Savvy Selections wine of the month club
features Rosewood Estates Winery & Meadery
Canada’s wineries delivered to your doorstep
We all know that wine is made with grapes, sometimes other fruits, yet did you know that wine can be made with honey too? This month’s featured winery Rosewood Estates Winery & Meadery located on the Beamsville Bench (Niagara Escarpment) wowed our Sommelier tasting panel with outstanding wines and meads (wines made with honey). Savvy Sommelier Wayne Walker was eager to interview Rosewood’s winemaker Natalie Spytkowsky. After they chatted on the phone for what seemed like an hour, Wayne quickly called me to share his new knowledge about mead. The first words out of his mouth was “Wow, Natalie is a really cool person”. It is fascinating people like Natalie who we like to introduce you to with your Savvy Selections each month and they look forward to meeting you when you visit their winery.
Natalie has been a long time friend of Savvy Company since she was one of the first winemakers we featured in a winemaker’s dinner event in 2005. At the time she was the winemaker at Angel’s Gate Winery making impressive aromatic white wines (Angel’s Gate was a Savvy Selections featured winery in January 2006). A few years later, she hopped the fence (literally – Rosewood is right next door to Angel’s Gate) to help professional beekeepers, Renata and Eugene Roman, build Rosewood Estates into a winery and a meadery.
In the attached Savvy eZine, Wayne gives you a Mead 101 (see page 8) as well as an interview with Natalie about her approach of making wine as naturally as possible - natural yeast is one of her secret ‘ingredients’.
In your Savvy Selections, you will find these delicious wines that WOWed the Savvy Selections tasting panel:
- Rosewood Gewürztraminer VQA 2008
- Rosewood Chardonnay Reserve VQA 2008
- Rosewood Pinot Noir VQA 2008
OPTIONAL: Ambrosia Grand Reserve Mead 2006
Rosewood’s honey is delicious and whenever I am in Niagara, I make a point to visit Rosewood to stock up on wine, mead & jars of their honey. If you would like to try their honey too, just let me know and I will arrange to have it…delivered!
You rarely find Rosewood wines at the LCBO
There is a cult like following of Rosewood’s wines and with their limited supply of 5000 cases, their wines sell out fast. When you have a Rosewood favorite and you would like additional bottles, simply call on me to arrange a special delivery for you. Likewise if after reading all about Rosewood’s meads you would like to try them – Wayne HIGHLY recommends Ambrosia (see page 4), “It’s like nothing I have ever tasted before”, call on me to arrange a special delivery for you.
Cheers & Enjoy the rest of your summer!
- Debbie & the Savvy Team
Rosewood Estates Winery & Meadery
Presented by Sommelier Wayne Walker
Beekeepers & Winemakers Create a Sweet Deal
“Renata and Eugene Roman purchased 40 acres of land in 2000, which is now home of Rosewood Estates Winery and Meadery. Their goal was to start a small-batch artisanal winery and meadery. This property is located on prime Beamsville Bench terroir. At Rosewood, 15 acres makes up the planted vineyard; approximately 2 acres is for the apiary and the rest is part of the beautiful forested area of the Niagara Escarpment.”
This is how Rosewood Estates identifies itself - a small-batch winery and meadery. As Winemaker, Natalie Spytkowsky tells it, wines and meads are all about “small and natural”. This philosophy is what allows selective hand harvesting of grape clusters, extensive sorting of grapes to get the best of crop and whole cluster pressing of grapes in gentle cycles. There is no crushing. Grape clusters go straight to the tank and are allowed to settle in cold temperatures. As much as is possible, Natalie naturally ferments the red varietals (winespeak: juice of single grape varieties) rather than introducing commercial yeasts. She explains that it takes more time to complete the winemaking process, but in six or seven months after fermentation, it is her opinion that “the wine opens up better and shows more richness and complexity”. Of course this winemaking approach takes passion, patience and commitment.
Small tanks (5,000 litres) and production around 5,000 cases allows for more care and more exacting monitoring of processes. The Chardonnay Reserve for example that is one of this month’s selections is part of a 4 barrel production. A great example of the Rosewood philosophy in motion! (Rosewood Gewürztraminer, also a selection this month, just won a Gold Medal at the 2008 Cuvée Competition - considered as the Academy Awards of Ontario wines.
