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Archive for ‘e-Zine for Savvy Selections wine of the month club’

Kicking 2017 off with Kacaba Vineyards

Posted by Velma

Thursday, January 26th, 2017

To kickstart this year, we’re so pleased to offer you three outstanding wines this month from Kacaba Vineyards & Winery. The Pinot Gris was a best seller at our Outstanding in their Fields Taste & Buy event last month, and the two Syrahs are award-winning wines that showcase just how exceptional Kacaba is at producing cold-climate reds.

Kacaba does Syrah particularly well! It was the first winery in Ontario and the second in Canada to plant syrah grapes, some 20 years ago, and its experience shines through in every bottle!  It is also the only Ontario winery to have competed and won a medal in the table wine category at the Syrah de Mode Competition in Northern Rhone, the birthplace of syrah and where the only grape grown is syrah.

The Syrah wines we are featuring this month are special in many ways – they are both from the same vintage produced from grapes grown on two different blocks of land on the Kacaba property, each with very different terroir. The Proprieters Block syrah is from the oldest vineyard on the property, and the Silver Bridge from the newest. Why not taste them side by side to challenge yourself to see if you can notice any differences…let us know which one is your favourite!

Both wines were produced following techniques that support a philosophy of environmental sustainability, which is explained in more detail in this month’s e-zine. The e-zine features Vadim Chelekhov (in photo) – the 28-year-old assistant winemaker at Kacaba – who shares his passion for Kacaba, its philosophy, and its outstanding wines. Enjoy!

Our Savvy Sommeliers selected for you:

2015 Jennifer’s Pinot Gris – a beautiful, rich, and flavouful pinot gris named after one of the three daughters of owner Michael Kacaba.

2013 Proprietors Block Syrah – a delightful, well-balanced red wine that recently won a silver medal at the 2016 WineAlign National Awards of Canada.

2013 Silver Bridge Syrah – a scrumptious red wine with an aging potential up to 7 years, that was also a silver-medal award winner at the 2016 WineAlign National Awards of Canada.

You definitely won’t find these wines at the LCBO

Every month, our Savvy Sommeliers seek out wines with you in mind. We take into consideration wines to enjoy with the seasonal cuisine, interesting wine experiences (like 2 syrahs from same vintage yet different terroirs) and interesting grape varieties…as starting examples.

As you enjoy the wines in your Savvy Selections, at any time you find a new favorite wine and would like to stock up, call our Savvy Team any time at 613-SAVVYCO (728-8926) for additional bottles. Also call us even if you have a yearning for wines from other wineries we have featured in previous Savvy Selections.

Cheers & wishing you the very best for a fantastic 2017!
Debbie & Savvy Team

 

Introducing…

Kacaba Vineyards & Estate Winery
presented by Sommelier Velma LeBlanc

Passion. It’s the word that comes immediately to mind when talking with Vadim Chelekhov, the 28-year-old assistant winemaker at Kacaba (pronounced “ka-sa’-ba) Vineyards and Winery. Passion for his chosen profession, passion for the winery’s commitment to be environmentally sustainable and, most of all, passion for the wonderful award-winning wines ultimately produced.  “We are a small-batch winery that produces hand-crafted premium wines,” says Vadim, who has worked at Kacaba since 2011 and as the assistant winemaker since 2014. “Only two people are involved in production – me and the wine maker – which makes us go the extra mile. We give all of our attention to every single tank, every single barrel, every single wine we produce.”

His early years

Vadim’s passion and appreciation for wine was sparked at an early age. He was born in Russia, in the republic of Kazakhstan, which was the last of the Soviet republics to declare independence. With independence, came the freedom to travel, and he accompanied his family on many trips to some of the oldest wine-making regions in the world: Germany, France, Italy, and Spain.

“Although I was very young, it was on those trips that I fell in love with the everyday life and culture of vineyards and winemakers.”

One memory in particular stands out. “I was stunned by the centuries-old cellars of the Loire Valley. The French don’t often do cellar tours, but as a little kid, they were much softer on me, so they let me into some of the oldest cellars in the world. They let me see the barrels, the olds casks, the old fermenters.”

Becoming part of the Kacaba team

Vadim arrived in Canada in 2002, completed high school in Hamilton, Ontario, and attended the University of Western Ontario, faculty of Health Sciences. Rather than pursue a doctorate, the path taken by many family members, his love of wine and winemaking beckoned. He joined the vineyard crew at Kacaba in 2011 and, in 2012, enrolled in the two-year Viticulture and Oenology program at Niagara College, while continuing to work at Kacaba as a cellar hand. In 2014, he was offered the assistant winemaker position and, since then, has worked alongside industry-respected winemaker, John Tummon (in photo on right).
“John has over 40 years of experience in winemaking and competing. He has a refined palate, is an advocate in the wine industry and also a wine judge. I was drawn to him because I want to learn from the best and learn about all aspects of the industry, not just one. For me, he is an inspiration.”

An environmentally sustainable winery

Vadim has also been inspired by the vineyard’s owner and namesake, Michael Kacaba, and his vision and philosophy. “Since Michael Kacaba first started growing grapes, in the mid-1990s, he has had a philosophy of being an environmentally sustainable and minimalistic vineyard and winery, and he has never deviated from that vision.”

Sustainability involves everything from carefully managing the vineyard’s water usage to energy conservation to pesticide use. “We use water sparingly; we minimize the use of heaters; and we use things that are found naturally in the vineyard to prevent disease. Sulphur or chalk, for example, is dissolved in water and sprayed on the plants, versus using harsh pesticides.”

The vineyard crew also tries to minimize the use of tractors and other heavy machinery, which means the majority of work in the vineyard – such as tying, pruning, leaf removal, shoot positioning and cluster removal – is done by hand. (Note: By removing leaves from the vines, more nutrients can travel to the prized grapes rather than the foliage. Similarly, by removing clusters of grapes, flavour is concentrated in those remaining on the vine. Although less wine is ultimately produced, this practice yields higher quality and more robust and flavourful wines.)

About the vineyard

Kacaba is located on a slightly elevated 32-acre property on the Niagara Escarpment; 26 of those acres are dedicated to growing grapes. The unique microclimate of the Escarpment means that winters are relatively mild and arrive later than in other parts of Ontario; as a result, the red grapes can remain on the vines much longer, making it possible to produce much bolder red wines than are typically associated with colder climates. In 2016, the cabernet sauvignon grapes were harvested on November 21st; in 2014, on December 3rd.

“In this amazing little microclimate, the treeline on the Escarpment captures the wind and brings it down to ground level, which is what warms up the environment around the vines.”

Syrah – the signature, award-winning grape of Kacaba

Although Kacaba grows a variety of grapes – including cabernet sauvignon, cabernet franc, merlot, and viognier – its signature varietal is syrah. Kacaba, in fact, was the first vineyard in Ontario to plant syrah, some twenty years ago, and has since become known for producing high-quality Northern Rhone-style wines. Kacaba is the only Ontario winery that has competed and won (in 2016) a medal (Silver) for a table wine in the Syrah de Mode competition in Northern Rhone (France). (Note: Northern Rhone is believed to be the birthplace of syrah and where the only red grape allowed to be grown is syrah.)

The same syrah clone is planted in three different Kacaba vineyards, each with a distinct terroir and each producing very different wines. In this month’s Savvy Selections, subscribers have the chance to taste and compare syrah grapes grown in two of the vineyards: the Silver Bridge vineyard (Kacaba’s oldest vineyard, planted in 1997); and the youngest vineyard – the Proprietor’s Block – planted in 2007, and which Vadim cites as being very promising.

The whites are great too 

Kacaba also produces incredible, approachable white wines (including the pinot gris in this month’s Savvy Selections). The only white grape actually grown on its property, however, is viognier, which is used to add softness to its syrahs, making them more consistent with those from Northern Rhone.

The growing of its other white grape varietals – including pinot gris, chardonnay, and riesling – are contracted to local craft wine growers. These partners grow the grapes in accordance with Kacaba’s stringent specifications, adhering to the philosopy of sustainability (e.g., no pesticides or herbicides). Kacaba then turns these grapes into beautiful white wine on the Kacaba site.

In years when it is cold enough, Kacaba also produces icewine.  Although Ontario regulation allows grapes for icewine to be picked when temperatures hit -8 degrees Celsius, Kacaba prefers to wait until the mercury plummets to -14 degrees Celsius. “We prolong picking to much lower temperatures, which gives us lower volumes, but concentrates the flavour,” says Vadim. “The flavours of strawberries, blueberries, and raspberries are amplified at lower temperatures.”

If you are planning to go to this month’s Niagara Icewine Festival be sure to visit the Kacaba team and be treated to a sampling of the 2013 Cabernet Franc icewine which will be paired with Cajun-lime buttered jumbo prawns. That is an interesting pairing!  This two weekend festival is also a great opportunity to taste many of Kacaba’s other great wines and to meet Vadim. The Festival runs over three weekends (January 13-15, 20-22, and 27-29).  Be sure to tell Vadim, John and others at the winery that you are a Savvy Selections subscriber….they will probably roll out the red carpet for you!

 

~ SAVVY SOMMELIER TASTING NOTES ~

2015 Jennifer’s Pinot Gris

$17.95

Savvy Sommelier Tastings Notes: This approachable Pinot Gris is an easy sipping wine, with fruit forward grapefruit, floral, lychee and tropical characteristics. The finish highlights notes of apple and citrus.

Suggested Food Pairings: This white wine would pair extremely well with light seafood and shellfish dishes; creamy pastas; and cheese-based appetizers. A baked brie topped with a fig spread would be particularly lovely, as would be a hot artichoke or crab dip, or a cheese fondue (see recipe below).

Cellaring:  To be enjoyed now, with the opportunity to cellar for up to two years.

 

2013 Proprietors Block Syrah

$27.95 (special Savvy price.  Regular $29.95)

Savvy Sommelier Tastings Notes: This award-winning Syrah is rich, soft, and velvety on the palate, exuding notes of black pepper, licorice, and raspberries. It is a wonderful example of a cool-climate Syrah, similar in structure and taste to its Northern Rhone cousins.

Suggested Food Pairings: This lovely Syrah works well with many dishes, including lamb, Mediterranean dishes, and even Indian curries. Vadim likes to use it to marinate lamp chops – together with tomatoes, black pepper, onions, a bay leaf, and a sprinkle of cumin – for a day or two before cooking the chops over a medium hot BBQ.

Cellaring: Drinking well now. Can cellar up to 5 years.

 

2013 Silver Bridge Syrah

$27.95 (special Savvy price.  Regular $29.95)

See the silver bridge in the photo below??

Savvy Sommelier Tasting Notes: This medium-bodied Syrah boasts big flavours of black pepper, blueberries and blackberries. Smooth and rich-tasting on the palate, it is an easy sipping wine with lovely tannins on the finish.

Suggested Food Pairings: This Syrah is able to stand up to big proteins, including steak, ribs, and even such game meat as duck, elk, and deer.

Cellaring: Enjoy this now or save it for a special future occasion. It’s aging capacity is 6-7 years.

 

 ~ RECIPES TO ENJOY WITH YOUR SAVVY SELECTIONS ~

With Kacaba Pinot Gris…

Classic Cheese Fondue

By Gourmet Magazine, February 2005
Photo credit: Vanessa Simmons, Savvy Company
Serves 6

Items to use for dipping

Cubes of French bread
Slices or cubes of apple and pear
Roasted potatoes
Julienned raw red bell pepper
Blanched broccoli florets

Ingredients

1 garlic clove, halved crosswise
1 1/2 cups dry white wine
1 Tablespoon cornstarch
2 teaspoons kirsch (optional)
1/2 pound Emmental cheese, coarsely grated (2 cups)
1/2 pound Gruyère, coarsely grated (2 cups)

Method

Rub inside of a 4-quart heavy pot with cut sides of garlic, then discard garlic. Add wine to pot and bring just to a simmer over moderate heat.

Stir together cornstarch and kirsch (if using; otherwise, use water or wine) in a cup.

Gradually add cheese to pot and cook, stirring constantly in a zigzag pattern (not a circular motion) to prevent cheese from balling up, until cheese is just melted and creamy (do not let boil). Stir cornstarch mixture again and stir into fondue. Bring fondue to a simmer and cook, stirring, until thickened, 5 to 8 minutes. Transfer to fondue pot set over a flame.

 

With Kacaba Silver Bridge Syrah…

Boeuf Bourguinon

By the Canadian Living Test Kitchen, Canadian Living Magazine, December 2004
Serves 8

Ingredients

1 pkg (14 g) dried porcini mushroom
3 lbs boneless beef cross rib pot roasts
4 oz thickly sliced bacon chopped
3 Tablespoons vegetable oil
1 onion chopped
1 carrots chopped
2 cloves garlic minced
1/2 teaspoon each salt and pepper
1/3 cup all-purpose flour
1 bottle (750 ml) red wine (such as Pinot Noir or Merlot)
1 1/2 cup beef broth
3 fresh parsley
2 fresh thyme
2 bay leaves
1 pkg (10 oz/284 g) pearl onions
1 Tablespoon butter
3 cups button mushrooms
2 tablespoons brandy
2 tablespoons minced fresh parsley

Method

Click here to see step-by-step instructions with photographs. 

Soak dried mushrooms in 1/2 cup (125 mL) hot water for 30 minutes. Meanwhile, trim fat from beef; cut meat into 1-1/2-inch (4 cm) cubes and set aside.

In Dutch oven, sauté bacon over medium-high heat until crisp; transfer to paper towel-lined plate. Drain fat from pan.  Add 1 Tbsp (15 mL) of the oil to pan; brown beef, in 3 batches and adding remaining oil as necessary. Transfer to bowl. Drain fat from pan.

Add chopped onion, carrot, garlic, salt and pepper to pan; cook over medium heat until softened, about 3 minutes. Sprinkle with flour; cook, stirring, for 1 minute.

Reserving soaking liquid, remove mushrooms and chop; add to pan along with soaking liquid, wine and broth. Bring to boil, scraping up any brown bits. Tie parsley, thyme and bay leaves together with string. Add to pan along with bacon, beef and any juices. Cover and braise in 325°F (160°C) oven until meat is fork-tender, 2-1/2 to 3 hours.

Meanwhile, in pot of boiling water, boil pearl onions for 3 minutes; drain and chill in cold water. Peel and trim, leaving root ends intact. In skillet, melt butter over medium heat; brown pearl onions, about 5 minutes. With slotted spoon, transfer to bowl.

Add mushrooms to skillet; fry until browned, about 5 minutes. With slotted spoon, remove beef to separate bowl. Add pearl onions, mushrooms and brandy to liquid in Dutch oven; bring to boil over medium-high heat. Reduce heat and simmer, uncovered, until thickened and onions are tender, about 25 minutes. Discard herbs. Return beef to pan and heat through. Sprinkle with parsley.

 

With the Kacaba Proprietors Block Syrah…

Grilled Leg of Lamb with Rosemary, Garlic & Mustard

By Sisi & Wil Carroll, Bon Appétit, April 2010
Serves 10-12

Ingredient tip: Start with a boneless 7-pound leg of lamb. When all fat and sinew are trimmed, it will weigh about 6 pounds.

Ingredients

1 well-trimmed 6-pound boneless leg of lamb, butterflied to even 2-inch thickness
8 garlic cloves, peeled, divided
1/2 cup whole grain Dijon mustard
1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1/4 cup dry white wine
2 Tablespoons finely chopped fresh rosemary
2 Tablespoons fresh lemon juice
Nonstick vegetable oil spray
Fresh rosemary sprigs and fresh Italian parsley sprigs

Method

Open lamb like book on work surface. Using tip of small knife, make 1/2-inch-deep slits all over lamb. Thinly slice 4 garlic cloves. Insert garlic slices into slits in lamb. Combine remaining 4 garlic cloves, mustard, olive oil, white wine, rosemary, and lemon juice in processor. Blend until coarse puree forms. Spread underside of lamb with half of puree. Place lamb, seasoned side down, in 15 x 10 x 2-inch glass baking dish. Spread remaining puree over top of lamb. Cover lamb with plastic wrap and chill overnight.

Let lamb stand at room temperature 2 hours. Coat grill rack with nonstick spray and prepare barbecue (medium-high heat). Sprinkle lamb generously with salt and pepper on both sides. Grill lamb to desired doneness, about 17 minutes per side for medium-rare. Transfer lamb to cutting board; let rest 10 to 20 minutes.

Thinly slice lamb against grain. Overlap slices on platter. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Garnish with fresh herb sprigs.

 

Enjoy your Savvy Selections!

Premium wines from Pondview Winery

Posted by Susan

Tuesday, January 17th, 2017

When I last wrote about Pondview Estate Winery, it was 2011 and Lou Puglisi and his family had just opened a tasting room to showcase their first vintage as winemakers. The family had been growing and selling grapes for 30 years; in fact, in 2008 Lou had been crowned Grape King, a highly acclaimed industry award provided by Ministry of Agriculture to recognize the finest grape growers in Ontario. As a prize, Lou was offered an all expense paid trip to the Okanagan British Columbia, where he visited a number of small, family-owned wineries.  This trip sealed the deal – it convinced him that the time had come to take the next step, and to begin making wine.

Lou invited Fred DiProfio, whom he knew from his work at Pillitteri Winery, to be consulting winemaker. The first vintage was small – only 2800 cases.  Lou (wearing black in photo below), Fred and his brother-in-law, Joseph Barbera (wearing red shirt in photo), did just about everything. “It was the three of us in the cellar, doing punch downs, bottling, labeling – we were doing it all. At this time, there were only three wines, a rosé, a Gewürztraminer and a Gewürztraminer Riesling blend. Most sold out in just a few weeks,” Joseph reminisces.  He was always concerned that they didn’t have a red wine. “Lou, Fred and I talked about this and agreed we had to find a way to make one. Lou had put aside one barrel each of Cabernet Sauvignon and Cabernet Franc for the family’s consumption; Fred’s contacts in the industry allowed him to secure a barrel of Merlot. Those guys worked their magic, and we were able to present a Cabernet/Merlot blend ….but those 75 cases sold out as quickly as the others! Mama Mia, what a time!”

