Savvy Selections wine of the month club
Featuring 13th Street Winery
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Pop quiz: How many wineries do you think there are…
There are new wineries to discover all the time (I have received invitations to three grand openings this summer). On the flip side, few are closing their doors, while acquisitions take place, so with all of this movement in the industry, the numbers to answer the quiz question are only approximates. There are over 300 wineries across the country in seven provinces. As you may know from being a subscriber to the Savvy Selections, in Ontario, there are three bustling wine regions - Prince Edward County, Niagara & Pelee Island – that are home to 150+ wineries. Niagara represents approximately 120 wineries. These are impressive numbers for an industry that has really only broken ground in the last 25 years. Despite my frequent visits to Niagara, I have yet to visit every single winery – a feat that might finally happen this summer.
When I discover a winery with a wonderful story, down to earth people involved and incredible wines, I look forward to introducing the winery to our Savvy Selections subscribers. This is exactly the case when I discovered this month’s featured winery - 13th Street Winery.
This month’s Savvy Selections features:
- Sandstone Vineyard Chardonnay VQA 2006 – an impressively well made elegant white wine
- Cabernet Rosé VQA 2008 – with one sip you will fall in love with this summer sipper
- Wismer Vineyards Syrah VQA 2006 – hands down a favorite of our tasting panel
In this Savvy e-Zine (blog version) that accompanies the shipment of handpicked wines by our Savvy Sommeliers, read below about how a delicious homemade butter tart jump-started my discovery of this boutique winery. And as always, you will find Savvy Sommelier tasting notes and interesting recipes chosen to serve when you pop the cork on these bottles.
Want to stock up your cellar with summer sipping wines?
If you would like to order 13th Street Winery wines or wines from previously featured wineries in the Savvy Selections, simply call us on 613-SAVVYCO (613-728-8926). It would be our pleasure to organize a delivery of wines for you.
Planning a trip to wine country?
The Savvy team of Sommeliers continuously travels & we compile lists of ‘must visit’ wineries complete with 'must try' wine recommendations and even our favorite restaurants. Let us before you head off to any wine regions across Canada and we will share our list with you. Or, call on us to map out your trip and to arrange a special tour of the winery for you.
Cheers & enjoy!
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Introducing...13th Street Winery
Presented by Savvy Sommelier Debbie Trenholm
Q: What happens when a lawyer and three engineers get together?
A: They decide to start a winery - of course! This is in fact the humble beginnings of 13th Street Winery back in 1997.
The common threads that weaves four men – Ken, Gunther, Erv & Herb - together was their experience as grape growers & award winning amateur winemakers. Known as the ‘Original 4’, each had small vineyards, a passion for creating premium quality wines, yet they were looking for a place to produce their wines. As they were crafting wines in small quantities, it became apparent that they could pool their resources to collectively share the latest equipment & vineyards all the while perfecting their winemaking skills together under the same roof & same winery name.
A small grey non-descript industrial looking building located on 13th Street quickly became the beehive of activity. There was always someone there tinkering away on equipment or checking their wine. This place was a popular meeting point where family & friends would drop in to chat & leave with bottles of wine. Every once in a while, a tourist would enter into this seemingly ‘secretive place’ & be wowed with an adhoc tasting. “Still to this day, locals say – you guys must be new – or - why have I not heard about you before?” states Peter Bodnar Rod, Sales Director, Marketing & Hospitality. This is baffling as they have been making wines for the past 12 vintages (winespeak: years).
When your paths lead you to this small winery, you will be warmly welcomed & treated to a delicious sampling of wines made from estate grown grapes. Peter explains, “The Original 4 did not want to make wines for the masses. Rather, their focus was to hand craft premium quality wines that showcased the terroir & the climate.” Twelve years ago, talk of terroir was considered ‘geek speak’ or ‘avant guard’. It has only been in the last few years that the appreciation & understanding of terrior has become mainstream.
