Go Back

Lorena Smalley

This is part two of a three-part wine series we will be sharing, courtesy of our Friends of WSAC partner, Aligra Wine & Spirits.  Watch our Fall Program Guide for another wonderful wine tasting event here at our centre, hosted by Alison Phillips, Co-Owner of Aligra!


Summertime is a time for barbeques and outdoor entertaining with friends
What’s In Your Ice Bucket?
By Alison Phillips, Co-Owner of Aligra Wine & Spirits

When it comes to wines, the majority of people here in Alberta prefer to choose red wines over whites.  Perhaps it is the long, cold dark winters that tend to make one want to cozy up inside with a simmering beef stew and bottle of red.  Or, maybe the fact that Alberta beef and bison, barbecued ribs, and hamburgers seem to win out over succulent white fish, chicken, or shrimp during the short summer season in our northern region of the country.  Regardless of the excuse or reason, if you are one of those “I only drink red” types, go out on a limb this summer and try some nice whites or roses for a change!

Summer is the best time to experience that cool refreshing, thirst-quenching pucker of a crisp chilled white wine while basking in the sunshine on a patio deck.  Roses are a delightful alternative too.  These can range from crisp and dry to off-dry and quite nice and fruity.  Most can be enjoyed alone, (we mean without food, not friends!) not all of them are “bitter”, lots can be paired with meat and some will utterly surprise you with their delicate flavors.  Roses are a perfect accompaniment for salads and are the quaff of choice in the South of France.

Here are some ways to lighten up this summer and experiment with a few delicious wines and introduce your guests to a whole new range of tastes at your next gathering!


First, you’ll need ice buckets.
They can be anything from a proper one used for chilling champagne to a child’s sand pail, a large ceramic flower pot, or a great big colorful bowl.  Have fun and use something that works with the theme of your event.

Fill the bottom of the ice bucket with some cold water – just a couple of inches will do.  Then fill the top 2/3  up to the rim with ice.  Plunge the bottle of wine into the bucket so that the ice covers the majority of the bottle to keep it chilled.


A great way to start any party is with an aperitif
– a beverage that will quench thirst, and get both the gastric juices and taste buds primed for the delicious dinner to follow without filling you up.

Champagne or Sparkling wine like Prosecco is a wonderful way to add some pizzazz to any function and is a perfect summer sipper.   Sauvignon Blanc is a great choice of white as these wines contain high acidity and medium to high alcohol.  Depending on where the wine comes from -, it might be a tropical fruit style flavor from Chile or a grassy, gooseberry style from New Zealand for example. Either way, they will awaken your mouth and tickle your tongue.  Sample a couple to know which ones you prefer.


Change of pace
For a fun chance of pace offer your guests a selection of wines in different colored ice buckets and label them with the name and a few tasting notes and what food they pair with.  They might be a crisp, acidic Sauvignon Blanc, a fragrant, floral, lychee-style Gewurztraminer (“Gewurtz” for short!), and a sweeter style apricot, honey, lemony Riesling, to name but a few.


Appetizers and your main course
Light appetizers ranging from salty chips to succulent shrimp and light cheeses or spicy selections would all work well with these wines.  Then, if your main course at the event is steak or ribs or even burgers and dogs, you can still fall back on your favourite reds to go with the meal knowing that you have at least tried to expand your wine repertoire!  Oh, and by the way, next time you are barbequing pork ribs, try pairing them with a crisp semi dry Riesling.  You will be amazed!


Alison Phillips is co-owner of, Aligra Wine & Spirits at West Edmonton Mall.  Drop by and pick up some well priced, hand-selected wines for your next gathering.  You will enjoy friendly help in a welcoming atmosphere.

Spread the love