Archive for ‘Pairing wine with food’

What do Organic Wine Labels mean?

Posted by Debbie

Thursday, August 9th, 2018
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These days, products labelled as “organic, green, gluten free or vegan” are often confusing and have different meanings depending on whether the item is eggs, apples or grapes. Personally, in general terms, I tend to think organic wine is one that has not had pesticides or other chemicals used in its vineyard or winemaking process. If that is indeed the case, I can’t help but wonder if this extra attention results in a difference in taste too.

My curiosity gets the better of me and nose dive into some ‘research’.

The David Suzuki Foundation offers some great explanations of terms that I have interchanged. For example, when the wine label states “made with organically grown grapes”, this means that the wine is made with a minimum of 70% organic grapes.  Turns out this is not the same as certified organic grapes.  The term Certified Organic means that the producers use 100% organic grapes and cannot use toxic pesticides, herbicides or synthetic fertilizers that would infiltrate both the soil and the grapes.

Biodynamic wine is defined by renowned winemaker Ann Sperling (of Sperling Vineyards, Southbrook Vineyards and Versado) as, “Uber organic”.  Biodynamic is organic but natural resources are used to cultivate grapes and must meet the standards imposed for organic-certified farming. This kind of wine production also takes into consideration the lunar calendar, astrology, plants, animals, insects;  it’s not just about the grapes.

I admit that I find the idea of the slant of the moon’s light on a vineyard making a difference in grape-growing a little mind-boggling. In order for a winery to declare itself as biodynamic, it must have achieved the highest level of certification through Demeter Canada and maintained it for a minimum of three years. It’s no wonder that there are only a handful of biodynamic wineries across the country.

Wine Country Ontario lists wineries in Ontario that sell organic, vegan, gluten-free, vegetarian and biodynamic wines. All these labels embrace sustainable winemaking or economical farming practices. Whether the wine tastes any different with these labels depends on your opinion.

The recent release at LCBO’s Vintages is promoting several organic wines. I have a couple of recommendations from this release and also suggestions in the general list of organic wines. Many LCBO stores have an organic wine section, so have a look the next time you are in one. You might find something new from this issue to impress your vegan friends!

From the August 4 release. 

 

Murviedro Luna Organic Brut Cava

Spain
$17.95 (Vintages #547224) 11.6% alcohol

Cava in Spain is akin to Prosecco in Italy and it never hurts to have one of these chilling in the fridge. This happens to be a Gold Medal winner at the 2017 Concours Mondial de Bruxelles. Whenever I see those gold labels, it’s never a risk to buy the bottle.

Cava is known for its light sparkling citrusy moussey bubbles, made from the Macabeo grapes and is always a delight for brunch, Happy Hour or to kick off a party.

 

 

Southbrook Triomphe Chardonnay 2016

Niagara-on-the-Lake, Canada
$24.95 (Vintages #172338) 12% alcohol

Southbrook Vineyards is known as the first winery in Canada to earn both organic and biodynamic certification in the vineyard. It is also one impressive winery to visit in Niagara. The architecture of this biodynamic winery is different from its neighbors and their elegant wines are always memorable.

During the release tasting, I did not get to sample this 2016, but previous Chardonnays made by Ann Sperling have been knock out delicious.

Enjoy a glass in the sunshine, unwinding while the sun goes down, with fish or chicken off the BBQ or a summertime salad.

 

Montes Alpha Syrah 2015

Colchagua Valley, Chile
$19.95 (Vintages #612) 14.5% alcohol

The label on the bottle of this dark blackberry nectar states “dry farmed”.  What does this mean? Basically the grapes are cultivated without any irrigation in regions where there is little rain. The grapes feed off any residual moisture in the soil which deeply extends their vine roots and consequently their flavour.

I really liked the leathery finish on this wine.  It would be great with any grilled chops.

 

Organic Wines available all year round at the LCBO

 

Lurton Piedra Negra Pinot Grigio Organic

Argentina
$13.80 (Vintages #55674) 12.5% alcohol

This is a “pretty” soft white, dry, medium-bodied white wine. Luscious tropical and citrus flavours present loads of fresh fruit on the palate.

I picked this up on my lookout for general list organic wines at the LCBO (regularly available on the main store shelves) and it has easily become a favourite in my house.

It’s refreshing and delicious on its own or served with fish tacos, sushi, cold pasta salad.

 

 

El Abuelo Organic Tempranillo Monastrell

Almanzo D.O., Spain
$9.95 (Vintages #524520)  14% alcohol

Don’t let the price fool you. This great organic wine from Spain is full-bodied with loads of black fruit flavours.

Bone dry and smooth, it packs lots of punch at 14% alcohol but does not taste hot on the palate.

It goes well with burgers or spaghetti or just to sip in a glass.

 

Travel tip and wine stop in Hockley Valley, Mono, Ontario 

 

My husband and I recently returned from a trip to the Hockley Valley Resort (North of Toronto near Orangeville) and discovered the Adamo Winery Estate. The resort offers a shuttle to the winery, but if you prefer to walk, it’s a short distance but all uphill.

The resort and winery are family owned and operated, clearly taking great pride in both their wines and the upscale resort. Have a look at the pictures online, it is indeed as lovely as it looks.

The farming practices in the 25 acre winery are both organic and biodynamic. Shauna White, Vineyard and Winery Manager, uses thermal blankets in the winter to cover the vines so that they are insulated and protected from ice and snow. This method is done instead of hilling up vines (burying them in the earth), like they do in Prince Edward County.

At the winery, the Paddock Café offers small plates of local cheeses, olives and charcuteries overlooking the 23,000 vines. It is also a wonderful photo-op beside an amazing golf course. We visited the winery 3 times in 3 days to take in the ambience and sample more wines. The Rieslings and Viognier wines were favourites with many grapes being sourced from the Niagara region.

Coincidentally, 6 years ago, I had met Shauna when I interviewed her for our Savvy Selections wine-o-month club featuring Ravine Estate Winery.  Shauna was the winemaker. Needless to say, the surprise to see her again at Adamo was a delight and made for an over the top vacation.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Drink Rose ALL Day!

Posted by Debbie

Wednesday, June 6th, 2018
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Our team of Savvy Sommeliers have done the ‘tough work’.  We’ve been sipping & sampling the latest Rosé wines made across Ontario & each month during the summer, we will put together an assortment of the most refreshing wines for you to enjoy.

All you need to do is order before the deadline…or simply subscribe for the summer to get a different combo of refreshing Rosés delivered to your dock, deck or desk. Order here>>

 

Time to get your corkscrew ready to Clink & Drink Pink!

We kicked off the summer with a Bouquet of Rosés in May (perfect for Mother’s Day gifts) then we call it Deck Party Packs as all summer long.

To help you enjoy the Rosé wines to the fullest, our Savvy Sommeliers compiled the Rosé Report – below – with tasting notes, food pairing tips & recipes to serve with the wines we picked for the May parcel.  There will be a completely different assortment of wines this month…and next month too!

13th Street Burger Blend Rosé VQA 2017 – from Twenty Valley (Niagara)

Casa-Dea Estates Cabernet Franc Rosé VQA 2016 – from Prince Edward County

Casa-Dea Estates Dea’s  Rosé Sparkling VQA 2015 – from Prince Edward County

Keint-He Vineyards Portage Rosé VQA 2017 – from Prince Edward County

Pondview Cabernet Franc Rosé VQA 2016 – from Niagara-on-the-Lake

Westcott Vineyards Delphine Rosé VQA 2017 – from Twenty Valley

Several of these Rosés have just been released. And if you the coolest part…these wines are not available at the LCBO, rather they came straight from the winemaker to you.

At any time during the summer, you would like to order additional bottles of your favorite Rosés or other hard-to-find Ontario wines (you know we do craft beers & ciders too!), call us on the Rosé Hotline: 613-SAVVYCO (728-8926)

 

 

~ The Rosé Report ~

Our Savvy Sommeliers  – Debbie & David – share their tasting notes for the featured wines.

 

13th Street Winery Burger Blend Rosé VQA 2017

$14.95, Twenty Valley (Niagara Escarpment)

Part of 13th Street’s “Burger Blend” series, these fun and affordable blends are perfect for summer! This barely off-dry rosé combines Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc, Merlot & Pinot Noir.

Savvy Sommelier Tasting Notes: Beautiful, summery notes of strawberries and orange with a hint of red cherry. While there’s a bit of sweetness, there’s also bracing acidity – and it’s that sweet and sour affect that real makes this wine a pleaser. It’s crisp and citrusy.

Suggested Food Pairing: Try this with a chilled cucumber soup on a warm day or enjoy it all by itself!

 

 

Casa-Dea Estates Winery Dea Cuvée VQA 2015

$21.95, Prince Edward County

One of the first wineries in Prince Edward County, Casa-Dea Estates Winery is making a big impression with this sparkling rosé wine.  Just released, this bubbly can be enjoyed on any occasion – picnic, Happy Hour, or stash away for Thanksgiving (if you have to!).

Here is a neat golden nugget to drop into conversation: Winemaker Paul Battilana was originally trained as a butcher, before he made the leap to winemaking after his curiosity transformed his career. And the wine industry is taking note as he was named by MacLean’s Magazine last year ‘as one of the Canadian winemakers to watch’.

Savvy Sommelier Tasting Notes: Pretty in the glass, this sparkling wine is refreshing, bright, and reminds us of summer…all throughout the year. Light aromas of strawberry and juicy peaches, the acidity of this wine makes is perfect to start any occasion.

Suggested Food Pairings: Chips.  The salt plays with the bubbles of the wine and fireworks start off in your mouth.  Try it!

 

Casa-Dea Estates Winery Cabernet Franc Rosé VQA 2016

$17.95, Prince Edward County

Care for a round of bocce? If you’re travelling to The County this spring, stop by Casa-Dea and try out this Italian version of lawn bowling on a hand-crafted pitch right beside the vineyards. Made even better with a cool glass of winemaker Paul Battilana’s Rosé.

Savvy Sommelier Tasting Notes: Brilliant clarity in this pinky-peach concoction. Abundant aromas of wildflowers and strawberries, juicy peaches, even a floral whiff that might remind you of the delicate flower of Lily of the Valley.  Top it all off with subtle hints of fresh herbs with a silky texture balanced out with measured acidity and a lengthy finish. Mama Mia – it is good!

 

Keint-He Vineyards Portage Rosé VQA 2017

$22, Prince Edward County

Made from 100% Pinot Noir grapes grown on their estate. Keint-He is a family run winery (Bryan Rogers in photo) focusing on making fine County wines using Pinot Noir & Chardonnay grapes.

