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Archive for ‘Oh Canada! Sommelier reviews of Canadian wines’

Fall in Love with these Okanagan wines & cheese

Posted by Susan

Tuesday, February 14th, 2017

I can’t get enough! I’m in the south Okanagan again, remembering why I fell in love with its unique landscape, the changing hues of the fruit trees and the vineyards, the outstanding wines created by established growers and newcomers. On this trip, I discovered new places that I wanted to share with you…

Upper Bench Winery & Creamery

Four years ago, I headed up to the Naramata Bench to check out a couple of new wineries, including Upper Bench. At the time, they had just opened, many of their wines were sold out, and there was a limited selection of their delectable cheeses. But what I tasted was very good and I decided to stop in this year on my way from Kelowna to Osoyoos.

As luck would have it, Shana, the ‘Big Cheese’ – half of the duo responsible for this small family-owned winery (husband Gavin Miller is the winemaker) – was in the tasting room. So, we were treated to her expertise and enthusiasm as we tasted three of their unique cheeses, along with several wines.

I make no claim to any cheese expertise like our cheese Sommelier Vanessa, mark my words, the Brie seemed wonderfully creamy to me, with a lovely soft yet textured rind. The Gold offered a firmer texture, a golden washed rind and a slightly nutty flavor. The Grey Baby, named for her cat, had a lovely bloomy grey rind, almost no typical blue cheese veining but an absolutely melt-in-my -mouth texture and delicate flavours. Yes, I found cheese heaven!

The U&Brie was paired with their 2015 dry Riesling – they’re already into the 2015 wines due the fast pace of sales. Light-mid weight, the nose is floral and fruity with underlying mineral notes, the palate crisp and bright offering flavours of orchard fruit and lemon zest, the finish tart and tangy yet fruity.

The 2015 Chardonnay continues to be made with an emphasis on purity of fruit, half the wine aged only 3 months in French oak, the balance in stainless, so that the delicate notes of spice and warm pastry garnish the aromas and flavours of tropical fruit, melon and juicy pear, while a hint of pithy grapefruit adds tang to the creamy finish. It provided a great pairing with the Oka-like Gold cheese.

The Grey Baby cheese was a perfect complement for the 2014 Pinot Noir red wine – an elegant, silky wine with lifted floral notes, bright red fruit and hints of earth and spice. Medium bodied, it’s intensely flavourful, subtly structured, the flavours of ripe red fruit interwoven with delicate notes of spice and mineral.

The Yard Wine is a signature wine, a Bordeaux-style red wine blend of co-fermented Merlot and Cabernets (mainly Franc) that’s medium-full bodied, full of aromas and flavours of sweet black and red fruits, hints of chocolate-coated caramel and spice as well as complementary undertones of tomato leaf and earth. Underpinned with ripe tannins and fresh acidity, it’s a very approachable, gulpable wine!

While the small production of Upper Bench wines means that they won’t be found in the LCBO, you can always join their wine and cheese clubs.

 

Painted Rock Winery

Another sunny day found us winding our way along the east side of Skaha Lake from OK Falls toward Penticton. We made our way up the bench to Painted Rock, where we once again struck gold, as proprietor John Skinner was at the tasting bar.

John worked in the financial industry in Vancouver for many years, all the while developing his fascination with fine wines and the wine industry. In 2004, he and his wife Trish purchased a former fruit orchard on the bench that had lain fallow for almost 2 decades. About 25 acres were planted to a variety of vitis vinifera clones in 2005 and 2006. As a result of his interaction with the nursery from which he sourced his clones, John was contacted by wine consultant Alain Sutre (who also consults with Don Triggs’ Culmina estate winery), who continues to work with Painted Rock to this day. As an example of the valuable input he provides, during the extremely hot 2015 vintage, Alain counselled John and his team to allow the vine canopy to grow to ensure shading of the grapes from the sun and to prevent scorching. This allowed for a longer hang time, good maturation of the fruit and retention of acidity.

John’s commitment to premium winemaking and his delight in his property and the local trails was evident as he interspersed our tasting with anecdotes of the recent vintages and photos of local pictographs he has found on the granite outcroppings.

The 2015 Rosé wine is a Saignée, an assemblage of his red grapes, including Merlot, the Cabernet Sauvignon and Cabernet Francs, Malbec, Petit Verdot and Syrah. A lovely salmon hue, it shows some residual sugar and warmth from the hot vintage, aromas and flavours of strawberry/rhubarb compote, dried cherry and dried herbs, and a lovely silky, fruity finish.

The 2013 Merlot, aged 18 months in a combination of new and second fill French oak, is dry, full bodied red wine with tangy, showing rich lifted aromas and flavours of black cherry, plum and raspberry, warm sweet spice and hints of menthol and herbs, underpinned by ripe tannins and a fresh texture.

The 2014 Cabernet Franc was a particular favorite, seducing with its lifted floral notes of red rose and violet, the sweet hints of baking spice, cocoa and plummy fruit, and a subtle whiff of graphite. Dry and firmly structured, it’s loaded with flavours of black currant garnished with notes of herbs and cracked pepper. Finishing long and dry, this red wine shows great cellaring potential.

Once again, none of these wines are on the LCBO website, but John also offers a wine club.

