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Savvy Selections wine of the month club
Featuring Lighthall Vineyards
- October 2012 -
We are heading to Prince Edward County this month to discover a boutique winery that typifies what is meant by a one man show. Lighthall Vineyards is owned by Glenn Symonns who is the winemaker, vineyard manager, Sommelier, chief marketer, distributor, tractor driver, creator and sometimes the delivery guy. It is a stark contrast to his previous career as a pharmacist. While both winemaker and pharmacist are connected through chemistry, it is the ability to create that Glenn enjoys the most. 'I truly think that I have a great job. I get to play in the cellar and make interesting wines.' And in this month's Savvy Selections you will certainly taste exactly what Glenn means.
I first met Glenn not at his winery, but rather when he was serving me wine during his final exam for his Sommelier Accreditation. These role playing practical exams can be un-nerving for the Sommelier 'students', yet I succinctly recall that Glenn handled the mock situation with panache. When he began demonstrating the 23 step process and etiquette (or is it a ritual?) of opening a bottle of wine, I could not believe my eyes that in his hands was a bottle of Huff Estates Lighthall Chardonnay VQA 2007 from Prince Edward County. Glenn did not know that I was a huge fan of this wine. I was equally amazed the he was serving a $30 bottle of wine while other Sommelier hopefuls where uncorking sub $10 wines as the judges weren`t going to sip and savour the wine - afterall the exams took place at 10am!
Curious and impressed, I commented about his wine choice and Glenn smiled back and proudly announced, 'I just bought Lighthall Vineyards and I will be building a winery.' That is not something you hear every day! Intrigued, I kept a lookout for Glenn on my visits to Prince Edward County. This spring, I visited his winery for the first time and have been enjoying his wines ever since.
In your Savvy Selections, you will find:
Lighthall Progression Sparkling VQA 2011 – an easy drinking Spanish cava style sparkling wine made with Vidal grapes
Lighthall Gewurztraminer VQA 2011 – an absolutely remarkable aromatic white wine – get ready to be impressed
Lighthall Pinot Noir 2010 VQA – one word : Stunning!
OPTIONAL WINE : Lighthall Pinot Noir Reserve Particuliere – Les Grands VQA 2009 – Pinot lovers beware - you will fall in love again with every sip
Like the sparkling? Stock up because it is almost gone…
Lighthall produces an incredibly small amount of wine. You won't find them in the LCBO. If you would like more, simply drop me an e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org or give me a call at 613-SAVVYCO (613-728-8926). Heads up – the sparkling is almost gone!
Cheers & enjoy your Savvy Selections!
Presented by Savvy Sommelier Erin Bolling
As a lover and student of wine I am excited to have an opportunity to be your Savvy Sommelier and introduce you to Lighthall Vineyards. I think conducting the Savvy Selections tasting panel is a pleasure of the taste buds as well as the mind while we put our heads together to determine recipes to pair with the feature wines. Each time the Savvy Team ‘has to’ work its way through many candidates for the Savvy Selections in order to chose the final selection. Once the wines are chosen, I have the honour to interview the owners and winemakers. This conversation allows me to learn first hand about the wines and am charged with a renewed appreciation for the people behind each bottle of wine.
This month I had the pleasure of meeting Glenn Symons of Lighthall Vineyards. Since 2008, Lighthall has been a one man show. Glenn is the owner, winemaker, field manager and marketing ‘department’. You name he does it! Hearing his story made me exhausted. I can only imagine how he feels each day! In all honesty though, Glenn is overflowing with passion and enthusiasm to be a winemaker.
Pharmacist to winemaker…
Glenn bought Lighthall in 2008 after he sold his Pharmacy - yes you read that right. As a graduate of the Sommelier program at Algonquin College and an amateur winemaker (in his own home), he learned more and more about the wines in Prince Edward County (PEC). Glenn’s temptation to buy a vineyard property in PEC became reality, he dramatically change careers.
Since 2008, Glenn has doubled the size of Lighthall’s property. In addition, he changed the business from a grape growing operation where he grows grapes for other wineries, to a winery in its own right. Since then, Glenn claims that there has been no time to look back!