Savvy Sommelier Tasting Notes: The colour of candy floss, this is a beautiful, Provençal-style Rosé. Big flavours of strawberry and tobacco with a hint of jam, it’s dry and tart and big. This is a Rosé to serve to any friends who think all pinks are light and sweet.

Suggested Food Pairing: Easily able to stand up to BBQ, try this with your favourite burger.

 

Pondview Estate Winery Cabernet Franc Rosé VQA 2016

$16.95, Four Mile Creek (Niagara-on-the-Lake)

The Pugli family emigrated from Italy bound for Niagara with plans to grow peaches on their large scale farm.  Now 2 generations later, they have transformed the fruit growing business into a winery that it internationally renowned for quality wines.

Savvy Sommelier Tasting Notes: Old World-style in pale peach flecked with bright orange. A nostalgic bouquet brings midway cotton candy and candied apples to mind. The wine’s high acid produces a lively ‘spritz’ effect on the palate, with flavours of mango, passionfruit and white pepper, and lingering herbs on the finish.

Suggested Food Pairing: Crisp summer salads or grilled sausages would make a great match, or try your hand at making Fish Tacos.

 

Westcott Vineyards Delphine Rosé VQA 2017

$16.95, Twenty Valley (Niagara)

And another family run winery! Like Keint-He, the Westcott family are making a range of wines focused on Chardonnay & Pinot Noir grapes.  Last year, they made the Delphine Rosé and it sold out in a matter of weeks.  We are delighted to be the first to feature this ever popular wine.   This year, the wine is made using a blend of Cabernet Franc and “just a little” Pinot Noir.

Savvy Sommelier Tasting Notes: Aromatic, dry, and supple, there are notes of strawberries and orange, along with some bracing lemony acidity. The bright pink of the wine is a visual treat, and it looks every bit as mouth watering as it tastes!

Suggested Food Pairing: Serve this with semi-soft cheeses like Gruyère and Havarti.


~ The Rosé Recipe Box ~

A few of our Spring & Summer favorite dishes to enjoy with Rosé wines

 

Fresh Asparagus Tart
From Canadian Living Magazine

Serves 8 (or more)

This is simple to make and stunning to look at.  This spring tart offers a vegetarian option for a picnic, appetizer or even brunch!

 

Ingredients

2 bunches (1 lb each) thin asparagus, trimmed
1 pkg all-butter puff pastry, thawed (usually package includes 2 sheets of pastry)
2 Tbsp Dijon mustard
1½ cups shredded Gruyère cheese
½ tsp coarsely cracked pepper
1 egg
1 Tbsp milk

 

Method

Line 2 rimless baking sheets with parchment paper or grease. Set aside.

In steamer or rack in saucepan, cover and steam asparagus until tender-crisp, 3 minutes. Chill in cold water; pat dry.

Unroll each pastry sheet onto prepared pan. Spread evenly with mustard, leaving 1-inch (2.5 cm) border. Arrange asparagus, side by side and alternating ends, on mustard; top with cheese and pepper.

In small bowl, beat egg with milk; lightly brush over pastry border. Bake in top and bottom thirds of 450°F (230°C) oven, rotating and switching pans halfway through, until puffed and golden and cheese is bubbly, 18 minutes. (Make-ahead: Set aside for up to 6 hours.)

Cut each into 6 to 8 pieces; serve warm or cool.

 

Beet Risotto
Recipe & Photo credits: Food & Wine

Serves 8

Ingredients

7 cups chicken stock
4 Tablespoons unsalted butter
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1 large sweet onion, finely chopped
2 large beets (12 ounces each), peeled and coarsely shredded, plus thinly sliced beets for garnish
3 cups arborio rice
1 ½  cups young pecorino cheese, freshly grated
2 teaspoons poppy seeds, plus more for garnish

Note: “Beets give this creamy risotto stunning colour & delicate sweetness. Grace Parisi suggests wearing rubber gloves and shredding the beets directly into a stainless steel bowl to avoid staining hands and countertops.”

 

Method

In a saucepan, bring the stock to a simmer; cover and keep warm. In a medium enameled cast-iron casserole, melt the butter in the oil.

Add the onion and cook over moderately high heat, stirring, until softened, 5 minutes.

Add the shredded beets and cook, stirring, until the pan is dry, 12 minutes. Spoon half of the beets into a small bowl.

Add the rice to the casserole and cook, stirring, for 2 minutes. Add 1 cup of the warm stock to the rice and cook over moderate heat, stirring, until the stock is nearly absorbed. Continue adding the stock 1 cup at a time, stirring constantly, until the rice is al dente and a thick sauce forms, about 22 minutes.

Stir in the cooked beets, cheese and the 2 teaspoons of poppy seeds. Cook, stirring, until heated through; add a few tablespoons of water if the risotto is too thick.

Spoon the risotto into bowls. Garnish with sliced beets and poppy seeds and serve.

 

 

Turkey Meatballs with Creamy Lemon Pasta
Original recipe & photo credits: Jessica Alba on Martha Stewart’s

 

Ingredients

2 lbs ground turkey
1 cup bread crumbs (Panko crumbs are ideal)
1/4 cup carrots, shredded
1/4 cup onion, shredded
1/4 cup zucchini, shredded
2 large eggs
2 Tbsp Italian seasoning
1 Tbsp sea salt
2 Tbsp olive oil
¾ cup low sodium chicken stock

Your favorite pasta
1/3 to ½ cup goat cheese
¼ to ½ of white or rosé wine
Zest & Juice of 1 lemon 

 

Method

In a large bowl, mix turkey, panko, carrots, zucchini, onion, eggs, Italian seasoning, and salt until well combined; form into 1-inch balls. Heat olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add meatballs and cook, turning, until browned, about 7 minutes.

Add ½ cup chicken broth, cover and reduce heat to low. Cook until liquid is almost completely absorbed, about 7 minutes. Add remaining ¼ cup broth and increase heat to medium; cook, uncovered, until liquid is absorbed.

In a separate pot, cook your favorite pasta. Once al dante, drain the water & place pasta back into the pot on low heat.  Crumble in goat cheese & stir until melted.  To help the melting, add white wine periodically until a creamy consistency similar to cream sauce that coats the pasta.

To finish the sauce, squeeze the juice of one lemon into the sauce, toss in zest & gently stir.  Plate with a mound of pasta topped with turkey meatballs.

 

 

Have your fridge full of Rosé wines all summer long…

Always have refreshing Rosé wines on hand this summer.  To order additional bottles of your new found favorite Rosés from this assortment OR to receive next month’s assortment (for the rest of the summer we’re calling them Deck Party Packs, call the Savvy Team on 613-SAVVYCO (728-8926) or order online at www.savvycompany.ca/rose

The June assortment of wines will have a completely different selection of hard-to-find Rosé wines including:

Colchester Ridge Estate Winery ‘Red Sky at Night’ Rosé VQA 2017 – from Lake Erie North Shore

Creekside Estate Rosé VQA 2017 – from Niagara-on-the-Lake

Karlo Estates Patio Reserve Rosé VQA 2017 – from Prince Edward County

Redstone Rosé VQA 2016 – from Twenty Valley (a wine only available for restaurants)

Redstone Rosé Sparkling VQA 2015 – from Twenty Valley

Tawse Quarry Road Pinot Noir Rosé VQA 2017 – from Twenty Valley

What is the price for June’s assortment?

$126 for 6 bottles
~ OR ~
$252 for 12 bottles (2 of each of the featured wines)

 

Deadline to order June’s parcel is Saturday June 9th 
www.savvycompany.ca/rose

 

 

Ahhh…life is good!

 

 

 

 

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Fondue Frenzie!

Posted by Debbie

Wednesday, February 14th, 2018
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Cheese fondue is quick and easy meal to make, especially if you have a bunch of different cheeses in your fridge.  It is truly a melting pot! Fondue is a signature dish from Switzerland, so do as the Swiss do – use firm alpine style cheeses such as Swiss & Gruyere.

Our Cheese Sommelier Vanessa has Canadian-ized this classic fondue recipe with suggestions of Canadian cheeses that will make a great combo.   Remove the rind…and get shredding!

 

Ingredients

1 pound of shredded firm cheeses
Vanessa’s TIP: Use any combo of these stunning firm Canadian cheeses:  La Nouvelle France Zacharie Cloutier, Fromagerie du Presbytere Louis d’Or, Gunn’s Hill Handeck or St Albert’s 1894

2 Tablespoons cornstarch
1 garlic clove, peeled
1 cup dry white wine
1 Tablespoon lemon juice
1 Tablespoon kirsch aka cherry brandy (optional)
1/2 teaspoon dry mustard
Pinch nutmeg

Assorted items to dip into the fondue.  Grainy baguette slices, apple & pear slices, grilled sausages, cubes of cooked ham or peameal bacon, blanched pea pods & green beans, chunks of red & green peppers…anything goes!

 

Method

In a small bowl, toss the shredded cheeses with cornstarch and set aside.

With the garlic clove, vigorously rub the inside of the ceramic fondue pot with the garlic.  Throw away the garlic afterwards…and wash your hands – garlicy fingers are not that sexy!

In a medium saucepan add the wine and lemon juice.  Heat on medium & bring to a gentle simmer. Stir the cheese a handful at a time into the simmering hot liquid. This will gradually melt the cheese to create a smooth fondue.

Once the fondue looks ready, stir in kirsch (optional), mustard and nutmeg. Stir again.

Remove from heat and pour cheese into the garlic ladened fondue pot.

Place on fondue apparatus with a votive or fondue burner underneath in order to keep the cheese warm.

Go nuts & enjoy!

 

What wines to serve with this fondue?  

Canadian of course! A fondue full of Canadian cheese would be best with Canadian wines.

Our Sommeliers recommend that the wine should enhance the melted cheese combo rather than overpower it.  If white wine is your preference, look for a lightly oaked Chardonnay, Viognier or Pinot Gris.  For red wines, a light to medium bodied wine would be ideal.

As for red wines, Pinot Noir, Gamay Noir or a blend with Cabernet Franc & Merlot.

Rose wine would work too!

 

 

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Make my Cheese Canadian – please!

Posted by Debbie

Tuesday, January 30th, 2018
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Warning: if you love artisan cheese, you’ll be drooling over this article.

Grocery stores and farmers markets are overflowing with artisan cheese – the good news is that the rise of local cheesemakers is not stopping anytime soon.  There is no need to venture to the European section of the cheese counter to find a wedge that will WOW.  Impressive cheese is made in our backyard.  In fact, being in Ottawa we are treated to cheesemakers on both sides of the border – Quebec and Ontario.

