Posted by DerekThursday, November 11th, 2010
Savvy Selections wine of the month club
features Cattail Creek Family Estates Winery
Canada’s wineries delivered to your doorstep
For me the Labour Day long weekend marks the end of summer and the beginning of fall, however as I write this Savvy Selections eZine, I have a feeling that summer is not quite ready to step aside. I hope many of you were able to spend time outside enjoying the summer of 2010, either lying on a dock by a lake or relaxing in a lounge chair by a pool always with a glass of wine near by.
For Ontario’s grape growers and winemakers, 2010 is shaping up to possibly be one of the best vintages on record. Some predict that the 2010 harvest will be better than the outstanding 2007 vintage. Mother Nature got things off on the right foot with an early start to spring. That early start combined with long hours of sun, great temperatures and just the right amount of rain has helped in producing great grapes…and great grapes go a long way in helping a winemaker craft great wine.
The Savvy Team is excited to bring to you wines from the Cattail Creek Family Estate Winery. A name you may recognize as we featured Cattail in the Savvy Selections when they opened in December 2007. At that time the proprietors Roselyn and Andrew Ciezkowski had fulfilled their dream of a family run winery. Three years later, Savvy Sommelier Derek Vollrath caught up to Andrew to find out how the winery has grown.
Choosing the wines to feature is hard work (OK…loads of fun too!). Our tasting panel included a team of Savvy Sommeliers Julie, Doug and Derek who were joined by Savvy Selections subscribers Heather & Bill and Nancy & Paul. In fact Heather & Bill kicked off their wedding anniversary ‘date night out’ by joining us for the tasting then headed off to a romantic dinner afterwards. These “Savvy Sippers” diligently tasted, analyzed and discussed the range of Cattail Creek wines. Our hard work and tireless effort (wink, wink) resulted in choosing the following wines for you to enjoy:
· Chardonnay Musqué VQA 2009
· Merlot VQA 2008
· Cabernet-Merlot VQA 2006
Accompanying each wine are the panel’s tasting notes along with recipes specifically chosen to pair with these wines.
Would you like to join us for the monthly Savvy Selection tasting panels?
Keep watching your inbox for your invitation! It’s fun, no cost to you and best of all, educational as you get to enjoy a structured tasting with our accredited Savvy Sommeliers. We enjoy meeting our subscribers and getting feedback about the wines that we deliver to you each month.
Anytime you would like more Cattail Creek wines or previous Savvy Selections, simply contact me to arrange an order for you.
Cheers & Enjoy!
- Debbie & Savvy Team
Cattail Creek Family Estates
Presented by Sommelier Derek Vollrath
Andrew Ciezkowski, is a busy guy - so busy that it took me almost 2 months to finally catch up with him to interview him for this Savvy eZine! Understandably, when you are the owner of a growing family business, you are always on call to be the chief, cook and bottle washer. Or in the case of Andrew the sales rep, the marketing manager, the delivery guy and the grounds keeper.
Owning a winery often has a certain air of glitz and glamour. At times there is definitely some of that to be enjoyed. However, as with any small business, when the work needs to be done the owners have no other choice but to roll up their sleeves. During our first interview Andrew had just arrived home from cleaning up the winery parking lot, while his wife Roselyn had been called back to the vineyard to help prepare for the harvest.
During our second interview Andrew was multi-tasking as he packed the Savvy Selections readying them for shipment. “It never seems to stop”, says Andrew, “we continue to receive incredible accolades, awards & are certainly gaining a good reputation for wines - all great news for our small business.”
Cattail began operation in 2006 with their first vintage released in 2007. I was curious to know what had changed at the winery since they first started operations. Andrew sums it up, “In one word…LOTS!”
For starters production size has changed significantly. In its first year, they produced 1,800 cases. Now, three years later, Andrew is projecting that production will be reach approximately 4,600 cases.
Andrew recently changed his career. In March, he left his job as the Canadian Head of Sales & Marketing for Boisset (the 3rd largest wine company in France and the largest in Burgundy) because the operations at Cattail had rapidly grown to such a level that he was required to be there full time.
Another change…a new winemaker. Colin Ferguson joined the Cattail Creek Family in 2009. His wine making skills have been honed through a combination of hands-on training and formal education. The “hands-on” component came by way of a two year stint in Bordeaux, France while Colin’s “formal education” was gained as a a graduate of the Niagara College Winery and Viticulture Technician Program.
A new winemaker brings new energy and a new style and according to Andrew, “Colin has a style that lends itself to being more Old World in nature due to the fact that he spent two years in Bordeaux.”
Not all things have changed…in fact some things have remained the same.
