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Derek's Blog

He saved for a sportscar…but bought a vineyard instead
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Savvy Selections wine of the month club
Featuring Pondview Estates Winery

-  September 2013 -

In Italian “Bella Terra” means beautiful earth and for this month's Savvy Selections we are excited to be bringing to you a winery with some Italian heritage. Pondview Estates of Niagara-on-the-Lake is owned by Lou Puglisi & his cousin Joseph Barbera. Both are of Italian decent, Sicily to be exact. The Bella Terra term is reserved by Pondview for their premium brand wines which are only produced in exceptional vintages (wine speak for years). This month, we bring you two wines from the Bella Terra portfolio, both from 2010 – an exceptional vintage in Ontario.

Our Savvy Sommelier Derek Vollrath had the opportunity to talk with Lou who prefers to be called ‘Pondview’s Chief Wine Drinker’. Lou has been a long time friend of all of us in the Savvy Team and he keeps us in stitches with his down to earth humour. If you have not already met Lou from your visits at their winery or at our Savvy Events, rest assured that in 2014 we are creating many more ways for you to meet him…over a glass of their fine wines.

During Labour Day weekend, I visited the winery and was treated to a wonderful tasting in the barrel room (photo left). Lou & Joseph are wonderful gentlemen pulling out rare vintages, barrel samples & a gourmet antipasti spread to enjoy with their wines. During our conversation, they commented that they were grape growers first (the vineyards are 39 years old) and only since Lou was crowned Grape King was he inspired to open a winery….and we are glad that they did.

Shortly after they opened their doors, we featured them in Savvy Selections. We are delighted to shine the spotlight on them again and taste how far they have come. Especially with recent BIG news about their top end red wine – Bella Terra Meritage VQA 2010 – just won a GOLD medal in the National Wine Awards of Canada. We are thrilled that we can offer this to you as an optional wine before it all sells out.

As you read this month’s Savvy eZine, I hope you will get a chuckle when you learn about Lou’s brush with Royalty or how some fatherly advice steered him - pardon the pun - away from a sports car towards his future in the wine industry.

As with every month, the Savvy Selections tasting panel convened to undertaken the arduous task – it is a tough job! - of selecting the wines from Pondview that will shortly be arriving on your door step. As challenging as the work is, we find this is a great opportunity for all of us to learn more about Ontario wines and most of all about the winemakers.

In your September Savvy Selections you will find:

Pondview Cabernet Franc Rosé 2012 VQA – a refreshing summer sipper

Pondview Cabernet Merlot Reserve 2011 VQA – rich and wonderful

Pondview Bella Terra Cabernet Sauvignon 2010 VQA – big and bold red wine

OPTIONAL WINE: Pondview Bella Terra Meritage 2010 VQA – gold in a glass

Pondview are hard to find wines! Ordering additional bottles of this month’s selection or past Savvy Selections is easy. Simply e-mail me at debbie@savvycompany.ca or call the Savvy Team on 613-SAVVYCO (728-8926). We will make all of the arrangements for your special delivery. How is that for easy?!?

Cheers & Enjoy!

Debbie & Savvy Team

 

Introducing...
Pondview Estates Winery

Presented by Savvy Sommelier Derek Vollrath


“If I had bought the sports car, we would not be having this conversation”, that’s what Pondview owner Lou Puglisi (left) told me with a chuckle when we got into the part of the interview about how he ended up in the wine business. You see, Lou felt he could be doing better things with his time than sitting in school. So at the young age of 19 he decided that he would get a job in construction while continuing to work on his father’s farm.

After a few years of savings, Lou had some cash that was burning a hole in his pocket. He was thinking about getting a car when his father took him aside and let him in on a tip: the parcel of land beside the family farm was coming up for sale. Insightfully, Lou’s father explained to him that in 5 years the car would be worth nothing, whereas the parcel of land might double in value. After some reflection, instead of buying a Chevrolet Z28 Camaro, Lou opted for the 20 acre parcel of land.

Unbeknownst to him at the time, this was the first step to planting the seeds of what would become Pondview Estate Winery. Lou never did buy a Camaro. In 2008, he bought a silver Corvette for a few years. And now as a new winery & business owner, he owns a Honda CRV.

The story behind the name

I always love hearing the story of how a winery’s name comes about because picking the name is not an easy – it is like selecting a name for your child. A great deal of research goes into a name to make sure that it is not being used by another winery and that the name has meaning to the owners. How the name Pondview came about is no exception.

Lou told me that he and his wife Adriana (on left in photo) went through at least 18 possible names with all 18 being discarded for one reason or another. It was on attempt 19 that success was achieved. Just like many other evenings Lou and Adriana went for a stroll on their acreage. It was around the property’s pond that Lou looked and said to Adriana “what a great view of the pond’. After some toing & froing the name Pondview stuck.

The Grape King & Royalty

The Grape King” is a highly sought after title that is awarded annually by the industry association Grape Growers of Ontario. All of the grape growers in the province select one grower who maintains the best vineyard in the province. With rigorous criteria and being judged by your peers, this award is significant in the industry. In 2008, Lou was the recipient of this prestigious title and as part of his duties as “King of Grapes” he served as the ambassador for the industry.

During his reign Lou attended the opening of the post graduate certificate program in Wine Business Management at the Niagara College Teaching Winery. It was during this opening that Lou was to meet Prince Charles. When it came time for Lou to shake the Prince’s hand, Lou confidently said to Charles, “it’s an honour to meet you sir. You may be the Prince, but I am the King…of Grapes”. Lou definitely has a lively sense of humour! And with that Lou has pictures of more royalty on his wall of fame in his office along photos of him with the King of Hockey - Don Cherry and the King of Canada’s nightly news - Peter Mansbridge.

The Pondview Mantra…

“Great wine is a harmony of earth and vine”. Everyone at the winery operates under this mantra. Lou explains that, “you achieve harmony by balancing what is done in the vineyard, by not stressing the vines with excess pesticides or fertilizers. My team is always looking at the vineyard in order to determine what is required to be done of the vines. If things are healthy then we leave our vineyard alone. Overall let Mother Nature tend to her vines”. In Lou’s opinion a minimalist approach will allow for better quality grapes. This month’s tasting panel sure thinks that this approach works well.

So if you are in the Niagara-on-the-Lake area, I suggest that you stop by Pondview, stroll the grounds meet with Lou, have your picture taken with Royalty and try some of their award winning wines.

Cheers & Enjoy your Savvy Selections!

 

~ SAVVY SOMMELIER TASTING NOTES ~

Cabernet Franc Rosé 2012 VQA, $14.95

For this Rosé wine, Pondview’s winemaker Fred Di Profio crushed and de-stemmed the fruit, then allowed the skins to remain in contact with the juice for 6 hours, thus creating its gorgeous colour and wonderful concentration of flavours.

Savvy Sommelier Tasting Notes: Pink salmon in colour with refreshingly youthful aromas of cranberry and strawberry. The cranberry aroma also comes across on the palate along with pink grapefruit and a hint of rose petals. This medium bodied wine has great acidity along with a crisp mouth feel and a medium length cranberry finish.

Suggested Food Pairing: This wine will remind you that summer is not over! Enjoy on its own or pair this wine with a fresh salad tossed in a citrus vinaigrette dressing. The tasting panel is recommending pairing this wine with the Chicken Tarragon Salad - recipe follows.

Cellaring: Drink now!

Cabernet Merlot Reserve 2011 VQA, $19.95

This is a Bordeaux blend of 35% Cabernet Franc, 20% Cabernet Sauvignon and 45% Merlot grapes. Instead of opting to call it a Meritage, Lou chose to use Cabernet, to cover off both the Cabernet Franc and the Cabernet Sauvignon that are predominant in this red wine blend.

Savvy Sommelier Tasting Notes: A bright and beautiful garnet red core (winespeak: middle of the wine) that fades to a ruby red colour as it approaches the rim of the glass. Great intensity of flavours with vanilla, cherry, cedar and prunes are discernible on the nose, while baked fruit, cedar and clover come through on the palate. This medium bodied wine has noticeable tannins, balanced acidity and a medium length red-fruit finish.

Suggested Food Pairing: This wine ain’t no chicken wine! commented Savvy Sommelier Doug during the tasting panel. This wine is a well rounded red that can be served with rare to medium rare red meats, with BBQed steak or roast beef, or event roast lamb with a peppercorn crust. Read on to discover this gem of a recipe.

Cellaring: The tannins are young and therefore need time to settle and integrate into the wine. This wine could easily cellar for 4 to 6 years and those that are patient will be rewarded.

Bella Terra Cabernet Sauvignon 2010 VQA $34.95

This is one wonderful wine. In fact, Derek awards this wine with his triple B rating…BIG, BOLD & BEAUTIFUL. As Pondview’s premium label that is only produced in exceptional years, which 2010 definitely has gone down in Ontario wine industry history, this single varietal wine is impressive.

Savvy Sommelier Tasting Notes: The colour is a stunning garnet red that extends out from the core to the rim. The nose is clean with aromas of red current, dried figs and wet stone all discernible. On the palate this full bodied dry wine has noticeable flavours of red current, oak and clover spice. It ends with a medium length red current finish.

Suggested Food Pairing: This red is not for the faint of heart. Pair this wine with bacon wrapped beef tenderloin in a red wine reduction. The tasting panel is suggestions you try it with roasted flank steak with parmesan panko stuff…OMG it’s a delicious pairing – read on for this wonderful recipe.

Cellaring: This wine can be cellared for 5 to 7 years.

 

OPTIONAL WINE: Bella Terra Meritage VQA 2010 $39.95

Meritage is the North American term for a Bordeaux blend made using any combination of Merlot, Cabernet Franc & Cabernet Sauvignon grapes. Pondview Meritage is a blend of 50% of each of the best barrels of their Cabernet Franc & Cabernet Sauvignon wines.

Savvy Sommelier Tasting Notes: A deep burgundy colour, this opaque wine has California Zinfandel like characteristics. Aromas of smoke, espresso, dark chocolate, black licorice & cedar (it was not heavily oaked) that transform into tastes of super juicy black plums, overripe blackberries & black cherries. Each sip warms you up with the heat, a zip of acidity (that will mellow out with cellaring) and the light tannins.

Well balanced, stunningly complex it is no wonder that this wine won gold in the National Wine Awards of Canada.
Congratulations to Lou & his Pondview team for achieving this highly acclaimed award.

Suggested Food Pairing: What did the September tasting panel suggest you pair with this wine? Well I will give you a hint…beef, beef and beef. Do you get the idea? Barbeque season still has a good 2 or 3 months left so barbequed sirloin steak with a smoky paprika rub or lamb chops with a rosemary mustard rub would both pair well. The tasting panel is recommending you try this wine with pan-fried sirloin steak with a Chianti butter.

Cellaring: This wine is enjoyable now or can be put down for up to 10+ years.

 

~RECIPES TO ENJOY WITH YOUR SAVVY SELECTIONS~

With Pondview Estates Cabernet Franc Rosé…

Tarragon Chicken Salad

From: Recipes for Healthy Heart Cooking - The Lighthearted Cookbook by Anne Lindsay
Serves 4

Ingredients

3 cups cooked cubed chicken
1 ½ cups sliced celery
¼ cup chopped chives or green onions
½ cup low-fat plain yogurt
¼ cup light sour cream or light mayonnaise
1 ½ tsp dried tarragon
2 tbsp toasted slivered almonds

Method

In a large bowl combined chicken, celery, chives or onions, yogurt, sour cream or mayonnaise and tarragon; mix lightly
Cover and refrigerate for 1 hour up to 24 hours.
Just before serving add almonds season with salt and pepper to taste.

Pack your picnic basket with this salad and the Rosé

 

With Pondview Estates Cabernet Merlot Reserve…

Roast Lamb with Peppercorn Crust

From: The Silver Plate Cookbook, Julee Rosso & Sheila Lukins
Serves 6 to 8

Ingredients

3 tablespoons crushed dried peppercorns, an equal mix of white, black and green
1 tablespoon fresh rosemary leaves or 1½ tablespoons dried
½ cup fresh mint leaves
5 garlic cloves, crushed
½ cup raspberry vinegar
¼ cup soy sauce
½ cup dry red wine
1 boned but untied leg of lamb, about 5 lbs (weight after boning)
2 tablespoons prepared Dijon-style mustard

Method

Combine 1 tablespoon of crushed peppercorns, rosemary, mint, garlic, vinegar, soy sauce and red wine in a shallow bowl; then marinate the lamb in the mixture for eight hours, turning occasionally.

Remove roast from marinade and drain: reserve marinade. Roll the roast, tying it with kitchen twine. Preheat oven to 350°F.

Spread mustard over meat and pat 2 tablespoons of crushed peppercorns into the mustard. Set the roast in a shallow roasting pan just large enough to hold it comfortably and pour reserved marinade carefully around but not over the roast.

Bake 1½ hours or 18 minutes per pound, basting occasionally for medium rare roast. Bake for another 10 to 15 minutes for well-done meat. Let roast stand for 20 minutes before carving.

Serve pan juices in gravy boat along with the lamb

 

With Pondview Estates Bella Terra Cabernet Sauvignon …

Roast Flank Steak with Parmesan Panko Stuffing

From Food & Drink Magazine Early Autumn 2010
Serves 4 to 6

Ingredients - Steak

1.5 lbs flank steak
3 tbsp olive oil
½ cup finely chopped onion
1 large garlic clove, minced
1 cup panko bread crumbs
½ cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
¼ cup pine nuts
2 tbsp chopped fresh thyme or basil or a mixture
½ tsp salt
¼ tsp freshly ground pepper
¼ cup all-purpose flour
Kitchen twine

Ingredients - Sauce

2 tbsp all-purpose flour
1½ to 2 cups beef broth or stock
½ cup dry red wine

Method

Butterfly steak lengthwise using a horizontal cut (do not cut all the way through to opposite side). Open up on butcher paper; cover with plastic wrap and whack with smooth side of meat pounder until ¾ inch thick

Over medium heat, heat 1 tbsp oil in a medium frying pan, add onion and garlic; sauté 3 minutes or until softened. Toss panko bread crumbs with Parmesan, pine nuts, herbs, salt and pepper in a bowl & add onion mixture and toss until well-combined.

Preheat oven to 375°F & lay pounded steak so grain of meat goes left to right in front of you. Leaving 2 inches uncoated on far long side, pat filling over meat. Beginning near you, tightly roll up the steak forming a neat roll. Cut 5 pieces of twine, each about 20 inches long and beginning at the middle, tie roast, spacing ties evenly apart. Trim twine ends and discard then roll tied steak into flour until heavily coated - be sure to discard flour that does not cling to meat.

Heat 2 tbsp of oil (med-med/high heat)  in a large heavy frying pan capable of going into the oven & add steak to pan, turning 8 to 10 minutes in total until lightly browned on all sides. Turn roast seam-side down in pan. Place in oven for 30 minutes or until internal temperature is 130°F.

Remove steak to cutting board, cover meat with foil and let rest 10 to 15 minutes.

For sauce, add flour to hot pan; stir over medium heat 1 minute or until absorbed. Pour 1½ cups broth and wine; gently whisking, bring to boil. Sauce should be nicely thickened; if too thick add more broth as needed; add seasoning as needed. Strain into a warmed container.

Slice steak width-wise into 1/2–inch-thick slices, removing strings as encountered. Serve slices napped with a bit of sauce; garnish with additional chopped fresh herbs. Serve with roasted fingerling potatoes and steamed cauliflower florets tossed with bits of roasted red pepper.

 

With Pondview Estates Bella Terra Meritage 2010…

Pan-fried Sirloin Steak with Simple Chianti Butter Sauce & Olive Oil Mashed Potatoes

From Cook with Jamie My Guide to Making You a Better Cook
Serves 2

Ingredients – Mashed Potatoes

14 oz potatoes, peeled and halved
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
Olive oil
a small handful of freshly grated Parmesan cheese
a knob of butter

Ingredients – Steak

2 x 7oz sirloin steaks, 1 inch thick fat scored
sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
olive oil
a small handful of freshly grated Parmesan cheese
2 knobs of butter
2 shallots or 1 small red onion, peeled and finely diced
a few sprigs of fresh thyme, leaves picked
1 large wineglass of Chianti
A few sprigs of watercress
Good-quality of extra virgin olive oil

Method

Put the potatoes into a large pan of salted water, bring to a boil and simmer until soft and tender. Drain them in a colander and allow them to sit for 4 minutes to steam away any excess moisture. Return the potatoes to the pan and mash them up, stirring in a 2 glugs of olive oil, the Parmesan and butter. Taste, season and then transfer to a bowl, cover with plastic wrap and place over a pot of simmering water to keep warm.

Heat a heavy frying pan, large enough to book both steaks at once without them touching. Season your steaks and brush them with olive oil. Using a pair of tongs, hold the steaks fatty-edge down in the frying pan to render and colour the fat. When the fat is golden, fry the steaks for 8 minutes in total for medium-rare, turning them every minute. Remove from the pan to rest.

Turn the heat down and add a knob of butter to the pan. Fry your shallots and thyme for 4 minutes, then add the wine and reduce by half. Pour in the resting juices from the meat, add the 2 remaining knobs of butter and take the pan off the heat. Stir around to emulsify and make a really simple red wine sauce.

Taste, season and serve with your steak and lovely olive oil mashed potatoes with a scattering of watercress and a drizzle of quality olive oil.

Enjoy this month’s Savvy Selections!

An Ontario wine company with a baseball connnection…
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Savvy Selections wine of the month club
Featuring Diamond Estates
- September 2012 -

 

What an absolutely incredible summer we have had.  It’s hard to believe that it is September already!  In wine regions, September marks the ramping up to the busiest time of year – the grape harvest. This year, Ontario wineries reported that the grapes ripened literally overnight! Usually winemakers spend September patiently monitoring the brix levels (natural sweetness levels) of the grapes, watching the weather reports & waiting for the optimal time to harvest. Usually, they have until end of September to ready their equipment and staff … but not this year!  Some wineries in Niagara began harvest in mid August! Cattail Creek Winery (Savvy Selections featured winery in September 2010) sent the pickers into the vineyards on August 23 – the earliest since 1971!

By all accounts, winemakers across Canada report that the 2012 vintage looks like it is shaping up to be another outstanding vintage like the notable 2007 & 2010 vintages. Our Savvy Sommelier Derek Vollrath met up with Jason Roller - one of three winemakers at Diamond Estates. Never heard of Diamond Estates? Chances are you have had a bottle of their wine on your table from one of the many wineries in this unique company that comprises of many Canadian wineries & is an agent for numerous wineries around the globe. Read on in this month’s Savvy eZine to discover more about Diamond Estates, their portfolio of wines and how a baseball connection plays into the company name!

With a case of different wines from their various wineries, one summer evening, I rounded up the Savvy Team and some Savvy Selections subscribers to swirl, sip, savour and select the wines for you to enjoy.  After a grueling evening of wine tasting (yes, it can be hard work), we look forward to introducing you to wines from not one but TWO Niagara wineries from Diamond Estates portfolio.