And we are talking about more than just cheddar! Locally made cheeses span the gamut of tastes and styles.  Best of all, Canadian cheeses are rivaling the European equivalent at international competitions.

One of Canada’s renown judges at these competitions is Vanessa Simmons  – Cheese Sommelier and curator of Savvy Cool Curds – the only artisan cheese of the month club that exclusively features Canadian cheeses. Vanessa knows everything there is about cheeses and she travels coast to coast visiting cheesemakers and farmers to learn the ‘whey’ they make Canadian cheeses.  “Often a recipe that has been passed through a family for generations is the starting point,” explains Vanessa.

This is exactly the case with Gunn’s Hill Artisan Cheese located in Woodstock – Canada’s dairy capital.  “We make alpine style cheese like they do in Holland”, explains Shep Ysselstein (in photo) who weaves his family Dutch roots into his rapidly growing cheese business. “All of my cheese is made with the milk of my father’s herd of 120 Holstein cows.  Every two days, fresh milk is delivered from the farm across the street to my cheese production facility.  I use every last drop.”  Gouda, washed rind cheeses and brie are Shep’s signature creations. If you have enjoyed the Beau’s cheese – washed with Lugtread Beer – the cheese is in fact made at Gunn’s Hill.

Sheep, goat and cow milks are the main ingredient that the cheesemaker starts with.  Seasonally, the cheesemakers need to tweak their recipes to reflect the make up of the milk. In the winter, they need to compensate for higher fat content in the milk, in order for the cheese to not be too soft.  During times of the year when the animals are fed a lot of carrots, there are higher levels of beta carotene in the milk, resulting in a cheese with a more golden hue. Whether the recipe is a family secret or not, cheesemaking is part art & part science.

 

So many cheeses, so little time!

In France, they boast that there are over 365 different types of chévre (goat cheese), equating to one to enjoy each day.  While this sounds devine, the idea of constantly trying different cheeses is definitely appealing.  Where to start?

 

Vanessa offers these tips:

Check out the Best Before Date – Pick a cheese that is closest to best before date to enjoy right away.  This might actually mean that the price of the cheese is discounted for quick sale!  “Often cheese is sold into grocery stores young. You want a cheese that has been ripening.”  The exception to this rule: Fresh Cheese or Cheese Curds.

Soft rounds of cheese – Buy small! Give them a squeeze on the sides.  Notice if they are firm or ‘squishy’.  What you want is a round where the edges are soft to indicate that the cheese is ripe n’ ready.

It’s OK to eat the rind – The rind is often washed with wine, beer or a special concoction that is intended to help the aging process while the cheese is in the caves.  The effect is a hardened outside to the cheese that is fine – not to mention delicious – to eat.  The exception to this rule: watch out for rind that is wax.  This is not intended to be eaten!

Like your curds squeaky? – As soon as you put curds in the fresh, the squeak disappears. The cheese is fine on the counter for a few days.

 

Building a Canadian Cheese Board 101

With these tips, Vanessa makes it easy to create a cheese board to serve instead of slaving hours to make hors d’oeuvres or a fancy dessert. Use Vanessa tried & true tips and you’ll be guaranteed to get Oooohs and aaahs reviews for your cheese selection.

Vanessa’s Buying Tips: 

Milk type – cow, sheep, goat, buffalo (when in season).  Buy at least one of each

Style of cheese – Select different styles: fresh, soft, semi-soft, washed, firm, hard…and always make sure there is a blue cheese!

Age of Cheese – have a variety of young & old cheeses

Visual Variety – select cheeses that have visual appeal.  Rounds, wedges, chunks, even in pyramid shape – in combination will create WOW factor.

How much? – 5-10gms of each cheese/person is a good rule of thumb.

Vanessa’s Serving Tips:

Take them out of the fridge – make sure the cheeses are at room temperature – arrange on the cheese board atleast 1 hour beforehand.  This will allow the flavours and texture to shine their finest

One knife please – place one knife per cheese on the board.

To cut or not to cut – Don’t cut up small pieces in advance.

Wood, plate or slate – Use an interesting wooden board, cross cut log, antique plate, slate or marble tiles or tiered trays for visual appeal.

Plain Jane – Serve specialty breads and plain crackers.  Crackers dressed with herbs or spices will conflict with the taste of the cheese.

Add ons – sprinkle onto the board fresh berries, dried fruits, toasted nuts, olives, caramelized or pickled onions or milder charcuterie items as accompaniments.

 

This is part of an article written by Debbie Trenholm that will appear in the January/February 2018 issue of Ottawa Life Magazine

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Dashing through the LCBO….

Posted by Julie

Monday, December 11th, 2017
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It’s beginning to feel a lot like Christmas. Champagne, stunning gift boxes, ice wine, suggestions for “Holiday Gatherings” is what the final Vintages release of the year is all about.

There are so many awesome products in this release that I have to remind myself of my meager budget of $100 for this blog. Here is my shopping list – including some bottles to splurge on too.

And if you were able to get your hands on the LCBO’s latest Food and Drink Magazine, talk about eye candy – glossy photos with lots of great recipes for appetizers, cocktail parties and novel recipes for main courses too. Where do they get this new twists on the traditional?

For those of you who have a more robust budget than my$100 for wine shopping, I have several recommendations. There’s a new Sandeman 20-year old Tawny Port (Vintages #116178) $64.95 which was absolutely delicious.  Burrowing Owl Meritage (Vintages #343038) $58.95 is a red wine from British Columbia that will knock your expensive socks off.  The LCBO’s Wine of the Month – Joseph Phelps Cabernet Sauvignon (Vintages #189795) $119.95 is extra special and Sortilege Prestige, a 7 year old Canadian Whiskey with pure maple syrup (Vintages #317206) $49.95 is another treat.

So until next year, wishing you a wonderful holiday season full of great sips!

-Julie

 

If I only had $100, I would buy…
LCBO Vintages Release for Saturday December 9, 2017

Veuve Ambal Grande Cuvée Brut Rosé Crémant de Bourgogne

Traditional Method, AC Burgundy, France
$19.95 (Vintages #439257) 12% alcohol

An enticing pale pink that shimmers like a Christmas decoration in the glass, bubbles (fine mousse) galore dance on the palate while croissants, raspberries and little ripe strawberries arrive seductively to the taste buds. Clean and fresh, it’s a classic Crémant that returns yearly with quality and taste.

A perfect aperitif, wonderful as a party accompaniment. It’s also festive, pretty and everyone loves it.

 

Sunnybrook Signature Series Cranberry 2015

Niagara
$23.95 (Vintages #539049) 11% alcohol

Sunnybrook Farm Estate Winery is proud to use 100% locally grown fruits for their wines and this stunning nectar won double gold at the Canadian Wine Awards 2017. I was surprised to see this featured under dessert wines since I did not find it overly sweet.

Awesome cranberry colour loaded with soft cranberry fruit and on first sip I thought it would be absolutely perfect with turkey or pork as a dinner wine. A lengthy seam of acidity on the delicious finish and dare I say, I almost got some green apple. Wine Gods forgive me, but we all taste something different.

I’ll just sum it up by saying this would go through dinner to dessert (would be heaven with some blue cheese). How different is a fruit wine? and this would also make a lovely gift.

D-e-e-elicious.

 

The Tragically Hip Fully Completely Grand Reserve Red 2015

VQA Niagara Peninsula, Stoney Ridge
$24.95 (Vintages #411595) 13.5% alcohol

This red wine was a creation by band members Gord Downie, Paul Langlois, Rob Baker, Gord Sinclair, and Johnny Fay in conjunction with Stoney Ridge Estate Winery’s Head Winemaker Jeff Hundertmark. It is a class act wine.

Wonderful rich blend of Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon and Cabernet Franc. On the label is an exact replication of the original artwork that appeared on the “Fully Completely” album cover that all Hip fans know so well.

Inside the bottle, deep dark delicious aromas awaits with tastes of ripe berries, some sweet spicy notes and tannin. It’s balanced and lengthy, an elegant addition for ta prime rib or steak not to mention pretty nice table bling.

Hands  down, this will make a great gift for those Gord Downie fans.

 

Aneto Red 2011

DOC Douro, Portugal
$16.95 (Vintages #314930) 14% alcohol

I learned on my trip to Portugal this year that there are more than 100 indigenous grape varietals approved for wine production in the Douro region of Portugal but five primary grapes make up most Port and table wines.

Touriga Nacional is the most prominent known for its floral aromatics, deep color, and tannin. Along with Touriga Nacional, Tinta Roriz (Spain’s Tempranillo) help to provide backbone to the wine and adds bright acidity and red fruit flavors.

Aneto, (which by the way is the name of a plant) is power-packed with ripe red and dark berries on the palate, full-bodied with lovely soft tannin and a little leather on the finish. It’s a fairly big wine with lots of punch and I plan to serve this with with ribs and Caesar salad.

 

Casteno Solanera Vinas Viejas 2015

DO Yecia, Spain
$18.95 (Vintages #276162) 14.5% alcohol

A blend of Monastrell, Cabernet Sauvignon and Grenache, aged in French and American oak. This red wine is a big, ripe, round and juicy for those of us that like a heavy duty wine. Flavours of ripe blueberries and black plums are the core backbone with a gentle seam of acidity and soft tannin. There’s a little spice alongside a subtle pinch of pepper on the finish.

This wine is not for the faint of heart so I’m suggesting to pour alongside garlic mash and grilled beef ribs – we are talking five star good.

 

Grand Total = $104.75

(So…in my last blog, I saved you $6, so splurge a little this time….besides it’s Christmas!)

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Wines from around the world for Thanksgiving

Posted by Julie

Friday, September 29th, 2017
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With Thanksgiving right around the corner, what better time for LCBO’s Vintages to focus on drinks to serve with the family gathering with a headline of ‘Family Matters”.

With the family theme in this release, the LCBO is featuring family run vineyards & estates that have been handed down through the generations.  There are some great wine finds to accompany whatever dishes you are putting on your Thanksgiving table but I’m not taking any chances, I’m picking up one of each. to have on hand in case anyone drops in over the long weekend.

And there are some of the LCBO’s In Store Discoveries too that are worth putting in your shopping cart. Hope my tried & tested shopping list helps make your long weekend a breeze.

Happy Thanksgiving to you & your family!

– Julie

 

If I only had $100, I would buy…
LCBO Vintages Release for Saturday September 30, 2017

 

Vinum Africa Chenin Blanc 2016

WO Stellenbosch, The Winery of Good Hope, South Africa
$14.95 (Vintages #739995) 12.5% alcohol

Chenin Blanc goes by different names;  in France this white wine it is known as Pineau de la Loire, and in South Africa it goes by the name of Steen. Either way the grape varietal displays succulent flavours of tropical fruit with every sip.