Nk’Mip Winery

Nestled on a bench just above Lake Osoyoos, the Nk’Mip Cellars is as much a part of the land as its owner/operators, the Osoyoos Indian Band. In a partnership with the then-Canadian wine conglomerate, Vincor, the band established the first indigenous-owned winery, and winemaker Randy Picton was engaged in 2002, just in time for the first harvest.

Located on a small campus that includes the Desert Cultural Centre, the Sonora Dunes Golf Course and Spirit Ridge Resort (where I stayed), it was inevitable that I would wander over to Nk’Mip to see how the 2016 harvest was progressing (slowly due to a very cool fall and an early killing frost) and to taste a few wines from recent vintages. It felt like a celebration to be there, as Nk’Mip has recently been named 2016 Winery of the Year, having been in the top 10 in the last four years, and the recent purchase of Constellation Brands Canadian wine properties (including its investment in Nk’Mip) by the Ontario Teachers’ Pension Fund means that the winery is now fully in Canadian hands once again.

The view from the winery is idyllic, rows of golden-leaved vines marching down the sloping vineyard to Lake Osoyoos, the small resort town of Osoyoos rising from the lake to a backdrop of rugged Sonoran desert mountainscapes.

Randy has honed his craft so that no matter the level of wines tasted, you can expect deftly crafted high quality wines made to his exacting standards. To quote Randy, “My approach is to focus on every detail in the vineyard in order to bring the best possible grapes to the winery. The vineyard is expressed in the bottle.” He’s assisted in the winery by Justin Hall, an Osoyoos Indian Band member who has studied viticulture and oenology in Canada, as well as New Zealand, and worked in the industry in Australia as well as at Nk’Mip.
You see his experience in cool climate winemaking in the vibrant, fresh 2015 Pinot Blanc, a great value white wine that offers subtle aromatics of citrus and orchard fruit, with a clean, crisp flavours of lemon, pithy grapefruit mineral through a zesty finish.

The 2013 Merlot is an easy-going crowd pleaser, a dry mid-weight red wine aged 12 months in a combination of French and American oak, offering flavours of cherry and plum, herbs, spice and cocoa through a nice lively finish.

The 2014 Syrah from the signature QwAm QwMt tier is produced from estate fruit, the wine aged 18 months in French oak. It’s a complex, full bodied deep purple wine with layers of flavours–dark berry fruits, exotic spice, Okanagan sage, cracked pepper with notes of dark chocolate and coffee bean wrapped in a firm structure. It’s a great value and worthy of cellaring.

The Nk’Mip Qw’Am Qw’Mt Chardonnay 2013 is listed on the LCBO website (#391813), and for other wines you can always contact the winery about their wine club.

 

There you go…3 more reasons to pack your bags and head to British Columbia wine region!

 

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!

Beat the heat bevvies

Posted by Debbie

Monday, July 11th, 2016

Question: What drink make you think of summer?

A) Refreshing Rosé
B) Mouth-watering Cider
C) Cold Radler Beer
D) Big bold Cabernet
E) Fruity Sangria
F) All of the above!

This is a multiple choice quiz that none of us can get wrong! With more sun-filled days, long weekends and lazy afternoons lounging on your deck or dock, summer brings more time to relax & unwind with a glass in your favorite beat-the-heat bevvy.

To help you shift from winter warming drinks to summer sippers, here are some tips from our team of Savvy Sommeliers & Brew Crew:

 

Fielding RoseFielding Estate Rosé VQA 2015

from: Niagara, Ontario

Nothing says summer like a glass of chilled Rosé wine. There are plenty to choose from all parts of the world, ranging in colour from a hint-of-pink to bright candy floss. With a sip, you will discover tastes from bone dry to a touch of sweetness.   To tip you off on just one Rosé to buy is difficult. When the Savvy Sommeliers got together for our spring kick-off, we were impressed with Fielding’s Rosé wine. A soft pink colour with aromas and tastes that will remind you of ripe strawberries and rhubarb. It’s a lovely wine that will be delicious with fish (poached or grilled), prosciutto wrapped asparagus, lemon roasted chicken, corn chowder or even a summer salad.

$15.95 per bottle available at the LCBO all summer long.

County Cider Pear bottle shotCounty Cider Co. Pear Cider

from: Prince Edward County, Ontario

County Cider Company is a family-run operation that has been crafting ciders in The County since 1995 – long before the region became known for its wines. The Pear Cider was inspired when the cidery owners Jenifer & Grant Howes visited Normandy, France – an area renowned for Cavardos (Pear and Apple Brandy). For this summer sipper, pear juice has been blended with carefully selected apple cider – for a dry, delicious quench thirsting summer drink.

$7.95 per bottle – available when you visit The County this summer or contact Savvy Company to deliver some to your doorstep.

radler-can_2048x2048Kichesippi Brewery Radler

from Ottawa, Ontario

Last summer, it seemed that every craft brewery was making a Radler! They are not a new creation, rather a resurgence of a summertime beer that was first introduced in Deisenhofen, Germany back in 1922. Intentionally made to be lower in alcohol (typically 3%), this is a great beer to enjoy during lunch on the patio, or to pop into your panier to quench your thirst during a bike ride. Kichesippi’s Radler is a blend of their lager with grapefruit soda. Be sure to try plenty of Radlers this summer to find your favorite.

