Posted by WayneMonday, January 4th, 2010
Savvy Selections wine of the month club
Featuring Chateau des Charmes Estate Winery
Canada’s wineries delivered to your doorstep
December is now in full festive season. Our team of Sommeliers certainly know that December is here, our calendars are chock-o-block with private and corporate event bookings of Sommelier led wine tastings, lunches and dinners. And the phone is ringing off the hook with people arranging subscriptions to Savvy Selections as gifts.
Call on us anytime for a special wine event or gift of wine. Wine Gift Hotline: 613.SAVVYCO (613.728.8926)
This month’s Savvy Selections wines were selected in a different fashion. For the first time in 4 years (not sure why it took us this long!), we invited to all of our subscribers to participate in the Savvy Selections tasting panel. Many thanks to Julie, Denise, Ward and Doug who were up for the challenge of the hard work! One November evening this ‘Fab Four’ together with Savvy Sommelier Wayne Walker, sipped, swirled & spitted (did they really?) an assortment of wines this month’s featured winery - Château des Charmes. Reportedly, everyone had fun, yet they took their jobs seriously as they assessed all of the wines, discussed their attributes then selected the wines that were delivered to you. This time, starting with eight wines and deducting to only three – it was a tough job, but they were game to do it.
Watch for an email invitation to participate in the Savvy Selections tasting panel in mid-January.
In this month’s Savvy Selections, we are delighted to feature the new brand recently launched by Château des Charmes. They are a household name for many and we are showcasing some very special wines this month:
- Sauvignon Gris VQA 2008
- Viognier VQA 2007
- Cabernet Franc VQA 2005
- Equuleus VQA 2007 – optional wine on request
- Savagnin Icewine VQA 2006 - optional wine on request
We love to hear from you about this month’s selection. Let us know how you enjoyed the wines, as well as the matching recipes. If you would like to order more of these wines or others from previous Savvy Selections, simply contact us.
Looking for a special occasion to visit Niagara this winter?
Icewine Festival is just around the corner. During the weekends of January 15 to 17 and 22 to 24, Vintage Hotels and Château des Charmes have partnered to put together a fantastic line up of events and packages celebrating Icewine. More information at http://www.chateaudescharmes.com/Icewineact09.pdf
Cheers & Enjoy the holidays!
Debbie & Savvy Team
Château Des Charmes Winery
by Savvy Sommelier Wayne Walker
“New world excellence. Old world tradition.”
Directed and rewarded by this mantra since 1978, the Bosc family (Paul Sr and his wife Andrèe – on right, along with Paul Jr and his wife Michèle – on left) represents a winemaking tradition comprised of six generations. Started in the 1840’s in French Algeria, the Old World tradition migrated to ‘New World’ in the 1950’s when Paul Bosc Sr made Ontario his new home.
A graduate of winemaking school at the University of Burgundy - Dijon and an experienced Alsatian winemaker, Paul Sr began his quest in the New World working for a large winery in Niagara. In 1978, he began his own venture by growing grapes on 50 acres of the St. David’s Bench (located along the base of the Niagara Escarpment). The faith Paul Sr. had in Niagara’s climate became a significant turning point in the evolution of Niagara as a wine region. His expertise and influence on the growth of the area is remains highly regarded by new winery owners.
Château des Charmes carries on a vine breeding program focused on growing and selecting Noble grape vines from the winery’s designated nursery plots in their vineyards, constantly experimenting with Niagara growing conditions. Over the years. Paul Sr has developed fuller and hardier vines to assist in the production of fine Niagara wines. Gamay ‘Droit’, is a grape variety that discovered in his nursery. He noticed the rootshoots of one Gamay vine growing straight up (rather than branching out). Intrigued, he propagated the vines and ended up nurturing them for 20 years only to discover that he had ‘grown’ a new form of Gamay vine - one that the Château now has exclusive international plant breeder rights. This is heralded as Canada’s first vinifera (winespeak: native grape variety)
Château des Charmes has a large presence and a grounded history in Niagara, but according to Paul Jr. the winery “… is not just brick and mortar, it’s another member of the family. A lot of blood, sweat and tears created this impressive volume and space and this helps us to never lose sight of its human quality. My father and I make decisions for our immediate and extended families every day (120+ staff during the peak season). We never lose sight of our responsibility to consider Château des Charmes as a way of life for all of us. It has a central sparkle that we get up every morning to polish - like a diamond.
Like father like son, Paul Jr continues, “My father gave us a great advantage as a pioneer and a seminal figure in the development of the Niagara wine industry, yet I am weary that we have been in the New World (of Niagara) for more than four decades. We don’t rest on our laurels. We must be open to change and innovation.”
This side-by-side evolution of the ‘Old’ and the ‘New’ changed and shaped the new winery’s branding and labeling. The iconic architecture of the Château, Paul Jr explains, “now shares a regional terroir concept on the winery’s logo. It pays homage to Niagara by giving a better sense of place by using outlining the hillscape of St. David’s Bench in the background.”