On the palate is a melange of ripe pears and apricots, pineapple and hazelnuts. Full bodied and rich, smooth as silk with a crisp refreshing finish. It’s a beauty and the price point is unbelievable. It’s bound to be a partner to serve with a feast of turkey or roasted ham for sure.

 

 

 

Famille Perrin Reserve Cotes Du Rhone Blanc 2015

AC, France
$14.95 (Vintages  #499509) 13% alcohol

Your first introduction is a delicate floral nose with great aromatic freshness.

This svelte white wine offers light, crisp apple and peach flavours bound by slight mineral notes on the finish.  Lots of finesse and depth for this price point and a perfect marriage with seafood or Mediterranean fare, bruschetta prepared with with heirloom tomatoes would be remarkable.

 

 

 

 

Tessellae Rosé 2016

IGP Côtes Catalanes, France
$15.95 (Vintages # 450817)  13.5% alcohol

This is an all year round Rosé wine. Pale salmon in colour, fresh, crisp and delicate. Ripe strawberries, tangerines and apricot flavours mingle with zesty lemon-lime notes on the finish. Talk about a fruit bowl!

It is a perfect afternoon sipper or to serve as an aperitif with some mild cheese or grilled shrimps, or with a ham for Thanksgiving, one lovely beverage.  Enjoy!

 

 

 

 

Kaiken Las Rocas Ultra Malbec 2015

Mendoza, Argentina
$24.95 (Vintages #50849) 14.5% alcohol

Lavender and blueberry aromas, full bodied and firm, it’s an outstanding Malbec. On the palate of this red wine, there are layers of ripe plums and dark berries, the tannins are ripe and refined. It’s smooth, rich and focussed with excellent length, a Malbec at its finest.

I’d pair this with braised short ribs and a mushroom risotto.

 

 

 

 

Tarima Monastrell 2015

DO Alicante, Spain
$14.95 (Vintages #310151) 14.5% alcohol

The heady nose on this red wine is almost electric with savoury and dark fruit.  Blackberries and blueberry flavours dance on the palate just bursting with flavour.

Look for dark, slightly spicy berries with a pinch of licorice on the finish. Great smooth aftertaste that integrates soft tannins, and juicy fruitiness.

It is absolutely delicious. Begs for something from the grill!

 

 

 

MAN Family Skaapveld Shiraz 2015

WO Coastal Region, South Africa
$13.95 (Vintages #71332)

I did not have the opportunity to taste this particular Shiraz, but I wanted to offer another bottle in my price point since the above was such incredible value. I mean…a Shiraz from South Africa at $13.95?

The Man Family website states that “Skaapbeld” refers to the grazing land for sheep that adjoins their Shiraz vineyards. And it has won more than one award, so I will be popping a bottle of this into my shopping cart and giving it a try.

 

 

Grand Total = $99.70

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6 wines for under $100!

Posted by Julie

Friday, September 15th, 2017
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In Niagara Falls, every August, the judging for the Intervin Wine Competition takes place. These wine awards are designed to recognize the very best of international wines available to Canadian consumers.

Although the 2017 results will not be released until November it is fitting that LCBO Vintages is showcasing Ontario wines and Flagship In-Store-Discoveries (FISD) in this release.  Most of these “Flagships” are too pricey for my budget, but I had no difficulty finding some other gems at incredible price points.

My go to wine is always Ontario. This province has the VERY best of everything: from farm to table food, to sports and entertainment; our wine selection is unbeatable and incomparable. Harvest time will soon be here and I hope you’ll be inspired to pick up a few bottles you’ve not tried before. I can almost guarantee you may find a new favourite.

Here’s to Ontario wine shopping, a place to stand, a place to grow, Ontario-ario- ario !

That jingle never grows old!
– Julie

 

If I only had $100, I would buy…
LCBO Vintages Release for Saturday September 16, 2017

 

Creekside Marianne Hill Riesling 2015

VQA Beamsville Bench, Niagara Escarpment, Ontario
$20.95 (Vintages #443572) 10.5% alcohol

Stunning and expressive, well deserved for the Gold Medal winner at the 2017 National Wine Awards of Canada.

I can’t wait to see what other accolades may be in store for Creekside and this gem. Beautifully balanced with flavours of green and yellow apples, peaches and flinty wet stone which shows in many Niagara escarpment Rieslings.

Light-weight with gentle fruit flavours, a perfect afternoon wine to sip or to try with crab cakes, sushi or lighter lunch fare. Mellow and delicious.

 

Featherstone Four Feathers 2016

VQA Twenty Mile Bench, Niagara Escarpment, Ontario
$14.95 (Vintages #341586) 12.5% alcohol

I have written previously on different Featherstone Estate Winery wines and this one is so lovely I could not neglect it in this release.

The blend of  Riesling, Chardonnay, Gewürztraminer and Sauvignon Blanc brings out the very best in each of these varietals. Slightly off-dry, delicate and aromatic, well structured and layered with flavours of apples and stone tree fruits that decorate the palate in one lovely wash. It has a lingering fruity finish.

Perfect for salads, grilled shrimp or fish tacos; an easy sipper and a wine that has something for everyone.

I cannot imagine anyone who could not like this wine.

 

 

Firebird Legend Pinot Grigio 2016

PGI Vulcansti, Moldova
$12.95 (Vintages #74351) 12% alcohol

The very odd time I feature a wine that I was not able to taste and this is one of those. Moldova is a country sandwiched between Ukraine and Romania in the Black Sea basin where the vines grow.

Historically, there are over 112 thousand hectres of vineyards and over 30 types of varietals so I assume these folks must have achieved some finesse somewhere along the lineage.  One website boasted tropical fruit flavours with zippy acidity, so for that price point, for me, it is worth a try.

 

Tawse Sketches of Niagara Rosé 2016

VQA Niagara Peninsula, Ontario
$17.35 (Vintages #172643) 12%  alcohol

Not just any Rosé, this blend of Cabernet Franc, Pinot Noir and Gamay makes a lively entry with it’s handsome cranberry colour and aromas of ripe cherries and a pinch of white pepper. On the palate are impressive strawberry and watermelon flavours.  It’s driven by lively acidity and some rhubarb on the elegant finish.

Bone dry which makes it a perfect accompaniment to grilled chicken, salmon or just on its own with some soft cheeses.

Always a class act.

 

13th Street Red Palette 2016

VQA Niagara Peninsula, Ontario
$15.95 (Vintages #244558) 13 % alcohol

13th Street Winery has to one of the prettiest wineries along the Niagara Escarpment I think. Not only is there a spacious tasting room with floor to ceilings windows, but upon entry, the long spectacular table gives it an art gallery feel. The bakery farmhouse next door also makes it a worthwhile stop for lunch or to grab an outstanding butter-tart.

This Red Palette blend is so juicy; bursting with red cherry and ripe raspberry flavours with just a hint of green savoury spice on the finish. Medium bodied, the varietals of 62% Merlot and 38% Cabernet Franc make it a perfect accompaniment to turkey, ham or salmon (I am already thinking about Thanksgiving!). Well rounded and perfectly balanced with soft tannins and a hint of smokey acidity on a decent cherry finish. You could partner this alongside just about anything from fish to pork/veggie kebabos or mild Thai take-out. Simply delicious.

 

Traipiche Fina Las Palmas Gran Reeserva Malbec 2014

Uco Valley, Mendoza, Argentina
$16.95 (Vintages # 186668) 14.5 % alcohol

Malbec is Argentina’s signature grape and no one grows it better than Traipiche. At altitudes higher than the CN tower, Trapiche was one of the first Argentinian wineries to enter the international scene. In 1889, the winery received its first international award in Paris.

Dark and inky in colour, rich and expansive on the nose your senses are fillled with luscious black and ripe red fruits that flow through on the palate. Everything Traipiche produces is worth picking up and their wines are a great price point. This Malbec is full-bodied and not for the faint-hearted, structured with layers of blueberry and ripe plum favours, some spice and tobacco on the finish. It’ll be forever in memory with braised short ribs and spicey sausages.

I can’t wait to pick this up and head to the butcher.

 

Grand Total = $ 99.10 
6 wines – now that is VALUE !!

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We’re now delivering BC wines!

Posted by David

Thursday, August 31st, 2017
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There was big news this past Canada Day – we announced that we’re going national! We now deliver wines from coast to coast to your doorstep.  Yes….you can now receive wines from Nova Scotia to British Columbia and all the wine regions in between delivered to your home or office.  Be Savvy and subscribe to Savvy Selections wine of-the-month club and our Sommeliers will introduce you to some amazing Canadian wineries, the owners and of course….outstanding wines.

This month in Savvy Selections, we feature our first BC winery – Noble Ridge Vineyards and Winery – a multiple-award winning winery from the Okanagan region. 100 per cent estate grown, Noble Ridge enjoys a micro-climate providing both north-facing and south-facing vineyards. Their full-bodied, richly flavoured wines will make you want to book a quick trip to BC!

 

Get ready to uncork & enjoy your Savvy Selections…

In your Savvy Selections you will find 3 of our favourite Noble Ridge picks. We love the elegant style and powerful flavours of these wines!

2013 Reserve Chardonnay –Lush tropical fruit and citrus flavours
2014 Reserve Pinot Noir – Supple and fruity with deep berry aromas
2014 Reserve Meritage – This powerful Bordeaux-style wine will knock your socks off!

 

Wines with style

Noble Ridge has a wide selection of wonderful red and white wines that will excite your palate and meet your budget. This is a great opportunity to try some fantastic wines that aren’t available at the LCBO!

Call on us at any time you would like additional bottles of your favourite Noble Ridge wines – or other wineries we have featured in Savvy Selections.  Your Canadian Wine Hotline is 613-SAVVYCO (728-8926) or send me an email to debbie@savvycompany.ca.

Cheers!
-Debbie & Savvy Team

 

 

Introducing…

Noble Ridge Vineyards and Winery

Presented by Sommelier David Loan

Imagine you’re on a family vacation, when your spouse announces that he wants to change the direction of his life and yours. That’s what happened to Leslie D’Andrea, Co-Owner and CEO of BC’s Noble Ridge Vineyards and Winery. “In 1998, Jim and I were on a three month sabbatical through the Mediterranean with our kids when Jim turned to me,” Leslie remembers. “He said he HAD to own a winery. And he wanted to make premium quality wine!”

Leslie continues by recalling, “We came home and started to look through Europe, Ontario, and the West. And after a few false starts, we found this property on January 1, 2001 and bought it a month later.”

