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Archive for ‘Wine 101’

Bubbly & potato chips – my fav NYE pairing

Posted by Debbie

Thursday, December 31st, 2015

Prepping to ring in the New Year, I started to write a blog to share secrets about sparkling wine…and then I found this article on www.food52.com that was loaded with interested tidbits about champagne…some really interesting factoids that I did not know.

So, grab a flute glass…err a wine glass (read more below), pop a cork & be ready to have some of the mysteries behind the bubbles unravelled with this article I found on www.food52.com .  I`ve selected the ones that Wowed me the most.  Click to read the full Top 10 Things you probably didn`t know about Champange.

Thanks to the folks at food52.com for sharing these need facts with us…they`ll be great conversation starters as the clock strikes midnight….I`ll raise a glass to that!

Happy New Year

-Debbie

Top 10 Things you probably didn`t know about Champagne

Source: www.food52.com

 

1. Champagne made in the 1800s doesn’t taste anything like today’s Champagne.

bubbles glassesWay back in 1668, when a Benedictine monk named Dom Pérignon was working at his goal to create the best wine in the world, what he was creating was nothing like the dry, brut Champagne we know and love today. Through the better part of the nineteenth century, Champagne was incredibly sweet, almost syrupy. But when Madame Barbe-Nicole Ponsardin Clicquot began exporting her Champagne to England, she discovered that the English preferred dry Champagne, so she began making two Champagnes: her original sweet Champagne, indicated by its white label, and a dry version with the yellow Veuve Clicquot label we know and drink today, which was categorized as goût anglais or “English taste.”

As a side note, goût russe or “Russian taste” was used to classify the sweetest Champagne, which was about six times sweeter than our sweetest Champagne today. (Russia was a huge driver of the Champagne industry—Cristal is so-named because it was actually served in leaded crystal glass bottles to Russian tsars.)

There is still a range in the sweetness of Champagne (which comes largely from the grape juice added during its second fermentation), but as a whole, it’s much drier than its predecessors. It’s measured by dosage, or grams of sugar per liter of Champagne, from extra-brut at zero dosage, which is currently trendy, to demi-sec and doux with up to 50 dosage.

Note from Debbie: I highly recommend to read the book (while sipping on bubbly): The Widow Clicquot: The Story of a Champagne Empire and the Woman who Ruled it.  Hands down one of my favorites.

2. Champagne would be murky and yeasty if a brave woman hadn’t invented a way to get the yeast out.

When Madame Clicquot took over her husband’s Champagne house after his death (hence the name Veuve, or “widow”) Clicquot, she became the first woman to take charge of one—but to say she rose to the occasion would be an understatement. One of her great contributions to the Champagne world was to invent a riddling rack.

After Champagne is fermented once in barrels, it’s bottled and yeast is added for its second fermentation. The yeast eats the sugar, which causes Champagne’s famous effervescence, but a lot of dead yeast are left behind at the bottom of the bottle. Clicquot’s solution was to create a rack that puts the bottles at an angle, cork-side down, so that the yeast falls into the neck of the bottle in roughly two weeks and becomes a compact and easily-removable puck of yeast. Today, many houses do this process with machinery called a gyropallette, but Clicquot’s method lasted for hundreds of years and is responsible for Champagne’s clarity.

wine_tasting_sparkling3. Champagne flutes and coupes are all about decoration—to really taste it and get the most out of it, it should be drunk out of a wine glass.

While flutes and coupes are a beautiful way to present Champagne, they aren’t practical. Many of our tasting senses are connected to smell, yet these traditional glasses prevent us from getting our noses into the glasses to get a whiff. A Champagne maker once explained it is as “going to see the orchestra with earplugs.”

4. When buying expensive Champagne, you should ask if you can have a bottle from the restocking room.

When buying Champagne, especially those in a clear glass bottles (like Ruinart), you should ask if you can buy one from the store’s back room rather than from the shelf, as Champagne starts to degrade in quality when it’s exposed to light (hence, Champagne caves) so buying it straight out of its shipping box will ensure a higher quality.

6. You shouldn’t store Champagne in the refrigerator.

…When Champagnes are kept in the refrigerator, the cork dries out and shrinks so that the carbonation is able to escape, and other smells and flavors can get in. And Champagne (and all wine) should always be stored on its side to keep the cork damp and ensure a tight seal.