Roselyn’s family has been growing grapes since 1957 and continues with no intention of changing that anytime soon. The family has been able to capitalize on their wealth of grape growing knowledge and experience over the three generations, understanding what vines thrive in their vineyards. This intimate knowledge results in high quality fruit year after year.
The size of the vineyard remains constant. Cattail has 100 acres under vine and according to Andrew, they keep 15% to 20% of the harvest for Cattail wines – selecting premium grapes – then sells the remainder of the fruit to other Niagara wineries as they have practiced for many years.
Cattail Creek’s approach to winemaking has not altered. Always striving to produce the best quality wine in which all aspects of the finished product are well balanced. As Andrew explains, “our philosophy is to produce the best wine that is expressive of the terroir and displays the ingenuity of the winemaker”.
Another constant is the family’s reputation. For generations they have built a reputation for growing quality grapes for other wineries and now, Cattail Creek Family Estate Winery is growing their reputation as being a quality boutique winery. Cheers!
~ Savvy Sommelier Tasting Notes ~
Chardonnay Musqué VQA 2009, $17.00
Chardonnay Musqué is a clone of the Chardonnay grape varietal that is intensely aromatic - similar to that of Muscat grapes. 2009 marks Cattail’s third vintage of this unique wine and is one of the first wines crafted by their new winemaker Colin Ferguson.
Savvy Sommelier Tasting Notes: Pale lemon in colour with intense aromas of pear, white peach and pineapple. What you smell in the glass continues through on the palate as your taste buds are awarded with a generous portion of ripe tropical fruit complemented by a hint of spice. This off-dry medium bodied wine is well balanced with a rich mouth feel and a lingering fruity finish. It’s the way late summer should taste and at $17 a bottle, this is a great value.
Suggested Food Pairing: A light curry dishes or stuffed pork tenderloin would be an excellent food pairing. For a vegetarian option we recommend a baked polenta casserole - recipe follows.
Cellaring: Chardonnay Musqué is a varietal that is designed to be consumed relatively early. You can enjoy it now or you can keep a few bottles on hand to be savored again next summer
Merlot VQA 2008, $18.00
2008 provided for a long growing season thus enabling the berries in the grape bunches to slowly attain high levels of ripeness. The result of well ripened fruit is more natural sugar in the grapes - beneficial in the wine making process. This Merlot was barrel aged in French oak imparting soft and subtle flavours. After 8 months in oak, the Cattail winemaking team noted that the wine had developed sufficient structure and complexity, both from an aroma profile and tasting profile – it was definitely ready for bottling.
Savvy Sommelier Tasting Notes: Bright ruby red with floral notes (our tasting panel noted lavender and violets – can you find these?), accented with aromas of stewed plums and dark chocolate. The wine is balanced with soft tannins and an intense concentration of flavours, both on the nose and on the palate. Medium bodied with decent length that leaves the inside of your mouth feeling silky.
Suggested Food Pairing: This Merlot is begging to be enjoyed with grilled red meats or penne pasta in a Bolognese sauce. For an international flare, try Korean flank steak – recipe below, it’s easy and tastes absolutely amazing.
Cellaring: This wine is drinking well now or could be cellared for 2 to 4 years.
Cabernet Merlot VQA 2006 $17.00
Unlike fashion, wine never goes out of style. Why do I say that? Well, believe it or not the 2006 Cabernet-Merlot that was selected by the September 2010 tasting panel was also one of the Savvy Selections featured wines in December 2007. And unlike the bell bottom pants of the 1970’s or the big hair and even bigger shoulder pads of the 1980’s this wine has some serious staying power! It’s a blend of 75% Cabernet Franc and 25% Merlot and was aged in a combination of American and French oak for approximately 8 months.
Savvy Sommelier Tasting Notes: Garnet red with a noticeable brick coloured rim (a typical sign of aged wine). The nose is complex with aromas of cedar, vanilla, dark fruit and stewed plums. Dry on the palate with a level of acidity that balances well with the fruit. The tannins are still noticeable but are beginning to integrate nicely. The wine is full bodied with a medium length finish.
Suggested Food Pairing: Although we are not trying to hurry the seasons along, the Savvy Selections tasting panel unanimously recommended that this wine would by dynamite with a fall or winter stew. So in keeping with that theme accompanying is a receipt for Spiced Braised Pork with Pan-Roasted Root Vegetable & Gremolata. For those people that don’t know or are too afraid to ask (and I am one of them) gremolata is a chopped herb condiment typically made of garlic, parsley, and lemon zest According to Savvy Selections subscriber Heather who joined us for the tasting panel, this recipe is a little work but is definitely work the effort (Thanks Heather for sharing the recipe!).
Cellaring: Enjoy now or cellar for no more than another 3 to 5 years.