Another mark that the Original 4 where ahead of their time was their sparkling wines. Taking into account their engineering backgrounds, making sparkling wines fascinated them with the chemistry of the winemaking process as well as the intricate equipment. Over the years, they have fine tuned their craft & now create not one, but three impressive sparkling wines each year (two of which were made available especially for our subscribers on request). There are only a handful of wineries across Canada who include a sparkling wine (no less three!) in their portfolio.
A new chapter…
After 10 years, the Original 4 decided it was time to move onto new adventures in their lives. In September 2008, the winery was sold to two families who were deeply rooted in Niagara businesses. The Whitty family have been growing fruit & selling their produce at Whitty Farms for 101 years, spanning three generations. The Mann family are grape growers as well as own several car dealerships. Together, they lend their combined business, marketing & agricultural experience to grow this winery into its next chapter. While owners have changed, the one thing that remains constant is Herb Jacobson’s involvement as one of the Original 4 & head winemaker.
Infamous butter tarts…
I may have discovered a new winery, yet I also was treated to the best homemade butter tarts at Whitty Farms. Doug & Karen Whitty kindly welcomed my visit with a pecan butter tart as we wandered through their farmers market located on the corner of 7th and 4th Avenues (take the QEW to 7th Street) in St Catherines. Everything grown on the family farm is available here fresh from their fields.
A new address, yet same name…
A full expression of the land – this has been the core of everything at 13th Street Winery . With the new owners, this has not changed. In fact it will be experienced even more now when you visit the new winery. Unlike other winery sites in the area, the 25 acre property is dotted with working greenhouses full of juicy strawberries & ripe tomatoes. A few steps away is the converted heritage farm home, now respectfully transformed into the winery’s tasting room. When I visited this property under construction last spring, this site reminded me that winery owners are first & foremost farmers with a delicious way to share the fruits of their labour. Mark your calendar - the winery’s grand opening will be July 15th & it is only one reason to make the trip to Niagara this summer.
Enjoy your discovery of 13th Street wines!
~ Savvy Sommelier Tasting Notes ~
13th Street Winery Sandstone Estate Chardonnay VQA 2006, $18
13th Street makes two different Chardonnays that both show the finesse of the winemaking team. An elegant & well made wine that you will forget that it has been finely aged in barrels.
Handcrafted in Small Lots: Only 160 cases made (less than 2000 bottles)
Savvy Sommelier Tasting Notes: Light to medium bodied, with a slight yellow gold colour & delicate aromas of pear, nutmeg & light toast waft from the glass. The taste is a combination of toasted almonds & citrus (lime perhaps?). Well balanced with a refreshing acidity in the finish. Delicious!
Suggested Food Pairing: A general rule of thumb is the body of the wine should give you an idea of the weight of the food served. As this one is light to medium bodied, hard cheeses (parmesan, pecorino, gouda), fish & seafood dishes would be ideal. Poached fish with toasted almond butter, seared tuna steak or salmon wrapped in phyllo pasty. Below you will find a modernized recipe for the classic Coquille St Jacques combining the ingredients of cheese & scallops.
Cellaring: No need to wait. Just chill & enjoy.
13th Street Winery Cabernet Rosé VQA 2008, $16
You are in for a treat – this wine sold out quickly last year & I wanted to make sure that we planned for the winery’s feature so that I could share this spectacular rosé with you.
Note that the bottle sports the winery’s new label. How is that for being hot off the press???
Handcrafted: With the overwhelming popularity of last year’s Rosé that quickly sold out, more was produced this year. 550 cases made (6600 bottles)
Savvy Sommelier Tasting Notes: A medium bodied wine with salmon colour & intense aromas of cherry & wild strawberry. When you take a sip your mouth fills with luscious flavours of wild strawberries & rhubarb (the light acidity). Smooth on your tongue, well balanced & refreshing. I bet that you will thank me for including this wine in your trio!
