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In most parts of the world, the second Sunday in May is celebrated as an opportunity to express joy and gratitude to our Mothers. So it is timely that this release at the LCBO Vintages will WOW some mothers out there. While flowers, chocolates and cards are popular gifts to symbolize one’s love and appreciation; I can’t imagine anything nicer than sharing a lovely bottle of wine with my Mom.
There are many new Rosés in this release and considering that I am the 'Rosé Queen', I‘d like to take more than 3 home. Like sparkling wine, Rosé makes a fabulous appertif and a great sipper on its own. Many are at a popular price point (under $17) so you might want to try a couple of different bottles to see which one could become a spring-summer favourite. Tawse Winery Rosé, a perennial favourite, is also back on the shelf, but I want to expand my Rosé palate.
In this release there is also a fantastic array of Australian reds. One wine I wrote about last year when it made its debut, “Ladies Who Shoot their Lunch Shiraz 2010”, now returns with a Gold Medal from the 2013 Sydney International Wine Competition on its label. At $35.95 it is truly worth the splurge for this big bold beauty. The label itself of a woman with a hunting rifle and her dog is a great conversation piece. The wine is polished and memorable.
Finally, for those of you who like Chardonnay, this is your time to shine. It was difficult to not fill my shopping list with ONLY Chards. For my $100 budget, it is still the number one best selling grape and whether you like a big buttery taste or a unoaked one, this release offers something for everyone.
Enjoy, cheers...and Happy Mother's Day!
AC, Méthode Traditionnelle du Val de Loire, France
$18.95 (Vintaages #319954) 12.5% alcohol
Hands down, my #1 pick! An elegant slightly pale pink tinge to this bubbly wine, it is sure to impress. Beautiful mousse (winespeak: fine bubbles) delicious creamy texture with tastes of apricots, peaches, orchard fruit, bone dry with a long fruity finish. It is an absolute beauty to have for a luncheon or before dinner or just on its own. Although I frequently write and rave about sparkling wine, this one was over the top and is on my agenda to pick up a couple of bottles. I would pair this with just about anything - sheer yum.
VQA Lincoln Lakeshore, Niagara Peninsula
$17.95 (Vintages #329409) 12.5 % alcohol
This is the first Chardonnay I have sampled from the Lincoln Lakeshore area and for the price point, it is fantastic - so much going on from the intial sip. First, it’s fresh; dry and because it is unoaked there is no butter taste or cloying mouthfeel. Lots of tree fruit, green apples, peaches with an underlining seam of minerality that one often associates with a Niagara Riesling. Very mouthcoating and medium bodied with a delectable fruit finish. This Chard would be great with summer salads and grilled chicken or fish. It’s a very versatile food wine.
VQA Niagara Peninsula
$14.95 (Vintages #275834) 12.5% alcohol
A beautiful pale pink colour with aromas of fresh spring air and raspberries. It is light-bodied, slightly off-dry with vibrant strawberry flavours; clean crisp acidity that coat the palate with just a hint of rhubarb. For some reason, this rosé reminded me of the red fruit pies that come from the bakery located next to the winery, but I know that is my vivid imagination and there could not possibly be any connection, or could there?
Barossa, South Australia
$22.95 (Vintages #311365) 14.5% alcohol
A deep purple, aromas of gorgeous dark fruit, mouth-coating and full bodied with layers of plums and black currant, blueberry flavours and a touch of sweet spice on the long finish.
Bone dry, soft tannins but how sweet it is! With a rack of lamb, this would be fabulous.
La Consulta, Mendoza, Argentina
$13.95 (Vintages#322842) 13.5%
Don’t let the price fool you; this is a great new wine at Vintages. Soft white in colour, very aromatic floral notes with an energetic and fresh lemony taste. It has lots of zingy acidity but it’s not over the top and offers a fairly hefty weight for a fruity crisp wine with a mouth-watering finish. It would be great with any seafood or salad, or just sitting on your patio.
Grand Total: $ 88.75
I have enough for a bottle of one of my favourite general list products, Cono Sur Viognier from Chile $9.95 - one of the best kept secrets in the LCBO. And I still have a toonie left over!
During my recent trip to Shanghai I tasted some “Great Wall” wines which really did not inspire me to climb the wall despite the fact that China is the fifth world’s wine producing country. I'm so glad to be back in Ottawa in time for signs of Spring which to me include all the great wines in the LCBO Vintages release on Saturday April 27.
Although we’re all ready for a change in temperature and switching lighter style wines, this release focuses on Italy's Veneto, Appassimento and organic wines all perfect for hearty pastas.
What are Veneto wines?
No need for translation here...however Apassimento style wine is an ancient wine technique where the grapes are laid out on straw mats to allow them to dry. Depending on humidity and temperature, the grapes shrivel and develop high sugar concentration levels. After being crushed they produce concentrated rich wines such as Amarone and desert ones like “vin santo”.
The real splurge...
Although I cannot fathom anyone tiring of ice or late harvest wine, for something different, this release offers a wonderful Italian desert wine and a myriad of really big reds for those who are biting to grill some meat. There are also some fabulous new white wines from our Niagara region.
The real splurge however, would be the Veuve Clicquot Pondsardin Vintage Rose Champagne 2004 at $97.95, oh the mousse in this is divine and it does comes with a gift box.
So all this to say, if you are planning a special lunch or dinner, this release offers quite a selection of new beverages to help dress up any occasion.
VQA Niagara Peninsula, Ontario
$17.95 (Vintages #327791) 11.6% alcohol
Winery owner Nicolette Novak isn’t kidding when she includes the word ‘good’ in the name of her winery – there’s nothing but good wine at Good Earth. This blend is pale in colour with aromas of white blossoms and a bit of wet stone. Deliciously delicate in taste with a lovely mix of tree fruits like apricot and a pinch of tart apple. It’s dry fresh and light and a wine that I would call a crowd pleaser - no one could not like this wine! It is a perfect afternoon drink on its own or with some soft cheese or light lunch.
La Cappuccina Soave 2012 (Organic)
DOC, Veneto, Italy
$14.95 (Vintages #081489) 12% alcohol
Perhaps it is because the grapes are grown at the site of an ancient chapel housed by Franciscan friars who, for over a century really knew how to grow grapes. The pale straw coloured wine is fresh and crisp with tastes of lemon-lime on the palate. It is clean tasting, fruity but bone dry & the wine is sulphur free with lively acidity. It’s a fabulous sipper or would be perfect with some shellfish or other seafood. I can practically imagine an Italian piazza, some brilliant sunshine, nibbles of grilled calamari and of course having a glass of this cool zesty delicious Soave.
Paso Robles, California, U.S.A.
$19.95 (Vintages #317677) 13.9% alcohol
It is coincidental that on 5 April 2013, in Ottawa, I poured for the EOS Estate Winery at the California Wine Show. There were not many Petite Sirah’s at the show so this wine was a popular novelty. EOS, named after the Greek Goddess of dawn, is the largest winery on California’s Central Coast to run completely on alternative energy. Layered with dark fruits and a peppery pinch of coffee on the finish; a great sipper on its own or with a lamb/feta burger.
Ac Montagne Saint Emilion, France
$17.00 (Vintages 326587) 15% alcohol
A rich garnet red Bordeaux blend of 80% Merlot and 20% Cabnert Franc - a classic full bodied Meritage. Heady aromas of ripe dark fruit and violets that follow through with a little leather and pepper on the medium long finish. It is positively mouthcoating and delcious with firm medium tannins that would match a prime rib any day. It also won Gold Medals at the Concours General Agricole de Paris and Concours des Grands Vins de France in 2012- need I say more?
Antolini Recioto Della Valpolicella Classico 2009 (Dessert Wine)
$28.95 (Vintages #135533) 13.5% alcohol
Valpolicella ranks just after Chianti in total Italian Denominazione di Origine Controllata (DOC) wine production. This rich, luscious desert wine, made with Corvina and Rondinella grapes, derives part of its name (recioto) from ancient Greek dialect “recie” meaning ears. This refers to the lobes of a grape cluster that appear as “ears” becoming very ripe with direct sun exposure which in turn allows the natural sugars to concentrate. Following harvest, DOC Regulations dictate that Reciotos cannot be pressed before January 1. The grapes in this wine matured a year before bottling. Aromas and tastes of rich dark fruit, roasted almonds with chocolate overtones and spices reminiscent of Christmas cake. With a piece of dark chocolate or unsweetened chocolate cake, it would be heaven
Grand Total: $98.80
Ottawa in February offers many wintery activities but Winterlude is truly our city’s greatest celebration: skating on the canal, viewing the ice sculptures, walking around the market restaurants to taste what the chef’s have specially prepared to celebrate, so that you do not have to waste much time doing routine things like shopping, here is a quick 'must by list' of wines available in LCBO Vintages release as of February 16.