In your Savvy Selections,You will find:

Lakeview Cellars Kerner Reserve 2009 VQA – an easy drinking end of summer sipping wine

Lakeview Cellars Syrah Reserve 2007 VQA – delectable, rich and simply awesome! There are only a few bottles left if you want more bottles, be sure to call me quickly!

East Dell Estates Reserve Cabernet Franc 2007 VQA – stunning!

And since great wines deserve great food, Derek shares these recipes to serve with these delicious wines.

Stock up on these wines!

We were amazed at the prices & quality of these wines.  Ordering additional bottles of this month’s selection or past Savvy Selections is super easy.  Simply drop me an e-mail at debbie@savvycompany.ca or give me a call at 613-SAVVYCO (613-728-8926)

Cheers & Enjoy!


Debbie & Savvy Team



The Diamond winemaking team (l to r): Scott McGregor, Tom Green & Jason Roller

Introducing...
Diamond Estates

Presented by Savvy Sommelier Derek Vollrath

 

I always look forward to the months in which Debbie asks me to “take the lead” and organize the Savvy Selections.  It starts from the moment the wine is delivered to me.  It’s like Christmas as I rush to open the case to see what treasures the Savvy Team will “have to” work its way through.  The tasting panel is always a fun experience but the greatest thrill for me is talking to the winery owners, the winemakers and their staff.  I learn so much about the people behind the wines that we feature in the Savvy Selections.

This month I had the opportunity to meet Jason Roller and Chevonn Cook at Diamond Estates.  Jason has been working at Diamond since 2001 where he apprenticed and completed a co-op placement while studying at Brock University`s Cool Climate Oenology & Viticulture program – while a big title, it boils down to Winemakers School at Brock University.

“Chevy” as the guys like to call her is one of Diamond’s “Group of Seven” members.  In this case, referring to the fact that she is one of seven original employees.  She has definitely seen the company grow!

Chevy and I traded numerous e-mails before we were able to agree on a time that we could actually talk over the phone.  When we did finally connect, Chevonn happily reported that “this is our first day of harvest and as we speak we are processing today Auxerrois, Muscat & Baco Noir grapes that will be used in the following brands: Lakeview, 20 BEES, FRESH, Seasons”.

Batter…Batter… Swing Batter!

Diamond is another Ontario wine industry success story.  The company was founded in 2000 by Murray Marshall and Andrew Green.  The two men had known each other for years through baseball.  You see Murray was a scout for the Toronto Blue Jays and had been a long time baseball coach of Andrew Green.  The name Diamond comes from the baseball diamond and the two friends love and involvement with the sport.

Diamond Estates is the second largest Canadian supplier of VQA wines to the LCBO.  When you stroll down the Ontario Wine section at any LCBO I guarantee that you will come across one of the nine brands that Diamond Estates produces.  These popular brands include: 20 Bees, Hat Trick NHL Alumni Wines, Lakeview Cellars, EastDell Estates, Sundance Wines, Dan Aykroyd Wines, De Sousa Wine Cellars.

When you are next in Niagara, you can stop into the Diamond Estates wine boutique located on Niagara Stone Road en route to the town of Niagara-on-the-Lake & sample any of the wines from all of these wineries.  There is no other place like it in Niagara!

Diamond Estates’ portfolio also includes international brands that you may recognize: Emiliana from Chile,  Andre and Francois Lurton, Rodet from France, Casa Girelli from Italy, Anciano from Spain, Long Flat, Kilikanoon and Angus The Bull from Australia…and the list of international wine brands continues to grow!

We’re big … yet we’re small!

Jason coined it best when he told me: “although we are a very large winery we have a small winery mentality.  By that I mean that we are able to spend more time with our wines making sure that it is the very best we can produce.  Our equipment is a huge help.  We have a state of the art facility with an enormous capacity.  During harvest season what would take most wineries to process in 7 days we can process in 2.  We can then spend the other 5 days making sure that the product is perfect”.  When you taste this month’s wine I think you will agree with Jason.

Once Every Ten Years

Most winemakers will tell you that the 2007 vintage for Ontario wines was a vintage that happens once every 10 years.  This month you have two wines from this vintage. May I suggest that you take this opportunity and order a few extra bottles for your cellar?  These are great wines at a phenomenal prices.

Cheers & Enjoy your Savvy Selections!

 

~ SAVVY SOMMELIER TASTING NOTES ~

 

Lakeview Cellars Kerner Reserve 2009 VQA, $14.95

Kerner is a German grape variety that produces wines which are similar in nature to its more famous countryman…Riesling.  Kerner wines are relatively uncommon in Canada however as Jason and Chevonn explained to me Diamond Estates has been crafting wines from the Kerner varietal since 1996.

Savvy Sommelier Tasting Notes:  A pale lemon colour with aromas of citrus, pear and honey-do melon accompanied with slight floral undertones (can you find lilac?).  The wine coats your palate with flavours of white grapefruit, sweet apple, key lime and white pepper.  The mouth feel is rich and fleshy with a medium length green apple finish.

Suggested Food Pairing:  This fresh and versatile wine would go well with a citrus salad or chicken breast with a mango chutney.  The tasting panel is recommending pairing this wine with Lime & oney Glazed Salmon with Warm Black Bean and Corn Salad.

Cellaring: This is an excellent sipping wine that could be enjoyed now or it could be cellared for up to 18 months.

Lakeview Cellars Syrah Reserve 2007 VQA, $19.95 (regular $29.95)

This wine has all of the hallmarks of a wonderfully crafted wine: the fruit was sourced from a single vineyard; the skins were left in contact with the juice for an extended period of time thus imparting the beautiful ruby red colour and to top it all off it was aged in American oak barrels for 3 years before being released.

Savvy Sommelier Tasting Notes: Medium ruby red core that fades to a light garnet.  Dark cherry, cocoa, raisins, stewed prunes and hint of menthol all leap from the glass and carry through to the palate.  The tannins are soft and well integrated giving this medium bodies wine a velvety mouth feel.  The finish is equally as impressive as the complex palate lingers for a satisfyingly long time.

Suggested Food Pairing:  A wine as special as this Syrah should always be accompanied with a special meal.  At this price though, you can serve it often! Slow-roasted shoulder of lamb or flank steak with a honey-mustard sauce would be excellent choices.  Derek suggests that you pair this wine with beef tenderloin in a port, mushroom & stilton sauce – recipe follows.

Cellaring: It’s hard to believe that this vintage is already 5 years old. The wine will continue to mature and evolve in your cellar for another 5 to 7 years.

East Dell Estates Reserve Cabernet Franc 2007 VQA, $24.95

This is one of the premium red wines produced by Diamond Estates.  Only 110 cases or approximately 1,300 bottles of this wonderful wine were produced, so needless to say quantities are limited.  The September Tasting panel all agreed that the Cabernet Franc stole the show.

Savvy Sommelier Tasting Notes:  A rich garnet-red colour with a captivating bouquet of ripe red fruit, warm spice and dark chocolate.  This medium-bodied, dry wine delivers flavours of Christmas cake, allspice and vanilla.  Well balanced and richly textured with a stewed cherry finish that seems to hang on and on.

Suggested Food Pairing:  This is a dynamo wine and would pair well with barbequed gourmet burgers or grilled lamb chops with wild mushroom risotto.  The tasting panel is recommending roast veal with braised vegetables.  Read on as the recipe for this wonderful dish is at the end of this month’s eZine.

Cellaring: This wine can be cellared for 3 to 4 more years.  However, no need to wait as it is already 5 years old so enjoy it tonight with that special someone.

~RECIPES TO ENJOY WITH YOUR SAVVY SELECTIONS~


With Lakeview Cellars Kerner Reserve…

Lime & Honey Glazed Salmon with Warm Black Bean and Corn Salad

From: Rachel Ray 365: No Repeats - A year of Deliciously Different Dinners
Serves 4

Ingredients
4 Tbsp olive oil
1 medium red onion, chopped
2 large cloves of garlic chopped
½ Tsp crushed red pepper flakes
1 Tsp ground cumin
Juice of 2 limes
3 Tbsp honey
1 Tsp chili powder
4 6-ounce salmon fillets
1 red bell pepper, cored, seeded and chopped
1 10-once cab of corn kernels
½ cup of chicken stock
1 15-ounce can black beans, rinsed and drained
2 to 3 Tbsp fresh cilantro
6 cups of baby spinach

Method

Preheat a skillet over medium heat with 2 tablespoons of olive oil.  Add the onions, garlic, red pepper flakes, cumin, salt and pepper and cook, stirring occasionally, for 3 minutes.

While the onions are cooking, preheat another skillet over medium heat with the remaining 2 tablespoons of olive oil.

In a shallow dish, combine the juice of 1 lime, honey, chili powder, salt and pepper.  Add the salmon fillets to the lime-honey mixture and toss to coat thoroughly.  Add the seasoned salmon to the hot skillet and cook until just cooked through, about 3 to 4 minutes on each side.

To the cooked onions, add the bell peppers and corn kernels and cook for 1 minute.  Add the chicken stock and continue to cook for another 2 minutes. then add the black beans and cook until the beans are just heated through. Remove the skillet from the heat and add the juice of the second lime, the cilantro and the spinach.  Toss to wilt the spinach and then taste and adjust the seasoning.

Serve the lime-honey-glazed salmon on top of the warm black bean and corn salad.

 

With Lakeview Cellars Syrah Reserve...

Beef Tenderloin with Port, Mushroom, Stilton Sauce

From: Land O Lakes Treasury of Country Recipes Cookbook
Serves 4

Ingredients
¼ cup butter
½ tsp. coarsely ground pepper
1 tsp. minced fresh garlic
2-3 lb. beef tenderloin, trimmed and tied
2 Tbsp butter
4 oz. crumbled Stilton cheese
1 cup beef broth
¼ cup Port
2 cup sliced mushrooms (I use small Cremini or a combination)
½ cup chopped pecans, toasted
½ cup pine nuts, toasted
1/3 cup green onions

Method

Heat oven to 400 degrees. In a skillet melt ¼ cup butter until sizzling; stir in pepper and garlic. Place tenderloin in skillet and cook over medium high heat until browned on all sides (7 – 9 minutes). Remove from pan; reserve pan juices and browned particles in skillet.

Line a 13 x 9” baking pan with foil and place tenderloin in pan to bake for 35 – 50 minutes or until meat thermometer reaches 160 F (medium). Remove from oven and let rest, tented for 5 – 10 minutes.

Meanwhile, melt 2 tbsp. butter in same skillet with reserved pan juices and browned particles until sizzling; stir in blue cheese. Cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally until cheese is melted (4 – 5 minutes). Stir in beef broth and wine; add mushrooms. Continue cooking, stirring occasionally until mushrooms are tender. Stir in remaining sauce ingredients. Serve over carved tenderloin.

 

With East Dell Estates Reserve Cabernet Franc…

Roast Veal with Braised Vegetables

From: Food & Drink Magazine Early Summer 2009
Serves 6

Ingredients
3 lbs veal sirloin, tied in a roll
3 tbsp small rosemary sprigs
1 tbsp olive oil
2 tbsp butter
1 cup beef or chicken broth
4 cloves garlic, peeled and halved
3 carrots, peeled and cut into 2 inch lengths
12 fingerling potatoes halved lengthwise if thick
3 cups chicken stock
2 white turnips peeled and cut into wedges
1 bunch leeks, dark green leaves removed, cut lengthwise through the root
12 stalks asparagus, tough ends removed

Method

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Cover meat with rosemary sprigs, tucking them inside if possible.  Season with salt and pepper.

Heat oil and butter in a large skillet over high heat until sizzling.  Add veal and brown on all sides, about 1 to 2 minutes per side then remove from skillet & place in a roasting pan.  Discard fat from skillet; add stock and garlic, scraping up all the bits on the base and bring to boil. Pour hot stock into roasting pan.

Place pan in oven and roast for 40 to 45 minutes (depending on thickness) or until medium rare.  If stock reduces too quickly in pan, add up to ½ cup of water.

While veal is roasting, place carrots and potatoes into a pot of cold chicken stock over high heat and bring to a boil.  Reduce heat and simmer for 10 minutes or until slightly softened.  Add turnips and leeks and simmer for 7 to 8 minutes.  Add asparagus and cook for 5 minutes or until all vegetables are cooked through.  Reserve vegetables and cooking liquid and reheat when needed.

Remove roasting pan from oven, remove veal and let rest for 10 minutes.  Place pan over burner and add 1 cup of reserved vegetable cooking liquid and bring to boil stirring all the little pieces at the base of the pan.  Simmer 2 minutes to intensity the flavours.

Slice veal into ½ inch slices.  Served with braised vegetables and some sauce.

Enjoy your Savvy Selections!

 

Mama Mia! Unique Italian-styled wines from Ontario
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Savvy Selections wine of the month club
Featuring Colaneri Estate Winery

- April 2012 -


It wasn’t too long ago that people would often cringe at the thought of Ontario wines. However, being a Sommelier and wine marketing business owner involved in the Ontario wine industry, I now revel in pride with how the growing wine industry in Ontario and across Canada too, has flourished and is turning heads with impressive wines. Kudos to our talented winemakers. Now, wine enthusiasts like you, look forward with anticipation when discovering Ontario wines.

A large part of this change is due to those brave entrepreneurs and talented winemakers coming from all parts of the wine world to participate in putting Canada on the wine map. A case in point is the Colaneri family.

Our Savvy Sommelier Derek Vollrath met up with the Betty Colaneri, the family matriarch. The story of the Colaneri family and their wines was one of the most interesting and touching stories that Derek has ever come across.

In this Savvy eZine, Derek introduces you to the Colaneri Estate Winery as well as the family. Also, he provides you with a little “Savvy University” wine education (don’t worry Derek assured me that there is no test!). Deeply rooted in their Italian heritage, in this month’s feature, you are being treated to three different styles of Italian wines crafted right here in our own backyard.

The Savvy Selections tasting panel had several Colaneri wines to sample and it was a difficult job to only pick three wines as we were impressed by the intensity of the aromas and distinctive flavours of each wine. In the end, we selected for your enjoyment - and discovery too! – the following wines:

  • Fumoso Bianco VQA 2009 – rich & fruity, definitely not a typical Sauvignon Blanc
  • Corposo VQA 2009 – this blend of Cabernet Sauvignon & Cabernet Franc, this medium bodied wine is easy to drink with its long cherry finish
  • Insieme VQA 2009 - a big bold & beautiful blend of dried Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot & Syrah
  • OPTIONAL WINE: Profondo Mistera Recioto VQA 2010 – a sweet & succulent dessert wine made with dried Gewürztraminer 


In the last couple of pages in this Savvy eZine, Derek has recipes matched to complement the wines. He highly recommends the stuffed pork recipe that he paired with the Fumoso Bianco (Sauvignon Blanc) wine. “Delicious - pretty much sums it up for me”, reports Derek.

Love these unique wines?

All of us in the Savvy Selections tasting panel agree the Colaneri wines are absolute gems. You won’t find these wines at the LCBO. So, if you found a new favorite wine and would like additional bottles, give me a call and I will take care of ordering more for you. That goes for any of the previous Savvy Selections featured wineries too. Simply, call me at 613-SAVVYCO (613-728-8926) or sending me an e-mail at debbie@savvycompany.ca.

Cheers & Enjoy! - Debbie & Savvy Team
Savvy Company


debbie@savvycompany.ca

Colaneri Estate Winery


Presented by Sommelier Derek Vollrath


The first time I talked with Betty, I was so enchanted by her story that I found myself just listening, forgetting to take notes and ask questions. The second time we talked, I was more prepared.

A Passion for Everything they do 
...
Passion! That is the only word that can be used to describe how the Colaneri family feels about everything from their family, their winery and their wines. Betty explained, “We Italians do everything with passion, we’re a passionate people.”

The story of the Colaneri Estate Winery begins in 1967, when Joseph & Maria Colaneri came to Canada from Italy with their two sons Michele (Mike) and Nicola (Nick). Several years after their arrival here one of the sons, Mike married Angiolina (Angie), while the other son Nick, married Liberina (Betty).  What is touching about this is that two brothers (Mike and Nick) married two sisters, (Angie and Betty).

The Colaneris have been growing grapes in the Niagara region for 34 years. However, they did not become directly involved in the wine making business until 2003. I chuckled as Betty told me that the family agreed to take advantage of an opportunity and replant their grape vines, ”it was either grape vines or Christmas trees”, she recalls. Now, having tasted their wines, I am glad that the family agreed on the grapes!

With the vineyard planted, each family member selected a grape varietal that they felt personified them. Betty chose the Gewürztraminer as she fell in love with the sweet and spiciness of the wine. Once their grape had been chosen, each family member sat with a local artist and had a label designed to reflect their personality. It is definitely intentional that all of the labels have a Leonardo Da Vinci look and feel to reflect the family’s Italian heritage.

During our interview, I remarked to Betty that they sent a large number of wines for the Savvy Team to sample. “The wine is our family; we feel the need to showcase all of them, as it is not right to choose one over the other.”

The family recruited renown winemaker Andre Lipinksi, and although he is not Italian, he was a natural fit because he had experience in producing wines crafted in the appassimento style (read below for an explanation). The Colaneris specifically wanted to focus on styles that emphasized their Italian heritage.

A Sister now watches over ...
Betty’s sister and Mike’s wife, Angiolina was a huge part behind the winery. “She was larger than life”, Betty recalls. Although she was able to see the beginnings of the family’s dream during the construction of the winery, she was not able to see it to completion as she unfortunately passed away before it was finished. Betty paused and shared, “Angie’s presence is still felt today”.

As we ended the interview, Betty told me that, “Italy is the inspiration for our wines, while family is the inspiration of the winery. Having family work together to create a legacy that can be passed down to other generations is something that Angie would have wanted.”


Savvy University - Italian Wine Styles 101


Italian wines are as diverse and as unique as the people and the country. Given this, I thought I would dedicate a portion of this article to provide you with basic information about the styles you will be enjoying.

Appassimento: A style of wine in which some or all of the grapes are partially dried before they are fermented into wine. By drying the fruit, there is more sugar, less water and therefore a greater concentration of flavour with the finished wine.

Ripasso (pronounced ree-PAH-soh): In Italian ripasso literally means “re-passed”. After the wine is fermented in the usual way, it is placed in casks containing the lees (winespeak for grape skins) from a prior batch of wine. Usually, the lees of an Amarone wine are used. This process, which lasts from 2 to 3 weeks, adds colour, tannins, body and complexity of flavors to the new wine.

Recioto (pronounced reh-CHEE-oh-toh): This is a distinctive style of wine from the Veneto Region located in northeastern Italy. Grapes are dried in a cool, airy room for up to 4 months until semi-dry, which produces concentrated sugars and flavors. This is like a sweet dessert wine, along the lines of a late harvest.