The meadery side of Rosewood takes on the same philosophical and practical approach. A second generation beekeeper, Eugene Roman realized a teenage dream by teaming up with Natalie to produce mead (honey wine). Mead is made by fermenting honey and water. There are three apiaries attended by the Romans that are positioned throughout the Beamsville Bench. As you might expect, the bees are busy travelling throughout the region. Natalie explains to me that one bee will visit one million flowers to produce one pound of honey. It may fly a distance as far as 4 times around the world collecting the raw materials for honey. Just think of all the choices it has in the Niagara wine and fruit region?
Rosewood puts all its talents together when it makes meads like Mead Noir and Mead Blanc where the juices from grape varietals like Gewürztraminer and Pinot Noir are used instead of water with the honey. This is known as ‘pyment’ and it takes advantage of the properties of both the honey and the wine.
Savvy Selections is offering you what I consider is the ‘la crème de la crème’ this month by making Ambrosia (an ancient style mead) available on request. I hope you like it as much as the Savvy Selections tasting panel did.
Set on the natural clay loam of The Bench, Rosewood is on a wind protected site, good for the grapes and good for the bees. The Romans have just bought another parcel of land on 20 mile bench to expand its artisanal efforts.
As for the future?
Natalie says, “We are staying on track. We like where we are right now. Our size is fine. We have more control over our vineyard than larger operations and we grow 100% of our own grapes (and honey).
“None of our wines will be a clone of its former self. Everyone here is a piece of the puzzle that makes our wines and meads. For us this generates passion which in turn generates creativity”,explains Natalie. “The spirit of Rosewood is ‘Passion Grows Here!’”
And I think that passion is palpable and drinkable!
Here’s to Rosewood’s wines & meads.
Enjoy your Savvy Selections!
~ Savvy Sommelier Tasting Notes ~
Rosewood Gewürztraminer VQA 2008, $18.00
The grapes for this wine were harvested from the Wismer vineyard near Balls Falls in Vineland. A state of the art Euroselect Destemmer equipment which destems with less vibration and trauma was used on the hand-harvested crop. Gently pressed then fermented in stainless steel tanks, the juice is soaked with the skins for 48 hours to extract colour, flavor and aromatics.
Savvy Sommelier Tasting Notes: This wine establishes itself as very aromatic with very pleasant experiences of lychee, tropical fruit and rose dust. The aromas transfer to the same strong flavours on the tongue with the addition of stone fruits and sweet spice. All this is delivered in a honeyed texture characterized by subtle sweetness and balance. The long finish accentuates the power of this wine’s profile.
Suggested Food Pairing: This wine has the answer to some very difficult pairing problems! Hot dishes like Pad Thai and Indian curry – are spicy & have exotic ingredients that are best with a wine with low acidity and good fruit structure. This Gewürztraminer is perfect for exactly that reason! Moving away from spicy foods to cheeses – you may already experienced the difficulty of matching hard and soft cheeses with a single wine. Because of its texture and fruit profile, this Gewürztraminer easily handles with the hard and soft cheese matching issue: soft Boursin from France, the exotic hard Garrotxa from Spain or Wensleydale from England are all a perfect companion with a glass of this wine. Various ages of good old Canadian Cheddar shine! Fruit glazed ham and stuffed pork chop with bacon and Gouda are dynamite.
Cellaring: Drink now at 8C to 12C. Short term cellaring 12 to 18 months is possible, but you don’t want to loose the aromas or fruit flavours that will be compromised if you cellar this wine too long.
Rosewood Reserve Chardonnay VQA 2008, $25.00
The grapes for this wine were hand harvested and hand sorted in the winery – a lot of fingerprints involved in making this wine. An interesting note on the processing of these grapes is that they are picked and sorted and pressed in clusters. Battonage (winespeak: regular stirring in the tanks) is done to keep the yeast in suspension and add to the luxurious mouth feel and texture of the wine.
This is a special treat for our subscribers as only 4 barrels were produced of this wine.
Don’t wait too long to contact us if you want more.
Savvy Sommelier Tasting Notes: Elegant and sophisticated, this wine is both refreshing and creamy. It has all the characteristics of a modern-day Chardonnay with its yellow pear, ripe pineapple aromas with a long creamy finish that belies the French oak aging by offering up vanilla, nutmeg and coconut for barrel flavours instead of more woody offerings. The combination of fruit and texture makes it the perfect choice for white wine drinkers who need a choice for more full-bodied foods like steak or blackened dishes.
