Savvy Selections wine of the month club
Featuring Aure Estate Winery
– August 2015 –
The heat is on in Ontario folks! While we cool ourselves off sipping on some crisp cool wines, Ontario’s vineyards are eagerly watching clusters of their little green grapes grow and ripen. (did you know all grapes start as green?). August is also one of the busiest times of the year for wineries, as tasting rooms are bustling with crowds of visitors anxious to taste and discover the delightful wines they have to offer while in the cellar, they are finishing bottling the wines and making room for the chaotic activities that comes with harvest.
We are thrilled to introduce to you Aure Wines (pronounced oh-rah), a family run winery situated in the Vinemount Ridge sub-appellation of the Niagara Escarpment. Aure Wines is run, hands on, by the Hoare family, originally from London, England; with Dave and Annette at the helm. This husband and wife team has devotedly enthralled themselves in the splendor of wine and food for countless decades. They also raised a lovely family with that same unimaginable level of passion. Together with their sons William, the winemaker; and James, the vineyard manager; and daughter Sarah, they aim to share their passion through handcrafting quality wines.
Ready to uncork & enjoy your Savvy Selections?
In this month’s Savvy Selections you will find 3 remarkable wines, each of which were made from estate grown grapes. Consider these wines to be a definitive expression of what Aure Wines has to offer!
2014 White Gamay – An irresistible blush pink wine with enticingly fresh strawberry aromas. This refreshing wine pairs well with…your patio! You will no doubt want to enjoy with a charcuterie platter and cheese.
2011 ‘Old Vines’ Marechal Foch – A customer favourite! This wine comes from a hybrid grape vine (winespeak: cross between a European vinifera grape varietal and a North American grape varietal) that was once very widely planted all over Ontario due to its early ripening and cold hardy nature. Today, most Marechal Foch vines have been uprooted but the ones that do remain at Aure are over 50 years old! By the same token, winemaking has certainly improved over the past five decades, allowing these grapes to produce an incredible expression of this wine.
2010 Reserve Cabernet Franc – A silver medal winner at the 2014 Concours International Des Vine in France and the first vintage Cabernet Franc. The layers upon layers of flavours will surely impress.
You won’t find these Aure wines at the LCBO
We have done it again! Our Savvy Sommeliers have found wines (and great prices) that we are confident you will enjoy…every sip! Aure Wines produces such small amounts that you won’t find them on the shelves in your LCBO. Call on us at any time at 613-SAVVYCO (728-8926) for additional bottles of your favourite Aure wines – or other wineries we have featured in Savvy Selections.
Cheers & enjoy your summer!
Presented by Sommelier Monique Ippolito
The Hoare family has always had a strong affinity for wine. They originally moved to Canada’s east coast for business purposes; later bringing them to Toronto. That second leap, sending them closer to Ontario’s grape regions, no doubt triggered something in their senses. After countless visits through Niagara’s wine country, they took the plunge and sought to establish a winery of their own. Aure was establish in 2007 and officially opened in 2011 with the first vintage coming from 2010 grapes. 2010 was a stellar year…so not a bad way to start!
A winery with an English cottage charm…
The property they finally settled on turned out to be a huge “fixer upper”. The project involved salvaging as much as they could from an old barn to create what is now a charming Edwardian English Country Estate, adorned with various artifacts, photos and furniture from that era. What is even more fascinating about this winery is their commitment to sustainability and the environmentally conscious initiatives they applied during the construction of the winery.
The Hoare family reused, recycled and re-purposed as much as they possibly could from the old barn that was on site. If some of the salvageable items were not useful in the construction of their winery, they were donated to causes that would sure to benefit from it. Today, a few of the key features of the winery include: a living ‘green’ roof, passive solar heating mechanisms and various methods of water conservation and the re-purposing of rain water.
The name is blowing in the wind
The Hoare family looked into their lineage for the inspiration to pretty much everything about the winery. The name was no different. Once they started tracing the name back a few centuries, the surname Hoare was discovered to be somewhat of a derivative of the ancient Greek name Aure, which translates to “a breath of air.” Since the discovery, the Hoare’s could not resist how fitting the name was considering the location of the winery in addition to having a connection to their lineage.