Since then, Lou’s expertise as a horticulturalist, the family’s dedication to quality and the unique contribution of gifted winemaker Fred DiProfio, have built Pondview’s reputation, driving demand among consumers and securing a long list of awards of recognition. Pondview expects to produce 12,000 cases of their wine this year, and has entered into a partnership with Marcel Morgenstern, their Director of Sales, to produce the virtual brand, Burnt Ship Bay. Facing limitations on their shelf space in Ontario, Lou and Marcel are turning to exports, introducing their wines to select European and US markets. The initial response in Europe has been very positive, considering, as Lou says, “there is no lack of wines to choose from!”

Given the high demand for their wines, we’re especially delighted to feature three of Pondview’s small lot and premium portfolio Bella Terra wines.

Bella Terra Pinot Gris 2013 – a creamy, complex and flavourful white wine
– Bella Terra Cabernet Franc 2012 – a fragrant, succulent and well-structured red wine ready to enjoy or be cellared
– Bella Terra Cabernet Sauvignon 2013 – the supple, full bodied, intensely flavoured Cab Sauv like no other from Niagara

You can order extra bottles through us or stop in for a warm welcome at Pondview on your next visit to the Niagara area! You’re bound to find Joseph, Lou, or his wife Adriana behind the tasting bar.

Cheers & Enjoy!
Debbie & Savvy Team
debbie@savvycompany.ca

 

Pondview Estate Winery
Presented by Sommelier Susan Desjardins

I’ve visited Pondview several times since we first featured them in 2011.  And Lou, Marcel & Joseph are often at our Savvy Taste & Buy Events so we have quick chats while sampling their latest wine. When the opportunity for me to be the lead for this issue of the Savvy eZine came up, I jumped at the chance as it gave me a way to spend time with Lou and Joseph, and get into more depth about what has been happening at their winery over the past 5 years.

Lou (in photo) is as busy now as he was then, but in a different way. “For our first vintage, 2009, the wine was selling out, and we were on top of the world! We figured, we’ll go to 5,000 cases and sell the remaining grapes to our partners, as we’d done before. But then, the winery took on a life of its own.” While I am interviewing him, he is dealing with the harvest and getting ready for another trip to China, where he will be educating his import partners and promoting Pondview icewine in Shanghai and Beijing.

Hard to believe that in five short years, Lou is now discussing the burgeoning wine market in China and talking about how young professionals and members of the expanding middle class have a particular interest in red wine, while his icewines are in increasing demand with premium wine purchasers. In this context, he talks about the steps that Pondview has taken to guarantee the authenticity of their icewine. Developed in Bordeaux, ‘Proof Tags’ now appear on the neck of every bottle of ice wine. The tag can be scanned using a smartphone app, allowing the consumer to track the bottle from the point of purchase back to the originating winery, right to the vineyard. “It’s an additional cost to do this, but we want our customers, whether in China or right here in Canada, to be secure in the knowledge that the wine in the bottle was truly produced by us.”

He also talks about his satisfaction with Pondview’s entry into a few select European market – Denmark, the Netherlands, Austria and England. And he’s building the business in these foreign markets with the same patient approach used to begin producing wine in Niagara – one customer at a time, one pallet of wine at a time, slowly building awareness and credibility. And this can be done now because of the family’s ongoing investment in Pondview. “You can’t sell what you don’t have”.

Over the last five years, a 10-acre plot adjacent to the existing winery estate has been purchased. It was planted 2 years ago with Viognier, Malbec and more Pinot Gris vines. More recently, 12 acres at the juncture of the Four Mile Creek and St. David’s appellations have been purchased specifically for icewine with Vidal and Cabernet Franc vines.

The core team remains in place – Lou, Fred (winemaker), Joseph and Adriana, along with a variety of well-qualified professionals have been brought in to support the growth in the business, including Marcel Morgenstern as head of sales, whom Lou has known since he was selling grapes to Pillitteri Estates Winery years ago.

Despite the work of identifying and entering new markets, and the amount of travel associated with it, Lou continues to be laser focused on the vineyards. He talks about the 2016 vintage as one of the most challenging in recent memory. “We had a warm winter, and the snow melted early, so we went into the growing season in a drought. Not ideal.  Then we waited for rain that didn’t come.”

The Pondview name reflects the estate – there is a small pond onsite, but it isn’t large enough for ongoing irrigation of the vineyard. Fortunately, the family had purchased water rights to a creek that runs along the edge of the property, and water is regularly released into it – so irrigation during this past summer’s drought kept the vines alive and growing. But the desiccation of the soil was so profound, the vines struggled with nutrient uptake. Lou had to initiate new practices, such as using non-toxic foliar sprays of nutrients to help maintain vine health.

Irrigation and other interventions, like the foliar spraying, ensured the vines didn’t get overly stressed and were able to produce fruit with good concentration of sugars and flavours. “Over the last five years, we’re seeing more weather extremes – really cold winters, then two short crop years back to back. I don’t remember that happening before” Lou explains. “It looks like 2016 will go down as the hottest Niagara summer in recent memory. With changes in climate, farming practices will have to change as well, and early attention to vine health and continued monitoring will be required through the entire growing season.”

As our conversation draws to a close, Lou talks about his close partnership with Fred diProfio, and reveals much of his own philosophy. “I’ve known Fred for a long time. We respect each other and work very closely together, bouncing ideas around. We’re always willing to try something new.” And he says, with a smile in his voice, “Every day is a school day!”

 

 

~ SAVVY SOMMELIER TASTING NOTES ~

Bella Terra Pinot Gris 2013 VQA

The unique white wine is from a small lot (only 300 cases), produced from estate-grown fruit, barrel fermented and aged nine months in seasoned French and Hungarian oak. None of this wine was produced in 2014 or 2015 due to the effect of the very difficult winters of 2014 and 2015 on the vines. So you’re getting a ‘limited edition’ here!

Savvy Sommelier Tasting Notes: There’s real complexity here – the aromas and flavours are a basket of lush Ontario orchard and pit fruits entwined with notes of fruit custard, sweet citrus and spiced caramel. Elegant and well balanced, the wine has a vibrant yet creamy texture and lingering spicy notes through the smooth lasting finish.

Suggested Food Pairing:  This has the weight and depth to pair with holiday turkey, with smoked salmon canapes, or with a creamy artichoke risotto.

Cellaring: Enjoy now.

 

Bella Terra Cabernet Franc 2012 VQA

The hot 2012 vintage, considered a good one for Bordeaux varieties, provided good sugar levels and flavour intensity, while vineyard management ensured sufficient acidity was maintained. Unfiltered, aged eighteen months in French oak, this wine shows Lou’s dedication to the fruit and the vineyard, cropped at very low yields to ensure concentrated flavours.

Savvy Sommelier Tasting Notes: Rich, ripe and fragrant on the nose, this warm, full bodied wine is bursting with aromas of spiced rose, succulent black fruit, licorice and earth. It’s refined, clean structure is a great counterpoint to the concentrated fruit flavours and it finishes with a lingering note of chocolate-coated coffee bean.

Suggested Food Pairing: Winter warming meals of prime rib or tortière would be a great match.

Cellaring: Drink now or cellar a further 3-5 years.

 

 


Bella Terra Cabernet Sauvignon 2013 VQA

The 2013 vintage was a challenging one, with a late spring, heavy summer rain combined with intense heat. Lou’s vigilance in the vineyard and strategy to use the long, warm fall weather to allow further ripening and concentration in the fruit ensured a wine of quality and great flavour. With a November harvest, the fruit for this opulent wine really benefited from that extended hang time, while in the cellar it was aged eighteen months in French oak and left unfiltered.

Savvy Sommelier Tasting Notes: There’s great intensity to the aromas of cassis, mingling with underlying notes of compost and tobacco, delicate dried herbs and spice. The purity of the cassis flavours combines with blueberry garnished with a dash of dark chocolate and hints of vanilla. This full bodied wine offers a round rich supple texture, a spicy, warm palate and a sumptuous long-lasting finish.

Suggested Food Pairing:  Serve with braised short ribs or beef tenderloin.

Cellaring:  This wine may be enjoyed now or aged a further 2-4 years.

 

~ RECIPES TO ENJOY WITH YOUR SAVVY SELECTIONS ~

With Pondview Bella Terra Pinot Gris…

Risotto with Artichoke

Photo Credit: Food & Style Magazine
Recipe Credit: Chef Hector Diaz (then at Hilton Lac-Leamy)

Serves 4-6

Ingredients

2 Tbsp olive oil
1 Tbsp shallots, chopped
1 ½ Tbsp each, small-diced carrots & celery
1 tsp minced garlic
1 c Arborio rice
½ c white wine
3 c hot chicken stock
¼ c heavy 35-per-cent cream
2 Tbsp diced, cooked artichoke heart (bottled or canned is fine)
1 Tbsp unsalted butter, cut into small cubes
2 Tbsp Padano or parmesan cheese, grated

Method

In a medium saucepan, heat oil on medium-high heat and sauté shallots & vegetables until shallots are translucent but not browned. Stir in garlic, then rice to coat with oil.

Reduce heat to medium and add wine, half the chicken stock. Stir constantly until liquid is absorbed, then add remaining stock and continue to cook, stirring, until liquid is absorbed a second time. Add cream, artichokes, and cook 5 minutes longer. Rice should be al dente; if it’s too hard, add just a little hot liquid & cook until it is.

Remove from heat, whip in butter & grated cheese; season to taste & serve.

 

With Pondview Bella Terra Cabernet Franc

Grilled Vegetables with Buffalo Mozzarella

Photo credit: Broil King BBQ
Recipe Credit: Modified from on a dish served at the River’s End Restaurant & Inn located in Jenner, California
Serves 6

Ingredients

4 each red and yellow bell peppers, quartered lengthwise & seeded
2 large zucchini, cut into 12 thin diagonal slices
6 medium Portobello mushrooms, peeled, gills carefully scooped out
3 large fresh Buffalo mozzarella
6x 4” rosemary sprigs, leaves removed from lower half

Marinade

1/3 c balsamic vinegar
1/3 c olive oil
1 small clove garlic, minced
1 tsp Dijon mustard
1 tsp kosher salt
¼ tsp freshly ground black pepper
1 tsp chopped fresh rosemary leaves

Method

Whisk together marinade ingredients, then marinate peppers for about 15 minutes. Add mushrooms, tossing with peppers & continue marinating for a further 15 minutes.

Remove vegetables from marinade (reserve marinade), cook in batches on heated grill, 8-10 minutes for peppers (or until lightly charred), 7-8 minutes for mushrooms. Brush with marinade during cooking.

Remove veggies from grill. Place mushrooms upside down on flat surface. Layer with a piece of red pepper, a slice of cheese, zucchini, yellow pepper, a slice of cheese and another slice of zucchini. Poke the rosemary sprig through the middle of each stack with leaves at the top.

Place veggie stacks on a heat-proof dish and return to grill (turned off) so that cheese can soften, then serve with fresh French bread.

 

 

With Pondview Bella Terra Cabernet Sauvignon…

Mustard-glazed Standing Rib Roast with Pan Gravy

Recipe Credit: Lucy Waverman & James Chatto, A Matter of Taste Cookbook
This recipe is also online at Globe & Mail Newspaper
Serves 8

Ingredients

1/3 c Dijon mustard
2 Tbsp olive oil
2 Tbsp soy sauce
1 Tbsp chopped garlic
2 Tbsp chopped parsley
1 Tbsp coarsely ground pepper
1 Tbsp chopped fresh rosemary or thyme, or 1 tsp dried
1 standing rib roast (~7 lbs)
Salt to taste

Method

Combine mustard, oil, soy sauce, garlic, parsley, pepper & rosemary. Brush over roast, including bones. Let sit for 2 hours, or refrigerate overnight.

Preheat oven to 450F. Turn on oven broiler. Place roast fat side up on a rack in a roasting pan & broil for about 4 minutes or until fat is crispy. Turn off broiler, reheat oven to 450F & roast for 30 minutes.

Reduce heat to 350F & roast for about 1 ½ hours longer for rare.

Remove roast to a carving board & let rest 15 minutes to allow juices to retract while you make gravy. Remove roast from bones & carve into thin slices. Serve with gravy, roast potatoes & green beans.

 

Enjoy your Savvy Selections!

No need to go all the way to Italy when Niagara has Vieni Estates

Posted by David Loan

Wednesday, November 23rd, 2016

Savvy Selections wine of the month club
Vieni Estates Winery
–  November 2016 –

Where in the world would you find wine that offers ripe fruit flavours, food-friendly reds, and traditional winemaking techniques? If you answered “Italy”, you’d certainly be correct.  But if you answered “Vieni Estates in Niagara”, you’d prove that you really know your stuff!

This month in Savvy Selections, we feature the Italian-style wines of Vieni Estates.  A newcomer to the Beamsville Bench, Vieni has imported the techniques and grape varieties from their founder’s homeland of southern Italy.  You can read all about their take on the Italian winemaking tradition in our Vieni profile, below.

Get ready to uncork & enjoy your Savvy Selections…

In your Savvy Selections you will find 3 of our favourite Vieni wines. We chose these as the best examples of Vieni’s blend of Ontario fruit with Italian-style!

2013 Momeni Extra-dry a Prosecco-style sparkler, loaded with fine bubbles and citrusy fun-
2012 Cabernet Franc Private Reserve – rich and ripe, this Cab Franc explodes with flavour
2011 Aglianico Al Passo – made with air-dried fruit from Canada’s only Aglianico planting, this is a stellar example of an Italian wine made right here in Ontario

Traditional techniques and Niagara fruit

Vieni Estates may be new, but they are producing some unique and very good wines.  After all, they’ve been growing grapes for other wineries for decades – and the grapes make the wine!  These wines are ready to drink, though most of them can handle cellaring for a few years too.  Our Savvy Sommeliers know you’ll love them as much as we do!

Call on us anytime you would like additional bottles of your favorite Vieni Estates wines – or other wines we have featured in previous Savvy Selections.  Your Canadian Wine Hotline is 613-SAVVYCO (728-8926), or you can just drop me a line at debbie@savvycompany.ca.

Cheers & Enjoy!
Debbie & Savvy Team

 

Introducing
Vieni Estates
Presented by Sommelier David Loan

Pasquale Raviele wanted one thing; to bring the flavours from his family’s roots in Naples to his new winery in Niagara. That required not only reproducing the techniques of Southern Italy, but introducing some of their grape varieties, too. “We combine Old World traditions with a New World locale,” said winery manager, Steven Dimola.

Breaking Ground

Pasquale already owned 120 acres of vineyards in the heart of the Beamsville Bench (in photo on right)  He had been selling high quality grapes to a number of wineries in the region.  But in 2013, he decided it was time to undertake his own project; a winery and distillery making Italian-style wines and grappas (called “graspas” at Vieni to avoid trademark issues). This would be a first for Niagara – while there are a number of Italian-influenced wineries, no one had been making grappa, the fiery spirit made from grape skins leftover from the winemaking process.

Another first: Pasquale imported Aglianico vines, the only plantings of this most ancient of grapes in Canada.

Sun Worshiper

It is widely believed that Aglianico was the first wine grape grown in Italy, brought there by the ancient Greeks.  The grape is black, producing a dark red juice with big fruit flavours and high tannins and acidity.  A staple of the Naples region Pasquale’s family comes from, it enjoys that area’s long growing season and Mediterranean climate. Bringing a heat-loving vine to Niagara was a challenge, but Pasquale and winemaker Mauro Salvador – another Italian import(!) – overcame the obstacles with careful hillside plantings that maximized the amount of sun the grapes would get each day.

They also brought with them an Italian winemaking tradition that ensured the grapes would produce the wine they wanted.

Cut and Dried

Appassimento is an Italian winemaking technique in which whole clusters of grapes are cut off the vine and then placed carefully onto custom-made racks.  The racks are designed to allow good airflow across the grapes so that the fruit begins to dry and shrivel. Drying the grapes concentrates the sugars and the fruit flavours.  Appassimento style wines – Amarone is the best known example – are richly flavoured with notes of figs, raisin, and leather.
Other Ontario wineries have applied the Appassimento technique, with most of them drying the fruit in repurposed tobacco kilns.  At Vieni, the grapes are dried in the traditional method, in an open air shed with a few fans helping blow air across the grapes. The grapes are left on the racks from six weeks to four months, depending on the winemaker’s preference.

Vieni’s Appassimento-style Aglianico is full-bodied, with huge fruit flavours and terrific balance.  It really is a taste of Italy, made in Ontario.

We’re Convinced!

In addition to the Aglianico and grappa, Vieni produces Prosecco-type sparkling wines, wines that feature such well known varietals as Cabernet Franc, Merlot, and Chardonnay, and a range of ice wines.

The biggest challenge, according to winery manager Steve, is convincing Canadians how amazing Ontario wines are.  “Many Canadians still don’t believe that we’re producing world-class products in Niagara,” he said.  We know that when you try our Savvy Selections picks from Vieni, you’ll agree: these are absolutely world-class wines!

 

 

 

~ SAVVY SOMMELIER TASTING NOTES ~

For your Savvy Selection this month, we’ve chosen three wines that beautifully showcase Vieni’s stunning fusion of Italian technique and Niagara fruit.  We know that you’ll love the remarkable flavours of these unique wines, along with some delicious recipes that will perfectly match food and drink. 

Momenti Extra-Dry VQA Ontario 2013, $14

Savvy Sommelier Tasting Notes: This lovely sparkling wine is made in the tradition of Italy’s famous Prosecco, but from Ontario Vidal and Pinot Grigio grapes.  Like Prosecco, it is light (11% alcohol), frothy, and tangy.  Flavours of green apple, ripe melon, grapefruit, and apricot are detectable at first, but give it a minute in the glass and you’ll find pretty floral notes come through, especially honeysuckle. Debbie, who loves sparklers, calls this “an unwinding wine” – perfect for relieving the day’s stresses!

Suggested Food Pairing: This bubbly treat will pair nicely with an Italian flatbread topped with Fontina and Prosciutto.  Recipe below.

Cellaring:  Drink at 8ºC within a year.

