Posted by SusanSunday, January 22nd, 2012
In Savvy Selections this month our wine of the month club subscribers were treated to 3 big red wines made by renown winemaker Sue-Ann Staff - a Cabernet-Merlot that she made at her own winery - Sue-Ann Staff Estate Winery that bears her own label & the other 2 red wines showcases her talent while working as a consulting winemaker at John Howard's Cellars of Distinction - Megalomaniac Cabernet Frank & Megalomaniac Cabernet Sauvignon.
Here are the Savvy Sommelier's tasting notes for each of these spectaclar red wines. Enjoy!
Sue-Ann Staff Cabernet/Merlot VQA 2009, $24.00
An assemblage of estate fruit—the Cabernet Franc—and Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon from a nearby vineyard whose character is consistent with the Staff terroir, this wine was aged one year in French and American oak barrels.
Savvy Sommelier Tasting Notes: This blend offers depth and complexity—vanilla, toast, plum, blackberry, roasted red pepper and a notion of licorice mingle to create a taste extravaganza. Substantial, subtly structured and well-composed, the wine offers a toasty warming finish.
Suggested Food Pairing: Match this wine to robust grilled meats (such as the beef tenderloin recipe we offer), or grilled vegetables drizzled with olive oil & aged balsamic served with a platter of firm cheeses.
Cellaring: Drinking well now, or cellar 2-3 years.
Megalomaniac Cabernet Frank VQA 2010, $24.95
Winemaker's notes: Made with 100% estate grown grapes, this wine was aged for 22 months primarily in new French oak barrels (14 of the 17 barrels were new). Sue-Ann explained that 2008 was a cool year. She harvested the grapes late in the season – early November – to ensure that the grapes got as much ripening as possible. She was amazed at how this wine evolved and was surprised how it became an outstanding full bodied red wine with cedar & cassis aromas that carries through in the taste with warm spices (cardamom perhaps?) in the background.
Sue-Ann’s food pairing recommendations: As she said …”oooohhhh, lamb would be fantastic, or maybe gnocchi with a rich tomato sauce. Even Osso Bucco. Yikes, I’m getting hungry!”
Cellaring: This wine was recently released & she thinks it is ready to be enjoyed now or could be cellared for 3-4 more years.
Megalomaniac Cabernet Sauvignon 2008 by Sue-Anne Staff, VQA $24.95
From a challenging vintage, the intensive vineyard management, including substantial leaf removal and yields in the range of 1-1.5 tonnes, has ensured a fine wine. Aged 22 months in French oak, 60% new, the wine went through malolactic fermentation in barrel as well as tank.
Suggested Food Pairing: Match this wine to prime rib, bison bourguignon or a hearty stew such as the smoky beef, potato & mushroom stew.
Cellaring: Drinking well now, this wine will cellar for 2-3 years.
~ Recipes to enjoy with the Savvy Selections wines ~
With Sue-Ann Cabernet/Merlot…
6 Tbsp olive oil, divided
½ C pine nuts
½ C chopped shallots
2 cloves garlic, minced
2/3 C chopped oil-packed sun-dried tomatoes
1 1/3- 1 1/2 C bread crumbs
½ C chopped fresh parsley
Salt & pepper to taste
1 Tbsp Dijon mustard
Beef tenderloin (one loin approx. 3lbs)
- Preheat oven to 425F.
- Heat 3 Tbsp olive oil in a skillet over medium heat. Stir in pine nuts and cook until golden brown. Remove with a slotted spoon & drain on paper towels. Place shallots in the skillet. Cook & stir until tender, about 5 minutes. Mix in garlic & sun-dried tomatoes and cook 2 minutes. Remove skillet from heat, mix in pine nuts, bread crumbs & parsley. Season with salt & pepper & set aside to cool.
- Slice the tenderloin lengthwise across the top about 2/3 of the way through the meat to create a pocket. Spread stuffing into the pocket. Wrap the tenderloin with kitchen twine to secure the stuffing & transfer to roasting pan. Combine remaining olive oil and Dijon, and rub over the surface of the meat. Season with salt & pepper & sprinkle with breadcrumbs.
- Roast in the preheated oven for 15 minutes. Lower oven temperature to 350F & continue cooking tenderloin 20-30 minutes, or to minimum internal temperature of 140F. Remove from oven & let meat rest 5-10 minutes before serving with roasted root vegetable ragout. Savour & sip!
With Megalomaniac Cabernet Frank…
Medallions of Venison Tenderloin with Peppercorn & Wild Mushroom Sauce
From Ottawa Citizen
6 6-oz venison tenderloins
1 C olive oil
1/3 C balsamic vinegar
1 clove garlic, minced
fresh ground pepper
1 ½ C red wine
1 C chicken broth
1 clove garlic, crushed
10 multi-colored peppercorns, crushed
1 ½ C milk
½ tsp Dijon mustard
Salt & pepper to taste
2 Tbsp butter
2 large shallots
2 cloves garlic, chopped
Fresh shitake & Portobello mushrooms, washed, stems removed & sliced
1. Marinate venison in olive oil, balsamic vinegar, garlic & pepper 4 hours.
2. Combine wine, broth, peppercorns & garlic in saucepan & cook for 20 minutes or until the liquids are reduced to half. Add milk & mustard &, stirring frequently, cook for 20 minutes or until liquid is again reduced by half. Season to taste & allow to cook 1 more minute.
3. Melt butter in a large skillet on high. Add the shallots & garlic & toss for 2 minutes until soft. Add the mushrooms & cook on high heat 5 minutes or until soft. Add to peppercorn sauce.
4. Grill venison tenderloins on BBQ over medium-high heat for 7 minutes (turning once halfway through. Cut into medallions & serve with sauce, fresh peas & pearl onions, and roasted potatoes
With Megalomaniac Cabernet Sauvignon…
Smoky Beef, Potato & Mushroom Stew
From LCBO’s Food & Drink Magazine, Holiday 2011
3 Tbsp vegetable oil
3 lbs. stewing beef
½ C all-purpose flour
2 ½ C stout or porter
3 C onions, coarsely chopped
4 C mushrooms, quartered
3 Tbsp garlic, finely chopped
2 Tbsp fresh sage, finely chopped
¾ C smoky-style BBQ sauce
4 C yellow-fleshed potatoes, peeled & cut into 1” cubes
2 C celery, finely chopped
Salt & pepper to taste
½ C fresh flat leaf parsley, coarsely chopped
½ C green onions, finely sliced
1. In a large sauté pan, heat oil over medium-high heat & brown the beef in 2 batches until browned on all sides, about 10 minutes per batch. Remove beef from pan & place in slow cooker. Add flour to pan & stir together with remaining fat, add 1 C of the beer to the pan & scrape up browned bits. Increase heat until mixture thickens, about 2 minutes, then add all of this mixture to the slow cooker.
2. To the slow cooker also add the remaining beer, onions, mushrooms, garlic, sage, BBQ sauce, potatoes, celery & salt.
3. Cook on low for 9 hours. Once the stew is ready, season to taste with salt & pepper, stir in the parsley & green onions. Serve & let your ego soar, with Megalomaniac Cabernet Sauvignon!
Cheers & Enjoy this month’s Savvy Selections!