Meet the winemaker…
William Hoare (photo at right) practically grew up in the hospitality industry and developed quite an adventurous palate at a very young age. As a teenager, he was actually thrilled to be washing dishes and bussing tables in a restaurant. His work experience and penchant for exotic food motivated travels steered him towards studying Hospitality at Niagara College and obtaining a Diploma in Hotel and Restaurant Management.
Soon after, his love and appreciation for wine began to skyrocket. William then sought to educate himself as much as he could on the subject of wine. He is a quick learner, not to mention a good student, although he feels that he never learnt enough about wine. “there is always more to learn.”
As with any job however there still seem to be little headaches here and there. For instance William jokingly admits that his least favourite parts of the job are cleaning tanks and, of course, government audits. However, his proudest moment so far has been winning a silver medal for the 2010 Cabernet Franc at the 2014 Cancours International Des Vine in France. Luckily, there was enough of this award winning wine to include in your Savvy Selections shipment. Plus, another fulfilling part of his job is being able to experiment with new/different techniques in wine making; like the impressive wild ferment Pinot Noir and Chardonnays that are available when you visit the winery.
In a span of four short years, Aure has built an incredible portfolio of wines and built several reasons to mark a visit to the winery when you are next in the area. Be sure to stop in to Silo Bistro for lunch or English high tea.
In the vineyard, David is excited to be the first in the area to grow a new and somewhat obscure grape called Siegerrebe. It is an aromatic white grape variety originally from Germany with similar aromas to Gewürztraminer. “We chose it because of its cold hardy characteristics and it should perform very well in the cool climate that we have in our vineyards”, explains David.
In the wine cellar, William shares the secret that they are planning to make a sparkling Gamay.
Altogether, this winery’s warmth, passion, commitment to environmental sustainability, and strong connection to heritage will no doubt keep producing exciting wines in the future!
Being on top of the Beamsville Bench in the Vinemount Ridge, Aure has focused on varietals that perform consistently well in the cool winds that run along the top of the escarpment. The grapes here generally bud and ripen two weeks later than vineyards located lower on the bench. Aure’s Gamay Noir, Cabernet Franc, Riesling and over 50 year old vines of Marechal Foch are the varietals the winery began with. Sadly, this year, the Riesling vines originally planted were uprooted due to the back-to-back harsh winters that damaged the vineyard. On the flip side, the hardy surviving vines are thriving and producing very well report David and William.
Savvy Sommelier Tasting Notes: Mark our words, you will not be able to resist this elegant blush pink wine! Alluring aromas of ripe wild strawberries, cherry and a touch of lemon grass loom from the glass. Expressions of strawberry, pink grapefruit and lemon zest come through more on the palate, ending with a crisp refreshing finish. This wine is light bodied with a well-balanced acidity and a mouthwatering finish.
While called White Gamay, it is strictly speaking, a white wine made from a red grapes. The Gamay Noir grapes are the signature varietal originating from the Beaujolais appellation in France. It is traditionally a deep ruby-red hued wine so, naturally, when vinifying this wine with very limited skin contact, some of that pink hue comes through into the juice during the winemaking process. Take a sip and you’ll find all the qualities of a ripe Gamay grape without the tannins. Dry and crisp, it is a delicious summer sipping wine.
Suggested Food Pairings: Quite versatile! This wine makes for a terrific pairing with a summer salad. Try it with strawberry topped Greek salads, or simply enjoy as a plain ol’ 2 o’clock patio wine.
Cellaring: Drink now. Serve between 7⁰-10⁰C.
Savvy Sommelier Tasting Notes: A robust red wine! Lovely layered notes of ripe blackberries, black currants, black plums, dark chocolate, leather and anise come through as you nose this wine. Key flavours of ripe berries, baking spices and a touch of earthy minerality sustain itself on the palate right through to a long finish. This wine carries a silky smooth mouthfeel with luscious acidity and a medium-plus body.