 

Unique terroir

Jim and Leslie were impressed with the property’s unique situation. Winemaker Benoit Gauthier described it as, “a unique combination of everything: the land and the climate. It’s really good to have the two slopes of the ridge;  all of the reds are facing south where they get the heat and the sun, and all of the whites face north where they can develop acidity.”  Benoit explains, “The soil is sandy and drains well, meaning we get smaller, more flavourful berries.”

All about the curtain

It isn’t just about the terroir though. The team at Noble Ridge implemented a lesser-used trellis system, called the Geneva Double Curtain. It brings the shoots out into a double canopy so the fruit gets better airflow and sunlight. “We could get twice as much fruit with the Double Curtain,” Benoit said. “But I reduce the fruit to half so we can ripen the grapes really well per each vine.”

“By knowing the vineyard really well, I can select from the individual vineyards and ferment each batch separately, then do a high power blending,” he said. “That way they get the tannins and acidity I want.” Benoit said that he enjoys the end of harvest. “I get the best quality of fruit possible and I choose it for the most powerful and best quality wine,” he said.

 

Cross-border shopping

“One of the things we forget about is that we live in this very beautiful part of the world,” Leslie said. “We try to keep our guest areas close to the vines. We want our guests to walk through the vineyard and enjoy a picnic here. And we hire the very best staff to work here!” she said.

Leslie said that she likes the fact that interprovincial alcohol restrictions are slowly being lifted. “Direct to customer is our favourite way of selling,” she said. “It’s better for us and it’s better for the consumer. Working directly with our consumers is the smartest way and it’s growing.” All of us in the Savvy Team are ecstatic with the changes too because it means that we can broaden our scope to showcase even more hard-to-come by wines from coast to coast.

 

A day in the vineyard

Asked to describe his day at the winery, Benoit said he split into two parts. “Right now, it’s all about the position of the vines,” he said. “We’re positioning shoots and doing canopy management to ensure good airflow and exposure to the sun.  This afternoon in fact, we’re trial tasting our next vintage of The One,” he said, referring to Noble Ridge’s multi-award winning sparkling wine.

Leslie pipes in saying they have some exciting projects coming up. “We’ll have a sparkling rosé made from our Pinot Noir fruit in a couple of years. We’re working on it now from our 2016 vintage,” she said. “And we’ll be bottling some port in March, 2018!”

 

Let’s raise a glass to Leslie, Jim & Benoit and thank them for creating these special, fantastic wines!

 

 

~ SAVVY SOMMELIER TASTING NOTES ~

For your Savvy Selection this month, we’ve chosen three wines – one white and two red – which show the power and finesse of the Okanagan Falls appelation.  Each one demonstrates the micro-climate and terroir of this beautiful wine region, enhanced by talented winemakers.

 

2013 Reserve Chardonnay, $29.90

Savvy Sommelier Tasting Notes: Winner of a number of awards, including a Gold Medal at the prestigious 2016 Pacific Rim International Wine Competition, this full-bodied Chardonnay was was fermented in stainless steel tanks, then aged for 14 months in a mix of old and new French Oak. No malolactic fermentation took place, so the natural acidity remains.

This is a ripe, rich Chardonnay with flavours of lemon curd, green apple, peach and pineapple. The bright acidity balances the vanilla notes, leaving a long, soft tropical fruit finish.

Suggested Food Pairings: Perfect for your summer BBQ, this will pair beautifully with chicken or seafood. Try it with rainbow trout and a mango salsa. (recipe below).

Cellaring:  Drink at 8º C within two years.

 

 

2014 Reserve Pinot Noir, $29.90

Savvy Sommelier Tasting Notes: To get the best flavours and ripeness from their Pinot Noir, Noble Ridge starts in the vineyard. They are one of the few wineries in BC growing Pinot with a trellis system known as the Geneva Double Curtain, which encourages more sunshine and fresh air to reach the fruit clusters. The wine was aged for fourteen months in French Oak barrels, 20 per cent new oak.

This is a complex, medium bodied wine which will stun your palate with candied fruit, red licorice, and sweet spice. The dark cherry flavours dominate, though, balanced with the soft, medium tannins and medium acidity. There’s a hint of balsamic here, too, and we finish long with black cherry and vanilla.

Suggested Food Pairings: There’s lots of oomph! flavour here and it will stand up well to red meats. Try it with beef shish-kabobs in a balsamic marinade (recipe below).

Cellaring: Ready to drink now, this could be cellared for up to 5 years. Serve between 14-16º C.

 

 

2014 Reserve Meritage, $34.90

This big Meritage was a hit at our recent Savvy Oh! Canada event, where guests lined up hoping to get a taste before we ran out (and we did!).

This Bordeaux-style blend is made up of 74% Merlot; 22% Cabernet Sauvignon, 2% Cab Franc, and 2% Malbec. It was fermented for 15 months in French (75%) and American (25%) oak, of which 40% was new. The wine was subsequently bottle aged for an additional 14 months prior to release.

Savvy Sommelier Tasting Notes: Dry, powerful, graceful: the adjectives roll off the tongue as the wine races along it. Loads of dark cherry flavours with hints of Okanagan sage, dark chocolate, leather, and plum. The tannins are supple but big, balanced by the medium acidity.

Suggested Food Pairings: Roast beef or a rack of lamb would pair nicely with this, but we’d like to have it late in the meal, seawith smoked and aged cheeses and Sprucewood Handmade Cookie Co’s savoury shortbread, available with your Savvy Selections order.

Cellaring: Drinking well now, this can cellar 5-7 years. Serve at 17-18º C.

 

 

 

What a view!
Photo credit: The Okanagan Falls Winery Association

 

 

~ RECIPES TO ENJOY WITH YOUR SAVVY SELECTIONS ~

 

With Noble Ridge Reserve Chardonnay…
Rainbow Trout with tropical fruit salsa

Recipe and photo: Epicurious.com
Serves 4-6

Ingredients

6 tablespoons vegetable oil
1/4 cup fresh lime juice
1 tablespoon dark brown sugar
2 teaspoons minced peeled fresh ginger
4 1/8 teaspoons Creole seasoning
1 cup diced pineapple, peeled and cored
1 cup diced peeled pitted mango
½ cup diced red bell pepper
½ cup diced red onion
5 cups mixed baby greens
4 rainbow trout fillets (5- to 6-ounce), skin on

 

Method

Whisk 4 tablespoons oil, lime juice, sugar, ginger, and 1/8 teaspoon Creole seasoning in small bowl to blend. Season vinaigrette with salt and pepper. Combine pineapple, mango, bell pepper, and red onion in large bowl. Add half of vinaigrette; toss to coat. Toss greens in medium bowl with remaining vinaigrette.

Brush trout fillets with 1 tablespoon oil. Sprinkle with remaining 4 teaspoons Creole seasoning, about 1/2 teaspoon per side, then salt and pepper. Heat remaining 1 tablespoon oil in large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add trout fillets and cook until just opaque in center and browned, about 2 minutes per side.

Divide greens among 4 plates. Place trout fillets and salsa alongside.


 

With Noble Ridge Reserve Pinot Noir…
Beef Shish-kabobs with balsamic marinade

Recipe and photo: Melskitchencafe.com
Serves 4

Ingredients

3/4 cup balsamic vinegar
1/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil
3 tablespoons Dijon mustard
5 garlic cloves, finely minced
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon black pepper
1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
2 tablespoons chopped fresh rosemary
2-3 pounds sirloin roast, cut into 1-inch cubes (or same amount of chicken breasts, cubed)
1 red onion, cut into squares (optional)

Method

In a small bowl, whisk together the vinegar, oil, mustard, garlic, salt, pepper and red pepper flakes. Measure out 1/3 cup of the mixture and set aside for basting later.

Add the rosemary to the remaining marinade. Place the beef or chicken in a large, gallon-size ziploc bag and pour in the marinade. Seal and refrigerate for 4-8 hours (or as little as 20 minutes, although the flavor won’t be quite as pronounced).

Preheat a grill to medium heat.

If using wooden or bamboo skewers, soak in cool water for 15-20 minutes. Thread red onion onto the skewer followed by meat and then a few red onions to finish off.

Whisk the reserved basting sauce to recombine. Grill the kebabs, turning every couple of minutes and basting with the sauce, until the beef is cooked to desired doneness (chicken should be cooked all the way through), 10-12 minutes.

Transfer the kebabs to a platter or plate and tent with foil to let rest for 5 or so minutes. Season with salt and pepper to taste and serve.

 

 

With Noble Ridge Reserve Meritage…
Rack of lamb with garlic and herbs

Recipe and photo: Epicurious.com
Serves 8

Ingredients

For lamb:
2 (8-rib) frenched racks of lamb (each rack 1 1/2 lb), trimmed of all but a thin layer of fat
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
3/4 teaspoon black pepper
1 teaspoon vegetable oil

For herb coating:
1/2 head new garlic or 3 large regular garlic cloves, minced
1/4 cup finely chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh thyme
2 teaspoons finely chopped fresh rosemary
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1 1/2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

Special equipment: an instant-read thermometer

 

Method

Brown lamb:
Heat a dry 12-inch heavy skillet over high heat until hot, at least 2 minutes. Meanwhile, pat lamb dry and rub meat all over with salt and pepper. Add oil to hot skillet, then brown racks, in 2 batches if necessary, on all sides (not ends), about 10 minutes per batch.

Transfer racks to a small (13- by 9-inch) roasting pan.

Coat and roast lamb:
Put oven rack in middle position and preheat oven to 350°F.

Stir together garlic, herbs, salt, pepper, and oil. Coat meaty parts of lamb with herb mixture, pressing to help adhere. Roast 15 minutes, then cover lamb loosely with foil and roast until thermometer inserted diagonally into center of meat registers 120°F, 5 to 10 minutes more. Let stand, covered, 10 minutes. (Internal temperature will rise to 125 to 130°F for medium-rare while lamb stands.)

Cut each rack into 4 double chops. 

 

Enjoy your Savvy Selections!

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We’re expanding! Now featuring BC & NS wines too

Posted by Susan

Sunday, July 30th, 2017
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In this month’s Savvy Selections to celebrate Canada’s 150th, we are expanding our scope to include wineries from across the country – from coast to coast.  We are SUPER excited to start this wine soaked trip across Canada with the acclaimed wines of Benjamin Bridge from the Annapolis Valley in Nova Scotia. The closest town is Wolfville – home of Acadia University.

This family-owned winery dedicates itself to the production of world-class ‘méthode classique’ sparkling wines (winespeak: Champagne style) and aromatic whites.