This release features heart warming Cabernet red wines, a few Kosher wines for Passover as well as some Ontario award winning wines.
What is Kosher wine?
I have never written anything on a Kosher wine, but after tasting many delicious Kosher wines in this release, I found myself doing research on Jewish traditions. Familiar with the term “Kosher”, I did not realize that kosher wines must be processed by only Sabbath-observant Jewish males touching the grapes from the crushing phase through to the bottling.
Kosher wines also differ from those made specifically for Passover. These wines must be made from mould (all wines require some mould or yeast) that has not been grown on bread and cannot have any common preservatives such as potassium sorbate. There is also a “P” on the label which means it is meant for Passover. While I wrote on one Kosher wine below, there is another in this release I really liked called Segal’s Fusion Merlot/Cabernet Franc/Cabernet Sauvignon (KPM) 2001 (Israel) that is made by a former poet, journalist and barman. With all that on his CV, he probably sleeps well at night.
If you too are curious about Kosher wines, this is the time of year when there are many at the LCBO - so pick one up & give it a try!
I won’t be blogging again until April since I am off to work in Shanghai, but I can’t wait to catch up with you again in April.
Cheers to Winterlude...and Happy Passover,
Clay Station Unoaked Viognier 2011
Lodi, California, U.S.A.
$16.95 (Vintages #25411) 13.5% alcohol
I have read that the Viognier grape is somewhat temperamental to grow but am grateful that some winemakers got it right. It has been described similarly to Chardonnay in that it shares tropical fruit flavours and has a creamy mouthfeel. This Viognier is pale golden in colour with tantilizing aromas of blossoms and honey. It is smooth and velvety in texture and oh so deliciously mouthcoating with apricots, mango and a little vanilla and caramel on the after taste. It’s bone dry but with distinct richness in flavour. For the price point, I think it’s spectacular.
Fielding Estate Riesling 2011
VQA Niagara Peninsula, Ontario, Canada
$18.95 (Vintages #251439) 10.5% alcohol
This Riesling is so deliciously fresh and clean tasting. Lots of citrusy expression with an undermining of minerality and stone, softly textured with subtle fruit flavours and plain lip-smacking good. It is a fabulous afternoon sipper or would be great with spicey chicken, pork chops and of course any fish dish. It’s a very versatile food wine.
Château Cailleteau Bergeron 2010
AC Blaye-Cotes-de-Bordeaux, France
$17.95 (Vintages# 309138) 14% alcohol
This wine won a Gold Medal at the 2012 Concours Général Agricole in Paris! I try not to pick the “already winners”, but write on ones that I think are really good wines. With a blend of 80% Merlot, 10% Cabernet Sauvignon, !0% Malbec, how could this Bordeaux not be delicious. Aromas of violets and red ripe berries that follow through on the palet, medium bodied with a little tobacco, soft tannins, and a tad spice are all the yummies that develop in your senses. They persist and make for a really smooth finish.
Five Stones Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon (KPM) 2010 *KOSHER
Margaret River, Western Australia Beckett's Flat
$19.95 (Vintages #157305) 13.5% alcohol
The Five Stones Winery used to be called Beckett’s Flat and has been producing kosher wine since 1998. They are located in the southwest corner of Australia surrounded by three sides of ocean. Their wines are processed without the use of any animal products and under strict kosher supervision, all suitable for Passover and Mevushal.
I just couldn’t spit this wine and had to swallow. If that sounds funny, try tasting over 50 wines in a morning. Sound familiar to any other sommeliers out there? Blends of dark fruits, blackberries, plum, tobacco, leather and spice on the nose following through with a harmony of bone dry fruit flavours, soft tannins and oh so drinkable. Since I am not Jewish I kept wondering if I would be in frowned upon. But it’s a lovely, well-made Cab and I’d be proud to have it on my dining table - regardless of what denomination is comng for dinner.
Fairview Caldera Grenache/Shiraz/Mourvedre 2008
WO Coastal Region, Charles Back, South Africa
$22.95 (Vintages #3013330) 14% alcohol
This is another fabulous blend of 50% Grenache (68-70 year old bush vines), 25% Shiraz and 25% Mourvedre aged in old wooden 225-liter barrels. Lots of dark berries and quite peppery that makes it interesting and edgy. Very dry but elegant on the palate with strong blackberry flavours making it quite a rich wine. Would be fabulous with a steak or rack of lamb with some buttery spuds.
Grand Total: $ 96.75
Flowers and chocolates may be on the list for some Valentines, but I would rather give or share a great bottle of wine any time. The latest release at the LCBO Vintages offers all kinds of fabulous choices from some new varietals through to some sparkling wines. Try a bubbly to set the mood before any dinner or just enjoy a glass on its own. The Peller Cuvée Ice Rosé Sparkling (a beautiful pink colour in the glass) that I recommend in this release is truly outstanding and worth the splurge.
If you wish to continue a “pink” theme for a Valentine’s dinner, keep in mind the Tawse Rosé. I have written about this rosé wine in the past, and it is one of my favourites, not to mention its origin is in Canada’s 'Winery of the Year', so for something different this is a great pick. It would be delicious paired with fish or some seafood appetizers.
If chicken is on your sweetheart menu, the Norman Hardie Chardonnay 2009 (Prince Edward County) at $35.00 will bring lots of ooohs and aww’s.
Finally, if you happen to have a box of fine Belgian chocolates - after all it is Valentine’s Day - some icewine would be the perfect match. The Megalomaniac Cold Hearted Riesling IceWine is not too hard on the pocketbook priced at $29.95. Deliciously sweet but the refreshing squirt of lemon on the finish sure balances it out.
I hope you find something pink or red and delicious for Valentine’s Day. Here are my picks!
VQA Niagara Peninsula, Ontario (Méthode Classique)
$34.95 (Vintages #113035) 12% alcohol
It is no wonder that this was a winner of a Gold Medal at the Wine Access 2011 Canadian Wine Awards. The winemaker included a dose of Cabernet Fanc icewine in this sparkling wine to create a first class act from start to finish. This vivid pink sparkling wine is elegant, bone dry, has a lovely fine mousse (tiny bubbles) loaded with ripe strawberry and soft peach flavours. I can’t say enough how deliciously yum this tastes.
Santa Barbara County, California, U.S.A.
$20.95 (Vintages #297531) 14% alcohol
Chardonnay just never goes out of style and this full-bodied delight is creamy and luscious. It oozes flavours of savoury butterscotch with layers of ripe tropical fruit. It is dry, smooth, velvety in texture with a peachy-apricot, hazelnut finish. It would be divine with a creamy chicken dish or just on its own with a little sharp cheese. This one is on my "must buy" list.
Dominio del Plata, Mendoza, Argentina
$19.95 (Vintages #079798) 14.4% alcohol
While the Malbec grape has its origins in France, it has become increasing known as Argentina’s signature grape varietal. Susana did well to make this beauty at a great price. A dark purple-plum colour that exhibits notions of earthiness, blueberries, blackberries and reminiscent of a baked berry pie. It is fruity but dry with soft tannins and a hint of tobacco. A fabulous table wine with any grilled or braised meats.
Sampietrana 1952 Riserva Brindisi 2008
DOC, Puglia, Italy
$15.95 (Vintages #310086) 13.5% alcohol
The judges must have found this wine as juicy as I did when they gave it the Golf Medal at the 2011 Concours Mondial de Bruxelles. A deep ruby red displaying some violet and lavender on the nose and on the palate a big blast of ripe dark cherries. The key grape is Negroamaro grown predominantly in Puglia, often known as the heel of the Italian boot. There’s a little woodsy, chocolate or mocha on the finish which makes it a great sipper. The old rule for food and wine pairing, “if it grows together it goes together” so it would be a great match for pasta bolognese and traditional meat lasagna.
Grand Total: $ 91.80
P.S. There's enough left over to buy a chocolate truffle or two!
