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Wines Stores in Calgary

Cancuk Nov 20, 2007 08:31 PM

Hello,

I'm going to be going to Calgary soon and was wondering what the best wine stores in the city are? I'm looking for selection, rare finds, high end, everything.

Thanks.

  1. John Manzo Nov 20, 2007 09:22 PM

    Metrovino, The Cellar, Willow Park, Bin 905- really, there is too much choice here. You will not be disappointed.

    1 Reply
    1. re: John Manzo
      John Manzo Nov 21, 2007 07:00 PM

      My partner, who is the sommelier in our kitchen, recommends Highlander Liquor Store by North Hill Centre. You can get there easily from DT on the C-Train, Lion's Park stop.

    2. y
      yen Nov 20, 2007 09:23 PM

      The Cellar, Metrovino, J Webb, Bin 905 are my favorites.

      The Cellar is probably the best high end place with the most selection. J Webb has oddities and rare finds - a lot of interesting and eclectic wines there. Good price as well. Metrovino and Bin 905 bring in some great wines but have a slightly smaller selection. All have pretty knowledgeable staff, though i don't think i've ever actually been served at the cellar. They just stare at me like im a criminal :)

      Some people really like Kensington Wine Market (one of the few with a website), but i like their beer selection better than their wine selection.

      The plus side is they are all within a 15 minute drive radius.

      3 Replies
      1. re: yen
        John Manzo Nov 21, 2007 07:05 AM

        We've never had anything but superb, almost ingratiating service at The Cellar.

        1. re: John Manzo
          y
          yen Nov 21, 2007 07:58 AM

          Im guessing you don't look nor dress like an 18 yer old punk John :) I probably don't look like their regular clientele.

          1. re: yen
            John Manzo Nov 21, 2007 11:50 AM

            ...and one of the employees is a former student. But I know that their major concern is the street people, for sure.

      2. Major_9000 Nov 20, 2007 10:04 PM

        Metrovino...Ask for Stephanie, talk to her about your palette and she will set you up.

        1 Reply
        1. re: Major_9000
          knifeguy Apr 20, 2008 03:12 PM

          Ya, Steph is great and her food pairings if not yet famous will soon be.

        2. n
          newJJD Nov 21, 2007 12:42 AM

          By far, my favorite shop in Calgary is Richmond Hill Wines. It is slightly off the radar for many.

          It is truly a wine shop, in that it does not sell any beer or hard liquor, just wine. They also have an import license so they can bring in rare, small production, and hard-to-find
          product. You will not find Yellow Tail, Wolf Blass, Rosemount, Wyndham, etc in this store. Be sure to check out any wines from Best's, Ben Glaetzer or RedHeads Studio, all awesome Aussie juice!

          They have the best selection of Australian Wines in town, and a great selection of French, German, USA, Italian, Bubbly and Port Wines.

          The Staff are very friendly, knowledgeable and fun. Go in and see one of the two Dave's, Corrie, Holly or Mitch, you will love it.

          Tell them Jay Denney from Kelowna sent you!!! Seriously.

          They are at 3715 51st. Street S.W, Suite 108. www.richmondhillwines.com

          Also you may want to check out the newest Costco in the NW, It is on Sarcee Trail, north of Country Hills Blvd. They have a liquor store attached (You DO NOT need a Costco Card to shop there!). Limited, but good selection and amazing prices. They also have Kirkland Signature brand of wines (Privately labelled from producers like Grant Burge, Betz, Errazuriz

          )

          In Vino Veritas,

          JJD

          10 Replies
          1. re: newJJD
            g
            graemejw Nov 21, 2007 07:04 AM

            If you come out here to Canmore, be sure to visit Canmore Wines & Spirits the new wine & liqour store at the bottom end of Main Street - underneath The Wood pub. Brendan, the guy who runs it has been in the industry for years & is passionate about his wine. They have, for a small town, an incredible selection & is a blessed relief from the Safeway/Sobeys Wolf Blass options elsewhere in this town. Great beers too including some incredible Belgian Fruit beers.

            1. re: newJJD
              b
              Bob Mac Nov 21, 2007 09:47 AM

              newJJD:

              I would venture the guess that Richmond Hills is not merely the store with the best selection of wines from "OZ" in Calgary but likely the entire country.

              Dave Osbaldiston was a pleasure to deal with. Years ago introduced me to E.&E. Black Pepper Sparkling Shiraz and a glass of Quails Gate Old Vines Foch which changed my view of Canadian wine and began an avid interest. Mind you the OVF was back in the days when Jeff Martin [now LaFrenz] was producing it and it was outstanding. Not so much anymore.

              I will have to get out to Richmond Hills our next trip to Calgary. We usually shop at the Cellar while walking back to our hotel or at Kensington when in the area.

