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Archive for ‘Wine & Food’

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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Fall in Love with these Okanagan wines & cheese

Posted by Susan

Tuesday, February 14th, 2017
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I can’t get enough! I’m in the south Okanagan again, remembering why I fell in love with its unique landscape, the changing hues of the fruit trees and the vineyards, the outstanding wines created by established growers and newcomers. On this trip, I discovered new places that I wanted to share with you…

Upper Bench Winery & Creamery

Four years ago, I headed up to the Naramata Bench to check out a couple of new wineries, including Upper Bench. At the time, they had just opened, many of their wines were sold out, and there was a limited selection of their delectable cheeses. But what I tasted was very good and I decided to stop in this year on my way from Kelowna to Osoyoos.

As luck would have it, Shana, the ‘Big Cheese’ – half of the duo responsible for this small family-owned winery (husband Gavin Miller is the winemaker) – was in the tasting room. So, we were treated to her expertise and enthusiasm as we tasted three of their unique cheeses, along with several wines.

I make no claim to any cheese expertise like our cheese Sommelier Vanessa, mark my words, the Brie seemed wonderfully creamy to me, with a lovely soft yet textured rind. The Gold offered a firmer texture, a golden washed rind and a slightly nutty flavor. The Grey Baby, named for her cat, had a lovely bloomy grey rind, almost no typical blue cheese veining but an absolutely melt-in-my -mouth texture and delicate flavours. Yes, I found cheese heaven!

The U&Brie was paired with their 2015 dry Riesling – they’re already into the 2015 wines due the fast pace of sales. Light-mid weight, the nose is floral and fruity with underlying mineral notes, the palate crisp and bright offering flavours of orchard fruit and lemon zest, the finish tart and tangy yet fruity.

The 2015 Chardonnay continues to be made with an emphasis on purity of fruit, half the wine aged only 3 months in French oak, the balance in stainless, so that the delicate notes of spice and warm pastry garnish the aromas and flavours of tropical fruit, melon and juicy pear, while a hint of pithy grapefruit adds tang to the creamy finish. It provided a great pairing with the Oka-like Gold cheese.

The Grey Baby cheese was a perfect complement for the 2014 Pinot Noir red wine – an elegant, silky wine with lifted floral notes, bright red fruit and hints of earth and spice. Medium bodied, it’s intensely flavourful, subtly structured, the flavours of ripe red fruit interwoven with delicate notes of spice and mineral.

The Yard Wine is a signature wine, a Bordeaux-style red wine blend of co-fermented Merlot and Cabernets (mainly Franc) that’s medium-full bodied, full of aromas and flavours of sweet black and red fruits, hints of chocolate-coated caramel and spice as well as complementary undertones of tomato leaf and earth. Underpinned with ripe tannins and fresh acidity, it’s a very approachable, gulpable wine!

While the small production of Upper Bench wines means that they won’t be found in the LCBO, you can always join their wine and cheese clubs.

 

Painted Rock Winery

Another sunny day found us winding our way along the east side of Skaha Lake from OK Falls toward Penticton. We made our way up the bench to Painted Rock, where we once again struck gold, as proprietor John Skinner was at the tasting bar.

John worked in the financial industry in Vancouver for many years, all the while developing his fascination with fine wines and the wine industry. In 2004, he and his wife Trish purchased a former fruit orchard on the bench that had lain fallow for almost 2 decades. About 25 acres were planted to a variety of vitis vinifera clones in 2005 and 2006. As a result of his interaction with the nursery from which he sourced his clones, John was contacted by wine consultant Alain Sutre (who also consults with Don Triggs’ Culmina estate winery), who continues to work with Painted Rock to this day. As an example of the valuable input he provides, during the extremely hot 2015 vintage, Alain counselled John and his team to allow the vine canopy to grow to ensure shading of the grapes from the sun and to prevent scorching. This allowed for a longer hang time, good maturation of the fruit and retention of acidity.

John’s commitment to premium winemaking and his delight in his property and the local trails was evident as he interspersed our tasting with anecdotes of the recent vintages and photos of local pictographs he has found on the granite outcroppings.

The 2015 Rosé wine is a Saignée, an assemblage of his red grapes, including Merlot, the Cabernet Sauvignon and Cabernet Francs, Malbec, Petit Verdot and Syrah. A lovely salmon hue, it shows some residual sugar and warmth from the hot vintage, aromas and flavours of strawberry/rhubarb compote, dried cherry and dried herbs, and a lovely silky, fruity finish.

The 2013 Merlot, aged 18 months in a combination of new and second fill French oak, is dry, full bodied red wine with tangy, showing rich lifted aromas and flavours of black cherry, plum and raspberry, warm sweet spice and hints of menthol and herbs, underpinned by ripe tannins and a fresh texture.

The 2014 Cabernet Franc was a particular favorite, seducing with its lifted floral notes of red rose and violet, the sweet hints of baking spice, cocoa and plummy fruit, and a subtle whiff of graphite. Dry and firmly structured, it’s loaded with flavours of black currant garnished with notes of herbs and cracked pepper. Finishing long and dry, this red wine shows great cellaring potential.

Once again, none of these wines are on the LCBO website, but John also offers a wine club.

Nk’Mip Winery

Nestled on a bench just above Lake Osoyoos, the Nk’Mip Cellars is as much a part of the land as its owner/operators, the Osoyoos Indian Band. In a partnership with the then-Canadian wine conglomerate, Vincor, the band established the first indigenous-owned winery, and winemaker Randy Picton was engaged in 2002, just in time for the first harvest.

Located on a small campus that includes the Desert Cultural Centre, the Sonora Dunes Golf Course and Spirit Ridge Resort (where I stayed), it was inevitable that I would wander over to Nk’Mip to see how the 2016 harvest was progressing (slowly due to a very cool fall and an early killing frost) and to taste a few wines from recent vintages. It felt like a celebration to be there, as Nk’Mip has recently been named 2016 Winery of the Year, having been in the top 10 in the last four years, and the recent purchase of Constellation Brands Canadian wine properties (including its investment in Nk’Mip) by the Ontario Teachers’ Pension Fund means that the winery is now fully in Canadian hands once again.

The view from the winery is idyllic, rows of golden-leaved vines marching down the sloping vineyard to Lake Osoyoos, the small resort town of Osoyoos rising from the lake to a backdrop of rugged Sonoran desert mountainscapes.

Randy has honed his craft so that no matter the level of wines tasted, you can expect deftly crafted high quality wines made to his exacting standards. To quote Randy, “My approach is to focus on every detail in the vineyard in order to bring the best possible grapes to the winery. The vineyard is expressed in the bottle.” He’s assisted in the winery by Justin Hall, an Osoyoos Indian Band member who has studied viticulture and oenology in Canada, as well as New Zealand, and worked in the industry in Australia as well as at Nk’Mip.
You see his experience in cool climate winemaking in the vibrant, fresh 2015 Pinot Blanc, a great value white wine that offers subtle aromatics of citrus and orchard fruit, with a clean, crisp flavours of lemon, pithy grapefruit mineral through a zesty finish.