Savvy Selections wine of the month club
Featuring Kacaba Vineyards
- January 2013 -
Kacaba Vineyards sits on top of a Niagara Escarpment with a ravine on both sides, overlooking other nearby farmland. On a clear day you can even see Lake Ontario from this boutique winery. The escarpment naturally provides drainage of water and protection of frost that obviously have a negative impact on the vineyard. The spring and summer are always the best times to visit the vineyard as the winery is all abuzz with activity of barbeques, special wine and food events, festivals and not to mention the wine tours and the ‘regulars’ stopping in to pick up their favorite Kacaba wines.
I can’t help but wonder if Michael Kacaba knew when he bought and saved 25 acres from the “subdivision bulldozer” back in 1997 that instead of massive homes, he would grow vineyards that would produce award winning wines. With each sip of this month’s Savvy Selections wines, I am certain that you too are glad of Michael’s decision.
Kacaba is focused on producing small lots (winespeak – small quantities) in order to ensure that every step of the grape growing and winemaking remains largely done by hand; from harvesting the grapes to the lifting of tanks to hand selecting the wines that are ready to be released. Attention to every detail is engrained into each person on the Kacaba team – and it shows!
It is interesting to note that Kacaba is one of the original members of the Wine Council of Ontario’s Sustainable Winemaking Group. What does this mean? Turn the pages of this month’s Savvy eZine and our Savvy Sommelier Julie Stock will give you a snapshot of this new group’s objective & endeavours.
This summer Julie visited the winery with her husband Doug & in the following pages shares with you stories & the Savvy Selections tasting panel’s tasting notes along with cozy winter recipes she has pulled from her favorite cookbooks to serve with the wines our Sommeliers selected for you this month.
We always have the tough job of choosing just three wines for each month’s Savvy Selections and this month was certainly no exception. To help you kick off 2013 with outstanding wines, we selected the following for you to enjoy:
- Barrel Fermented Chardonnay VQA 2011 ($22.95) - classically styled rich & absolutely elegant
- Reserve Cabernet Franc VQA 2010 (Savvy price $34.95. Regular $44.95) – this gold medal winning wine is juicy & layered
- Cabernet Sauvignon VQA 2009 (Savvy price $22.95. Regular $24.95) – be ready for a big complex red wine
- OPTIONAL WINE: Single Vineyard Syrah VQA 2009 (Savvy price $24.95. Regular $29.95) – this wine was so good, we didn’t think it should be optional, we practically had to vote - yikes!
These great prices & great wines only from us!
The Kacaba wines are not available at the LCBO. And the winery owner is offering special prices exclusively for Savvy Selections subscribers (and your friends too). If you would like to re-order any of your favorites, simply email me firstname.lastname@example.org or give me a call at 613-SAVVYCO (613-728-8926) and I will gladly make the arrangements of more Kacaba wines for you.
Cheers & here’s to delicious wine discoveries in 2013!
- Debbie & Savvy Team
Presented by Sommelier Julie Stock
This past June, during our annual pilgrimage to the Niagara region, my husband Doug (also a Savvy Sommelier) and I visited Kacaba Vineyards. I knew this visit would be in part to prep for this month’s Savvy Selections feature. While the notes I scribbled during my delightful chat with winemaker John Tummon (above) are hardly legible now, the memory of us driving up the gravelly road, lined with beautiful sugar maple trees, crossing the silver bridge, remain vividly in my mind.
It is like driving into a picture. On the other side of the bridge, there is a huge ravine with trellises of Syrah grapes. On the other side of the ravine are numbered posts marking the rows of mostly Bordeaux style red grapes (Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon, and Cabernet Franc). Colourful roses are planted at the end of each row. Aside from how beautiful they look roses have a functional role being planted at the end of these rows. Since they grow similarly to vines, if the roses come down with a disease such as a powdery mildew fungus, a winemaker can immediately detect if there is a disease that could affect the grapevines. So aside from their elegance, the roses act as an ‘early warning system’ against serious plant disease similar to when coal miners used to take canaries into a mining shaft. If the canary started to show signs of stress, the miners would be warned of an early sign that gases were building and they had to get out fast.
It was a blistering hot day when we drove to Kacaba but the setting was so idyllic that it practically had a cooling effect. Once inside the winery, we were treated royally to tastings and shown the barrels in the back portion where wine was fermenting and staff were working away.
What struck us when we entered the wine shop were the number of medals hanging on bottles. Kacaba has amassed so many awards that I could fill the page with the list and not talk about the wines or winery. However....
The winemaker & the vineyard
In 1999, the first grapes were planted: Cabernet Sauvignon, Syrah and Merlot. John had flown to California to buy some of these grapes and if you can believe it, Air Canada lost them! Thankfully for us they were eventually located and the first harvest in 2005 was anticipated and welcomed. He also pioneered the first Syrah grown in Ontario and quite possibly in Canada.
John began making wine in university. By 1988 he had completed the German Wine Academy Course in Germany. Ten years later, he won the “Wine Taster of the Year” award at the Amateur Winemakers of Ontario (AWO). I can almost say the rest is history but John has acquired an incredible list of wine and other credentials before his winemaker status at Kacaba. In 2010 alone, Kacaba wines received over 20 medals. I’ll bet he sleeps at night.
Kacaba is an original member winery of the Wine Council of Ontario’s Sustainable Winemaking Group whose goals are to improve the environmental performance of the wine industry in Ontario and continually improve the quality of grape growing and winemaking in an environmentally responsive manner. At Kacaba one of the main goals is to encourage sustainable agriculture which ensures good husbandry in the protection of the grapes.
The vineyards at Kacaba adhere to environmental practices to ensure the longevity of the vines. As an example, John explained that the vine roots go down about 30 feet into the soil, so in the heat of this past summer, while in some other parts of Ontario the grapes had shriveled, John did not have to worry about the grapes obtaining enough moisture to come to fruition. It also means that if they happen to get a killer frost, it still won’t kill the vines. No wonder these wines are so good!
All Kacaba wines are rigorously approved and labeled Vintner Quality Alliance (VQA). While this is a mark that confirms the origin of the grapes used in the wine (VQA Ontario means grapes from anywhere in Ontario, VQA Niagara Peninsula refers to wine is made with grapes grown in the Niagara region or VQA St David’s is a new sub appellation in Niagara between the Bench & Niagara-on-the-Lake.)
Cheers & enjoy your Savvy Selections!
~ SAVVY SOMMELIER TASTING NOTES ~
Barrel Fermented Chardonnay VQA 2011 $22.95
Chardonnay is one of the most versatile grapes grown in Ontario. It can grow ferociously in warm climates and be just as happy in the micro-climate that Ontario offers with the cooling and moderating effect from Lake Ontario. Although the tastes will vary from year to year depending on the length and heat of the summers, the Kacaba Chardonnays are consistently rich, complex with layers of flavour.
Sommelier Tasting Notes: Rich golden yellow with aromas of vanilla, pineapple, baked pears that follow through on the palate. It has buttery toasty coconut flavours, very smooth on the palate and beautifully full bodied with a long finish. It is typical of a classic Chardonnay that has spent some time in an oak barrel but has refreshing acidity to balance the richness.
Suggested Food Pairing: Our Savvy Selections tasting panel agreed the list of pairings for this wine is endless. We all offered different suggestions from roasted cauliflower soup, cheese fondue, shrimp casserole, desserts and just on its own. A truly elegant wine, for Chardonnay lovers out there, I’m confident this will become a favourite!
Julie suggestions a unique Cauliflower Soup recipe to warm you up this winter as you sip on this Chardonnay, .
Cellaring: Great to drink now, but would hold for 3-5 years.
Reserve Cabernet Franc VQA 2010 - Savvy price $34.95
Cabernet Franc grapes are small and thin-skinned, blue-black in colour and are traditionally blended with Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot especially in Bordeaux, France. The grapes are known to contribute some pepperiness and hints of tobacco to the wine which is why it is frequently used in blends. In Ontario this varietal grows well and is known to be quite robust.
The Savvy Team thought this Cabernet Franc was pretty spectacular on its own and the 2012 InterVin International Wine Awards panel crowned it with a gold medal - so we weren’t the only ones who loved it.
Savvy Sommelier Tasting Notes: This deep purple robust beauty really grabbed us. Ripe rich berries, chocolately and chewy layered with flavour after flavour after… It is silky smooth on the palate with soft and subtle tannins, a pinch of vegetal and pencil shavings and a long velvety finish. A classy elegant wine awaits you.
If you can go beyond sheer yum, this is it!