7. The best Champagnes come from warm and dry harvests.

The particularly warm and extremely dry summer we just had may not be a happy indicator of Mother Earth’s condition—but it’s good news for Champagne. To put it simply, heat equals ripeness, which equals sugar, and dryness means grapes won’t be water-logged by too much rain, and will be more concentrated in flavor. During these good years, Champagne houses will often release special vintages, after aging them for 7 to 10 years, so the 2006 Moët was just released. Keep your eye out for the 2015 ten years from now—rumor has it, it’ll be worth the wait.

9. Champagne wouldn’t exist without clay.

sparkling wine closeup of glassesOne of the elements that makes Champagne such a unique growing region—200 days of rain aside—is the clay in the soil and deep under the earth. It leads to some of the best growing conditions and also aging conditions. The reason so many aging caves are underground (Krug’s is actually in a warehouse) is because clay creates the perfect conditions for Champagne to rest: It maintains the perfect level of moisture, absorbs shock so the bottles don’t get shaken, and stays cool.

Interestingly enough, the bottom of the ocean has some of the same qualities of clay: Earlier this year, 170-year-old Veuve Clicquot was recovered from the Baltic Sea, and its flavor (age aside) was largely uncontaminated—the cool, dark, and very moist conditions of the sea kept it in good care.

10. Many of the largest Champagne houses—and most of those mentioned in this article —are all owned by the same company.

Champagne has long been an industry with many internal ties between companies: Madame Clicquot was the great-granddaughter of Nicolas Ruinart, and there are relationships between houses and growers that have existed since the 1700s. Today, some of the best brands included Dom Perignon, Ruinart, Veuve Clicquot, and Krug are all owned by the mega-brand, LVMH.

 

This posting is an excerpt of the full blog written by Leslie Stevens – a contributor on www.food52.com.  The photos inserted here are all taken by Debbie Trenholm of Savvy Company.  The entire blog can be found on http://food52.com/blog/14783-10-things-you-probably-didn-t-know-about-champagne

DIY Wine Tasting – tips from our Sommeliers

Posted by Debbie

Tuesday, February 24th, 2015

Have you been renovating all winter? Show off your new digs by having friends and neighbours over for a do-it-yourself wine tasting?  It does not need to be an overly grand production, rather a novel ‘reason’ to have people over to ooh and ahhh about your handy work.

Like hiring a designer or contractor, you can call on a Sommelier (check out our 17 Savvy Sommeliers who are there to help you) to take care of all the details and work with a caterer to prepare a menu paired with each wine.   Here’s our tips & trick on hosting your own wine tasting:

Savvy Company - GiancarloStep 1 – It’s all about the experience

Depending on how formal and structured you would like the experience to be, a wine tasting can be conducted at a large dining room table with rows of wine glasses waiting to be sampled.  For a more casual experience, try a reception style in your family room, but the reality is that everyone may end up in the kitchen. This way they can help themselves to a table full of different wines and platters of hors d’oeuvres throughout the evening.

Step 2 – What’s your theme?

Your wine tasting event can focus on exploring wines of a certain country or region or can examine one type of wine such as Pinot Noirs, Sauvignon Blanc or Chardonnays from various wine regions around the world.

The top 5 themes for wine tastings that our Savvy Sommeliers design & host are:

A Trip Around the World in 5 Glasses
Cheese, Chocolate & Wine!
An Endless Night of Bubbles! (showcasing different styles of sparkling wines)
Passionate about Pinot (featuring Pinot Gris & Pinot Noirs from around the world)
Be Adventurous – wines under $20 you’ve never tried

Step 3 – Wine shopping made simpleCathy Law with glasses

With your theme in mind, now comes the fun part of selecting the wines.  Here are tips from the pros at Savvy Company:

Welcome your guests into your newly-renovated home with a glass of sparkling wine.  The popping of the cork sets the mood for a party (watch that it does not spray onto your freshly-painted walls or hit the ceiling!) and a glass of bubbly cleanses and refreshes your palette, preparing it for the evening ahead of delicious wines and foods.

Feature 5 to 7 wines as too many wines will ‘numb’ your palette. Each sampling of wine should be approximately two ounces (about one inch in an ISO wine tasting glass…more about glasses below).  This equates to serving 10 people per bottle of wine.

Step 4 – What about food?