The 2013 Merlot is an easy-going crowd pleaser, a dry mid-weight red wine aged 12 months in a combination of French and American oak, offering flavours of cherry and plum, herbs, spice and cocoa through a nice lively finish.

The 2014 Syrah from the signature QwAm QwMt tier is produced from estate fruit, the wine aged 18 months in French oak. It’s a complex, full bodied deep purple wine with layers of flavours–dark berry fruits, exotic spice, Okanagan sage, cracked pepper with notes of dark chocolate and coffee bean wrapped in a firm structure. It’s a great value and worthy of cellaring.

The Nk’Mip Qw’Am Qw’Mt Chardonnay 2013 is listed on the LCBO website (#391813), and for other wines you can always contact the winery about their wine club.

 

There you go…3 more reasons to pack your bags and head to British Columbia wine region!

 

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Wines for every Weekend from Pondview, Rosewood & 13th Street

Posted by Debbie

Friday, September 25th, 2015
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Savvy Company is rapidly becoming the one-stop solution to drinking good wines.  While summer has turned to fall,  we are finding ways to give you more free time…you can get wine delivered to your door with Wines for the Weekend. Rather than aimlessly roaming the aisles, our Savvy Sommeliers have picked the best 12 bottles  of Ontario wines for you for you to have on hand with Wines for the Weekend as summer turns to fall.

wineweekend_smallWines for the Weekend are bottles of hard-to-find wines that can be enjoyed any day of the week. All you have to do is order by Tuesday and your wines will arrive on Friday….just in time for the weekend. Watch this space for our Recipe Box with neat recipes from local chefs. You will find all the makings of a great weekend (or two) or even a dinner party.

With each entry in our Weekender Report, our Savvy Sommeliers  take the guess work out of what taste is bottled up inside your case of wine   Come back to this blog often to get the full report on a regular basis.  Each week we will highlight some top Ontario wines that are awaiting to be enjoyed when you open your Wines for the Weekend.

Start your weekend now!  Click & order >>

 

Featuring wines from…

Pondview, Rosewood & 13th Street

 

13th Street PinotGris 201213th Street Pinot Gris VQA 2012

$19.95
Beamsville Bench (Niagara)

That summer feel can last forever when you have a glass of Pinot Gris in hand…a classic light bodied white wine that refreshes you with every sip. Whether named Pinot Gris or Pinot Grigio (the Italian way), the wine is made with the same grape variety.

Savvy Sommelier Tasting Notes: To make a crisp, clean refreshing wine, 13th Street’s winemaker Jean Pierre Colas harvested the grapes in early September. Aromas and tastes of green melon, pear, white flowers and green apples are noticed with a rich mouthfeel that lures you to have another sip, and another!

Food Pairing Suggestions: Delicious chilled on its own all year long, with pan fried fish or better yet…Shrimp on the ‘barbie’. This cool white sipper can make these cooler days of fall taste just like summer season linger. For a completely different recipe that will WOW, try the Zucchini Parm in the TGIF Recipe below.

 

Rosewood Sussreserve Riesling 2013Rosewood Süssreserve Riesling VQA 2012

$15.00
Beamsville Bench (Niagara)

What does Süssreserve mean? An amount of Riesling grape juice is added to the finished wine before bottling to add complexity, natural acidity and natural sweetness. The result is a remarkable off-dry wine. Wait till you try it!

Savvy Sommelier Tasting Notes: The aromas in this wine range from white flower to peach to apple (Gala or Empire perhaps?) laced with honey and mineral notes. The cleansing acidity continues with each sip of this medium bodied white wine as tastes of sweet lemon, fresh apricot and a chalk-like minerality dance in your mouth.

Food Pairing Suggestions: This is the perfect cocktail party wine – it will go with pretty much every hors d’oeuvre. For something completely different and seasonal, pull out some rhubarb from your garden & make Rhubarb Salsa.

 

Pondview Cabernet RosePondview Cabernet Rosé VQA 2014

$14.95
Niagara-on-the-Lake

Savvy Sommelier Tasting Notes: How can you make summer linger? Keep on drinking Rosé wine – this one from Pondview will definitely do the trick! Pink salmon in colour with refreshingly youthful aromas of cranberry and strawberry. The cranberry aroma also comes across on the palate along with pink grapefruit and a hint of rose petals. This medium bodied wine has great acidity along with a crisp mouth feel and a medium length cranberry finish.

Food Pairing Suggestions: Enjoy all on its own or pair with a garden fresh salad, lamb burgers or cheese, paté and charcuterie.

 

 

13th Street Pinot_Noir 201213th Street Pinot Noir VQA 2011

$23.95
Beamsville Bench (Niagara)

Savvy Sommelier Tasting Notes: Ahhh… a Pinot Noir…one of the trickiest grapes to grow and, as such, is also every winemakers challenge. Temperamental in the vineyard and in the cellar, this has turned out to be a fine wine. Warm spices, campfire smoke, red berries and flowers are classic aromas and tastes of a Pinot Noir…and this wine has all that!

Food Pairing Suggestions: Speaking of classic, a classic food match for this wine is grilled salmon. Whether you grill it or plank it, this wine (served slightly chilled – 15 mins in the fridge) would be perfect. If you are not a fish fan, then grilled mushroom and risotto will be mouth-watering.

 

Pondview Cabernet Merlot ReservePondview Cabernet Merlot Reserve VQA 2013

$18.95
Niagara-on-the-Lake

Winery owner Joseph Barbera calls this wine “A wolf in sheep’s clothing. When you can’t decide between the bold and the beautiful.” A Bordeaux blend of 35% Cabernet Franc, 20% Cabernet Sauvignon and 45% Merlot grapes.

Savvy Sommelier Tasting Notes: A bright and beautiful garnet red core (winespeak: middle of the wine) that fades to a ruby red colour as it approaches the rim of the glass. Great intensity of flavours – vanilla, cherry, cedar and prunes – are discernible on the nose, while baked fruit, cedar and clover come through on the palate. This medium bodied wine has noticeable tannins, balanced acidity and a medium length red-fruit finish.

Food Pairing Suggestions: This wine ain’t no chicken wine! commented Savvy Sommelier Doug during our grand tasting. This wine is a well-rounded red that can be served with rare to medium-rare red meats, with BBQed steak or roast beef, meat lovers lasagne or even roast lamb with a peppercorn crust. Ever made your own sausages? Chef Albert Ponzo of Le Select Bistro in Toronto shares his Kaiserainer recipe…give it a try!

 

Rosewood Locked & Loaded VQA 2013

$22.00
Beamsville Bench (Niagara)

Savvy Sommelier Tasting Notes: A cellar experiment, that turned into a ‘phenomenal wine’, the Savvy Team exclaimed. Concentrated aromas of everything dark – overripe plums, cassis, fresh ground black pepper, baking spices & dark chocolate jump out of your glass. These same aromas continue into the taste with layers of rich textures and integrated tannins.