Suggested Food Pairing: We went wild with food pairing ideas; veal chops, roasted chicken, vegetarian bean casseroles, even chocolate cake. No end of possibilities and we even savoured it with some blue cheese. For this wine, we pulled out Lucy Waverman’s recipe for Cabernet Chicken. Enjoy!
Cellaring: Drink now or easily 3-5 years
Kacaba Cabernet Sauvignon VQA 2009 -Savvy price $22.95
Cabernet Sauvignon is one of the popular red wine varieties in the world. The grape berries are small, thick with very tough skin making it resistant to disease and spoilage. It’s DNA origins indicate that it is the offspring of Cabernet Franc and Sauvignon Blanc. It is no wonder that with that pedigree it sometimes has aromas of pencil shavings and grassiness, both typical of its respective parents.
Savvy Sommelier Tasting Notes: Talk about tasting BIG! Dark ripe blackberries, currants, plums, strawberries with a seductive nose all balanced into a delicious mélange with hints of pepper, licorice and even a little soya sauce comes through on the palate. We detected some sweet spice and raisins reminiscent of Christmas cake. It is powerfully ripe but dry and smooth layered in complexity and soft tannins that balance out the ripe fruit flavours on the long sweet finish.
Suggested Food Pairing: We all agreed enthusiastically that this powerhouse would mostly marry with red meat such as lamb, porterhouse steak, beef grills, Chateaubriand, veal osso bucco or classic beef bourguinon – Julie Child’s recipe no less is written out for your below.
Cellaring: Ready now or before 2017.
OPTIONAL WINE: Single Vineyard Syrah VQA 2009 - Savvy price $24.95
Savvy Sommelier Tasting Notes: How does deep dark opaque plum sound to start? Aromas of black stewed fruit (think figs, dates & prunes), a little peppery on the nose and palate with flavours of ripe raspberry and cedar shavings. One Savvy Sommelier detected a faint taste of red licorice amongst the juicy red fruit flavours, layered with flavour. Finishes long and juicy with a touch of menthol and smoke.
Suggested Food Pairing: This wine is begging for a rack of lamb or roast of lamb with all of the trimmings.
Cellaring: Drink now or could easily cellar a few years.
~ RECIPES TO ENJOY WITH YOUR SAVVY SELECTIONS ~
With Kacaba Barrel Fermented Chardonnay VQA 2011…
Cauliflower Soup with Cheddar, Bacon and Maple Pecans
Restaurant Les Fougères - Chelsea, Quebec
Makes 4 to 6 servings
1/4 cup (50mL) butter
2 Tbsp (25mL) extra virgin olive oil
1 onion, chopped
1 large cauliflower (about 3 lbs/750g), cut into chunks
4 cloves garlic, chopped
1 potato, chopped
3 cups (750mL) chicken stock or more
1 tsp (5mL) fresh thyme
kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
1 cup (250mL) grated aged Cheddar
8 oz (250g) bacon, cut into sticks and cooked until crisp1/2 cup (125mL) chopped maple pecans (see below)2 tbsp (25mL) chopped fresh parsley
- Heat butter and olive oil in a large deep saucepan. Add onion, cauliflower and garlic. Cook gently, covered, 15 to 20 minutes until caramelized, checking every 5 minutes.
- Add potatoes and thyme and enough stock to just cover vegetables. Simmer until very tender 15 to 20 minutes. Purée. Return to heat and add additional stock to make a medium thick soup. Season to taste.
- Garnish with cheese, bacon, pecans and parsley.
- For maple pecans, toss 1 cup (250mL) pecans with 1/4 cup (50mL) maple syrup. Spread on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Bake in a preheated 325F (160C) oven approximately 15 minutes, tossing every 5 minutes, until candied. Sprinkle with 1/2 tsp (2mL) Maldon salt.
With Kacaba Reserve Cabernet Franc VQA 2010…
From Lucy Waverman
This method of roasting chicken produces a juicy, golden bird with a marvelous sauce. If you use seedless grapes, slice them in half. If the grapes have seeds, slice them in half and flick out the seeds with the point of a knife. The taste and colour of the sauce will change depending on what grapes you use. Serve with crushed red potatoes, French filet beans and garnish with Champagne grapes.
3 lb (1.5 kg) chicken
Salt and freshly ground pepper
1 Tbsp (15 mL) butter
1 cup (250 mL) sliced leeks
1/2 cup (125 mL) chopped carrots
1/4 cup (50 mL) chopped celery
1 Tbsp (15 mL) fresh chopped tarragon or oregano
1 cup (250 mL) Cabernet Franc (I would buy a less expensive Cabernet to use in this recipe)
1/2 cup (125 mL) red grapes, halved
1/2 cup (125 mL) red grapes, whole
- Preheat oven to 400°F (200°C).
- Season chicken with salt and pepper. Truss chicken to help it keep its shape. Heat butter in ovenproof casserole on medium heat. Brown chicken, breast-side down, until golden, about 3 minutes. Turn on its side and brown another 3 minutes. Brown remaining sides. Remove chicken and drain off all but 1 tbsp (15 mL) fat.
- Add leeks, carrots and celery into casserole and sauté 2 minutes or until softened. Add tarragon and wine. Bring to boil and reduce by half, about 5 minutes. Stir in halved grapes. Return chicken to pan breast-side up. Cover and bake for 55 minutes, basting occasionally.
- Remove chicken from pan to carving board and cover with tea towel to keep warm. Skim fat from casserole. Strain sauce into a skillet, pressing down on the solids. Add whole grapes, bring to boil and simmer 1 minute or until flavours are combined. Season with salt and pepper. Carve chicken and serve with sauce. Garnish with sprigs of chervil.
With Kacaba Cabernet Sauvignon VQA 2009…
By Julia Child
This recipe is worth the prep time of easily over an hour. Best if made ahead to let the flavours blend and I’ve always had rave reviews. Don’t let the method deter you from this fabulous dish - it comes together quite nicely. Serves 6
1 6 ounce piece chunk bacon
3 1/2 tablespoons olive oil
3 pounds lean stew beef, cut into 2-inch cubes
1 onion, slicedSalt and pepper
2 tablespoons flour
3 cups red wine, young and full bodied (I used a Cotes Du Rhone)
3 cups beef stock
1 tablespoon tomato paste
2 cloves mashed garlic
1/2 teaspoon thyme
1 bay leaf, crumbled
20 small white onions
3 1/2 tablespoons butterherb bouquet (4 parsley sprigs, one-half bay leaf, one-quarter teaspoon thyme, tied in cheesecloth)
1 pound fresh mushrooms, quartered
- Preheat oven to 450 degrees.
- Remove bacon rind and cut into lardons (sticks 1/4-inch thick and 1 1/2 inches long). Simmer rind and lardons for 10 minutes in 1 1/2 quarts water. Drain and dry.
- Sauté lardons in 1 tablespoon of the olive oil in a flameproof casserole over moderate heat for 2 to 3 minutes to brown lightly. Remove to side dish with a slotted spoon.
- Heat fat in casserole until almost smoking. Dry beef in paper towels; it will not brown if it is damp. Add beef, a few pieces at a time, and sauté until nicely browned on all sides. Add it to the lardons. In the same fat, brown the sliced vegetables. Pour out the excess fat.
- Return the beef and bacon to the casserole and toss with 1/2 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon pepper. Then sprinkle on the flour and toss again to coat the beef lightly. Set casserole uncovered in middle position of preheated oven for 4 minutes. Toss the meat again and return to oven for 4 minutes (this browns the flour and coves the meat with a light crust). Remove casserole and turn oven down to 325 degrees.
- Stir in wine and 2 to 3 cups stock, just enough so that the meat is barely covered. Add the tomato paste, garlic, herbs and bacon rind. Bring to a simmer on top of the stove. Cover casserole and set in lower third of oven. Regulate heat so that liquid simmers very slowly for 3 to 4 hours. The meat is done when a fork pierces it easily.
- While the beef is cooking, prepare the onions and mushrooms. Heat 1 1/2 tablespoons butter with one and one-half tablespoons of the oil until bubbling in a skillet. Add onions and sauté over moderate heat for about 10 minutes, rolling them so they will brown as evenly as possible. Be careful not to break their skins. You cannot expect them to brown uniformly. Add 1/2 cup of the stock, salt and pepper to taste and the herb bouquet. Cover and simmer slowly for 40 to 50 minutes until the onions are perfectly tender but hold their shape, and the liquid has evaporated. Remove herb bouquet and set onions aside.