Wine is made to be enjoyed with food.  At a minimum, offer your guests sliced baguettes and water crackers to cleanse & refresh their palettes between wines.  To augment the food selection, have an artisan cheese board with an assortment of hard, soft and blue veined cheeses.  Go a step further and enhance the wine and food experience by pairing each wine with hors d’oeuvres.

Tip from the pros:  leave pickles, dips & vegetable sticks for another party and serve foods like grilled vegetables, hearty meatballs, chicken satay, roasted nuts & olives …and don’t forget cheese!

Now…Let the fun begin!

Savvy Company - AmandaEnjoying wine engages all of your senses.    There are no rules to wine tasting as everyone’s impression is personal and this makes for interesting conversation. I always say, “Wine tasting is as easy as eyes, nose and mouth.” With each wine, take note of the colour (eyes), the aromas (nose) and the flavours (mouth).

Let’s taste a wine together… Pour approximately two ounces into your wine glass.

Eyes…

Tilt the glass 45 degrees away from you, using a white tablecloth as the backdrop and notice:

The colour and clarity of the wine. 

What colour does it remind you of:
Whites – pale straw or golden
Rosés – cotton candy pink, salmon or terracotta
Reds – garnet, fire engine red, cherry, purple, ink or opaque 

Nose…

Aromas or bouquet, however you call it, Sommelier pros suggest to hold the ISO tasting glass by the stem, swirl the wine in a steady circular motion to introduce air into the wine to release the aromas.

What does the wine smell like? 

Basic descriptors are:
Sparkling wines – nutty, refreshing, crisp
White wines – dry, floral, citrus, tropical fruit, pineapple, pears, apples
Reds – cherry, strawberry, blackberry, earthy, vanilla, leather, dried fruit

Mouth….

And now to taste! Take a sip, chew the wine (as if it were mouthwash) to coat your entire mouth.

Take note:
Is the wine light, medium or full bodied?
Does the wine taste the same as it smells?
Do the flavours linger or disappear?
Try each wine with food and note how the food changes your enjoyment of the wine.

Repeat…Repeat…Repeat!

After an evening of swirling, sipping and perhaps spitting, it is no wonder that a wine tasting is a fun way to explore the world of wines as well as socializing in your newly renovated home.

 

Tools of the trade

ISO wine tasting glasses: These tulip shaped glasses (right) allow you to easily swirl 2 ounces of wine and the narrow rim captures the aromas.  ISO glassesFor a formal tasting, one glass per featured wine is needed per person, or a casual cocktail style event requires one glass per person to re-use throughout the event.

White tablecloth:  drape your table with a basic white tablecloth so that your guests can use it white background to really see the colour of the wines

Pitcher of Water: for rinsing the glasses and refreshing your palette in between wines

Spitoon or bucket: used to empty unwanted wine and rinsing water.

Don’t forget the corkscrew!

 

Savvy Company - ShawnLet the experts do it for you!

If you are DIY-ed out and want a Sommelier to design and organize a fun wine event in your home, call on our Savvy Sommeliers us anytime 613-SAVVYCO (728-8926).

Or join us at our Taste & Buy events to sip and sample Ontario wines which are not available at the LCBO.

Next event: County in the Capital – Wednesday April 8th- featuring hard-to-find wines, craft beers & ciders from Prince Edward County. Tickets $65 + bring a friend for $1.  Buy your tickets quickly – this event will sell out fast!>>

Cheers!
Debbie

 

This article appears in the ‘Spaces’ issue of Ottawa Life Magazine – March/April 2015

 

 

Happy Beaujolais Nouveau Day!

Posted by Debbie

Thursday, November 20th, 2014

Deb in vinesThe third Thursday of November – today – is a milestone date in the wine world –wine stores have a special delivery of Beaujolais Nouveau wine.

What is all the fuss about? Beaujolais Nouveau or ‘first wine’ is wine made from grapes that were picked in the most recent harvest.  By the time the bottles arrive at your local LCBO or wine shop, the contents are generally 7 to 9 weeks old. According to history books, over a century ago, casks of brilliant coloured ruby red wine, typically made from Gamay grapes, were shipped from the Beaujolais wine-producing region (near Lyon) to harvest festivals and bistros throughout France.

The popularity of this wine became an international phenomenon to the point that, in 1985 the French Government established that the third Thursday of November is the worldwide release date of Beaujolais Nouveau wines. Today, wine shops around the world stock their shelves to give wine lovers a taste of what this year’s grape harvest will produce with fully aged wines. Every year there is a good showing of Nouveau wines from France, a few from Italy & Canada with some bottles from other parts of the world.  This year there are 9 Nouveau wines that got in the spirit.

