The month of April has been all about Prince Edward County for us at Savvy Company. We are delighted to be hosting the 2nd annual County in the City wine tasting showcasing a number of County’s winemakers and their latest wines. In addition to this Taste and Buy event, in this month’s Savvy Selections, we are shining the spotlight on the rapidly growing County winery: Karlo Estates.
In your Savvy Selections, you will find:
Pinot Gris VQA 2012 – you are the first to enjoy this wine as it was bottled just in time to be included in Savvy Selections.
Cabernet Franc VQA 2011 – Christen your 1st BBQ of the season by uncorking this red wine.
Quintus VQA 2010 – a unique blend of five Old World grape varietals; Cabernet Franc, Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Malbec & Petit Verdot. This can be cellared for 5+ years.
OPTIONAL WINES: Karlo makes The County’s only port wines. If you requested a bottle or two of the VanAlstine Red or White port in your delivery…you’re in for a treat!
During the harvest last year, we were hired by a corporate client to organize a day tour of The County. Many of the Sommeliers in our Savvy Team have visited ‘The County’, so, I invited our Marketing Co-ordinator Amanda Jackson to join me on this day trip as she hadn’t visited yet. Enthusiastic & enchanted by the place & the people we visited, I also invited Amanda to write this month’s Savvy eZine with me.
On the following pages, Amanda gives you her first impressions of The County & of her visit to Karlo Estates. You will find my sommelier tasting notes along with recipes from my kitchen that would pair with the featured wines.
Cheers & Enjoy!
Presented by Amanda Jackson
Rarely a day goes by at the Savvy Company office without someone mentioning Prince Edward County…or ‘The County’ as it is also fondly known. This rapidly growing wine region is flourishing with many family run & boutique wineries. Due to the small supply of wines made (at the moment!), it is not common to find County wines in the LCBO, unless you come to our Savvy Events or occasionally you might see them on a restaurant wine list. Personally, I have not tasted many County wines so when Debbie invited me to join her on a private tour, I jumped at the chance – I like meeting new people and tasting new wines, so this was a real day out for me!
My first impression of The County
I was AMAZED. Starting with the brief & beautiful ferry ride across the Bay, driving along the main streets of the quaint town of Picton, enjoying the scenic countryside , meeting the down-to-earth winemakers who welcomed us at each stop….and of course the impressive wines.
Karlo Estates was the last winery we visited during our action-packed tour. Debbie often talks about Karlo Estates and now I understand why it’s on her ‘must visit’ list when clients ask her for trip tips.
“Watch out, Richard’s laugh is infectious! You will hear him before you see him.” Debbie described the larger-than-life and genuine character of none other than winery owner and winemaker Richard Karlo.
This wine maker started young
Richard grew up making wine – literally. He began at the young age of 8 watching his father make wine at home. Fast forward many years, Rich joined the Amateur Winemakers of Ontario (AWO) knowing far too well that crafting wine would become more than just a hobby. While the group is called “Amateur” they are really anything but. The AWO is where like-minded winemakers get together to learn new techniques from one another & exchange ideas about the winemaking process. And Richard did not stop there. He has gone on to achieve the designation of Master Winemaker – his father must have been proud.
…and became a wine achiever!
During our visit, I learned that Richard has been winning awards for his wines long before he had his own winery. He turned heads when his first release of the 2008 Van Alstine Port was named by Master Sommelier John Szabo as one of the “Top 10 Cutting Edge Wines of the World”. What an honour! If you had requested a bottle of this port to be included in this month`s delivery – enjoy this world class wine. It is a favorite in my home and I make a point of recommending it to my friends who enjoy port And Richard is winning awards for his business too. While we were on the tour, he was excited to share his most recent news: he was just named a 2012 finalist of the Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year Award. Obviously Karlo Estates Winery is one to watch on many levels!
The pride that everyone involved in the winery has for their wines, as well as their growing business is evident. The large red barn, dating to the Loyalist settlement in the early 1900s, has wine barrels tucked into every corner. The warm lighting in the barn was inviting, and made me feel more like going into someone’s living room because the ambiance that Richard and his partner Sherry Martin made us feel so welcome to be in this beautifully preserved barn that they have lovingly revitalized over the years. “We intentionally left the barn rustic because we didn’t want to change the character and charm of the building”, Sherry explained as she lead our group up to the second floor into her art studio that doubles as a private tasting bar.
Tasting our way through the Karlo wine list
As we sipped & enjoyed each and every one of the wines on Karlo’s wine list (all eight of them!), Sherry had a personal story for each wine as well as offering us tips of her never fail wine appreciation how to’s using our Eyes, Nose and Mouth.
My first wine tour of The County including our lovely afternoon spent visiting Karlo Estates was definitely a memorable one – and soon to be repeated!. I couldn’t wait to share stories with friends & family and others in the Savvy Team of allf the new discoveries we had made that day. I am confident that you too will enjoy your Karlo wines that Debbie and our Sommeliers selected for you. I highly recommend you visit Karlo Estates on your next getaway to The County.