~ Savvy Sommelier Tasting Notes ~


Fumioso Bianco VQA 2009

$24.95

Colaneri’s Sauvignon Blanc was crafted in the appassimento style with 45% of the grapes being kiln dried before being fermented. In addition to including the dried fruit, this Sauvignon Blanc was both barrel fermented and then barrel aged in French Oak. The combination of these two winemaking techniques resulted in a Sauvignon Blanc that is rich in body and fruit forward in taste. This is definitely not your typical New Zealand style Sauvignon Blanc!

Savvy Sommelier Tasting Notes: Vibrant gold in colour with powerful aromas of apricot, ripe apple and peach. The palate is very fruit forward with banana, peach and ripe pear. The use of dried fruit and oak during the vinification process (winespeak for winemaking) has resulted in a dry wine with a rich mouth feel and a long ripe fruit finish.

Suggested Food Pairing: BBQ chicken with a lemon-tarragon sauce or ravioli stuffed with butternut squash would pair quite well with this Sauvignon Blanc. Derek highly recommends pork tenderloin stuff with ricotta cheese, baby spinach and artichokes. The recipe below is super easy for a main course!

Cellaring: This wine can most certainly be enjoyed now or it can be cellared for up to 18 months.


Corposo VQA 2009

$18.95


This is a blend of 60% Cabernet Franc and 40% Cabernet Sauvignon. It is made in a ripasso style where the wine was re-fermented using Cabernet Sauvignon skins which were used in the production of Colaneri’s signature Amarone wine.

Savvy Sommelier Tasting Notes: A beautiful deep garnet colour. Your nose will be drawn in by intense aromas of white pepper, eucalyptus and dried fruit (can you detect dried cherries?). The palate is a complex array of red currants, dark cherries, tobacco leaf and white pepper. Dry, medium bodied in nature, with a relatively long finish of dried cherries. Try decanting this wine 30 minutes to an hour before serving to allow it to breathe.

Suggested Food Pairing: Crispy duck with spice plum chutney or venison stew would pair well with this wine. The Savvy Selections tasting panel suggests that you pair this wine with roasted garlic lamb leg and rosemary potatoes. A recipe for this crowd pleasing wine follows.

Cellaring: Give it 2 to 3 years in the cellar or enjoy it tonight while watching your favourite movie or show!


Insieme VQA 2009

$34.95

Insieme is named in honour of Joseph & Maria Colaneri, the original matriarch and patriarch that came to Canada from their home country of Italy. In Italian, the word “insieme” means together and as Betty explained, insieme is so fitting a name because Ma and Papa Colaneri did everything together. This wine is an equal blend of Syrah, Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot. It too was made in the appassimento style with 50% of the Syrah and Merlot along with 100% of the Cabernet Sauvignon was kiln dried before fermentation.

Savvy Sommelier Tasting Notes: Garnet red in colour with captivating aromas of warm spices, dried figs and cooked fruit. The palate is loaded with layers of red and black fruit, dried fig accompanied by subtle hints of mocha. The wine is medium to full-bodied with a long and intriguing black cherry finish.

Suggested Food Pairing: This rich wine would pair well with strip loin roast or pasta with a bolognese sauce. We are recommending that you pair this wine with crusty barbequed beef with a horseradish mayonnaise. The recipe for this dish can be found on the following pages.

Cellaring:This wine is drinking well now or if you so desire allow it to evolve in your cellar over the next 5 years.


OPTIONAL WINE: Profondo Mistera VQA 2010

$29.95

Savvy Sommelier Tasting Notes:
Rich, honey gold in colour, with an intense and extreme complex nose. Floral aromas (violets perhaps?
) along with sweet aromas as lychee, ripe pear, honey and sweet spice are definitely detectable. These wonderful aromas follow through on the palate as you will enjoy flavours of honey, brown sugar along with lychee and ripe pear. This is a definite sweet wine, with a cloying mouthfeel and a long pleasantly sweet finish.

Suggested Food Pairing: The food pairing possibilities with this wine are endless. Given the Italian style of you can’t go wrong if you serve this wine slightly chilled accompanied by a traditional Italian antipasto platter of Genoa salami, Capacola ham, thinly sliced prosciutto, roasted red peppers, marinated artichoke heart, stuffed green olives rounded out with Gorgonzola, mozzarella and Parmesan cheeses. Another great pairing would be melon wrapped in prosciutto, the combination of the sweet from the wine along with the saltiness from the prosciutto or antipasto platter is what makes this a classic pairing.

Cellaring: This would make wine can be enjoyed now. As a result of the fruit and acidity in the wine it can easily cellar for 3 to 5 years.

 

~ Recipes to Enjoy with your Savvy Selections ~


With Colaneri Estates Fumoso Bianco

Super-Stuffed Tenderloin
From
Men’s Health Nutrition Guide
Serves 4

Ingredients:
2 lbs pork tenderloin
1 cup reduced-fat ricotta cheese
2 cups chopped fresh baby spinach leaves
½ tsp dried basil
1 small jar artichoke hearts, drained and diced
Olive oil
Salt and pepper to taste

Method:

  1. Butterfly the loin by splitting it down the centre, cutting it almost but not all of the way through and the opening the two halves so that they lie flat.
  2. Stir the cheese, basil, spinach and artichoke hearts together and spread the mixture on the inside of the cut loin.
  3. Roll the loin closed and tie it with cord in approximately five places.
  4. Place the pork in a roasting pan, brush it lightly with oil, and sprinkle it with salt and pepper.
  5. Preheat the oven to 400°F and roast it for 35 to 45 minutes.

 

With Colaneri Estates Corposo

Roasted Garlic Lamb Leg with Rosemary Potatoes
From
Cooks.com
Serves 6-8

Ingredients:
4 lb leg of lamb, bone-in, trimmed
2 heads garlic, halved
3 tbsp olive oil
salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
2 tbsp Rosemary, chopped
3 lbs small red potatoes, halved
grilled asparagus or preferred vegetable, to serve

Method:

  1. Cut off the tips of the heads of garlic and brush the cut sides with 1 tablespoon of the olive oil. Set garlic cut-side down on a sheet pan and roast until it is soft to the touch, about 30 minutes. Let garlic cool for 5 minutes, and then squeeze the roasted cloves out of the garlic and into a bowl. Mash with a fork and spread over the top of the lamb (see tip).
  2. Meanwhile, place the lamb in a large roasting pan and season with salt, pepper and half of the rosemary. Allow to stand at room temperature for 30 minutes to an hour. Place the potatoes in an oven-proof dish and toss with the remaining oil and rosemary. Set aside.
  3. Roast lamb for about 1 hour 40 minutes, until it registers 130-135°F on a meat thermometer for a medium-rare roast, or until the juices run clear when a sharp knife or skewer is inserted in the thickest part of the meat.
  4. When the lamb has been roasting for 40 or 50 minutes, place the potatoes in the oven and bake until well browned and tender.
  5. Transfer the lamb to a warm platter and let rest for 15 minutes. (It will continue to cook as it rests.) Carve and serve with the potatoes and asparagus.


TIP:
The garlic can be roasted and mashed the day before. Store in a tightly sealed container in the refrigerator. You could also spread over the lamb the day before and marinate overnight for a real garlic flavor. Just remember to cover well, and bring lamb to room temperature before roasting.


With Colaneri Estates Insieme …


Crusty Barbecued Beef with Horseradish Mayonnaise
From
The Canadian Living Entertainment Cookbook
, Carol Ferguson
Serves 12

Ingredients:
2 round steaks, 2ibs each

½ cup red wine vinegar
¼ cup olive oil
1 onion chopped
2 cloves garlic, chopped
½ tsp hot pepper flakes
1 cup mayonnaise
⅓ cup chopped fresh chives
⅓ cup chopped fresh parsley
4 tbsp prepared horseradish
2 tbsp Dijon mustard
2 tbsp mustard seeds

Method:

  1. To make the marinade; in a large shallow glass dish or heavy plastic bag set in a bowl, combine vinegar, oil, onion, garlic and hot pepper flakes. Add steaks turning to coat all over; cover tightly. Marinate for 24 to 48 hours in refrigerator, turning occasionally.
  2. To make the horseradish mayonnaise, combine 2 tbsp of mayonnaise, chives, parsley and horseradish. Refrigerate until serving time.
  3. To prepare the coating; mix together the remaining 2 tbsp of horseradish, mustard and mustard seed. Remove steaks from marinade; spread half of the coating over one side of each steak.
  4. Cook in covered barbeque, coated sides up over medium heat for 12 minutes.
  5. Turn meat and spread remaining mustard mixture on cooked side. Barbeque for about 15 minutes or until meat thermometer registers 140°F for rare or to desired doneness.
  6. Let meat stand for at least 10 minutes before carving into thin slices.
  7. Serve with horseradish mayonnaise.

 

Cheers & Enjoy this month’s Savvy Selections!

Über premium wines WOW our Savvy Selections subscribers
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Savvy Selections wine of the month club
Featuring Reif Estate Winery

- March 2012 -

March definitely came in “like a lion” & I hope that it leaves “like a lamb” because I am looking forward to touring wineries in Niagara and Prince Edward County this spring.

Since their debut in November 2009, we are delighted to feature Reif Estate Winery again in this month’s Savvy Selections.  In this Savvy eZine, our Savvy Sommelier Derek Vollrath interviews Andrea Kaiser, Reif’s Director of Retail Operations and Promotions to learn how this long established winery continues to grow.

While you may be familiar with Reif’s already, we are sure you will be more than please with this month’s choices of wines.  Looking back to 2009 when we previously featured Reif, the winery owner Klaus Reif & winemaker Roberto (aka Rob) DiDomenico were tempting us with rave reviews on the development of their 2007 vintage & in particular their First Growth Pinot Noir. While at the time back in 2009, the Pinot Noir was still in barrel.  Klaus & Rob gave us specific ‘instructions’ (aka wine tip) to be on the lookout when the Pinot Noir is released.  Well, guess what… The 2007 First Growth Pinot Noir is part of this month’s Savvy Selections! And to top it off, our subscribers are given a special Savvy Selection price of $35 (regular $50 per bottle). Derek & I know that you will be “wowed” by this outstanding Pinot Noir – we certainly were!

In your Savvy Selections wine delivery, you will find these premium wines from Reif Estate Winery:

  • Reif Estate Reserve Chardonnay VQA 2009 – a mix of tropical with ripe tree fruit aromas & tastes  
  • Reif Estate Meritage (White) VQA 2009 – food friendly
  • Reif Estate First Growth Pinot Noir VQA 2007 – an outstanding Pinot Noir!
  • OPTIONAL WINE: Reif Estate Vidal Ice Wine VQA 2005

Read on to find our Sommelier’s tasting notes for the selected wines along with Derek’s favorite recipes to try your hand at in the kitchen.

You won’t find these wines at the LCBO
If there is a particular wine from Reif Estates – some from this month’s Savvy Selections or other favorites - that you would like to have additional bottles on hand or for your cellar, simply contact me to arrange a shipment for you. Did I already mention that you might want to consider ordering another bottle or two of the First Growth Pinot Noir?

Cheers & Enjoy!

- Debbie & Savvy Team
debbie@savvycompany.ca

Reif Estate Winery

Presented by Sommelier Derek Vollrath

 

As one of Ontario wine industry pioneers, we are excited to show you how Reif Estate Winery has grown over the years – both by their ever expanding winery & quality of their wines.

Even in March, it is a busy time at the winery.  Icewine is in production & attention is being paid to the most recent vintage of white wines that will be in the final stages of winemaking.  At the time of the interview, Klaus Reif - winery owner (in above photo) & winemaker Roberto (aka Rob) DiDomenico were busy in the cellar. I caught up to Andrea Kaiser - Director of Retail Operations & Promotions - who is at the heart of everything at the winery. I learned that frankly, Andrea runs the place!

An Estately Winery
I started off the interview (which turned into a friendly chat) by asking Andrea what Reif does differently then other wineries. “Our focus is on making estate wines”. In Ontario under the Vintner Quality Alliance (VQA) rules, wines that are labeled as “estate bottled” must come from wineries that have control over everything in the winemaking process - from the vineyard, all throughout production and then with the final bottling.  This is absolutely the case as 98% of the wines produced by Reif are labeled as ‘estate’. This means that Klaus, Rob & their teams control every aspect from growing & managing the fruit on the vine to bottling the wine as well as every step in between.  This approach ensures that Klaus & Rob can “produce a consistently exceptional product”, Andrea explains.  This is evident by the number of awards that Reif’s wines have won, especially the array of Canadian & international medals for their ice wines.

Über Premium
Andrea stressed the importance of Reif’s First Growth collection of wines (enjoy the Pinot Noir in your Savvy Selections).  “These wines are our über premium wines that showcase the terroir of the Niagara River sub-appellation”.  For wines to carry the distinctive First Growth label, Klaus & Rob established early on that the following criteria must be met:

1. The wines must be produced from fruit that comes from Reif’s older vineyards

2. The wines are only produced in exceptional vintages

3. The wines are made under stricter conditions and with greater TLC such as handpicked fruit.

“Reif’s First Growth collection of wines is one of Klaus’ & Rob’s dreams come true & it is something that they are completely proud of”, beams Andrea.

Go Local – Living the Mantra
Everything they do at the winery is based on local relationships with culinary groups within the peninsula.  Andrea explained to me that at Reif they have absolutely embraced the concept of “living local”.  “Our team really works hard to partner with local suppliers in order to showcase the culinary arts that have developed in the Niagara area, our Sensory Wine Bar is an excellent example of our commitment.”

Upcoming Events at Reif
If you are planning a trip to Niagara, Andrea proudly explains why Reif is a ‘must stop’ especially with the unique Sensory Wine Bar. “It is an amazing as our visitors can enjoy a flight of our wines with a selection of artisan cheese, charcuterie plates & even chocolate”.

If you happen to be in Niagara-on-the-Lake on April 21st,  join Rob as he hosts a luncheon where he will be giving visitors a sneak peek of the 2010 First Growth Collection.  This vintage marks the fourth time in which Klaus & Rob deemed the conditions ideal enough to create.

As our interview wraps up, Andrea’s parting words about the winery, “We work in a great place, people love coming to Niagara because it is Ontario’s wine country & what’s not to like about wine and food? When they come to visit they are in a great mood & that rubs off on all of us at the winery”.

Reif Estate Winery will definitely be on my list of wineries to visit this summer.

Cheers & Enjoy your Savvy Selections wines…especially the First Growth Pinot Noir!

~ Savvy Sommelier Tasting Notes~

Chardonnay Reserve VQA 2009
$19.95

The 2009 Chardonnay Reserve is made from some of Reif’s oldest Chardonnay vines, some dating back to 1982.  This wine has seen only oak - from fermentation all the way to barrel ageing & everything in between.

Savvy Sommelier Tasting Notes:  Bright gold in colour with notable aromas of banana & melon leap from the glass along with hints of vanilla & warm spice, (can you find cinnamon?).  The palate is exceptionally rewarding & complex with flavours of brown sugar, hazelnut, green apple & ripe pear.  This is a dry, full-bodied white wine with an incredibility rich & buttery mouth feel.  It is topped off with a long apple pie finish.

Suggested Food Pairing: Our Savvy Sommelier Debbie Trenholm simply stated that “this wine is gorgeous on its own”.  If you decide to serve with a meal, Derek offers a recipe for Roasted Salmon Salad Niçoise.

Cellaring: This wine can definitely be enjoyed tonight or it can be cellared for up to 18 months.

Meritage (White) VQA 2009
$19.95

The wine term Meritage is usually reserved for red wines made with a Bordeaux blend of grapes outside of Bordeaux. However; in this case it is cleverly used for the white Bordeaux grape varietals of Sauvignon Blanc & Semillon.  For the 2009 vintage Sauvignon Blanc accounts for 56% of the blend, while Semillon makes up 44%.

Savvy Sommelier Tasting Notes:  Pale gold in colour with a brilliant luster & sheen.  On the nose there are definite aromas of cut grass & green apple courtesy of the Sauvignon Blanc while the Semillon provides honey & floral aromas.  Dry on the palate this white wine offers flavours of citrus, green apple & white pepper.  This full-bodied wine is well balanced with a medium length green apple finish.

Suggested Food Pairing:  This Meritage is definitely a food friendly wine as it would go well with spinach & goat’s cheese risotto or gnocchi in a gorgonzola sauce.  The Savvy Selections tasting panel immediately thought this wine would accompany seafood exceptionally well. Derek shares his Seafood Stew recipe is tasty & he says that the best part is that you only need one pot to make it!

Cellaring: Again, the wine is ready to enjoy tonight or you can cellar it for up to 12 months.

First Growth Pinot Noir VQA 2007
$35.00 – a special price for Savvy Selections subscribers. (Regular $50)

As explained earlier, Reif’s First Growth series of wines are ultra premium wines produced only during years of exceptional vintage.  To date only four First Growth wines have been crafted by Reif Estate’s (2001, 2002, 2007 & recently, 2010 has been named exceptional).

Savvy Sommelier Tasting Notes:  The core of this wine (winespeak: its centre) is bright ruby red in colour that gradually fades to a thin watery rim.  The nose is thoroughly enjoyable as aromas of cherries, raspberries, leather & pencil shavings waft from the glass.  The palate will totally blow you away with flavors of sour cherries, ripe raspberries & dark chocolate.  With a velvety mouth feel and a long lingering cherry finish, this incredible wine is a sure-fire crowd pleaser.

Suggested Food Pairing: Peking duck or barbequed lamb chops with a rosemary rub would pair very well.  Derek recommends to pair this Pinot Noir with a cherry sauce over pan fried pork tenderloin cutlets – a yummy recipe follows!

Cellaring: You can open it now or if you prefer you can hold onto this wine as it will be drinking well now through to 2015.

Serving Tip: To make this wine that more special, Derek recommends to decant for 45 minutes before serving.

~ Recipes to enjoy with your Savvy Selections ~

 

With Reif Estate Winery Chardonnay Reserve…

 

Roasted Salmon Salad Niçoise
From Heart Smart - the Best of Heart Smart Cooking, Bonnie Stern
Serves 8

Ingredients
4 tbsp olive oil, divided
1 tbsp chopped fresh rosemary or ½ tsp dried
½ tsp salt
½ tsp pepper
2 lbs baby potatoes, cleaned and halved
6 plum tomatoes cut in wedges or 2 cups cherry tomatoes
2 head garlic
1 lb asparagus, trimmed
2 lbs salmon fillet in one piece, skin removed
⅓ cup balsamic vinegar
8 cups mixed organic greens
2 tbsp chopped fresh tarragon or shredded basil or ½ tsp dried
4 hard-cooked egg whites, coarsely chopped
1 small bunch chives

Method

  1. Combine 2 tbsp oil, rosemary, salt and pepper.  Toss potatoes with half this mixture
  2.  Arrange tomato wedges, skin side down and potatoes in a single layer on a parchment-lined baking sheet.  Cut top quarter off heads of garlic and wrap in foil.  Roast potatoes, tomatoes and garlic in a preheated 400° F oven for 40 minutes.  Remove baking sheet from oven and scatter asparagus over potatoes and tomatoes.  Roast for 10 to 15 minutes longer, or until potatoes and garlic are tender and asparagus is bright green.  Tomatoes should be browed on bottom.
  3.  Meanwhile, coat salmon with remaining oil/rosemary marinade.  Place salmon on another baking sheet lined with parchment.  About 20 minutes before vegetables are ready, place salmon in oven and roast for 15 to 18 minutes or until just cooked through.
  4.  To prepare dressing, squeeze roasted garlic into vinegar and whisk until pureed.  Whisk in remaining 2 tbsp of oil.
  5.  Arrange greens over bottom of a large platter.  Arrange potatoes down center and tomatoes and asparagus along sides.  With a large spatula, place salmon on top of potatoes.  Drizzle dressing over salad.  Sprinkle with tarragon and egg whites.  Cut chives into 2-inch lengths and sprinkle over top.