What to expect from Beaujolais Nouveau when you pop the cork?

Beaujolais NouveauTypically, Beaujolais is made from Gamay grapes.  This variety creates a light wine that is bright red in colour with cherry and strawberry aromas and tastes.  As Beaujolais Nouveau was picked, bottled and shipped in less than two months, consider drinking this styled wine similar to eating chocolate chip cookie dough. Fresh, easy drinking and best with simpler dishes of pasta, pizza, burgers or lots of cheese rather than a big steak or roast beef.

The general ‘rule of thumb’ is to pop the corks & enjoy the wine before Christmas, as they tend not to improve with age, rather they lose their vibrant characteristics.

With all kinds of powerhouse and velvety wines available, why would anyone want something so grapey? The reason is simple – to celebrate this year’s grape harvest.

 More info about the region, the wines & festivities can be found at www.beaujolais.com

Cheers!
Debbie

 

On the shelves at the LCBO

From France…

Art’s Beaujolais Primeur Nouveau
$13.95
The funky design on the bottle sets the mood for this fun wine.  A light red wine that smells like candy (think Swedish berries). Each sip is loaded with cherry flavours combined with a taste that reminds me of fresh-out-of-the oven strawberry rhubarb pie. Fresh acidity on the finish.  It is an easy drinking wine that would be good with pizza, pasta or burgers.

DeBoeuf Gamay Nouveau
$9.95
Georges DeBoeuf is a well-known producer of Beaujolais wines and Nouveau Beaujolais.  Uncorking a bottle of DeBoeuf Nouveau wine you’d expect quality. This one is a classic, medium bodied, solid wine full of cherry & strawberry aromas and taste – exactly what you’d expect when you open up a bottle of Nouveau.

Catalans Primeur Syrah Merlot
$9.95
A French twist – breaking away from tradition & doing something completely different– making Nouveau wines with grapes other than Gamay.  The result of this experiment is a wine that reminds me more of Koolaid than red wine.  Honestly though, this is a characteristic of Beaujolais Nouveau so it is not a bad thing.  Bright ruby colour, fresh juicy cherries & cotton candy.

Mommessin Beaujolais Nouveau
$13.95
Sorry – no review as this wine was not available at the tasting

From Italy…

Negrar Novello Del Veneto
$9.95
I had to double check that the label stated 2014, because this wine was like no other Nouveau I have ever tried.  I was knocked over with the HUGE aromas and tastes of over ripe red fruit…perhaps that means that Italian wines from Veneto region will be big & bold this year….jury is still out.

Tollo Novello Rosso Terre di Chieti
$9.45
Ask for the Nouveau wine with the lion on the label & you will be impressed with this Italian wine.  Medium to full body (uncommon for Nouveau wines), jammy over ripe fruit shows through on this one too with some acidity on the finish.  Mama Mia, bring on the pizza for this wine.

From Ontario…

The Fool Reif Estate Gamay Nouveau VQA
$11.95
No foolin’ around here! Reif has created this Nouveau wine with classic characteristics that you’d expect of a  freshly made wine.  Juicy aromas and tastes of cherry pie filling or is it fresh pomegranate juice with a fruity & acidity combo. The sweetest wine of the bunch, so grab some creamy cheese to calm down the punch of the flavours that will no doubt mellow out as other Reif red wines age in the cellar.  This wine certainly shows promise that 2014 is a good vintage for Ontario wines….red wines worth waiting for.

You’ll find these in LCBO Vintages…

From France…

Beaujolais Villages Nouveau (Joseph Drouhin)
$15.95
Joseph Drouhin keeps good company with Georges Duboeuf when it comes to making Beaujolais Nouveau wines.  These are definitely the leaders of the pack.  This is a good red wine that surprised me that it was Nouveau.  Cranberry & herbal combination in the aromas that continued into the taste, this wine is worth the highest price tag of the lot.

Beaujolais Villages Nouveau
$14.95
It was hard to compare this wine with the $9.95 version (see above) as they were equally good red wines.  In my notebook, I have written & circled ALIVE.  Dark in colour with fresh juicy red & black cherries combined with tart cranberries that creates some lively acidity on the finish. A solid red wine.