 

Cabernet Franc Private Reserve VQA Vinemount Ridge 2012, $23

Savvy Sommelier Tasting Notes: Winner of a number of international wine awards, this rich and ripe Cab Franc was aged in oak for eighteen months!  The medium tannins and acidity are perfectly balanced with the notes of black cherries, fragrant spices, mint, and raspberries.  2012 was an excellent vintage for Ontario Cabernet Franc, allowing it to come to full ripeness without any of the green vegetable aromas that sometimes mar the grape. If you want an excellent example of Ontario Cab Franc, here it is!

Suggested Food Pairing: The richness of this wine and the cool autumn weather makes us think of Chicken Chasseur, a hearty stew of chicken braised with mushrooms and tomatoes.  Perfect November fare!  Recipe follows

Cellaring: Ready to drink now, this could be cellared for up to 3 years.  Serve between 15-16ºC.

 

Aglianico Al Passo VQA Vinemount Ridge 2011, $30

Savvy Sommelier Tasting Notes:  The beautiful silver-on-black image on the bottle is of a Greek ship.  It’s a fitting homage to the ancient roots of this wine, which came to Italy from Greece.  The name, which comes from a corrupted word meaning “Greek”, is pronounced “al-YAN-i-ko”.

This wine is made using the Appassimento technique, in which ripe clusters of grapes are carefully placed on custom racks to dry.  The results are rich, concentrated flavours of dark berries, figs, mint, and boysenberry. This is a juicy wine, with lots of stewed and dried fruit notes.  David calls it a “November pleaser”, ready to warm you up on a chilly day.

Suggested Food Pairing: One of our favourite cookbooks is David Rocco’s “Dolce Vita”.  His fun Drunken Spaghetti recipe will go perfectly with this Southern Italian-style wine.

Cellaring: Drinking well now, this can cellar 3-5 years.  Serve at 14-16ºC.

 

 

~ RECIPES TO ENJOY WITH YOUR SAVVY SELECTIONS ~

With Vieni Momenti Extra-Dry…

Italian Flatbread (Piadina) with Fontina and Prosciutto

Recipe & Photo credit: CookingChannelTV.com
Serves 4-6

Ingredients

3 1/2 cups all-purpose flour, plus extra for dusting
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon fine sea salt, plus extra for seasoning
1 stick butter, cut into 1/2-inch pieces, at room temperature
2 Tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 pound whole milk ricotta cheese
2 teaspoons lemon zest (from about 2 small lemons)
Freshly ground black pepper
6 ounces Fontina cheese, shredded (about 2 cups)
4 ounces prosciutto, thinly sliced
1 cup chopped fresh basil

Method

Combine the flour, baking soda and 1 teaspoon salt in the bowl of an upright mixer fitted with a dough hook attachment. Add the butter and mix on low speed until incorporated, about 2 minutes.  With the machine running, slowly add 10 to 12 tablespoons water until the mixture forms a dough around the hook.  Transfer the dough to a lightly floured work surface and knead for 5 minutes until smooth.  Cut the dough into 4 equal pieces.  Form into disk shapes and wrap in plastic wrap.  Refrigerate for 30 minutes.

Place a grill pan over medium-high heat or preheat a gas or charcoal grill. On a lightly floured work surface, roll out each piece of dough into an 8-to-10-inch circle, about 1/8-inch thick.  Brush each circle with the extra-virgin olive oil and grill for 4 minutes each side.  Remove the piadina from the grill to cool slightly.

Combine the ricotta cheese and lemon zest in a small bowl. Season with salt and pepper.  Spread each piadina with 1/2 cup of the ricotta mixture.  Sprinkle the fontina cheese evenly over the ricotta cheese.  Arrange 2 prosciutto slices on top of the cheeses.  Cut each piadina into 8 wedges and transfer to a serving platter.  Garnish with the chopped basil. 

 

With Vieni Cabernet Franc…

Chicken Chasseur

Recipe and Photo credit: BBCGoodFood.com
Serves 4

Ingredients

4 chicken legs
2 Tbsp olive oil
2 onions, thickly sliced
1 cup whole button or chestnut mushrooms
1 rounded tbsp tomato purée
1 ¼ cup white wine
1 ½ cup chicken or beef  stock
3-4 tomatoes , quartered and deseeded
sprinkling tarragon leaves and chopped parsley

Method

Season the chicken with salt and pepper. Heat the olive oil in a lidded sauté pan or shallow casserole. Pan-fry the chicken over a medium-high heat, turning, until golden on both sides. Remove from the pan and keep to one side.  You will need about 2 tbsp fat left in the pan for cooking the onions, so if the legs have released a lot of fat, drain off the excess.

Add the onions and mushrooms to the pan, stirring occasionally until they have a little colour and are beginning to soften, 6-8 minutes. Stir in the tomato purée and white wine, then pour in the consommé or stock.

Return the chicken to the pan and bring to a simmer. Place a lid on the pan and continue to cook, allowing the sauce to just simmer for about 1 hr, or until the meat is completely tender.

To finish, skim the sauce of any further excess fat, then add the tomatoes, if using. Simmer, without the lid, for a further 2-3 minutes to soften them, then scatter over the herbs.

 

 

With Vieni Aglianico…

Drunken Spaghetti

Recipe & Photo credits: David Rocco, FoodNetwork.ca
Serves 4

Ingredients

1 lb spaghetti
3 to 4 anchovy fillets, chopped
3 cup red wine
½ cup freshly grated pecorino cheese
Small bunch of Italian parsley, finely chopped
½ cup extra virgin olive oil
3 garlic cloves, minced
3 dried chile peppers, crushed (optional)
Salt to season

Method

Bring salted water to boil in a large pot. Add spaghetti and cook for 7 to 8 minutes, pasta should still be a little firm in the middle (just before pasta is al dente).

In a skillet or large sauté pan, heat extra virgin olive oil over medium heat. Add garlic, anchovy fillets and chile peppers. Cook until garlic is golden brown, about 2 to 3 minutes. Add spaghetti to the pan. Toss to combine with olive oil. Add the red wine. Cook until wine has reduced slightly and spaghetti has finished cooking.

Sprinkle parsley and grated pecorino cheese. Toss to combine and remove from heat.

 

Enjoy with your Savvy Selections!

Have you been to the winery in the Ottawa Valley?

Posted by Susan

Thursday, October 20th, 2016

Savvy Selections wine of the month club
KIN Vineyards
–  October 2016 –

Google Chris van Barr, and the first thing you’ll learn is that he is a successful lawyer specializing in intellectual property law, who also teaches in the subject at the University of Ottawa. But, dig a little deeper, and you’ll discover that he has roots on a farm in southern Ontario and has made his home in rural Ottawa. Chris is a man who has a passion for the land as well as interesting, elegant wines. This deep rooted passion led him to partner with Alan Krueger five years ago to establish KIN Vineyards, where together they have transformed part of Chris’ 50 acre property in Kinburn (west of Ottawa) into a vineyard. This property includes Pinot Noir and Chardonnay vines, as well as hardy hybrid varieties Marechal Foch, Frontenac, Vidal and Muscat Ottonel. There is a twin site – a 50 acre Carp vineyard – that is being harvested for the first time this month. The Carp vineyard was planted exclusively for Pinot Noir and Chardonnay vines.

This summer while the vines took hold, the team constructed a modest facility for winemaking and wine storage on the Carp estate. Work is also underway to create a small retail store at the edge of the vineyards. Local architect Richard White, known for his focus on environmentally friendly buildings in harmony with the flow of the land, is working with Chris and his team to design the permanent facility planned for the site. It can be truthfully said that no grass grows under Chris & Alan’s feet!

Winemaker Brian Hamilton, a graduate of Brock University’s Cool Climate Oenology and Viticulture Institute, comes to KIN with prior experience as a winemaker at Malivoire, Southbrook Vineyard and Tawse Winery. These three wineries have been featured in Savvy Selections over the years and have grown their reputation for their focus on organic and biodynamic winemaking practices. Brian also has notable winemaking experience internationally, having worked a vintage in California, as well as one in New Zealand, where he further developed experience and expertise in the creation of cool-climate wines.

Alan, the KIN Viticulturalist, graduated from the University of Guelph, is an avid gardener and has taught at the Ottawa Waldorf School for many years. Rudolf Steiner, the founder of Waldorf schools, was also the founder of the holistic system of biodynamic farming, which significantly influenced the principles of current organic farming.

Chris and Alan both originally lived in Southern Ontario, and both worked on farms during high schools holidays, connecting when they coincidentally both moved to rural Ottawa. On cycling trips through the countryside, they talked about different types of environmentally friendly artisanal enterprises that they could partner in, including raising goats to produce cheese. But the idea that really struck a chord was the concept of growing grapes and producing wine organically. Alan said, “Given my experience with the Steiner philosophy at the Waldorf school, my ‘green thumb’, and my availability in the summer, I was the obvious choice to lead the work in the vineyards. Chris is great with all types of farm equipment, so he deals with anything mechanical, as well as being the guiding financial and management hand of the business. Before we made any decisions, we arranged a trip to Niagara to meet with winemakers producing organic wines.” It was during this trip that Chris & Alan met Brian at Southbrook Vineyards. Over subsequent visits and countless questions, four years ago, Brian became a winemaking consultant at KIN. As you can imagine, he has been an invaluable resource & winemaking knowledge…not twoman-and-wine-in-foregroundo mention all of his contacts in the industry.

“When I met with Chris and Alan during their visit at Southbrook, we spoke at length about organic and biodynamic production,” remembers Brian. Our common views on these philosophies really connected us as we established the principals for KIN Vineyards.” This spring, Brian took the plunge & moved to Ottawa to become KIN’s full-time winemaker as the team prepares for their first harvest on the Carp estate.

Given the very limited production available from the KIN vineyards (about 500 cases in 2015), the Savvy Team is delighted to offer our subscribers the opportunity to taste 2 wines produced from fruit from the Kinburn property, as well as 2 wines that Brian is producing from fruit harvested from a carefully selected vineyard in Niagara, while the vines on the Carp estate mature:

– KIN Chardonnay 2015 – released in time to be featured. This is a refined & silky smooth Chardonnay

Frontenac ‘Dark Horse’ 2015 – a medium-bodied red wine with juicy cherry & berry flavours

-‘Understory’ Marechal Foch 2015 (375 mL bottle) – a rare variety that offers a unique fresh & fruit-dominated tastes

– KIN Pinot Noir 2015 – just released and making impressions. A well-integrated cool-climate wine that shines Brian’s talent brightly

You can order extra bottles directly from us or visit the KIN team at the Carp or Westboro Farmer’s markets. As always, don’t hesitate to contact the Savvy Team if you have queries about this exciting new venture sprouting up in the Ottawa Valley.

Cheers & Enjoy!

  

Introducing…
KIN Vineyards
Presented by Sommelier Susan Desjardins

All these years I’ve been writing Savvy Selections features, I would never have guessed the opportunity would arise to introduce you, to a winery in my own backyard – in rural west Ottawa, no less!two-guys-and-barrel

The vineyard on Chris van Barr’s (right in photo) Kinburn property strategically sits between the house and the forested ridge. Alan (left in photo) is convinced that the trees on the Carp Ridge offer protection to the vineyard from the harsh winter winds and the killing spring frosts.

Brian is impressed with the site too with the constant amount of sunshine in the vineyard and in terms of the milestones for grape growing and ripening, the Carp vineyard is performing at the same level as, or only a couple of days behind, many vineyards in Niagara.

Alan came across this special protected property while ferrying his children to after-school activities. It seemed ideal given the slope of the land.

 

Bring in the firefighters!

There’s great laughter as Alan describes the process of planting the Chardonnay and Pinot Noir, with local firefighters volunteering to dig the holes, while high school students were recruited to hand plant the vines.

I had the opportunity to spend time with Brian and Alan, walking the Carp vineyard to see the results of the KINfolks’ commitment to a challenging viticultural landscape. Planted only three years ago, the Carp vineyard slopes south and west immediately off the Carp Ridge, overlooking the farms of the Ottawa Valley. This block includes three different soil types, the upper slope characterized by loamy sandy soil, the mid slope showing exposed limestone and loam (the rocky soil has the potential to hold and radiate the sun’s heat), while the lower slope is largely clay loam over limestone bedrock.

The Kinburn estate lies between the Carp Ridge and the Carp River. Its soils are a darker clay loam, deposits from the ancient Champlain Sea, over the friable limestone bedrock. This site has plants of the vinifera vines of Chardonnay and Pinot Noir, as well as hardier hybrid varieties – Marechal Foch, Frontenac, Marquette, Vidal and Muscat Ottonel.

The different soil types between the two sites, aspect and slope determined where each variety was planted. In a way, these vineyards are the experiment, the testing ground for the dream of vineyards in this part of the Ottawa Valley – setting out a range of different types of grape vines, doing the backbreaking work of planting the vines and burying the canes for the winter, then exposing them to the risks of frost each spring, testing their mettle and their ability to thrive in this unique environment.

 

Harvest 2016

While you read this, Brian is quietly bursting with excitement at the prospect of being onsite for the Carp estate harvest, and the opportunity to make the first KIN Chardonnay and Pinot Noir from their own grapes. The small facility is prepared for the event, and Alan will be recruiting his students to help with picking the grapes. There’s very close monitoring to ensure that the fruit achieves optimal ripeness and intensity. Brian expects that the yields will be low – perhaps as little as one tonne per acre – but that is part of the deal when working in a site on the ‘bleeding’ edge of winemaking.

The killing frost of May 2015 weakened some of the vines and killed others in the lower block of the property (replanted this spring), further limiting the size of the harvest this year, as well as for a couple more years. Brian explains, “This uncertainty, as well as the limitations on yield, are key reasons that we will continue the relationship with our grower in Niagara over the long term.” Their target for 2016 is to produce 1000 cases of wine, with the goal of doubling that in 2017. Oh and did we mention their yields might be down a bit more because of the wild turkeys eating the perfectly ripened Pinot Noir grapes? Ask Brian and Alan when you visit them at the winery…

 

Patience. Patience. Patience!

During my visit, Brian continuously talks about the importance of patience and a commitment to nurturing the grapes – as the raw ingredients – and to nurturing the process of winemaking to ensure the faultless expression of the terrior in the wine. He sees the KIN wines – the Chardonnay and Pinot Noir – as a vehicle for cool-climate wine aficionados to experience pure flavours of the terroir, to learn about the personality of vitis vinifera in the Ottawa Valley and the ways in which organic and biodynamic practices deliver that unique experience.

Brian laughingly talks about his ‘job’ since joining KIN full time this spring. “I’m multi-tasking, marketing with restaurants, selling at farm markets, working in the vineyard and, oh, yes, I’ll be doing some winemaking soon as well!” But you can see from his expression that he is as excited as Alan and Chris, perhaps more so now that he is onsite for the Carp site’s first harvest.

And I think you’ll agree when you taste the wines that you’ll be lined up to taste the 2016 vintage when it’s released!

Cheers & enjoy your KIN wines!

 

 

 

~ SAVVY SOMMELIER TASTING NOTES ~

KIN ‘Dark Horse’ Frontenac 2015
$19.95kin-bottle-pouring

Never heard of Frontenac? Here’s a great opportunity to try a well-made wine, produced from the fruit of a vine that is a cross of a hybrid and the very cold hardy Vitis riparia, developed at the University of Minnesota and introduced in 1996. The grapes are quite small, which would suggest good flavour concentration, and wines from this grape generally show flavours of red fruits and good levels of acidity. Brian gave the must extended skin contact, resulting in intensely lovely dark colour. The wine was then aged it for several months in American oak to polish off the flavours.

Savvy Sommelier Tasting Notes: Deep ruby, this offers intriguing aromas, combining perfumed notes of red rose, lifted red and black cherry notes and a subtle herbaceous character. Dry, medium bodied, you’ll note a touch of oak aging underlying the wash of tasty, juicy red berry and cherry flavours. There’s a roundness to the texture with a touch of warmth and oaky toast on the tangy finish.

Suggested Food Pairing: Bright, fresh and flavourful, this will pair well with meals such as turkey with cranberry or with duck with a cherry reduction.

Cellaring: Drinking well now or cellar for 2-4 years

 

KIN Vineyards ‘Understory’ Marechal Foch 2015 VQA
$12.95 (375 mL bottle)

Marechal Foch (or just ‘Foch’) is a French hybrid that ripens early and is a vine that is cold hardy. Foch was grown in many Canadian vineyards until the 1980s, when government incentives to plant vitis vinifera led many grape growers to remove it. Now still grown in a handful of vineyards across the country where winemakers excel at producing intensely flavoured wine from the grapes of old vines, as well as fortified wines of great depth and intensity.

This Marechal Foch was produced from grapes grown in the Kinburn vineyard, the wine lightly aged in American oak.

Savvy Sommelier Tasting Notes: Deep purple, this wine offers intense aromas of sweet dark berries along with earthy notes and a whiff of graphite. Dry medium bodied, its clean, fresh flavours of blueberry and blackberry are garnished with a light kiss of spice and toast, the fruit dominating through the tangy finish.

Suggested Food Pairing: Serve with roast lamb, gourmet burgers or an early autumn stew.

Cellaring: Drink now or over the next 12-18 months

 

KIN Chardonnay VQA 2015
$29.95

Produced from the fruit harvested from an acre in the Lincoln Lakeshore appellation, grown specifically for KIN, this Chardonnay is aged in very lightly toasted French oak barrels, 50% of which are new. Given the very limited production available from KIN’s own vineyards (the first harvest of Chardonnay and Pinot Noir will take place this fall), Brian plans to continue to use this carefully selected fruit from Niagara.

Savvy Sommelier Tasting Notes: Lovely restrained aromas of sweet vanilla, hints of melted butter, ripe tree fruit and citrus tantalize the nose. Dry, mid-weight, the wine shows real purity of fruit—crisp apple and juicy pear mingling with flavours of lemon-lime and a touch of grapefruit pith. It’s nicely balanced, clean and fresh in texture, showing notes of spice and white pepper on fresh finish. A true cool-climate Chardonnay!

Suggested Food Pairing: Serve with seafood pasta, coquille St-Jacques, or roast chicken.