Food Pairing Suggestions: Enjoy now or keep in your cellar a bit longer, this wine is definitely loaded! Fire up the BBQ or plan for a prime rib, this wine is ready to enjoy with a meaty dish. You’ll wish you had more bottles of this wine!

 

~ TGIF Recipe Box ~
Recipes to enjoy with your Wines for the Weekend

 

Our Savvy Sommeliers have chosen these recipes to pair with each wine in the Wines for the Weekend…to make your weekend even easier to enjoy to its fullest.

 

With 13th Street Pinot Gris…

Zucchini Parm

From The Combine in Norfolk County
The online version of this recipe is on Ontario Culinary Tourism Association
Serves 2

More than just a restaurant, The Combine sits on 2500 sq. ft of land they use to grow beautiful herbs, vegetables and fruit that inspire everything on their menu.

Ingredients

1 zucchini sliced ½ inch thick, lengthwise or round
Breading station (seasoned flour, egg wash, panko breadcrumbs)
1 oz Parmigiano Reggiano
Homemade tomato sauce
Lemon ricotta* (see notes below)
Your favorite pesto
2 whole garlic scapes
Fried zucchini blossom**(see notes below) 

Notes from the chefs
Zucchini Parm*For the lemon ricotta, bring 2 litres of whole milk and a 1/2 tsp of salt to 185 degrees over medium heat. Remove from heat and add 1/4 cup of white vinegar, stir for one minute. Leave covered and undisturbed for 2 hours. Gently scoop out curds from mixture and place in cheesecloth lined strainer, let drain for 2 hours. Place drained curd in bowl and add juice from one lemon, adjust seasoning with salt if needed

**For the blossom, combine 225g of Monforte Water Buffalo Queso Fresca (or fresh chèvre) with some thyme and parsley in a mixer. turn on, slowly add olive oil till you get a creamy spreadable texture. Place mixture in piping bag and pipe into blossom, refrigerate until firm. Dip into your favourite batter, beer or otherwise and fry at 350 until golden brown.

Method

Cut zucchini to desired shape and coat with flour, egg wash and breadcrumbs.

Heat 50/50 olive oil and butter and add zucchini.When crisp turn over, top with Parmigiano Reggiano and place in a 400 degree oven for approximately 5 minutes or until cheese is melted and bottom side of zucchini has crisped.

Heat tomato sauce and pour on plate.

Batter stuffed blossom and deep fry till crisp and browned.

Place cooked zucchini on tomato sauce and spoon pesto around plate, sprinkle with lemon ricotta and garnish with grilled garlic scapes and fried blossom.

 

With Rosewood Süssreserve Riesling…

3 Guys and a Rhubarb Salsa

From3 Guys and A Stove
The online version of this recipe is on Ontario Culinary Tourism Association
Serves 2

This recipe comes from the team at 3 Guys and A StoveTHE stop-over for those on the pilgrimage to Algonquin Park or Muskoka for decades. Located in Huntsville, you can experience real hospitality the second you walk through the door. Once the first rhubarb stalks sprout, try this easy recipe for Rhubarb Salsa! It’s a delight with chicken and fish.

Rhubarb SalsaIngredients

1 stalk young rhubarb, diced fine
¼ cup yellow pepper, diced fine
¼ cup orange pepper, diced fine
2 Tbsp sweet white onion, diced fine
2 Tbsp green onions, diced fine
1 jalapeño, seeds removed, diced fine
2 Tbspfresh cilantro, chopped fine
1 Tbsp apple cider vinegar
1 Tbsp lime juice
2 tsp honey
¼ tsp sea salt
Fresh ground black pepper

Method

Heat 2 cups of water in a saucepan to boiling. Blanch rhubarb by placing in the boiling water for 10 to 20 seconds. Quickly remove the rhubarb and place in a colander. Blanch by running cold water over the rhubarb to stop the cooking process. Turn the blanched rhubarb onto some paper towel to dry.

In a separate bowl, combine the yellow & orange peppers, onion, scallions, jalapeño, and cilantro. Add rhubarb and mix ingredients.

In a small separate bowl, pour the honey in the lime juice and apple cider vinegar and whisk. Drizzle this dressing over the rhubarb salsa and stir. Add the salt and pepper to taste. Gently stir ingredients together.

Chill 30 minutes to an hour to allow the flavours to meld.

 

With Pondview Cabernet Merlot Reserve…

‘Kasekrainer’

From Le Select Bistro in Toronto
The online version of this recipe is on Ontario Culinary Tourism Association
Serves 2 to 5

I know what you’re thinking — what the heck is kasekrainer? Before you move onto whatever you were originally planning on grilling this weekend, hear me out. Kasekrainer are Austrian pork & cheese sausages. All together now, PORK & CHEESE SAUSAGES! Amazing, right?

This recipe comes to us from the endlessly talented Chef Albert Ponzo of Le Select Bistro.

“There’s something really rewarding about making something from scratch that most people would just buy pre-made. Besides, making your own sausages is a fun, albeit messy, experience. This recipe travels really well once smoked, meaning you can have a delicious, locally sourced, chef caliber meal wherever you may trek to!”

Ingredients

Kaiserkrainer2 kg ground pork, lean
50 g salt
875g ground Ontario pork back fat
3g black pepper
4 g caraway seeds
4 g mustard seeds
4g garlic
6 g sugar
¼L cold water
575g Ontario cheddar – we like St. Albert’s!
1 packet hog casing soaked in water

Method

In a mortar and pestle, grind black pepper, caraway seeds, mustard seeds.Mince garlic cloves.

Ensure the meats are very cold when mixing them. Mix together, by hand, lean pork, fat and all seasonings and spices until thoroughly incorporated. Add water and continue to mix until absorbed and texture is tacky. Add cheese and mix until evenly distributed.

Stuff cold sausage mix firmly into hog casings. Twist and pinch the sausages in 5” lengths to create links. Refrigerate until ready to smoke.

Set smoker to 145F. Soak apple wood chips in water.

Drain woodchips and place in smoking tray or compartment. Add kasekrainer sausage to smoker and smoke for 1 hour or until internal temperature reaches 145F. Chill sausages.

When ready to serve grill over hot camp fire grill, until heated through.


Like the sound of all these wines & recipes?

Click & order here >>

 

Here is a list of all the wines featured in this month’s Wines for the Weekend:

wineweekend_smallFrom Niagara-on-the-Lake

Pondview Cabernet Rosé VQA 2014
Pondview Cabernet Merlot Reserve VQA 2013

From 20 Valley (Beamsville Bench – Niagara)

13th Street Pinot Gris VQA 2012
13th Street Pinot Noir VQA 2011

Di Profio Gamay Sparkling
Di Profio Kitchen Zinc VQA 2013 (red)

Good Earth Wine Viognier VQA 2013
Good Earth Wine Big Fork Red VQA 2013

Rosewood Süssreserve Riesling VQA 2012
Rosewood Locked & Loaded VQA 2013 (red)

 

When you order Wines for the Weekend, you will always have outstanding Ontario wines on hand. To order additional bottles of your new found favorites from this assortment by calling the Savvy Team on 613-SAVVYCO (728-8926). OR, continue to make your weekends even easier with an automatic delivery of Wines for the Weekend every month –  a completely new selection of hard-to-find wines will arrive at your home or office.