And which one(s) to choose?

I had the time to taste all of these wines twice and for fun, I exchanged my top 4 wines with another reviewer (and extra ordinary wine teacher – afterall I caught the wine bug from him!) Vic Haradine of WineCurrent.com.  Our list overlapped on just two…showing that there is a Beaujolais Nouveau for everyone.  Click to read Vic’s tasting notes.

Grab a few of these colourful wines and toast to the 2014 harvest & the red wines to come!

 

Taken by Debbie Trenholm, Savvy Company

Taken by Debbie Trenholm, Savvy Company

 

 

Wine class #3 – What’s the story behind these bunches of grapes?

Posted by Amanda

Monday, September 9th, 2013

From working with the Sommeliers at Savvy Company, I have noticed that there seems to be a story behind every bottle of wine and history about the thousands of different grape varieties too.  In this Wine 101 blog, we share with you the background on some interesting wines & grape varieties.  These are tidbits that you can drop into any dinner party conversation!

In fact, over a glass of wine, Savvy Sommelier Debbie Trenholm told her friend Dale Morris of Ascribe Marketing about these 4 grape varieties.  Here are the notes Dale captured in her napkin!

Wine 101 – A few white grapes with a story

Viognier

Viognier (pronounced Vee-on-yeah!) is a grape variety that has a deeply rooted heritage in France. Debbie fell in love with this unusual white while at wine school (aka the Sommelier accreditation program). Expecting to find some while she touring France, Debbie was disappointed there was no Viognier to be had: it seems the French enjoy it so much they often keep it for themselves. Now that word has gotten out about this hidden gem, winemakers in Argentina, California, Australia and Canada are taking up the cause, growing and crafting elegant wines full of delicious aromas.

In Australia, Viognier is often blended with Shiraz to add a little body and sweetness to reds. Some winemakers have told Debbie that Viognier could become the next it white – “If only people could pronounce it correctly.”

Only a few wineries in Niagara are growing this varietal. Prepare to be WOWed by Fielding’s wine. But be warned: if you like it, you’ll be hooked!

TIP: Fielding Winery in Niagara currently has their Viognier wine on sale for $19.95 (that is $5 off per bottle). This special price is only available through our Savvy Bin Ends.  Click here to order >>

Sauvignon Blanc

Lailey Vineyard’s Sauvignon Blanc (pronounced So-veen-yon Blah-nk) – is a family affair – sort of. Created by winemaker Derek Barnett, the son of a brewmaster, from Kent, England, Derek is renowned throughout the Canadian wine industry for his innovative styles and impressive flavours.

To achieve them, Derek takes the unusual step of a ‘double-harvest’ of grapes. The first picking is done when the grapes are just ripe – this gives his wine its refreshing and crisp aromas and tastes. Derek then lets the remaining ‘Sauv Blanc’ grapes hang on the vines until they‘re well over-ripe – almost brown – before picking the bunch. This gives them nice tropical-fruit notes. Grown from the same patch of vines, these two diverse grapes are blended together for a very complex and delicious summer sipping wine.

 Wine 101 – A few red grapes with a story

Pinot Noir

Pinot Noir (pronounced PEE-no Nwar) is often referred to as the “Prince of Grapes” or the “heartbreak grape.” Why? This grape varietal needs care and nurturing around the clock. It’s difficult to grow, and the wine it produces has a tendency to actively evolve in the cellar. As a result, crafting a good Pinot Noir is the pinnacle of any winemaker’s personal achievement.

In New Zealand, some winemakers go so far as to have helicopters hover over their vineyards to warm the air on cool nights! Many also babysit their barrels, 24/7.

There are two classic styles of Pinot – cherry or earthy. Depending on the winemaker’s preference, the Pinot can be crafted to emphasize the terroir.

For a classic combination, you can lightly chill a Pinot Noir and enjoy a glass with grilled salmon. 

Carmenère

Carmenère (CAR-men-yere) is a relative newcomer to North American palates. Recently, it was determined to be a long-lost grape varietal from Bordeaux, France, and not just a Merlot, as was previously believed. Grown only in Chile, it has quickly become the region`s signature wine, with winemakers using it to craft excellent, big and bold flavours. Once you’re exposed to Carmenère, you’ll be hooked.

This wine is begging to be served with something hearty off the barbecue – steak, lamb, burgers and grilled mushrooms come to mind.