An accomplished winemaker and bridge builder
When you visit Karlo, be sure to take a walk to the middle of the vineyard to admire the bridge that arches over the creek running between two vineyards. This bridge was a ‘weekend project’ hand built by Rich, stonemasons & friends in 2007. And as if one project was not enough, they also built the stone wall around the heritage barn using pieces of limestone from the property. Both were constructed using a technique known as dry stone construction – hand built by fitting stones together – no mortar (or glue) is used. This is the connection to the keystone with the ‘K’ on the top of each cork & on the wine label.
Cheers & enjoy your Savvy Selections!
~ SAVVY SOMMELIER TASTING NOTES ~
Pinot Gris VQA 2011, $21.00
This wine is not even available yet at the winery! Bottled just in time to be included in your Savvy Selections, this is a delicious spring time sipping wine. If you see a light copper hue to the wine, don`t be alarmed as more winemakers are crafting Pinot Gris leaving them on their skins for a bit longer than typical for making white wine.
Fully ripened Pinot Gris grapes have a bronze like colour to them, so winemakers sometimes leave the juice in contact with the skins for longer than usual white wine making techniques to extract a warm hued colour that adds to the character of the wine. Taking this approach, you find Pinot Gris from clear pale white to those that will remind with a salmon colour of a Rosé wine. Either way it comes in the glass you will enjoy the crisp, dry & refreshing taste.
Savvy Sommelier Tasting Notes: Refreshing aromas of crunchy apple (or perhaps it is apple sauce?), fresh juicy pear with a warmth of nutmeg. With each sip, the apple & pear continues with honey, bees wax & a nice acidity in the texture that gives it a zip in the finish. And that finish doesn`t go away! It lingers forever.
Suggested Food Pairing: As mentioned before, this is a great sipping wine & can be enjoyed on its own after being chilled for 30 minutes in the fridge. Serve with hors d’oeuvres, pork chops or the Pistachio Crusted Sea Scallops – recipe follows.
From the outstanding 2010 vintage, this wine will not disappoint. Rich shows his talent in this wine as it is delicious & extremely well crafted. Enjoy!
Savvy Sommelier Tasting Notes: ‘This wine makes me hungry’, Savvy Sommelier Debbie declared as she swirls & sips this Cabernet Franc. Plush aromas of dark plums, warm spices & wood that carries into the taste adding in dark chocolate, ripe juicy cherry with some roasted red pepper. There are subtle tannins that will fall into the background as soon as you introduce food – especially grilled meats hot off the BBQ. This is a well balanced medium bodied wine with a long finish that begs you to have another sip…and another…and another.
Suggested Food Pairing: Winter is behind us, it is time to fire up the BBQ and grill everything under the sun! Debbie offers her Coffee Steak Rub recipe to kick start your BBQ season. Yes…coffee! Double the recipe & keep in a jar in the fridge for anytime you fire up the BBQ.
Cellaring: This wine is ready to be enjoyed now or will continue to soften if you lay down in your cellar for 2 to 3 more years. But why wait?
Quintus VQA 2010 $35.00
Ready for something BIG? Made with grapes that Rich sources from vineyards throughout the province (this is why it states VQA Ontario on the label), this is a unique blend of grapes from the impressive 2010 vintage. This is a blend of 40% Merlot, 20% Cabernet Sauvignon, 15% Cabernet Franc, 15% Petit Verdot and 10% Malbec. This wine has the staying power to last in your cellar for many years to come.
Savvy Sommelier Tasting Notes: Everything about this wine in black – ink in colour then continues into the heavy aromas of black fruit (think dried figs, prunes, dates) with tastes of fresh earth (the smell of turning over the soil in your garden in the spring), freshly ground black pepper, Austrian black licorice with a punch of blackberry cassis. Full bodied with good tannins and a long deep & warm finish. Gorgeous! A real treat to drink.
Suggested Food Pairing: Bring on the beef! Prime rib or roast beef with all of the trimmings.
Decanting & Cellaring: Recommend to decant for 2 hours before serving. Drinks well now & it will also cellar 4-6 years.
~RECIPES TO ENJOY WITH YOUR SAVVY SELECTIONS~
Pistachio Crusted Sea Scallops
From the kitchen of Savvy Sommelier Debbie Trenholm
8 Large Sea Scallops (size U-10)
200g unsalted pistachios, shelled and lightly toasted
150g fresh bread crumbs
4 sprigs fresh thyme, chopped fine
1 lemon, juiced
75 ml grainy mustard
75 ml sour cream
Ground black pepper, to taste
Sea salt – to taste
100ml Canola oil
Preheat oven to 375 F
Place chilled scallops on a paper towel for 2 minutes to absorb any surface liquid. Season liberally with salt and pepper and let sit for 10 minutes.