Cellaring: The wine was recently bottled, so we recommend waiting a month or so before opening. This wine will age 5-7 years

 

KIN Pinot Noir VQA 2015
$29.95

Produced from fruit from the same vineyard as the Chardonnay, cropped at 2 tons per acre. Brian selected two clones of Pinot Noir for this wine, one which delivers more tannins, while the other offers more intensity of colour and fruit. The grapes were gently pressed in a small basket press, the wine aged 10 months in French oak using two different toast levels. Picking Pinot is fussy work – yet many hands make light work (see the photo below!)

Savvy Sommelier Tasting Notes: This is a classic, elegant cool-climate Pinot Noir, offering perfumed floral notes, subtle red fruit aromas, and hints of crushed leaves and earth. Dry, light-mid weight, nicely framed by lively acidity and light, fine-grained tannins, the wine also shows wonderful freshness of flavour with tangy red fruit—Morello cherry, raspberry and red plum skin to the fore. Brian’s light hand with oak is evident in the delicate notes of spice and vanilla on the finish.

Suggested Food Pairing: Serve with duck breast with a cherry sauce, or with grilled salmon or trout.

Cellaring: This wine was also recently bottled and will benefit if held a few more weeks. Consider keeping it for your Christmas turkey feast. It has the cellaring power to last 5-7 years.

kin-team

 

 

~ RECIPES TO ENJOY WITH YOUR SAVVY SELECTIONS ~


With KIN Chardonnay…

Braised Pork Tenderloin with Apples
Lucy Waverman, Dinner Tonight
Serves 4
Photo credit: The Ann Arbor News

kin-porkIngredients

2 Tbsp butter
1 lb. pork tenderloin
½ cup chopped onion
½ tsp dried rosemary (or 1 tsp fresh, if available)
½ cup apple juice
1 Tbsp cider vinegar
½ tsp Dijon mustard
1 Tbsp vegetable oil
3 Macintosh apples peeled, cored and coarsely chopped

Method

Heat butter in skillet on medium-high heat. When it is sizzling, add pork tenderloin. Sear meat for 2-3 minutes per side. Remove tenderloin, reserve & reduce heat to medium-low.

Add onion and rosemary to skillet & sauté for 5 minutes or until onion is softened. Add apple juice & vinegar, scraping up any bits in pan. Add mustard.

Raise heat & cook 2-3 minutes or until mixture is reduced by half.

Add apples & tenderloin to pan. Lower heat to medium & simmer gently for 20 minutes or until pork is firm & no longer pink. Slice & serve with roast potatoes, the apple mixture on the side.

  

With KIN ‘Dark Horse’ Frontenac…

Seared Duck Breast with Cherries & Port Sauce

Recipe & Photo Credits www.epicurious.com
Serves 2

duck-table-overview-kin-vineyardsIngredients

2 5-6 oz. duck breast halves, or one 12-16 oz. duck breast half
2 Tbsp chilled butter, divided
¼ cup finely chopped shallot
½ cup low-salt chicken broth
8 halved pitted sweet red cherries, fresh or frozen
2 Tbsp Tawny Port
1 Tbsp orange blossom honey

Method

Place duck breast halves between 2 sheets of plastic wrap. Pound lightly to even thickness (~ ½-3/4”). Discard plastic wrap. Using a sharp knife, score skin in ¾” diamond pattern (do not cut into flesh.

Melt 1 Tbsp butter in heavy large skillet over medium-high heat. Sprinkle duck with salt & pepper. Add duck, skin side down, to skillet & cook until skin is browned & crisp, about 5 minutes. Turn duck breasts over, reduce heat to medium & cook until browned to desired doneness, about 4 minutes longer for small breasts & 8 minutes longer for large breast for medium-rare. Transfer to work surface, tent with foil to keep warm & let rest 10 minutes.

Meanwhile, pour all but 2 Tbsp drippings from skillet. Add shallot to skillet & stir over medium heat for 30 seconds. Add broth, cherries, Port and honey. Increase heat to high & boil until sauce is reduced to glaze, stirring often, about 3 minutes. Whisk in 1 Tbsp cold butter. Season sauce to taste with salt & pepper. (With this tasty sauce, you may wish to double the recipe!)

Thinly slice duck. Fan slices out on plates. Spoon over sauce & serve with roast autumn vegetables.

  

With KIN ‘Understory’ Maréchal Foch’

Roast Sirloin Steak with Mushroom Sauce

Recipe & Photo credit: Lucy Waverman, Dinner Tonight
Serves 6

roast-strip-loin-kin-vineyardsIngredients

1 3½ lb sirloin steak, about 2” thick
1 Tbsp Dijon mustard
3 cloves garlic, chopped
2 Tbsp soy sauce
1 tsp Worcestershire sauce
2 Tbsp chopped fresh rosemary
1 tsp paprika
2 Tbsp olive oil
Salt & pepper to taste
3 Tbsp butter
8 oz. wild mushrooms, sliced
1 Tbsp balsamic vinegar
1 cup red wine
1 ½ cup beef or chicken stock
2 Tbsp chopped parsley

Method

Trim fat from steak. Combine mustard, garlic, soy sauce, Worcestershire sauce, rosemary, paprika and 1 Tbsp oil. Brush over both sides of steak. Season with salt & pepper. Marinate 4 hours or overnight in refrigerator.

Preheat oven to 450F.

Heat remaining 1 Tbsp oil in large ovenproof skillet on medium-high heat. Add steak & cook 3 minutes on each side. Place skillet in oven & bake for 15-18 minutes for rare, or until desired degree of doneness. Place on carving board & let rest while making sauce.

Heat 2 Tbsp butter in skillet on medium-high heat. Add mushrooms & sauté until limp. Add balsamic vinegar & wine & reduce until ¼ cup remains. Add stock & reduce by half.

Reduce heat & stir in remaining 1 Tbsp butter. Stir in parsley. Slice steak thinly & top with mushroom sauce.

 

With KIN Pinot Noir…

Balsamic Chicken with Mushrooms & Sundried Cherries

Adapted from Troy & Cheryl-Lynn Townsin, Cooking with BC Wine
Serves 6-8
Photo credit (as close to recipe as we could find!): Simply Recipes

balsalmic-chickenIngredients

1 cup red wine
1 cup chicken stock
8 boneless, skinless chicken thighs
4 Tbsp flour
½ lb. pancetta bacon
1 Tbsp olive oil
2 onions, chopped
4 garlic cloves, finely chopped (or to taste)
1 cup mushrooms, sliced
1 cup dried cherries, chopped
¼ cup good quality balsamic vinegar
Salt & pepper to taste

Method

Dredge chicken in flour seasoned with salt & pepper.

Over medium-high heat, fry pancetta in olive oil until crisp. Remove from the pan & set aside. Brown chicken on both sides in bacon fat then remove from pan. Sauté onion, garlic & mushrooms until soft.

Add cherries, wine, vinegar, chicken stock, pancetta & chicken & simmer over medium-low heat for 30 minutes (add extra chicken stock if evaporation requires). Check the seasoning & adjust with balsamic vinegar if necessary.

Serve with frenched green beans, roasted cherry tomatoes and mashed potatoes.

 

 

Enjoy your Savvy Selections! 

 

 

Niagara College teaches the best in Canada!

Posted by David Loan

Saturday, September 17th, 2016

Savvy Selections wine of the month club
Featuring Niagara College Teaching Winery
–  September 2016 –

Hard to believe that it was almost six years ago when we first introduced YOU – our Savvy Selections subscribers – to the incredible wines from Niagara College Teaching Winery. Since then, we have watch enrollment into the winemaking program grow in unison to the growth of the Canadian wine industry.  Along the way, the winery has won numerous awards – in Canada and internationally – for their wines.  The college has provided the career opportunities for many of their students in the Canadian and international wine industries.  And their graduates are so well trained and have extensive experience that Niagara College recently hired one of their own alumni – Gavin Robertson – as their winemaker.  Isn’t that a wonderful full circle?

We’re excited to offer outstanding wines from this amazing facility, where students and faculty work together on every stage of winemaking from harvest to packing up the boxes for this month’s deliver.  With the 2016 harvest now underway with grapes picked to make sparkling wine and white wine grapes now being collected this week, the students are getting their hands right into real life vineyard experience!

 

Get ready to uncork & enjoy your Savvy Selections…

In your Savvy Selections you will find these INCREDIBLE wines. They are all food-friendly and ready to drink!

BalaNCe Brut – Sparkling wine made in the traditional method, with subtle fruit and a fine bubbly mousse.

2011 Dean’s List Pinot Noir – an earthy and flavourful, a premium Pinot Noir that WOWed our Savvy Team.

2011 Dean’s List Meritage – Your friends will think that wine came from Napa when they taste this big, well-aged blend!

Chosen by your personal Sommeliers….just for you

With every sip, it is easy to forget that Niagara College Teaching Winery is a classroom. The wines the students make are meticulously hand-crafted, using the best grapes, equipment and barrels available. After all, they aren’t just making wine, they’re teaching students how the best wines are made.

Want to stock up?

Call on us at any time you would like additional bottles of your favourite Niagara College Teaching Winery wines – or other wineries we have featured in Savvy Selections.  We’re your Wine Hotline! Reach us on 613-SAVVYCO (728-8926) or send me an email to debbie@savvycompany.ca.

Cheers!
-Debbie & Savvy Team

 

Introducing…
Niagara College Teaching Winery

Presented by Sommelier David Loan

The beginning of September is a busy time for Ontario winemakers. Grapes are being harvested, the first crush has begun and the weather needs to be watched continually.  Gavin Robertson, though, has double-duty: while overseeing the harvest, he’s also overseeing dozens of new students as they get ready to learn how to make wine.

Gavin is the winemaker at the Niagara College Teaching Winery (NCTW) – Canada’s first and only commercial teaching winery. He makes beautiful wine (as you will discover with your Savvy Selections), all the while he is introducing a new generation of students to the art, science, and work of winemaking.

“I’m here at the outset of their careers,” Gavin says of his students.  “Their first harvest, first time pruning a row, first ice wine harvest.

“When the temperature drops to minus eight in January, all of our first and second year students as well as our faculty are out at 5 am harvesting.  And it’s terribly cold and wonderful  magical all at once!”

Slowing down the pace…

Gavin (in photo left) grew up in Almonte in the Ottawa Valley.“I knew more about maple syrup than wine,” he laughs. He joined a wine tasting club while at university, and later moved to Europe for two years. While there, he got to know the culture of wine in France and Spain. “I worked odd jobs back in Toronto and found I was missing the physical craft of wine. Having been raised in the country, I wanted to slow the pace down a little bit.

“It was a series of fortuitous events. I went for a bike ride through Niagara-on-the-Lake and discovered their wines and how great and developed the industry was. I applied to the Niagara College program and realized it was a mix of science and art and agriculture. It was holistic.”

Loads of Opportunities

Gavin says working at a teaching winery has brought new opportunities. The college has assisted Gavin in working at wineries in Central Otago, New Zealand, and Tasmania, Australia to help refine his wine knowledge and gain experience. While things slow down at other wineries, we’re busy with research projects and cider and beer,” he said.

NCTW has been an active participant in the Canadian Oak Project, which is evaluating the use of Canadian oak wine barrels, and comparing the results with American and French oak. “Canadian oak tends to be a bit robust in terms of taste profile. It has a very fine grain and needs a decently ripe fruit to stand up to it. It really showcases the cooperage”.

Just wait til you try the 2011 Dean’s List Pinot Noir in your Savvy Selections  – it is a fantastic example of Canadian oak-aged wine.

International Impact

Asked what he takes the most pride in, Gavin immediately returns to talking about his students. “You can walk into virtually any winery in Ontario and many in Nova Scotia and British Columbia that have our grads in them. NCTW graduates are working in Portugal, France, even the South of England. “This little school in southern Ontario is having a big impact internationally”, Gavin explained.  “Recently, the goal is to involve the students in the vineyard more. The winemaking is the more romantic side but it’s important to have truly skilled labour in the vineyard. We’ve advanced in terms of science and technology and it’s important that we extend that to the vineyard.

“Any winemaker will tell you that good wine is made in the vineyard. It’s great to be involved in the thirty-three acres we have on the college grounds. “

Here’s to the many hands involved in learning to make great Canadian wines like the ones you have in your Savvy Selections.

Cheers & enjoy your Savvy Selections!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

~ SAVVY SOMMELIER TASTING NOTES ~

Let’s get tasting! We picked a sparkling wine made in the Traditional Method along with two absolutely stunning red wines from the excellent 2011 vintage. The reds were released just this year, so they’ve had lots of time to mellow and age. Just make sure you drink them soon!

BalaNCe Brut VQA Niagara Peninsula $24

Made in the Traditional Method (second fermentation occurs in the bottle as done with making French Champagne), this lovely Pinot Noir and Chardonnay blend  is the perfect accompaniment to a celebration or first course, or just for lovers of good sparkling wine. Notice the label has accentuated the NC in the word Balance…as in Niagara College.  Clever isn’t it?

Savvy Sommelier Tasting Notes: The wine offers a good, fine mousse. It has striking lemon, peach, and wet stone notes, and we detected grapefruit, mint, and apricot on the finish. It’s very dry but very delicate.  An absolute delight!

Suggested Food Pairings: BalaNCe Brut will go well with any of the usual Champagne pairings, such as oysters, lobster, or other seafood. But we think it will work beautifully with a Niagara peach, arugula & prosciutto pizza (recipe below) – oh my!

Cellaring:  Drink at 7-9ºC. Can be cellared for up to a year.

 

Dean’s List Pinot Noir (Canadian Oak Project) VQA Niagara-on-the-Lake 2011 $20

We love the fun report card labels on the Dean’s List wines! These premium wines include notes by famed Canadian wine writer Tony Aspler, who tasted the wine when it was still in the barrel. his report card reveals his tasting notes back then….compare to our notes your impressions to see & taste how aging has changed the wine since Tony first tasted it!

Savvy Sommelier Tasting Notes: “Absolutely Stunning!” said Debbie. We are confident you will same the same thing. A tawny red, it’s load with flavour: sour cherry, cedar, spice, leather, cigar, and blackberries. The tannins are moderately high – more so than we’ve ever tasted from an Ontario wine – and it’s a big, bold wine that’s ready for food.

Suggested Food Pairings: This wine has so much flavour, it can easily stand up to big red meats. How about grilled lamb chops (recipe below)?

Cellaring: Ready to drink now, and don’t try to hold it for more than 12 months. Serve between 11-14ºC.

 

Dean’s List Meritage VQA Niagara-on-the-Lake 2011 $25

Winespeak: Did you know that the wine term “Meritage” is a portmanteau of the words “merit” and “heritage? The word is an American invention, to provide a term that reflects blends similar to those in Bordeaux. It’s pronounced the American way, rhyming with “heritage”.

 A blend of 50% Cabernet Franc, 27% Merlot & 23% Cabernet Sauvignon, we loved this full-bodied, food-friendly, beautifully rich wine. And we loved it’s low price even more. This is a steal – after you taste this wine & you want more bottles…call us to arrange additional bottles for you!

Savvy Sommelier Tasting Notes:  Loads of dark fruit, black pepper, plum, raspberry, and earthy notes balance the high (13.5 per cent by volume) alcohol. It’s velvety smooth, juicy, with soft, warm tannins. The flavours reflect the nose, and add in some fantastic cigar box and black olive notes.

Suggested Food Pairings: We see this with a rich Autumn stew, such as a French hunters’ stew (recipe below).

Cellaring: At its peak right now, we recommend drinking it within two years. Serve at 14-16ºC.

 

~ RECIPES TO ENJOY WITH YOUR SAVVY SELECTIONS ~

With NCTW BalaNCe Brut…

Peach & chevre pizza with arugula & prosciutto

Serves: 2 medium-sized pizzas
Recipe & Photo credits: Five and Spice
Originally adapted from Shutterbean

Ingredients

1 tsp active dry yeast
1 tsp sugar
1⅓ cup warm water (just gently warm to the touch, not hot)
2 Tbsp olive oil
1 tsp. salt
3-4 cups bread flour
¼ cup balsamic vinegar
1 red onion, thinly sliced
4 peaches, pitted and cut into eighths
8 oz chevre (soft goat cheese)
1 Tbsp olive oil
4 cups arugula
slices of prosciutto – as much as you like!
sea salt

Method

Make the pizza dough early in the morning of the day you want to eat the pizza. Or make it the night before. Combine the yeast, sugar, and warm water in the bowl of a standing mixer with a bread hook (or in a large mixing bowl, if you’re going to knead by hand). Let it sit for about 5 minutes until the yeast has started to become foamy.

Add 3 cups of the flour, stir until it’s just sort of mixed together, then let it sit for 10-20 minutes to autolyse (this step is optional, but it helps develop the gluten). Next, add the salt and the olive oil and start the mixer stirring on low speed (or squeeze the olive oil and salt in using your hands, until worked into the dough). Knead the dough with the bread hook, or by hand on a lightly floured surface, for 5 minutes. Add just enough extra flour so that the texture of the dough is lightly tacky, but not completely sticky.

Transfer the dough to a lightly oiled bowl, cover with plastic wrap or a damp kitchen towel, put in the fridge and let rise for 8-12 hours. It should double or even triple in size.

When ready to bake the pizza, heat your oven to 500F, preferably with a pizza stone in it if you have one. Take out your pizza dough and divide it in half. On a well floured surface, stretch each half of the dough into an approximately 12-inch circle (or rectangle, as the case may be), then let it rest for 10-15 minutes.

While the dough is resting, toss the sliced red onion with the balsamic vinegar in a large bowl. Let this sit for 10-15 minutes to lightly pickle the onions. Then, gently stir in the peach slices.

When the dough has finished resting, stretch each half further into a circle as thin as you can make it without breaking the dough – if the dough does tear, just press it back together.

Transfer each stretched piece of dough to a parchment lined baking sheet or a pizza peel sprinkled with cornmeal.

Top each of the pizzas with half of the peaches and onions, making sure to leave the remaining balsamic vinegar in the bowl because you’re going to toss the arugula in there. Break the chevre into small chunks and scatter half of it evenly over each of the pizzas. Sprinkle the pizzas well with sea salt.