Being September & October, it took Glenn and I a while to connect since it was in the height of harvest. And this year, harvest was 3 to 5 weeks early. When I did finally reach him, he explained that harvest is his favourite time of year. The last of his Vidal grapes were being picked ‘as we speak’ (these grapes are not for late harvest wines). The Chardonnay and Pinot Noir came in to the crush pad the week before.
There was no doubt in our interview that Glenn was enthused about this past growing season since it was the warmest since 1968. Glenn predicts that 2012 will be an exceptional year for PEC wines and for that matter Ontario too and even broader Canadian wines too.
Overflowing with passion!
As stated earlier Lighthall is a one man show. Other than some seasonal workers, for whom Glenn built a house, Glenn does all the work of vineyard management and winemaking by himself. For the past three seasons he has put in 12 to 18 hour days. In the winter, he can be found tending the 25 acre woodlot which he uses to heat the buildings on the premises. And what comes next? Glenn has plans to try his hand at planting vines. He has his eye on a vineyard of 1 acre of just Gruner Veltliner. This varietal is an Austrian staple and is one of Glenn’s favourite types of wine. While Gruner is not planted in PEC, Glenn explains that it would be well suited to The County’s clay soil and environment. We look forward to his results. Cross your fingers!
His passion for his winery is obvious in its design. His tasting bar is located in the middle of his production area. This gives Glenn the ability to share and give his visitors the opportunity to ‘see’ all aspects of the winemaking process. What a terrific experience!
Glenn makes harvest a family affair by involving his children in the crush.
The wine Glenn is most proud of (to date!) is Lighthall Pinot Noir Reserve Particuliere VQA 2009 – Les Grands. Our Savvy Team was impressed too & we offered it as an optional wine. It is hard to believe that this wine was the first red wine that Glenn ever produced…and his two eldest sons helped too!
There is no doubt that Lighthall Vineyards is a small operation with big dreams. The purchase occurred in 2008, the winery was built in 2009, the first Lighthall Vineyard wine was produced in 2009 and last year it opened to the public. When you are next in The County, be sure make a visit.
~ SAVVY SOMMELIER TASTING NOTES ~
Vidal is a hybrid grape of Ugni Blanc and Rayon d’Or. It’s thick skin and hardiness in cold climates make it an ideal grape to grow in Prince Edward County and Niagara. This particular sparkling wine was made with 100% Lighthall grapes using Charmat method (winespeak: uses a tank second fermentation to create the bubbles).
Savvy Sommelier Tasting Notes: Very pale with aromas of white grapefruit and lime with an undertone of minerality. This dry, light sparkler has persistent light bubbles and flavours that mimic the nose with a bit of white peach and apricot thrown in. It is a refreshing wine with a pleasant mouth coating feeling and persistent zesty finish.
Suggested Food Pairing: This sparkling wine is a great starter wine on its own, or could be paired with seafood such as oysters. The tasting panel recommends it with a prosciutto and arugula pizza.
Cellaring: An excellent sipping wine that could be enjoyed now or it could be cellared for a year or two for a special occasion.
A classic Gewurztraminer made with high quality grapes sourced from Vineland. This is one of Glenn’s favourite grape variety.
Savvy Sommelier Tasting Notes: This wine has hallmark Gewurz pale yellow with a hint of pinkish colouring. Its floral and exotic fruit aromas of lychee, rose petals, pineapple and hard candy. “I just want to keep my nose in the glass” stated one of the Savvy Sommeliers during the tasting panel. “I can’t help myself from swirling and sniffing again and again because it smells so good!”
Slightly effervescent, medium to full wine with a complex palate. You may detect lychee, honey and Turkish Delights taste as the finish lingers.
Suggested Food Pairing: This Gewurztraminer would be perfect with spicy foods such as Indian curry or Asian dishes. ‘Or even with smoked salmon’ commented one of the Savvy Sommeliers. It would also make a tremendous accompaniment to dessert. Enjoy with a pear & cream cheese tart – the recipe follows on the next pages.
Cellaring: This well structured wine is enjoyable now. You can cellar it, however the noteable vibrant aromas and tastes will tone down dramatically.
