolf Blass Trophy winning 2010 Best's Bin 0 Shiraz.
UPDATE - Plaid Days was a HUGE success for us, thanks to everyone who came out - I'm exhausted, but it was a really fun event, and we are sold out of basically every cider we opened for tasting.
SAAG Beerfest Was A Huge Success!
Thanks to everyone who came out this year, as we were hoping for about 240 guests, and we ended up with over 300! The beers were fantastic, the event went amazingly smooth, and we are definitely doing this again next year! Thanks again, everyone.
SAAG Craft Beer Festival: October 20, 2012
Coming in just under 3 weeks, the first annual Southern Alberta Art Gallery Craft Beer Festival will be the culmination of several weeks worth of work for me. I've contactred the very best beer agents across Alberta, Called i every favor, and generally moved heaven and earth to make this the best Craft Beer Festival in Southern Alberta.
Tickets are $25 a person for non-SAAG members, or $20 per person for members. That initial ticket price gets you 7 samples of craft beer, plus a slice of pizza, and further sample tickets are available for $1 a piece.
I'm really excited for this one, I can't wait to see you all out!
Wild Rose Rye Saison In Stock for A Limited Time!
I was up at the Wild Rose Brewery yesterday, picking up some kegs for our Growler Station, and we are going to have LOTS of fun stuff from Wild Rose in Growlers over the next little while, including the normally brewery-only AF23 English Pale Ale!
However, I was also able to secure 24 bottles of Wild Rose's excellent Rye Saison, which if you know me at all, is right up my alley (Rye Ales and Saisons are the reasons I get up in the morning).
They're only available for a VERY limited time, for $7.95 per bottle. Get 'em while they last!
Free Fall Whiskey Weekends Schedule Released!!!
After a fair bit of work, we are prepared to release the schedule for our Free Fall Whiskey Weekends, 2012!
Download the full list here:
Things get started September 21st, see you there!
Winemaker's Dinner with Scott Collett: September 23rd
UPDATE: SOLD OUT!!!!
It's been quite some time since our last Winemaker's Dinner, as luring winemakers down to Lethbridge is often a challenge, so when I heard that Scott Collett was interested, I jumped at the chance! We will be working with Coco Pazzo's to offer you a phenomenal gastronomic experience and a a fascinating evening with one of Australia's most innovative winemakers.
As the son of Doug Collett and proprietor of Woodstock Estate, award winning winemaker Scott Collett believes winemaking is simply a "matter of getting it right". He is solely responsible for all of Woodstock's Fortified wines, indulging in his passion while continuing the tradition started by his father over 30 years ago.
In 1999, Scott joined forces with Ben Glaetzer, the 2004 Gourmet Traveler Young Winemaker of the Year, and together they jointly create the table wines that capture the essence of the rich vineyard resources of Woodstock Estate.
This is going to be our Premier event for 2012. As much fun as the Growler Release Party was, and as much as I enjoy the Free Fall Whiskey Weekends, these types of events are what we do best. The evening will feature 6 wines across 5 courses. As Scott is involved with both Woodstock (which he owns) and Heartland (where he sits as director), we will be featuring wines from both of these incredible wineries:
Appetizer: Lamb Carpaccio:
Salad: Heirloom and Grape Tomato Salad with Bocconcini:
Woodstock Semillon/Sauvignon Blanc
Pasta: Penne Salciccia:
Entrée: Wild Boar Medallions Cacciatore:
Woodstock McLaren Vale Shiraz
Woodstock "The Stocks" Reserve Shiraz
Dessert: Assorted Cheeses and Nuts:
Woodstock Fortified Vintage Shiraz
Tickets are $65 per person, including all taxes and gratuity, and are limited to 60 guests. You can book your space by contacting either ourselves (403-320-9464) or Coco Pazzo (403-329-8979) either on the phone or in person. Tickets for our Winemakers Dinners tend to go fast, so early booking is recommended!
