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Tuesday, February 09, 2010

Alberta Wine? You Mean Moonshine, Right?

When our fearless publisher sent me what he described as an "Alberta wine", I was sure that I had misheard him.  Once he confirmed for me that he had indeed said just that, my nearly automatic reply was "oh, some of that home-made swill that people make in their basement, bottle and call wine, right?". Wrong again.  What he laid on me was indeed a bottle of actual wine made in Alberta, that did not come from a kit.  It was......wait for it......a bottlle of Field Stone Fruit Wines' 2006 Strawberry Dessert Wine from Strathmore, Alberta, the apparent nerve center for the Alberta wine industry.

I have to say that my initial reaction was one of rapt funeral amazement, followed by the horrific notion that I would actually have to sample the "wine", given that our publisher had asked that I do so and that I provide my comments here.  As I looked closer at the long, cylindrical bottle so typical of dessert wines (which incidentally, I am usually not a fan of) I had visions of "Pastel Peach", "Strawberry Angel" and the other super-sweet wines/elixirs that had formed the core of the famous punch that my roommate and I made in our college dorm room and which, along with some low-grade fruit punch, made many a reveller state "you can hardly taste the liquor".  Exactly - but I digress.

WIth guests at my house, I pulled the bottle forth and poured everyone present a small sampling and apologized in advance that they had become caught up in my web of wine responsibility, as they would have to be my guinea pigs.  I put my glass to my lips, cringing at the thought of what reaction my palate would have to this frightening serum.  Hazah! Not bad at all! In fact, quite nice.  While I expected a super-sweet blast that would make one eye close as a reflex reaction, instead the strawberry flavour was subtle, the wine smooth with no boozy after-taste, and my guests and I poured another glass.  Not only was the wine a source of instant discussion, but nearly everyone present liked what they tasted.  Sure, you wouldn't want to drink this product every day, or every week, but after the right meal, maybe in the summer in your backyard after a barbecue, this wine would work.

I was all geared up to really take a run at this wine, but sadly, I cannot.  At worst, this wine is ok and at best, it is pretty damn pleasant.  A drinkable wine from Alberta? What's next? A decent ski hill in Saskatchewan?   

Posted by Knox Harrington on February 9, 2010 | Permalink


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