$2.85 per can – available at the LCBO throughout Ottawa only for the summer.

 

13th Street Meritage13th Street Estate Winery Meritage VQA 2012

from Twenty Valley (Niagara), Ontario

A powerhouse red blend of 33% Cabernet Sauvignon, 33% Merlot & 33% Cabernet Franc. Get out your largest wine glasses as this BIG red wine is begging to be served with anything off the BBQ. Think thick steak, lamb chops, spicy sausages with loads of fresh grilled veggies. A very special wine as only 220 cases were made. Every sip will remind you of black cherry, dark chocolate , black plum with a dash of fresh ground pepper and warm spices (think cloves, Chinese 5 Spice & steak spice). At $34.95 per bottle, this extra special wine is only available when you visit the winery this summer. Alternatively, subscribe to Savvy Selections wine-o-month club & the wine will auto-magically arrive at your home or office.

 Summer won’t last forever, so mix it up with a pitcher of sangria. Whether you make it with red wine or take a new approach and use white wine, this fruit ladened cocktail make your summertime Happy Hour, even happier!

 

Debbie’s Secret recipe for Sangria

from Debbie’s kitchen to yours…

Photo from www.goodtaste.tv

Makes 1 large pitchersangria-3

1 bottle of red wine (select something under $18…afterall you will be adding fruit to it!)
10 to 15 strawberries, sliced
A handful of blackberries
1 lemon, sliced & quartered
1 lime, sliced & halved
1 orange, sliced & quartered
½ of a tin of frozen Five Alive juice concentrate
½ to a full can of Club Soda or 7-Up (optional – if you want a little spritz to your sangria. 7-Up will make your sangria sweeter.)

Place fruit into a large pitcher or jug. Pour in Five Alive concentrate, club soda or 7-Up (if using). Fill with red wine. Stir until well mixed. Chill in fridge for 1 hour before serving to let the fruit marinate. Pour into a tall glass with lots of ice. Garnish with a slice of fruit on the rim. Enjoy.

 

Love Rosé wines? You’ll love this…

bouquet-of-rosesWe make it easy to Clink & Drink Pink! Each month throughout the summer, our Savvy Sommeliers will select a different assortment of six Rosé wines from across Ontario. These are extra special as you won’t find them at the LCBO.

Order a small bouquet (a parcel of 6 different Rosé wines) or a full bouquet (a parcel containing 12 bottles – 2 of each of the featured Rosé wines).

There is a different bouquet of Rosés each month!

Next to the taste, the best part of this new way to buy hard-to-find rosé wines is free shipping.

Order yours or give as a gift at www.savvycompany.ca/rose

Fresh Starts & Fine Wines in the Okanagan Valley

Posted by Susan

Monday, March 17th, 2014

Each trip to B.C.’s Okanagan Valley is a new adventure – tasting wines from a new vintage, visiting old friends at existing wineries, or talking to individuals who have decided to turn their minds, hearts and hands to the cultivation of grapes and the vinification of unique wines. My recent visit was no exception, providing an exceptional opportunity to take an extensive tour of the Triggs’ family new venture, Culmina Family Estate Winery on the Golden Mile, and to visit Platinum Bench Estate Winery on the Black Sage Bench as well as Spierhead Winery in southeast Kelowna.

Culmina Winery

Donal TriggsThe Golden Mile bench in the south Okanagan, between Oliver and Osoyoos, is legendary, named not so much for the quality of the soil for tree fruits and grape vines, but rather for the gold mines that were worked in the area in the late 1800s. Don Triggs greeted us when we arrived, brimming with energy and enthusiasm for this new project.  After the sale of Vincor (which included Jackson-Triggs, co-founded by Triggs) in 2006, Don took a year off – ‘but I got bored, so I talked to Elaine and the family about starting a new winery. My youngest daughter Sara said she’d be interested, so here we are . . .’. In 2007, the Triggs family purchased an existing property which included some established vines.

Reaching for the peak

Don had a very clear notion of what he wanted to achieve: ‘Culmina means summit, and our goal is to reach for the peak in Bordeaux-style wines, producing premium wines that are the best that can be achieved from our estate. Culmina is also the root of the word culmination, and this winery is the ultimate expression of our family and its values in the wine business.’  The estate honors members of the Triggs family, the principle 48-acre vineyard named ‘Arise’ after the estate of an ancestor of Don’s who was awarded 10 acres in Barbados in the late 1600’s by the British monarch after serving as a ship’s purser. Margaret’s bench, a 10-acre vineyard which has to be one of the highest on the Golden Mile, is named after Don’s mother, while Stan’s bench, also 10 acres, is named after Elaine’s father.

 Taking the tour

Our tour of the property made it clear that the latest in technology has guided and continues to support the Triggs family’s focus on outstanding quality in its vineyards and wines. Don discussed the research that went into selecting and then assessing the site; how numerous soil test pits were dug in the vineyards, how water retention in the soils was measured, to the extent that the Arise vineyard is subdivided into 1.25 acre micro-sites, each planted with unique root stocks and clones of Syrah and the Bordeaux varieties. Degree days were measured, once again to ensure that the appropriate grape varieties were planted in the optimal temperature zones. The Arise vineyard has the highest overall number of degree days at 1500, Margaret’s bench, the lowest at 1280-1350 (look for Riesling, Chardonnay and Grüner on this property), while Stan’s bench offers an interesting dichotomy – a south-facing rock wall along a reach of this vineyard retains heat and drives up degree days to as much as 1800 (you’ll find the Malbec, Petit Verdot and Viognier here), while the part of the vineyard without the rock wall has degree days half way between the Arise vineyard and Margaret’s bench.