- Wipe out skillet and heat remaininoil and butter over high heat. As soon as you see butter has begun to subside, indicating it is hot enough, add mushrooms. Toss and shake pan for 4 to 5 minutes. As soon as they have begun to brown lightly, remove from heat. When the meat is tender, pour the contents of the casserole into a sieve set over a saucepan.
- Wash out the casserole and return the beef and lardons to it. Distribute the cooked onions and mushrooms on top. Skim fat off sauce in saucepan. Simmer sauce for 1-2 minutes, skimming off additional fat as it rises. You should have about 2 1/2 cups of sauce thick enough to coat a spoon lightly. If too thin, boil it down rapidly. If too thick, mix in a few tablespoons stock. Taste carefully for seasoning.
- Pour sauce over meat and vegetables. Cover and simmer 2 to 3 minutes, basting the meat and vegetables with the sauce several times. Serve in casserole, or arrange stew on a platter surrounded with potatoes, noodles or rice, and decorated with parsley.
With Kacaba 2009 VQA Syrah…
From The F Word – Series
2 large racks of Lamb cut in half with 3 bones per serving
Salt, Pepper, Olive Oil
For the Crust:
4 slices of stale bread made into crumbs
7 Tbsp. grated parmesan (roughly 1/2 a cup)
Sprigs of parsley, thyme, coriander and rosemary
2 Tbsp English mustard (or sub with dijon)Splash of olive oil
- Pre-heat the oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit. Place lamb on cutting board fat side up. Lightly score the fat layer with a sharp knife. Next, generously sprinkle the lamb with salt and pepper. Ensure it’s thoroughly coated.
- Heat some olive oil in an oven safe pan. Seal the lamb by holding each side in the oil long enough to develop color (careful not to burn your hands). Gordon Ramsay says, “it’s simple mathematics, no color, equals no taste”. Quite simple indeed! Make sure you brown that lamb.
- Transfer the pan with the lamb into the oven and bake for 7-8 minutes. Prepare the crust while the lamb is cooking.
Preparing the Crust:
Place all of the ingredients for the crust except the mustard into a blender and pulse several times until it looks nice and green. Make sure you don’t over do it with the olive oil, just a splash.
Pour the mixture into a deep dish (bowl or plate) and set aside.
Putting it All Together:
Remove the lamb from the oven and brush generously with mustard. Dip the lamb into the crust mixture coating it completely. Dip several times to ensure an even coating. Allow meat to rest for a bit.
Place it back into the oven for 3-4 minutes when you’re ready to serve.
I think this lamb would be great with any of the above Kacaba reds!
Holiday season is upon us, so it’s no wonder that one theme for this next release at the LCBO Vintages features is “Fabulous Fizz”, also known as sparkling wine.
There is nothing more celebratory or inviting than being given a glass of sparkling wine when you go into someone’s home and this release offers all kinds of festive fizz. Of course if you are in for the big splurge there are some new Champagne releases starting at $44.95 going to $299.95 for a rare Dom Perignon Rosé Champagne. My features however show that you don’t need to break the bank to enjoy great bubbly.
Sparkling wine is generally lower in alcohol than many table wines with more delicate flavours to entice the palate. This makes it a great aperitif to serve with hors d’oeuvres, especially salty ones. The bubbles act as palate cleansers which send you reaching for one more nibble. For this reason sparkling wine is also known to be incredibly food friendly from appetizers through to desert. During the Christmas season, I add pomegranate seeds to the sparkling wine which, in a tall flute, makes for a very festive presentation.
So don’t neglect to have a few sparklers on hand. What is not enjoyed before Christmas, can provide some “pop” at New Year’s. There are some new, some old and I am sure you will find one to suit your budget.
Since this will be my last “If I had a $100” blog until next year, I wish you a fabulously, fizzy season.
Cheers, Santé, Salute, Aplausos to my readers!
$21.95 (Vintages #163634) 12% alcohol
Some of you may be familiar with the Oyster Bay Chardonnay on the LCBO general list so it was a real treat to see that the winemakers made a sparkler just in time for the Christmas season. Produced with the same finesse that is given to their Chard., this does not disappoint and tastes similar to Champagne, done in the Charmat style. (This is when the wine undergoes a secondary fermention in bulk tanks and is bottled under pressure.) A lovely nose of lemon-lime, fine moussy bubbles with a creamy texture in the mouth feel. It is a lovely sipper on its own with hors d’oeuvres and could easily go to the table to serve with salad and seafood.
VQA Niagara Peninsula
$22.95 (Vintages #234161) 12% alcohol
The wine was fermented first in stainless steel tanks and like the above Traditional Méthode or Méthode Classique, it was then aged in the bottle for 3 years before being disgorged (removing the sediment). A blend of Pinot Noir (70%) and Chardonnay 30%) how could it not be anything but elegant and refined? It has a generous mousse (wine speak for lots of tiny bubbles) aromas of white blossoms and almonds, with creamy tastes of apples, citrus and apricots. It’s one classy wine!
AC, Loire Valley, France
$19.95 (Vintages #298398) 12% alcohol
The Chenin Blanc grape varietal initially hails from the Loire valley of France. It is known for its’ great acidity which means it can be blended, or produced on it’s own in everything from sparkling to still wine to luscious desert wine. This sparkler has lots of “nose” giant flavours of yellow apples, almost a little sweet spice reminiscent of baked coconut pie but dry and a pinch vegetal. All these fabulous flavours dance on the palate with a delicious hazel-nutty finish. Another great partner for seafood appetizers or a fish course.
DOC, Treviso, Veneto, Italy
$16.95 (Vintages #297838) 11.5% alcohol
I can’t count the number of times I have served Prosecco (and Cava, below) to start a dinner party and this is the new kid on the block. Very pale in colour with a slightly greenish hue, delightfully aromatic; white blossoms and fresh scents of apple and pear, with a slightly edgy taste of citrus on the palate. It sure gets those taste buds moving before sitting down to the main course and is a great all year round sparkler. This would be a fabulous prior to a creamy hot or cold soup, depending on the season. It also goes without saying it’s a splendid beginning to some Italian food.
DOC, Spain $17.95 (Vintages #223602) 12% alcohol
Fresh and lively with aromas of tropical fruit and a little spice. A blend of Chardonnay and Parellada grapes gives it a fairly weighty mouth feel for a sparkling wine with lots of bubbles to create lingering fruit flavours on the finish. A great start to a paella dinner or with tapas or just on its own. Lots of flavours and interest, a great value wine.
Grand Total: $ 99.75 (maybe in the New Year I will hit $100.00 spot on)
Beaujolais Nouveau is a ritual in the wine world which always takes place on the third Thursday of every November. The production of Beaujolais Nouveau is a race from grape to glass, bottled just a few weeks after the grapes have been hand picked. Beaujolais grapes are picked ONLY by hand before being fermented.
As it is a young wine, it tastes better chilled. It is known for its cherry and green leaf flavours and high acidity but I find it clean and fresh. I had to laugh when I read that it is better “quaffed” like juice rather than sipped. While I do not think of Beaujolais Nouveau as a red wine with “fine bones”, throughout France and in many other parts of the world this is a time for celebration.
Georges Duboeuf, one of the largest and best known wine merchants in France, is famous for his Beaujolais. His bottles are inexpensive and have beautifully coloured labels that on any table could start a Beaujolais party. Have each of your guests bring an appetizer and let the celebration begin. I also think Beaujolais Nouveau is a great match for turkey but the French no doubt pair it with hearty Burgundian foods. The French say it must be consumed before New Year’s Eve but I know mine won’t last that long.
Try it and see what all the hype is about!
Ewald Gruber Hundspoint Gruner Veltliner 2011
Weinviertel, Neiderosterreich, Austria
$17.95 (Vintages #298299) 13.2% alcohol
The Gruner Veltliner grape is Austria’s liquid gold and takes a dominant position in the total vineyard surface area. I find it fresh and crisp, aromas of stone fruit, great acidity but not too lively, a light to medium bodied white wine it delivers tastes of green apple, lemon lime and a little green pepper on the palate but I think that is the minerality from the soil. It has a reputation for being a perfect match to those hard to match foods such as artichokes or asparagus. if you are looking for a change from your Sauvignon Blanc or Riesling, this will not disappoint.