 


With Reif Estate Winery Meritage White…

Seafood Stew
From Love Food.com
Serves 4-6

Ingredients
Large pinch of saffron threads
4 tbsp almost boiling water
6 tbsp olive oil
1 large onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1 ½ tbsp chopped fresh thyme leaves
2 bay leaves
2 red bell peppers, seeded and coarsely chopped
1 can (28 oz / 796 mL) canned & chopped tomatoes
1 tsp smoked paprika
1 cup fish stock
1 cup blanched almonds, toasted and finely ground
Salt and pepper
12-16 live mussels
12-16 live clams
1 lb 5 oz / 600 g thick boned hake or cod fillets, skinned and cut into 2-inch chunks
12-16 raw shrimp shelled and deveined
Thick crusty bread, to serve

Method

  1. Place the saffron threads in a heatproof bowl with the water and let stand for at lease 10 minutes to infuse.
  2.  Heat the oil in a large, heavy-bottom flameproof casserole over medium-high heat.  Reduce the heat to low and cook the onion, stirring occasionally, for 10 minutes, or until golden but not browned.  Stir in the garlic, thyme, bay leave and red bell peppers and cook, stirring frequently for 5 minutes or until the bell peppers are softened and the onions have softened further.  Add the tomatoes and paprika and simmer, stirring frequently for an additional 5 minutes.
  3.  Stir in the stock, the saffron and its soaking liquid, and the almonds and bring to a boil, stirring.  Reduce the heat and simmer for 5-10 minutes, or until the sauce reduces and thickens.  Season to taste with salt and pepper.
  4. Clean the mussels and clams, discard any with broken shells
  5. Gently stir the hake into the stew so that it doesn’t break up, then add the shrimp, mussels and clams.  Reduce the heat to very low, then cover and simmer for 5 minutes or until the hake is opaque the mussels and clams have opened and the shrimp have turned pink.  Discard and mussels or clams that remain closed.  Serve immediately with plenty of thick crusty bread for soaking up the juices

 

With Reif Estate Winery First Growth Pinot Noir…

Pork Tenderloin with Cherry Sauce
allrecipes.com/recipe/tenderloin-with-cherry-sauce
Serves 4

Ingredients
1-2 tablespoon cornstarch, depending on your desired thickness of the sauce
1 1/2 cups cranberry juice
2 teaspoonsDijonmustard
1 (1 1/2 pound) pork tenderloin, thinly sliced
2 teaspoons lemon-pepper seasoning
3 tablespoons butter
1 cup dried cherries
3 tablespoons cherry preserves

Method

  1. In a small bowl, combine the cornstarch, cranberry juice and mustard until smooth; set aside.
  2.  Sprinkle pork with lemon-pepper. In a large skillet, cook pork in butter for 4-5 minutes on each side or until no longer pink. Remove pork and keep warm.
  3.  Stir cornstarch mixture and add to the skillet. Bring to a boil.
  4. Add cherries and preserves; cook and stir for 2 minutes or until thickened. Return pork to the pan; cook for 2 minutes or until heated through. Serve on a bed of rice with fresh vegetables or assorted grilled mushrooms.

 Cheers & Enjoy this month’s Savvy Selections!

Karlo Estates Winery: Cutting Edge Wines from A Historic Property
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CANADA’S WINERIES DELIVERED TO YOUR DOORSTEP

Fall is harvest time and for Ontario’s wineries that means, it is time to get the grapes off the vines and into the winery where they will be pressed and fermented.The jury is still out as to what promises the 2011 vintage holds.

Given the fact that wineries are so busy at this time of year, it was a welcome break for Karlo Estates Winery owner and winemaker Richard Karlo, to take time out of his day to be interviewed with our Sommelier Derek Vollrath. Richard reported that the summer was spectacular for growing, while the fall was wet & cool. Harvest is a fine balancing act of juggling ripening levels & watching for weather windows. No doubt all winemakers breathe much easier once all of the grapes are harvested in the tanks fermenting.

My discovery of Karlo Estates was first with a sip of their wines, then with a visit a few weeks after they opened.I was immediately impressed with its stunning historic property in ‘The County’ - Prince Edward County that is.Richard now calls this land his home, vineyard & winery. I have returned for a visit several times since – always with friends in tow.In addition to the amazing wines, there are interesting sites on the property & antiques in the converted heritage barn that will undoubtedly intrigue you. And you won’t forget the warm welcome that awaits you when you visit the winery, the joy de vivre of Richard & his partner Sherry and of course, Richard’s signature laugh.

Our Team of Savvy Sommeliers is pleased to introduce you to Karlo Estates Winery with this month’s Savvy Selections:

·Karlo Estates Riesling 2010 – crisp & zippy – an absolutely refreshing white wine

·Karlo Estates Chardonnay 2010 – you are the first to receive this wine as it was bottled in time to be included in Savvy Selections

·Karlo Estates Petit Verdot 2010 – a grape variety often set aside for blending. The grapes were so perfect during last year’s harvest, Richard made this single varietal wine instead.

·OPTIONAL WINE: Karlo Estates Van Alstine Port 2009 – the first & only port made in The County

In the following pages, Richard shares how his fascination for winemaking began when he a young boy.This interest broke ground on the path to becoming a professional wine judge then acclaimed winemaker. I am confident that you too will be impressed with this month’s Savvy Selections wines and will enjoy making the recipes that Derek chose to accompany this month’s feature wines.

You won’t find these wines at the LCBO

If you would like to stock up on more bottles of Karlo wines, ordering them is easy – simply send me an e-mail to debbie@savvycompany.ca or call 613-SAVVYCO (613-728-8926).We will gladly make the arrangements to have additional bottles of your favorite Karlo Estates or wines from previous Savvy Selections shipped directly to you.

Cheers & Enjoy!

- Debbie & Savvy Team
debbie@savvycompany.ca

Introducing…
KARLO ESTATES WINERY

Presented by Sommelier Derek Vollrath

Trying to organize an interview with a winery owner during harvest time is next to impossible, that’s why I am thankful that Richard Karlo, owner and winemaker at Karlo Estates was able to find time in his schedule for a phone interview.When I caught up with Richard he had just come in from the barn where the Frontenac Noir was being crushed.

Rich, as he prefers to be called, grew up making wine - literally.He began at the young age of 8 watching his father make wine at home.According to Rich, he was “more interested in the process”, but I am sure that thimble sized sample or two along that way didn’t hurt either! Armed with his Dad’s winemaking techniques, Rich eventually tried his hand at crafting his own wine.

Rich joined the Amateur Winemakers of Ontario (AWO) knowing far too well that crafting wine would become more than just a hobby.Although the group is called “Amateur” they are anything but.The AWO is forum whereby other like-minded winemakers get together to learn new techniques from one another & exchange ideas about winemaking.

Not only has Rich been making wines since he was knee high to a grasshopper, he has long time been successful in winning awards for his wines.One of his most memorable awards was in 2010 at the Toronto Gourmet Food and Wine Show when John Szabo and Zoltan Szabo selected the first release of the 2008 Van Alstine Port as one of the “Top 10 Cutting Edge Wines of the World”. What an honour!Several of our subscribers had a bottle of this outstanding port added to their Savvy Selections shipment.

In addition to being a Master Winemaker, Rich is a member of the Wine Judges of Canada.Becoming a professional wine judge is no easy feat as candidates must first be nominated into the program.Once nominated, they are required to complete an intensive 30 month program that covers all aspects of wine from gaining an expert knowledge of the wine regions of the world, to understanding how to detect subtle differences in wines acidity or sugar levels.It is very intense!


The Bridge, the Wall & the Barn
During a visit to Karlo Estates, you will be amazed by three unique and wonderful features: a dry stone construction bridge, a 20 foot dry stone construction wall around the winery and a rustic wooden barn.

The barn has been converted to house the winery operations including the tasting room, the cellar, a catering kitchen as well as an art gallery.The barn has intentionally been left rustic because Rich didn’t want to change the character and charm of the building.

The stone wall around the heritage barn was built in 2005 with limestone pieces from the property and the bridge over the creek that runs between the two vineyards was built by hand in 2007.Both were ‘weekend projects’ by Rich, stonemasons & friends.These structures are a tribute to Rich’s English heritage as they were constructed using a technique known as dry stone construction.Dry stone construction is a method of construction whereby structures are built by fitting stones together - no mortar (or glue) is used. The results of both are fantastic and are a must see during a tour of the County. You will see an illustration of the bridge along with the keystone on the wine labels.


An Adventurous Winemaker
Rich believes that his involvement with the AWO has enabled him to be, in his words “a more adventurous winemaker than those formally trained”.

This adventurous spirit is apparent in all of his wines.He is reserved in the use of “wood” as only his Chardonnay’s see any new oak barrels.However, everything else, as Richard puts it, “gets a kiss of oak”.

The Port which is featured as an optional wine this month is also an adventurous product.The first vintage (2008) was made as a bit of a lark.However, the joke’s on Rich because not only has the 2008 Port been recognized as a “Cutting Edge Wine” it is also one of their biggest sellers.Now that is impressive - Enjoy!

~ SAVVY SOMMELIER TASTING NOTES ~

Karlo Estates Riesling 2010, $22.00

Prince Edward County Rieslings are known for their acidity.To help tame the acidity, Rich barrel fermented this Riesling for 3 to 4 months in six year old oak barrels and left some residual sugar in the final wine. (winemakers note: after 3 years, oak barrels are considered neutralized & impart little oak taste in the wine)

Savvy Sommelier Tasting Notes:Bright, clear and light gold in colour with aromas of honeysuckle, pear and peach that leap from the glass.The aromas come through on the palate meaning you will enjoy flavours of honey, pear with some hints of minerality and citrus.This medium bodied wine is off-dry on the palate (winespeak for slightly sweet) with a medium length sweet apple finish.The tasting panel also noted that the crisp acidity is balanced nicely with the residual sugar.

Suggested Food Pairing:Spicy food would be an excellent complement to the natural sweetness in this wine.With this in mind, our Savvy Selections tasting panel recommends the zingy pork tenderloin with jalapeño-mango salsa. The recipe follows. Enjoy!

Cellaring: Rieslings are one of the few white wines capable of aging.The fruit, sugar and acidity found in this wine will allow you to keep this wine in your cellar for up to 24 months.

Karlo Estates Chardonnay 2010, $25.00

This Chardonnay was barrel fermented in CHOA for 3 months.What is CHOA you ask?Cherry, Hickory, Oak and Ash - all of which were grown in the County.Rich aged this Chardonnay in barrels of each wood produced by a cooper that lives in Prince Edward County.

This wine was just bottled in time to be included in the Savvy Selections - you are the first to enjoy it!

Savvy Sommelier Tasting Notes:Golden yellow in colour with a slight haze that is natural since it is an unfiltered wine.Don’t be put off as the haze lends to the wines complexity as all of the flavours were not stripped out during the filtration process.The aromas are clean with characteristic Chardonnay notes of spice, butterscotch and tropical fruit, all courtesy of the unique barrels used to ferment the wine.On the palate the wine is dry, medium to full-bodied with flavours of sweet spice, melon and pineapple.There is a rich and creamy mouth feel to this wine which is complemented by a “crazy long nutty finish”, commented one of our Sommeliers during the tasting.

Suggested Food Pairing: We unanimously agreed that this Chardonnay would pair well with Salmon Wellington. Alternatively, try your hand at the Flambéed Chicken with Asparagus Spears recipe below.

Cellaring:This wine would be great chilled and enjoyed with your Christmas dinner or it could be cellared for up to 18 months.

5th Element Petit Verdot 2010 $33.00 (special Savvy Subscriber price – regular $39)

It is relatively uncommon for a Petit Verdot to be crafted into a single varietal wine.Always looking to introduce our subscribers to wines that are both delicious & different, we think that this newly released wine is hands down outstanding!

Savvy Sommelier Tasting Notes: Garrnet red in colour with an intriguing bouquet of red fruit, cedar, leather and dark chocolate.Sweet spice, licorice and pepper are all noticeable on the palate.This dry, medium bodied wine has a long and peppery finish with noticeable tannins that will soften as the wine ages.

Suggested Food Pairing: This wine would pair well with gourmet burgers or hardy stews.The tasting panel offers a recipe for Grilled Garlic Pepper Steak – recipe follows

Cellaring: This wine is ready to drink (enjoyed with a group of friends) or cellared for 2 to 3 years.

OPTIONAL WINE: Karlo Estates Van Alstine Port 2009$29.00

This special fortified wine is named as a tribute to Peter Van Alstine.  Rich explains its historic significance, “Peter Van Alstine was the leader of the first group of loyalists settlers in The County back in 1784.  He built the Glenora Ferry and the Mill in Glenora which is located at Lake on the Mountain.And he was the first Member of Parliament for this area”.  To top it all off, while converting the barn into a winery, Rich found an old map of The County and discovered that Van Alstine was also the first owner of Rich’s vineyard property – that was granted to him in 1799.

Savvy Sommelier Tasting Notes:Dark ruby red in colour with a complex nose of sweet spice, Christmas cake and stewed plums.This is a medium-bodied port. There is a delicious rich mouth feel to this port accompanied by a medium length plum finish. Yummy!

Suggested Food Pairing: This Port would be delicious to sip on after any meal.If you want to enjoy this wine with food then pair it with a plate of Canadian artisan cheeses and mixed dried fruit with roasted nuts is a classic pairing.According to our Cheese Sommelier Vanessa, make sure you a chunk of strong cheddar and blue cheese too to nibble on with the port.And the alcohol is much lower than other ports (usually around 20%), Rich recommends to serve his port slightly chilled.

Cellaring: This port is ready to be enjoyed with a group of friends now or cellared for 3 to 5 years.

With Karlo Estates Chardonnay …

Flambéed Chicken with Asparagus

From: BBC’s Good Food

Serves 4

Ingredients


4 boneless skinless chicken breasts

1 Tbsp of seasoned plain flour
2 Tbsp olive oil

Knob of butter
4 shallots, finely chopped
4 Tbsp brandy or Cognac

1 ¼ cups chicken stock

16 asparagus spears, halved

4 heaping Tbsp crème fraîche
1 Tbsp chopped tarragon

Method

1.Dust the chicken with the flour. Heat the oil and butter in a large, wide pan with a lid, add the chicken, then fry on all sides until nicely browned.

2.Add the shallots, then fry for about 2 minutes until they start to soften, but not coloured. Pour in the brandy, carefully ignite, then stand well back until the flames have died down. Stir in the stock and bring to the boil. Reduce heat, cover and cook for 15 minutes until the chicken is just tender.

3.Add the asparagus to the sauce. Cover, and then cook for 5 minutes more until tender. Stir in the crème fraîche and tarragon and warm through. Season to taste.

With Karlo Estates 5th Element Petit Verdot…

Grilled Garlic Pepper Steak

From: Canadian Living Magazine

Serves 4

Ingredients

cloves garlic, minced

1/2 tsp (2 mL) salt

2 tsp (10 mL) vegetable oil

3/4 tsp (4 mL) pepper

1 lb (454 g) thick-cut top sirloin grilling steak or flank marinating steak

Method

1.In small bowl and with back of spoon, mash garlic with salt until paste; mix in oil and pepper. Rub onto both sides of steak; let stand for 10 minutes.

2.Place steak on greased grill over high heat or under broiler; close lid and cook, turning once, until medium-rare and pink in centre, about 8 minutes.

3.Transfer to cutting board; tent with foil and let stand for 5 minutes before slicing thinly across the grain to serve.Enjoy!

Cheers & Enjoy this month’s Savvy Selections!

A Virtual Winery of Real Excellence: Nyarai Cellars & Calamus Estate Winery
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CANADA’S WINERIES DELIVERED TO YOUR DOORSTEP

If you ask Nyarai Cellars owner & winemaker Steve Byfield where his winery is located, he might tell you “Nowhere”. This might appear to be an odd response, especially when much of the wine world is focused on the concept of terroir, which is about creating wine that illustrates a place. In fact, terroir is often described as “somewhereness”. Steve’s winery indeed has a location - it is found within the walls Calamus Estate Winery in Niagara. On our winery visits, we are discovering more “virtual wineries” like Steve’s. The word “virtual” might conjure ideas of only existing in cyberspace, but that’s not the case at all. In fact, at a virtual winery, the winemaker independently grows or purchases grapes, while using the facility & equipment at an existing winery. This alleviates the large startup investment of purchasing property, vineyard & winery. The result of Nyarai Cellars is impressive wines, as you will discover in this month’s Savvy Selections.

To give you a better taste of the partnership between a virtual winery & host winery, you will find wines from Nyarai along with wines from Calamus Estate Winery. The wineries’ common thread is Steve Byfield, owner & winemaker of Nyarai Cellars while he is also the Assistant Winemaker at Calamus. This is the first time Savvy Selections is featuring two wineries side by side! You will experience the wines from Calamus where Steve has honed his talents alongside the equally accomplished winemaker, Arthur Harder, as well as the progression of Steve’s career to his own Nyarai Cellars.

For this month’s Savvy eZine, Savvy Sommelier Derek Vollrath talked with Steve to learn how Nyarai has changed since they were last featured in Savvy Selections in July 2009 – their first month in business!

To select the wines for this month, Derek, along with 4 other Savvy Sommeliers: Julie, Doug, Velma and Erin, sampled the finest wines from Calamus Estate Winery and Nyarai Cellars.This tasting panel is pleased to present the following wines:

·Nyarai Cellars Sauvignon Blanc VQA 2010 – Steve has a growing reputation for fine Sauvignon Blancs

·Nyarai Cellars Viognier VQA 2010 - a medal winner in this year’s Ontario Wine Awards

·Calamus Estate Winery Meritage VQA 2007 – a Bordeaux blend from a remarkable vintage

You won’t find these wines at the LCBO…

With Savvy Selections, we feature wines that are not available at the LCBO. When you discover a favorite wine that you would like additional bottles of, (our tasting panel bets that you will be WOWED by Nyarai’s 2010 Viognier & will want more!), simply call or e-mail me to make arrangements and wines will be shipped to any location within Ontario – home, office or even your cottage.

Wine Tour Anyone?