It’s all in the sun & the shade

Okanagan vineyard in fallSatellite imaging was used to assess the extent and impact of the afternoon shadows that slip down the mountain and across the vineyard, determining where the Merlot would be planted so that it benefits from the cooling effects of the afternoon shade. Small solar panels dot the vineyards, powering batteries that feed the environmental monitoring systems measuring soil moisture, temperature and other data.  Interested in the technology? Sara Triggs is not only a partner in this venture, but an outstanding tasting room hostess, and the brains behind the Culmina website, where you can find maps and diagrams of the ‘vineyard mapping’ undertaken by the family.

 Ever heard of dry-land farming?

Don has.  Recognizing the risk of water shortages in the coming decades, he has also initiated an experimental planting of dry-land farmed vines. Grafted to vigorous, drought-resistant rootstock that will send their roots up to 30 metres down in search of water, the 1000 vines of Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc and Syrah have been planted 2×2 metres apart on a steep slope without disturbing the natural vegetation. Drip irrigation will be used for the first 3 years, with the intent to eliminate watering once the vines reach that stage. At maturity, the vines will be pruned to the goblet, or ‘bush vine’ shape to enhance their survivability in this desert landscape.

 Arts & Science at Culmina

culmina winery logoThe family’s prior experience and their appreciation of the arts and sciences manifests itself in all aspects of Culmina. The winery graphic is a fine and unique representation of the old bush vines found in such dry, windy climates as the east coast of Spain and the south of France. Displaying clean, modern lines and materials, the winery tasting room and outdoor patio is architecturally inviting and warm. The environmental monitoring system is the first major installation of this type in Canada. The initial research was extensive, and the data collection continues, providing an ongoing record that can be used to adjust and adapt as required. The technology is married to age-hold practices of hand-planting, hand-pruning and hand-picking the fruit. And there is a strong emphasis on sustainability, manifested in the cover crops between the rows, designed to attract beneficial insect populations and to manage the vigor of the vines, sourcing of local cow manure as fertilizer, the use of hand-split cedar posts or galvanized steel to eliminate chemical leaching, use of under-canopy irrigation to minimize water usage, as well as construction of the winery to optimize solar gain and energy efficiency.

 Drawing on expertise from Bordeaux

To produce his iconic wines, Don Triggs turned to Alain Sutre and Pascal Madevon, both sons of Bordeaux, whom he worked with in the early days of the Osoyoos-Larose joint venture. Pascal joined Culmina as winemaker in January of this year and, in this, his first vintage at the winery, was hovering between the sorting table and the de-stemmer as the Merlot made its way from vine to fermentation tank in the gravity-flow winery. As we talked about Culmina, he spoke passionately about this new venture and the potential of the fruit coming off the vineyards.

Taste the real fruit

The Triggs’ family have a flavour profile in mind for their wines. Says Don, ‘Let the fruit be uninterfered with as possible’. The fruit from each block goes into its own tank and goes through extended fermentation to soften the tannins. Fermentation is held to lower temperatures to ensure the sustainability of the aromatics. Grapes and fermenting wine are tasted, the wine created to match the desired profile. French oak is used in aging, the barrels specified by Alain Sutre, purchased from 5 coopers who use a mix of barrel staves from four renowned French oak forests. Literally no stone is left unturned, no detail too small to be addressed.

 Striving for perfection

To quote the Triggs family, their focus is on ‘three fundamental principles: first, their love and appreciation for art and design; second their understanding that by applying scientific principles, it’s possible to reach high calibre results; third, that only in striving for perfection is there the possibility of achieving excellence.’

 Tasting wines at Culmina…a Dilemma

Culmina opened in late August, 2013, offering tasting and sale of their initial vintage, 2011 Dilemma (Chardonnay) and Hypothesis (Bordeaux blend of Cabernet Franc, Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon), as well as their 2012 Saignée Rosé (Cabernet Sauvignon and Gamay). The wines deliver on the promise: the rosé a fine balance of lovely red fruit, floral notes and clean acidity, offering a silky yet crisp texture; Dilemma, produced from the original 20-year vines on the estate (after waiting 3 years to taste his own Chardonnay grapes at maturity, Don made the decision – it was a dilemma, says he – to tear out the old vines), fermented in new French oak and aged partly in barrel, partly in stainless, very expressive, with attractive minerality, hints of toasted nut, orchard fruit and tropical notes, showing an outstanding integration of oak and a creamy yet fresh texture; Hypothesis, the icon, described by Don as offering Cab Franc on the nose, Merlot through the mid-palate, with Cab Sauv securing the long finish, is an elegant yet full-bodied cellar-worthy wine with complex aromas and flavours—floral notes, earth, berries, spice and toast—with the lovely tension of clean acidity and fine-grained tannins married to well-ripened fruit.

Where to buy? Head to BC!