Bake each pizza one at a time, either directly on the pizza stone or on the baking sheet you have it on, in the hot oven until the crust is nice and golden brown (mine took only about 8 minutes, but the time depends on how thin your dough winds up being). While the pizzas are baking toss the arugula & prosciutto with the remaining vinegar and the 1 Tbs. olive oil plus a pinch of salt. After each pizza comes out of the oven, top it with half of the arugula. The arugula should wilt a bit with the heat.

Let the pizzas cool at least 5 minutes before slicing, then slice and serve.

 

With NCTW Dean’s List Pinot Noir …

Grilled Lamb Chops

Recipe and photo: FoodNetwork.com
Serves 6

Ingredients

2 large garlic cloves, crushed
1 tablespoon fresh rosemary leaves
1 teaspoon fresh thyme leaves
Pinch cayenne pepper
Coarse sea salt
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
6 lamb chops, about 3/4-inch thick

Method

In a food processor fitted with a metal blade add the garlic, rosemary, thyme, cayenne, and salt. Pulse until combined. Pour in olive oil and pulse into a paste. Rub the paste on both sides of the lamb chops and let them marinate for at least 1 hour in the refrigerator.

Remove from refrigerator and allow the chops to come to room temperature; it will take about 20 minutes.

Heat a grill pan over high heat until almost smoking, add the chops and sear for about 2 minutes. Flip the chops over and cook for another 3 minutes for medium-rare and 3 1/2 minutes for medium.

 

With NCTW Dean’s List Meritage…

Beef Chasseur

Recipe & Photo credit: Food.com
Serves 4-6

Ingredients

3 garlic cloves, crushed, divided
1 1⁄2 teaspoons seasoning salt
1⁄4 teaspoon fresh ground pepper
8 (8 ounce) filet mignon steaks, 1-inch thick
6 Tablespoons butter, divided
2 Tablespoons brandy
1⁄2lb fresh mushrooms, sliced
3 Tablespoons all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons tomato paste
3⁄4 cup dry red wine
1 cup chicken broth
1⁄2 cup beef broth
1⁄2 cup water
1⁄4 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
2 Tablespoons currant jelly

 

Method

Combine half the garlic, the seasoned salt, and the pepper. Pat the meat dry and rub with the garlic mixture.

Sear the steaks in a large skillet with 2 tablespoons of the butter until brown on the outside with the center raw. Arrange the steaks in a 13 X 9 inch baking dish.

Pour the brandy into the skillet and stir over moderate heat, scraping up the brown bits. Add remaining 4 tablespoons of butter. When the butter is foaming, add the mushrooms and cook until browned, about 5 minutes. Stir in the flour and reduce heat to low. Stir in the tomato paste and remaining garlic.

Remove from the heat; whisk in the wine, chicken broth, beef broth, and water. Bring to a boil over moderate heat, stirring constantly. Reduce heat and simmer 10 minutes, until the liquid is reduced by a third.

Add Worcestershire and currant jelly. Adjust seasonings to taste and thin the sauce to a coating consistency.

Cool and pour over steaks. (At this point steaks may be covered and refrigerated overnight. Allow them to come to room temperature before cooking.).

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Bake the filets, uncovered, for 15-20 minutes for rare, 20-25 for medium to medium-well.

 

Enjoy your Savvy Selections!

Derek Barnett is back…with his own winery

Posted by Monique

Friday, August 26th, 2016

Savvy Selections wine of the month club
Meldville Wines
–  August 2016 –

Every month we delight in bringing you some of Ontario’s most exclusive wines…and this month is extra special. We are delivering to you the very first release of Derek Barnett’s Meldville Wines. These wines were only just released at the winery a few weeks ago, so this is quite the opportunity to get first dibs on such an exclusive release!

Derek Barnett is no stranger to Savvy Company as he is a long-time friend. You may have fond memories of Derek gleefully pouring samples of his beautifully crafted Lailey Vineyard wines at our special portfolio tastings in Ottawa and Toronto. Derek is non-stop always attentively responding to inquiries about his wines, his work and his travels.

Open your Savvy Selections & be ready to uncork these wines

– 2015 First Edition Meldville ChardonnayA crowd pleasing cool climate Chardonnay with abundance of freshness, crisp acidity and alluring floral notes.

– 2015 First Edition Meldville Sauvignon Blanc – a vibrant white wine with an enticing texture and a bouquet of fruity and zesty notes.

– 2013 First Edition Meldville Cabernet Franc – a scrumptious well-rounded red wine with lovely fruit concentration, acidity and aging potential.

Meldville Wines showcases an exciting new expression of Derek’s winemaking talent. His humbled journey to such an achievement is quite the story as well. It is exciting to taste his new wines, but we have “unlocked a little bit of Derek’s world” in the following pages that we think you will enjoy.

 

You definitely won’t find these wines at the LCBO!

FB Savvy Selections bottleEvery month, our Savvy Sommeliers seek out wines with you in mind. Meldville Wines are a small batch of hand-crafted wines in VERY limited quantities. If you find a new favorite wine and would like to stock up, call our Savvy Team any time at 613-SAVVYCO (728-8926) for additional bottles. Also call us even if you have a yearning for wines from other wineries we have featured in Savvy Selections.

 

Cheers & enjoy your summer!

Debbie & Savvy Team

 

Introducing…
Meldville Wines

Presented by Sommelier Monique Sosa

Life is nothing but constant and for Derek (in photo), this is no exception. He has been a hands-on winemaker throughout his entire career. Recent changes in his career have sparked quite the new beginning in his life – the decision to start crafting wines under his very own label! In this month’s Savvy Selections we get to tap into what motivates Derek, we get to learn about Derek’s pursuit to owning and operating his own winery, and of course, we get to enjoy the exclusive inaugural release of Meldville Wines. So…

…who is Derek Barnett after all?

A question to which Derek politely responds, “Wow! I really dislike talking about myself.” After we both nervously chuckled, the ice cracked and Derek came to admit that he is simply a guy who loves to drink wine and loves being a winemaker.derek

“I feel lucky to have the opportunity to do what I do for work every day and I simply enjoy making wines for people who love to drink wine.”

Derek hails from a deep background in agriculture. Both his grandparents owned farms in rural central England where his first job in the business was milking cows. When Derek immigrated to Canada, he worked as a dairy farmer at Don Head Farms, north of Toronto. During the 1980s, Derek was proactive in the evolution of Don Head Farms from dairy farming to a thriving fresh local produce hub. By the early 1990s, as appreciation for local gourmet foods and fine wine spiked amongst Derek and his colleagues in the Greater Toronto Area, the owners of Don Head Farms seized the opportunity to obtain a license to operate a boutique winery. They sought to source the finest grapes from key quality producers in the Niagara Escarpment with Derek as their winemaker. In 1991, the doors to their winery – Southbrook Winery – opened with a small but proud inventory of 2000 cases of wine.

Visualizing what became the first breaths of Derek’s dream career path, I asked him if it was challenging for him to take on such a role? “Not really,” he responded. Derek is proud to admit that he nurtured his craftsmanship on the job. He may not have been educationally trained but he enjoyed drinking wine, he had a trusted palate, and he understood how to make table wine that people enjoyed drinking. Vintage after vintage, as his skills and reputation expanded, while Derek recognized that being a winemaker meant far beyond just turning grape juice into wine. He recognized that being a standout winemaker included growing grapes, making wine with those grapes, and successfully selling the wine made from those grapes. “To achieve these goals, you need to connect with people,” explained Derek.

“Understanding consumers, what they like and how to connect with them is what motivates a winemaker to make great wines.”

Welcome to Meldville Wines…

With several decades of experience in winemaking at Southbrook Winery and Lailey Vineyards – and currently Karlo Estates in Prince Edward County – Derek came face to face with another career first, owning and operating his own virtual winery.

Meldville Wines, the name itself, was actually conceived by Derek some five years ago while on a road trip with his wife. From time to time, they imagined what life would be like if they owned their own winery someday.

Meldville was the name of his family homestead in Swinford, England. It was coined by his family from combining the first initials in each of their names:

– M for Malcolm (Derek’s brother)
– E for Edward (Derek’s father)
– L for Lucy (Derek’s mother)
– D for Derek

Ever since Derek committed this name to his imaginary winery, it became a constant twinkle in his eye.

What finally sealed the deal? “Well, after Lailey, I felt like it was too soon for me to retire. Suddenly, with an abundance of free time that fell on my plate, I thought to myself, there’s no time like the present,” Derek explained.

At present, Meldville Wines is a virtual winery producing wines under the license of Legends Estate Winery. The three grape varietals in this inaugural release are sourced from the Lincoln Lakeshore sub-appellation in the Niagara Escarpment. Derek chose to work with Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc and Cabernet France because he finds these wines to be very textural, flavourful and showcases attractive levels of acidity. Derek has had experience working with Legends Winery during his years as the head winemaker at Lailey and he appreciates that he still has the support of his community and the opportunity to continue to work with such fine fruit.

What’s on the bottle?

Something to note about the wine, aside from the excitement of getting to enjoy expressions of Derek once more, are the stories behind the labels. The front and back labels both depict symbols that are important to the conceptualization of Meldville Wines.   The layout of the front label depicts the first page of the first edition of the Meldville Wines story, i.e. Derek’s story.   The symbolism behind the skeleton key represents an invitation to unlock a little bit Derek into your glass.   On the back label, you will find a photo of what once was the Meldville homestead back in England.   Altogether, it is a unique welcome symbolizing the inaugural release of Meldville Wines.

He is only getting started! Derek has many plans and ideas for his winery. Some that include plans to expand his portfolio of grapes to include Pinot Noir and Riesling. He also loves working with small lot vineyards so we can definitely expect to find rare reserve releases in the future as well. Watch out…this is just the beginning!

meldville

 

So, is Derek really only about wine?

“Mostly!” says Derek with a grin. To which I asked, “what do you tend to keep in your cellar Derek?” Derek responds, “I am a huge fan of Riesling.” He lit up when he described all the enticing German Rieslings he grew up drinking. Chardonnay is another top grape for Derek along with Sauvignon Blanc from the Marlborough region in New Zealand. As for red wines, Derek loves Northern Rhone reds. He says he has quite the coveted collection in his cellar. Aside from wine, Derek is a ‘mega fan’ of craft beer and whisky. He shared with me warm stories of how he enjoyed spending many hours touring the highlands of Scotland while tasting a dram or two along his journey.

We then segued into what off-duty Derek is like.   When asked what his top three things to do on a day off were, Derek shared that his number one pastime was spending time with the many women in this life – i.e. his wife, his two daughters and two granddaughters. He is a gentleman with lots of ladies in life! Derek then shared with me his passion for gardening, and from time to time, he looks forward to playing a round or two of golf.

Last words?

We came full circle! When I asked Derek what he considers being his legacy, this topic took him right back to the “I hate talking about myself” moment. I admire Derek’s humility. Instead of listing off accolades and piecing together his proudest moments on a whim, Derek opted to reiterate his sincere appreciation of his journey so far. “It has been an amazing ride being a winemaker and I am simply proud of everything I have put in a bottle.”

Derek also wanted to share that he loves visiting Ottawa.   He appreciates the fans he has in Ottawa and looks forward to visiting us again soon.

Here`s to Derek & realizing his dream of Meldville Wines.

 

~ SAVVY SOMMELIER TASTING NOTES ~

 

2015 First Edition Meldville Chardonnay
meld_site_bottle_chardonnay

Savvy Sommelier Tastings Notes: This Chardonnay immediately grabs your attention with a surge of fresh fruit and floral aromas. The key flavours show pronounced notes of honeysuckle, young pineapple, Asian pear, and honeydew melon. Sip after sip, you will note a lively mouth-watering acidity, a crisp mouth feel and a refreshingly dry finish on the palate. This is no doubt a fantastic crowd-pleasing expression of a cool climate Chardonnay.

Suggested Food Pairings: Enjoy this medium bodied white wine with a range of hearty meals including seafood linguine, butternut squash risotto or even crispy fried chicken.

 Cellaring: Drinking well now. Can cellar for 1-2 years. Serve chilled between 10⁰-12⁰C

 

 

2015 First Edition Meldville Sauvignon Blanc meld_site_bottle_sauvignon

Savvy Sommelier Tastings Notes: This Sauvignon Blanc showcases a pleasant tropical fruit note upfront and a zesty herbaceous note on the finish. As you pour yourself a glass, notice the bursting aromas of guava, kiwi, lemongrass, and orange blossom. The palate is a noticeably rounder and fuller in style with impressive fruit concentration, length of flavours, and body; even though it was fully fermented in stainless steel tanks. This white wine also shows an attractive balance of fruit flavours, dryness, and high mouth-watering acidity.

 Suggested Food Pairings: Enjoy pairing this vibrant and refreshing Sauvignon Blanc with green leafy salads, lemon-garlic marinated shrimp skewers or basil pesto based dishes.

 Cellaring:Drinking well now. Can cellar for 1-2 years. Serve chilled between 10⁰-12⁰C

 

2013 First Edition Meldville Cabernet Franc meld_site_bottle_cabernet

Savvy Sommelier Tastings Notes: This Cabernet Franc pours with an attractive deep ruby red appearance and an explosion of plum, berry fruit, and savoury aromas. Dominant notes include raspberries, blackberries, fresh cranberries and hints of spearmint, clove, and dried herbs. The palate shows a lovely integration of red berry notes, high acidity, young tannins, and long enticing tart cranberry note.

Suggested Food Pairings: Enjoy this medium bodied Cabernet Franc with slow roasted beef tenderloin, a gamey venison stew or simple pork chops on the BBQ.

 Cellaring: Drinking well now. Can cellar for 5-7 years. Serve chilled between 16⁰-18⁰C

 

 

 

RECIPES TO ENJOY WITH YOUR SAVVY SELECTIONS ~

 

With the Meldville Chardonnay…

A Butternut Squash Risotto

Recipe and photo credit to thepioneerwoman.com
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 1 hour
Serves: 8

Ingredientssquash rissoto

1/2 whole Butternut Squash, peeled, seeded & diced
3 Tablespoons butter
1 Tablespoon olive oil
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
Black Pepper – to taste
1/4 teaspoon chili powder
1/2 whole diced onion
1-1/2 cup Arborio rice
6 cups (approximately) vegetable or chicken broth (low sodium is recommended)
Salt & Pepper – to taste
1/8 teaspoon turmeric
1/4 cup heavy cream (less if desired)
1/2 cup parmesan shavings – for garnish
Finely Minced Parsley – for garnish

 

Method

Heat 1 tablespoon butter and olive oil in a large skillet over high heat. Add squash and sprinkle with salt, pepper, and chili powder. Cook for several minutes, turning gently with a spatula until squash is deep golden brown and tender (but not falling apart.) Remove to a plate and set aside.

Heat broth in a saucepan over low heat. Keep warm.

Add 2 tablespoons butter to the same skillet over medium-low heat. Add onions and cook for 2 to 3 minutes, or until translucent. Add Arborio rice and stir, cooking for 1 minute.

Reduce heat to low. In 1-cup increments, begin adding broth to the skillet, stirring to combine and gently stirring as the broth is absorbed. As soon as the liquid disappears, add in another cup to cup-and-a-half of broth. Continue this process, stirring gently as the broth incorporates and the rice starts to become tender. Add salt, pepper along the way.

Taste the rice after about 5 cups of broth have been absorbed and see what the consistency is. Add another 1 to 2 cups of broth as needed to get the rice to the right consistency: it should be tender with just a little bit of “bite” left to it.

When the rice is tender, add the cooked squash and turmeric and stir it in gently. Add the cream and Parmesan shavings and stir until it’s just combined. Taste and add more salt and pepper as needed.

Sprinkle minced parsley over the top and serve immediately!

 

With Meldville Sauvignon Blanc…

Lemon Garlic Shrimp

Recipe and photo credit to eatingwell.com
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 10 minutes
Serves: 2-3

shrimps w wineIngredients

3 tablespoons minced garlic
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1/4 cup lemon juice
1/4 cup minced fresh parsley
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
1 1/4 pounds cooked shrimp

Method

Place garlic and oil in a small skillet and cook over medium heat until fragrant, about 1 minute.

Add lemon juice, parsley, salt and pepper.

Then toss over (thawed) cooked shrimp in a large bowl and serve.

 

With Meldville Cabernet Franc…

Roasted Beef Tenderloin

Recipe and photo credit to thepioneerwoman.com
Prep Time: 25 minutes | Cook Time: 25 minutes
Servings: 8

Ingredientsbeef meldville

1 whole (4-5 lbs.) Beef Tenderloin
4 Tablespoons salted butter – more to taste
1/3 cup whole peppercorns more to taste
Seasoning salt (or your favorite blend with ingredients such as salt, garlic powder, onion powder, and paprika…among other things!)
Lemon Pepper Seasoning
Olive Oil

 

Method

Preheat oven to 475 degrees.

Rinse meat well. Trim away some of the fat to remove the silvery cartilage underneath. With a very sharp knife, begin taking the fat off the top, revealing the silver cartilage underneath. You definitely don’t want to take every last bit of fat off—not at all. As with any cut of meat, a little bit of fat adds to the flavor. (Hint: you can also ask the butcher to do this trimming for you if the process seems intimidating.)

Sprinkle meat generously with seasoning salt. You can much more liberally season a tenderloin because you’re having to pack more of a punch in order for the seasoning to make an impact. Rub it in with your fingers. Sprinkle both sides generously with lemon & pepper seasoning. (There are no measurements because it depends on your taste, but be sure to season liberally.)

Place the peppercorns in a Ziploc bag, and with a mallet or a hammer or a large, heavy can, begin smashing the peppercorns to break them up a bit. Set aside.

Heat some olive oil in a heavy skillet. When the oil is to the smoking point, place the tenderloin in the very hot pan to sear it. Throw a couple of tablespoons of butter into the skillet to give it a nice little butter injection before going in the oven. A minute or two later, when one side is starting to turn nice and brown, flip and repeat.

Place the tenderloin on an oven pan with a rack. Sprinkle the pummeled peppercorns all over the meat. Press the pepper onto the surface of the meat. Put several tablespoons of butter all over the meat. Stick the long needle of the thermometer lengthwise into the meat. Place it in a 475-degree oven until the temperature reaches just under 140 degrees, about fifteen to twenty minutes. Stay near the oven and keep checking the meat thermometer to make sure it doesn’t overcook.