As you know from the Savvy Selections wine deliveries each month, there are numerous wineries to visit. If you are looking to enjoy a weekend get away at one of Ontario’s wine regions then give us a call. Our Team of Sommeliers can help you plan a wine tour; make recommendations on wineries to visit or even accompany you on your tour. And before you go, be sure to read my blog Summer Roadtrips – Savvy tips for winery visits.

And the Savvy Team are traveling too this summer.Check our website as we might be involved in a event near you or are hosting an event for wine, artisan cheese & craft beer lovers – and we would like to meet you!

Cheers & Enjoy the summer!

Debbie & Savvy Team
debbie@savvycompany.ca

NYARAI CELLARS
Presented by Sommelier Derek Vollrath

A virtual winery is one without the “sticks & bricks”: instead of purchasing land and developing a modern winemaking facility, virtual wineries lease space and capacity from existing wineries. By doing so the proprietor, who is typically the winemaker too, is able to avoid the large upfront investments in land, building and equipment required to open a winery. Virtual wineries are a relatively new breed in Canada, but their numbers are growing at home and abroad.

Steve Byfield (left) is a trail-blazer in the Ontario wine industry. He is one of the original winemakers to establish his own virtual winery. In fact, Savvy Selections launched Nyarai Cellars in 2009 & our subscribers were Steve’s first customers!

I was curious to know how things at the winery were progressing since the beginning. “So far…so great! Not only have I been able to increase production, but I also expanded my portfolio to include other grape varietals,” Steve reports. “Aromatic whites are the foundation of the Nyarai label. These elegant wines can be released to the market relatively quicker than reds and therefore these refreshing wines can be enjoyed earlier.” (Steve is a modest type, Nyarai’s reds are outstanding too.)

During our conversation, Steve also mentioned that wine lovers as well as the industry have been extremely supportive of his winery. Most notably the incredible support from Calamus Estate Winery. Steve has been Assistant Winemaker at Calamus since 2006. Familiar with the space, Derek Saunders, co-owner of Calamus leases the cellar & winemaking equipment to Steve in order to produce Nyarai wines.

The Nyarai Philosophy
A virtual winery does not necessarily have a vineyard. Steve explains that he sources his grapes from the best growers in the Niagara region. The result is wines that are a bit of a melting pot with characteristics from many locations throughout the Niagara Region.

A Favourite Grape Variety
Sauvignon Blanc is Steve’s favourite grape variety to work with because “the grape has a lot of valuable attributes and you should be able to get consistent flavour profiles year over year.”

Sauvignon Blanc is conducive to Ontario’s manic climate of cold winters and erratic hot & thunderstorm prone summers. Steve explains that the consistency of the grape allows him to demonstrate his talent as a winemaker year after year. As he describes, Nyarai’s Sauvignon Blanc is somewhere between the herbaceous “in-your-face” New Zealand style and the more subtle elegant French style from Sancerre. We are delighted to give you the opportunity to enjoy one of Steve’s signature Sauvignon Blanc wines.

An Ever Expanding Portfolio
One of Steve’s goals when he established Nyarai was to create a core portfolio of wines. Well, since Nyarai was last profiled by Savvy Selections, his portfolio has expanded from three wines to six. His Viognier has made quite an impression along with his Sauvignon Blanc, Syrah and Bordeaux based red blends.

The latest vintage of Viognier VQA 2010 that is included in your Savvy Selections - won the gold medal at the 2011 Ontario Wine Awards under the Dry White Varietal category.

This Viognier was a hands down favorite of the Savvy Selections tasting panel too. Remember that this wine is not available at the LCBO, so you may want to consider stocking up on this impressive wine, especially for summer entertaining. Nyarai’s red wine fans are patiently waiting for the 2010 reds to be released. A Syrah as well as a Bordeaux blend are still in barrel…we are anxiously awaiting until 2012 get our hands on those.

A Winning Streak
While the Viognier took home a gold medal at the 2011 Ontario Wine Awards, at the 2011 Cuvee Wine Awards – considered the Oscars of the Ontario Wine Industry -
Nyarai Cellars brought home the Best Red Assemblage award for its Veritas VQA 2007 – a blend of Cabernet Franc, Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, and Syrah.

Congratulations to Steve on these awards & keep up the great wine work at both Nyarai and Calamus.

Cheers & Enjoy your Savvy Selections!

~ SAVVY SOMMELIER TASTING NOTES ~



Nyarai Cellars Sauvignon Blanc VQA 2010, $19.75

This is not your typical Sauvignon Blanc. Steve mixed things up by adding 8% of Sauvignon Blanc that has been barrel ferment (winespeak: wine that has spent time in barrels to pick up creamier characteristics).Aging Sauvignon Blanc in barrel is a technique first created by Robert Mondavi in California known as Fumé Blanc. The result is a creamer mouth feel & tones down the zippy acidity which is characteristic of Sauvignon Blanc. What do you think?

Savvy Sommelier Tasting Notes:Pale straw in colour with aromas of citrus, gooseberry and melon which carry on through to the palate. The wine is dry with lower than expected acidity due to the addition of some barrel fermented wine that provides for a richer, fuller mouth feel. The finish is medium in length with lingering citrus and melon notes.

Suggested Food Pairing: A great summer sipper that would pair wonderfully with ceviche or bacon wrapped grilled scallops. The Savvy Selections tasting panel recommends a Sun-dried tomato & dill cheese cake – a simple & tasty appetizer (recipe follows).

Cellaring: This is a don’t-wait-now kind of wine, so open it up, sit back and enjoy this Ontario treasure.

Nyarai Cellars Viognier VQA 2010, $20.75

Viognier has its roots (pardon the pun!) in the Rhone Valley region of France. The varietal is making a move into the Niagara Region; however the grape is challenging to grow because it is particularly prone to many vineyard diseases. As a result, few Viognier wines are produced in the Niagara area.When you find one that you like – be sure to stock up!

Savvy Sommelier Tasting Notes:A bright pale straw colour with a subtle & enticing pink hue. The pink colour is due to the fact that half of the grapes that went into this wine were kept on the skins for 12 hours prior to pressing. The aroma is clean with youthful aromas of peach, white flowers & apricots. This dry, medium bodied wine is loaded with well-defined fruit such as peaches, apricot & lime. The alcohol is warming and the body can be considered supple & creamy.

Suggested Food Pairing: Another summer sipper or it could be paired nicely with BBQ grilled planked salmon or pasta with a gorgonzola cream sauce. We are recommending that you enjoy this wine with grilled honey-basil chicken.

Cellaring:This wine could be cellared for 6 to 12 months Chill and enjoy over the summer.


Calamus Estate Meritage VQA 2007 $27.20

A Savvy Sommelier insider tip: if you ever come across an Ontario wine from 2007, BUY IT! As we have reported in other Savvy eZines, 2007 was an excellent vintage for Ontario. The 2007 Meritage by Calamus is an example of how fruit from an exceptional vintage can be crafted by a skilled winemaker into an outstanding wine.

Savvy Sommelier Tasting Notes:Delicious” pretty much sums up the Savvy Selections tasting panel’s impressions of this wine. Deep ruby red in colour with intense aromas of blackberry, fruit cake, clove & chocolate. This is a well structured wine with generous amounts of ripe berry fruit that cling to your palate, balanced acidity and soft-tannins. It is not surprising that this was a Bronze Medal winner at the 2010 Canadian Wine Awards. Congrats Calamus!

Suggested Food Pairing: This wine would pair nicely with roast beef, Yorkshire pudding and seasonal root vegetables. Our Savvy Sommeliers recommend braised lamb shanks in a tomato red wine sauce – recipe to follow.

~ RECIPES TO ENJOY WITH YOUR SAVVY SELECTIONS ~

With Nyarai Cellars Sauvignon Blanc

Sun-Dried Tomato and Dill Cheesecake
From 175 Essential Slow Cooker Classics, Judith Finlayson

Serves 6

Crust

1 cup (250 mL) cracker crumbs, such as wheat thins

2 tbsp melted butter

Cheesecake
1 package cream cheese, softened

2 eggs

½ cup coarsely copped dill

¼ cup sun-dried tomatoes, packed in olive oil, drained

2 tbsp finely chopped green onion or chives

¾ cup shredded Emmenthal or Swiss cheese

Method - Crust

1.In a bowl, combine cracker crumbs and melted butter.Press mixture into the bottom of prepared dish.Place in freezer until ready to use.

Method – Cheesecake

1.In a food processor fitted with a metal blade, combine cream cheese and eggs. Process until smooth.Add dill, sun-dried tomatoes and green onion. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Pulse until blended (do not over mix). Add cheese and pulse just until blended. Pour mixture over crust. Cover dish tightly with foil and secure with a string (if using a springform pan, see TIP, below)Place dish in slow cooker stoneware and pour in enough boiling water to come 1 inch (2.5cm) up the sides.

2.Cover and cook on High for 3 hours, or until edges are set and the centre is slightly jiggly. Remove from slow cooker and chill thoroughly, preferably overnight.

CHEF’S TIP: If using a springform pan, ensure that water does not seep into the cheesecake by wrapping the bottom of the pan in one large seamless piece of foil that extends up the sides and over the top. Cover the top with a single piece of foil that extends down the sides and secure with a string.

With Nyarai Cellars Viognier…

Grilled Honey-Basil Chicken


From Great Recipes of the Great Cooks, Arlene Feltman Sailhac


Serves 6

Ingredients

1½ lbs boneless, skinless chicken breasts, split and pounded to an even thickness
¼ cup raspberry vinegar
¼ cup reduced-sodium soy sauce
¼ cup + 2 tbsp Dijon mustard
¼ cup honey
¼ cup + 2 tbsp chopped fresh basil
1 tsp dried thyme
1 tsp freshly grounded black pepper

Method

1.Place the chicken in a shallow glass dish.In a small mixing bowl, combine the vinegar, soy sauce, mustard, honey, basil, thyme and pepper.Whisk well and pour over the chicken.Cover and refrigerate for at least 1 hour or up to 4 hours, turning occasionally.

2.Preheat gas grill and spray the grill with nonstick vegetable spray.

3.When grill is hot, lift the chicken from the marinade and grill for about 4 minutes on each side, or until just cooed through.Do not overcook.

4.Transfer the marinade to a small saucepan. Bring to a boil over high heat and boil for about 5 minutes, or until reduced by half.

5.Pour the reduced marinade over the chicken and serve with seasonable vegetables.


With Calamus Estate Winery Meritage…

Braised Lamb Shanks

From www.allrecipes.com
Serves 4

Ingredients

2 large white onions, chopped
4 lamb shanks
2 cups dry red wine
1 cup balsamic vinegar
⅓ cup olive oil
4 cloves garlic, pressed

2 lemons, quartered
2 (14.5 ounce) cans diced tomatoes
1 bunch fresh basil, chopped
1 tablespoon kosher salt
1 tablespoon cracked black pepper

Method

1.Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C).

2.Place the onions in a layer in the bottom of a Dutch oven or medium roasting pan with a lid. Arrange the lamb shanks on top of the onions. Pour the wine, balsamic vinegar and olive oil over the lamb. Place a clove of pressed garlic next to each shank, and a quarter of a lemon on each side. Pour the tomatoes over everything, and then season with salt, pepper and basil.

3.Cover and place in the preheated oven. Cook for 3 hours. Use juices from the pan to make a nice flavorful gravy.

4.Serve with mushroom risotto and grilled zucchini.

Cheers & Enjoy this month’s Savvy Selections!

A Vino-Education: The Story of Strewn Winery
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Savvy Selections wine of the month club
features Strewn Winery
Canada’s wineries delivered to your doorstep

 

This time last year, Ontario’s winemakers were absolutely elated because the grape growing season began with ideal weather conditions. The days were warm, the nights were cool and there was just the right amount of rain. What a difference a year makes! This year, our spring has been marked with unseasonably cold temperatures and record breaking rainfall.

 

When it comes to weather, winemakers and grape growers in California, Australia or Chile have it much easier because the growing conditions are consistent year over year. These consistent growing conditions lead to consistently crafted wines. In Canada, the year-over-year variation in the weather associated with our growing season makes grape growing and winemaking more of a challenge.

 

However, having said all of this, it is Ontario’s growing conditions that inspire people like Joe Will. Joe is one of the owners and winemaker at Strewn Winery.

 

For the month of May, we are delighted to feature in the Savvy Selections wines from Strewn Winery – an Ontario wine industry pioneer. Our Savvy Sommelier Derek Vollrath, chatted with Joe for hours one Sunday afternoon, in order to understand his philosophy on wine and winemaking. On the following pages, read Derek’s interview and learn about the diverse path of Joe’s life that lead to the creation of Strewn.

 

 

For May the Savvy Selections Tasting Panel chose to feature the following wines from Strewn’s high end collection called ‘ Terroir’:

 

·Pinot Blanc VQA 2009 Terroir

·Meritage VQA 2008 Terroir

·Merlot VQA 2007 Terroir – a special Savvy price!

 

As always in the Savvy eZine, we have included the tasting notes from our Savvy Sommeliers along with recipes that Derek specifically chose to pair with the selected wine.

If there is a particular wine from Strewn that you enjoyed (Derek is betting that you will particularly like the Pinot Blanc!) feel free to contact me and I would be more than happy to arrange a delivery of additional bottles to be sent to you. Same holds for previously featured wines, just give me a call to arrange a special shipment of your favorite wines.

 

Cheers & Enjoy!

Debbie & Savvy Team
Savvy Company
debbie@savvycompany.ca

 

 

STREWN WINERY
Presented by Sommelier Derek Vollrath

One of the amazing benefits of being part of the Savvy Team is the opportunity each month to take part in sampling wonderful Ontario wines for the Savvy Selections wine of the month club. In addition, I have the chance to talk with some of this province’s top-notch winemakers. It’s discussions with the winemakers that give wine geeks like me (!) insight into what went on behind the wine that is being delivered to your door.

 

For this month’s Savvy Selection, I spent a few hours one Sunday morning talking with Joe Will, Strewn’s long standing winemaker. Like most winemakers, making the “gift of the Gods” has always been one of Joe’s interests. He didn’t start out as a “professional” winemaker per se, rather he has been making wine since high school!

 

 

Joe grew up on the Canadian prairies, so he began making wine using choke cherries or crab apples since they were plentiful. It’s a pretty safe bet that the Savvy Selections subscribers will not receive a choke cherry or crab apple wine in their monthly delivery, however, the technique used in making an alcoholic beverage from fermented fruits is quite similar to making grape wine.

 

Before turning that experimental interest into a day job, Joe started a journalism career with the Canadian Press, then was lured to British Columbia’s Okanagan. In 1989 Joe moved from Alberta to the Okanagan where he worked as a “cellar rat” in a small winery.

 

A leap of faith later landed him in Australia, enrolled in a one year graduate degree program in winemaking. Being a student a second time around helped immensely because Joe wanted to be there: Joe’s studies were interesting and he was very keen and eager to learn all aspects of the winemaking process.

 

One of the up-shots of being a foreign student in Australia was the opportunity to audit any course offered. Being the keen student he was, Joe took advantage of this opportunity and sat-in on a number of viticulture courses (winespeak: grape growing courses).

 

After graduation, Joe stayed a year and worked at the internationally known Australian winery of Yalumba. To put things into perspective as to the size of Yalumba, the year that Joe spent working in Australia they crushed as many grapes as all of the wineries in Ontario combined. The Ontario industry continues to grow, yet it is still small when compared to other wine regions - even in those considered “New World” like Australia.

 

In 1992, when he returned to Canada, Joe landed the job as the winemaker at Pillitteri Estates where he spent five years before breaking out on his own and opening Strewn.

 

 

Joe explained to me that makes Strewn wines that are Old World in style so that the terroir of the Niagara region is richly expressed in each wine.

 

 

Old World Style vs. New World Style

Wines made in the Old World Style have a tendency to rely on traditional production methods with the final product gaining its flavours from the surrounding terroir and the affect of the climate, soil and winemaker’s decisions on harvesting on the grapes. Old World Style wines develop great complexity over time making them perfect for cellaring – especially the reds that we have chosen for your Savvy Selections. Strewn wines also wines made with the understanding that great wine is even better with good food, and come ‘alive’ in your mouth when paired properly.

 

Conversely, wines made in a New World Styles tend to be immediately appealing as they are more fruit forward, both on the nose as well as the palate.

 

 

Terroir – What is that you say?

Terroir is a French term that includes the soil, topography and microclimate of a grape growing area. All these elements integrate themselves into the grapes that then create the distinctive character of each wine. The French wine region of Burgundy is famous for what the ‘terroir’ imparts to the grape and to the wine.

 

In addition to crafting wines that are expressive of the terroir of the Niagara Region, Strewn has some other interesting things going on in the winery. One of these unique features is that there is a cooking school attached to the winery for as Joe told me, “it is so that our visitors can fully experience food and wine matching”.

 

If you are planning on heading to Niagara this summer Strewn Winery should definitely be on the list of wineries to visit. Cheers!

 

 

~ SAVVY SOMMELIER TASTING NOTES ~

 

 

Pinot Blanc VQA 2009, $15.95

Pinot Blanc is a French white wine variety and, as the name suggests, is part of the Pinot family alongside with Pinot Noir – noted as the most popular family member. According to Jim there is not a “tremendous” amount of Pinot Blanc grown in the Niagara region, so it is a treat to be offered as part of this month’s Savvy Selection. Enjoy!

Savvy Sommelier Tasting Notes: A bright pale-lemon colour with a hint of green on the rim. The nose is exceptionally expressive and complex displaying aromas of cool-climate fruit such as pear and green apple with undertones of cut grass. The wine is dry, light to medium bodied with refreshing acidity that helps maintain a long citrus finish.

Suggested Food Pairing: This is definitely a food wine and would match well with grapefruit salad or grilled scallops with a herbed lemon sauce. The Savvy Selections tasting panel recommends mussels Provençale – recipe is on the following pages.

Cellaring: This wine is drinking really well now so stock up for the summer months. It could also keep in your cellar for 6 to 12 months.

 

 

Merlot VQA 2007 $26.95 (reduced from $32.00)

From a winemaking perspective, 2007 was one of the three best years of the decade; and for the curious to know, 2001 and 2005 were the other two notable years according to Joe. Joe made this Merlot in a New World style (i.e. fruit forward), which is difficult to achieve in Niagara because of the inconsistency of our summer weather. To fully enjoy this Merlot we recommend decanting it 30 minutes to an hour before serving

Savvy Sommelier Tasting Notes: The wine has a wonderful ruby red core that fades ever so slightly to a garnet-coloured rim. This colouring is an indication that the wine is beginning to show its age. Initially the nose was muted (winespeak: faint aromas) but after about 15 minutes the wine opened up with aromas of dark fruits, cherry, red currant along with some earthy notes such as leather and pencil shavings. This medium-bodied dry wine has well-integrated tannins and a noticeably long complex peppery finish.