~ Recipes to enjoy with your Savvy Selections ~
With Cattail Creek Chardonnay Musqué…
Baked Polenta Casserole
From Heart Smart, the Best of Heart Smart Cooking, Bonnie Stern
Serves 8 to 10 Ingredients – Polenta
5 cups (1.25L) water
½ tsp (2 mL) salt
¼ tsp (1 mL) pepper
1½ cups (375 mL) cornmeal (regular or quick-cooking0
Ingredients – Tomato Sauce
1 tbsp (15 mL) olive oil
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
Pinch hot red pepper flakes
2 28-oz (796 mL) cans plum tomatoes, with juice
½ tsp (2 mL) salt
½ lb (250 g) light ricotta cheese, broken up
¼ cup (50 mL) basil pesto
¾ cup (175 mL) grated part-skim mozzarella cheese
2 tbsp (25 mL) grated Parmesan cheese
1. In a large saucepan, bring water to a boil. Add salt and pepper. Slowly add cornmeal to boiling water in a thin stream, whisking constantly. Reduce heat and cook on low heat for about 30 minutes for regular cornmeal and 5 minutes for quick-cooking, until thickened and tender. Stir occasionally. Taste and adjust seasonings if necessary.
2. Pour polenta into an 8 x 4 inch (1.5 L) loaf pan that has been lined with wax paper. Chill for a few hours or over night.
3. To prepare sauce, heat oil in a large, deep non-stick skillet on medium heat. Add onion, garlic and hot pepper flakes and cook gently for 5 to 8 minutes or until mixture is very fragrant and tender.
4. Add tomatoes and cook for 20 to 30 minutes, or until thick. Puree sauce. Add pepper, salt and parsley. Taste and adjust seasoning if necessary.
5. To assemble, unmold polenta and cut loaf into ½-inch (1cm) slices. Cut each slice on diagonal. Spoon about 1 cup (250 mL) tomato sauce in bottom of a 13 x 9 inch (1.5 L) baking dish). Arrange overlapping slices of polenta on top of sauce. Dot with ricotta and pesto. Spoon remaining tomato sauce on top and sprinkle with mozzarella and Parmesan.
6. Bake in a preheated 375° F (190°C) oven for 30 to 35 minutes or until top is slightly golden and casserole is bubbling. Allow to rest for 5 to 10 minutes before serving.
With Cattail Creek Merlot….
Korean Flank Steak
From , Jill Wilcox
Serves 4 to 6
Ingredients – Marinade
2lbs flank steak
2 tbsp (30 mL) low sodium soy sauce
2 tsp (10 mL) sesame oil
3 green onions, minced
4 cloves garlic, minced
2 tbsp (30 mL) rice wine or sherry
1 tbsp (15 mL) ginger, minced
1 tbsp (15 mL) toasted ground sesame seeds
2 tsp (10 mL) brown sugar
1 tbsp (15 mL) chili paste (optional)
Ingredients – Sauce
3 tbsp (45 mL) low sodium soy sauce
2 tsp (10 mL) sesame oil
2 tbsp (30 mL) water
2 tbsp (30 mL) rice wine or sherry
1 tsp (5 mL) toasted sesame seeds
1 green onions, minced
1 small cloves garlic, minced
1 tsp (5 mL) chili paste
2 tsp (10 mL) sugar
1. Lightly score the flank steak and then place in a zip lock freezer bag.
2. Combine the remaining ingredients in a bowl, whisk and then pour the contents of the bowl into the freezer bag containing the flank steak sealing the bag.
3. Lightly kneed the sealed bag so that the flank steak is fully coated with the marinade.
4. Refrigerate for at least two hours.
5. Preheat a grill and grill for 5 to 7 minutes per side.
6. Remove from the grill, loosely tent with foil and let rest for at least 10 minutes to allow the juices to redistribute. Slice the steak very thinly, against the grain.
7. For the sauce combine all ingredients in a bowl. It can be made ahead and stored in a jar in the refrigerator).
1. For best results the grill should be very hot for best
2. Never grill past medium rare or meat will be tough
3. Slice the steak very thinly against the grain.
With Cattail Creek Cabernet Merlot….
Spiced Braised Pork with Pan-Roasted Root Vegetables & Gremolata
This recipe was highly recommended by Heather – a Savvy Selections subscriber who participated in the tasting panel.
Notes from Heather: the meal is quite complicated and requires a lot of up front planning, but it is well worth it.