Let meat stand ten minutes or so before slicing, so the meat will have a chance to relax a bit.

To serve, you can spoon the olive oil/butter juices from the skillet onto the top of the meat for a little extra flavor.

Note: if you live outside of America and can’t get Lawry’s, any good salt blend will do. (For the record, I think Lawry’s has salt, garlic powder, onion powder, and paprika in it, among other things.)

 

 Enjoy your Savvy Selections!

 

Another reason to visit The County!

Posted by David Loan

Tuesday, July 12th, 2016

Savvy Selections wine of the month club
Broken Stone Estates Winery
–  July 2016 –

What motivates a family to start making wine? In the case of Tim and Micheline Kuepfer, the answer had as much to do with family growth as it did growing grapes. Broken Stone Winery is their new venture that has completely changed their family’s life and their family life…for the better.  

This husband and wife team (with their 3 daughters in tow) opened their doors only 2 years ago.  We are excited to introduce you to the family & their small batch wines. We are certain that you’ll enjoy the trio of wines just as much as our team of Sommeliers did!

Get ready to uncork & enjoy your Savvy Selections…

In your Savvy Selections you will find these SUPERB wines. Each one has been specially selected for its outstanding quality and food friendliness!

2015 Chardonnay Moderately oaked and balancing stunning fruit and acidity, this is a perfect match to summer fare.
2014 Pinot Noir – Classic County Pinot Noir, this  well-structured wine offers big fruit and earthiness.
2014 Reserve Pinot Noir – This is an eye-opener! So much flavour, beautifully tempered oak, and a richness we love to see in our Ontario reds.


Hand-crafted, hand-selected

Broken Stone Winery is one of those “off the beaten path” wineries that even visitors to The County seem to overlook.   We are certain that now you have discovered Broken Stone, you will want to visit Tim & Micheline to meet them & explore their boutique winery.

Call on us at anytime you would like additional bottles of your favourite Broken Stone wines – or other wineries we have featured in Savvy Selections.  Your Canadian Wine Hotline is 613-SAVVYCO (FB Savvy Selections bottle728-8926) or send me an email to debbie@savvycompany.ca.  

Cheers & enjoy the sunshine!!

Debbie & Savvy Team

 

 

Introducing…
Broken Stone Winery

Presented by Sommelier David Loan

 

“Down to earth”. It’s a phrase you hear a lot when talking to Broken Stone owners Tim and Micheline Kuepfer. This husband and wife team use it to describe their winemaking philosophy and to talk about the impressive wines they make.

But it comes up most often when they discuss why they chose to get into the challenging – and sometimes heartbreaking – business of wine.

Simpler Things

Until 2009, the Kuepfer family were typical urbanites. Micheline’s marketing and demographics career was taking off, Tim was working in finance. They were raising their three daughters in Toronto and had the kind of active lives that comes with success and financial security.

But they felt something was missing. Tim had spent summers on his grandfather’s farm, stacking hay bales and enjoying the pleasures of a simpler life. Between school and swimming and hockey and soccer and everything else the city offers, were their daughters getting the same experience?

Micheline put it best: “We both wanted to go back to a simpler way of life and to show our girls that when you dream something you can make it happen if you put a lot of hard work into it.”

 

New Roots

Broken Stone family pixThe decision was made to buy three acres of fields on Closson Road in Prince Edward County. Tim immediately fell in love with the gravelly soil and they agreed to plant vineyards. The Kuepfer family continued to live in Toronto during the week and spent the weekends in The County, eventually planting rootstock for the three Pinots – Noir, Gris, and Meunier – and Chardonnay.

Tim took courses through UC Davis, one of the world’s best oenology schools, and in 2011 they broke ground and opened Broken Stone Winery.  From the beginning, Tim and Micheline’s daughters visited the vineyards to run in the fields, to help with farm chores, and to build their new tree house.


Heartbreak Grapes

It hasn’t all been fun and games. While the family business has developed well, with thousands of vines planted, a new winery and tasting room built, and rave reviews for their beautiful wines, there have been setbacks.

Each weekend, the Micheline & , Tim along with their daughters PLUS & Micheline’s mother along with the 3 girls,,  leave their home in the city home and head to The County to live in a trailer on the property. Tim recalls waking up in the middle of the night last year, feeling chilled and smelling smoke.

“I knew right away that we had frost,” he said. “I could smell the hay burning in my neighbour’s fields.” (winespeak: having bonfires in the vineyard is one technique winemakers use to increase the temperature of the surrounding air during frosty nights) That cold evening is burned into everyone’s mind who lives in The County: May 23, 2015. Most grape growers The County were hit hard. Tim estimates that they lost 90 per cent of their crop.

“We’ve always bought good quality fruit from other growers and other regions,” he said. “Last year, with the frost wiping me out, I had to buy more grapes from Niagara.”

 

What’s Next?

Fingers crossed, 2016 is shaping up to be a fantastic vintage, Tim reports, who recently left his finance job in the city and now works full time at the winery.

They’re playing with a few ideas, like branching into sparkling wine (“We’re not there yet,” warned Tim) or trying a Nouveau Pinot Noir, allowing customers to enjoy the wine shortly after it’s made. They’re also building a small cottage alongside the winery, replacing the Airstream trailer they’ve called home for the past six years.

More than anything, Micheline and Tim are proud of what their family has built.

“Each winery has its own personality,” Tim said. “We really want to focus on estate terroir-driven wines, hand-made. We think it’s important to stay down to earth and stay genuine with our lives and how we interact with other people.”  There is that phrase again!

 

~ SAVVY SOMMELIER TASTING NOTES ~

 

Time to have a mini-tasting!

We picked two Pinot Noirs made with County fruit.  Take note, the two Pinot Noirs are the same vintage, yet have vastly different characteristics.  We recommend you taste them at the same time. Gather a group of friends, give each of them two tasting glasses, and be amazed at the distinctions between these two fabulous wines. Which one is your favorite?

 

Broken Stone Winery ChardonnayChardonnay VQA Niagara Peninsula 2015, $20 

Micheline prefers unoaked Chardonnay while Tim likes lots of buttery oak. They hit the perfect balance here by putting 25 percent of the wine in oak casks and then blending it with the rest.

Savvy Sommelier Tasting Notes: This has lovely peach and apricot notes, with some red apple and minerality. There are hints of butter and coconut, with vanilla rounding out the long finish. Full bodied, and with above average acidity, this is a wine to enjoy with friends.

Suggested Food Pairings: We like this with a rich cream soup. Or take advantage of the harvest and make a thick corn chowder.

Cellaring:  Drink at 7-10ºC. Can be cellared for up to a year.

Broken Stone Winery Pinot NoirPinot Noir VQA Prince Edward County 2014, $25

“ Wow! Pow!” commented Savvy Sommelier Debbie after one sip.

Savvy Sommelier Tasting Notes: With a medium cherry colour and juicy, juicy sour cherry and smoke nose, this is the very definition of a County Pinot Noir. On the palate, it offers blackberries, red cherries and red Twizzler candy. Bracing acidity and medium tannins balance the fruit, with a lovely earthiness throughout.

Suggested Food Pairings: We like to pick up on Pinot Noir’s earthy notes and pair this with mushroom dishes. Wild mushroom risotto, anyone?

Cellaring: Ready to drink now, yet this could be cellared for up to 3 years. Serve between 14-16ºC.

 

Reserve Pinot Noir VQA Prince Edward County 2014, $35

Broken Stone Winery Reserve Pinot NoirThis is a surprisingly big Pinot with intense flavours. The winemaker notes that it was aged 12 months in French oak, and bottled without filtering.

Savvy Sommelier Tasting Notes:  Swirling & nosing the glass, we found sweet black cherries and caramel with lots of cedar. In the mouth, it’s plush with notes of red rose, dark cherries, cedar and vanilla. Medium acidity with medium-plus tannins. There’s a rustic quality that our Savvy Sommeliers fell in love with.

Suggested Food Pairings: “”This wine would pair well with…a bigger glass!”, chuckled David Loan (the newest member of the Savvy Team) Still, it could match to any of the big, red meat dishes you might ordinarily look to Cabernet Sauvignon with, such as BBQ rib eye or shish kebabs.

Cellaring: Drinking well now, this can cellar 3-5 years. Serve at 14-16ºC.

 

Broken Stone Winery Tim in the vineyard

All photos above credit to: Broken Stone Winery

 

 

~RECIPES TO ENJOY WITH YOUR SAVVY SELECTIONS ~

With Broken Stone Chardonnay…
Summer Corn Chowder

Recipe & Photo credits CookingClassy
Serves 6

IngredientsBroken Stone Winery Summer Corn Chowder

 8 ears fresh sweet yellow corn, husked and silks removed and kernels cut from cob
3 Tbsp (45mL) butter
5 slices bacon, cut into 1/4 to 1/2-inch (0.75-1.5cm) pieces
1 medium yellow onion chopped
1/4 cup (65 mL) all-purpose flour
1 clove garlic, minced
5 cups (1 Litre) water
1 lb (450 g) Yukon Gold potatoes, cut into 1/2-inch (1.5 cm) pieces
1/2 tsp (3 g) dried thyme
1 bay leaf
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 cup (250 mL) half and half
1 Tbsp (15 mL) honey
2 – 3 Tbsp (28-42 g) chopped fresh chives
Shredded cheddar cheese, for serving (optional)

 

Method

Melt butter in a large pot over medium heat. Add the onion and bacon and cook, stirring frequently, until onion has softened and just starting to brown around edges, about 8 – 10 minutes.

Add in the flour and garlic and cook 1 1/2 minutes.

While whisking, slowly pour in 5 cups water.

Bring mixture to a boil, stirring constantly, then stir in corn kernels and potatoes.

Add in thyme and bay leaf and season with salt and pepper to taste.

Bring to a light boil, then reduce heat to medium-low and allow to simmer, stirring occasionally, until potatoes are tender, about 20 minutes.

Remove bay leave then transfer 2 1/2 cups of the chowder to a blender and blend until smooth.

Stir the mixture back into the pot then stir in half and half and honey.

Sprinkle each serving with chives and optional cheddar.

 

With Broken Stone Pinot Noir …

Wild Mushroom Risotto

Recipe and photo: Epicurious.com
Serves 4

IngredientsBroken Stone Winery Wild Mushroom Risotto

9 1/2 Tbsp (143 mL) butter, divided
1 1/2 pounds (675 g) fresh wild mushrooms
(such as porcini, hen of the woods, chanterelle, or stemmed shiitake); large mushrooms sliced, small mushrooms halved or quartered
7 cups (1.750 Litres)(about) low-salt chicken broth
1 Tbsp (15 mL) extra-virgin olive oil
3/4 cup (100 g) finely chopped leek (white and pale green parts only)
1 1/4 cups (231 g) arborio rice
1/4 cup (62mL) dry white wine
1/4 cup (62mL) dry white vermouth
1/4 cup (25 g) grated Parmesan cheese plus additional for serving (optional)

 

Method

Melt 2 Tbsp (30 mL) butter in heavy large skillet over medium-high heat. Add 1/4 of mushrooms and sprinkle with salt.

Sauté mushrooms until tender and beginning to brown, 3 to 4 minutes. Transfer mushrooms to medium bowl.

Working in 3 more batches, repeat with 6 tablespoons butter, remaining mushrooms, and salt and pepper.

Bring chicken broth to simmer in medium saucepan; keep warm.

Melt remaining butter with olive oil in heavy large saucepan over medium-low heat. Add leek, sprinkle with salt, and sauté until tender, 4 to 5 minutes.

Add rice and increase heat to medium. Stir until edges of rice begin to look translucent, 3 to 4 minutes.

Add white wine and vermouth and stir until liquid is absorbed, about 1 minute.

Add 3/4 cup (187 mL) warm chicken broth; stir until almost all broth is absorbed, about 1 minute.

Continue adding broth by 3/4 cupfuls (187 mL), stirring until almost all broth is absorbed before adding more, until rice is halfway cooked, about 10 minutes.

Stir in sautéed mushrooms.

Continue adding broth by 3/4 cupfuls (187 mL), stirring until almost all broth is absorbed before adding more, until rice is tender but still firm to bite and risotto is creamy, about 10 minutes.

Stir in 1/4 cup (25 g) grated Parmesan cheese, if using. Transfer risotto to serving bowl. Pass additional Parmesan cheese alongside, if desired.

 

With Broken Stone Reserve Pinot Noir…
Summer Beef Kebabs

Recipe & Photo credit: SimplyRecipes.com
Serves 4-6

IngredientsBroken Stone Winery Kebabs

Marinade Ingredients:

1/3 cup (850 mL) olive oil
1/3 cup (850 mL) soy sauce
3 Tbsp (45 mL) red wine vinegar
1/4 cup (62 mL) honey
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 Tbsp (15 mL) minced fresh ginger
Freshly ground black pepper to taste

 

Kebab Ingredients:

1 1/2 lbs (750 g) top sirloin steak, cut into 1 1/2-inch cubes
1 large bell pepper
1-2 medium red onions
1/2 to 1 pound (227 g to 454 g) button mushrooms
About 20 bamboo or wooden skewers

 

Method

Mix the marinade ingredients together in a bowl and add the meat. Cover and chill in the fridge for at least 30 minutes, preferably several hours or even overnight.

Soak the skewers in water for at least 30 minutes before grilling. This will help prevent them from completely burning up on the grill.

Cut the vegetables into chunks roughly the width of the beef pieces. Thread the meat and vegetables onto double bamboo skewers. If you keep a little space between the pieces, they will grill more evenly. Paint the kebabs with some of the remaining marinade.

Prepare your grill for high, direct heat. Grill for 8 to 10 minutes, depending on how hot your grill is, and how done you would like your meat, turning occasionally. Let rest for 5 minutes before serving.

 

Enjoy your summer with your Savvy Selections!

A gem in The County

Posted by Debbie

Tuesday, June 21st, 2016

Savvy Selections Ontario wine of the month club

Savvy Selections wine of the month club
Featuring Trail Estates Winery
–  June 2016 –

Winery owners are reporting across Ontario, that their vineyards are growing vigorously. In fact, some wineries have already started trimming & pruning their vines (this typically happens at the end of June).FB Savvy Selections bottle  This month in Savvy Selections, we feature a relatively new small, family-run winery located just a few minutes outside of Wellington, Ontario – in the heart of the Prince Edward County wine region. Trail Estate Winery has an interesting background, and as you’ll soon read on, some very interesting wines too!

Get ready to uncork & enjoy your Savvy Selections…

In your Savvy Selections you will find a trio of absolutely DELICIOUS wines. Each one has been specially selected for its unique ability to pair with summer foods, patios, and friends!

2014 Riesling – A super fresh, aromatic wine that has an interesting mouthfeel that adds weight and body while keeping a light and crisp mouthfeel.

 2014 Pinot Noir Rosé – An aromatic and refreshing red, fruit-driven Rosé based on mostly Pinot Noir with just a hint of Gamay Noir thrown in for structure.

2014 Gamay Noir – This blend of grapes from Niagara and The County – resulting in THE perfect summer sipping red wine – light enough to enjoy with lighter summer fare, but structured enough to stand up to most BBQ’d meats.

You won’t find Trail Estate Winery wines at the LCBO

Trail Estates is a boutique winery boldly growing their portfolio of wines and inventory! Our Savvy Sommeliers are confident that you will enjoy each sip of the wines in your Savvy Selections. They are perfect summer time wines. Call on us at anytime you would like additional bottles of your favourite Trail Estate wines – or other wineries we have featured in Savvy Selections. Your Canadian Wine Hotline is 613-SAVVYCO (728-8926) or send me an email to debbie@savvycompany.ca.

Cheers!
Debbie & Savvy Team

 

Introducing…
Trail Estate Winery

Presented by Sommelier Shawn McCormick

I’ve been writing tasting notes on Trail Estate wines since their first creations. I was really excited to author this month’s article as the wines have been getting consistently better each time I sample them….we hope that you will enjoy this month`s choice wines.

Trail Estate is one of the newer wineries to enter the scene in Prince Edward County, and they have wasted no time making a name for themselves! I had a chance to talk with their head of Marketing and Sales, Alex Sproll (left in family photo below) about the history and the future of the family business.

Wine Not?

When asked how the winery came to be, Alex explains that his parents, Anton and Hildegard Sproll (left centre & right in photo) had bought the winery property while on a weekend trip to The County back in 2011. With an existing, small (1.5 acre) vineyard on the property, they originally had no plans to start a winery. That idea is credited to the neighbouring wineries, including Jonas Newman of Hinterland Wine Company, who encouraged them to do something with the great property they had acquired. Being of the entrepreneurial spirit, Alex`s parents figured “Why not?”. They planned to do something “small and doable”. As anyone in the industry will tell you, “small and doable” quickly turns into a a mountain of work! 

Enlisting the help of their graphic designer son Alex and accountant daughter Sylvia (centre in photo), they just needed a winemaker. Enter Matthias Luck, a winemaker who was looking for a new opportunity. And the rest, as they say, is history.

Initial Wines & Standing Out

To get started, the family needed more juice than they could source from the vines on their small plot of land. So while they planted enough acreage of Pinot Noir and Chardonnay to get them going, they sourced fruit from elsewhere in Ontario. Initially many of their wines have been made from Niagara fruit, relying on reputable growers such as Steve Kocsis and Ed Hughes. Not happy to be just another Niagara Riesling or Chardonnay, they have focused their portfolio on small lots and have experimented with different styles in order to stand out. “Small lots, done well” would be a great descriptor for the winery style.

Trail Estates MackenzieThe “Mack Effect” 

Last year saw a change in winemakers, with Mackenzie (Mack) Brisbois returning to her County roots. “Mack” has an amazing reputation for her winemaking skills, and they have been unleashed on the wines coming out of Trail Estate in the latest vintages. To wit, she produced 6 different Rieslings and 3 different Sauvignon Blancs, with the production sizes ranging down as low as 10 cases. These wines all had wide appeal with wine connoisseurs and the general public alike (myself included!) – a rare & impressive feat!

The Sprolls have handed a fair bit of control over to Mackenzie and her more natural winemaking techniques, and everyone is benefitting from that influence.

What’s Next?