Suggested Food Pairing: A charcuterie platter of flavourful meats along with artisan cheeses is definitely an excellent pairing suggestion. Derek offers the recipe for striploin roast with wild mushrooms on the following pages.

Cellaring: This wine can be opened and enjoyed now or if you wish it could cellar for another 2 years.

 

 

Meritage VQA 2008, $18.00

The 2008 Meritage was the first of its kind produced by Strewn. In keeping with other Meritage wines this is a blend of 40% Cabernet Sauvignon, 40% Merlot and 20% Cabernet Franc.

Savvy Sommelier Tasting Notes: Medium ruby red in colour, the wine displayed aromas of green pepper, pencil shavings and dark fruit (black berries to be exact). On the palate the wine was dry, but the presence of ripe red fruit and vanilla made it appear slightly-off dry. The wine had a silky mouth feel with integrated tannins and medium length vanilla (i.e. oak) finish.

Suggested Food Pairing: This Meritage is definitely a “red meat” wine and the Savvy Selections Tasting Panel suggests that you pair this wine with a flat-iron steak accented with herbed butter. It is an easy meal to prepare and is a great excuse to use the barbeque. The recipe for this dish is on the following pages.

Cellaring: This Meritage is drinking now or could cellar it for 2 or 3 years.

 

 

~ RECIPES TO ENJOY WITH YOUR SAVVY SELECTIONS ~

 

 

With Strewn Winery Pinot Blanc…

Mussels Provençale
FromHeart Smart, the Best of HeartSmart Cooking, Bonnie Stern

Makes 8 servings as an appetizer; 4 as a main course

Ingredients
4 lbs (2 kg) mussels

1 tbsp (15 mL) olive oil

1 shallot, chopped

4 cloves garlic, chopped

1 can (28 oz / 796 mL) plum tomatoes, drained and chopped

1 cup (250 mL) dry white wine, stock or water

1 tbsp (15 mL) chopped fresh tarragon, or 1 tsp (5 mL) dried

1 tsp (5 mL) cracked black peppercorns

¼ tsp (1 mL) salt

Pinch of pepper

3 tbsp (45 mL) chopped fresh parsley

2 whole wheat or regular baguette, sliced

 

 

Method

1.Clean mussels and discard any that have broken shells or do not close when lightly tapped

2.Heat oil in a large Dutch oven on medium-high heat. Add shallot and garlic. Cook for a few minutes until fragrant and tender, but do not brown. Add tomatoes and bring to a boil.

3.Add mussels and turn to coat well. Add wine and bring to a boil. Sprinkle with tarragon, salt and pepper.

4.Cover and cook mussels for 5 minutes, or until mussels open. Discard any that do not open after another minute of cooking.

5.Transfer mussels to large bowls. Sprinkle with parsley and serve with lots of bread to soak up juices.

 

 

With Strewn Winery Meritage…

 

 

Flat Iron Steak with Herb Butter
From Foodies: Simple, Fresh & Inspired

Serves 4

Herbed Butter Ingredients

½ lb. Butter, Softened

½ bunch Parsley, Chopped

½ bunch Tarragon, Chopped

½ bunch Chives, Chopped

Steak Ingredients

4 - 7 oz. Flat Iron Steaks

Vegetable Oil

Salt and Freshly Ground Pepper, To Taste

 

 

Method - Butter

1.Place the herbs in a food processor with 1 pound of softened butter and a pinch of salt. Mix until well incorporated and light green in colour.

2.Remove from mixer and form into a log using plastic wrap. Refrigerate until firm

 

 

Method – Flat Iron Steak

1.Oil and season the steaks. On an indoor grill, cook to medium rare and rest.

2.Slice the steaks across the grain and top with a couple of slices of herb butter. Reheat quickly and plate. Serving suggestion: Plate with steamed seasonal vegetables.

 

 

With Strewn Winery Merlot…

 

 

Striploin Roast with Wild Mushrooms

From Heart Smart: The Best of Heart Smart Cooking
Serves 4

Ingredients
1 tbsp (15 mL) Dijon mustard

2 cloves garlic, minced

1 tbsp (15 mL) pepper

1 tbsp (15 mL) Worcestershire sauce

1 tbsp (15 mL) chopped fresh rosemary or ½ tsp (2 mL) dried

4-lb (2 kg) striploin roast, well trimmed and tied

1 tsp (5 mL) salt

1 tsp (5 mL) olive oil

12 shallots peeled and quartered

2 tbsp (30 mL) balsamic vinegar

2 cup (500 mL) dry red wine

1 lb (500 g) wild mushrooms (we recommend a combination of Portobello,shiitake or oyster), chopped

⅓ cup (75 mL) oyster sauce

2 tbsp (30 mL) coarsely chopped fresh parsley

 

 

Method

1.In a small bowl, combine mustard, garlic, pepper, Worcestershire and rosemary. Pat roast dry and rub mustard mixture into roast. Marinate for 30 minutes at room temperature or longer in refrigerator. Just before cooking sprinkle roast with salt.

2.Heat oil in a large, deep non-stick skillet on medium-high heat. Brown roast well on all sides; this should take about 10 minutes. Transfer roast to a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Discard all but 1 tbsp (15 mL) fat from skillet.

3.Roast meat in a preheated 375° F (190°C) oven for 45 to 60 minutes, or until meat thermometer inserted in thickest part of meat registers about 135° F (57°C) for medium-rare. Allow roast to rest for 10 to 20 minutes before carving. Remove fat from surface of pan juices.

4.Meanwhile, return skillet to heat. Add shallots, vinegar and any defatted pan juices. Cook, stirring, until vinegar evaporates and shallots begin to brown. Add wine. Cook on medium-high heat, scraping pan until wine reduces to about ½ cup (125 mL) and shallots are tender.

5.Add mushrooms to skillet and cook for about 10 minutes, or until wilted and browned. Add oyster sauce and cook for 5 minutes. Add parsley and taste and adjust seasonings if necessary.

6.Remove string from roast and carve into slices. Top with mushrooms, shallots and juices.

 

 

Cheers & Enjoy this month’s Savvy Selections!

School never tasted this good!
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features Niagara College Teaching Winery
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My comments may have been lighthearted in past editions of the Savvy e-Zine, yet frankly, the truth is that selecting the wines to be featured in the Savvy Selections is a job that the Savvy Team of Sommeliers take very seriously.  The featured winery usually provides a choice of six or seven wines.  From there, our goal is to choose the best three wines that are sent to all of our subscribers across Ontario.  On some occasions, the range of wines are so impressive that it is hard to decide on just three wines.  Instead of settling the dispute over a good old fashioned arm wrestling competition, we let you make the decision by suggesting a fourth wine as an available option to add to your monthly delivery of wine.  November is definitely a different story.

 

 

 

This month Savvy Selections features wines from the Niagara College Teaching Winery.  The professional winemaking school opened its doors in 2000 and from this point onwards, the wine industry of Ontario took a quantum leap forward.  Steve Gill, the General Manager of the Winery and Viticulture program at Niagara provided us a selection of nine wines to sample. Selecting three wines from six is challenging enough, but selecting three wines to feature from nine was next to impossible (wink, wink).  Much discussion was had and the arm wrestle decision making technique was considered!

 

We are delighted to introduce you the following wines in your Savvy Selections:

·         Unoaked Chardonnay VQA 2009

·         Meritage VQA 2005

·         Cabernet Sauvignon VQA 2007

 

We couldn’t stop there. The wines crafted by the students were simply remarkable. A+ in fact. The wines were certainly more than a class project. When I emailed you to see if you would like optional wines added to your delivery, I was overwhelmed with the positive response. If after reading this Savvy eZine you would like more of these great (and hard to find wines), simply email or call me to make the arrangements for a delivery. The optional wines included:

·         Cabernet Sauvignon VQA 2006

·         Meritage VQA 2007

·         Savant Ice Wine VQA 2007

 

This month is unique in that we are able to offer two mini verticals (winespeak: two wines of the same variety from different years). Sampling the Cabernet Sauvignon 2006 & 2007 side by side will give you a taste of how the difference in weather during the growing season impacts the final product. Sampling the Meritage 2005 & 2007 at the same time will give you an idea of how the blend evolves as it ages. In the following pages, Derek spends some time describing vintage variation to further your enjoyment (and knowledge!).

 

If you are curious about the concept of vintage variation and did not order the optional 2006 Cabernet Sauvignon feel free to contact me so that I can arrange to have a bottle (or two) shipped to you or any of the other Savvy Selections featured wines for that matter.    

 

Cheers & Enjoy!

- Debbie & Savvy Team

 


Introducing…

Niagara College Teaching Winery

Presented by Sommelier Derek Vollrath

 

When I finished high school, pursuing an education in the field of viticulture and winemaking was just not possible and pursing a career in that very field would have been out of the question.  In the famous words of Bob Dylan, “The Times they are a-Changin”. 

At Niagara College, Steve Gill is the main man on campus. He is the General Manager of Wine Operations at the College’s Teaching Winery.  I spent a few hours with him earlier this month to learn about the program and what the courses entail. 

A very cool school
The Niagara College program is dedicated to teaching the real life skills and developing the skills required to produce premium wine.  In addition, the program teaches its students the business side of the wine industry. 

The Teaching Winery is a state of the art and fully operational winery within Niagara College, but I found out that it was not always that way.  When it first began in 2000, the students would visit wineries throughout the Niagara Region in order to attain the required hands-on experience.  To strengthen the program, the College applied for and was granted a winery license by the Ontario Alcohol and Gaming Commission.  By having its own winery on premise the students now have direct and convenient access to a functional winery.

At anytime there are 55 to 60 students enrolled.  When the winery opened the College had 5 acres under vine.  In a few short years its vineyard has expanded to 38 acres, planted primarily with Cabernet Franc and Chardonnay vines.

Vintage Variation
Aside from the wine, one of the many benefits of belonging to the Savvy Selection club is the monthly Savvy eZine. One of my goals in writing these eZines is to provide you with insight & knowledge about selected wine.  November is an ‘educational’ treat in that two wine varietals are available that showcase the concept of vintage variation.  

In the wine world, Ontario is considered to have a marginal climate.  What does this mean?  Well, unlike California or Australia where the climate is consistent year over year, the growing climate in Ontario is relatively unstable as it is prone to significant climactic changes.  For example, in some years, an early frost can significantly damage the crop, whereas, in other years frost does not rear its cold ugly head.  These climatic swings will produce variations in the fruit both in quantity and quality.  This difference in the fruit will in turn produce noticeable differences in the final wine.  The term used to describe the changes in wine as a result of changes in the climate is known as vintage variation.  

The wines that display these climatic variations are the 2007 Cabernet Sauvignon and the optional 2006 Cabernet Sauvignon. Both wines were harvested at roughly the same time and both wines were crafted in the exact same manner. Both wines were also aged in a combination of American and French oak for approximately the same period of time.  The only variation is the climate that the vines were exposed to.

2006 was a wet, relatively cold year which lacked a great deal of sun.  When these types of conditions occur the fruit (i.e. the grapes) are not able to achieve an ideal level of ripeness.  This is evident on both the nose as well as the palate as the wines will tend to be more herbaceous or earthy in nature.

2007 on the other hand was a fantastic year.  There was a great deal of sun and heat and just the correct amount of rain.  When these climatic conditions occur the berries tend to produce a wine that is fuller in body and more fruit forward in nature. 

If you don’t believe me, taste the differences between the 2007 Cabernet Sauvignon and the 2006 Cabernet Sauvignon. Both wines are well made, however it is just personal preference as to the style you prefer.  Which camp do you fall into?  The earthy herbaceous style or the fruit forward full body style? 

Cheers!

 

~ Savvy Sommelier Tasting Notes ~

Unoaked Chardonnay VQA 2009, $14.95
The temperatures in 2009 were cooler resulting in a wine that is fresh and slightly herbaceous.  The 2009 vintages was estate grown as all of the fruit came from St. David’s Bench, a vineyard located on the grounds of the College.  This is the first wine produced by the College that has a Stelvin enclosure (winespeak: screwcap).

 

Savvy Sommelier Tasting Notes:  This wine is polished pale yellow in colour.  The nose has intense aromas of citrus, green apple and cut grass which carry through to the palate.  This medium-bodied dry wine has great acidity with a relatively short citrus finish.  As a result of the acidity and fresh flavours this wine could easily be mistaken for a Sauvignon Blanc.  The price of $14.95 is also impressive.

Suggested Food Pairing:  Seafood risotto or poached salmon are potential pairing partners with this wine.  The tasting panel is recommending seared chicken and green beans amandine, which accompanies this e-Zine.

Cellaring: In general white wines are not intended to be aged.  For the 2009 vintage we recommend keeping this for 12 to 18 months.

 

Cabernet Sauvignon VQA 2007, $18.95

2007 was a hot year with near draught conditions.  These factors will naturally ‘stress’ the vine.  As a result, the vine will produce berries with a greater concentration of sugars and acids. Better berries will help the winemaker in creating a wine that is richer and more-full bodied. 

 

Savvy Sommelier Tasting Notes:  This is a classic Cabernet Sauvignon with aromas of fruit cake and cocoa; accented with herbaceous notes of bell pepper, tobacco leaf and pencil shavings.  On the palate the wine is very fruit forward with flavours of black berry and plum.  The acidity, concentration of fruit flavours and length of finish make this a quality wine at a very affordable price.

 

Suggested Food Pairing:  Grilled bacon-wrapped beef tenderloin or pasta with bolognaises sauce would work well with this wine.  For something different but easy to prepare the tasting panel is recommending Moroccan Spice Beef prepared in a slow cooker – the recipe is on the following pages.

 

Cellaring: This Cabernet Sauvignon is drinking now or if you so desire you could cellar it for 2 to 5 years.

Meritage VQA 2005 $32.95 (special price for Savvy Selections subscribers.  Regular $39.95)
In keeping with other Meritage (pronounced Merry-tage) wines this is a blend of Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and Cabernet Franc.   

Savvy Sommelier Tasting Notes:  The 2005 Meritage is dark ruby red with a complex nose of dark fruit, dark chocolate and  to the palate as you experience black current, cedar and pepper notes.  This medium-bodied dry wine has soft tannins and a noticeably long complex peppery finish.

Suggested Food Pairing:  Peppercorn steak or pork tenderloin with fruit chutney and fingerling potatoes would be a great match.  However, try the Beef & Pears recipe provided.  I especially like the fact that the dish is easy to prepare.  In addition to that the variety of flavours and textures nicely complements this wine.

Cellaring: The wine is already 5 years and as such we recommend either enjoying the wine now or if you wish it could cellar for another 3 years.


~ Savvy Sommelier Tasting Notes for Optional Wines~Cabernet Sauvignon VQA 2006, $15.95
The climatic conditions in 2006 were not stellar.  In fact, 2006 was a wet year that lacked sunshine and heat.  The resulting fruit tends to lead to wines that are earthy and more vegetal in nature.

 

Savvy Sommelier Tasting Notes:  This ruby red wine falls on the herbaceous side of the aroma wheel with notes of bell pepper, leather and wet earth.  On the palate, there are noticeable flavours of cherry and plum along with cedar and leather.  The wine is dry with a medium tannic finish.  It is an excellent example of a Cabernet Sauvignon that is made in the Bordeaux style.

Suggested Food Pairing:  This wine would pair well with grilled red meats such as steak or lamb chops.

Cellaring: This wine could easily be cellared for another 4 years as the tannins do need some time to soften.

 

Meritage VQA 2007, $47.95
Savvy Sommelier Tasting Notes:  Almost opaque Ruby red in colour.  It has a great nose of Christmas fruit cake, dark chocolate and stewed fruit with slight undertones of bell pepper.  On the palate it displays flavours of blackberry, dark cherry complemented with notes of smoke and cedar.  This is a full-bodied dry red wine.  The finish is long as the fruit flavours hang in there.

 

Suggested Food Pairing:  The complexity on the nose and palate along with the body of the wine transpire to make this a powerful wine.  We recommend a charcuterie platter of flavourful meats along with artisan cheeses.  For something different; gourmet burgers with blue cheese or feta would also be a great pairing.

 

Cellaring: This Meritage is drinking well now or it could be cellared for up to another 6 years.  

Dean’s List Savant Ice Wine 2008 VQA $69.95
This is a blend of 44% Cabernet Franc, 25% Merlot, 23% Cabernet Sauvignon and 8 % Pinot Noir.  All of the grapes for this wine were harvest from the St. David’s Bench appellation which is part of the College’s campus; therefore the students had direct control over the management of the vineyard as well as the harvesting of the fruit that goes into this wine.    

Savvy Sommelier Tasting Notes:  Amber in colour this 2008 ice wine displays aromas of lychee, peach cobbler and honey.  The aromas on the nose come through on the palate as you will taste honey and peach as well as hints of strawberry.  The wine is well balanced with a long sweet finish held together with mouth-watering acidity. On our first sip, everyone on the Savvy Selections tasting panel was speechless.  Someone broke the silence with the comment, “OMG this is YUMMMMMMMY”.

Suggested Food Pairing:  This wine is absolutely stunning on its own.  Alternatively, it would be a great accompaniment to a selection of artisan cheeses from Ontario.

Cellaring: This would make wine can be enjoyed now.  As a result of the fruit and acidity in the wine it can easily cellar for 3 to 5 years.

 

~ Recipes to Enjoy with your Savvy Selections ~

With Niagara College Unoaked Chardonnay…

Seared Chicken and Green Beans Amandine
From LCBO Food & Drink Magazine, Holiday 2007

Serves 4

Ingredients
4 large skinless, boneless chicken breast halves

½ tsp (2 mL) salt

½ lemon

1 tbsp (15 mL) olive oil

¾ lb (375g) thin fresh green beans

3 large plum tomatoes

4 oz (125 g) bacon or 4 to 6 slices

½ cup (125 g) slices or slivered almonds, divided

1 tbsp (15 mL) all purpose flour

½ cup (125 mL) chicken broth

½ cup (125 mL) dry white wine

½ tsp (2 mL) pepper

½ cup (125 mL) whipping cream

¼ cup (50 mL) chopped fresh parsley

Method

1.    Place chicken pieces between plastic wrap; flatten to ¾ - inch (2-cm) thickness using the flat side of a meat pounder or rolling pin.  Arrange in a single layer in a glass 9 x 13 inch (3-L) dish; sprinkle both sides with salt. Zest and juice lemon; sprinkle zest over chicken.  Whisk oil with squeezed juice; pour over chicken.  Let stand at 30 minutes at room temperature, turning once or twice.  (If making ahead cover and refrigerate for up to half a day.)

 

2.    Remove stems from green beans; cut tomatoes lengthwise, seed and dice.  Add 1 inch (2.5 cm) water to a medium saucepan or steamer; place over low heat.  Cut bacon crosswise into ¼-inch (5-mm) slices.  Have all ingredients ready before next step as this is a la minute cooking.

 

3.    Place almonds in a dry large frying pan over medium heat; shake frequently for 3 to 4 minutes or until almonds are golden.  Transfer to a bowl to cool; return frying pan to a heat.  Add bacon.  Fry for 5 to 8 minutes or until browned and crisp; remove bits for pan to a paper towel.  Do not drain fat from hot pan.