Although Pinot Noir is known as the heartbreak grape, this red wine will only bring you joy, proudly stated Glenn.
Savvy Sommelier Tasting Notes: A clear pale cherry-red colour with a typical Pinot bouquet of tar, earthiness ripe berries and warm spices. This medium-bodied, dry wine delivers sweet flavours of cherry, blackberries, white pepper and a hint a vanilla with a medium finish.
Suggested Food Pairing: This is a perfect fall food wine and would pair well with classic stuffed turkey, pork tenderloin or a selection of hearty cheeses. Savvy Sommelier Debbie discovered a new recipe of Roasted Califlower and Swiss Chard that she experimented with for her Thanksgiving feast. The recipe is on the following pages.
Cellaring: With 14.5% alcohol this wine is capable of aging another 3-5 years but drinks very well now.
OPTIONAL WINE: Lighthall Pinot Noir Reserve Particulière – Les Grands, 2009 VQA, $50.00
Glenn’s pride and joy. This rich Pinot Noir was part of an extremely low yield and as you can imagine the wine is in VERY short supply. Members of our tasting panel emailed me the following day after our Savvy Selections tasting telling me they were still dreaming about this wine so we had to offer it as an optional wine!
Savvy Sommelier Tasting Notes: A bright ruby colour with a pleasing earthy, smokey, cherry and mushrooms on the nose. The deep flavours give you tart yet ripe cherries, smoke and earthy mushrooms fill your mouth and leaves you with a pleasant woodsy, vanilla finish.
Suggested Food Pairing: Everyone agreed that this wine was a must include for October. It is versatile and would make a lovely ‘meditation’ wine on its own or a great food wine with brisket or game meat. Then when the mushroom risotto was suggested, there were many oohs and aaaahs of delight with this pairing.
Cellaring: This medium bodied wine still has time to develop so feel free to lay it down if you like.
~RECIPES TO ENJOY WITH YOUR SAVVY SELECTIONS~
With Lighthall Progression Sparkling VQA 2011...
Prosciutto and Arugula Pizza
1/2 cup small to medium arugula leaves
3 very thin slices prosciutto
2 ounces mozzarella (preferably fresh)
All purpose flour for dusting
Pizza Dough for one 9-inch pizza (click here for a good recipe)
1/2 cup Pizza Sauce - recipe below
Method for pizza sauce
Take a 28-ounce can crushed tomatoes in puree (about 3 1/2 cups) and mix with 3 Tablespoons of olive oilIn a large non-reactive saucepan bring tomatoes and oil to a simmer uncovered, stirring occasionally, simmer for 20 minutes, or until sauce is reduces to about 2 1/2 cup
Season sauce with salt and cool to room temperature. This sauce keeps, covered and chilled in the fridge for 5 days and freezes well
Assemble the pizza
At least 45 minutes before baking pizza, put a pizza stone or 4 to 6 unglazed "quarry" tiles arranged close together on oven rack in lowest position in oven and preheat oven to highest setting (500°-550°F)
Trim any tough stems from arugula and thinly slice cheese.
On a lightly floured surface pat out dough evenly with your fingers, keeping hands flat and lifting and turning dough over several times, into a 9-inch round. Do not handle dough more than necessary and if dough is sticky, dust it lightly with flour.
Dust a baker's peel or rimless baking sheet with flour and carefully transfer dough to it. Jerk peel or baking sheet once or twice and, if dough is sticking, lift dough and sprinkle flour underneath it, reshaping dough if necessary. Working quickly, top dough with sauce, spreading with back of a spoon to within 1/2 inch of edge. Arrange mozzarella slices evenly over sauce. Line up far edge of peel or baking sheet with far edge of stone or tiles and tilt peel or baking sheet, jerking it gently to start pizza moving.
Once edge of pizza touches stone or tiles, carefully pull back peel or baking sheet, completely transferring pizza to stone or tiles (do not move pizza).
Bake pizza 6 to 7 minutes, or until dough is crisp and browned, and transfer with a metal spatula to a cutting board. Scatter arugula over pizza and arrange prosciutto slices on top.