And as for new innovations? You will see that on the back label, sports a square QR Code (Quick Response Code) near the barcode. This is leading edge technology. By using the decoding software on a new cell phone, the code will convert and reveal a website on your cell phone providing more information about the wine including winemaking processes, growing conditions, recipes, critiques, recent awards won and cellaring notes. If you want to try it, download the free software download for QR Codes on chateaudescharmes.com Château des Charmes is the first winery in North America adopting QR Codes technology. “But,” Paul Jr. humbly notes, “we won’t be the last.”
“New world excellence. Old world tradition.” A great mantra for a well rooted winery.
~ Savvy Sommelier Tasting Notes ~
Château des Charmes Sauvignon Gris VQA 2008 $19.95
This unusual blend wine benefits from the citrus and mineral experience of Sauvignon Blanc grapes combined with the smooth texture and tropical flavours of Pinot Gris.
Savvy Sommelier Tasting Notes: Straw to pale yellow in colour, the tasting panel enjoyed the pear, melon, citrus and sweet honeyed flavours of this medium bodied wine. As Ward put it, “this wine offered a comfortably sweet experience.”
Suggested Food Pairing: Serve this wine chilled at about 8 to 11C. It’s a wonderful sipper or can be paired with a variety of white meats - chicken or turkey. Shellfish, fish or soft cheeses will offer a delicious pairing.
Cellaring: No need to wait…this wine is ready to drink now. It can cellar for up to 2 years at 10C but be careful not leave it too long as it will lose its characteristically fruity flavour.
Château des Charmes Viognier VQA 2007, $25.95
Viognier is one of the noble grapes of the Rhône region renowned for its intense aromatics and flavours of stone fruit. Unlike in Europe where it is primarily seen as a blending grape, in North America it has become a favourite in its own right. Think you have seen this grape variety before? In October’s Savvy Selections featuring Peninsula Ridge we included their Viognier.
Savvy Sommelier Tasting Notes: A hands down favorite of the Savvy Selections tasting panel, the peach, almond, floral and melon aromas of the nose are carried on a creamy texture of apricot, citrus and almond on the tongue. Viognier is one of Doug’s favourite wines and this one in particular impressed him with the added dimensions of warmth and complexity. What do you think?
Suggested Food Pairing: Ideally paired with lighter fare, it shows very well seafood pasta, sushi, grilled white meats (try the Porkchop, Apple & Butternut Squash recipe below), salmon in a cream sauce or a simple plate of Brie and crackers.
Cellaring: This should be enjoyed now. Like all Viogniers, aromatics and finish dissipate with time. Chill this white a little more than usual to 7C for serving and storage. This will help the flavours and aromas endure.
Château des Charmes Cabernet Franc VQA 2005, $25.95
The Old World Bordeaux style of this wine was immediately evident to the tasting panel. Denise, Ward and Julie noticed its pleasures were not lead by its fruit profile, but were more balanced by the texture and barrel flavours evident in the wine. Like Viognier, Cabernet Franc is typically a blending grape in Bordeaux-styled wines, yet in cooler climates, such as in North America, it flourishes and has become one of Ontario’s more prolific and desired wines. If you have a sweet tooth, Cabernet Franc crafts as a very tasty red icewine. Outside of Ontario, this grape variety can be discovered as a blending grape in Cabernets, Bordeaux, Meritage or Super Tuscans.
Savvy Sommelier Tasting Notes: Ruby garnet in colour, Denise was impressed with its silky texture that brought with it not only the typical raspberry and spice, but licorice flavour as well. Ward noted how its barrel flavours were rounded into sweet smoke and vanilla. Doug commented on its subtle minerality and long finish.
Suggested Food Pairing: The Fab Four tasting panel all agreed that older cheeses, grilled, red meat and game would be great matches for this wine. Let’s not forget tomato based pasta dishes! Have fun with our festive Christmas Turkey Pasta recipe below - it’s another way to enjoy turkey over the holidays.
Cellaring: This wine is drinking well now, yet it will continue to develop in the bottle for 5 to 10 years. The panel tasted the 2007 Cabernet Franc too and realized the softening effect of the extra 2 years of aging in the 2005 vintage.
Optional additions to your Savvy Selections
If after reading these tasting notes you would like to order these special wines, simply contact Debbie on 613.728.8926 or firstname.lastname@example.org and she will make the delivery arrangements for you. We would not want you to miss out!
Château des Charmes Equuleus VQA 2007 $40.00
Just released last week (Debbie got the first bottle!) this is the Château’s signature red wine. Only crafted in spectacular years – 2007 certainly fit that bill – this wine honours Paul Sr’s passion for winemaking and Arabian horses. Named after the Little Horse star constellation that is visible in the night sky during harvest time, this blend of 50% Cabernet Sauvignon, 25% Cabernet Franc & 25% Merlot, simply an outstanding red wine.
Savvy Sommelier Tasting Notes: This wine shows that Ontario can definitely make BIG red wines. Concentrated aromas and tastes of black plum, figs & black liquorice with notes of smoke and a long finish.
Suggested Food Pairing: Simply put, this wine is begging to be enjoyed with the finest cut of beef – whether you roast, BBQ or sear it, keep this wine for that special dinner with all of the trimmings….including candles!