The Old Vines Foch, being one of the original varietals frown on the property, is harvested from mature vines. It has so far become the best seller of Aure Winery. Its rich and bold characteristics make it a versatile comfort food pairing wine. You do not necessarily have to wait until fall to crack into this bottle though. I imagine it will pair quite well with Smokey BBQ ribs.
Suggested Food Pairings: Osso Buco, hearty stews or anything off the BBQ.
Cellaring: Drinking well now. Can cellar for another 3 to 5 years. Serve between 16⁰-18⁰C.
Savvy Sommelier Tasting Notes: This wine is one of Aure’s inaugural wines and an international prize winner at that! The 2010 vintage in the Niagara’s wine country was quite phenomenal, so the wine has lovely notes of dates, ripe black plums, some graphite (minerality) and eucalyptus that lingers with each sip. These aromas directly repeat on the palate with a luscious and satiny mouthfeel. Tannins are still present but not overpowering. Other characteristics of dark chocolate and dried cranberries come through more on the finish.
This full bodied wine is quite a proud bottle for Aura Wines. It is well rounded and packed with complexity. It is drinking quite nicely right now, but if you have extra bottles cellar them for another couple years.
Suggested Food Pairings: Beef, bison, lamb or venison roasts.
Cellaring: Drinking well now or can cellar for up to 3-5 years. Serve between 16⁰-18⁰C.
With The White Gamay…
Blackened Chicken Salad
From Monique’s Kitchen (modified from Whole Foods Market recipe)
Blackening Seasoning Mix from allrecipes.com
Serves 4 side salads or 2-3 large dinner salads
This dish is fantastic in a sandwich, a wrap or in a pasta salad as well. Be as creative as you like!
3 chicken breasts
¾ cup mayonnaise (substitute with Just Mayo for egg free mayonnaise)
¼ cup dijon mustard
¼ cup apple cider vinegar
1 large carrot (grated or julienne)
½ of a red onion (sliced)
4-5 scallions (chopped)
1/3 cup blackening seasoning
1-2 tablespoons olive oil (substitute with avocado oil or coconut oil)
Blackening Seasoning Mix
1½ tablespoons of paprika
1 tablespoon garlic powder
1 tablespoon onion powder
1 tablespoon ground dried thyme
1 teaspoon ground black pepper
1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1 teaspoon dried basil
1 teaspoon dried oregano
Combine all ingredients in a bowl until evenly mixed. Store in an airtight container in a cool dry place.
Coat chicken thoroughly with blackening seasoning mix and let it sit for about 15 minutes. Then, heat olive oil in skillet and stir fry chicken breasts over medium heat for approximately 10-12minutes or until fully cooked and set aside to cool. Once cooled, slice into ¼ inch thick strips. *Option: Grill chicken breasts on the BBQ.
Mix together mayonnaise, apple cider vinegar and Dijon mustard; then set aside. Combine chicken strips, carrot, red onion and scallions together in a large bowl. Pour dressing over the chicken mixture and combine thoroughly. Garnish with some extra chopped scallions and enjoy with your White Gamay.
With Marechal Foch…
Osso Buco (Braised Veal Shanks)
From www.epicurious.com (recipe & photo credit)
8 – 10 large 2 ½ inch thick veal shanks (patted dry & tied securely with string to keep the meat attached to the bone)
All purpose flour for dredging the veal shanks
7 Tbsp unsalted butter, plus additional if necessary
3 Tbsp olive oil, plus additional is necessary
1½ cups white wine (I tend to use Fumé Blanc or unoaked Chardonnay)
1½ cups finely chopped onion
¾ cup finely chopped carrots
¾ cups finely chopped celery
4 cloves minced garlic
3-4 cups chicken or beef broth
1½ cups drained canned plum tomatoes (chopped)
1 cheesecloth bag containing 6 sprigs of fresh parsley, 4 sprigs of fresh thyme and 1 bay leaf
½ teaspoon salt & pepper (or to your taste)
Season veal shanks with salt and pepper and dredge them in the flour, shaking off the excess.
In a heavy skillet, heat 3 tablespoons of the butter and 3 tablespoons of the oil over moderately high heat until the foam subsides. Then brown the veal shanks in batches, adding some of the additional butter and oil as necessary and, once browned, transfer unto a platter.