              1. re: Bob Mac
                maplesugar Nov 22, 2007 08:51 AM

                I had Quails Gate OVF in February at the vineyard and I'm not a sommelier by any means but I loved it! We sampled quite a lot of wine that day and OVF stood out as a favourite for sure. We're planning another trip to Kelowna for the family day weekend - it's chilly but it's nice to go without the crowds.

                Incidentally I found a cheddar with Quail's Gate OVF in it - similar style to the Sylvan star cheeses with wine/guiness mixed in... at Costco of all places. Makes for an interesting cheese plate.

                1. re: maplesugar
                  b
                  Bob Mac Nov 22, 2007 04:23 PM

                  maplesugar:

                  I am glad you enjoyed it.

                  I unfortunately found both a drop off in quality and a hike in price...bad combination in my books [smile]. Have not bought any in the last few years with changes in winemakers and increased production.

                  I do have a bottle of their OVF Reserve in the bsmt that I will crack open some evening and check that effort out.

                  I will be interested in hearing how the Okanagan is at that time of year and what the wineries have to sample if you report back.

                  Have you tried Fresco, Bouchons, Waterfront Wine [?] on your visits to Kelowna.

                  I need to get back there but the Spring and Fall wine festivals never seem to work for us.

                  One year.

                  Mind you, I am more interested in those in the Okanagan Falls, Oliver, Osoyoos area than further north but I have yet to get to the other side of the lake and Naramatta country either.

                2. re: Bob Mac
                  n
                  newJJD Nov 26, 2007 01:10 PM

                  Bob Mac: Agreed, on all points.

                  Next time you are there, be sure to check out any wines made by Ben or Colin Glaetzer.Colin created the original E&E Black Pepper. Ben is his son and has reached celebrity-like status in Oz at the age of 30!. Their wines include AMON-Ra, Godolphin, Wallace, Bishop, Heartland, and Stickleback.

                  As for the Okanagan, I have recently moved back to Kelowna and have been spending most of my dining dollars at 3 places in town, they are:

                  Waterfront Wines
                  Bai Tong
                  Memphis Blues

                  Waterfront is as outstanding as ever. The frites with lemon pepper mayo are to die for! The daily soup has been solid, as is the chili-dusted calamari. They now have a spot prawn and chorizo risotto I must try.

                  Mains right now include a flat-iron steak; sablefish filet served with crab tortellini; seared duck with celeriac gnocchi; lamb tenderloins with a deluxe shepherd's pie; and my favourite ---- plum and tamarind braised shortrib with a wild chanterelle stuffed yorkshire pudding and roasted vegetables.

                  Dessert is awesome again, with local cherry creme brulee; local organic apple fritters with cinnamon-coconut sorbet; the chocolate taster trio; housemade ice creams (love the amaretto-almond)

                  Oh, and they have a great selection of local and international wines, beers and cocktails! Reservations on a Friday/ Saturday are a must, as is any night where there is a hockey game/concert going on down the street.

                  Memphis Blues - Part of the Vancouver-based chain, this place serves meat, and meat! Well, I guess there is some fish/seafood as well. Great food (I love their pulled pork poutine, brisket, ribs, catfish and pecan pie). Beer, bourbon and some decent wines available as well.

                  Bai Tong - Great family run Thai place on Water Street next to Fresco. Every dish I have had has been perfectly cooked and flavourful, and the owner is such a nice guy! We had the Entertainment coupon the first time we were in, he gave us the free entree AND the coupon back and let us use it again!

                  Bob Mac, please do get in touch with me when you next plan to come out. I could go on and on about the amazing new wineries that are popping up as well as more places to eat

                3. re: newJJD
                  higgika Nov 22, 2007 08:43 AM

                  I visited Richmond Hill yesterday for the first time. I am a huge Aussie wine fan and was keen as soon as I heard about their selection. Well I was impressed - the selection is superb and their prices were pretty fair as well. Lots to pick from in the $20 - $25 range and a very nice selection of more expensive wines as well. Staff seemed very knowledgeable and friendly which always makes the experience so much more enjoyable. Picked up a very nice selection of wines that should carry me through some of the holiday season but I am looking forward to returning.

                  1. re: higgika
                    h
                    Hart50 Nov 22, 2007 09:39 AM

                    Thanks for the report! Where in Richmond Hill is the store located? I seem to vaguely recall a liquor/wine store a little east of Rona and Petland.

                    1. re: higgika
                      h
                      Hart50 Nov 22, 2007 09:42 AM

                      Oops, just saw newJJD's post with the address.