Cellaring: This wine has just been bottled and may still be experiencing bottle shock. It is recommended to hold until mid December or cellar as it has robust aging potential and will evolve over the next 5 to 15 years.
Château des Charmes Savagnin Icewine VQA 2006
What is Savagnin? It is a rare grape, grown in the Jura region of France, where they make dry wines. The local specialty is Vin Jaune, a Sherry-style oxidized wine that can last upwards of 50 years. Back to Savvy Selections: the Bosc family originally made dry wines from this grape variety, but has now decided to produce the first ever Icewine.
The result? Medium to full body; it offers good amounts of fruit and acid, more along the lines of a refined Riesling Icewine rather than the typical Vidal Icewine.
Savvy Sommelier Tasting Notes: Sumptuous and exotic! An incredible, complex marmalade, Mandarin orange, lemon and toffee experience that lasts forever. Evenly proportioned, intense, thick, sweet and opulent are the only superlatives the panel could generate. The fruit flavours, sweetness and acidity are well balanced on the palate. If you buy and try this wine, we’d like to receive your tasting notes! Drop us an e-mail so we have something to say besides Mmmm…
Suggested Food Pairing: ABSOLUTELY GREAT on its own. It has the capacity to stand up to and enhance sweet, full-textured desserts. Citrus desserts can render a rare bittersweet experience. Bring on the chocolate the tasting panel demanded!
Cellaring: This wine can be cellared, but Santa would be very disappointed if this gift weren’t very served soon!
As has become a tradition for the last couple of years, we offer you the option of including a dessert wine with your Savvy Selection in December. This signature wine is not only unique to Canada, but to the World. It left the tasting panel speechless! Ahhh…, ohhh… and Mmmm… were the only responses that could be heard. We soon learned why it has a 90+ rating by professional wine critics.
~ Recipes to enjoy with your Savvy Selections ~
With Château des Charmes Sauvignon Gris…
Almond-Crusted Stuffed Chicken
4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
2 oz. brie cheese, sliced
4 dried apricots (finely chopped)
½ c. sliced almonds
1 tsp minced fresh rosemary
1 tsp coarse salt
1 tsp freshly cracked pepper
½ c. fresh bread crumbs
1 egg lightly beaten
1 tsp butter
1 tsp olive oil
Preheat oven to 375F.
Cut each breast in half like an open book.Arrange brie slices over chicken, sprinkle with apricots, ½ of the almonds, rosemary, salt and pepper. Close each breast and press around the edges to seal.
In a shallow dish, combine bread crumbs and remaining almonds, dip chicken breasts in egg then dredge them in crumb mixture, pressing to coat completely.
In large oven-proof skillet, melt butter and oil over medium-high heat. Cook chicken about 3 minutes until golden brown, then bake in oven about 15 to 20 minutes to cook through.
Serve with seasonal vegetables
With Château des Charmes Viognier…
Porkchops with Apples & Butternut Squash
From Bravo! The Best of Bridge Cookbook
1 ½ cup of unsweetened apple juice or cider
1 Tbsp honey mustard
1 Tbsp maple syrup or liquid honey
1 Tbsp cider vinegar
Salt & pepper to taste
1 Tbsp vegetable oil
4 pork chops
1 Tbsp butter
1 large leek (or onion) sliced thinly
½ small butternut squash, peeled & grated (or cut into match sticks) – about 2 cups
2 red apples (unpeeled), thinly sliced
Chopped fresh parsley for garnish
In a medium bowl, whisk together apple juice, mustard, maple syrup, cider vinegar, salt and pepper. Sprinkle pork on both sides with salt and pepper.
In a large skillet, heat oil over medium heat. Cook pork for 4 to 5 minutes per side until browned and just a hint of pink remains inside, while juices run clear when pork is pierced. Transfer to a plate and keep warm.
In the same skillet, melt butter over medium heat. Sautée leek and squash for 2 minutes or untilsoftened. Add apples and juice mixture. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat, cover and simmer for about 5 minutes or until apples are softened not mushy.
Return pork to pan and bring sauce back to a boil. Remove from heat immediately and sprinkle with parsley
Serve over wild rice with generous spoonfuls of sauce.
With Château des Charmes Cabernet Franc…
Christmas Turkey Pasta
1 pound of turkey, ground or diced (pre-cooked or fresh)
½ cup chopped green onions
2 garlic cloves, minced
2 tsp olive oil
2 14 ½ oz cans of tomatoes, undrained
½ cup red wine or chicken broth
1 cup loosely packed fresh basil, minced
1 tsp dried oregano
Hot cooked spaghetti
½ cup freshly shredded Parmesan cheese
In a large nonstick skillet, cook the turkey, onions and garlic in oil over medium heat until meat is no longer pink. If using precooked meat, brown it, then drain.
Add the tomatoes, wine, basil and oregano. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat. Simmer uncovered for 10 minutes or until heated through.
Serve over spaghetti; sprinkle with cheese and enjoy with a glass of Cabernet Franc.
Cheers & the best of the Season from all of us at Savvy Company!