To order, simply call us on 613-SAVVYCO (728-8926) or visit www.savvycompany.ca/TGIF

Ready to get your wine glasses out again next month? Stay tuned to this blog, where we will post a list of the wines that we plan on featuring each month.

 

Cheers & enjoy these great Ontario wines!

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Clink & Drink Pink with Rosé wines from Creekside, Rosewood & Sue-Ann Staff

Posted by Debbie

Monday, July 27th, 2015
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Why not stock up on Rosé wines for the August Long weekend? What better way to celebrate summer in all its sunny glory than toast with a glass of pink in hand.  Our One Dozen Rosés is back with a different assorted case of Rosé wine each month this summer &  you can read all about each bottle that you will receive when you place your order.  We make buying Rosé wine so easy, just click & sip!

One Dozen Roses - Savvy CompanyWith each entry in our Rosé Report, our Savvy Sommeliers  take the guess work out of what taste is bottled up in each pretty pink bottle.

Come back to this blog often to get the full report throughout the summer.  Each week we will highlight some of the Ontario Rosés that are awaiting to be enjoyed when you open your One Dozen Rosés as well as great recipes that we feature to help make your summer wining & dining easy.

Bring on summer! Order One Dozen Rosé now >>

 

 

Featuring Rosé wines from
Creekside, Rosewood & Sue-Ann Staff wineries…


Creekside Cabernet Rose 2014Creekside Estates Cabernet Rosé VQA 2014

$14.95
Beamsville Bench (Niagara Escarpment)

Another great winery to visit when you take a summer getaway to wine country. Not only do they make lots of great wines, but their patio overlooking the vineyard is also worth stopping for.

Savvy Sommelier Tasting Notes: Bright neon pink in colour with gorgeous aromas of wild strawberries, flowers& green apple that follows into the taste. This crowd-pleasing wine is juicy yet dry. Medium bodied and well balanced with refreshing acidity…it is summer in a glass.

Suggested Food Pairing: You can’t go wrong with this wine. The colour, the bouquet & the taste…they all will remind you of summer. This versatile wine can be served chilled on its own or with any of the creations in our Rosé Recipe Box. Be sure to have a batch of the Rosemary & White Bean Dip in the fridge at the cottage just in case you feel the urge coming on to crack open this bottle of wine as the sunsets.

 

 

Rosewood Trois Femmes Rose 2013Rosewood Trois Femmes Rosé VQA 2014

$15.00
Beamsville Bench (Niagara Escarpment)

From the family run winery and Ontario’s first Meadery, this year’s Rosé from Rosewood is 100% Pinot Noir grapes. The wine was made with the skins intact with the juice for 3-5 days then fermented until it reached the fruity flavours and the colour that the winemaker wanted to create.

Savvy Sommelier Tasting Notes: One word will describe this wine: STRAWBERRY. From its colour, the aroma and taste, this wine has the wonderful summery taste of fresh strawberries. “It has the zippiness of rhubarb too”, commented Savvy Sommelier Debbie during the Savvy Team tasting of 40+ Rosé wines. A very well-balanced, smooth wine that combines notes of strawberry tastes of watermelon and freshly crushed ripe berries – all things that are iconic about summer.

Suggested Food Pairing: This is a no fuss wine. It would be delicious with anything off the grill, seafood, homemade pizza, charcuterie and light meals. Try something completely different – Beet-zza!

 

Sue Ann Staff Fancy Farm Girl Foxy Pink 2013Sue-Ann Staff Foxy Pink VQA 2013

$17.00
Beamsville Bench (Niagara Escarpment)

This has been an amazing year for our friend Sue-Ann. In April, she decided to finish the chapter of her career where she was making wine at other wineries and focus 100% on her namesake winery – Sue-Ann Staff Estates. And the decision quickly paid off. Her new Fancy Farm Girl wine brand has won label design awards as well as accolades for her wines. This one is the Rosé in her portfolio. Be sure to read the back label to learn more about Sue-Ann’s style – a farm girl who loves to be a diva too!

Savvy Sommelier Tasting Notes: The bright coral pink colour alludes to the style of this wine. Bright vivid aromas of watermelon, strawberry candy, even marshmallows leap from the glass. These aromas continue as you sip on this off-dry wine, then the bright zippy acidity will make your mouth water while prepping your palate for another sip and another.    Enjoy on its own with friends (or not!) or with sushi, tuna, salmon, pizzas, picnics, salads and soooo much more.

Suggested Food Pairing: Keep chilled in your fridge for when friends come over for a spontaneous get together. Call out for sushi or fire up the gill with some salmon steaks or better yet…get fancy with the Grilled Chicken & Strawberries with Balsamic.

 

~ Recipes to enjoy with your One Dozen Rosés ~


With Creekside Cabernet Rosé

Rosemary & White Bean Dip

From Serious Eats
Serves 4 – 6

Ingredients

1 (15 ½ oz) can cannellini beans, drained and rinsed
2 medium cloves garlic, peeled
2 tsp freshly squeezed lemon juice and 1 teaspoon finely grated lemon zest from 1 lemon
¼ cup plus 1 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil, divided
2 tsp finely minced fresh rosemary
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

Method

Place beans, garlic, and lemon juice in the work-bowl of a food processor fitted with a steel blade. Pulse until beans are roughly chopped.

With motor running, slowly pour 1/4 cup of oil through feed tube. Process until mixture is smooth.

Transfer bean mixture to a small bowl. Stir in rosemary, lemon zest, and remaining 1 tablespoon of oil. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Serve immediately or store in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.

Serve with Greek pita wedges or pita crisps.

 

With Rosewood Trois Femmes Rosé

Beet-zza

From Chatelaine Magazine
Serves 4-6

beet-zzaIngredients

1 sheet puff pastry, thawed
1 beaten egg
½ cup very thinly sliced beets
1 tsp olive oil
2 Tbsp crumbled feta
fresh basil to garnish

Method

Unroll puff pastry onto a parchment-lined baking sheet. Use a paring knife to score a ½in. border around pastry square. With a fork, prick holes all over pastry.

Bake at 400°F for 15 min.

Brush egg evenly over pastry. Layer with sliced beets. Brush with olive oil, then sprinkle with feta.

Bake at 400°F in bottom third of oven until golden, 15 to 20 more min.

Sprinkle with fresh basil.