I visited Featherstone winery a couple of years ago and was so taken with sheep roaming around chewing on grape leaves to help expose the grapes to the sun and come to fruition. I love Rosé and this one is no exception. A beautiful cranberry colour, ripe red berry aromas that follow through on the palate: raspberry and strawberry flavour and just slightly off dry. Always food friendly and just a great sipper on its own.
Perhaps unlike the Nouveau Beaujolais, this Beaujolais Cru Gamay is to be savoured and enjoyed.
Fleurie is one of the most renowned of the 10 Beaujolais Crus, it’s vineyard has 30 year old vines. A pale purple colour in the glass with dark fruit aromas of blackberries and blueberries. It has that tangey acidity that only a well made Beajolais can offer with ripe berry fruit flavours, and lots of them on the palate. There is enough in the body that it could be put away for a couple of years but I would be inclined to bring it out when you have some friends over for a pre-Christmas get together. It’s an elegant example of Beaujolais at its best.
Vin Santo is also known as holy wine in Tuscany since it is used in communion. It is also known as a “straw wine” since traditionally it is made from grapes left out on straw mats to dry and shrivel up. This concentrates the flavours of the grapes which similarily to our ice-wine in Canada can be labour intensive and price indicative. This Vin Santo, released just in time for Christmas is rich amber in colour, has ripe aromas of oranges, almonds and caramel with some stone fruit like apricots on the palate, a pinch of honey on the finish. It is just perfect for dessert with some biscotti for dipping. This is a drier (than some) Vin Santo and would also be nice with some old cheddar.
A deep dark purple with luscious aromas of vibrant berries and on the palate is sheer richness of black berries, a little coffee and chocolate, all giving an almost creamy mouthfeel and a big blast of flavour like only a Zin can provide. This is a big wine and I also detected aromas of coffee, chocolate even a little caramel and finishes with a little heat and black pepper. With a portobello and sirloin stew this would be magic.
Grand Total: $ 98.75
Savvy Selections wine of the month club
Featuring Fielding Estate Winery
- November 2012 -
Sometimes you never know what to expect when you visit a winery – a visit to 13th Street Winery definitely awakens your all of senses as there is so much to enjoy - fine wines, delicious gourmet foods, immaculate grounds and stunning original art. It is very hard to just ‘pop in’ to the winery – a few hours is definitely a must.
The Savvy Team always has the tough job of choosing just three wines for each month’s Savvy Selections and this month was certainly no exception. In fact, one of the Savvy team member made the comment after having tasted all of the 13th Street wines from the sparkling wine to the dessert wine that once again, she’d have all the wines needed for a delicious dinner party.
We hope you enjoy ALL of the wines that we have hand picked for you this month:
- Premier Cuvee Sparkling VQA 2008 $34.95 – this will rival any French Champagne!
- Viognier VQA 2011 $19.95 – almost sold out at the winery & I made sure that they kept enough for us to include in this month’s Savvy Selections. If you would like more, be sure let me know quickly!
- Cabernet Merlot VQA 2010 $21.95 – a steal for this great quality medium bodied red wine
- OPTIONAL PURCHASE: 13 Below Zero Riesling VQA 2011 $19.95 – I think this is liquid apple crisp
In the following pages of this Savvy eZine, Julie shares stories about her visit to 13th Street along with the Savvy Selections tasting panel’s tasting notes and autumn inspired recipes to serve with the wine selection.
And Julie shares with you one of her favorite Latin proverbs: “It is well to remember that there are five reasons for drinking: the arrival of a friend, one’s present or future thirst, the excellence of the wine, or any other reason.”
We are turning the big 1-0!
Where does time go? This month we embark on our 10th year in business. It has been an incredible decade of opportunities, fascinating people and outstanding adventures. Many thanks to you for your un-ending support to our growing business and for making Savvy Selections become Ontario’s largest wine of the month club featuring Ontario wines not available at the LCBO.
Cheers & here’s to the next 10 years!
- Debbie & Savvy Team
Introducing . . . 13th Street Winery
Presented by Sommelier Julie Stock
This past June, during our annual pilgrimage to the Niagara region, my husband Doug (also a Savvy Sommelier) and I visited 13th Street Winery. I knew this visit would be in part to prep for this month’s Savvy Selections feature, yet I easily became side-tracked away from the wine & enjoyed the exquisite original Canadian art, the farm fresh garden produce, artisan cheeses and charcuterie, and handmade treats in the café housed in the converted barn. An hour easily slipped away and I hadn’t even tasted any wine yet! When you next visit Niagara, be sure to include 13th Street on your must visit list to wander through the statue collection on the grounds, learn more about the experimental vineyards and enjoy lunch on the patio. You will definitely have a farm to table experience – just as the winery owners had envisioned.
You will find when you uncork this month’s Savvy Selections that 13th Street wines are outstanding. The people involved at winery are equally outstanding. Peter Bodnar Rod, Director of Sales, Marketing and Hospitality is one of the dynamic people involved the Canadian wine industry. In addition to working at the winery, Peter is one of Canada’s top sommeliers, he was recognized by the industry with the prestigious VQA Promote the Promoters Award for Education and his current project is developing an International Sommelier Guild (ISG) masters level specialization course – a busy man indeed!
During our visit, Peter took us on a tour of the fields and gardens. With each step, he reminded us that the importance of the land is fundamental to the philosophy at 13th Street. “Great wine starts with great grapes; next comes the talent of a winemaker who knows how and when to harvest”, explains Peter. “Whether it be Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc, Gamay or Syrah, if the grapes are exceptional along with the well-honed skills of the winemaker - something extraordinary is going to transpire.”
Peter explained that 2009 was a benchmark year for them yet it was also somewhat risky, since they waited long into November to harvest. But in the end as he says, “we won and ended up with some impressive reds at 14% alcohol with great depth, layered with complexity.”
The winemaker & the vineyard
Winemaker Jean-Pierre Colas is a man in demand as he is the primary winemaker at 13th Street as well Vignoble Rancourt Winery, located in the Niagara Lakeshore sub-appellation which follows the shorelines of Lake Ontario.
Jean-Pierre has a long winemaking career of over 45 years – the past 9 years was at Peninsula Ridge Estate Winery in Niagara. Years prior, he spent decades in the notable Domaine Laroche in Chablis, France. In 1998, he was awarded a rare score of 99 points for the Wine Spectator’s White Wine of the Year (for his Domaine Laroche Grand Cru Les Clos 1996). And shortly after his move to Ontario, he was awarded Winemaker of the Year 2006 at the Ontario Wine Awards. He has also worked in Chile and New Zealand, throughout the United States and Québec. It is no wonder that 13th Street is making world class wines.
The grapes of distinction grown on the 40 acres vineyards include Riesling and Chardonnay, Gamay, small parcels of Sauvignon Blanc, Pinot Gris and Syrah. The grapes are always hand harvested because it ensures Jean-Pierre to have complete control of the quality of the fruit as well as the grapes are sorted on tables that further refine the selection of the fruit. Jean-Pierre also believes in experimentation to enable him to expand his artistry of winemaking.
Fine wine can be a complement to fine art. Within the renovated turn of the century farmhouse houses the spectacular Gallery Room. It is breathtaking with its focal point being the 18 foot, 1300 lb table made from one piece of Indonesian hardwood. This room is graced by original Canadian artwork.
The large windows overlooks the gardens and shady hillsides where throughout the years over 40,000 trees have been planted in the valley. The property could almost be a heritage site with its natural habitat being home to numerous birds, wild life and the natural beauty surrounded by acres of well tended vineyards.
Enjoy this month’s Savvy Selections!
~ SAVVY SOMMELIER TASTING NOTES ~
Sparkling wines are 13th Street’s signature. They typically craft 3 to 4 different styles each year with varying blends of Chardonnay and Pinot Noir. Savvy Sommelier Debbie selected 13th Street’s Sparkling Rosé to be served at a private luncheon for HRH Queen Elizabeth II when her royal tour stopped in to Ottawa for the opening of the Museum of Nature two years ago.
Savvy Sommelier Tasting Notes: Your glass will be filled with lively and fine mousse (winespeak: bubbles) with elegant aromas of fresh bread, light floral & refreshing tastes of citrus and apple that dance on your tongue leaving a delightful mouthfeel. There’a little grapefruit pith which gives the tastebuds a squirt of acidity. We all “mmmed” as we sniffed, swirled and savoured this blend of Chardonnay and Pinot Noir – the primary ingredients of Champagne.