Source: Well Fed web site
Ingredients – Pork seasoning
1 tbsp cumin seeds
2 tbsp coriander seeds
2 tbsp fennel seeds
3 pounds pork shoulder, trimmed of fat and cut into 1 1/2 inch to 2 inch chunks
1 tsp cayenne pepper
1 tbsp chopped fresh oregano plus 3 whole sprigs
6 cloves garlic, smashed
1 tbsp fresh thyme leaves
Ingredients – For the braise
3 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
1 cup diced onion (about half a large onion)
1/4 cup diced carrot (1/3 a medium carrot)
1/4 cup diced fennel (1/4 a medium fennel bulb)
2 bay leaves
1 chile de arbol, crumbled
1 cup dry white wine
2 cups chicken stock
2 cups veal stock
4 to 6 sprigs fresh cilantro
Ingredients – For the pan roasted root vegetables
3 medium carrots, peeled
3 medium parsnips, peeled
3 medium turnips
3 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
1 tbsp fresh thyme leaves
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 cup shallots, peeled and sliced 1/4 inch thick
Ingredients – For the gremolata
Zest of 1 lemon
1/2 cup chopped flat-leaf parsley
2 cloves (about 1 teaspoon) minced garlic
1. Toast the cumin, coriander and fennel seeds in a skillet over medium heat until they release their aroma and are slightly browned.
2. Place the seeds in a spice mill or a mortar and pulse or pound until coarsely ground. The texture is better from using a mortar and pestle.
3. Place the pork in a large bowl and sprinkle with the crushed cumin, coriander, and fennel as well as the cayenne, the crushed garlic and oregano leaves and sprigs and the thyme leaves. Using your hands, toss well to make sure everything is coated well.
4. Cover the bowl with cling film and refrigerate overnight.
5. Take the meat out of the refrigerator 45 minutes before cooking to allow it to come to room temperature. After 15 minutes, season it on all sides with 1 tablespoon plus 2 teaspoons salt and some black pepper. Reserve the crushed garlic and the oregano sprigs.
6. Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F.
7. Heat a large Dutch oven over very high heat for 3 minutes. Pour in the olive oil and wait a minute or 2, until the pan is almost smoking. Place the meat in the pan, being careful not to over crowd it. Sear the meat until well browned and caramelized on all sides. Adjust the heat if it seems like the pork is getting too dark. After the meat is browned remove from the pan and reserve on a plate while you continue with the rest of the pork.
8. Turn the heat down to medium and add the onion, carrot, and fennel. Stir with a wooden spoon, scraping up the brown crusty bits left in the bottom of the pan. Stir in the bay leaves, crumbled chile de arbol, and the reserved garlic and oregano sprigs. Cook for about 6 to 8 minutes, until the vegetables start to caramelize
9. Pour in the white wine and reduce by half, about 5 minutes. Next, add the stocks and bring to a boil.
10. Using a vegetable peeler, peel off long strips of zest from the lemon.
11. Turn off the heat and add the browned pork to the pot. Tuck in the lemon zest strips and cilantro sprigs.
12. Cover the pot tightly with aluminum foil and place on the lid. Put in the oven and braise for 2 to 2 1/2 hours.
13. While the meat is braising, you can prep the root vegetables. Cut off the stem and tip of the carrots and then slice in half lengthwise. Place the carrot halves cut-side down and slice on an angle into 1/4 inch thick pieces. Do the same thing to the parsnips. To prep the turnips, cut of the stem and root ends. Cut the turnips into quarters and then slice each quarter into small wedges approximately the same thickness as the carrot and parsnip pieces.
14. Next make the gremolata. Place the lemon zest on a cutting board and top with the parsley and garlic. Chop the whole mixture together until very fine. Set aside.
15. Back to the pork. To test the meat for doneness, remove the lid foil being careful of the steam and spoon out a piece of meat. It should yield easily with the tip of a knife and almost fall apart.
16. Turn up the oven to 400 degrees F.
17. Using a slotted spoon, remove the meat from the pan and place on a single layer on a rimmed baking sheet. Return the pork to the oven to caramelize, about 10 to 15 minutes.
18. Meanwhile, place the Dutch oven over high heat and reduce the braising liquid to a thick sauce. Taste for seasoning.
19. While this sauce is thickening and the meat is caramelizing, you should pan roast the vegetables. Heat two large skillets over high heat for 2 minutes. Swirl in the olive oil and wait 1 minutes. Divide the carrots, parsnips and turnips between the 2 pans and season with 1 teaspoon of pepper 1/4 teaspoon of pepper and the thyme. Stir the vegetables to coat with the oil then cook for about 10 minutes, until the vegetables have just started to brown.
20. Add the butter and sauté another 5 minutes, stirring often. Add the shallots, 1/2 teaspoon salt and continue to cook until the shallots are soft and the vegetables are tender, about 5 more minutes. Combine the vegetables into 1 of the pans and toss with half the gremolata, reserving the rest for garnish.
21. Spoon the pork onto a large platter and pour over the reduced sauce. Scatter the gremolata coated pan-roasted root vegetables over the top of the pork and then sprinkle with the remaining gremolata.
Cheers & Enjoy this month’s Savvy Selections!