Add the wine to skillet and stir, scraping up the brown bits from the bottom and sides of the skillet. Boil the mixture until the liquid is reduced to about ½ cup, and set aside in a small bowl.
In a flame proof casserole dish – large enough to hold all the veal shanks in one layer – combine onions, carrots, celery, garlic and remaining tablespoons of butter over moderately low heat, stirring occasionally, until the vegetables are softened; then add shanks with any juices that have accumulated on the platter, the reserve mixture and enough broth to almost cover the shanks. Spread the tomatoes over the shanks, add the cheesecloth bag and salt and pepper to taste; and bring the liquid to a simmer over moderately high heat.
Braise the mixture, covered, on the middle rack of a preheated 325⁰F oven for two hours, or until veal is tender.
Transfer the shanks with a slotted spoon to an ovenproof serving dish, discard the strings, and keep the shanks warm. Skim the fat and strain the pan juices into a saucepan, pressing hard on the solids. Boil the juices for 15 minutes, or until liquid is reduced to about 3 cups. Baste the shanks with some of the reduced juices and bake (basting 3-4 times) for another 10 minutes, or until they are glazed.
With Reserve Cabernet Franc…
Beef Brisket Pot Roast
From www.simplyrecipes.com (recipe & photo credit )
4-5lbs beef brisket
1-2 Tbsp olive oil
3 large onions
5-6 cloves of garlic (minced)
2-3 large carrots
1 sprig of thyme
1 sprig of rosemary
3-4 bay leaves
2 cups beef sock
1Tbsp mustard (optional)
On one side of the brisket there should be a layer of fat, which you want to keep. If there are any large chunks of fat, cut them off and discard them. Large pieces of fat will not be able to render out completely. Using a sharp knife, score the fat in parallel lines – about ¾ inch apart. Slice through the fat, not the beef. Repeat in the opposite direction to make a cross-hatch pattern. Salt the brisket well and let it sit at room temperature for 30 minutes.
You’ll need an oven-proof, thick-bottomed pot with a cover (Dutch oven or casserole dish) that is just wide enough to hold the brisket roast with a little room for the onions. Pat the brisket dry and place it, fatty side down, into the pot and place it on medium high heat. Cook for 5-8 minutes, lightly sizzling, until the fat side is nicely browned. (If the roast seems to be cooking too fast, turn the heat down to medium. You want a steady sizzle, not a raging sear.) Turn the brisket over and cook for a few minutes more to brown the other side.
When the brisket has browned, remove it from the pot and set aside. There should be a couple tablespoons of fat rendered in the pot, if not, add some olive oil. Add the chopped onions and increase the heat to high. Sprinkle a little salt on the onions. Sauté, stirring often, until the onions are lightly browned (5-8 minutes). Stir in the garlic and cook 1-2 more minutes.
Preheat the oven to 300°F. Use kitchen twine to tie together the bay leaves, rosemary and thyme. Move the onions and garlic to the sides of the pot and nestle the brisket inside. Add the beef stock and the tied-up herbs. Bring the stock to a boil. Cover the pot, place the pot in the 300°F oven and cook for 3 hours. Carefully flip the brisket every hour so it cooks evenly.
After 3 hours, add the carrots. Cover the pot and cook for 1 hour more, or until the carrots are cooked through and the brisket is falling-apart tender. At this point, take the pot out of the oven and remove the brisket to a cutting board. Cover it with foil. Pull out and discard the herbs.
You can serve as is, or you can make a sauce with the drippings and some of the onions. To make a sauce, remove the carrots and half of the onions, set aside and cover them with foil. Pour the ingredients that are remaining into the pot into a blender, and purée until smooth. If you wish, add 1 tablespoon of mustard to the mix. Put into a small pot and keep warm. Serve with the onions, carrots and gravy. Serve with mashed, roasted or boiled potatoes.
TIP: Notice the lines of the muscle fibers of the roast. This is the “grain” of the meat. Slice the meat perpendicular to these lines, or across the grain (cutting this way further tenderizes the meat), in 1/4-inch to 1/2-inch slices.