Alas, the wines are available only at Culmina or through the wine club, but we can look forward to on-line ordering in the future, perhaps when the 2013 vintage is released. Based on the conditions of the vintage and the fruit at harvest, Don is expecting ripe, elegant wines – the summer heat brought the sugars to an ideal level, then the cooler weather in September allowed the tannins to ripen, and October again brought warm temperature, allowing the fruit to mature.

If you travel to the Okanagan, don’t miss the opportunity to reserve your own tour and tasting at Culmina! Or get on Sara’s mailing list so that you’re the first to know about direct ordering from Culmina.

 

Platinum Bench Estate Winery

Pickers are in the vineyard and the warm scent of fresh-baked bread is drifting through the doorway as I arrive at Platinum Bench Estate Winery. Fiona Duncan is up to her elbows in flour and bread dough, a timer always in her pocket or on the counter – ‘If you can wait 5 minutes, the bread will be out of the oven and we can do a tasting’.

cheeses1I browse the wines, and the tiny fridge, which advertises artisanal cheeses from Poplar Grove and Kootenay Alpine Cheese Company (their Alpindon is a favorite). A young couple hangs out on the deck overlooking the hills behind the Black Sage bench, waiting for their soprasata and swiss cheese mini-loaf. They’re heading home to Vancouver, and couldn’t resist just one more taste of Fiona’s unique bread with their Platinum Estate Cab Sauv, once they get home, of course.

Outgoing and friendly, Fiona and her husband are the team that makes Platinum Bench work. He’s in the vineyard, she’s in the small kitchen, baking bread, and in the tasting room, insisting you try the entire flight of wines, with the bread, of course, and perhaps a taste of local cheeses. Their philosophy: ‘to achieve a great wine, one must first approach the land and vines with meticulous care, cropping, and respect . . .’

The winery & the bakery go hand in hand at Platinum

Originally from Vancouver via Winnipeg, Fiona decided a few years ago that she wanted to become an expert croissant maker. After a year and a half of experimenting, with mixed but generally satisfying results, she decided to formally enroll in a course. But she had to complete her ‘bread level’s first; consequently she became a qualified baker as well as a croissant expert! So when the couple decided they wanted to buy a vineyard and make wine in the Okanagan, the germ of an idea was born. How about a winery that is also an artisanal bakery, featuring local cheeses? And, then Fiona came up with these uniquely flavoured breads to taste with the wine:  Double cream brie and pear is paired with the whites; soprasata and swiss generally pairs with the lighter reds; gorgonzola and fig is reserved for the heavier reds.

 Taste the real fruit

Platinum Bench wineryWith the help of Harry McWatters, the couple patiently waited for a vineyard suitable for the style of wine they wanted to produce to come on the market. The property they eventually purchased is one of the first planted on the Black Sage Bench, with vines that are now almost 20 years old. They moved out to the Okanagan in 2011, after the purchase of the property. Says Fiona, ‘We were lucky, as the site had 15 acres under vine, as well as a winery building and a small apartment where the former vineyard manager lived. We moved right in and immediately started taking viticulture and viniculture courses. Our focus is really on quality fruit – we still sell some grapes, as well as producing our own wine.’

In between the beeps of the timer (I admit to having arrived right at opening), Fiona offers a tasting of their first vintage, as well as her delicious breads (they’re shaped like a chain of tiny stuffed buns). The 2011 Chardonnay was blended from wines aged in stainless, new French oak and neutral French oak. Showcasing a clean crisp texture, it offers lovely flavours of orchard fruit, a touch of spice and delicious honeyed butterscotch.

Due to the late bud break, the 2011 Merlot was cropped early, providing a better opportunity for the sugars to concentrate in the grapes, then the long warm autumn allowed the tannins to soften, creating a nicely balanced wine. Dry, medium bodied, there’s the lovely tang of red fruits, subtle oaky notes and a touch of pepper on the finish.

The 2011 Cabernet Franc offers attractive floral and herbal aromas, hints of roasted red pepper, ripe berries and a touch of peppery spice. The 2011 Cabernet Sauvignon is firmly structured, spicy, toasty, showcasing blackberry and red berry, finishing tangy and clean.

The 2011 Platinum Bench Red is a blend of Cabernet Sauvignon (60%), Merlot (35%) and Gamay (5%), displaying attractive floral notes, rich fruit aromas and a nicely balanced structure. Dry, medium bodied, the fine-grained tannins balance a rush of fresh, well-ripened fruit. Platinum Bench also releases two styles of  Gamay, one in the spring, described by Fiona as a white wine on steroids (unfortunately, it was sold out), and a fall version that’s small-batch fermented and aged 10 months in new French oak, described by Fiona as fuller, rounder, and very smooth. If you want the ultimate in on-site food and wine pairing, make tracks for Platinum Bench!

Spierhead Estate Winery

 Before catching my flight out of Kelowna, I headed to Spierhead Estate Winery, located above the lakeshore southeast of the city. The winery was established six years ago on an abandoned hiilside apple orchard that used to be part of the Turton family estate. The vines are now 4 years old, covering 20.4 acres and the winery has won numerous accolades: best winery in B.C. in 2012;  best Pinot Noir for their 2010 (a first vintage) at the 2012 Canadian Wine Awards; double gold for their Pinot Noir Rosé at the 2013 All Canadian Wine Championships; and gold for their Pinot Gris (unfortunately sold out) at the recent Okanagan fall wine festival.

wineryEstablished by a partnership of 3 individuals, including an Okanagan-based winery photographer, the estate is situated on sandy, rocky soil, produces about 3000 cases of wine and grows its own Chardonnay, Riesling and Pinot Noir. For its Pursuit and Vanguard Bordeaux-style blends, Spierhead sources its grapes from a south-Okanagan vineyard owned and overseen by one of the modern Okanagan wine industry’s best-known pioneers, Harry McWatters.