 

With Sue-Ann Staff Foxy Pink

Grilled Chicken & Strawberries with Balsamic Syrup

From Fine Cooking Magazine
Serves 4

Grilling gives strawberries a slightly smoky flavor and a striking appearance. Balsamic vinegar adds a rich note that highlights and deepens the flavor of both the strawberries and the chicken, tying the meal together.

Ingredients

Grilled Chicken & Strawberries arugula from Fine Cookingbalsamic vinegar
strawberries
chicken breast cutlets
olive oil
kosher salt
black peppercorns
basil
3 Tbsp balsamic vinegar
20 medium strawberries (unhulled)
4, 5-oz. boneless, skinless chicken breast cutlets
Extra-virgin olive oil
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 Tbsp chopped fresh basil
handful of arugula, as desired

Method

In a 1-quart saucepan, boil the vinegar until reduced by half, about 2 minutes; set aside.

Thread 5 strawberries on each of 4 skewers. Brush the chicken cutlets with olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Heat a grill or grill pan over medium-high heat.

Grill the chicken and strawberries until the chicken is cooked through, 2 to 3 minutes per side, and the strawberries have slight grill marks, 1 to 2 minutes per side.

Serve drizzled with a little olive oil and the reduced vinegar and sprinkled with basil.

 

Clink & Drink Pink all summer long!

Here is a sneak peak of the wines that will be featured in the upcoming months.

In August the One Dozen Rosé will include:

Casa-Dea Cabernet Franc Rosé, VQA 2014, Prince Edward County

Devil’s Wishbone Pinot Gris Rosé VQA 2014, Prince Edward County

Greenlane Rosé VQA 2013, Beamsville Bench (Niagara)

Henry of Pelham Sibiling Rivilary Pink VQA 2014, Beamsville

Vieni Momenti Sparkling Rosé, Beamsville (1 bottle)

Vieni Alleria Rosé VQA 2014, Beamsville (1 bottle)

Vineland Estates ‘The Game Changer’ Rosé VQA 2014, Beamsville

Order your One Dozen Rosé at www.savvycompany.ca/rose

 

 

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Clink & Drink Pink with Rosé wines from Kacaba & DiProfio Wines

Posted by Amanda

Tuesday, July 7th, 2015
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The temperature is soaring & those lazy days we’ve been dreaming of all winter are now here!  Our One Dozen Rosés is back by popular demand &  you can read all about each bottle that you will receive when you place your order.  We make buying Rosé wine so easy, just click & sip!

One Dozen Roses - Savvy CompanyWith each entry in our Rosé Report , our Savvy Sommeliers  take the guess work out of what taste is bottled up in each pretty pink bottle.   Come back to this blog often to get the full report throughout the summer.  Each week we will highlight some of the Ontario Rosés that are awaiting to be enjoyed when you open your One Dozen Rosés.

“Rosé wines unleash the creativity in a winemaker. They can be made from any combination of grape variety resulting in dramatically different styles,” says Savvy Sommelier Debbie Trenholm. “There are so many exceptional Rosé wines made right here in Ontario but not all are available at the LCBO. We’ve brought back One Dozen Rosés and The Rosé Report to help you experience those hidden gems.”

Bring on summer! Order One Dozen Rosé now >>

 

Featuring Rosé wines from
DiProfio Wines & Kacaba Vineyards…


These 2 boutique wineries are located in Twenty Valley along the Beamsville Bench and they illustrate that small is BIG.  These Rose wines pack a punch of taste & quality that our Sommeliers are always on the lookout for in Ontario wines.


Di Profio Gamay Rose 2013
Di Profio Gamay Rosé

$15.70
Twenty Valley  (Beamsville Bench)

This boutique winery has a growing reputation for making outstanding wines. Sandwiched between the 20 Valley region and Niagara-on-the-Lake, this is definitely worth the stop…and they have a wonderful B&B on the estate!

Savvy Sommelier Tasting Notes: A stunning colour in the glass. Aromas of beets, candy floss, it smells sweeter than it is…in fact, it is deliciously dry. Each sip is loaded with tastes of red fruit (cherry, raspberry or strawberry perhaps). This Rosé has a nice refreshing acidity, a long berry finish. Bring on summer with this outstanding wine!

Suggested Food Pairing: Another one to pack for a picnic or serve on the dock. Chill & pack in your basket (no need for a corkscrew) to enjoy with tabbouleh, hummus, quinoa salad. In our Rosé Recipe Box below, we have included a Chickpea, Barley & Feta Salad that will do the trick!

Trip Tip: Among The Vines B&B

Planning a roadtrip to Niagara? Try to get accommodation at Carollynn & Joseph Di Profio’s B&B located next door to Di Profio Wines. It is truly a way to enjoy the fullest wine experience in a very personal way.  The 10 acres of vineyards with both mature vines & newly planted ones too are filled with activity during the day and tranquility at night. They promise the vines won’t disturb your sleep. Awake to a fresh breakfast laced with Di Profio’s own icewine – now that is the way to start a day in wine country!

 

Kacaba Rebecca Rose 2014Kacaba Vineyard Rebecca Rosé VQA 2014

$14.95
Beamsville Bench (Niagara Escarpment)

Looking for great red wines made in Ontario? Kacaba Vineyards is definitely one of our top picks. This year’s of rosé wine is made with 100% Gamay grapes grown on the estate, this is ‘not just another summer sipper’ states John Tummon, Kacaba’s winemaker. It is a wine to be enjoyed year round… before or during a meal.

Savvy Sommelier Tasting Notes: Bright cotton candy pink colour. Concentrated aromas of fresh juicy red cherries, ripe red berries and cotton candy of course! These aromas continue into the taste with an added cranberry flavour to give it even more body. A smooth texture in your mouth, this bright and refreshing wine is so easy to enjoy.

Suggested Food Pairing: One definitely to serve during a meal – lunch or dinner. Chicken satay, grilled vegetable kebabs would be delicious. We also think that it would be perfectly paired with pan seared fish – such as the perch recipe that we’ve provided for you from Port Restaurant located in Pickering – recipe below.  Enjoy!

 

~ Recipes to enjoy with your One Dozen Rosés ~

With Di  Profio Gamay Rosé

Chickpea, Barley & Feta Salad

From Bon Appetit Magazine www.bonappetit.com
Barley has nice heft and chew, but don’t feel limited—use cooked farro, quinoa, or brown rice if you prefer.

Ingredients

8 oz. green beans, halved crosswise
Kosher salt
1 cup pearled, hulled, or hull-less barley
1 tsp olive oil
¼ cup raw sunflower seeds
1 can ( 15.5-oz.) chickpeas, rinsed
4 oz. feta, crumbled
2 Tbsp chopped fresh dill
2 Tbsp fresh lemon juice

Method

Cook green beans in a large pot of boiling salted water until crisp-tender, about 3 minutes. Using a sieve or a slotted spoon, transfer to a bowl of ice water. Return water to a boil, add barley, and simmer until tender (refer to packaging for timing); drain. Let cool on a baking sheet.

Heat oil in a small skillet over medium heat. Cook sunflower seeds, tossing occasionally, until golden brown, about 5 minutes; let cool.