Savvy Sommelier Debbie recommends you save your last sip for desert, to enjoy with some dark chocolate cake.

 

Reviewing the Week’s ‘Wine’101 Lessons

 

I hope you had a little fun with our 3 back-to-back Wine 101 ‘Classes’ in what can be a stressful time for everyone. You can consult our Wine 101 – Pairing Food & Wine to help you with some quick & easy meals all year long; check the rules & regs in Wine 101 – Tasting, Storing & Ordering Wine and lastly in Wine 101 – The Story Behind the Grapes you can now pass the test when it comes to grape varietals.

I hope you have enjoyed being back at school this week with Savvy Company– and perhaps learned a thing or two!

Cheers!

Amanda

Back to ‘wine’ school – Class #2: Tasting, buying, giving & storing your wine

Posted by Amanda

Friday, September 6th, 2013

Homework never tasted this good! Here’s class #2 in our Wine 101 series of tips & tricks from our Savvy Sommeliers about tasting wine, buying, giving & storing wines. Grab a glass and unwind as you read these useful tidbits.  Cheers!

Wine 101: Tasting wine

Enjoying wine is not just about the drinking of it…

Look at the way it catches the light; breathe in the multitude of aromas in each glass. Savour the flavours on your palate. Engage all of your senses!  Invite some friends & let your guests exercise their free will! If you’re serving a meal that could go with red or white, let your guests choose for themselves through a mini wine-tasting session.

We can’t say it often enough – always start with sparkling

Popping open a bubbly helps sets the mood, cleanses the palate and gets people eager to discover what’s coming next.

Mark your calendar

Beaujolais Nouveau is released every year on the third Thursday of November. It should be consumed before Christmas if you want to enjoy the wine’s full vibrancy and flavour.

About wine glasses

Some people are skeptical, but we guarantee it’s true: the shape of your glassware does make a difference to the way you experience a glass of wine. From big bowls for reds to flutes for sparklings, each glass pours the wine over your palate in a way that enlivens its flavours. Don’t take our word for it: test it yourself!

Wine 101: Buying wine

Don’t give up…

If your local liquor store doesn’t have what you’re looking for, you can have wine delivered to your home—direct from the winemaker, through a wine club or (and of course we strongly recommend) as part of a Savvy Selections subscription.

A new way to buy wine

Join Savvy Selections– the largest wine of the month club in Ontario. It’s easy and you can sample wines from all the different wineries in Ontario with 3 different wines coming right to your door every month.  Our Savvy Sommeliers hand pick the best wines for you to try every month.

Share a case!

Wineries often ship in volume—six or 12 bottles to a case. So why not order your favourite and share it around: with colleagues, friends or neighbours?

Wine 101: Giving wine

The gift that keeps on giving

We love flowers, but the fragrant bouquet of a brilliant wine can be every bit as special a gift. Celebrate the next special occasion on your calendar with the gift of a great bottle. Giving wine as a gift? Our Savvy Selections wine of the month club is the gift that keeps on givingsign up here for a Christmas or birthday present for your favorite someone. 

Don’t worry about a card with your wine gift

Write a personal message directly on the bottle with a metallic glass marker. It’s the height of personalization.

Wine 101: Storing wine

To fridge or not to fridge?

There are many different type of wine fridges on the market.  The decision that you need to make is mainly about how many you want to store in the fridge.  There are some that are divided into racks for white wine & red wines with different temperatures for the sections of the fridge. You can find basic ones at Canadian Tire & Costco or go fancy with units from Chefs Paradise (on Bank Street) or Wine Cellars Solutions

Which wines to cellar?

Take a cue from the bottle.  Wines in darker glass bottles are intended to keep longer—the coloured glass refracts the light to protect the contents.

Not all ports are the same

Vintage port is the only one that should be aged and a lonnnnnnnnnnnnnnng time.  Frankly, they should be opened once your grandkids are in their 20s. Vintage port is clearly labelled as Vintage port & should simply be stored in a cool dark place – no need for a fridge. All other ports should be consumed & will not improve with age or a fridge.  If you have some Ruby or Tawny ports that are already 15 to 20 years old, their quality is questionable & may have already plateaued.  Best to open to see what they taste like & simply enjoy.

Drink your scotch now

Scotch whisky does not improve with age.  It is already aged & ready to be enjoyed when you are ready to open.