With Lighthall Gewurztraminer VQA 2011...
Pear & Cream Cheese Tart
From: Desserts by Bonnie Stern
Serves 6 to 8
½ cup unsalted butter
1/3 cup granulated sugar
1 cup all purpose flour
2 ripe pears (preferably Bartlett)
4 oz cream cheese
½ cup granulated sugar
¾ cup cream
½ tsp vanilla
¼ cup sliced almonds
Preheat oven to 425. Butter a 9 or 10” pie plate with removable sides.
For the shortbread base, cream butter and sugar together until light. Beat in flour and pat into pie plate – no need to roll it out.
Peel, halve and core pears and slice and arrange in circular rows on top of base. Stir cream cheese until smooth then beat in sugar, add eggs one at a time, beating mixture smooth after each addition then add cream and vanilla. Pour over pears & Sprinkle with almonds.
If there is any leftover custard, bake separately with any leftover pears or other fruit for a little treat for the chef.Bake for 10 minutes. Reduce heat to 375 and bake for 25 to 30 minutes longer, or until fruit is tender and custard is set.Serve warm or cold.
With Lighthall Pinot Noir VQA 2010 …
Roasted Cauliflower and Swiss Chard Salad
From: Long Nights and Log Fires Cookbook
1/4 cup olive oil
1 small head of cauliflower, separated into large florets
1 tsp ground cumin
6 large Swiss chard leaves, roughly chopped into 1 inch wide strips
1 red onion, cut into wedges
2 garlic cloves chopped
14 oz can chickpeas, rinses and drained
1/4 cup tahini (sesame seed paste)
2 Tbsps freshly squeezed lemon juice
1/4 tsp fresh ground pepper
Over high heat in a cast iron pan or large skillet, put in the oil. Add the cauliflower florets and cook for 8 to 10 minutes turning often (you will want some brown or burnt looking marks – this is a good sign!). Then add the cumin and cook stirring for 1 minute, add the Swiss Chard, onion and garlic to the pan and cook for a further 2 to 3 minutes. Add chickpeas and stir. Season to taste with salt.
In a separate bowl, combine the tahini, lemon juice and pepper. Add a little salt to taste. Whisk to combine. Transfer the vegetables into a bowl and drizzle the dressing over the top to serve.
Enjoy as a rustic vegetarian dish or a side accompanying pork cutlets, baked ham or turkey.
With Lighthall Pinot Noir Reserve Particulière – Les Grands VQA 2009 …
From: The Essential Rice Cookbook
2 Tablespoons dried porcini mushrooms
1 litre (32 fl oz) vegetable or chicken stock
2 Tablespoons butter
1 small onion
2 garlic cloves, crushed
1 ¾ cups risotto rice
Pinch of freshly ground nutmeg
1 cup mushrooms, sliced (a variety of mushrooms would be good)
½ cup freshly grated parmesan cheese
3 Tablespoons finely chopped parsley
Soak the porcini mushrooms in 2 cups (500 ml/ 16 fl oz) boiling water for 30 minutes. Drain, reserving the liquid then chop the porcini and pass the liquid through a sieve. Pour the stock into a saucepan, bring to the boil and reduce keeping it at a low simmer.
Heat the oil and butter in a wide heavy saucepan to cook the onion and garlic until soft but not brown. Stir in the rice until it is well coated.
Add the fresh mushrooms and nutmeg; season and cook, stirring for 1-2 minutes. Then add the porcini and their liquid, increase the heat and cook until the liquid has been absorbed. Add ½ cup (125 ml/4fl oz) of the stock and stir constantly over medium heat until all the liquid has been absorbed. Continue adding stock a bit at a time until all the liquid is absorbed and the rice is tender and creamy - which should take about 25-30 minutes.
Remove from the heat and stir in the Parmesan and parsley and serve
Enjoy your Savvy Selections!