Suggested Food Pairing: The freshness in this wine makes it a great wine to have with fish and pastry. Fish pies and fish cakes would be outstanding. Shellfish in white sauce or poached salmon along with chicken, pork or pasta in a creamy sauce would also match well. Cheese-based salads like Caesar or chicken salads with stone fruits or tropical flavours will explode in your mouth with this wine.
Cellaring: Could be cellared for 3 to 4 years, but it really begs to be enjoyed now at about 15C.
Rosewood Pinot Noir VQA 2008 $18.00
Another crop hand-harvested from the Wismer Vineyard, the grape clusters were lightly pressed after 4 days of cold maceration where the juices were naturally released from their own weight. To finish this process, a very light pressing was done, followed by 10 months of aging in French oak barrels.
Savvy Sommelier Tasting Notes: This wine was released just in time to be featured in Savvy Selections. As Wayne stated during the Savvy Selections tasting panel, “This wine has almost everything anyone could want in a Pinot Noir.” It is delivered with finesse and femininity. Sweet cherries, ripe strawberries, spice, mocha and freshly picked morels are on the nose and the palate. These experiences are completed by a soft, sweet wood and red fruit finish transported on a light to medium body. Good acidity and soft tannins complement a very enjoyable wine.
Suggested Food Pairing: With its fruit and acidity, this wine would work well with creamy sauces and spicy seasonings. Leaner meats like veal, chicken, turkey or wild game bird would work well. Earthy flavours (truffles, wild mushrooms, mustards, coriander and horseradish), sweet spices (clove, cinnamon, nutmeg), sweet vegetables (beets, carrots, carmelized onions, bell peppers) and mild or creamy cheeses (Brie, Camembert, Havarti, Jack) as well as natural stocks and sauces that include butter all work well with this wine. A medium rare rack of lamb rubbed with Rosemary is a great match!
Cellaring: Drink now or cellar for up to 5 years.
OPTIONAL WINE: Rosewood Ambrosia Grand Reserve Mead 2006 $36.00 (375 mL)
Our Savvy Selections tasting panel sampled 3 of Rosewood’s meads and were blown away by Ambrosia. Sommelier Wayne Walker sums it up: “Ambrosia was like nothing I have ever tasting before – an incredibly delicious smooth & unique wine.”
Savvy Sommelier Tasting Notes: Full bodied, rich & warm is the best way to begin to describe this unique wine. Straw yellow in colour, aroma and tastes of fresh ripe stone fruits (think nectarine, peach) orange marmalade, sweet spices, white flowers and clover. A honeyed texture with a long pleasant finish that lingers on the tongue with one of the sweetest wood flavours that you will ever experience. “There is no other taste quite like it”, states Wayne.
Suggested Food Pairing: If you have a sweet tooth, you will enjoy this mead with aged cheeses, patés, foie gras and fruit or nut based desserts. On the sweetness level it is only a 10 – compared to icewine that is usually in the 30’s
Cellaring: Already aged 4 years – it will continue to last in the cellar, but don’t resist the temptation – enjoy it now.
~ Recipes to enjoy with your Savvy Selections~
Thai Red Lentil Curry
The kitchen of Loethe Khonmen (Wayne’s son-in-law)
2 cups red lentils
1 large onion, diced
1 Tbsp. vegetable oil
2 Tbsp curry paste
1 Tbsp curry powder
1 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp chili powder
1 tsp salt
1 tsp white sugar
1 tsp minced garlic
1 tsp ginger root, minced
1 (14 oz) can tomato puree
Wash the lentils in cold water and place in a pot with water. Cover and simmer until lentils are tender. (add more water if needed)
In a large skillet or saucepan, caramelize the onions in vegetable oil.
Combine curry paste, curry powder, turmeric, cumin, chili powder, salt, sugar, garlic and ginger in a mixing bowl. When onions are cooked, add mixture to onions and cook over high heat 1 to 2 minutes.
Stir in tomato puree and reduce heat allowing curry base to simmer until lentils are ready.
Drain lentils when ready. Mix curry base into the lentils and serve immediately.
With Rosewood Estates Reserve Chardonnay….