Toss green beans, barley, sunflower seeds, chickpeas, feta, dill, lemon juice, and vinaigrette in a large bowl.

Toasted Spice Vinaigrette

1 tsp coriander seeds
1 tsp cumin seeds
1 tsp fennel seeds
¼ cup olive oil
2 Tbsp white wine vinegar
1 tsp Dijon mustard
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

Method

Toast coriander, cumin, and fennel seeds in a dry small skillet over medium heat, tossing, until fragrant, about 3 minutes. Let cool, then chop.

Whisk with oil, vinegar, and mustard in a small bowl; season with salt and pepper. Vinaigrette can be made 4 days ahead. Cover and chill or toss into salad & chill until serving.

 

With Kacaba Vineyards Rebecca Rosé

perch with salsa verdePan Seared Perch with Salsa Verde

From Port Restaurant in Pickering (recipe & photo credits)
Serves 4

Ingredients

1/2 bunch Ontario flat-leaf parsley
1/2 bunch Ontario basil
l1/2 bunch Ontario mint
1 clove Ontario garlic, peeled
2 tablespoons capers, drained
2-3 anchovy fillets
1 Tbsp Ontario mustard
4 Tbsp Pristine Gourmet Sunflower OiL
1-2 Tbsp red wine vinegar
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
2 Tbsp paprika
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 Ontario egg
1 cup Ontario cream
1/2 cup butter
1 1/2 lb fresh, skin on Ontario perch
Salt & Pepper to taste

Instructions

Before prepping fish, place herbs, garlic, capers, anchovies, mustard, sunflower oil and vinegar in a food processor. Season generously with salt and pepper. Pulse until mixed, but still course. Add more oil if necessary.

Next, mix flour, paprika, and salt together and set aside.

Heat butter in a large sautee pan. Dip perch fillets into the flour mixture and gently shake off excess. Carefully place them into the heated, buttery pan, skin side down. Once golden brown, flip and cook for 30 seconds more. Remove from the butter and drain on a paper towel to absorb excess butter. Spoon on salsa and serve immediately.

Enjoy…and Clink & Drink Pink!

 

 

 

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Summer is here…Let’s Clink & Drink Pink!

Posted by Debbie

Wednesday, June 17th, 2015
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It’s time to raise a glass of Rosé wine to welcome in summer…our One Dozen Rosés is back!  For the second year in a row, we’re offering an assorted case of refreshing & delicious Rosé wines crafted in Ontario to be delivered to your home, office or even cottage. Our team of Savvy Sommeliers has tasted too-many-to-count bottles to hand-pick this selection for your enjoyment all summer long.  In fact, there were so many great Rosé wines that we’re offering a different One Dozen Rosés  each month.

Grab your corkscrew or crack open the seal on these Rosé wines to enjoy with a picnic, serve with lunch or better yet…watch the sunset as you unwind on your deck or your dock.

You don’t even have to get off your lawn chair!  Click & order >>

Each Rosé wine has a cool story. To add to your enjoyment of the selected wines, our Savvy Sommeliers have compiled this Rosé Report – a different one will appear here each month – with our Sommeliers’ tasting notes for each wine in your assortment along with some easy summertime recipes from our kitchen to yours.

Only $199 & shipping is FREE!

 

In July’s case of One Dozen Rosés you will find…

Huff Cuvee-JanineHuff Estates Cuvée Janine Sparkling

$25.00
Prince Edward County

Winemaker Frederic Picard is true to his French roots when making wines at Huff Estates.  Raised amongst the vineyards and wineries in Burgundy France, this man has wine running through his veins.  Both of the selected wines from Huff are great examples of how Frederic lends his winemaking talent (nurtured in France, South Africa & other parts of the world) to craft elegant wines in Prince Edward County.

A special price on this Bubbly! We were delighted when the team at Huff Estates offered us an extra special price (regular $30) so we could include this bubbly in this month’s assortment.

Savvy Sommelier Tasting Notes: Everything about this wine exudes fun – the colour, the refreshing dry tastes and all of the possibilities for food pairings.  Made with 100% Pinot Noir grapes, the wine is made using the classic French Méthode Champagnoise that is aptly named for the winemaking technique for Champagne. The second fermentation (that creates the bubbles) happens in each individual bottle.

A vibrant cranberry coloured bubbly with a lovely nose of red fruit, a touch of mineral and a hint of sweet citrus (pink grapefruit or blood orange). Very dry and medium bodied, it’s juicy and refreshing with tastes of red cherries, berries and tangy cranberries that play through garnished by a lively touch of white pepper on the finish.

Food Pairing Suggestions:  Put in your fridge for any occasion (we do!) – a beautiful sunset, friends dropping by or why not begin a long weekend with the popping of its cork!  In our Rosé Recipe Box, we share with you a stunning looking (and delicious) Gorgonzola and Strawberry Canapé that is easy to make. Chill & enjoy every sip of this sparkling wine.


Huff Rose 2013Huff Estates Ros
é VQA 2013

$19.00
Prince Edward County

This is one of Huff’s signature wines. Rosé lovers clamour for it every year.

Sommeliers Tasting Notes: Lively, this refreshing wine is bone dry with a light pink hue that resembles classic Rosé wines from Tavel, France. In two words: pink grapefruit.  Added to that, light floral notes with citrus (think lime and mandarin) to create a well-crafted refreshing balance. Made with 100% Cabernet Franc grapes grown in The County, there is the regional characteristic minerality & crisp acidity that makes this a class act wine. Now that you’ve been tipped off about this wine, you’ll be on the lookout for it each year. Always a solid wine.

Food Pairing suggestions: Serve chilled on its own to unwind, with sushi or pack for a picnic.  In our Rosé Recipe Box, we have included the Smoked Salmon Sushi Pizza recipe to make for your next picnic.


Di Profio Gamay Rose 2013
DiProfio Gamay Rosé

$15.70
Niagara-on-the-Lake
This boutique winery has a growing reputation for making outstanding wines. Sandwiched between the 20 Valley region and Niagara-on-the-Lake, this is definitely worth the stop…and they have a wonderful B&B on the estate!

Savvy Sommelier Tasting Notes: A stunning colour in the glass. Aromas of beets, candy floss, it smells sweeter than it is…in fact, it is deliciously dry. Each sip is loaded with tastes of red fruit (cherry, raspberry or strawberry perhaps). This Rosé has a nice refreshing acidity, a long berry finish. Bring on summer with this outstanding wine!

Suggested Food Pairing: Another one to pack for a picnic or serve on the dock. Chill & pack in your basket (no need for a corkscrew) to enjoy with tabbouleh, hummus, quinoa salad. In our Rosé Recipe Box, we have included a Chickpea, Barley & Feta Salad that will do the trick!