The 2011 Riesling has a lovely delicate nose of flowers, fruit and mineral, with a lively crisp lemon-lime texture. The 2011 Chardonnay is only slightly oaked (20% of the fruit spent 10 months in French oak), showcasing stone fruit, floral notes, mineral and a touch of passionfruit. It’s dry, fresh and tangy, balancing flavours of orchard fruit and citrus with a refined note of toasted nut.

The 2012 Pinot Noir and Pinot Noir Reserve were released 2 days before my visit (what luck!), both aged 10 months in oak, the latter crafted from select barrels. The Pinot Noir is light-medium bodied, tangy in texture, showcasing mineral, red berry and a touch of toast, while the Reserve is medium-full bodied, rich and silky in texture, perfumed with red and black fruits, spice and a hint of toast, finishing long and smooth.

okanagan red grapesThe 2011 Pursuit is primarily an equal blend of Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon with a dash of Cabernet Franc, aged 18 months in oak. Dry, medium-full bodied, it offers complex lifted aromas, subtle structure and a clean texture, a basket of ripe red and black fruits garnished with notes of spice, herbs and red peppers.

The 2011 Vanguard is primarily Merlot, blended with equal shares of the Cabernets. There’s a subtle nose of black cherry and berries, vanilla and cedar. It’s dry, firm, full bodied, with a nice balance of fine-grained tannins, fresh acidity and ripe plum, cherry and berry mingling with notes of peppery spice. Spierhead wines are available at the winery, but may also be ordered directly through the wine club.

Enjoy these wonderful new BC wines!

Susan

Wines you’ll die for from Coffin Ridge Estates Winery

Posted by Julie

Tuesday, October 29th, 2013

Get out your Ghoul…let the Trick or Treaters entice you into a little Black Magic this year with some great Ontario wines from Coffin Ridge Boutique Winery.  Just when I thought I knew or had heard of most Ontario wineries, I discovered a new one! Coffin Ridge is located in cottage country between Owen Sound and Meaford. In 1999, the grapes were planted on a parcel of land called Coffin Hill and it is considered as Grey County’s first commercial vineyard.

My cousin rents a cottage nearby and recently brought me back 4, yes FOUR Coffins…bottles of their wines that is. I would love a dress in the colour of their rosé ! A glistening orangey cranberry, my husband and I decided it was a colour unto its own. We were initially teased with aromas of sweet canteloupe and melon, baked pear and apples, almost streusel-like but upon tasting, the wine is bone dry with mouthwatering flavours of cranberry and rhubarb. It has zippy acidity and a fruity, raspberry finish. It is one of the loveliest rosés I have tasted all summer and we try many rosés.

What’s in a ‘horror’ific name?

I would be remiss not to mention the play on words of the Coffin Ridge wine labels. Names like “Back from the Dead Red”, “Black Magic”, “Riesling Bone Dry” plus “Resurrection Rosé” that was born 2010 (11.7% alcohol $17.80) all connotate a Halloween theme. I was also informed that the wine boxes are shaped like a coffin. The crafting of these grapes from the vineyard into the bottle also points to the “life after death” theme with every sip. Love this!

We enjoyed the bottle of Rosé wine with a plate of Raincoast cranberry & sunflower crackers along with a mild cheddar – it was one divine snack. Like every small vineyard, on account of the limited quanity, a very few of these wines can be purchased at the LCBO, so if you happen to be in that vicinity, it is definitely worth the journey. Big thanks to my cousin, Carrie.

May you have a spooooooooky Halloween this year…and sip a glass of Back from the Dead Red.

Julie 

Not just ANY Chardonnay…

Posted by Debbie

Tuesday, July 9th, 2013

Move over maple syrup, there is a new kid on the block that deserves the spotlight.  Introducing Canadian made wines aged in barrels made from Canadian oak trees.  This is 100% Canadiana just like Beaver Tails, the Bluenose II….these special wines will impress you.

In fact, Canadian Oak Barrels are not brand spanking new, yet in true Canadian style we are not shouting from the roof tops about them.  Not only do the wines taste good, there is a great story how the idea was conceived- let’s just say, some beers were involved!

The story goes…

About 5 years ago (or maybe it was 7), a handful of winemakers were ‘talking shop’ at a backyard BBQ.  Conversations lead to wondering what a barrel made with native Canadian oak would do to their wines. After a lot of research, they found a cooper (barrel maker) in California who would make these one-of-a-kind barrels. Next step was to find native oak trees – luckily found in Brantford, Ontario. The wood staves were cut and shipped in hockey bags (brand new ones of course!).  Their “what if moment” & hard work paid off when several Canadian Oak barrels arrived at the wineries.

