Wine News

Review of 2011 La Commanderie de Bordeaux Calgary
March 29, 2011

Commandeurs, At this time each year your Council reflects on the events of the past year, and sets the event calendar for the New Year. We have an exciting line-up of events for 2011!
Indeed, the first event has already taken place. On Wednesday, March 9th, 24 eager Commandeurs attended a Lynch-Bages vertical tasting at Piq Niq. Truthfully, a mix-up with the waitstaff had the third (reserve) tasting bottle of each vintage opened so the event turned into something of an embarrassment of riches! Regent Satwant Lota also brought, of his own volition and with great generosity, two bottles of Ch. De Fargues Sauternes. Thanks go out to Regent Lota for the gift, and Regent Ian Young for organizing the venue.

Upcoming Events for 2011:

Saturday, May 28, 2011  Joint Commanderie de Bordeaux & Chevaliers du Tastevin Dinner at La Chaumiere. The second joint dinner with our comrades from the Calgary Chapter of the Burgundy Society is set to take place once again at La Chaumiere. The format will be similar to two years ago, when each attendee brings a bottle of exceptional Bordeaux or Burgundy from their cellar. A captain is appointed from each table of eight to coordinate the wines for that table so that an appropriate line-up of whites and reds are available to match the wonderful courses which Joseph and his staff will be preparing. It was a memorable event last time, and I’m sure it will be every bit as good on May 28th. Save the date! An event specific invitation for this special evening will be issued shortly.
Sunday, July 24, 2011  Bordeaux Wine Meets Shakespeare Company, Garden Luncheon and Performance. Catherine Barrett and Regent Ian Young open up their beautiful back yard on the Elbow River once again for what has become an annual pilgrimage to Shakespeare and Bordeaux. Regents, as in past years, will serve up a country style French luncheon combined with delicious quaffers from Bordeaux to slake your mid-day thirst. Note this is a noon until 5:00pm event.

Sunday, August 21, 2011  Approachable Sauternes Chez Maître – Tasting and Garden Luncheon. Sauternes is – even amongst Commandeurs – not well understood. This introductory event into the glories of Sauternes will be followed up at a later date by a formal, comprehensive Sauternes tasting. So look at this event as a convivial primer for those interested in learning more about Sauternes! For those of us who are already Sauternes hogs, well, this can be simply another joyous event to attend… Starting at noon, this will be a limited-attendance event held on Pam Fortier and the Maître’s back yard terrace, surrounded by columnar aspens, flower pots and, we promise, sunshine.

Saturday, October 29, 2011  Induction Dinner at The Ranchmen’s Club. Our annual Induction Dinner returns to one of our favourite venues. Chef Titcombe will provide a fine meal as we gather to welcome new Commandeurs into our Order.

Saturday, December 17, 2011  Christmas Party Catered by the Regent Council. Whilst the venue has not been settled, you can count on the tradition of camaraderie, great food and a dizzying array of Bordeaux wines to continue this year. Save the date!

OTHER NEWS:  Attached to this communication is the Annual Dues invoice of $150.00. While dues are never exactly welcome, they are necessary for our organization; allow me to briefly explain where your money goes:

1. Our first objective is, at all times, to maintain and improve the calibre of the cellar. While Bordeaux continues to climb in price, especially for top wines with international followings, your Regent’s Council have been able to buy at fortuitous prices over these past several years.
Wines at events are essentially billed out AT COST, so the replacement cost is always significantly higher. Nevertheless, our buying strategy has allowed us to maintain the status quo – for now – with dues remaining at $150. With our cellar approaching 800 bottles, this is overwhelmingly our largest use of dues.
2. Insurance costs, to insure the wines as well as required for the Directors (or Regents) is our next largest cost. This year we will be adding additional event related insurance.
3. Wine coolers, an investment of approximately $4000, have now been fully paid for. Our many hundreds of bottles are being carefully nurtured in optimal conditions of temperature and humidity.
4. Regalia from the Grand Conseil de Vin de Bordeaux – Ribbons, Medals, Induction Certificates.

In closing, some news about our Regent’s Board. Our sincere thanks goes out to retiring Secretaire, Derrick Rozdeba, who has very capably handled this position for many years. The mantle of communications to Commandeurs now passes to Satwant Lota, who becomes Secretaire. Derrick has tirelessly served our group and I know I speak for all in thanking him most sincerely for his many contributions. Derrick remains a Commandeur and is looking forward to attending future events.
Our Regent’s Board is made up as follows:

Satwant Lota, Secretaire

Stanley Waterman, Cellier

Howard Bell, Vinotechaire

Mesh Dayal, Argentier

Ian Young, Regent

Greg Stebbe, Maître

Please send in your Dues payment as soon as possible to our

Argentier: La Commanderie de Bordeaux á Calgary PO Box 788, Station M, Calgary, AB. T2P 2J6

Bordeaux, toujours Bordeaux!

Greg Stebbe, Maître


bordeaux-wineBordeaux is one of the largest wine producing regions in the world and the home of some of the most famous wines in the world including the “Grand Cru” wines. But that’s not the whole story. Many Bordeaux wines are inexpensive, easy to drink, accessible, generally lower in alcohol than typical California wines, and pair well with food.

Even if you’re not planning a trip overseas, host a “Bordeaux Night” so you and your friends can taste and discover some new wines to enjoy.


1. Find a bargain.


You don’t have to break the bank to enjoy a luxury of Bordeaux wines. In fact, approximately 80% of Bordeaux wines are priced quite reasonably (under $30) and are perfect for enjoying tonight (you don’t have to age them!). A few simple tips can help you navigate the wine aisle for a successful night with Bordeaux.


2. Red = Merlot and Cabernet and White = Sauvignon Blanc.


Let’s face it. All those French names and pictures of castles on the labels can be intimidating. Not to worry. If the bottle says “Bordeaux ” and it’s a red wine, you’re can be pretty sure it’s a Merlot and Cabernet. If it’s a white, you’ll find it’s mostly Sauvignon Blanc.


3. Expert advice at your finger tips:


Each year the Bordeaux Wine Council asks experts in the field of wine and hospitality to select 100 wines priced between $8 and $30 available. Check for the latest selection.


4. Simplicity brings out the complexity:


You don’t have to work hard to create a great food pairing for Bordeaux wines. A simply grilled steak, fish or even a big portabella mushroom or roasted chicken will match up nicely with the layers of flavors in the wines. Garnish with a little salt, pepper and olive oil and you’re there.


5. Take a deep breath:


You’ve heard this before. Open up that red a little before your guests arrive. It helps the flavors get reacquainted with the air and really develop those alluring aromas. Decanting the wine into a larger vessel can also pump up the enjoyment.


Trivia Night:

Did you know that Bordeaux means “Bordering the water?” Did you know that Irish emigrants are responsible for names like Chateau Lynch Bages and Barton and Guestier? How about, did you know the Medoc region where the famous Chateaux are located used to be a swamp and was drained by those clever Dutch? Browse for pieces of trivia and more helpful hints. Create a fun trivia card for your dinner guests they can play while you’re putting the finishing touches on dinner. Winner has immunity from doing the dishes.