Savvy Selections wine of the month club
features Huff Estates Winery
Canada’s wineries delivered to your doorstep
When a wine is complex, it opens up to you bit by bit and offers something new each time. I think that this is a fitting way to describe this month’s our feature winery Huff Estates Winery of Prince Edward County. This marks the third time that we have featured Huff in Savvy Selections. Why? Because as one of the flagship wineries of Prince Edward County – or PEC as it is often referred to - it is a complex winery with something new to offer each time we return. With the rapid growth of ‘The County’, I find it fascinating to see & taste how the region evolves each year. When I first visited the region six years ago, there were a mere 7 wineries. Now there are 23 wineries, with more opening this summer!
Prince Edward County was the center of the fruit canning industry in Canada & has transformed itself into the fastest growing wine region in Canada. In addition to the wine, The County is growing its reputation as a culinary weekend getaway with its gourmet restaurants, artisan cheese makers, artists & historic inns. The fertile limestone land bordering Lake Ontario once produced fruits & vegetables. The landscape continues to change, transforming into impressive vineyards – with Huff Estates as one of the wineries to watch & breaking new ground as this region grows.
While the winery opened in 2004, the roots of the Huff family lays claim to PEC back to the 1800s when they settled as United Empire Loyalists. In fact, the winery is located on what used to be an orchard called “Huff Corners” – at the intersection of County Road #1 & Highway 62.
On the following pages, our newest Savvy Sommelier Erin Bolling shares with her interview with Huff’s winemaker Frederic Picard & his impression of this year’s harvest.
Or watch our video!
On a recent visit to Huff, I spent some time with Frederic too. Watch us our chat in the vineyard on the Savvy Company YouTube channel at: http://www.youtube.com/user/TheSavvyCompany
Cozy up by the fire or celebrate the Chinese New Year with these Savvy Selections wines:
· Huff Estates Pinot Gris VQA 2009
· Huff Estates South Bay Vineyards Chardonnay 2008
· Huff Estates South Bay Vineyards Merlot-Cabernet VQA 2007
· OPTIONAL WINE: Huff Estates First Frost 2008
What did you think?
Our Savvy Team appreciates hearing from you about the wines we selected for your enjoyment. And if you plan to visit the County soon - be sure to consider taking in the annual Countyliscious festival that runs March 23 to April 16 featuring prix fixe menus for under $35 at renowned gourmet restaurants featuring local produce. Contact us in advance & we’ll be happy to arrange a tour of Huff Estates or give you our ‘must visit’ list of wineries to help you plan your trip.
Want more Huff Estates wines? It is easy – simply call on us to arrange an order for you.
Cheers & Enjoy!
- Debbie & Savvy Team
Huff Estates Winery
Presented by Sommelier Erin Bolling
Winemaker Frederic Picard hails from Burgundy, France and has travelled from the famed vineyards of his homeland to Italy, Chile, California & France where he gained hands on experience in vineyards & wine cellars. When asked how his vast experience has helped him in the different cool climate growing region of PEC, he explains with a little tone of je ne sais quoi, “to me, all experience is positive. I have learned how to get the most out of what the land & terroir gives me to work with”. As the winery has rapidly grown in the past six years, Frederic now has 40 acres of vineyards to work with, bearing vines that are producing high enough yields & quality grapes for him to make wines that contain 100% County grown grapes. A sidenote: a new vineyard needs to grow 5 to 7 years before the grapes are worthy to use for making wine. During this time, to help PEC wineries get started, they can purchase grapes from Niagara & bring them to their winery to make wine that they can call their own. It is a true signal of ‘coming of age’, when the winery produces wine using grapes from their own vineyard. All of the wines in this Savvy Selections are made with County grown grapes.
Frederic has been with the winery since the opening in 2004 during this time has produced wines that are winning notable awards here at home and abroad. Last year, Frederic was part of a team of Ontario winemakers who traveled to London, England on a ‘mission’ to make an impression on the European wine media by showcasing Ontario Chardonnay wines. Huff’s South Bay Vineyard Chardonnay VQA 2007 garnered rave reviews from renowned wine critics including Oz Clarke & Jancis Robinson. Huff’s Chardonnay – made with grapes from their vineyard in PEC’s South Bay area - was touted as a ‘wine to watch’. Now that is impressive! This wine quickly sold out & we are excited to include the South Bay Chardonnay from the 2008 vintage for you to sip on now or cellar. We are sure that you too will be impressed with the outstanding quality of this wine.
