Essential Calgary Magazine 2018 | Page 56

Popping the Cork on Calgary ’ s Champagne Scene

From bubbly cocktails to vintage growers , Calgary offers France ’ s finest by don tse
Nobody ever had a bad day , downed a flute of Champagne and slammed it down on the bar , demanding the bartender pour another . Champagne is reserved for celebrations . With this celebratory spirit in mind , Nathan Newman created Calgary ’ s first Champagne bar , Untitled Champagne Lounge , adding an elegant alternative to the city ’ s nightlife .
“ We visited some world-class cocktail bars in New York and wanted to bring that to Calgary ,” says Newman . “ We wanted something people can dress up for and Champagne has always been associated with celebrations and fun . When people drink Champagne , it automatically means they ’ re going to have a good time .”
Untitled ’ s specialty is cocktails made with any of over 30 Champagnes offered by the glass , all kept fresh by a commercial-grade Perlage champagne preservation system . Serving by the glass also allows Untitled to offer Champagne flights for those wanting to explore the breadth and depth of France ’ s famed fizz .
Untitled has selections of Champagne not available anywhere else in Alberta , including 1995 Charles Heidsieck Blanc des Millenaires Brut , 2002 Pommery Cuvée Louise , 2006 Louis Roederer Cristal Rosé and many others . And for those who just cannot get enough bubbly , Untitled also offers many vintages of large-format Champagnes , all the way up to six-litre Methuselahs .
While Untitled emphasizes celebration and festivity , Bar Von Der Fels emphasizes the Champagne itself . “ Demand for singular or grower ( single-vineyard ) Champagnes with very pronounced flavours is growing and we treat ours as we treat other wine ,” says co-owner Thomas Dahlgren . “ They ’ re one of the best things you can do for a meal . A nice blanc de noirs ( Champagne made solely with Pinot Noir grapes ) goes great with steak . We haven ’ t had a single flute in the building . We serve our Champagne in Burgundy or Syrah glasses to emphasize the aromas and flavours .”
“ Even well-travelled enthusiasts are going to find Champagnes here you ’ re unlikely to find at retail anywhere else , including in Champagne itself ,” Dahlgren adds . “ We have some really cool stuff .”
Dahlgren advises guests looking for something special to ask for the cellar list ; the regular menu does not list rarities like 2012 Roses de Jeanne Rosé de Saignée ‘ Creux d ’ Enfer ’ and 2013 Ulysse-Collin ‘ Les Pierrieres ’ Blanc de blanc , made solely with Chardonnay grapes . And for those willing to explore wines from outside of France , Dahlgren would be delighted to pour a bottle of 1991 Riesling Sekt from Germany for you , a sparkling Riesling produced in the Champagne method and aged on lees for an incredible 25 years .
Alberta ’ s famed liquor distribution system has allowed passionate alcohol importers to bring some of the best and rarest alcohols , including Champagne , to the province . For those who share a like passion , Calgary offers an unparalleled selection of the world ’ s finest beverages . That , in itself , is worthy of celebration .
Untitled Champagne Lounge , 104 , 620 - 8 Ave SW , 403-475-7226 ; Bar Von Der Fels , 1005A - 1 Street SW , 587-349-2656