Suggested Food Pairing: There was no end of ideas to match with this bubbly. Cheeses such as brie, goat cheese or parmesan, sushi, paté and even creamy soups…or simply enjoy sipping on its own.
Cellaring: Great to drink now. As its ages, more nut tastes & aromas will prevail.
Viognier VQA 2011, $19.95
Viognier is indigenous to France’s Rhone Valley, where it is regionally known as ‘Condrieu’. Only recently, wine regions in other countries began experimenting with Viognier in the vineyards. Argentina, Australia, California and now Canada are producing outstanding Viognier wine. When Savvy Sommelier Debbie visited 13th Street this past August, this Viognier was just released. After a few sips and without hesitation, she requested that the wine is set aside until November to ensure that there was enough bottles for all of our Savvy Selections subscribers to enjoy this delicious wine. Heads up - there are only a few cases left at the winery.
Savvy Sommelier Tasting Notes: The Savvy Team was very impressed with what the winemaker did to make this beautiful wine. Aromas of pears, apricots, almonds, beeswax, pineapple waft from the glass. Rich flavours burst on the palate giving a luscious, creamy texture but with a pinch of acidity that balances the fruit flavours with each sip. We found that the wine opens up the more it sits and we recommend not serving it too cold; you want to enjoy all those flavours and aromas! A classy elegant wine awaits you!
Suggested Food Pairing: The Savvy Team went wild with
food pairing ideas; roasted chicken with various fruit marinades, blackened tuna, pork tenderloin with mango chutney, white fish with a lemon sauce. With such a flavourful, it will be an easy food match.
Cellaring: Chill & enjoy – no need to wait!
13th Street often strives to be different. Their signature red wine is Gamay, yet when the Savvy Sommeliers tasted the variety of red wine candidates for the Savvy Selections feature, this Cabernet Merlot was a hands down favorite. A one off at the winery, this classic red wine blend is great value for the price tag. It certainly tastes like a $30 wine. Enjoy!
Savvy Sommelier Tasting Notes: A classic Bordeaux blend with firm tannins of the Cabernet Sauvignon mixed with the soft tannins and complexity of Merlot. Dark ruby in colour, with aromas of violets, ripe berries, plums, cassis, dark fruit cake and sweet warm spices (think cloves, cinnamon, nutmeg) with tastes of ripe dark berries, green pepper, ground pepper & soft tannins that balance out the ripe fruit flavours making this a big juicy red with a little campfire or woodsy taste, beautiful long dark finish.
Suggested Food Pairing: We continued lively conversations around the table about pairing this wine with beef stir fry, hearty meatloaf, roast beef, braised rabbit with rosemary and garlic, beef stew, leg of lamb, tenderloin wrapped in bacon. How’s that for a wine to go with everything?
Cellaring: Ready now or before 2015.
OPTIONAL WINE: 13 Below Zero Riesling VQA 2011, $19.95
A unique light bodied sweet wine that is made after the first frost has kissed the Riesling grapes that are still hanging on the vine. The result is a wine that with a velvety mouthfeel (not cloying like icewine) with light sweetness. One of our Sommeliers declared that it was ‘liquid apple crisp’.
Savvy Sommelier Tasting Notes: A beautiful medium golden colour has concentrated aromas and tastes of apricot, marzipan with tastes of ripe peaches and pears, almonds, warm spices (cinnamon & nutmeg) with a little acidity at the end. It would be a fabulous desert match with any fruit crisps or cobblers.
~ RECIPES TO ENJOY WITH YOUR SAVVY SELECTIONS ~
With 13th Street Premier Cuvée Sparkling …
Smoked Salmon Tortilla Spirals
From Bonnie Stern’s Appetizers
Makes approximately 32 spirals
8 oz. cream cheese
2 tbsp Russian-style mustard
1 tbsp mayonnaise or sour cream
4 9-inch (23 cm) flour tortillas
12 oz. smoked salmon, thinly sliced
2 tbsp chopped fresh dill
2 tbsp chopped fresh chives
8 leaves Boston lettuce or spinach
- Cream together cream cheese, mustard and mayonnaise.
- Arrange tortillas on counter and spread evenly with cheese spread.
- Arrange smoked salmon on top of cheese. Leave about 1 inch border at top covered just with cheese so that the rolls will adhere better. Sprinkle salmon with dill and chives. Arrange lettuce or spinach on top.
- Roll tortillas up tightly, pressing firmly to seal.
- Wrap well and refrigerate until ready to serve. Trim off ends of rolls (eat them!) and then cut each roll into 8-10 slices. Serve spiral side up.
With 13th Street Viognier VQA 2011…
Cajun Blackened Fish Steaks
This is a spicy dish! Basically it's a bold rub that fragrantly flavors fish and goes dark when it cooks, thanks to the paprika and garlic. Also a great rub with chicken, pork, lamb and even steak.
4 x 1/2-lb white fish fillets - such as seabass, snapper, haddock (approx. 2cm thick). Skin on, scaled & pin boned
For the rub:
10 sprigs of fresh thyme, leaves picked
4 sprigs of fresh oregano, leaves picked
2 cloves of garlic, peeled
2 level teaspoons moked paprika
1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1 teaspoon sea salt
1 level tablespoon finely ground black pepper
2 tablespoons olive oil
To make the rub:
- Bash up your fresh herbs and garlic in a pestle and mortar until you've got a nice coarse paste.
- Mix in the spices, salt, pepper and olive oil, then squeeze in the juice of half the lemon, making sure not to let any pips get in there, and stir well.
To prepare the fish:
- Lightly score the skin of your fish in lines about 3/4-inch apart.
- Using your fingers, smear the rub all over both sides of the fish and into the cuts you've made.
- Put a non-stick pan or grill pan over a medium-high heat and let it get nice and hot.
- Place your fish in the pan, skin side down, and let it cook for 3 to 4 minutes.
- It will get quite smoky, so you might want to open a window!
- Turn the heat down to low, then, very carefully, flip your fish over and cook for another 3 to 4 minutes on the second side.
- Cut your remaining lemon half and your second lemon into wedges for squeezing over.
- Serve them with your fish, a nice salad and boiled or steamed new potatoes dressed in good olive oil or butter.
With 13th Street Cabernet Merlot VQA 2010…
1770 House Meatloaf
Adapted from The Barefoot Contessa – Food Network
1 pound ground veal
1 pound ground pork
1 pound ground beef
1 tablespoon chopped, fresh chives, plus 1 teaspoon for the sauce
1 tablespoon chopped, fresh thyme leaves, plus 1 teaspoon for the sauce
1 tablespoon chopped, fresh Italian parsley, plus 1 teaspoon for the sauce
3 large eggs
1 1/3 cups finely ground Panko ( ground with a few pulses in the food processor)
2/3 cup whole milk
1 tablespoon kosher salt
1 1/2 teaspoons freshly ground black pepper
2 stalks of celery, finely diced
1 large Spanish onion, finely diced
2 cups chicken or beef stock
8 to 10 cloves roasted garlic
3 tablespoons butter, at room temperature
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
- Place the veal, pork, beef, chives, thyme, parsley, eggs, Panko, milk, salt and pepper in a large mixing bowl.
- Heat a medium sautée pan over medium-high heat and film it with extra-virgin olive oil. When the oil is hot, add the celery and onion to the pan and cook, stirring, until softened. Remove the celery and onion from the pan and let cool. When the mixture is cool, add it to the mixing bowl with the other ingredients.
- Using clean hands, mix the ingredients until well combined and everything is evenly distributed. Place a piece of parchment paper on a sheet pan (it should have sides at least 1 1/2 inches high to prevent grease runoff from the pan). Place the meat on the sheet pan and pat it and punch it down to remove any air pockets. Shape the meat into a loaf (about 14 1/2 inches long by 5 inches wide by 2 inches high). Place the sheet pan in the oven and bake 50 minutes (convection) or until a meat thermometer indicates an internal temperature of 155 to 160 degrees. Remove the meatloaf from the oven and let it rest for 10 minutes.
- Meanwhile, if you would like to serve with a sauce (optional), combine the broth, roasted garlic and butter over medium-high heat and simmer for about 10 to 15 minutes, or until lightly thickened. Add 1 teaspoon of each of the chopped thyme, chives and parsley. Slice the meatloaf into serving portions and spoon the hot sauce over the meatloaf and serve.