What: Winemaker's Dinner with Scott Collett of Woodstock Wines
When: Sunday, September 23, 7:00PM
Where: Coco Pazzo Italian Café: 1264 - 3rd Avenue South
How Much: $65 per person. SOLD OUT!
How Many: Limit of 60 guests. SOLD OUT!
It;'s been quite a while since we've been able to have a Winemaker's Dinner, so I'm really excited for this one!
Growler Station Just Went Live!!!!!
Growlers arrived yesterday, all the final tests are done, and we're in the Growler filling business!
Taplist will always be posted on the Beer Page
Next First Friday Tasting: Friday, July 6, 2012
Great Australian Shiraz
Yeah, we know; Shiraz is done to death. It's tried, tested, true, and completely overdone. Or is it? When was the last time that you had an Australian Shiraz that really made you sit up and take notice? Great Australian Shiraz is one of the world's great wines, but the constant flood of Yellowtails, and Wolf Blasses, and Wallaby-flavoured Malt Liquors of the world have made us somewhat jaded as regards this all-too-familiar grape. I'll take a counterpoint on this one: Shiraz can be gorgeous, sumptuous, and surprising. And to demonstrate just how fantastic it is, we'll be opening our four best Australian Shirazes, bar none.
We'll start with one of Australia's classic Shirazes, the Best's Thompson Family Shiraz, considered one of Australia's handful of "perfect" wines. We'll follow that up with an old classic, the Rockford Basket Pressed Shiraz, which is the pinnacle of old-fashioned high-end winemaking in Australia. We'll also be tasting the Parker darling: Glaetzer Amon Ra Shiraz, as well as Penfold's most historic wine (no, not Grange): Magill Estate Shiraz. If you haven't had these wines before, it will be an eye-opener for you!
Wines to be sampled:
- Rockford Basket Press Shiraz 2004
- Best's Thompson Fmaily Shiraz 2005
- Glaetzer Amon Ra Shiraz 2010
- Penfolds Magill Estate Shiraz 2008
Join us for our Free Friday Tastings, with a finer twist for First Friday this July 6, from 3 PM to 9 PM at Andrew Hilton Wine & Spirits.
The Really, Really, Big Update!
Wow, so there is a TON to get to here...
First off... First Friday Tasting for August is tomorrow:
We'll be doing a tasting of very high-end Pinot Noirs from the New World: One each from Oregon, California, Chile, and New Zealand. All the details on that are posted on our Tastings page.
Renovations are almost finished!
The New Tasting Room, and Single Malt Section:
The New Build-Your-Own-Sixpack Station (Any Six Beers for $15.95) More info.
The New Growler Station (Draft Beer To-Go) More information on this on our Beer Page
Several Great Tastings Upcoming in August!
We've also got some great Tastings coming up, like the Monthly Mocha Tasting, and the Official Growler Station Launch Party, those events and more are on our Tastings Page
Nogne Ø Beers Now In Stock!
We have recently received a shipment of beers from Norway's very famous Nogne
brewery. Primarily renowned for their Imperial Stouts (Most of Mikkeller's most famous stouts are actually brewed at Nogne), this brewery is actually remarkably skilled at brewing a broad variety of styles, and this release has brought us four of their latest brews, two from their standard lineup, and two one-off seasonal brews:
Nogne IPA: The 42nd-Highest ranked IPA on Ratebeer.com, and the highest-ranked IPA sold in Alberta at the present time. Big, hoppy, Pacific-Northwest styled IPA, this beer rocks!
Nogne Sunturnbrew: A smoked barleywine? Hell yes! Maybe not the perfect beer for summer, but a very highly regarded smoked brew. If you like the 8 Wired "The Big Smoke" this one will be just about perfect for you!
Nogne Imperial Brown: Take everything good about a Brown Ale, and turn it up to 11! All the fun of a Brown Ale at 7.5%. Too big to be a session brew, perhaps. But it should be a great beer nonetheless.
Nogne Batch #500 IIPA: A special Imperial IPA brwed exclusively to celebrate Nogne's 500th batch! Big, hoppy, and only to be brewed once! Get it while it lasts!