Suggested Food Pairing: I hummed & hawed whether this wine needed any food to pair with or simply suggest to chill & enjoy a glass on its own. To serve with a meal, pack a picnic, or pour a glass to accompany spicy Asian or sushi. I scoured my recipe books to find the perfect recipe – Rasta Pasta - a signature dish at Stone Face Dolly’s Restaurant in Ottawa. Hope you like it!
Cellaring: Enjoy before summer is over.
13th Street Winery Wismer Vineyards Syrah VQA 2006, $24
Don’t be confused - Syrah & Shiraz are the same grape, yet found all over the world & crafted into significantly different styles of wines. Originally grown in France, Syrah is intended to be an elegant, medium bodied wine. Contrasting to Australia, this grape was the backbone of the wine industry when it started in the 1830s. It was nicknamed Shiraz & has become the country’s signature red wine – everything about a Shiraz is big & bold.
Handcrafted in Small Lots: Only 166 cases made (less than 2000 bottles).
Savvy Sommelier Tasting Notes: Styled in the French fashion, this medium bodied red wine was a hands down favorite of the Savvy Selections tasting panel when we sampled the 13th Street’s red wines. The colour reminded us of a bowl full of fresh red cherries. The cherry factor carries through into the aromas with characteristics of freshly cracked pepper & a dash of fresh herbs (rosemary & thyme perhaps?). Leave the wine for a few moments & the aromas change hinting to freshly cut pomegranate…still loaded with cherry notes. Cherry prevails on the taste along with black plums & a delicious heat on the finish
Suggested Food Pairing: Fire up the BBQ to serve with homemade lamb burgers, grilled vegetables or pork tenderloin. If you are taking a break from BBQing, then the hearty Goat Cheese Gnocchi with Red Pepper Coulis recipe would be a great match.
Cellaring: Already 3 years old, it is ready to be enjoyed now. If you rather stash this bottle away, it can be cellared for another 2 to 3 years. As the wines age, the cherry aromas, flavours & the tannins will continue to mellow.
~ Recipes to enjoy with your Savvy Selections ~
With 13th Street Winery Sandstone Estate Chardonnay VQA…
Upbeat Coquille St Jacques
In the Kitchen with Anna by Anna Olson
Recipe appeared in Vines Magazine Jan 2009 issue
Notes from Anna: This is a more up-to-date version of scallops based in a creamy sauce, except, unlike the 70’s version, you don’t need to serve it in a scallop shell or coquille dish. You will be impressed by how simple yet decadent this dish is – great as an appetizer for 8 people too
¾ cup sour cream (14% MF, not low fat)
½ cup mayonnaise
1 cup + 2 Tbsp finely grated Parmesan cheese
3 Tbsp lemon juice
1 ¼ lbs bay scallops
2 Tbsp dry breadcrumbs
2 Tbsp finely chopped green onion or chives
Preheat oven to 425 degrees
Stir sour cream, mayonnaise, 1 cup Parmesan cheese, lemon juice and black pepper.
Rinse scallops, pat dry and stir into cream mixture
Spread into a 4 cup baking dish.
Stir the breadcrumbs with remaining 2 Tbsp Parmesan cheese and sprinkle on top
Bake for 15 to 18 minutes or until the edges of the dish are bubbling
Garnish with chopped onion or chives.
With 13th Street Winery Cabernet Rosé VQA...
A signature dish at Stone Face Dolly’s Restaurant, Ottawa (source of recipe – Ottawa Citizen February 2009)Serves 4 to 6
Rasta Spice Mixture
2 Tbsp whole coriander seeds
1 Tbsp fennel seeds
1 Tbsp cumin seeds
½ Tbsp mustard seeds
1 Tbsp garam masala
1 Tbsp turmeric
½ Tbsp ground cardamom (optional)
6 cloves garlic
2-inch section gingerroot, peeled and chopped
6 Scotch bonnet chili peppers (very hot -- or less, to taste; see note)
1 bunch fresh coriander leaves, chopped
1 medium onion, chopped
Note: When handling hot peppers, wear latex gloves, or wash hands well afterward with hot soapy water. Be careful not to rub eyes until hands are clean.