                      1. re: Hart50
                        higgika Nov 23, 2007 08:53 AM

                        It is awkward to find. Everyone told me it was in the mall behind the Domo gas station. Unfortunately, the gas station isn't there anymore. It is in the mall with the Calgary Labs medical centre but at the south end. It is on 51 Street SW just past the Canadian Tire and the Home Outfitters on the same side. Worth the hunt!

                        1. re: higgika
                          h
                          Hart50 Nov 23, 2007 03:53 PM

                          Thanks!

                  2. w
                    Wasabilover Nov 22, 2007 01:27 PM

                    Has anyone popped into the 4th Street Liquor Store? (Right across from Lululemon) Their wine selection isn't huge - but it's good! You can go down the street to Bin 905 and get recommendations - and then wander to the 4th Street store and get the same bottle for $5 - $8 cheaper. Or chat with one of the men at the store - they've got some good recommendations.

                    1 Reply
                    1. re: chef1189
                      g
                      Gobstopper Nov 23, 2007 08:10 PM

                      I'm a huge, huge, huge Highlander Liquor store fan. The wine boutiques are great as well, but the staff at Highlander are wicked, and the stock is unique. The sales are brilliant.

                    2. knifeguy Nov 24, 2007 07:11 PM

                      Metro Vino hands down. What Richard doesn't know about wine is not worth knowing. Ask about Farmer's Fizz, Champagne from unknown houses.

                      1. b
                        bogie Nov 27, 2007 02:21 PM

                        I have to recommend Metrovino.

                        Disclosure: Owner Richard was my sommelier instructor.

                        You won't find a more knowedgeable or less pretentious guy anywhere. His staff is likewise obsessed and congenial.

                        The stores's specialty is small production wines from family-owned wineries, in every conceivable price range.

                        Added bonus is that you can browse around CookWorks, as they're in the same building.

                        9 Replies
                        1. re: bogie
                          h
                          Hart50 Nov 27, 2007 04:17 PM

                          I would concur that Richard and Metrovino are very good.

                          1. re: Hart50
                            c
                            crespo Dec 3, 2007 09:45 PM

                            If you like Australian wines, I'd definitely agree with Richmond Hill. I think they have a superb selection. As well, Kensington has a pile of exclusive products.
                            I'd say if you don't want pretentiousness, head to these two places....as well, they're knowledgeable.
                            I also like Highlander.

                            1. re: Hart50
                              pants Dec 4, 2007 06:30 AM

                              richard is my favorite too! I don't go there as much as I used to when i lived around the corner - i'll have to make a better effort, my office is just up the street. Cookworks is a nice store as well, but the friendliness of the staff there is hit and miss, especially when everyone at metrovino is so great.

                              1. re: pants
                                John Manzo Dec 4, 2007 08:46 AM

                                "cookworks"? Did they change their name?

                                1. re: John Manzo
                                  pants Dec 4, 2007 09:06 AM

                                  i thought that might be wrong...but you know what we mean :)

                                2. re: pants
                                  y
                                  yen Dec 4, 2007 10:27 AM

                                  Funny, i've had friendly service at Cookbook Co. all the time, and had very spotty service at Metrovino. They never seem to give me the time of day until i walk up to the counter with a purchase. Too busy pouring or drinking wine and chatting with other people. Im not sure what it is about me, but i've had that issue at quite a few wine stores (Cellar, Metro, Kensington). Maybe i just look cheap? :)

                                  1. re: yen
                                    John Manzo Dec 4, 2007 02:23 PM

                                    Yen, we've discussed this, you need to clean up your act!

                                    1. re: John Manzo
                                      y
                                      yen Dec 4, 2007 03:15 PM

                                      My act is fine. Im in town until Thursday...try the veal! :)

                                      1. re: John Manzo
                                        y
                                        yen Dec 11, 2007 07:08 PM

                                        Ok, you were right - i apparently needed to clean up.

                                        I went in there tonight straight from work, so i was a lot more presentable than usual. Very friendly service :)

                              2. m
                                MoMoBoss Apr 20, 2008 07:33 AM

                                Try Garage Wine Mechanics in Banker's Hall downtown, for an experience that will include new learning about wine. Or in the suburbs SE, check out Willow Park, they have helpful staff and some great finds downstairs, or J.Webb in Glenmore Landing SW. Take my challenge: Wear your biggest friendliest smile to try and cut through Webb's pretentiousness. and then laugh all the way home about how it had absolutely no effect on them. Weird attitude in there but often carry unusual selections at a bit of a premium price. And, they gift wrap your wine for free.

                                1 Reply
                                1. re: MoMoBoss
                                  maplesugar Apr 20, 2008 01:17 PM

                                  I got the same pretentiousness from JWebb's...The "free" gift wrapping is a nice idea but I think you pay for it with the prices they charge.

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