This weekend marks a vine planting event at the winery, and they hope to plant about 2000 vines, increasing the Pinot Noir and Chardonnay plantings, as well as repairing some damaged vines from the previous winters.

The winery itself is growing too. The small Quonset hut is being expanded out the front to add a proper tasting room. Alex expects that the construction will be complete later this summer, hopefully to accommodate the large crowds that visit The County during harvest. Trail Estates all bottles

On growth of the region, Alex marvels at the new blood coming to the region – folks like Mackenzie, along with legendary Ontario winemaker Derek Barnett – whose reputation will draw new talent & experience will influence others. About changes in the wine biz, with wineries experimenting with wine varieties, wine styles, tasting room formats, Alex mentions , “It’s all about a rising tide floating all boats. The industry and all its players are definitely continually raising the stakes, and we, the consumers, are the key benefactors of these changes! “

 

SAVVY SOMMELIER TASTING NOTES ~

With all of the wines we had to choose from, it was still easy to pick the wines for this month’s selections – after all, a white, a rosé, and a red make for the perfect summertime assortment! Our team of Savvy Sommeliers enjoyed the wines sipped on their own, yet you will find them all easy to pair with your favourite summer dishes. Trail Estate likes to keep their wines towards the drier side, and this combined with great cool climate acidity makes them the perfect match for summertime & picnic fare!

Trail Estates ReislingRiesling VQA 2014, $23.95

Savvy Sommelier Tasting Notes: Of the 3 white wines the Savvy Sommeliers sampled, this was the standout white wine. The nose exhibits steely minerality, citrus, beeswax, peaches, and ripe apple. There’s a hint of something creamy on the nose that gives a hint to the winemaking process. On the palate, honeyed peaches hit first, then that creaminess kicks in for a second before wet stone and lemony acidity cleanse the palate.

The winemaking notes indicate some extended lees contact (winespeak: this is what gives the wine that slightly smooth characteristic before the cleansing acidity kicks in). 

Suggested Food Pairings: Enjoy with spicy grilled shrimp, chicken satay, or Thai pizza.

Cellaring: Drink at 7-10ºC. Can hold for a few years.

Trail Estates RosePinot Noir Rosé VQA 2014, $21.95

Savvy Sommelier Tasting Notes:Beautiful pale pink colour. Wild strawberry and an interesting clover flower notes on the nose give only an illusion of sweetness to come. There are hints of cherry vanilla, tangerine, and orange blossom, and a spice one taster thought was cinnamon. The palate starts slightly sweet vanilla-cherry, with a slight roundness before going to rhubarb and cranberry for a crisp finish. The 6% Gamay adds some nice structure to the 94% Pinot, and the neutral barrel ferment gives that roundness noticed.

Suggested Food Pairings: A very versatile wine that will work with many dishes including summer salads (grilled lettuce), light appetizers, and grilled salmon. Try it with the following recipe for Tomato, Cucumber & Feta bites.

Cellaring: Drink now. Serve between 7-12ºC.

Gamay NoirGamay Noir VQA 2014, $25.95

Gamay Noir is a wine of growing interest to winemakers and consumers alike. Cold-hardy, fresh, and fruity, #GoGamayGo is a call to action seen throughout social media for this grape.

Savvy Sommelier Tasting Notes: A blend of 70% County fruit and 30% Niagara fruit, the colour shows a lovely medium ruby. The nose hits you with lovely cherry vanilla notes, a light white pepper spice, and lovely ripe red fruits. The palate hits both red and black cherry notes, fresh vanilla, and light spice notes before the cleansing acidity leaves you asking for another sip.

Suggested Food Pairings: Pair with simple BBQ fare like Italian burgers (see recipe below), sausages, or grilled vegetables.

Cellaring: Drinking well now, can cellar 3-5 years. Serve at 14-16ºC.

 

~ RECIPES TO ENJOY WITH YOUR SAVVY SELECTIONS ~

With Trail Estates Riesling…
Spicy Grilled Shrimp

Recipe & Photo credits www.AllRecipes.com
Serves 4

IngredientsAll Recipes - Spicy Grilled Shrimp

1 large clove garlic
1 tsp coarse salt
1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1 teaspoon paprika
2 Tablespoons olive oil
2 teaspoons lemon juice
2 pounds large shrimp, peeled and deveined
8 wedges lemon, for garnish

Method

Preheat grill for medium heat.

In a small bowl, crush the garlic with the salt. Mix in cayenne pepper and paprika, and then stir in olive oil and lemon juice to form a paste. In a large bowl, toss shrimp with garlic paste until evenly coated.

Lightly oil grill grate. Cook shrimp for 2 to 3 minutes per side, or until opaque.

Transfer to a serving dish, garnish with lemon wedges, and serve.

With Trail Estates Pinot Noir Rosé …
Tomato, Cucumber, & Feta bites 

From Shawn McCormick’s family kitchen
Serves 4 (appetizers)

This is a recipe that my son Keiran whipped up in the kitchen and its amazing…and says summer all over it!

Ingredientssign

4 small Lebanese cucumbers
6 cocktail tomatoes (or 8-10 grape tomatoes)
4-6 oz. feta cheese (block style)
Olive oil
Dried oregano

Method

Slice a thin slice of skin off one side of the cucumber (the full length of the cucumber) so it will sit flat on the chopping board. Slice the remaining piece into two and separate, leaving the “bottom” piece down.

Slice the feta cheese into equal thickness portions the width of the cucumber.

Slice the tomatoes thin.

Assemble in layers – cucumber, feta, tomato & top with the top layer of the cucumber.

Insert 6 toothpicks into each “assembled cucumber log” to hold the layers together. Slice into 6 equal bite size portions.

Arrange on a serving plate or platter.

Drizzle with olive oil, sprinkle with oregano (and salt and pepper if you want) and serve.

With Trail Estates Gamay Noir …
Grilled Italian Burgers

Recipe & Photo credit: BettyCrocker.com
Serves 4-6

IngredientsBetty Crocker Italian Burgers

1 lb lean ground beef
½ pound bulk mild or hot Italian sausage – removed from casing
2 Tablespoons Italian-style bread crumbs
6 slices mozzarella cheese
12 slices Italian bread or panini buns
½ cup sun-dried tomato mayonnaise
1 cup shredded lettuce
1 medium tomato, thinly sliced

 Method

Heat coals or gas grill for direct heat.

Mix beef, sausage and bread crumbs in large bowl. Shape mixture into 6 patties, about 1/2 inch thick and 3 1/2 inches in diameter.

Cover and grill patties 4 to 6 inches from medium heat 12 to 15 minutes, turning once, until meat thermometer inserted in center reads 160º.

Top patties with cheese. Cover and grill about 1 minute longer or until cheese is melted.

Add bread slices to side of grill for last 2 to 3 minutes of grilling, turning once, until lightly toasted.

Spread toasted bread with mayonnaise; top 6 bread slices with lettuce, tomato and patties. Top with remaining bread slices.

 Enjoy your summer with your Savvy Selections!

Born to make fine wine

Posted by Melanie

Tuesday, May 17th, 2016

Savvy Selections Ontario wine of the month club

Savvy Selections wine of the month club
Featuring 13th Street Winery
–  May 2016 –

In Canada, the month of May means warmer weather, vines begin to bud, more time spent outdoors and most importantly, a glorious long-weekend Victoria Day (or, as most Canadian refer to it: “May 2-4”) is a federal statutory holiday celebrating Queen Victory’s birthday on the Monday before May 25th.  Queen Victoria has ruled the U.K. and British Empire for 63 years, and in her honour, we celebrate this long-weekend often with friends or family, possibly at a cottage (or someone’s backyard) with food grilling on the BBQ, enjoying delicious libations. This May 2-4, I encourage you to put beer aside for a moment and instead reach inside your Savvy Selections for a lovely bottle from 13th Street Winery.

A winemaker who knows what he likes

winemakerWhat was my favourite quote from 13th Street’s winemaker Jean-Pierre Cola when we recently spoke over the phone? When talking about using the wrong barrel for the wrong grape: “It’s like trying to put a nail in with a screwdriver.  It won’t work out.” And he’s right. I’m sure like me, you’ve all tasted a wine or two where the use of oak (whether too much, or too aggressive) just left you feeling sad.

Jean-Pierre has many beliefs and advice when it comes to winemaking, and his years of experience, his love and passion for the end result (that tasty wine in your glass!) shine through.  Here you’ll read about how and why he became a winemaker along with some of his core beliefs when it comes to making wine.

This month’s Savvy Selections from 13th Street Winery will no doubt leaving you wanting more. These wines are the perfect sidekicks for any upcoming family gatherings or BBQ’s with friends you may have planned leading up to the May long-weekend.

Our Savvy Sommeliers have shared their tasting notes with you, along with some pairing tips and recipes to help you enjoy each wine to its fullest:

2013 Pinot Gris– A medium body floral and fruity white wine.

2010 Essence Pinot Noir – Aged beautifully, smooth and ready to drink now.

2012 Meritage – A deliciously fruity Bordeaux blend perfect for BBQ season.

Most not at the LCBO

Your Savvy Selections, along with many other gems from 13th Street Winery, are not stocked at the LCBO. If you would like to order additional bottles or other Ontario wines, call me at 613-SAVVYCO (613-728-8926) or drop me a line at debbie@savvycompany.ca. We’ll be happy to arrange a special delivery for you!

Enjoy your Victoria Day long-weekend with a glass of wine from your Savvy Selections.

Cheers,
Debbie & Savvy Team  

Introducing…
13th Street Winery

Presented by Sommelier Melanie Allen

 

13th Street Winery

13th Street Winery started out in 1998 on 13th Street in St. Catherine, Ontario.  By 2008, their business was booming and they moved to their current location on Fourth Street, with larger retail and production space.  As Sales and Marketing Manager, Ilya Rubin explained to me “In our first 10 years we were making roughly 2000-3000 cases/year and now we are making 10,000 to 12,000 cases depending on the vintage.  We needed space in order to grow.”

Winemaker will travel…

Jean Pierre Colas winemakerI spoke with Winemaker Jean-Pierre Colas over the phone and was excited to learn more about him, how his passion for winemaking came about and have him share specific details about his approach to making wines at 13th Street.

Jean-Pierre’s passion for wine has taken him all over the world, starting out first in Chablis (France) where he worked at Domaine Laroche for 10 years.  In 1996, his Chardonnay took top honours as Wine Spectator Magazine’s White Wine of the Year (it scored 99 points out of 100 in a blind tasting!). He has also spent time in Chile, and prior to joining 13th Street, he was winemaker at Peninsula Ridge (located in Beamsville, Ontario).

Born to follow this path…

jean pierre with tanksIt is by no accident that Jean-Pierre became a winemaker.  One could say that he was born to take this path in life.  His grandparents grew grapes in Chablis (France) and as Jean-Pierre explains “I learned to walk in those vineyards”.  At 5 and 6 years of age, he was learning to prune the vines, which then led later to him participating in the harvest as well as working in the underground barrel cellars.

Although grapes were a big part of his family history, it took some time for him to realize that his history would also become his future: “in University, I was into competitive sports, but it (the family business) was always there and I would help on weekend”.  He may even have occasionally skipped the odd class or assignment in order to help out with the vines.  He would share some of this wine with his fellow classmates and one day, I realized that he needed to follow this passion.  He had already gained so much natural experience in all aspects of winegrowing and winemaking that he decided to study oenology.  

Respect the varietal and the soil

13th_street_winery_harvest-5821__thumbJean-Pierre is very direct about his views on winemaking and his approach, “the wines are an expression of my tastes and preferences. I believe that the wines should speak for themselves”.

He is very passionate when describing the winemaking process and believes that above all else, a winemaker must respect the varietal as well as the soil in order to properly showcase a winegrowing region.  In comparison to working in France, Jean Pierre explains some of the challenges with working in New World wineries: “winemaking history is very different here.  It is still a baby, still in it’s infancy in North America, but I always try to work from the bottom, what nature is giving you”.

He does also recognize some similarities, and compares Ontario, Quebec and the East Coast of Canada as having more of an old-world feeling.  

New World grapes with Old World style

After having tasted several of 13th Street Winery’s wines, it’s evident that although the grapes were grown in Niagara, the end result has many similarities to wines from Burgundy.  Elegance, longevity minimal sweetness were words that Jean-Pierre repeated often when describing his wines, and the proof of this was in each glass.  As to his decision of becoming a winemaker: “I don’t know what else to do in life, I was made for this”.  And we should all be thankful that Jean-Pierre Colas is making beautiful and elegant wines for us all to enjoy.

As they say in France – A votre santé! 

Enjoy your Savvy Selections!

Barrel party

  

~ SAVVY SOMMELIER TASTING NOTES ~

 

13th Street Pinot Gris VQA 2013 $19.95

“My background is Chablis and Sauvignon Blanc, so I was very interested in tackling this grape. It is not a classical style of Pinot Gris, but it is balanced, dry with good acidity and not a lot of sweetness”, Winemaker Jean-Pierre Colas.

Savvy Sommelier Tasting Notes: Pale yellow and viscous, this complex Pinot Gris hit so many lovely notes: stone fruit, ginger, lime, beeswax, floral and white peaches (almost candied).  Medium acidity with a nice, long finish.

Suggested Food Pairing: Pinot Gris contains similar characteristics to Gewurztraminer (fruity and floral), so creamy dishes would work well here.  Pair this with a Seafood Chowder, a creamy Sheep cheese, or Coquille St Jacques (a creamy French dish made with scallops and cream).

Cellaring: This wine is beautiful and a delight to drink now but could also be kept for a few years. 

 

13th Street Essence Pinot Noir VQA 2010 $34.95 (regular $44.95)

essence“I was not originally confident about making Pinot Noir in Canada but I changed my mind when I made the first in 2009.  The 2010 is elegant, balanced, fruity, with little oak flavour. The key for this wine was to use the right barrels for the grape” Winemaker Jean-Pierre Colas.

Savvy Sommelier Tasting Notes:  Light medium ruby and oh so smooth.  Notes of cherries, strawberries, and cranberry are all there, followed by roses, pepper and a meatiness that just aches to be paired with grilled meat.  Medium body, with fruit and pepper on the finish.  A gorgeous Pinot Noir.

Suggested Food Pairing: Meat – and lots of it! Grilled lamb chops, roasted duck with a cranberry sauce or grilled pork tenderloin with cherry sauce (see recipe below).

Cellaring: Pinot Noirs often require a bit of time to soften (I prefer to drink most New World Pinot’s 5 years or so after bottling), and this one is ready to enjoy now.

 

13th Street Meritage VQA 2012 $34.95

“2012 provided intensity to the grapes due to warm weather and lots of tannins were extracted during maceration.  There is balance, freshness and richness in this blend, and this Meritage is very similar to a South American Bordeaux blend” Winemaker Jean-Pierre Colas.

Savvy Sommelier Tasting Notes: A beautifully complex wine, dark ruby red with a purple hue, and tons of fruit.  Blackberry and blueberry on the nose followed by black plums, cassis and white pepper.  Vanilla from the oak ageing comes through but is not overpowering.  Medium + acidity and tannins, very round, full and well balanced.  A very well made wine.

Suggested Food Pairing: Another great wine to be paired with meat during this start of BBQ season.  Grilled leg of lamb, venison or other game meats would do very well, but I am a big fan of classics, so I suggest simple grilled steaks with great simple sides to showcase this wine (recipe below).

Cellaring: Can be opened now, but if you want to see how this will do with a bit more age, it could easily sit for another 2 to 4 years.

 

~RECIPES TO ENJOY WITH YOUR SAVVY SELECTIONS~


With 13th Street Winery Pinot Gris…

Coquilles St. Jacques

Recipe & photo credits: www.ricardocuisine.com 

Ingredients for the mashed potatoes

2 cups Russet potatoes, peeled and cubed
2 tablespoons butter
2 tablespoons 35% cream
Salt and pepper to taste

Ingredients for the scallop filling

2 tablespoons shallot, finely chopped
2 tablespoons butter
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour½ cup of milk (2% fat or more)
¼ cup of white wine (preferably Pinot Gris)
11 oz. medium scallops (size 15-25) drained and patted dry
1 cup of grated Gruyère cheese
Salt and pepper to taste 

Method

In a saucepan, bring the peeled and cubed potatoes to a boil in salted water and cook until tender.  Remove from heat and drain.  Add the butter and coarsely mash.  Using a mixer, puree the potatoes smooth while slowly adding the cream.  Season with salt and pepper to taste.  Transfer potatoes into a pastry bag fitted with a large star tip and set aside.

Melt butter in a fry pan over medium heat.  Add the scallops and cook until softened.  Remove the scallops and set aside.  Add the flour and cook for 1 minute while stirring constantly.  Add the milk and wine and bring to a boil, whisking constantly.  Cook for 1 minute and add salt and pepper to taste.  Add the scallops back to the pan along with ½ cup of the cheese and stir to combine.  Remove pan from heat.

Spoon the scallop filling into four scallop shells or gratin dishes.  Garnish the rim of the dishes with the mashed potatoes. Sprinkle remaining cheese overtop of the filling.  Bake for about 10 minutes at 350 degrees and finish under the broiler until cheese and potatoes are golden brown.

Serve as an appetizer, or as a main course alongside a simple green salad and fresh French baguette. 

 

With 13th Street Essence Pinot Noir …

Grilled Pork Tenderloin with Fresh Cherry Sauce

Recipe credit: www.epicurious.com
Photo credit: www.seasonsandsuppers.ca         

IngredientsRecipe for grilled pork tenderloin & cherry sauce

¾ cup cherry preserves (jam or fruit spread acceptable)
3 Tablespoons balsamic vinegar
¾ teaspoon ground allspice
1 Tablespoon vegetable oil
1 large onion, chopped
2 cups fresh cherries, pitted
¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper
1 ¼ pound pork tenderloin 

Method

Heat up your BBQ (medium heat).

While the BBQ is heating up, mix together the cherry preserves, vinegar, and allspice in a medium bowl. Set aside ¼ cup of this mixture in a separate bowl for glazing later.

Heat oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat.  Add onion and sauté for 1 minute.  Add cherries, cayenne, and preserves mixture. Boil until thick, stirring often, for about 8 minutes.  Season with salt and set aside.