Interview with Winemaker Frederic Picard
“Respect the grapes you’re making the wine from”, was the repeated message during my interview with Frederic. Luckily, I was able to catch him before he headed off to France. Given the short growing season & cold winters he explained to me that after harvest, he has to hill-up (winespeak: bury the vines). This technique is only practiced in PEC to protect the vines from the harsh winter conditions. By hilling up, the vines can produce quality fruit in the spring. As you can imagine, with the arrival of spring, he has to ‘hill down’ by removing the soil from the buried vines. According to Frederic, “the climate in PEC favours excellent ripening of cool climate grape varieties – Merlot, Cabernet Franc, Chardonnay, Riesling & Pinot Gris.
You heard it here first!
While he experiments in the vineyard, Frederic also experiments in the wine cellar. He let me in on a secret that I am excited to share with you….Frederic has crafted a new wine that will be called Zero DeGris - a late harvest style wine that will be released this spring. That is all that he would divulge, so stay tuned! Frederic is also very excited about what he calls his “baby” – the sparkling wines he makes at Huff. In fact, he was the first winery in the area to make a bubbly. Frederic proudly recalled the story that acclaimed Canadian wine critic, Tony Aspler stated that he feels “sparkling wine can be something very special here in the County.” Huff’s Cuvée Peter F. Huff sparkling won gold at the All Canadian Wine Championship. Speaking of awards, check out the extensive list Huff has received so far:
The verdict of 2010 harvest? As Frederic claims with his charming French accent, “one of the best ever”. We anxiously await to taste the wines of 2010.
Plan a visit to Huff – its a year round destination
I plan to be enjoying a glass of Huff sparkling wine on the winery’s patio when I visit the winery as one of my stops along a cycling tour that I am planning of the County this summer. There are several other reasons to jump in your car to visit Huff – any time of the year:
The Inn – each of the impressive 21 suites are surrounded by vineyards.
Oeno Gallery - Art & wine are perfect partners, especially with PEC becoming a thriving artists’ community, Huff Estates added the gallery to its property in 2009. There are different exhibits featuring contemporary art & sculpture. Did you know that PEC has more artists per capita than Toronto does?
With the stellar 2010 harvest, I’m looking forward to what comes next from Huff. Until then, enjoy your Savvy Selections. As they say in France…Santé!
~ Savvy Sommelier Tasting Notes ~
Pinot Gris VQA 2009, $19.95
This wine is a sure crowd pleaser. All the grapes in this award winning wine are from PEC, specifically the Southbay, East Lake, and Hillier vineyards. The Savvy panel agreed it is lovely on its own or as an aperitif.
Savvy Sommelier Tasting Notes: This white gold wine is complex with intense aromatics of apple, pear, ripe guava and almonds. Savvy Sommelier Doug commented that, ’’there is a lot going on in this glass’’ to the agreement of all involved in the Savvy Selections tasting panel. With a quick sniff, you will find all the aromatic notes repeated on the palate in a medium-full bodied wine with a refreshingly tangy lime finish.
Suggested Food Pairing: As sommeliers we aim to help you find out what you love to drink & eat. This is a versatile wine that will pair with seafood, roast chicken, even porkchops with a chutney. For those of you who make a full meal out of our suggested recipes, we suggest to serve Asian Avacado Salsa. This wine will meld well with the avocado in this twist on traditional guacamole.
Cellaring: No need to wait! This wine is drinking well now.
South Bay Vineyards Chardonnay VQA 2008 $29.95
This was the Savvy Selections panel hands down favorite. Savvy Sommelier Julie coined this wine as the ‘Golden Baby’ & enthusiastically stated that “she could write all night about this delicious Chardonnay”. It’s a Chardonnay for any season with enough body that white wine lovers simply need to curl up in front of the fire with a glass. I’m already looking forward to my next glass of this County grown Chardonnay. Congrats Frederic for making such a fine wine!