The vision of Gerry McConnell, the heart of his late wife Dara Gordon, and the commitment of his twin daughters Ashley and Devon melded to create an unparalleled success in ‘The Valley’. The McConnell-Gordon family, with their noted international consulting team of Peter Gamble & Ann Sperling (you’ll recognize her name from our features with Southbrook Vineyards & Malivoire Wines in Niagara), selected a well-protected micro-climate at the head of the Gaspereau Valley. They turned their attention to producing sparkling wines from classic Champagne grapes, unlike the pioneers of the early wine industry, who planted hardy hybrid grape varieties that could withstand the cool climate rigors. The result – Benjamin Bridge Brut Reserve 2004 outscored Roederer Cristal 2004 in a blinding tasting of 15 sommeliers and wine writers hosted by Canoe Restaurant in Toronto in August 2013!

 

World Class Wines

With their partner grape growers, the McConnell-Gordon family has gone on to make wine with other vinifera grapes, including Cabernet Franc and Riesling. They participated in the creation of the Nova Scotia appellation of Tidal Bay, a standard for vibrant aromatic white wines requiring rigorous adherence to quality, blending and taste. The goal of this appellation – to showcase the excellence of Nova Scotia’s best hybrid white blend.  Yes, you get to taste a sampling of all these in this month’s Savvy Selections!

 

Get ready to pop the cork & enjoy your Savvy Selections…

To get the Canada 150 celebration started, we selected:

Brut NVan elegant bubbly wine, reflecting the particular style of Benjamin Bridge, to sip and savour or pair with appetizers, salads and light summer meals.
Riesling 2015 – the sea breeze in a glass, this is silky yet lively and clean.
Tidal Bay 2016 – a blend unique to Nova Scotia, light, bright and refreshing!

 

An optional wine many of our subscribers asked us to include in their delivery is the signature Nova 7 – a lightly effervescent, low in alcohol with clean tangy & sweet fruit flavors that makes it an ideal sipping wine or a match for soft cheese or a lemon tart. This is the only NS wine currently available in LCBO Vintages so we did not include it in the Savvy Selections… however it quickly sells out.  If you can’t find it in Vintages (LCBO product #256289) – let us know and we’ll order it for you… it is hands down delicious!

 

More NS at your table . . . At anytime you would like more Benjamin Bridge wines, call us at 613-SAVVYCO (728-8926) or send me an email to debbie@savvycompany.ca and we will make the special arrangements for you.

 

Introducing…
Benjamin Bridge

Presented by Sommelier Susan Desjardins

Gerry McConnell and Dara Gordon’s move to the Wolfville area in the late 1990s, when their twin daughters Ashley and Devon began high school, meant the commute to their law practices included driving through the Gaspereau Valley. On this daily drive, Gerry noticed Hans Christian Jost – one of the pioneers of the Nova Scotia wine industry – planting his Gaspereau Vineyards estate. Through their work Gerry and Dara, had also been to some of South Africa’s acclaimed wine regions, and had tasted some of the excellent sparkling wines from the Stellenbosch appellation. As he drove, the proud Maritimer mused “What would it take to produce world-class wines in Nova Scotia?” That question was about to be answered when in 1999, they purchased the 60-acre Westcott farm. Located at the head of the Gaspereau Valley, on a south-facing slope beside the river, the family quest began to develop and showcase the best of Nova Scotia wines – with Benjamin Bridge the imprimatur on every bottle.

 

The Early Years

It’s said that it takes a village to raise a child. In the case of Benjamin Bridge wines, it could be said that it took a family, experienced committed experts and a willing local industry to launch this unique venture. Ashley , now a Vice President with Benjamin Bridge, laughs as she says “I remember spending summers of high school clearing the fields and planting vines.”

Gerry sought out Hans Christian Jost, who willingly shared his experiences with grape varieties, local growers, growing conditions and the many other factors influencing the wine industry in Nova Scotia.  Recognizing he needed help to implement his vision, Gerry approached renowned Canadian wine consultants, Peter Gamble and his partner Ann Sperling, to advise on the shape the winery should take. With Ashley and Devon’s help, the first 5 acres were planted in 2001, with a focus on grapes for sparkling wines and aromatic white wines. At the recommendation of the Gamble/Sperling team, Gerry approached renowned Champagne expert Raphael Brisebois to meet with them, tour Nova Scotia wine estates, and assess the potential for making world-class sparkling wines.

Impressed with the potential, Brisebois agreed to consult and in 2002, the first experimental sparklings were made to assess terroir, varieties, structure and aromatics. More acres were planted, more experiments undertaken. 2004 was the coolest growing season in a couple of decades, yet the quality of the grapes met Brisebois’ exacting standards – and this vintage later became the winery’s inaugural release.  And the risks that the Benjamin Bridge team was willing to take opened the door for other Nova Scotia wineries to pursue a sparkling wine program.

 

The Unique Terroir

The Benjamin Bridge estate sits at the relatively sheltered, narrow head of the Gaspereau Valley, a mere 4 kilometres from the Minas Basin. At the heart of a cool, maritime climate, the valley benefits further from the massive tidal shifts in the Minas Basin, which bring cool breezes and moisture to the vineyards in the summer, and create an open body of water in the winter that helps protect the more delicate vinifera varieties grown on the estate. The narrowness of the valley and its slight westward tilt mean that ambient temperatures can be up to 2C higher than other sites, providing more degree days for optimal ripening.

While this is a region of high rainfall, the autumn tends to be dry, causing stress in the vines which leads to better development of chemical components that enhance flavours. Fall temperatures extend the growing season, maximizing the aromatic intensity and the bright acidity of the grapes.

The young alluvial soils include deposits of sand, gravel, pebbles and cobbles, unlike the Champagne region, where chalk is dominant. However, at deeper levels, there is a layer of clay veined with sand and gravel that provides a water-holding capacity similar to the chalk found in the Champagne landscape.

This is, however, a cool climate that challenges growers on a regular basis. At times, humidity in the evening can reach 100%, so downy mildew is a key challenge. And the uncontrollable weather is a major factor. For instance, the extreme cold of the winter of 2006 meant a minimal harvest of the vinifera grapes – there was no classic sparkling wine made during that vintage.

The Team

After a long search, Jean-Benoit Deslauriers (in above photo left with Gord McConnell– credit Chronicle Herald)  )was hired in 2008 to join the winemaking team – he is now head winemaker. Jean-Benoit had prior experience with organic and biodynamic viticulture and winemaking in Chile’s maritime-influenced Casablanca Valley, as well as in Monterrey, California, where cold Pacific Ocean currents have a significant influence on growing conditions and create ideal conditions for growing Pinot Noir and Chardonnay.

During my phone interview, Ashley and viticulturalist Scott Savoy talked about Jean-Benoit’s unique contribution to Benjamin Bridge:

“Jean-Benoit is a genius at what he does. He brought experience with bio-dynamic winemaking, but also a sensitivity to the terroir and a commitment to letting the grapes speak for themselves – a commitment to transparency of the terroir. There’s a sense of craftsmanship to everything he does. He has embraced the brightness, the acidity, and the freshness of the styles of wine produced in Nova Scotia.”

In 2009, Dara had wound down her legal practice and was taking on responsibility for the development and operations of the winery, working closely with Jean-Benoit. But a crushing blow occurred with her terminal diagnosis in that year. Ashley and Devon were just completing university, and rushed back to the estate to be with her. Dara transferred as much knowledge as possible to them prior to her untimely death in the fall of that year. The twins took on the role of partner with Jean-Benoit as the winery prepared for the 2010 release of its inaugural Benjamin Bridge Méthode Classique sparkling wines, the 2004 Brut Reserve and the 2004 Blanc de Noirs.

In 2011, Ontario had its first opportunity to taste a Benjamin Bridge wine – Nova 7 was made available for a private tasting in the spring of that year, and that is when I first learned of this Nova Scotia winery. The room was buzzing as we tasted this unknown wine – winemakers from across Canada couldn’t wait to taste it, amazed at the unique flavours and texture, the quality of the wine. I was delighted to see it released by LCBO Vintages in August, where I reviewed and rated it at 4.5/5. But more accolades were to follow, with an outstanding review of the 2004 Méthod Classique Brut Reserve from Beppi Crosariol of The Globe and Mail, who described the wine as ‘a sparkler that rivals Champagne.’ More accolades followed and, as they say, the rest is history . . .

But not really, because Gerry, Ashley, Devon and the Benjamin Bridge team will never be satisfied with the status quo.

While their sparkling wines often spend 5 or more years on the lees, they continue to experiment with other methods of achieving the distinctive creamy texture and richness of the wines, as an example, testing the use of neutral oak with some small batches to see if aging in this medium will produce comparable texture and richness.

Viticulturalist Scott Savoy, who joined the team in 2015, is working with Chris Westcott (who stayed on as vineyard manager after the McConnell-Gordon family bought his farm in 1999) to push the limits of viticulture in the valley. They have implemented a program of high-density planting that should allow them to crop less, while giving the vines the opportunity to ripen wood and set reserves (making them sturdier and more resistant to climate extremes).

They recently purchased the vineyard of Dr. Al McIntyre, who had been one of their principal growers, providing Chardonnay and Cabernet Franc grapes. While they currently have almost 70 acres planted to vine, their goal is to expand that to 90, with the majority being vinifera plantings.

As Ashley says, “It’s a never-ending process of experimentation, risk-taking and incremental change, with the goal of delivering world-class wines that showcase Nova Scotia’s winemaking potential.”  Enjoy this unique opportunity to sample the clean, fresh taste of Nova Scotia, brought to you by Benjamin Bridge and the McConnell-Gordon family!

In photo: Devon and Ashley walking with Jean-Benoit.
Photo Credit: Wines of Nova Scotia

 

 

~ SAVVY SOMMELIER TASTING NOTES ~

Savour this unique opportunity to sample 3 classic & unique Benjamin Bridge wines from Nova Scotia – the Méthode Classique Sparkling non-vintage presents a blend of wines from vintages reaching back to 2002, with extended periods of time on the lees; the Tidal Bay appellation wine gives you an opportunity to taste the quality of a blend that includes hybrid grape varieties; the Riesling displays the classic features of a grape variety that thrives in a cool climate.

 

Méthode Classique Brut Reserve NV, $27.95

This sparkling brut is made from a proprietary blend of wines crafted from l’Acadie Blanc, Vidal, Seyval, Pinot Noir and Chardonnay grapes. They were all hand harvested from the Benjamin Bridge estate, while the wine spent extended time on the lees (winespeak: on yeast) to achieve the classic creamy texture and richness that characterizes this ‘house’ style.