 

4.    Drain chicken and discard marinade.  Leaving all fat in pan, increase temperature to between medium and medium-high; add chicken.  Sauté 6 to 8 minutes per side or until golden and firm to touch.  Boil water in saucepan; boil or steam green beans for 4 to 5 minutes or until bright green and barely tender; drain and keep warm.  Remove chicken from pan; keep warm.

 

5.    Drain and discard all but 1 tablespoon (15 mL) of fat in pan.  Add flour to fat in pan; stir to mix.  Slowly stir in chicken broth and white wine; when smooth and just bubbling, add tomatoes and bacon bits.  Cook 1 minute; stir in pepper, cream, half of toasted almonds and parsley.  Let bubble for a minute or 2 or until slightly thickened.  Taste and add pinches of salt if needed.

 

6.    Arrange chicken and beans on warm serving plates.  Nap with sauce and garnish with remaining almonds and additional chopped parsley.  Serve with basmati rice or mashed potatoes.

 

With Niagara College Cabernet Sauvignon…

Moroccan-Spiced Beef
From 175 Essential Slow Cooker Classics 
Serves 6 to 8

Ingredients
1 tbsp (15 mL) vegetable oil

2 lbs (1 kg) stewing beef, trimmed of fat and cut into 1-inch (2.5cm) cubes and patted dry

2 onions, chopped

4 large carrots peeled and chopped

4 large parsnips peeled and chopped

4 cloves garlic, minced

1 tsp (5 mL) cracked black peppercorns

1 cinnamon stick piece

2 tbsp (30 mL) cumin seeds, toasted and ground

2 tsp (10 mL) coriander seeds, toasted and ground

2 tbsp (30 mL) all purpose flour

1 can (28 oz / 796 mL) tomatoes, drained and chopped

1 tbsp (15 mL) tomato paste

1 cup beef stock

½ cup (120 mL) dry red wine

½ tsp (2 mL) cayenne pepper

1 tbsp (15 mL) freshly squeezed lemon juice

 

Method

1.  In a skillet, heat oil over medium-high heat for 30 seconds.  Add beef, in batches, and cook, stirring, adding a bit more oil if necessary, until lightly browned, about 4 minutes per batch.  Using a slotted spoon, transfer to slow cooker stoneware.

 

2.  Reduce heat to medium.  Add onions, carrots and parsnips to pan and cool, stirring, until carrots are softened, about 7 minutes.  Add garlic, peppercorns, cinnamon stick and toasted seeds and cook, stirring constantly for about 1 minute.  Add flour and cook, stirring, for 1 minute.  Add tomatoes, tomato paste, stock and red wine and bring to a boil, stirring.  Add salt to taste.

 

3.  Transfer to slow cooker stoneware.  Cover and cook on Low for 8 hours or on High for 4 hours, until vegetables are tender.  Dissolve cayenne in lemon juice and stir into mixture.  Garnish liberally with parsley before serving.

 

4.  Service with couscous or brown rice.  

 

Note: This dish can be partially prepared before it is cooked.  Complete Step 2, heating 1 tbsp (15 mL) oil in pan before softening the vegetables.  Cover and refrigerate mixture overnight.  The next morning, brown beef (Step 1), or it you are pressed for time, omit this step and add meat directly to stoneware.  Continue cooking as directed in Step 3. 


 

With Niagara College Meritage…

Beef and Pears in Wine

From Company’s Coming Weekend Cooking,
Serves 4

 

Ingredients
1 to 1 ½ (450 – 680 g) beef tenderloin roast

2 tsp (10 mL) cooking oil
4 tsp (20 mL) cooking oil
4 tbsp (60 mL) finely chopped onion

2 cup (500 mL) dry red wine

4 tbsp (60 mL) red currant jelly

4 tsp (20 mL) Dijon mustard
2 firm medium pear, peeled, cored and quartered

 

Method

1.     Place roast on greased wire rack in small roasting pan.  Drizzle with first amount of cooking oil.  Sprinkle with pepper.  Cook uncovered, in 350°F (175°C) oven for 40 to 45 minutes until meat thermometer reads 140°F (60°C) for medium doneness or until desired doneness.  Cover with foil and let stand for 10 minutes.

 

2.     Heat second amount of cooking oil in medium saucepan on medium-low.  Add onion.  Cook for about 5 minutes, stirring occasionally, until onion is soft.  Add wine, jelly and mustard.  Heat and stir on medium until jelly is liquid.  Bring to a boil.  Reduce heat to medium-low.

 

3.     Add pear to wine, jelly and mustard mixture.  Simmer, uncovered for 10 to 15 minutes, stirring occasionally, until pear is soft.  Remove pear and keep warm.

 

4.     Strain wine mixture.  Discard solids.  Return wine mixture to same saucepan.  Boil, uncovered, on medium-high for about 5 minutes, stirring occasionally, until thickened.  Makes 1/3 cup (75 mL) sauce.  Drizzle sauce over sliced beef and pear on individual plates.

 

5.     Serve with seasonal vegetables and garlic mashed potatoes

 

 

 

 

Cheers & Enjoy this month’s Savvy Selections!

 

You’ve come a long way – Stoney Ridge celebrates 25 years
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October brings with it a noticeable change in seasons as the leaves turn from green to vibrant reds, oranges and yellows.  We experience shorter days and longer nights as October is the month our clocks fall back an hour.  October is also the month were we enjoy a Thanksgiving meal with friends and family.  To celebrate the change in season, the extra hour of sleep and the last long weekend before Christmas the Savvy Team is excited to present to you wines from the Stoney Ridge Estate Winery.   

 

We are especially excited about this month’s Savvy Selections because Savvy Sommelier Derek Vollrath was able to meet and interview Jim Warren the original founder of Stoney Ridge and now is the General Manager of the winery. Many involved in the Canadian wine industry, Jim is a pioneer and mentor to aspiring winemakers. Jim & Stoney Ridge are celebrating a milestone this year as it is the winery’s 25th anniversary – all the more reasons to raise a glass of Savvy Selections wine!

 

The Savvy Selections tasting panel is thrilled to select the following wines crafted to commemorate the winery’s 25th anniversary:

·         Excellence Sauvignon Blanc VQA 2009

·         Excellence Pinot Gris VQA 2009

·         Petit Verdot VQA 2008

 

Derek was telling me that the tasting panel was excited to include a Petit Verdot.  This wine is unique because rarely is Petit Verdot produced as a single varietal.  It is usually used as a constituent in a blended wine as it provides additional colour and structure.  One of the many benefits of being a Savvy Selection member is that you get to experience different and unique wines such as this one! 

 

As always, the Savvy eZine includes the panel’s tasting notes along with recipes chosen to pair with these wines.  Check out the prosciutto asparagus chicken roulade - Derek swears by it as an easy way to impress your guests!

 

If you are in the Niagara area we encourage your to stop by Stoney Ridge.  The winery is also known as the Garden Winery because of the beautiful gardens interlaced into the property.  Visitors are encouraged to walk around and take in the beautiful gardens or check out the artisan cheeses in their cheese boutique.

 

You won’t find these wines at the LCBO!

Stoney Ridge does not have their wines on the store shelves at the LCBO, so feel free to contact me to arrange for additional bottles of your favorite Stoney Ridge wines or wines from any previous Savvy Selections. It’s easy to arrange  and best of all - we do all the work.     

 

 

Cheers, enjoy & Happy Thanksgiving!

- Debbie & Savvy Team

 

Introducing….

Stoney Ridge Estate Winery

Presented by Sommelier Derek Vollrath

 

Jim Warren’s entry into the wine industry started in a rather innocuous way when his wife bought him a home winemaking kit as a Christmas gift.  The rest, as the saying goes, “is history” and a rather serendipitous history at that as Jim has gone onto become a godfather in the Ontario wine industry.

Humble Beginnings
Stoney Ridge was opened in 1985 by Jim and a couple of business partners as a “fun thing to do”.  At that time operations were rather rudimentary so much so that they did not even have running water.  Despite the lack of some of the basic tools Jim and his partners persevered, guided by a simple principle of producing quality wines.  In its first year of operations the winery produced only 500 cases of wine.

Stoney Ridge quickly gained a reputation for producing quality wines and as a result became one of Canada’s most awarded wineries.

When it opened back in 1985 Stoney Ridge was only the 18th licensed winery operating in Ontario. Twenty-five years later the wine industry in Niagara is flourishing in large part due to pioneers such as Jim. 

 

An Industry Pioneer
Jim has all of the hallmarks of a pioneer.  He was one of the first to enter the fledging Canadian wine industry and continues to remain a staunch supporter of it.  He understood the need for a winery to produce quality products and the importance for a winery to consistently produce innovative products.  

 

A Spirit of Innovation
Jim has enthusiastically experimented with bringing new products to the market.  Some of Jim’s innovations include: Gewürztraminer Ice wine, peach wine and even a successful cranberry wine which the LCBO consistently carries.  In the words of Jim “if it can be fermented I will try and make a wine out of it”.

 

Quality Matters
Jim’s philosophy towards wine making is pretty simple and straight forward:

a)    Quality begins in the vineyard as a healthy vineyard and well tended to fruit will produce good grapes which in turn help make good wine

b)    The winemaker is the custodian of the vinification process (winespeak for winemaking). Therefore the wine maker must be proactive during the winemaking process by keeping an eye on the health of the wine.

c)     “Keep your options available” as Jim told me during the interview.  If you are going to make a blended wine make sure the blend is correct because once you blend a wine you can’t un-blend it.

 

Paying it Forward, a Lasting Impact
One of Jim’s forward thinking views was his involvement with Niagara College.  By profession Jim is a teacher.  As a result of being an educator before a winemaker, Jim saw a need to have an educational program specifically geared towards winemaking.  He was instrumental in working with Niagara College to create the Winery and Viticulture program.  (Coincidentally, next month’s Savvy Selections will feature Niagara College Teaching Winery)

The program at Niagara College is a lasting legacy as people now interested in becoming a professional winemaker can follow a formal educational training program.

Metaphorically speaking Jim has been involved in planting some of the important vines in the Niagara wine industry.  These vines are now beginning to bear great fruit from which we are all benefiting from. Cheers.

Here’s to Jim & the winery’s 25 year milestone…

 

Cheers & Enjoy!

~ Savvy Sommelier Tasting Notes ~

Excellence Sauvignon Blanc VQA 2009, $23.00
The Stoney Ridge Sauvignon Blanc presented in this months Savvy Selection is on par with Sauvignon Blanc that you would find from New Zealand.  The grapes for the 2009 vintage were harvested at various times in order to capture different aspects of the grape which in turn provides the winemaker more options in crafting the wine.

Savvy Sommelier Tasting Notes:  This is a straightforward Sauvignon Blanc.  It is wonderfully crafted with expressive aromas of gooseberry, cut grass and citrus peel.  Dry on the palate the wine displays intensive flavours of green apple, grapefruit and citrus peel.  It has a long zesty finish in which the fruit flavours continue to remain intense.  What more could you ask for?    

Suggested Food Pairing:  It may seem a little complicated to make but following the tasting notes is a recipe for prosciutto asparagus chicken roulades.  The richness of the lemon tarragon sauce will pair nicely with the crisp acidity of the Sauvignon Blanc.

Cellaring: Sauvignon Blanc is not known for aging that is why we recommend enjoying this wine in the next 6 to 12 months.

 

Excellence Pinot Gris VQA 2009, $23.00

When it comes to Pinot Gris, Ontario is beginning to garner some attention.  This is attributed in large part to the quality that Stoney Ridge has crafted with their Pinot Gris grapes.

 

Savvy Sommelier Tasting Notes:  Pale lemon with a youthful nose of honeysuckle, peach and sweet spice. This medium-bodied wine is dry on the palate with expressive notes of green apple, peach and honey.  The acidity, concentration of fruit flavours and length of finish transpire to make this a quality wine.

Suggested Food Pairing:  The acidity and fruit characteristics in this wine would make it a great match with grilled shrimp or a charcuterie platter of artisan cheeses and meats.  To hang on to the summer barbeque season we have attached a recipe for grilled white fish fillets with a cucumber dill sauce.

Cellaring: This wine could keep for 12 to 18 months but why wait enjoy it tonight chilled.


Petit Verdot VQA 2008 $28.00
Consumers rarely see a single varietal Petit Verdot due to the fact that the grape is challenging to produce as it requires a long hang time (wine speak for it needs to stay on the vine for a long time before it ripens).  Savvy Selection subscribers are fortunate for two reasons #1: the growing season in Ontario in 2008 was such that it enabled the Petit Verdot berries to ripen #2: Stoney Ridge decided to craft a unique and different wine.

Savvy Sommelier Tasting Notes:  The 2008 vintage offers a youthful bouquet of cloves, black current berries, vanilla and cedar.  The bouquet carries over to the palate as you experience black current, cedar and pepper notes.  This medium-full-bodied dry red wine has soft tannins and a decent length.

Suggested Food Pairing:  This wine would be a wonderful match with barbeque pork ribs or beef stew.  In keeping with the theme of “let’s hang on to summer” the tasting panel is recommending that you pair this wine with tenderloin steaks in a merlot sauce, the recipe for which follows.

Cellaring: This wine can be enjoyed with the Thanksgiving feast or can cellar for another 3 to 5 years.

 

 


~ Recipes to enjoy with your Savvy Selections ~

With Stoney Ridge Excellence Sauvignon Blanc…
Prosciutto Asparagus Chicken Roulades
From Canadian Living, April 2004 
Serves 4

Ingredients
16 asparagus spears

4 chicken breast (bone in skin on)
¼ cup (50 mL) loosely packed fresh tarragon leaves

8 thin slices of prosciutto

1 tbsp (15 mL) butter, melted

¼ tsp (1 mL) salt

cup (150 mL) chicken stock

cup (75 mL) dry white wine (or water mixed with 2 tsp / 10 mL white wine vinegar)
3 egg yolks

2 tbsp (30 mL) lemon juice

½ tsp (2 mL) cornstarch
¼ tsp (1 mL) pepper
1 tbsp (15 mL) chopped fresh tarragon

 

Method

1.  Snap off woody end of asparagus.  In a pot of salted boiling water, blanch asparagus until colour brightens and still crisp, about 2 minutes.  Drain and chill under cold water; drain again.

 

2.  Starting at thick end of each breast and keeping knife angled towards bones, run knife between flesh and bones to remove bones.  Place, skin-side down, between plastic wrap.  With heavy pan or meat pounder, pound to flatten to generous ¼ - inch (5 mm) thickness.

 

3.  With fingers, gently loosen skin from flesh; place one-quarter of the tarragon leaves under the skin of each breast.  Turn and place 2 slices prosciutto over flesh.  Place 4 asparagus spears along 1 edge of each breast; roll chicken around asparagus ensuring skin covers all around.  Secure at edge with tooth pick.  Place, seam side down, in small roasting pan; brush with butter and sprinkle with salt.  Pour in stock and wine.

 

4.  Roast in 375° F (190°C) oven until chicken is no longer pink in centre, about 30 minutes.  Baste with pan juices.  Broil until skin is golden and crisp, 3 to 4 minutes.  Transfer to platter; keep warm.

 

5.  Pour pan juices into measuring cup; skim off fat.  If necessary, add more stock to make ¾ cup (175 mL).  Pour into small sauce pan; bring to a boil.  Meanwhile, in a heat proof bowl, whisk together egg yolks, lemon juice, cornstarch and pepper; stir in chopped tarragon. Slowly whisk in boiling juices.  Return to sauce pan; cook over medium heat, stirring constantly and without boiling, until thick enough to coat spoon, about 3 minutes. Serve with chicken.


With Stoney Ridge Excellence Pinot Gris
Grilled Fish Fillets with Cucumber Dill Yogurt
From LCBO Food & Drink Magazine, Early Summer 2006,
Serves 4

Ingredients – Cucumber Dill Yogurt
1 cucumber, peeled and seeded if necessary and diced

1 cup (250 mL) plain yogurt

2 tbsp (30 mL) olive oil
1 tbsp (15 mL) chopped fresh dill
½ tsp (2 mL) grated lemon zest
2 tsp (30 mL) freshly squeezed lemon juice
Salt and freshly ground pepper

Ingredients – Fish
4 thin fish fillets (trout, tilapia, pickerel, halibut)

1 tbsp (15 mL) olive oil
2 tsp (30 mL) freshly squeezed lemon juice
Salt and freshly ground pepper

Method

1.    For the Cucumber Dill Yogurt, place a cucumber in a sieve and sprinkle with 1 tsp (5 mL) salt.  Let stand for 15 to 30 minutes.  Press out moisture and pat cucumber dry.  Transfer to a bowl.  Add yogurt, oil, dill, lemon zest and juice.  Toss gently to combine.  Cover and refrigerate for at least 15 minutes or for up to 1 day.  Season to taste with salt and pepper.

 

2.    For the fish, preheat the grill to medium-high.

 

3.    Cut 4 pieces of foil slightly larger than the fish fillets and fold up edges to create a rim.  Place 1 fish fillet on each piece of foil.  Combine oil and lemon juice and brush over fish (over both sides if skinless).  Season with salt and pepper.  Slide foil piece onto baking sheet and then onto grill, removing sheet.  Grill fish, covered, for 5 to 10 minutes, depending on thickness, until just cooked through (or broil about 6 inches/15 cm away from heat).


With Stoney Creek Petit Verdot….
Tenderloin Steaks with Merlot Sauce
From Eat Well, Lose Weight - Better Homes and Gardens,
Serves 4

 

Ingredients
2 tsp (10 mL) cracked black pepper
4 beef tenderloin steaks, cut 1 inch thick
1 tbsp (15 mL) olive oil
½ cup (125 mL) finely chopped onion
1 medium shallot, finely chopped
1 tbsp (15 mL) snipped fresh thyme or 1 tsp (5 mL) dried thyme, crushed

½ cup (125 mL) Merlot or other dry red wine or lower-sodium beef broth

2 tbsp (30 mL) lower-sodium beef broth or water

 

Method

1.     Use your fingers to press pepper onto all sides of the steak.  In a large skilled heat oil over medium heat.  Add steaks to skillet; cook until desired doneness, turning once.  Allow 10 to 13 minutes for medium-rare doneness (145°F) to medium doneness (160°F).  Transfer steaks to a serving platter; keep warm.

 

2.     For sauce, add onion, shallot and dried thyme (if using) to drippings in skillet.  Cook and stir for 4 to 6 minutes or until onion is tender.  Add Merlot and broth. Bring to boiling; reduce heat.  Boil gently for 3 to 5 minutes or until mixture is reduced by about half.  Stir in balsamic vinegar and fresh thyme (if using).  Spoon sauce over steaks.