From the get go, there were fewer than 10 winemakers across Canada who barrel age some of their wines in this special oak – including Tawse Winery, Featherstone, Malivoire, Strewn, Sandhill Wines to name a couple.  Now there is a cooper in Canada making the barrels  (note the unique maple leaf stamp on the barrel head – right) and over 50 winemakers from coast to coast have experimented with Canadian oak barrels.

Derek Barnett (left), co-owner & winemaker at Lailey Vineyard is a big enthusiast of Canadian Oak.  He barrel ages some of his Chardonnay, Pinot Noir and Meritage wines aged in Canadian oak.  These wines have been receiving rave reviews from day 1.

We introduced our Savvy Selections wine of the month club subscribers to Lailey’s Canadian Oak Chardonnay VQA 2011.  Here’s are our tasting notes (or read our monthly Savvy eZine):

Savvy Sommelier Tasting Notes: “This wine makes me think of buttered popcorn” suggested Eva.  Golden straw colour with aromas of wildflower honey, tropical fruit (think coconut & sweet citrus) with some nuttiness – walnut perhaps?.  Rich & round mouthfeel with flavours of lime, stone fruit & baking spice with minerality & a lengthy warm finish.

Suggested Food Pairing:  Given the rich aromas & flavours of this Chardonnay try the Chicken & Farfalle with Creamy Walnut Sauce recipe.

Be on the lookout!

Now that you are ‘in the know’, seek out wines aged in Canadian Oak barrels.  You will definitely find a range of Chardonnays at next weekend’s Cool Climate Chardonnay Conference (aka i4C) in Niagara.  This 3 day spread give you the opportunity to learn & taste Chardonnays from every corner of the wine world as well as be WOWED by Canadian Oak Chards.

 

 

Beekeepers & Winemakers create a sweet deal

Posted by Eva

Tuesday, July 31st, 2012

Renata and Eugene Roman purchased 40 acres of land in 2000, which is now home of Rosewood Estates Winery and Meadery. Their goal was to start a small-batch artisanal winery and meadery.  Winemaker Natalie Spytkowsky tells it, wines and meads are all about “small and natural”. This philosophy is what allows selective hand harvesting of grape clusters, extensive sorting of grapes to get the best of crop and whole cluster pressing of grapes in gentle cycles. There is no crushing. Grape clusters go straight to the tank and are allowed to settle in cold temperatures. As much as is possible, Natalie naturally ferments the red varietals rather than introducing commercial yeasts. She explains that it takes more time to complete the winemaking process, but in six or seven months after fermentation, it is her opinion that “the wine opens up better and shows more richness and complexity”. Of course this winemaking approach takes passion, patience and commitment.

The meadery side of Rosewood takes on the same philosophical and practical approach. A second generation beekeeper, Eugene realized a longtime dream by teaming up with Natalie to produce mead (honey wine). Mead is made by fermenting honey and water. There are three apiaries attended by the Rosewood team that are positioned throughout the Beamsville Bench. As you might expect, the bees are busy travelling throughout the region.  Natalie explains that one bee will visit one million flowers to produce one pound of honey. It may fly a distance as far as 4 times around the world collecting the raw materials for honey. Just think of all the choices it has in the Niagarawine and fruit region?

When we featured Rosewood in our Savvy Selections wine of the month club, we sampled 3 of Rosewood’s meads & were blown away by the Ambrosia Grand Reserve 2006Savvy Sommelier Wayne Walker sums it up: “Ambrosia was like nothing I have ever tasted before – an incredibly delicious, smooth & unique wine.”

Cheers & Enjoy!

Rosewood Ambrosia Mead 2006

$36 for 375mL bottle – makes a unique gift too!

Savvy Sommelier Tasting Notes: Full bodied, rich & warm is the best way to begin to describe this unique wine. Straw yellow in colour, the aroma & taste of fresh ripe stone fruits (think nectarine, peach) orange marmalade, sweet spices, white flowers & clover. A honeyed texture with a long pleasant finish that lingers on the tongue with one of the sweetest wood flavours that you will ever experienced.  There is no other taste quite like it!

Food pairing suggestions: If you have a sweet tooth, you will enjoy this mead with aged cheeses, pates, foie gras & fruit or nut based desserts.  On the sweetness level it is a 10 – compared to icewine that is usually in the 30’s

 

Want to buy this wine?  We can arrange for it to be delivered!

Rosewood Estate Winery & Meadery has been a feature winery in our Savvy Selections wine of the month club. Like this wine? Subscribe & it’ll be delivered to your home or office!

 

What Is Mead?  

Courtesy of Rosewood Estates website

Mead (also known as honey wine) is made from the fermentation of honey and water. Honey is flower nectar collected by domesticated honeybees (apis mellifera). Honey is a remarkable product which contains a complex mixture of sugars, enzymes, proteins, organic compounds and trace minerals. These compounds give honey its distinctive flavor and aromas. These carry over into mead production and lend a distinctive flavor to the finished mead.

Mead was the first fermented beverage enjoyed by modern mankind. Mead first showed up as a beverage almost 10,000 years ago. It is a deep part of human history and a link to our forefathers. In ancientGreece, Hippocrates used mead as a tonic. Vikings believed that honey and mead had magical properties and were a gift from the heavens (Valhalla). In Celtic tradition, no wedding was complete without a mead toast to the young couple…FOR A SWEET MARRIAGE. It has been claimed that the word honeymoon comes from a tradition where a newly married couple drank mead for a full moon to ensure a long life and a happy marriage. We find it an intriguing and historical product which links us to human history.