Sommelier Tasting Notes:  This harmonious blend of vintages and grapes shows lifted aromas of pear, citrus, biscuit, fine herbs and mineral. Underpinned by an expressive honed acidity, its ebullient, creamy texture is accented by the fine, persistent mousse. Refreshing flavours of lemon cream biscuits, grapefruit and lemon zest mingle with subtle notes of sour cherry and green apple. Dry, mid-weight, with a long-lasting slightly pithy finish, this is an impressive signature wine from Benjamin Bridge.

Suggested Food Pairings: Sparkling wine offers such versatility – serve it chilled to whet your guests’ appetites, pair it with a range of appetizers, especially fresh seafood, or enjoy it with poached salmon, grilled white fish, or a chicken Caesar salad.

Cellaring: Enjoy now and cellar up to 10 years.

 

Tidal Bay 2016, $21.95

This wine is a blend produced from unique hybrid grapes (l’Acadie Blanc, Seyval and Geisenheim) known for their resistance to the challenging climatic conditions in Nova Scotia. Wineries across the province producing this wine must meet specified blending requirements: l’Acadie Blanc (the signature grape of Nova Scotia) being the majority grape for the blend, and go through a rigorous technical assessment.

What is L’Acadie Blanc?  It is a Canadian hybrid created in Niagara in the early 1950s by crossing Cascade with Seyve-Villard grapes. While the residual sugar in the wine is relatively high, the vibrant acidity assures that the wine tastes dry.

Savvy Sommelier Tasting Notes:  Displaying an exotic, pungent nose of earthy mineral, tangy citrus and ripe stone fruit, the clean flavours of this light-medium bodied wine are framed by vibrant acidity.   The taste of grapefruit, passionfruit and crunchy apple paired with fine mineral and saline qualities really freshen up your palate.

Suggested Food Pairings: You’ll enjoy this bright, lively Nova Scotia classic wine with a goat-cheese and asparagus quiche, fresh oysters or shrimp, or with pan-fried halibut with a lemon-caper reduction.

Cellaring: Ready to drink now and cellarworthy for a further 5 years.

 

Riesling 2015, $30.95

This is the very first commercial release of a Riesling from Benjamin Bridge. The grapes were sourced from three distinct vineyards on the Bay of Fundy, each lot bringing its unique character from its own microclimate with soils ranging from gravel and clay to deep, sandy loam. The wine is wild fermented, meaning that the indigenous yeasts from the vineyards initiated the fermentation of the wine. Low in alcohol, with a relatively high residual sugar that gives it a nice fruity finish, it nevertheless showcases the cool climate with its clean fresh texture.

Savvy Sommelier Tasting Notes: The ocean and the land blend on the nose, notes of mineral, sea breeze, quince and citrus dominating. Dry on the palate, the first impression is of the silky texture, quickly followed by the bright acidity underlining the lively flavours of citrus, green apple and mineral. The finish is long and zesty, crisp and clean like a bite of a ripe green apple.

Suggested Food Pairings: Pair this wine with smoked trout or salmon canapés or salad, with stuffed pork tenderloin, or with chicken in all its manifestation.

Cellaring: Enjoy now or over the next 5-7 years.


 

~ RECIPES TO ENJOY WITH YOUR SAVVY SELECTIONS ~

Do it the Benjamin Bridge way!  Ashley explains, “We often have a ‘cinq à sept’ with friends (like Happy Hour), where we taste wines & have interesting appetizers.”

Consider preparing these 3 appetizers and inviting a few friends to sample all 3 of these fabulous Benjamin Bridge wines at your own cinq à sept.  If you and friends find some new favorites, call the Savvy Team to order more for you. . . Cheers!

 

With Benjamin Bridge Brut NV…
Roasted Mushroom and Brie Tart

Recipe & Photo credit: FoodlandOntario.ca
Serves 4-8

Ingredients

1 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1 Tbsp balsamic vinegar
1 ½ tsp Dijon mustard
1 clove garlic, minced
½ tsp dried thyme (or 1 ½ tsp fresh)
½ tsp each salt & freshly ground black pepper
12 oz. mixed fresh Ontario mushrooms
½ C thinly sliced Ontario shallots
Half package (375g) frozen puff pastry, thawed
½ C Ontario Brie cheese
2 Tbsp chopped fresh Ontario parsley or Cilantro

Method

Preheat oven to 400F.

In medium bowl, stir together oil, vinegar, mustard, garlic, thyme, salt & pepper. Add mushrooms & shallots; toss to coat. Place in single layer on parchment paper-lined rimmed baking sheet. Roast in 400F oven for 10-15 minutes or until mushrooms soften. Let cool & slice mushrooms. (You can slice the mushrooms first if you wish & roast for slightly less time).

Meanwhile, on lightly floured surface, roll out pastry into 10X12” rectangle. Place on parchment paper-lined baking sheet. Fold dough edges over ½” and crimp with fork. Prick dough inside border every ½”. Bake for 15 minutes or until lightly browned.

Gently flattening baked pastry if necessary, top with mushroom mixture, leaving any liquid behind. Scatter Brie on top. Bake for 15 minutes or until golden brown & cheese is melted. Let cool for 10 minutes. Sprinkle with parsley. Cut into pieces.

Serve warm or at room temperature with a frothy glass of sparkling!

Watch the recipe being prepared on: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ym6gdsm5I80

 

 

With Benjamin Bridge Tidal Bay…
Goat Cheese 
Marinated with Lemon & Herbs

Recipe & Photo Credit: finecooking.com
Serves 4-6

Ingredients

4 oz. log fresh goat cheese, sliced into 6 equal rounds (or you can keep the log whole)
2 tsp loosely packed, freshly grated lemon zest
2 Tbsp finely chopped, drained, oil-packed sun-dried tomatoes
½ tsp minced capers
1 tsp coarsely chopped fresh thyme leaves
Sea salt
3 small rosemary sprigs
½ C extra-virgin olive oil, more if needed
Crostini or good-quality crackers for servings

Method

In a small, shallow dish (about 1 ½ C) capacity, preferably straight sided, arrange the 6 pieces of goat cheese in one layer. Don’t worry if some of the cheese pieces crumble; just tuck them into the dish. Sprinkle the lemon zest, sun-dried tomatoes, capers & thyme over the cheese. Sprinkle a little of the sea salt over the cheese & tuck the rosemary sprigs into the dish.

Pour the olive oil over the cheese so it just covers it (use a little more if necessary). Let the cheese marinate in the refrigerator 2-6 hours (you can serve it sooner if you wish). Bring the dish to room temperature (about 45 minutes) before setting it out with a small hors d’oeuvre knife & a plate of crostini or crackers.

Spread a teaspoon or so of the cheese (with some of the marinade ingredients) over a crostini or cracker to serve.

 

 

With Benjamin Bridge Riesling…
The Oceanaire Seafood Room’s Maryland-Style Crab Cakes

Recipe & Photo Credit: Oceanaire.com
Serves 8

Ingredients

2 eggs
1 C mayonnaise
¾ tsp Dijon mustard
1 ¼ tsp Old Bay Seasoning, divided
¾ tsp chopped fresh tarragon
¼ C finely chopped onion (or shallot)
1 Tbsp finely chopped celery
¼ lb (scant 2 C) crustless cubed white bread, cut into small cubes
1 lb jumbo lump crab meat, drained of any liquid
2 Tbsp butter, a room temperature

Method

Heat oven to 400F.

In a medium mixing bowl, whisk together the eggs, mayonnaise, mustard, ¾ tsp Old Bay Seasoning, tarragon, onion & celery to make a dressing.

In a large mixing bowl, toss the bread with half of the dressing, mixing until the dressing is absorbed by the bread and the cubes are slightly broken up. Add additional dressing if the cubes are too dry.

Gently mix in the crab, being careful not to break up the lump pieces. The mixture should hold its shape when formed into a ball with your hand. If it is too dry, add additional dressing until the mixture comes together. You might not use all of the dressing.

Divide the mixture & form into 8 crab cakes. Place the cakes on a greased cookie sheet or sheet pan.

In a small bowl, stir the butter together with the remaining ½ tsp Old Bay Seasoning. Top each cake with a small dollop of the seasoned butter.

Bake cakes until golden brown, about 10-12 minutes. Serve warm.

 

 

Happy Canada 150!

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Got your Savvy Summer 2-4?

Posted by Debbie

Wednesday, July 26th, 2017
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Summer is FINALLY here! This is our 1st ever Savvy Summer 2-4. The Savvy Brew Crew has been sampling craft beers to consider in this special assortment – yes a tough job, but we survived! Every single beer in this special parcel is perfect for summer sipping.

Order now! >>

 

4 Degrees Brewing Company – BRAND NEW BREWERY!

True North of 7 – Live the Northern Lifestyle, $2.95 (5% ABV)

Escape to the outdoors to unlock your inner wildness a place where you can unload and find your true primal self.

Brewmaster Tasting Notes: True North of 7 celebrates the true outdoors experience and is an easy drinking Helles Lager with subtle hoppy flavours and a crisp finish.

 

True South of 7 – The Urban Experience, $2.95 (5% ABV)

Embrace a world measured in city blocks and cross streets, a place humming with power and endless possibilities.

Brewmaster Tasting Notes: True South of 7 was designed with the urbanite in mind and is bolder in flavour and colour, with Amber hues and a smooth caramel flavor.

 

Amsterdam Brewing Company

Ritual, $4.85 (3.9% ABV)

Made with over 30% Appalachian Wheat and Carolina Rye from River Bend Malt House.

Brewmaster Tasting Notes: These Heritage grains contribute a spicy mouth feel to this light-bodied and herbaceous Belgian Table Beer.

 

Left of the Dial Keller, $5.85 (5.0% ABV)

Slightly off-center take on a rustic style. A collaboration with our friends at Birreria Volo.

Brewmaster Tasting Notes: An unfiltered lager made with rye and both traditional and American hops. Stone fruit aromas are followed by an herbal spice from the rye.

 

 

Calabogie Brewing Co.

The White Room, $3.50 (4.5% ABV)

Brewmaster Tasting Notes: This Gose Style beer pours pale yellow with a pillowy white head.  Mouth feel is light to medium. Up front tart from the kettle souring; gives way to a sharpness from the salt and then ending with a crisp, clean, dry finish.

Suggested Food Pairing: Enjoy this with BBQ or sea food.

 

Hopped Up On Pils, $3.50 (4.7% ABV)

Brewmaster Tasting Notes: Pilsner. This beer pours a clear light yellow with a sturdy white head. The nose is floral and earthy, over notes of corn chips. The mouthfeel is light to medium. Flavours of biscuits and crackers are balanced by a lemon citrus bitterness from the Helga Hop and Lemon Grass.