Savvy Sommelier Tasting Notes: Shimmering gold coloured, this full bodied Chardonnay is a rich wine with notes of tropical fruit, toasted coconut, butterscotch & warm spices. As expected the palate does not disappoint with apple, toast other notes that follow the nose. Savvy Sommelier Debbie was impressed with the long “heavenly’’ finish. Aged in French oak barrels, this wine is a classic.
Suggested Food Pairing: This wine will pair well with rich foods such as: figs wrapped in prosciutto, salmon wellington, lobster alfredo or a hearty pasta carbonara – see recipe on the following pages.
Cellaring: Drinking well now, the wine could cellar for a couple of years
South Bay Vineyards Merlot-Cabernet VQA 2007 $
Made exclusively from the Huff vineyard in the South Bay area of Prince Edward County, this Bordeaux blend is a repeat favourite vintage after vintage. It is 70% Merlot, 15% Cabernet Sauvignon & 15% Cabernet Franc, it spent 18 months in new French oak barrels. This is the 5th year its been released & this vintage, Frederic decided to lean heavily on Merlot (a perfect varietal for PEC region). Frederic considers this the best yet rendition of the blend.
Savvy Sommelier Tasting Notes: Our Savvy Selections tasting panel had a lot to say about this pretty, balanced and medium bodied wine. It greets you with loads of red fruit, chocolate, plum, cedar and violets. The smooth mouth feel does not disappoint and it finishes with a dry cranberry taste that lingers just enough. This wine has limited availability…if you want more, be sure to call on us to help you stock up!
Suggested Food Pairing: Enjoy with tortiere, coq au vin, or the Boeuf Bourguignon recipe that we offer on the following pages.
Cellaring: You will definitely want to taste this wine now to determine if you want additional bottles to cellar for another 3-5 years as Frederic recommends.
OPTIONAL WINE: First Frost 2008 $19.95 (500 mL bottle)
Made with Vidal grapes that have been picked after they have been first ‘kissed’ by the first frost, the result is an elegant combination of sweet & acidity. This wine is only made at Huff Estates & is neither a late harvest nor an ice-wine. Our Savvy Selections tasting panel enjoyed this wine so much that we wanted to offer it to you as an optional wine to add to this month’s Savvy Selections delivery.
Savvy Sommelier Tasting Notes: A clear honey gold coloured wine with a medium body. Delicious tropical notes of pineapple, mango & light white floral notes with a touch of clover & honey play in the taste.
Suggested Food Pairing: Savvy Sommelier Julie declared that this wine is ‘simply delicious’ & would be delightful served chilled on its own or with appetizers, fresh fruit desserts or mild cheeses. Savvy Sommelier Erin Bolling ooohhhed& ahhhed & remarked that First Frost would be a great wine with her spicy baked coconut shrimp hors d’oeuvre on the following pages.
~ Recipes to enjoy with your Savvy Selections ~
With Huff Estates Pinot Gris VQA 2009…
Asian Avacado Salsa
From Bon Appetit Magazine
1 tablespoon sesame seeds
2 tablespoons unseasoned rice vinegar
1 tablespoon mirin (sweet Japanese rice wine)*
2 teaspoons soy sauce
1 1/2 teaspoons Asian sesame oil
1 teaspoon wasabi paste (horseradish paste)*
2 cups coarsely chopped trimmed watercress (leaves and tender stems from 2 medium bunches)
4 green onions, thinly sliced on diagonal (about 1 cup)
1/2 cup 1/3-inch cubes asian pear
2 large avocados, halved, pitted, peeled, cut into 1/3-inch cubes
1. Stir sesame seeds in dry skillet over medium heatt until aromatic and golden. Transfer to a small bowl to cool.
2. Whisk next 6 ingredients in large bowl to blend. Add watercress, green onion, and asian pear; toss to coat. Gently stir in avocados & chill in the fridge. Note: this step can all be done ahead of time.