 

Kacaba Rebecca Rose 2014Kacaba Vineyard Rebecca Rosé VQA 2014

$14.95
Beamsville Bench (Niagara Escarpment)
Looking for great red wines made in Ontario? Kacaba is definitely one of our top picks. This year’s of rosé wine is made with 100% Gamay grapes grown on the estate, this is ‘not just another summer sipper’ states John Tummon, Kacaba’s winemaker. It is a wine to be enjoyed year round… before or during a meal.

Savvy Sommelier Tasting Notes: Bright cotton candy pink colour. Concentrated aromas of fresh juicy red cherries, ripe red berries and cotton candy of course! These aromas continue into the taste with an added cranberry flavour to give it even more body. A smooth texture in your mouth, this bright and refreshing wine is so easy to enjoy.

Suggested Food Pairing: One definitely to serve during a meal – lunch or dinner. Chicken satay, grilled vegetable kebabs would be delicious. We also think that it would be perfectly paired with pan seared fish – such as the perch recipe that we’ve provided for you from Port Restaurant located in Pickering. The recipe is found in our Rosé Recipe Box. Enjoy!

 

Rosewood Trois Femmes Rose 2013Rosewood Trois Femmes Rosé VQA 2014

$15.00
Beamsville Bench (Niagara Escarpment)
From the family run winery and Ontario’s first Meadery, this year’s Rosé from Rosewood is 100% Pinot Noir grapes. The wine was made with the skins intact with the juice for 3-5 days then fermented until it reached the fruity flavours and the colour that the winemaker wanted to create.

Savvy Sommelier Tasting Notes: One word will describe this wine: STRAWBERRY. From its colour, the aroma and taste, this wine has the wonderful summery taste of fresh strawberries. “It has the zippiness of rhubarb too”, commented Savvy Sommelier Debbie during the Savvy Team tasting of 40+ Rosé wines. A very well-balanced, smooth wine that combines notes of strawberry tastes of watermelon and freshly crushed ripe berries – all things that are iconic about summer.

Suggested Food Pairing: This is a no fuss wine. It would be delicious with anything off the grill, seafood, homemade pizza, charcuterie and light meals. Try something completely different – Beet-zza! We will provide this cool new recipe in our Rosé Recipe Box.

 

Sue Ann Staff Fancy Farm Girl Foxy Pink 2013Sue-Ann Staff Foxy Pink VQA 2013

$17.00
Beamsville Bench (Niagara Escarpment)
This has been an amazing year for our friend Sue-Ann. In April, she decided to finish the chapter of her career where she was making wine at other wineries and focus 100% on her namesake winery – Sue-Ann Staff Estates. And the decision quickly paid off. Her new Fancy Farm Girl wine brand has won label design awards as well as accolades for her wines. This one is the Rosé in her portfolio. Be sure to read the back label to learn more about Sue-Ann’s style – a farm girl who loves to be a diva too!

Savvy Sommelier Tasting Notes: The bright coral pink colour alludes to the style of this wine. Bright vivid aromas of watermelon, strawberry candy, even marshmallows leap from the glass. These aromas continue as you sip on this off-dry wine, then the bright zippy acidity will make your mouth water while prepping your palate for another sip and another.    Enjoy on its own with friends (or not!) or with sushi, tuna, salmon, pizzas, picnics, salads and soooo much more.

Suggested Food Pairing: Keep chilled in your fridge for when friends come over for a spontaneous get together. Call out for sushi or fire up the gill with some salmon steaks or better yet…get fancy with the Grilled Chicken & Strawberries with Balsamic. This simple recipe will be in our Rosé Recipe Box – stay tuned!


Creekside Cabernet Rose 2014Creekside Estates Cabernet Rosé VQA 2014

$14.95
Beamsville Bench (Niagara Escarpment)
Another great winery to visit when you take a summer getaway to wine country. Not only do they make lots of great wines, but their patio overlooking the vineyard is also worth stopping for.

Savvy Sommelier Tasting Notes: Bright neon pink in colour with gorgeous aromas of wild strawberries, flowers& green apple that follows into the taste. This crowd-pleasing wine is juicy yet dry. Medium bodied and well balanced with refreshing acidity…it is summer in a glass.

Suggested Food Pairing: You can’t go wrong with this wine. The colour, the bouquet & the taste…they all will remind you of summer. This versatile wine can be served chilled on its own or with any of the creations in our Rosé Recipe Box. Be sure to have a batch of the Rosemary & White Bean Dip in the fridge at the cottage just in case you feel the urge coming on to crack open this bottle of wine as the sunsets.

 

Clink & Drink Pink all summer long!

Here is a sneak peak of the wines that will be featured in the upcoming months.

In August the One Dozen Rosé will include:

Aure Rose VQA 2011, Beamsville Bench (Niagara)

Casa-Dea Cabernet Franc Rosé, VQA 2014, Prince Edward County

Devil’s Wishbone Pinot Gris Rosé VQA 2014, Prince Edward County

Greenlane Rosé VQA 2013, Beamsville Bench (Niagara)

Vieni Momenti Sparkling Rosé, Beamsville (1 bottle)

– Vieni Alleria Rosé VQA 2014, Beamsville (1 bottle)

Vineland Estates ‘The Game Changer’ Rosé VQA 2014, Beamsville

Order your One Dozen Rosé at
www.savvycompany.ca/rose

 

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#1 Mother’s Day Gift

Posted by Debbie

Monday, May 4th, 2015
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Are you still looking for that perfect gift for your Mom? Your search is over. Treat your Mom to Bubbles & Brunch and enjoy Mother’s Day with our Savvy Sommeliers and spectacular views of the city as the room revolves atop the Ottawa Marriott hotel. Guaranteed, it’s THE perfect way to celebrate Mother’s Day.

Pop the corks!

To begin the delicious meal, our Savvy Sommeliers will pop the corks on fine sparkling wines from Ontario to toast your Mom. Throughout your meal, our team of Accredited Sommeliers will visit your table offering samples of Ontario wines ideal for brunch that we have selected to pair with specific dishes on the menu.

The entire family is invited to enjoy this one-of-a-kind brunch.   Chefs will be at the ready to create omelettes & crêpes as you like them, Sommeliers will host at-your-table wine tastings, buffet tables will be overflowing & endless desserts await!

Savvy-gift-certificatesOur Gift to your Mom…

It’s all about your Mom! To mark the occasion, we will give each mother a special $25 gift certificate to use for tickets to an upcoming Savvy Event.  Maybe she will take you out!

 

Book your table >>

Savvy Sommeliers

Event Details

DATE: Sunday May 10th
2 SITTINGS: 10am or 1pm

Advance Bookings Only

$55 per adult when booked before Wed May 6th (regular $60)
$25 for children from 6 to 12
Free – children under 5

Prices includes everything – brunch, wine, server gratuities & HST

 

Book your ticket to Bubbles & Brunch now >>

 

Mother’s Day Brunch menu will include:

Brunch Favorites

Mini Croissants
Danish & Muffins
Banana & Carrot Breads
Cheese & Charcuterie boards with deli accompaniments
Oven Roasted Ontario Turkey with cranberry sauce
Selection of Northern Ontario Smoked Fish
Assorted Salads

Hot Breakfast Buffet

Fluffy Scrambled Eggs
Waffles made to order with Fresh Fruits and Cream
French Toast
Crisp Smoked Bacon & Breakfast Sausages
Oven Roasted Breakfast Potatoes

Crêpe Station

Chefs will make crêpes just the way you like them!