Although Christmas shopping may not be on your agenda, it’s bound to sneak up pretty soon. The LCBO Vintages release for Saturday November 10 features “Holiday Gifting” for the upcoming season. I have to admit when the glossy gift sets appear in the LCBO, it tempts me to at least get started. The duo sets of wine, the huge magnum bottles, champagne in velvet boxes and a car shaped bottle full of grappa; who would not want to receive one of these?
The Vintages “Festive Finds” also showcases lots of spirits, fortifieds, sparklers, desert wines and liqueurs. One fortified that caught my eye and I have featured, is a pink Port, something new and very festive!
The release also features some Italian wines from Piedmont. Just when I thought I’d been introduced to most grape varietals I found a new kid on the block, the Albarossa grape from Piedmont. This grape is a cross between Nebbiolo and Barbera. Nebbiolo often gives flavours of cherries, tar and roses with lots of tannins while Barbera offers intense flavours of blackberries and raspberries so the Regali La Lus Albarossa 2008 (#291575) at $24.95 will be a great wine to pick up and dazzle your wine friends with your new discovery. Wasn’t it Benjamin Franklin that said something about the discovery of new wine is better than the discovery of the constellation since the universe is too full of stars ? It’s hard not to love these new Italian wines, especially to wash down some spaghetti and meatballs, it’s just that time of year.
With all the gifted giving and new releases, I could practically do all my Christmas shopping at Vintages. Any of these spirits would certainly add some sparkle to my day and at least help me start, or even finish my shopping. I hope you try at least one.
DOC Douro, Portugal
$19.95 (Vintages #1400871) 19.5% alcohol
This is the only pink port in the world. A beautifully luscious deep pink, almost pale cranberry in colour that is so pretty in the glass. The label on the bottle suggests serving it on ice as an aperitif which would make for a yummy start (or finish) to a dinner. It is not overly sweet or syrupy like some Port and was a refreshing surprise with a burst of fresh berries. It’s fruity and generous in the mouthfeel, a little tangy and is a fun fortified that will steal the show. I confess to exploring their website and discovered a fabulous desert of Croft Pink Port drizzled over strawberry or raspberry sorbet, finished with grated white chocolate and a few mint leaves - talk about pretty in pink for an easy and elegant desert. I can’t wait for this release and plan to pick up at least one bottle in for the season. I’m already starting to have “pink” moments. It would also be a lovely hostess gift.
$16.95 (Vintages # 297846) 11.5% alcohol
It is totally coincidental that I was still thinking pink when I chose this sparkling wine but this sparkler is more of a glistening tangerine in colour. It has fine mousssey bubbles with tastes of ripe yellow apples, raspberries and strawberries and just a pinch of toast which is typical of the sparkling Crémants from Burgundy. It is a gentle soft sipper, very food friendly not to mention an elegant start to a dinner party, especially with some salty hors d’oeuvres. Oh my it slips down easily.
Henry of Pelham Family Tree White 2010 VQA
Beamsville Bench,Niagara Peninsula,Ontario,Canada
$18.95 (Vintages #299172) 13% alcohol
The Speck brothers did a great job in producing a family tree signature white wine. With a blend of 44% Chardonnay, 29% Gewurtztraminer, 14% Viognier and 13% Chardonnay Musque, it is very aromatic of white blossoms and a little lychee. All the flavours of the grapes come through in this delicious medium bodied wine. A little pineapple, ripe peaches and pears, bone dry with a little acidity and finishes lemony. The family is no doubt proud - it’s a lovely wine with white meat or fish or just on it’s own.
$23.95 (Vintages# 285577) 14.5% alcohol
A bright ruby red blend of 41% Tempranillo, 39% Grenache, and 15% Mourvedre. All the flavours and characteristics of these grapes shine through; sour cherries, a little earthy and musty, medium bodied with flavours of raspberries and plums, slightly acidic, bone dry with soft but noticeable tannins and a little peppery on the finish. There is enough in this wine to cellar for a few years. This would be a great match with a roast of pork and some browned potatoes.
DOC, Piedmont, Italy
$19.95 (Vintages #285486) 13.5% alcohol
Dark plum in colour and black cherries in the aromas were what came through loud and clear. It offers medium-soft tannins, and tastes of brambleberries, blackberries some chocolate and roasted plums. A tad leathery with definite earthy flavours and I got some vegetal strength as well, almost like some green pepper or tomato vine and this is a good thing ! Slightly peppery on the finish and with a spicy sausage lasagna it would make for an great dinner party.
Grand Total: $99.75
For a person that doesn’t like living on the edge, I’m cutting it close.
There’s nothing like a new Vintages release to chase away the post-Thanksgiving blues. The left-overs are gone as are the rellies and friends that made it all so special. But the thoughts of new Bordeaux coming to town just perks me right up and makes me long for a huge wine cellar.
With approximately 7,000 châteaux and 21 appellations it is not surprising that the Bordeaux region of France is the world’s major wine industry capital. Appellations in France are similar to our wine regions in Canada. For those of you who have not been to France, the Bordeaux region is located in the southwest part of France on the Atlantic coast.
Bordeaux produces quality and quantity red and white wines. The red wines are mostly blends from grapes such as: Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Cabernet Franc, Petit Verdot, Malbec and even Carménère. White Bordeaux is made from Sauvignon blanc, Semillon and/or Muscadelle grapes. It’s hard to go astray in your choices with these crème de la crème grapes and your choices will be more price dependent than anything else-as the quality is always there.
This release made me think of some of my favorites that I had not picked up for a while so it was a wonderful reminder of how well some red Bordeaux pair with beef and lamb and the white’s with shellfish.
Well this is not the first time that reading about these new releases made me want to jump on a plane, but since it will not be for this year, I’ll have to be content with picking up some new bottles to stash away for when it gets really cold. I hope you will join me.
Chateau Toumilon Blanc 2009 France
$16.95 (Vintages #314864) 12.5% alcohol
This is such a light easy sipper, pale straw yellow, mild citrusy aromas with light - medium soft textures in the mouth. I got some delicate flavors of pears in this bone dry white wine and it is just slightly acidic with some minerality on the finish. If anyone is looking for a new “house” wine, I’d suggest you pick up a bottle of this. It slips down pretty easy and does not have a lengthy finish but it sure sends you back for more. It also won a Silver Medal (Best in Class) at the International Wine & Spirit Competition, 2011. I was not the only one that liked this wine!
Three Saints Chardonnay 2009
Santa Maria Valley, Santa Barbara,U.S.A.
$20.95 (Vintages #297531) 14%
The “Three Saints” signify the three valleys were the Dierberg family grow their grapes. These Chardonnay grapes are grown in the coastal Santa Maria vineyard; the other vineyards are the Santa Rita Hills and the Santa Ynez Valley where Pinot Noir and Syrah are grown. The wine has inviting aromas of ripe melon, yellow apples and a little citrus that carry through leaving a little honey and roasted nuts on the aftertaste. A medium bodied white wine that is crisp and refreshing with rich tropical fruit flavors. Lovely on it’s own or with some turkey pot pie with flakey pastry, it would be scrumptious.
Angel’s Gate Mountainview Merlot 2010
VQA Beamsville Bench, Niagara Peninsula
$18.95 (Vintages #299172) 12.5% alcohol
Angel’s Gate Winery is on property that was once owned by the Congregation of Missionary Sisters and in 1995 the land was converted into a vineyard. I have found all of the Angel’s Gate selections to be pretty heavenly. The winery itself has historic, distinct gables and a tower reminiscent of a church. Think dark cherries in colour with tastes of violets, strawberries a little chocolate cake and a pinch of earth. Smooth and supple, rich in texture and tannins and all you need is some Prime Rib for a first class dinner.
For those of you not familiar with the Mataro grape, it is also known as Mourvèdre and originated in Spain. A lovely dark rich violet color with aromas of sweet dark ripe berries, blueberries and plums that follow through with a fairly hefty mouth feel. It has lots of juicy sweet spice and peppery flavors that come through on the aftertaste. This red wine is smooth and complex and would pair it with any red meat but it’s a yummy sipper on its own.
Château Lalande Mausse 2009
AC Fronsac, Bordeaux, France
$16.95 (Vintages #303859) 14% alcohol
The Bordeaux in this release are in a class of their own and for the price this shows beautifully. Lovely dark cherry color, aromas of red berry fruits and a little tobacco. The flavors of this red wine follow through on the palette, medium bodied with decent acidity and a tad earthy. Sheer class.
Grand Total: $98.75