Tip: Freeze extra spice purée in ice cube trays, then place in re-sealable plastic bag and freeze to use later.
In a small frypan on medium heat, sautée all four types of seeds lightly until aromatic, then place in blender and grind.
To the ground mixture, add garam masala, turmeric, ground cardamom, if using, garlic and gingerroot, and purée again.
Add Scotch bonnet chilies, chopped coriander leaves and onion. Purée once more, until all ingredients form a smooth paste.
Stoneface Dolly's Coconut Milk
Makes about 2 ¼ cups
One 19-ounce (540-mL) can coconut milk or coconut cream
2 Tbsp soy sauce
1 Tbsp brown sugar
1 Tbsp lime juice
1 tsp sesame oil
Salt and pepper, to taste
In a blender, combine all ingredients and purée well. Keeps 2 to 3 weeks in the refrigerator, covered tightly.
Pulling it all together for the Rasta Pasta
1 Tbsp rasta spice (recipe above)
1/2 cup of Stoneface Dolly's coconut milk
Cubed or balls of fresh melon, cantaloupe in bite size pieces
Cubed fresh pineapple bite size pieces
Sliced red and green grapes
Spaghetti or angel hair pasta noodles
In a large pot bring water to boil. Cook pasta until al dante
In a bowl, combine rasta spice and coconut milk. Add fresh fruit and toss until all fruit is well coated. TIP: if there is any juice from the fruit, drain
When pasta is done, drain water. Return to pot on low heat. Add sauce with fruit. Toss to thoroughly coat pasta
Serve immediately. Alternatively, the sauce can be served on a bed of basmati rice (recommend wild or brown rice).
With 13th Street Winery Wismer Vineyards Syrah VQA 2006...
Goat Cheese Gnocchi with Red Pepper Coulis
In the Kitchen with Anna by Anna Olson
Serves 4 to 6
Red Pepper Coulis
1/4 cup olive oil
1 cup diced onion
2 1/2 cup diced red bell pepper
3/4 cup dry white wine
2 sprigs fresh thyme
2 sprigs fresh oregano
For pepper coulis, heat a saucepot over medium heat and add oil.
Add onion and sauté for 5 minutes, until translucent. Add peppers and sauté 3 minutes more.
Add wine, thyme and oregano and simmer, covered, until peppers are tender, about 10 minutes. Remove from heat and puree until smooth. Strain, season and set aside.
Goat Cheese Gnocchi
4 oz fresh goat cheese, at room temperature
4 oz cream cheese, at room temperature
3 tbsp finely chopped green onion
2 tbsp finely chopped Italian parsley
1 tbsp finely grated lemon zest
2 eggs, separated
1 cup all purpose flour
1/2 tsp salt
For gnocchi, beat goat cheese and cream cheese until smooth. Stir in green onion, parsley, lemon zest and egg yolks until smooth. Fold in flour.
Whip whites with salt to soft peaks and fold into goat cheese mixture in 2 additions.
Bring 4 L water to a boil and salt generously.
Cut dough into 2 pieces.
Roll out first piece into a log shape about ¾- inch in diameter and cut into ½ inch pieces.
Place on a floured tray and repeat with the second piece of dough. Drop gnocchi into water and simmer until they float, about 3 minutes.
Gently remove with a slotted spoon and set on a plate.
To serve, heat pepper coulis and spoon into a flat-bottom bowl. Gently place warm gnocchi on top and serve.
Cheers & Enjoy!
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We hope that you are enjoying the wines as much as our Sommeliers enjoy finding them for you. When you have found wines that you would like a few more bottles, simply contact the Debbie and she will gladly organize a special shipment for you.