From Jamie’s Ministry of Food Cookbook, Jamie Oliver
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
4 lbs. potatoes
2 sticks celery
150g good cheddar
½ fresh red chili
4 sprigs fresh flat leaf parsley
300g salmon fillets
300g undyed haddock fillets, skin off, bones removed
125g king prawns, raw, peeled
Handful of good spinach, chopped
2 ripe tomatoes, quartered
Preheat oven to 400F and bring a large pan of salted water to boil. Peel the potatoes and cut into 2 cm chunks.
Add potatoes to water and cook for about 12 minutes.
Into a baking dish or earthenware dish, coarse grate celery, carrot and cheddar. On fine side of grater, zest from the lemon, the chili and the parsley leaves and stocks.
Cut salmon and haddock into bite=sized chunks and place in tray with prawns. Add spinach and tomato. Mix well.
Drain potatoes, return to pan add good ‘lugs’ of olive oil and a pinch of salt and pepper. Mash until smooth then spread evenly over top of fish and grated vegetables. Place in preheated oven for 40 minutes or until crispy and golden on top. Serve piping hot.
With Rosewood Estates Pinot Noir…
Creamy Pasta with Turkey, Mushrooms and Old Cheddar
Recipe from the kitchen of Dairy Goodness
2 cloves garlic finely chopped
1 8oz package of mushrooms
1 tbsp butter
½ cup white wine or chicken broth
1/3 cup 35% whipping cream
¼ cup milk
2 cups diced cooked turkey
Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
1/3 lb Aged Canadian Cheddar, shredded
4 cups cooked long pasta
½ cup sun-dried tomatoes, cut in strips
3 tbsp chopped fresh parsley
2 tbsp toasted pine nuts
1. In a large frying pan, melt butter over medium heat and cook garlic and mushrooms 3 to 4 minutes. Set pan aside at this point.
2. Deglaze pan by adding wine and bring to a boil. Add cream, milk, mushrooms, turkey, salt and pepper. Simmer for a few minutes without boiling.
3. Set aside 1 oz of cheese for garnish. Add remaining cheese to pan and melt over medium heat, stirring well.
4. Add cooked pasta, tomatoes, parsley and pine nuts. Stir well, heat through and serve immediately sprinkled with cheese.
Cheers & Enjoy this month’s Savvy Selections!
More about Mead
Courtesy of Rosewood Estates website
What Is Mead?
Mead (also known as Honey Wine) is made from the fermentation of honey and water. Honey is flower nectar collected by domesticated honeybees (apis mellifera). Honey is a remarkable product which contains a complex mixture of sugars, enzymes, proteins, organic compounds and trace minerals. These compounds give honey its distinctive flavor and aromas. These carry over into mead production and lend a distinctive flavor to the finished mead.
Mead was the first fermented beverage enjoyed by modern mankind. Mead first showed up as a beverage almost 10,000 years ago. It is a deep part of human history and a link to our forefathers. In ancient Greece, Hippocrates used mead as a tonic. Vikings believed that honey and mead had magical properties and were a gift from the heavens (Valhalla). In Celtic tradition, no wedding was complete without a mead toast to the young couple…FOR A SWEET MARRIAGE. It has been claimed that the word honeymoon comes from a tradition where a newly married couple drank mead for a full moon to ensure a long life and a happy marriage. We find it an intriguing and historical product which links us to human history.
Honey - Nature's Original Sweetner
At Rosewood, we produce and sell natural un-pasteurized honey on the Estate. Our busy bees Apis mellifera – fly the Beamsville Bench and Twenty Valley to gather nectar from the flowers to produce sweet golden honey for your enjoyment.
Honey is known to provide us with many health benefits and provides instant fast burning energy. Honey can be used extensively in cooking from making smoothies to honey baked hams.
Tags: Ambrosia Grand Reserve Mead 2006, Creamy Pasta with Turkey, honey wine, Jamie Oliver's Fish Pie recipe, Mead 101, Mushrooms and Old Cheddar, Ontario mead, Ontario VQA wine, Ontario wine of the month club, Renata and Eugene Roman, Rosewood Chardonnay Reserve VQA 2008, Rosewood Estates Winery & Meadery, Rosewood Gewürztraminer VQA 2008, Rosewood Pinot Noir VQA 2008, Savvy Company, Savvy Selections, Savvy Sommelier Wayne Walker, Sommelier selected wines, Thai Red Lentil Curry, The Savvy Grapes, what is mead, wine and food pairings, winemaker Natalie Spytkowsky