Wine 101: Planning a Party?

Savvy Company can organize your next corporate event or wine tasting with friends. Let us do the work while you sit back and enjoy wine, beer & cheese with your friends & colleagues.  For any  questions relating to wine, craft beer & artisan cheese, email us or call our Savvy Team anytime 613-SAVVYCO  (613) 728-8926.

Cheers!

Amanda

It’s back to ‘wine’ school! Class #1: Matching food & wine

Posted by Amanda

Wednesday, September 4th, 2013

All the kids head back to school this week and you might need an extra glass of wine (or two). At Savvy Company, we want you to put your feet up and get ready for this weeks lessons while we serve up a roster of mouth-watering themes such as: Food & Wine Pairings; Tasting & Storing Wine; Ordering Wine.  Ready for this delicious time table?  Rest assured there is no homework, just practice, practice, practice!

Wine 101: Matching wine with food

Red wine or white wine?

White or red? Forget the old rule of thumb that you match to your meat. Fish, chicken and meat is the canvas—what matters is flavour. Make your choice on the spices, marinade or sauce—choose the wine that will make your meal sing.

Stay close to your roots. Or, rather, stay close to your wine’s roots. Wines are always best matched with foods from the regions where they’re made. Uncork a bottle of wine from Italy with a meal of Italian cuisine.

Wine & Eggs…who’d have thunk it

Matching wine with egg dishes is always a sommelier’s challenge! Be gentle—match a quiche or soufflé with a light-bodied Pinot Gris or unoaked Chardonnay to avoid overpowering the delicate flavours.

Wine & Salad…go dry

Think dry and crisp when matching to salads. The acidity of the vinegar in the dressing can play havoc with the wine, making it taste more acidic or ‘tinny’. Pinot Grigio, Sauvignon Blanc or sparkling wine are always safe bets.

Wine & seafood…try it all

All mussels are not alike. Steamed mussels in a tomato-based sauce match brilliantly with red Italian wines such as a Valpolicella or Chianti. Mussels in white wine sauces go best with the wines they’ve been cooked in: usually Pinot Grigio or Semillion.

Wine & soup…follow the soup’s lead

If you’re serving a rich soup—say a creamy seafood chowder—go with a medium-bodied Chardonnay barrel-aged in oak.

Wine & Oysters…flavors will pop

Make the flavours of fresh oysters pop with chilled Champagne, Chablis or Chenin Blanc.

Wine & holiday feasts…go buttery

For those traditional holiday turkey dinners, a buttery Chardonnay or an earthy Pinot Noir will perfectly complement savoury stuffing, rich gravy and tart cranberry sauce.

Wine & spicy food…look to the hard-to-pronounce wine

Spice it up. If you’re tucking into an Asian dish or Mexican dinner, pop the cork on a bottle of Gewurztraminer – a classic pairing.

Wine & veggies…go dry or go home

Asparagus, spinach, goat cheese, or fish with butter lemon sauce—pair any of these with a dry, crisp, zingy Sauvignon Blanc.

Wine & fish…smell the flowers

Sure, you can enjoy the light floral and apricot aroma of a chilled white wine Viognier (pronounced vee-oh-NYAH) on its own—but why not go for a fuller savoury experience, matching a glass with roast chicken, light cheeses or grilled fish.

Wine & heavier meats…spice it up

Spice, smoke and plum go superbly with lamb, spareribs, barbecued beef and vegetables—and you will find all three flavours swirling about in a glass of medium to full bodied Chilean Carmenère (pronounced car-men-EHR).

Wine & light lunch…think fruity

Appetizers, salads, tapas foods and lighter lunches all go perfectly with the violet, cranberry and strawberry aromas of Rosé wines.

Wine & everything else…

Not too heavy, not too light—for red or white meat Pinot Noir’s often just right.

What does a glass of Aglianico (pronounced ah-LYAH-nee-koh) red wine go best with? It’s partly a question of age. A younger Aglianico has the acidity to suit pasta and other dishes with tomato-meat sauces; an aged bottle, however, goes best with heartier dishes such as stuffed beef tenderloin and veal marsala. 

Call on us for other food & wine lessons!

Our Savvy Team of Accredited Sommeliers would be happy to help you out if you have any questions on which wine to serve at your next dinner party – or better yet, we can organize your very own wine tasting from start to finish. Call us or email us to talk about wine.

Cheers!
Debbie