3. Sprinkle salsa with toasted sesame seeds and serve chilled with fried wonton triangles or chip of your choice.
With Huff Estates South Bay Chardonnay VQA 2008…
A personal recipe from Savvy Sommelier Erin Bolling & Epicurious.com
5 oz guanciale (unsmoked cured hog jowl), pancetta or bacon
1 medium onion, finely chopped
1/4 cup dry white wine
1 lb spaghetti
3 large eggs
1 1/2 oz Parmigiano-Reggiano, finely grated (3/4 cup)
3/4 oz Pecorino Romano, finely grated (1/3 cup)
1 teaspoon coarsely ground black pepper
1/4 teaspoon salt
1. Cut guanciale or pancetta into 1/3-inch dice, then cook in a deep 12-inch heavy skillet over moderate heat, stirring, until fat begins to render, 1 to 2 minutes. Add onion and cook, stirring occasionally, until onion is golden, about 10 minutes. Add wine and boil until reduced by half, 1 to 2 minutes.
2. Cook spaghetti in a 6- to 8-quart pot of boiling salted water until al dente.
3. While pasta is cooking, whisk together eggs, Parmigiano-Reggiano , Pecorino Romano (1/3 cup), 1 teaspoon coarsely ground black pepper, and 1/4 teaspoon salt in a small bowl.
4. Drain spaghetti in a colander and add to onion mixture, then toss with tongs over moderate heat until coated. Remove from heat and add egg mixture, tossing to combine. Serve immediately.
With Huff South Bay Vineyards Merlot-Cabernet VQA 2007…
Classic Boeuf Bourguignon
Recipe from the Tracey Black – chef and co-owner of Epicuria Fine Food & Catering in Ottawa
5lb stewing beef (Chuck – well marbled)
1 spanish onion (cut into a ½ inch dice)
2 cloves garlic
½ lb side bacon – cut into lardon
1 cup red wine
1/4 bunch thyme
1 bay leaf
1.5 lbs button mushrooms – kept whole or halved
1 cups pearl onions blanched
cornstarch slurry to thicken
1. Cook off lardon in sauté pan until crisp. Reserve bacon fat.
2. Drain and pat dry stewing beef. Season beef liberally with salt and pepper. Brown beef in sauté pan, careful not to over crowd pan. Use just enough vegetable oil/bacon fat to coat bottom of pan. Place meat into braising pot. Note: flavour of stew is directly related to how well the meat is browned..
3. Saute onions in meat browning pan until softened. Add garlic and herbs and sauté until onions are caramelized. Deglaze with red wine.
4. Add bacon, onions and wine to braising pot and add enough stock to bring liquid level one inch below meat. Bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer until meat is fork tender – approximately 1.5 hours.
5. Sautée mushrooms and pearl onions, separately, and add to braising pot when meat is cooked. To thicken, bring stew to boil and add cornstarch slurry. Can also be thickened with a roux.
With Huff First Frost 2008…
Spicy Baked Coconut Shrimp Appetizer
A personal recipe from Savvy Sommelier Erin with a little help from www.Epicurious.com
1 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 cup panko* (Japanese-style bread crumbs)
1 teaspoon cayenne pepper, or to taste
Kosher salt, to taste
4 large egg whites
1 pound large shrimp, peeled and deveined, tails intact
Nonstick cooking spray
*NOTE: Panko bread crumbs can be found on the Asian aisle of most major grocery stores or in Asian markets.
3/4 cup apricot jam
1/4 cup mango chutney
1/4 cup finely chopped fresh cilantro
1/2 to 1 jalapeno pepper, seeded and minced, to taste
Freshly squeezed juice of 1 lime
Freshly cracked black pepper, to taste
1. Preheat the oven to 350°F.
2. Spread the coconut evenly on an ungreased sheet pan and toast in the oven, stirring occasionally, until golden, 8 to 10 minutes.
3. Increase oven temperature to 400°F.
4. To prepare the shrimp, line a sheet pan with parchment paper.
5. In a shallow dish, whisk together the flour, bread crumbs, cayenne pepper, and salt. Place the toasted coconut in another dish.
6. Place the egg whites in a medium bowl and whisk until frothy. Pat the shrimp dry and dip first in the egg whites, then the flour, back in the egg whites, then roll in the coconut.
7. Arrange the shrimp on the prepared pan and spray lightly with cooking spray. Bake 12 to 15 minutes, until cooked through and golden.
Cheers & Enjoy this month’s Savvy Selections!