 

 

 

  

Cheers & Enjoy this month’s Savvy Selections!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The family is deeply rooted in its vineyard at Cattail Creek
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For me the Labour Day long weekend marks the end of summer and the beginning of fall, however as I write this Savvy Selections eZine, I have a feeling that summer is not quite ready to step aside. I hope many of you were able to spend time outside enjoying the summer of 2010, either lying on a dock by a lake or relaxing in a lounge chair by a pool always with a glass of wine near by.   

 

For Ontario’s grape growers and winemakers, 2010 is shaping up to possibly be one of the best vintages on record. Some predict that the 2010 harvest will be better than the outstanding 2007 vintage.  Mother Nature got things off on the right foot with an early start to spring.  That early start combined with long hours of sun, great temperatures and just the right amount of rain has helped in producing great grapes…and great grapes go a long way in helping a winemaker craft great wine.      

 

The Savvy Team is excited to bring to you wines from the Cattail Creek Family Estate Winery.  A name you may recognize as we featured Cattail in the Savvy Selections when they opened in December 2007.  At that time the proprietors Roselyn and Andrew Ciezkowski had fulfilled their dream of a family run winery.  Three years later, Savvy Sommelier Derek Vollrath caught up to Andrew to find out how the winery has grown.

 

Choosing the wines to feature is hard work (OK…loads of fun too!). Our tasting panel included a team of Savvy Sommeliers Julie, Doug and Derek who were joined by Savvy Selections subscribers Heather & Bill and Nancy & Paul.  In fact Heather & Bill kicked off their wedding anniversary ‘date night out’ by joining us for the tasting then headed off to a romantic dinner afterwards.  These “Savvy Sippers” diligently tasted, analyzed and discussed the range of Cattail Creek wines.  Our hard work and tireless effort (wink, wink) resulted in choosing the following wines for you to enjoy:

·         Chardonnay Musqué VQA 2009

·         Merlot VQA 2008

·         Cabernet-Merlot VQA 2006

 

Accompanying each wine are the panel’s tasting notes along with recipes specifically chosen to pair with these wines.

 

Would you like to join us for the monthly Savvy Selection tasting panels? 

Keep watching your inbox for your invitation! It’s fun, no cost to you and best of all, educational as you get to enjoy a structured tasting with our accredited Savvy Sommeliers. We enjoy meeting our subscribers and getting feedback about the wines that we deliver to you each month.

 

Anytime you would like more Cattail Creek wines or previous Savvy Selections, simply contact me to arrange an order for you.  

 

 

Cheers & Enjoy!

- Debbie & Savvy Team

 


Introducing...
Cattail Creek Family Estates

Presented by Sommelier Derek Vollrath

 

Andrew Ciezkowski, is a busy guy - so busy that it took me almost 2 months to finally catch up with him to interview him for this Savvy eZine!  Understandably, when you are the owner of a growing family business, you are always on call to be the chief, cook and bottle washer.  Or in the case of Andrew the sales rep, the marketing manager, the delivery guy and the grounds keeper.

Owning a winery often has a certain air of glitz and glamour. At times there is definitely some of that to be enjoyed. However, as with any small business, when the work needs to be done the owners have no other choice but to roll up their sleeves. During our first interview Andrew had just arrived home from cleaning up the winery parking lot, while his wife Roselyn had been called back to the vineyard to help prepare for the harvest.

During our second interview Andrew was multi-tasking as he packed the Savvy Selections readying them for shipment. “It never seems to stop”, says Andrew, “we continue to receive incredible accolades, awards & are certainly gaining a good reputation for wines - all great news for our small business.”

Cattail began operation in 2006 with their first vintage released in 2007.  I was curious to know what had changed at the winery since they first started operations. Andrew sums it up, “In one word…LOTS!”

For starters production size has changed significantly.  In its first year, they produced 1,800 cases. Now, three years later, Andrew is projecting that production will be reach approximately 4,600 cases.

Andrew recently changed his career. In March, he left his job as the Canadian Head of Sales & Marketing for Boisset (the 3rd largest wine company in France and the largest in Burgundy) because the operations at Cattail had rapidly grown to such a level that he was required to be there full time.   

Another change…a new winemaker. Colin Ferguson joined the Cattail Creek Family in 2009.  His wine making skills have been honed through a combination of hands-on training and formal education.  The “hands-on” component came by way of a two year stint in Bordeaux, France while Colin’s “formal education” was gained as a a graduate of the Niagara College Winery and Viticulture Technician Program. 

A new winemaker brings new energy and a new style and according to Andrew, “Colin has a style that lends itself to being more Old World in nature due to the fact that he spent two years in Bordeaux.”   

 

Not all things have changed…in fact some things have remained the same. 
Roselyn’s family has been growing grapes since 1957 and continues with no intention of changing that anytime soon.  The family has been able to capitalize on their wealth of grape growing knowledge and experience over the three generations, understanding what vines thrive in their vineyards.  This intimate knowledge results in high quality fruit year after year. 

The size of the vineyard remains constant.  Cattail has 100 acres under vine and according to Andrew, they keep 15% to 20% of the harvest for Cattail wines – selecting premium grapes – then sells the remainder of the fruit to other Niagara wineries as they have practiced for many years.

Cattail Creek’s approach to winemaking has not altered.  Always striving to produce the best quality wine in which all aspects of the finished product are well balanced.  As Andrew explains, “our philosophy is to produce the best wine that is expressive of the terroir and displays the ingenuity of the winemaker”.

Another constant is the family’s reputation.  For generations they have built a reputation for growing quality grapes for other wineries and now, Cattail Creek Family Estate Winery is growing their reputation as being a quality boutique winery.  Cheers!


 

~ Savvy Sommelier Tasting Notes ~

Chardonnay Musqué VQA 2009, $17.00
Chardonnay Musqué is a clone of the Chardonnay grape varietal that is intensely aromatic - similar to that of Muscat grapes.  2009 marks Cattail’s third vintage of this unique wine and is one of the first wines crafted by their new winemaker Colin Ferguson.

Savvy Sommelier Tasting Notes:  Pale lemon in colour with intense aromas of pear, white peach and pineapple.  What you smell in the glass continues through on the palate as your taste buds are awarded with a generous portion of ripe tropical fruit complemented by a hint of spice.  This off-dry medium bodied wine is well balanced with a rich mouth feel and a lingering fruity finish.  It’s the way late summer should taste and at $17 a bottle, this is a great value. 

Suggested Food Pairing:  A light curry dishes or stuffed pork tenderloin would be an excellent food pairing.  For a vegetarian option we recommend a baked polenta casserole - recipe follows.

Cellaring: Chardonnay Musqué is a varietal that is designed to be consumed relatively early.  You can enjoy it now or you can keep a few bottles on hand to be savored again next summer

  

Merlot VQA 2008, $18.00

2008 provided for a long growing season thus enabling the berries in the grape bunches to slowly attain high levels of ripeness. The result of well ripened fruit is more natural sugar in the grapes - beneficial in the wine making process.  This Merlot was barrel aged in French oak imparting soft and subtle flavours.  After 8 months in oak, the Cattail winemaking team noted that the wine had developed sufficient structure and complexity, both from an aroma profile and tasting profile – it was definitely ready for bottling.

Savvy Sommelier Tasting Notes:  Bright ruby red with floral notes (our tasting panel noted lavender and violets – can you find these?), accented with aromas of stewed plums and dark chocolate.  The wine is balanced with soft tannins and an intense concentration of flavours, both on the nose and on the palate. Medium bodied with decent length that leaves the inside of your mouth feeling silky.

Suggested Food Pairing: This Merlot is begging to be enjoyed with grilled red meats or penne pasta in a Bolognese sauce.  For an international flare, try Korean flank steak – recipe below, it’s easy and tastes absolutely amazing.

Cellaring: This wine is drinking well now or could be cellared for 2 to 4 years.


Cabernet Merlot VQA 2006 $17.00

Unlike fashion, wine never goes out of style.  Why do I say that?  Well, believe it or not the 2006 Cabernet-Merlot that was selected by the September 2010 tasting panel was also one of the Savvy Selections featured wines in December 2007. And unlike the bell bottom pants of the 1970’s or the big hair and even bigger shoulder pads of the 1980’s this wine has some serious staying power!  It’s a blend of 75% Cabernet Franc and 25% Merlot and was aged in a combination of American and French oak for approximately 8 months.

Savvy Sommelier Tasting Notes:  Garnet red with a noticeable brick coloured rim (a typical sign of aged wine).  The nose is complex with aromas of cedar, vanilla, dark fruit and stewed plums.  Dry on the palate with a level of acidity that balances well with the fruit.  The tannins are still noticeable but are beginning to integrate nicely. The wine is full bodied with a medium length finish.

Suggested Food Pairing: Although we are not trying to hurry the seasons along, the Savvy Selections tasting panel unanimously recommended that this wine would by dynamite with a fall or winter stew. So in keeping with that theme accompanying is a receipt for Spiced Braised Pork with Pan-Roasted Root Vegetable & Gremolata.  For those people that don’t know or are too afraid to ask (and I am one of them) gremolata is a chopped herb condiment typically made of garlic, parsley, and lemon zest  According to Savvy Selections subscriber Heather who joined us for the tasting panel, this recipe is a little work but is definitely work the effort (Thanks Heather for sharing the recipe!).

Cellaring: Enjoy now or cellar for no more than another 3 to 5 years.

 

 

~ Recipes to enjoy with your Savvy Selections ~

With Cattail Creek Chardonnay Musqué…
Baked Polenta Casserole
From Heart Smart, the Best of Heart Smart Cooking, Bonnie Stern
Serves 8 to 10
Ingredients – Polenta
5 cups (1.25L) water
½ tsp (2 mL) salt
¼ tsp (1 mL) pepper
1½ cups (375 mL) cornmeal (regular or quick-cooking0

Ingredients – Tomato Sauce
1 tbsp (15 mL) olive oil
1 onion
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
Pinch hot red pepper flakes
2 28-oz (796 mL) cans plum tomatoes, with juice
½ tsp (2 mL) salt
½ lb (250 g) light ricotta cheese, broken up
¼ cup (50 mL) basil pesto
¾ cup (175 mL) grated part-skim mozzarella cheese
2 tbsp (25 mL) grated Parmesan cheese

Method

1.  In a large saucepan, bring water to a boil. Add salt and pepper. Slowly add cornmeal to boiling water in a thin stream, whisking constantly.  Reduce heat and cook on low heat for about 30 minutes for regular cornmeal and 5 minutes for quick-cooking, until thickened and tender.  Stir occasionally. Taste and adjust seasonings if necessary.

 

2.  Pour polenta into an 8 x 4 inch (1.5 L) loaf pan that has been lined with wax paper.  Chill for a few hours or over night.

 

3.  To prepare sauce, heat oil in a large, deep non-stick skillet on medium heat.  Add onion, garlic and hot pepper flakes and cook gently for 5 to 8 minutes or until mixture is very fragrant and tender.

 

4.  Add tomatoes and cook for 20 to 30 minutes, or until thick.  Puree sauce.  Add pepper, salt and parsley.  Taste and adjust seasoning if necessary.

 

5.  To assemble, unmold polenta and cut loaf into ½-inch (1cm) slices.  Cut each slice on diagonal.  Spoon about 1 cup (250 mL) tomato sauce in bottom of a 13 x 9 inch (1.5 L) baking dish).  Arrange overlapping slices of polenta on top of sauce.  Dot with ricotta and pesto.  Spoon remaining tomato sauce on top and sprinkle with mozzarella and Parmesan.

 

6.  Bake in a preheated 375° F (190°C) oven for 30 to 35 minutes or until top is slightly golden and casserole is bubbling.  Allow to rest for 5 to 10 minutes before serving.

 


With Cattail Creek Merlot….
Korean Flank Steak
From Welcome to Jill’s Table, Jill Wilcox
Serves 4 to 6

Ingredients – Marinade
2lbs flank steak
2 tbsp (30 mL) low sodium soy sauce
2 tsp (10 mL) sesame oil
3 green onions, minced
4 cloves garlic, minced
2 tbsp (30 mL) rice wine or sherry
1 tbsp (15 mL) ginger, minced
1 tbsp (15 mL) toasted ground sesame seeds
2 tsp (10 mL) brown sugar
1 tbsp (15 mL) chili paste (optional)

Ingredients – Sauce
3 tbsp (45 mL) low sodium soy sauce
2 tsp (10 mL) sesame oil
2 tbsp (30 mL) water
2 tbsp (30 mL) rice wine or sherry
1 tsp (5 mL) toasted sesame seeds
1 green onions, minced
1 small cloves garlic, minced
1 tsp (5 mL) chili paste
2 tsp (10 mL) sugar

Method

1.    Lightly score the flank steak and then place in a zip lock freezer bag.

 

2.    Combine the remaining ingredients in a bowl, whisk and then pour the contents of the bowl into the freezer bag containing the flank steak sealing the bag.

 

3.    Lightly kneed the sealed bag so that the flank steak is fully coated with the marinade. 

 

4.    Refrigerate for at least two hours.

 

5.    Preheat a grill and grill for 5 to 7 minutes per side.

 

6.    Remove from the grill, loosely tent with foil and let rest for at least 10 minutes to allow the juices to redistribute.  Slice the steak very thinly, against the grain.

 

7.    For the sauce combine all ingredients in a bowl.  It can be made ahead and stored in a jar in the refrigerator).

 

Tips:

1.    For best results the grill should be very hot for best

 

2.    Never grill past medium rare or meat will be tough

 

3.    Slice the steak very thinly against the grain.

 

 

With Cattail Creek Cabernet Merlot….
Spiced Braised Pork with Pan-Roasted Root Vegetables & Gremolata
This recipe was highly recommended by Heather – a Savvy Selections subscriber who participated in the tasting panel. 

Notes from Heather: the meal is quite complicated and requires a lot of up front planning, but it is well worth it.  

Source: Well Fed web site

 

Ingredients – Pork seasoning
1 tbsp cumin seeds
2 tbsp coriander seeds
2 tbsp fennel seeds
3 pounds pork shoulder, trimmed of fat and cut into 1 1/2 inch to 2 inch chunks
1 tsp cayenne pepper
1 tbsp chopped fresh oregano plus 3 whole sprigs
6 cloves garlic, smashed
1 tbsp fresh thyme leaves

Ingredients – For the braise
3 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
1 cup diced onion (about half a large onion)
1/4 cup diced carrot (1/3 a medium carrot)
1/4 cup diced fennel (1/4 a medium fennel bulb)
2 bay leaves
1 chile de arbol, crumbled
1 cup dry white wine
2 cups chicken stock
2 cups veal stock
1 lemon
4 to 6 sprigs fresh cilantro

Ingredients – For the pan roasted root vegetables
3 medium carrots, peeled
3 medium parsnips, peeled
3 medium turnips
3 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
1 tbsp fresh thyme leaves
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 cup shallots, peeled and sliced 1/4 inch thick

Ingredients – For the gremolata
Zest of 1 lemon
1/2 cup chopped flat-leaf parsley
2 cloves (about 1 teaspoon) minced garlic

Method

1.     Toast the cumin, coriander and fennel seeds in a skillet over medium heat until they release their aroma and are slightly browned.  

 

2.     Place the seeds in a spice mill or a mortar and pulse or pound until coarsely ground.  The texture is better from using a mortar and pestle.  

 

3.     Place the pork in a large bowl and sprinkle with the crushed cumin, coriander, and fennel as well as the cayenne, the crushed garlic and oregano leaves and sprigs and the thyme leaves.  Using your hands, toss well to make sure everything is coated well.

 

4.     Cover the bowl with cling film and refrigerate overnight.

 

5.     Take the meat out of the refrigerator 45 minutes before cooking to allow it to come to room temperature.  After 15 minutes, season it on all sides with 1 tablespoon plus 2 teaspoons salt and some black pepper.  Reserve the crushed garlic and the oregano sprigs.

 

6.     Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F.

 

7.     Heat a large Dutch oven over very high heat for 3 minutes.  Pour in the olive oil and wait a minute or 2, until the pan is almost smoking.  Place the meat in the pan, being careful not to over crowd it.  Sear the meat until well browned and caramelized on all sides.  Adjust the heat if it seems like the pork is getting too dark.  After the meat is browned remove from the pan and reserve on a plate while you continue with the rest of the pork.  

 

8.     Turn the heat down to medium and add the onion, carrot, and fennel.  Stir with a wooden spoon, scraping up the brown crusty bits left in the bottom of the pan.  Stir in the bay leaves, crumbled chile de arbol, and the reserved garlic and oregano sprigs.  Cook for about 6 to 8 minutes, until the vegetables start to caramelize

 

9.     Pour in the white wine and reduce by half, about 5 minutes.  Next, add the stocks and bring to a boil.

 

10.  Using a vegetable peeler, peel off long strips of zest from the lemon.

 

11.  Turn off the heat and add the browned pork to the pot.  Tuck in the lemon zest strips and cilantro sprigs. 

 

12.  Cover the pot tightly with aluminum foil and place on the lid.  Put in the oven and braise for 2 to 2 1/2 hours.

 

13.  While the meat is braising, you can prep the root vegetables.  Cut off the stem and tip of the carrots and then slice in half lengthwise.  Place the carrot halves cut-side down and slice on an angle into 1/4 inch thick pieces.  Do the same thing to the parsnips.  To prep the turnips, cut of the stem and root ends.  Cut the turnips into quarters and then slice each quarter into small wedges approximately the same thickness as the carrot and parsnip pieces.

 

14.  Next make the gremolata.  Place the lemon zest on a cutting board and top with the parsley and garlic.  Chop the whole mixture together until very fine.  Set aside.

 

15.  Back to the pork.  To test the meat for doneness, remove the lid foil being careful of the steam and spoon out a piece of meat.  It should yield easily with the tip of a knife and almost fall apart.

 

16.  Turn up the oven to 400 degrees F.

 

17.  Using a slotted spoon, remove the meat from the pan and place on a single layer on a rimmed baking sheet.  Return the pork to the oven to caramelize, about 10 to 15 minutes.  

 

18.  Meanwhile, place the Dutch oven over high heat and reduce the braising liquid to a thick sauce.  Taste for seasoning.

 

19.  While this sauce is thickening and the meat is caramelizing, you should pan roast the vegetables.  Heat two large skillets over high heat for 2 minutes.  Swirl in the olive oil and wait 1 minutes.  Divide the carrots, parsnips and turnips between the 2 pans and season with 1 teaspoon of pepper 1/4 teaspoon of pepper and the thyme.  Stir the vegetables to coat with the oil then cook for about 10 minutes, until the vegetables have just started to brown.  

 

20.  Add the butter and sauté another 5 minutes, stirring often.  Add the shallots, 1/2 teaspoon salt and continue to cook until the shallots are soft and the vegetables are tender, about 5 more minutes.  Combine the vegetables into 1 of the pans and toss with half the gremolata, reserving the rest for garnish.

 

21.  Spoon the pork onto a large platter and pour over the reduced sauce.  Scatter the gremolata coated pan-roasted root vegetables over the top of the pork and then sprinkle with the remaining gremolata.

 

 

 

 

Cheers & Enjoy this month’s Savvy Selections!