Omelette Station

Chefs will whip up omelettes with your favorite fixings …
Ham, Smoked Salmon, Baby Shrimp, Tomatoes, Peppers, Onions, Spinach, Grated Cheddar & Herbs

Carving Station

Thick or thin.  Medium Rare or Well done.  The chef will slice a piece of slow roasted Alberta Beef as you like topped with natural jus, mustard, horseradish…and complete with a Yorkshire Pudding.

Fish & Meats Buffet

glassandbubblyAtlantic Salmon
Ontario Lamb Ragout
Chicken Supreme
Manitoba Ham Glazed with Clover Honey
Vegetarian Pasta
Oven Roasted Potato
Rice Pilaf
Fresh Market Vegetables

A sweet finish – desserts!

Mini French Pastries
Fresh Fruits & Berries
English Sherry Trifle
Apple Strudel
Bread & Butter Pudding with Rum Sauce
Assorted Cheese Cakes
Assorted Tortes & Mousses
Coffee & Tea

We look forward to seeing you & your Mom
at Bubbles & Brunch!

 

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Tips for your Valentine’s Day dinner…

Posted by Debbie

Friday, February 13th, 2015
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Have you been wracking your brains to plan the perfect dinner night out or have been trying to get a reservation at your favorite restaurant on February 14th? Have a romantic night in.  One of our catering partners, Thyme & Again has an elegant take home menu prepared by their creative chefs using local ingredients & they’ve asked us to pair Ontario wines…and craft beers with each course.

 Here is your Valentine’s Wine & Craft Beer Shopping List ♥ 

Savvy SommeliersTo make your Valentine’s celebration easy & simple, our Savvy Sommeliers  have selected Ontario wines and our Brew Crew has added in local craft beers that will WOW your love.  The wines are available at various LCBOs in Ottawa and the beers you can drop in to the brewery to pick up a growler or two.

Cheers & Happy Valentine’s Day to you and your love!
Debbie & the Savvy Team

 

 

Special Valentine’s Day Menu with Wine Pairings

HORS D’OEUVRES

Cherry Tomato Florentine with Basil Balsamic Drizzle (Cherry Tomato with Spinach and Parmesan Stuffing) (V, GF)

Bacon Wrapped Jalapeño and Cheddar Stuffed Meatballs (GF)

Seared Scallop with Champagne Jelly and Candied Lemon Zest on Rice Cracker (GF)

 

wine_tasting_sparklingKick off your special night with a bubbly! Savvy Sommeliers recommend:

Casa Dea Dea’s Cuvée Sparkling (Prince Edward County) $18.95

Huff Estates Cuvée Janine Sparkling Rosé (Prince Edward County) $29.95

Featherstone JOY Premium Cuvée Sparkling (Niagara) $34.95

 

Crack open these Craft Beers:

Beyond the Pale Pink Fuzz

Perth Brewery Euro Pilsner

 

STARTERS ♥

Tomato Saffron Bisque and Goat Cheese Crouton (V)

Baby Greens, Marinated Mushrooms, Pickled Beets and Lemon Garlic Vinaigrette (V, GF)

Crab Cake, Cucumber, Radish, Frisée Salad and Dill Mayo

 

Our Savvy Sommeliers recommend these wines:

Burnt Ship Bay Pinot Grigio (Niagara-on-the-Lake) $14.95

Malivoire Gamay (Niagara) $17.95

Fielding Red Conception (Niagara) $18.95

 

Serve one of these craft beers!

Bicycle Craft Brewery Belle River Blonde

Whiprsnapr Inukshuk Canadian IPA

 

MAIN COURSES ♥

Celtic Blue Cheese and Leek Crusted Beef Tenderloin with Roasted Garlic Thyme Jus (GF)

Herbed Potato Medallions; Heirloom Carrots and Chard

Wine to serve: Kacaba Single Vineyard Cabernet Franc VQA 2011 (Niagara)

Craft Beer suggestion: Kichesippi Wuchuk Black

 

Spinach and Shallot Stuffed Chicken Breast with Braised Fig, Orange and Port Wine Jus (GF)

Parsley Risotto; Heirloom Carrots and Chard

Wine to serve: Sue-Ann Staff Loved by Lu Riesling VQA 2012 (Niagara)

Craft Beer suggestion Beau’s St Luke’s Verse

 

Reif Estate WinesCocoa Chipotle Dusted Magret Duck Breast with Cherry Gastrique (GF)

Herbed Potato Medallions; Heirloom Carrots and Chard

Wine to serve: Rosewood Select Series Pinot Noir VQA 2012 (Niagara)

Craft Beer suggestion: Covered Bridge “Over the River Chai”

 

Togarashi Smoked and Seared Tuna with Wakame Salad (GF)

Bamboo Rice; Heirloom Carrots and Chard

Wine to serve: Redstone Chardonnay VQA 2011 (Niagara)

Craft Beer suggestion: Big Rig Brewery Session IPA

 

Roasted Vegetable Ratatouille Terrine (V, GF)

Parsley Risotto; Heirloom Carrots and Chard

Wine to serve: Southbrook Triomphe Cabernet Sauvignon VQA (Niagara-on-the-Lake)

Craft Beer suggestion: Cassel Brewery Honey Brown

                                                                                  

DESSERTS ♥

Passionfruit Crème Brûlée (GF)

Rose and White Chocolate Mousse, Mango Meringue & Dehydrated Raspberry

Hazelnut Crèmeaux (N)

Dulce Mousse, Brown Butter Blondie and Dark Chocolate

Apple Confit Cheesecake

Bacon Caramel Corn, Ice Wine Gelée, Spiced Shortbread Crumb and Maple Dust

Mini Sweet Selection

Red Velvet Cupcake, Spicy Chocolate Tart, Salted Caramel Macaron (N), and Passionfruit Cheesecake

 

Dessert wines to finish off the evening:

Tawse Riesling Icewine VQA 2009 (Niagara)

beercheeseStratus Red IceWine 2012 (Niagara)

 

A Craft Beer will go with dessert too!

Dominion City Brewing Earl Grey Marmalade Saison

 

Menu codes:
N = Contains Nuts or Seeds
V = Vegetarian
GF = Gluten Free 

 

Call on Savvy Company anytime…

Whether it’s Valentine’s Day, St. Patrick’s Day, Mother’s Day, Father’s Day…or any day of the year – you can call on us to make your get-together a special one. For more wine & craft beer recommendations from Savvy Sommeliers & Brew Crew call 613-SAVVYCO (728-8926)  or cheers@savvycompany.ca  

 

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