Suggested Food Pairing: I’m thinking Tacos and a Patio… See The Ultimate Fish Tacos recipe at the bottom.

 

 

Five Island Watermelon, $3.50 (4.5% ABV)

Brewmaster Tasting Notes: Gose. The beer pours a cloudy pale yellow like its peach brother. The head is a white pillow that dissipates quickly. The nose is a blast of watermelon with the faint smell of cut flowers to back it up. Take a sip…watermelon hits your tongue like a hammer. The super fresh combination of tart, salt, and sweet watermelon are like you’re drinking a “Watermelon Jolly Rancher”.

 

 

Summer Solstice, $3.50 (5% ABV)

Brewmaster Tasting Notes: Pale ale. This beer pours a cloudy translucent orangey yellow.  The head is thick and sturdy, lasting for ever before giving way to a beautiful sticky lacing. The nose is tropical fruit and wet pine forest. The mouthfeel is slightly bigger than medium. The flavour is exactly what you would expect from the nose… Juicy tropical fruit with huge notes of grapefruit, pine, and citrus; all balancing out this hoppy but not overly bitter pale ale.

Suggested Food Pairing: Try “Brewing Great Company” with a big glass of this delicious summer offering, some spicy food and friends…

 

 

Kichesippi Beer Co.

Champions Light, $2.95 (4.2% ABV)

Cheers to the Ottawa Champions Baseball Club for supporting Ottawa Craft Beer since opening day 2015.

Brewmaster Tasting Notes: Kichesippi Beer and The Clocktower Brew Pub worked in collaboration to bring you an easy drinking refreshing summer light beer with flavour.

 

Bristol Stout, $2.95 (4.8% ABV)

Our inspiration for this beer comes from our family who have been farming in Bristol, Quebec since 1925. This 150 acre farm has seen a lot of change over the years but still remains in the family. We first started out with dairy cattle and now are farming soybeans and hay.

Brewmaster Tasting Notes: This stout offers a balance of roasted malts and residual sweetness.

 

Commissariat Old Stock Ale, $3.10 (4.4% ABV)

BRAND NEW! You are the first to get it.  Kichesippi Beer has announced the release of a new beer that celebrates a milestone birthday for one of Ottawa’s oldest cultural attractions. This is an ale brewed to mark the 100th anniversary of the Bytown Museum.

“Our inspiration for this beer was a style that we feel would have been enjoyed back in 1917,” says Kichesippi founder Paul Meek. “The Bytown Museum is definitely a gem hidden in plain sight in our city and we hope this beer will help bring some well deserved attention to the museum.”

Commissariat Old Stock Ale is currently available in a limited run at the Kichesippi retail store, and it will also be available at special events at the Museum over the summer. A larger production run will take place in the autumn in conjunction with the Museum’s official birthday in October.

 

Railway City Brewing Co.

Dead Elephant Ale, $3.15 (6.5% ABV)

Brewmaster Tasting Notes: An India Pale Ale with a full body. Aromas of mild malt and a robust floral bouquet. Tastes of sweet & fruit malts (i.e. apricot & mango), upfront, slight candy & biscuit notes, and grapefruit. A perfume finish.

 

 

Express India Session Lager, $3.15 (4.8% ABV)

Brewmaster Tasting Notes: A light/medium body with aroma of complex hops such as citrus, tropical fruits, and pine. Tastes of lemon, orange, pineapple & mango, pine notes, crisp & light malt background, with a lingering bitterness that isn’t overpowering.

 

 

Crew Craft Lager, $3.15 (4.8.% ABV)

Brewmaster Tasting Notes: This is a premium lager with a light body and aromas of pear & citrus notes and a hint of toasted spice. The taste is sweet fruit & citrus, slight toasted spice, hint of floral hops, and with a crisp & refreshing finish.

 

 

Honey Elixir, $3.15 (5.0% ABV)

Brewmaster Tasting Notes: A brown ale with a medium body and an aroma of sweet, fresh honey, some raisin & fig, and a hint of toasted nuts & spices. Tastes of honey, taffy, and subtle espresso. A balanced hop finish with sweet fruit notes.

 

 

Waller St. Brewing

Hideaway Hefe, $5 (5.0% ABV)

A nice refreshing wheat beer with character, perfect for sunny days!

Brewmaster Tasting Notes: A hazy golden yellow German style wheat – a hefeweizen only slightly out of style. The fermentation profile flavours the ester production over phenol providing that signature “Banana” balanced by an unusual hop addition.

 

Juice Joint Sour, $7 (5.0% ABV)

This is a very refreshing and aromatic beer with an identity crisis. Dry-hopped like an IPA without any real bitterness and with a tangy tart acidity twist.

Brewmaster Tasting Notes: Very refreshing with a big dry-hop character that could be easily be mistaken for tropical citrus juice.  Think the mimosa of beers, only without any actual oranges.

 

French Connection, $10 (4.7% ABV)

Our interpretation of this French saison style respects the light, refreshing purpose of this beer style. We made this beer with Brasserie du Bas Canada. A fun collaboration with our new friends from across the river.

Brewmaster Tasting Notes: Blonde and cloudy the grisette finishes off dry, perfect for the summer heat. The compliment of yeast and hops give French Connection pleasant spice notes and a herbal aroma.  Brewed with European hops along with a mixture of French and Belgian Saison yeast.

 

 

~ RECIPES TO ENJOY WITH YOUR SAVVY HIP HOPS! ~

 

Veal Burger with Avocado and Cheese

Serves: 4
Recipe & photo credit: GoodFood

Ingredients

500 g lean veal mince
1 teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon white pepper
1 clove garlic, crushed
2 tablespoons cream

1 tablespoon tomato paste
1 tablespoon light olive oil
1 tablespoon oil
1 firm ripe avocado, peeled and thinly sliced
½ cup grated cheddar cheese
2 tablespoons freshly grated parmesan cheese
4 large squares of olive focaccia
1 small bunch rocket, torn into pieces
Snow pea sprouts
Lime juice

 

Method

Combine mince, salt, pepper, garlic and cream in medium bowl. Mix with hands until well combined. Divide mixture into 4 portions and shape into round patties.

Combine tomato paste and light olive oil in small bowl; set aside. Heat remaining oil in large frying pan. Cook patties 3–4 minutes each side or until brown and cooked through. Remove patties from frying pan, drain on paper towels.

Place patties on a foil-lined grill tray. Top each with overlapping slices of avocado. Brush each with tomato paste mixture. Sprinkle with combined cheeses. Cook under preheated grill for 1–2 minutes or until cheese has melted.

Cut each focaccia in half horizontally. Lightly toast cut sides if desired. Place bases of focaccia on 4 serving plates. On each base, place rocket pieces and snow pea sprouts. Sprinkle with a little lime juice. Place a meat and avocado patty on top of each base, followed by remaining half of focaccia.

 

 

The Ultimate Fish Tacos

Serves: 8-10
Recipe & photo credit: FoodNetwork (Recipe courtesy of Tyler Florence)

Ingredients

2 pounds mahi mahi (skinned, boned and cleaned) cut into 1-ounce strips
2 cups all-purpose flour
3 eggs, lightly beaten
4 tablespoons water
2 cups panko bread crumbs
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
Vegetable oil, for frying
1/2 head savoy cabbage, finely shredded
1 bunch cilantro, leaves picked
1 bunch chives, chopped
3 limes, cut into wedges for garnish

Pink Chile Mayonnaise:
1 cup sour cream
1 cup mayonnaise
3 chipotles in adobo, plus 2 tablespoons of adobo sauce
1/2 lemon, juiced
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

Mango-Radish Salsa:
2 limes
2 mangoes, diced
4 to 5 red radishes, diced
1 red onion, diced
1 tablespoon chili powder
1/2 bunch fresh cilantro, leaves chopped
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

 

Method

Prepare the fish. Cut the pieces of fish into 1-ounce strips. Set up a breading station of flour, lightly beaten eggs with water, and seasoned panko bread crumbs. Season all with salt and pepper. Dredge the pieces of fish in flour, egg then bread crumbs. Once all the fish is breaded deep-fry in small batches in (375 degrees F) oil. Drain on paper towels and season with salt. Keep warm until ready to serve.

Prepare the pink chile mayonnaise. Put the chipotles in a blender and puree until smooth. Add the sour cream, mayonnaise, adobo sauce and lemon juice and continue to process until the mixture is consistent and creamy. Season with salt and pepper and refrigerate until ready to use.

Prepare the mango-radish salsa. Remove the peel and pith from the limes and cut between the membranes to remove the segments. Put these “supremes” into a bowl and squeeze over the juice from the membranes. Add the remaining ingredients and mix. Season and refrigerate until ready to use. You can also place all of the ingredients into a food processor and puree for a smoother salsa.

To serve, set up the tacos “family-style”. Assemble the fish in a pile on a plate; the pink chile mayonnaise in a bowl; and mango-radish salsa in another. Set a pile of shredded savoy cabbage, cilantro leaves, chopped chives and lime wedges next to the fish. Toast the corn tortillas lightly over an open flame (on your stove top) and serve.

 

 

Asian Chicken Salad with Ginger Sesame Dressing

Serves: 4
Recipe & photo credit: Julia’s Album

Ingredients

Salad dressing:
1/4 cup rice wine vinegar
1 teaspoon chopped fresh ginger or 1/2 teaspoon powder ginger
1 to 2 tablespoons soy sauce
1 tablespoon honey
3 tablespoons toasted sesame oil
3 tablespoons vegetable oil
2 tablespoons sesame seeds, toasted

Salad:
6 cups baby spinach leaves, washed, and dried
1 large carrot, shredded
1 red bell pepper, thinly sliced
1/4 of a whole red onion, thinly sliced
1 tablespoon sesame seeds toasted
2 cups shredded rotisserie chicken or grilled chicken, sliced

 

Method

Combine all salad dressing ingredients, except for sesame seeds, and using only 1 tablespoon of soy sauce. Whisk until emulsified. Taste your dressing and add another 1 tablespoon of soy sauce, if desired, to make it saltier. Add 2 tablespoons sesame seeds to the dressing and mix them in.

Combine all salad ingredients in a large bowl, except for 1 tablespoon of sesame seeds and chicken. Add the salad dressing to the salad and toss – do not add all salad dressing at once: you might not need all of it. Add just enough salad dressing to coat the salad ingredients.

Serve the salad in the individual serving bowls and top with the remaining 1 tablespoon of sesame seeds and sliced chicken.

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