Sprinkle pork with salt and pepper and brush with some glaze.  Cook over hottest part of grill until brown. Move to coolest part and grill until thermometer inserted into thickest part of pork reaches 145°F, turning often and brushing with glaze, about 25 minutes total.

Transfer pork to a platter and let rest 10 minutes. Re-warm the reserved chutney.

Serve with wild rice & fresh vegetables (fiddleheads or asparagus anyone??)

 

With 13th Street Winery Meritage

Gary’s Best Steak Dinner

Recipe Source: Gary Allen (Melanie’s husband!)
Photo Credit: www.thekitchn.com

Ingredients

2 of your favourite cuts of beef
2 medium to large Russet potatoes, scrubbed clean
Arugula
Shaved Parmegiano Reggiano
Good quality olive oil (personal favourite: Arbequina)
Good quality balsamic vinegar
Extra-virgin olive oil

Tips for buying, prepping and cooking steak

Choose your favorite cut of meat.  At our house, the go-to favorite is a Rib steak.  Why you ask?  Fat.  Fat equals flavor.  Leaner steaks (like a Filet Mignon or Sirloin) must be cooked very carefully to ensure they don’t dry out.  Rib steaks are normally on the pricier side, but highly recommend as a “treat yo’ self steak!”  If your feeling adventurous and want a less expensive, but extremely flavourful cut, ask your butcher about flank steak and how to prepare and serve them (hint, cook them rare and cut in thin strips across the grain. Melts in your mouth!).

Nothing says tender steak like a relaxed steak.  Let it come to room temperature before cooking for at least an hour.  Sprinkle liberally with sea salt and freshly ground pepper and let them sit there under some plastic wrap for an hour.  For less expensive cuts, also add a splash a touch of Worcestershire sauce and Montreal Steak Spice to add some of the flavour.  Don’t be shy with the salt; it is very important to ensure that the outside of the steak dries out a bit, that’s going to help you get the nice crusty outside you’re looking for.

Time to Grill!

High heat, sear steak and then rotate 45 degrees after about a minute. 1 minute later, flip it.  Repeat on the other side. This process puts a lot of nice color and hash marks on your steak. Afterward, brush it with a little butter and flip it often until your desired doneness and a nice crust has appeared on the outside.  (Editorial side bar: I used to only eat my meat well done, until my husband came along and got me to try steak done rare.  Beef is so much more intense and satisfying when rare, the mouth feel of the meat is rich and supple and you taste all the wonderful beefy goodness!)

Side dishes

For the baked potato, rub some EVOO and sea salt all around.  Place on a metal baking sheet and cook at 350 degrees for an hour.  For the salad: lightly drizzle arugula with olive oil and balsamic vinegar.  Toss and shave the parmesan over top just before serving.

tasting table

Enjoy your Savvy Selections this summer!

 

 

One-man show makes magic!

Posted by Debbie

Monday, April 18th, 2016

Savvy Selections Ontario wine of the month club

Savvy Selections wine of the month club
Featuring Lighthall Vineyards
–  April 2016 –

The “To Do” list at a winery is long at this time of the year.  Even though the vineyards look bare, winery owners & winemakers like Glenn Symons at Lighthall Vineyards are working flat out.  Bottling white wines, blending the reds, dusting off the tasting bar after hibernating during the winter, hiring labour for the season, de-hilling the vines (a technique primarily used in Prince Edward County), attending events and most of all…selling wine! These are just a few of the items on the never ending list.

Lighthall winery and diaryI am delighted to introduce you to a gem of The County…Lighthall Vineyards, or should I say now Lighthall Vineyards & Dairy.  Our long time fried & Savvy fan Glenn Symons is the owner, winemaker, vineyard manager & one-man-show at this boutique winery.  He has an interesting backstory that you can read while you enjoy a glass of his wine from your Savvy Selections.

In your Savvy Selections you will find….

An easy drinking sparkling wine to enjoy now…along with a bottle of Chardonnay and Pinot Noir to cellar….if you can wait!  Rest assured that the wines are all ready to be served, yet Glenn recommends, “the Chardonnay is delicious now and will continue to get even better with time.  Same goes for the Pinot Noir.  Both wines have so much promise.” If only you have the willpower to leave them alone.

lighthall vineyards bottles on iceLighthall Progression VQA 2013 – fun & fresh.  Mark my words that you will wish that we sent you 2 bottles.

Lighthall Chardonnay VQA 2014 – Glenn declares that it is the best one he has made…yet!

Lighthall Pinot Noir ‘Quatre Anges’ VQA 2014 – complicated & elegant.  One of the best made in The County

Cheers,
Debbie & Savvy Team 

 

Introducing…
Lighthall Vineyards

Presented by Sommelier Debbie Trenholm

 

Edible Ottawa - Glenn SymonsAll of us have 24 hours in our day. It amazes me how people like Glenn Symons (in photo at right – photo credit Edible Ottawa) does it– he spends 1.5 hours roundtrip commuting from his home to the winery, tends to 16 acres of vines year round, manages a team of vineyard workers from Thailand, cares for his 100+ chickens, ducks, turkeys all the while making top rated wines & chops wood from the forest on his 100 acre property.

Oh and just last year he took on the challenge to learn how to make artisan cheeses turning this into a new business, renovated his building to accommodate cheesemaking equipment and for fun, he began growing hops too.  And Glenn is a father of four – including twin boys – he has all of the typical ‘Daddy duties’ too.

Being a one man show for the past 8 years, he has built an amazing reputation for Lighthall’s quality of sparkling, Chardonnay and Pinot Noir wines.  All of his grapes are grown in the vineyard that he has expanded from 8 to 16 acres.  Glenn’s winemaking talent is recognized by his peers in The County as several winemakers call on him to help finish and bottle their wines.

“Some days there is just enough coffee or beer to keep me going”, Glenn laughs.

It all started with a heart attack

It’s an unfathomable beginning.  “I remember that day so clearly”, recalls Glenn. “I turned 36 and I was running a busy pharmacy on Elgin Street in downtown Ottawa.  The day began normal, then the perfect storm hit.” One of his long time staff members resigned, his largest client – a nursing home – called with complaints and CRA (yes – Canadian Revenue Agency) did a surprise audit. While these fires raged, Glenn remembers downing 2 double double coffees to help with the situation.

“After work I took my daughter to her final ringette game of the season. We inadvertently went to the wrong arena. Miraculously we made it to the right place before the whistle blew. It was a special season closer where parents played against the girls.” When Glenn tied up his skates, he felt the tell-tale sign of tightening of his chest and he had a heart attack on the ice. “The doctors at the Heart Institute told me that it was the type of attack where 50% survive”, Glenn remembers with a punctuated sigh.

After his heart attack, Glenn decided to make changes to his lifestyle.  He had been experimenting with winemaking since he was 19 and he was constantly intrigued by its chemistry.  Still a busy father and businessman, he enrolled in the Sommelier Program at Algonquin College to specifically learn more about the world of wine.

He raised my eyebrows!

Coincidentally, this is where I met Glenn.  I was an industry judge for his final Sommelier service exam.  While his classmates were white knuckled as they role played a restaurant scenario of patrons ordering wine with their meals, Glenn breezed through the exam with confidence & ease.  He also served a bottle of Huff Estates Lighthall Vineyard Chardonnay while his classmates were using Fat Bastard & Mouton Cadet for practicing the professional 21-step bottle opening etiquette. Struck by the fact that Glenn was using a $40 bottle of wine to showcase his serving skills, I commented, “Interesting choice of bottles to practice on.” He replied with a huge smile, “I bought this vineyard last week.”

From Pharm-acist to Farm-er

lighthall vineyard buildingGlenn considered only 2 vineyards when deciding to get involved in the wine industry.  A developed vineyard of 8 acres in Prince Edward County already called Lighthall Vineyards or a well-established vineyard in Chateauneuf-de-Pape France. “Had I gone to France, I probably would have been creamed & out of business by now. I have learned so much on the fly here, that I doubt France would have been that forgiving!”

“I learned everything about winemaking from Frederic Picard.  He taught me the basics and gave me the confidence to refine these skills into my own style.  I am also indebted to Dave Frederick who was my assistant winemaker in the early days. Both men are friends, my mentors and my go-tos.” Fred Picard is the chief winemaker at Huff Estates Winery who came from Burgundy, France to The County.  Dave Frederick has been an assistant winemaker at several wineries in the region and is soon to open Strange Brewing Co near Picton.

And to pair with the success of his winery, last year Glenn ventured into making artisan cheese.  Will he ever stop?

Here’s to Glenn & his adventures at Lighthall.

~ SAVVY SOMMELIER TASTING NOTES ~


Lighthall Progression VQA 2013, $20.00

“This is the wine that I can’t stop drinking”, says Glenn with a giggle. And the Savvy Team agrees!

Glenn planted Vidal vines with the full intention (like many Canadian winemakers) of making the grapes into icewine and exporting into China.  The Chinese connection fell through and we was stuck experimenting what he can do with these grapes.  Luckily he concocted Progression!

Savvy Sommelier Tasting Notes: So easy to drink, uncomplicated, fun & refreshing.  There’s a dry delicious refreshing acidity with aromas of citrus, pear & crunchy green apple with a nicely balanced crisp finish. 

Suggested Food Pairing: Served well chilled, this wine is lovely on its own, with runny cheese like Brie, fresh oysters, or paired with light appetizers or even pizza with Pear, Carmelized Onion & Brie (recipe to follow).  Simply put – keep a bottle in your fridge for any occasion to pop off the cap! 

 

Lighthall Chardonnay VQA 2014, $25.00

lighthall vineyards bottles - bestThis is Glenn’s best Chardonnay yet.  “It is exactly what I want to be making.  I fermented one third in oak barrels with the remaining two thirds in stainless steel.”

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau certainly thinks so! Enjoyed before he hit the campaign trail, Glenn told me that he received a cheque in the mail from Sophie Grégoire for the amount to pay for 2 cases of this Chardonnay. “There was no note, no shipping instructions, just the cheque!” 

Savvy Sommelier Tasting Notes: Elegant with delicate limestone minerality that a typical characteristic of The County, combined with a judicious amount of oak. There`s aromas and tastes of apples & Asian pear. It’s rich & buttery with a little nip of acidity on the tongue that lures you to have another sip.

Suggested Food Pairing: “Sweetbreads with this Chardonnay is mind-numbing”, declared Glenn. Pan seared scallops, wild mushroom risotto or Turkey Meatballs topped on a creamy lemon pasta (recipe follows).

Cellaring: This wine is ‘nervous’ explains Glenn.  Although delicious now, this wine will relax and mellow with time – approximately 5 more years.

 

Lighthall ‘Quatre Anges’ Pinot Noir VQA 2014 $30.00

The Quatre Anges (4 Angels) refers to Glenn’s 4 children. Each have been involved in the winery in some way as they have grown into teenagers. Each harvest they get together to help with the crush.  You can imagine siblings during the chaos of harvest – oh my! Now with the eldest in university, this is quite possibly the last time the foursome will be involved in the making of this wine.

2014 was an epic growing season with incredible ripening that shows through in the fruit.

Savvy Sommelier Tasting Notes: Deep coloured for a Pinot Noir, this one is rich & full of red & black cherry tastes. Barrel aged for over a year adds in notes of rosemary, leather with a warm smoke characteristic that rounds off the mouthfeel.  An amazing wine that will only get better with some more time.

Suggested Food Pairing: One pairing – Duck! “I am raising duck at the winery, simply because I love the pairing with Pinot,” states Glenn.  A favorite duck recipe includes Black Truffles. Be on the lookout for fresh or frozen in a gourmet food shop.

Cellaring: This is ready to enjoy, yet it will benefit from being untouched for another 10 years…if you can wait that long.

 

~RECIPES TO ENJOY WITH YOUR SAVVY SELECTIONS~

 

With Lighthall Progression…

Pear, Carmelized Onion & Brie Pizza

Recipe & photo credits: Dinner with Julie 

Ingredients

Pear-Brie-PizzaCanola or Olive oil – for cooking
1 large onion, halved & thinly sliced
1 ripe but firm pear, thinly sliced
4 oz Brie, sliced salt & freshly ground black pepper
extra virgin olive oil

Dough

1 package (2 tsp) active dry yeast
pinch of sugar
2 ½ to 3 cup all-purpose flour
2 Tbsp (or a good glug) olive oil
1 teaspoon salt 

Method

Put 1 cup warm water into a large bowl, add the sugar and sprinkle the yeast overtop; let stand for 5 minutes, until it gets foamy. Add 2 ½ cups all-purpose flour, the olive oil and salt and stir until you have a shaggy dough. Let rest for 20 minutes, then knead until smooth and elastic, adding more flour if you need it – the dough should be tacky, but not too sticky.

If you like, place the dough in an oiled bowl and turn to coat all over. Cover with a tea towel and set aside in a warm place – if you’re in a hurry, it only needs to wait for about an hour, until it’s doubled in bulk. If you have time, leave it. When it gets too big, punch it down. If you’re going out or to bed, cover it and put it in the fridge, which will slow the rise. Or freeze it. Take it out to thaw or warm up before you use it.

When you’re ready for pizza, heat a generous drizzle of oil in a medium skillet set over medium-high heat and sauté the onion for 5 minutes, or until soft and turning golden. Preheat the oven to 450F.

Divide the dough in half and roll or stretch each out into a 9-inch circle or oval. Place each on a parchment-lined or floured baking sheet and top with half the caramelized onions, half the pear slices and half the Brie. Sprinkle with salt and pepper and drizzle with olive oil.

Bake for 15-20 minutes, until deep golden. Let rest for a few minutes, then drizzle with honey before slicing.

 

Lighthall Chardonnay VQA 2014…

Turkey Meatballs with Creamy Lemon Pasta

Recipe & photo credits: Jessica Alba 

Ingredients

meatballs-mslb7071_vert2 lbs ground turkey
1 cup bread crumbs (Japanese Panko crumbs are ideal)
1/4 cup carrots, shredded
1/4 cup onion, shredded
1/4 cup zucchini, shredded
2 large eggs
2 Tbsp Italian seasoning
1 Tbsp sea salt
2 Tbsp olive oil
¾ cup low sodium chicken stock
Your favorite pasta
1/3 to ½ cup goat cheese
Zest & Juice of 1 lemon
¼ to ½ of white wine – use something other than Lighthall Chardonnay! 

Method

In a large bowl, mix turkey, panko, carrots, zucchini, onion, eggs, Italian seasoning, and salt until well combined; form into 1-inch balls.

Heat olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add meatballs and cook, turning, until browned, about 7 minutes.

Add ½ cup chicken broth, cover and reduce heat to low. Cook until liquid is almost completely absorbed, about 7 minutes.

Add remaining ¼ cup broth and increase heat to medium; cook, uncovered, until liquid is absorbed.

In a separate pot, cook your favorite pasta. Once al dante, drain the water & place pasta back into the pot on low heat.  Crumble in goat cheese & stir until melted.  To help the melting, add white wine periodically until a creamy consistency similar to cream sauce that coats the pasta.

To finish the sauce, squeeze the juice of one lemon into the sauce, toss in zest & gently stir.

Plate with a mound of pasta topped with turkey meatballs.

Enjoy!

 

With Lighthall ‘Quatres Anges’ Pinot Noir VQA2014

Roast Duck Breast with Shaved Black Truffles

Recipe Source: Thyme in our Kitchen & adapted from Epicurious
Photo Credit: Thyme in our Kitchen

Ingredients

Duck and black truffle1 Tbsp olive oil
1 ½ pounds chicken wings
1 cup diced peeled carrots
1 cup diced celery
2 ¼ cups beef broth
2 cups low-salt chicken broth
2 ounces fresh black truffles or frozen, unthawed
3 boneless duck breast halves
2 Tbsp (1/4 stick) butter, divided
¼ cup finely chopped shallots
1 cup apple juice

Method

Heat oil in heavy large skillet over medium-high heat. Add chicken wings and sauté until deep brown, about 15 minutes. Add carrots and celery to skillet; sauté 5 minutes. Add both broths; bring to boil. Reduce heat, cover, and simmer 1 hour. Strain, reserving broth and discarding wings and vegetables. If necessary, return broth to skillet and boil until reduced to 1 cup; reserve for sauce.

Using small brush, scrub fresh or frozen truffles under cold running water. Using sharp thin knife, remove peel from truffles and reserve for sauce. Thinly shave truffles using V-slicer or truffle shaver; cover and set aside.

Pat duck breasts dry with paper towels. Cut off any sinew from breast meat. Place breasts on work surface. Using fingers or small sharp knife, pull or cut skin with fat away from meat from both long sides of duck breast almost to center, leaving 1-inch-wide strip of fat attached to meat in center (do not cut through center strip). Lift up flaps of duck skin and fat and arrange sliced truffles over breast meat under fat on each, dividing equally. Press skin flaps down over truffles to cover completely. Using sharp knife, score top of duck skin in 1/2-inch diamond pattern, being careful not to cut through fat. (Can be made 1 day ahead. Cover broth, duck, and truffle peel separately and chill.)

Preheat oven to 400°F. Heat heavy large ovenproof skillet over medium heat. Sprinkle duck breasts with salt and pepper. Place duck, skin side down, in skillet. Cook until skin is deep golden and crisp and fat renders, occasionally pouring off accumulated drippings from pan, about 10 minutes. Turn duck breasts over; place pan in oven and roast just until duck is cooked to desired doneness, about 8 minutes for medium. Transfer duck to platter; cover and let rest 10 minutes. Reserve skillet. Finely chop reserved truffle peel.

Drain remaining fat from skillet. Add 1 tablespoon butter to skillet and melt over medium-high heat. Add shallots; sauté until golden, about 2 minutes. Add juice and boil until almost evaporated, about 4 minutes. Add reserved broth and any accumulated juices from duck; simmer until mixture is reduced to 1 generous cup. Strain mixture into small saucepan; add reserved chopped truffle peel. Season sauce to taste with salt and pepper. Stir in remaining 1 tablespoon butter.

Thinly slice duck breasts crosswise. Arrange duck slices on plates; drizzle with sauce and serve.

Bon appetit & enjoy your Savvy Selections.