Blend toasted pistachios in a food processor until fine. Mix with bread crumbs and thyme and season with salt and pepper.
Coat pan with oil and heat until very hot. Sear scallops on one side until brown and crisp (2 minutes). Remove scallops from pan and place on parchment lined baking sheet, seared side up.
Mix sour cream, mustard and lemon juice and spoon over each scallop.
Press the seared side into the bread mixture to form a crust. Bake for 2-3 minutes.
Serve as an entree or over a salad of spring greens.
Coffee Rub for BBQ steak
From the kitchen of Savvy Sommelier Debbie Trenholm
Savvy Sommelier Debbie first enjoyed this recipe at a backyard BBQ at Charlie Pillitteri (of Pillitteri Estates Winery in Niagara-on-the-Lake). Think coffee on steak is strange? Think again! The coffee beans caramelized while BBQing, offering a rich earthy flavour that will be enhanced with this robust wine.
½ cup whole coffee beans
¼ cup black peppercorns
¼ cup Montreal Steak spice
Steaks – any type of cut – as you like them!
With an electric coffee grinder, whiz coffee beans and peppercorns lightly. The result should be a coarse mixture.
In a bowl add ground mixture with Montreal Steak spice. This recipe can be doubled and stored in a jar or Ziploc container in the fridge.
When ready to BBQ, rub ample amount of mixture on both sides of steak.Set aside for 20-30 minutes before putting on the grill.
Cook steak to your liking & serve with grilled asparagus & other springtime vegetables.
Dijon Herbed Prime Rib
Farm Boy weekly recipes
Serves 4 to 6 – depending on the size of meat
1Tbsp Balsamic vinegar
1/4 tsp ground cloves
4 Tbsp grainy Dijon mustard
2 Tbsp fresh thyme leaves, chopped
2 Tbsp fresh rosemary leaves, chopped
Salt and pepper ,to taste
1 bone in rib roast (2.5KG/6LB)
6 medium garlic cloves, quartered lengthwise
Pre-heat oven to 400 F
Make small incisions all over the roast & insert the garlic into the holes. Then place the roast in a roasting pan.
Mix the remaining ingredients into a paste and rub enire roast evenly.
Roast for 25 minutes then reduce heat to 350 F and continue cooking for about 1 and a 1/2 hours or until internal temperature reaches 135 F(for rare).
Transfer roast to a cutting board and allow to rest for 15 minutes before carving. Serve with your favorite mashed potatoes recipe or buttered beets!
It is not often that we include a dessert recipe, yet both the Karlo Estates ports would be great with this nut & slightly sweet dessert.
From Debbie’s kitchen – a perfect make ahead dessert that adds WOW factor to any dinner party
Serves 8 to 10
This recipe doubles well & cake layers can be frozen until needed.
¾ c white sugar
2 T flour
2 ½ tsp baking powder
1 c hazelnuts
2 T butter
½ t vanilla
1 c icing sugar
1 tsp cocoa – heck, put more in!
2 T strong hot coffee
325 mL container of 35% cream – whipped with a drizzle of Tia Maria (or white sugar) folded in at the end to lightly sweeten.
Method – Torte
In processor/blender whirl eggs & sugar until thoroughly mixed.
Add flour, baking powder and hazelnuts. Whirl away.
Chop nuts – but not too fine! Keep some chunky bits.
Pour into 2 well greased & floured layer pans (circular) and bake at 350 for 20 mins.
Method – Filling & Finishing
Cream icing sugar & butter. Add strong coffee, cocoa & vanilla and mix until smooth
Spread between layers. (Lick beaters until absolutely clean that you don’t need to wash them!)
Cover top & sides with whipped cream. Decorate as you like
TIP: Best if cake is made a day ahead to allow flavours to mellow.
Debbie’s tasting notes for the unique ports made in The County…
WHITE Van Alstine Port 2010 – A unique wine is a blend of Frontenac Blanc & Gewürztraminer grapes, this lightly sweet wine has aromas of fresh apricots, mandarin & flowers leap from the glass that continues through in the taste with a refreshing acidity combined with toasted nuts (hazelnut perhaps?). Serve slightly chilled with light & refreshing desserts such as fruit salad, lemon tart or pound cakes…or this torte!
RED Van Alstine Port 2009 – A delicious dark colour with concentrated aromas of black cherry, blackberry, dark fruit cake & warm spices that continue along with tastes of red liquorice & cedar. Aged in French & Hungarian oak barrels, this delicious port has a finish that warms you up with each sip. Bring on desserts with dark chocolate or enjoy with a plate of artisan cheeses & roasted nuts. This torte has just the right combination of nut and chocolate tastes without going overboard with sweetness. You might want to chill the port for 15 minutes in the fridge before serving. Notice how the taste changes as the port warms up.
Enjoy your Savvy Selections!