Honey – Nature’s Original Sweetner 

At Rosewood, we produce and sell natural un-pasteurized honey on the Estate. Our busy bees Apis mellifera – fly the Beamsville Bench andTwentyValley to gather nectar from the flowers to produce sweet golden honey for your enjoyment.  Honey is known to provide us with many health benefits and provides instant fast burning energy. Honey can be used extensively in cooking from making smoothies to honey baked hams.

 

Run, don’t walk to the LCBO & stock up on this wine

Posted by Eva

Monday, July 30th, 2012

Using only grapes grown on their property, the Mavety family has been growing grapes in the Okanagan for over 40 years – true pioneers! For the first 21 years, they supplied premium grapes to commercial wineries when finally the allure of producing quality wines inspired them to craft their own label – Blue Mountain Vineyard & Cellars –  in 1991. The family has not looked back since!

Today, on their 31-hectare estate, they make limited quantities of complex wines from noble varietals including Pinot Noir, Gamay Noir, Pinot Gris, Pinot Blanc and Chardonnay — the same varietals found in the Champagne, Burgundy and Alsace regions of France.

Cheers & Enjoy!

Blue Mountain Chardonnay VQA 2010, British Columbia

LCBO # 350108
$23.95

Savvy Sommelier Tasting Notes: This is a beautifully crafted wine made with Chardonnay grapes that half have been aged in oak while the other half was aged in stainless steel tanks. The result is a medium bodied white wine with a combo of buttered popcorn, warm spices & a zippy long finish. Reminds me of a dense pound cake or a flaky croissant.  Easy drinking & round in the mouth. Each sips begs you to come back for more.  This wine will go down too easily, so get two bottles & save yourself the disappointment when you reach the bottom of the bottle.

Suggested Food Pairing: A great match for BBQed pork tenderloin or a heavy fish – tuna or swordfish steaks.

 

You can taste the soil in this wine

Posted by Eva

Sunday, July 29th, 2012

Pinot Noir is known by winemakers as the “heartbreak grape”.  This grape variety needs care & nurturing around the clock. Difficult to grow in the vineyard & always changing in the cellar, crafting a good wine of Pinot Noir is the pinnacle of any winemaker’s personal achievement.

There are two classic styles of Pinot – cherry or earthy.  Depending on the winemaker’s preference, the Pinot will be crafted to emphasize the terroir.  At Coyote’s Run Winery, they have a unique property of red & black soils.  They intentionally grow Pinot Noir vines on both & make the individual wines to taste the difference of their terroir!

Cheers & Enjoy!

Coyote’s Run Black Paw Pinot Noir VQA 2009

$35.95

Savvy Sommelier Tasting Notes: A deep red colour with aromas of black cherry, black currant & a whiff of earthiness that reminds you have a walk in the forest.  It is a dry medium bodied red wine with subtle tannins that lingers into a velvety elegnat finish.  It’s a Pinot that is worth every penny!

Suggested Food Pairing: Pinot Noir is a versatile wine – it can be served chilled or at room temperature.  As the wine warms up, aromas, tastes & levels of acidity changes too. Classic matches with Pinot are roast duck, grilled salmon & mushrooms.

 

 

Want to buy this wine?  We can arrange for it to be delivered!

Coyote’s Run Estate Winery has been a feature winery in our Savvy Selections wine of the month club. Call on the Savvy Team (613-SAVVYCO) to arrange for this wine (and others from Coyote’s Run) to be delivered to your home or office.  Here’s another idea: Subscribe to Savvy Selections & you will always have outstanding Ontario wines on hand – none of them you will find at the LCBO!

There’s no cork in this sparkling wine!

Posted by Eva

Saturday, July 28th, 2012

With a wine route map on her knee, Savvy Sommelier Debbie followed the country roads that lead to this new boutique winery in the depths of Prince Edward County.  Definitely worth the visit! Lighthall Vineyards owner & self taught winemaker Glenn Symons was eagerly awaiting her visit as he was excite to pour a glass of his soon-to-be-released sparkling wine.  This was Glenn’s new creation and you could see that he was ‘bubbling’ over with excitement.  With coaching from his friend Frederic Picard (winemaker at Huff Estates), Glenn has every reason to be proud of this bubbly. ..and his other wines too as he is making a big impression already!

Lighthall Progression Sparkling VQA 2011

This sparkling wine is different is several ways.  First, there is no cork, just secured with a bottle cap like closure.  And it is made with Vidal grapes that are often saved for dessert wines – yet this wine is far from being sweet!

 Savvy Sommelier Tasting Notes: There’s delicious refreshing acidity with aromas of citrus, pear & crunchy apple with a crisp finish.

Suggested food pairings: Served well chilled, this wine is lovely on its own, with oysters, or paired with light appetizers. Be sure to pack a bottle of this sparkling wine for your next picnic.

Cheers & Enjoy!

 

Want to buy this wine?  We can arrange for it to be delivered!

 Lighthall Vineyards will be a feature winery in our Savvy Selections wine of the month club. Want to try their wines? Subscribe & they will be delivered to your home or office!