New Items Abound!
There have been a TON of sales reps through town lately, many from samll, boutique agencies (the kind I like!) and as such, I've had the chance to taste a TON of new wines and beers of late. As such, we have over 40 new wines and over 20 new craft beers, just in the past 2 weeks.
On the wine side, our Italian section has NEVER been stronger, as we have gotten new wines from absolutely everywhere: Veneto, Piemonte, Toscana, Abruzzo, just a ton of great new wines there. As Argentina cools off, we are starting to see some really fabulous wines separate themselves from the "glut" of a few months ago. We have 6 great new Argentine wines, of which the AR Guentota Malbec is particularly notable. Also, as Argentina cools, so is South Africa heating up. Check out The Grinder Pinotage, Barista Pinotage, or our own organic Pinotage: The Ruins. All stunning wines for under $20.
For the beers, Green Flash Brewery (one of my favorite Californian breweries) is soon to be released in Alberta, bringing the big hops, West-Coast style, which is just how I like it. For you sourheads out there, you'll be delighted to hear that not only has Cantillon released another round of their beers, but Drie Fonteinen and Tilquin are both jsut around the corner from an Alberta release, which is fantastic news!
Renovations Have Begun...
If you've been around the shop lately, you'll notice that we are currently undergoing renovations, both on the interior and exterior of the store. We're hoping these will be wrapped up by August 1st, but we ask you to bear with us in the meantime.
I have some REALLY amazing plans for the renovation, so stay tuned...
New Tasting Series: First Fridays!
First Friday is a new monthly festival put on by the Downtown Lethbridge BRZ that combines and showcases all of the community events happening in Downtown Lethbridge. We are participating in this festival by improving and expanding our Free Friday Tastings, and opening either more wines, expanding to six, or opening much better wines, as is the case this month.
For May, we are holding a tasting of Great American Cabernets, featuring wines from Heitz, Leonetti, and Clark Claudon, as well as Doubleback Cabernet, a collaboration of Leonetti Wines' Chris Figgins, and the New England Patriots Drew Bledsoe.
We'll be pouring wines, and celebrating this new initiative from 3PM - 9PM this Friday, so please join us!
Winery Profile Tasting: Thursday, April 12th
Hosted by Bill Bishop of Steele Wines from 4:00PM - 7:00PM
Wines to be sampled:
Shooting Star Merlot
Shooting Star Chardonnay
Steele Clear Lake Merlot
Steele Pagani Ranch Zinfandel
Steele Cuveé Chardonnay
Steele Carneros Pinot Noir
Andrew Hilton Wine & Spirits
Welcome to 2012!
So I've just spent the last couple weeks doing som e serious housekeeping on the site:
On the Wine page, we've added our Top Ten Wines of 2011, with our new #1 Wine being the St. Clair Pioneer Block Sauvignon Blanc
On the Beer Page, I've written my annual wrap-up for the beer year that was.
On the Whiskeys side of things, there is a similar wrap-up piece.
Events should be updated fully by the end of the day, so should the Calendar.
Man, I'm glad it's Friday!
There is just an absolute TON going on this September, so I'm going to get right to it:
- First off, we will have a Winemaker's Dinner with Scott Collett of Woodstock Wines on Sunday, September 23rd, at Coco Pazzo, details are to be released soon...
UPDATE: Details have been released, as has a menu. Those will be posted tomorrow morning.
- Our Growler Station, as well as our Build Your Own Sixpack Station have exceeded all expectations, and are rolling right along, remember that a current Tap List is always posted on our Beer Page.
- Our Fall Single Malt Tasting Series is under development, and I have high hopes of posting the Schedule shortly after the long weekend. In any event, mark you calendars for Friday, September 21st as that is our first Scotch Tasting.
- I have updated the Wine Tastings through the end of September except for the Winemakers Dinner, and the Scotch Tastings, those will be done shortly.
So much to do, so I'll keep this brief: Welcome to Fall!!!!!!