Archive for ‘Wine & Food’

Canada’s Coolest Curds – Ottawa’s 1st annual Artisan Cheese Festival

Posted by Ophelia Bradly

Wednesday, August 28th, 2019
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GET SET FOR CANADA’S COOLEST CURDS — Ottawa’s first Artisan Cheese Festival

Ottawa, ON August 28, 2019 – Cheese lovers rejoice! On Saturday, September 21 cheesemakers from across Canada will be gathering at the Canada Agriculture & Food Museum located at Ottawa’s beautiful Central Experimental Farm.

This one-of-a-kind event designed and hosted by Savvy Company is all about sampling artisan cheeses and taking home real treasures that are rarely found in grocery stores.

There will be wedges and rounds of all kinds – made with milk from cow, sheep, goat, water buffalo – even vegan cheeses.

Savvy Company has been showcasing delicious artisan cheese made across Canada that we send to subscribers to our Savvy Cool Curds Cheese-of-the-month club,” says Debbie Trenholm, Founder of Savvy Company and lead organizer of Canada’s Cool Curds. “People in Ottawa and Gatineau LOVE their cheese. At this new artisan cheese festival, we’re connecting those cheese fans with the talented cheesemakers to make a delicious experience.”

Award-winning cheese from the Canadian Cheese Grand Prix and the Canada Cheese Awards will be featured at this one-day festival.

“There are so many great cheeses made coast to coast in Canada,” says Margaret Morris Peters, owner of Glengarry Fine Cheese in Lancaster, Ontario. “Special events like Canada’s Coolest Curds in Ottawa give consumers a chance to see and sample so many more Canadian cheeses and meet the people who make them.”

Which cheesemakers are coming?

The enthusiasm for this new cheese festival has been tremendous. Here is the initial list of cheesemakers who will be featured. As more cheesemakers are confirmed, they will be listed on www.savvycheese.ca and profiled on Savvy Company’s social media feeds:

Participating Gourmet Artisans…

Cheese goes well with many delicious gourmet goodies. Ottawa based artisanal businesses will be onsite selling their creations including:

Throughout the day-long event, passholders will sample cheese, learn how cheese is made and what to look for in different types of cheeses from Ottawa’s own Cheese Sommelier & Professional Judge Vanessa Simmons, as well as cheese industry pros.

“We’re excited to welcome the different Canadian cheesemakers and festival goers to this new festival,” says Kerry-Leigh Burchill, Director General of the Canada Agriculture & Food Museum“We are delighted that Savvy Company selected the museum as the ideal venue for this event. As a demonstration farm and an educational facility for food literacy, we continuously shine the spotlight on Canadian producers. This new festival for Ottawa is the perfect match and promises to be fun day for cheese lovers & families.” 

This indoor and outdoor event begins at 10am attracting power-shoppers eager to stock up on hard-to-find cheeses, followed by a jam-packed day of seminars hosted by the pros on the main stage.

There will be a ‘Cheesey Hour’ with local comedians entertaining the crowds along with live musical performances.

There is no reason to worry about cheese melting as there will be a ‘Cheese Vault’ offering space in the Ottawa Food Bank’s refrigerated truck. This novel & cool service is $10 includes a limited edition insulated Savvy shopping bag and dedicated spot all day in the truck. Proceeds of this service will be donated to the Ottawa Food Bank.

There’s More!
Ottawa’s LARGEST Wine & Cheese Party

This new festival will be topped off with Ottawa’s LARGEST Wine & Cheese Party

At this ‘cinq à sept’ more delicious artisan cheese each expertly paired with outstanding Ontario wines, craft ciders along with samples of spirits from Top Shelf Distillers & Dairy Distillery – both from the Ottawa Valley.

Passes & Prices

All Festival Passes are available in advance ONLY at www.savvycheese.ca

  • Half Day Pass (10am – 1:30pm) – $20
  • Full Festival Pass (10m – 7pm) – $37 – includes a ticket to Ottawa’s LARGEST Wine & Cheese Party
  • Ottawa’s LARGEST Wine & Cheese Party Admission (5-7pm) – $25

Extensive information about Canada’s Coolest Curds is available at www.savvycheese.ca

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All inquiries and to request Media Pass contact:

Shirley Roy
Sommelier & Media Maven
613-SAVVYCO (728-8926)
c: 613-513-9401
shirley@savvycompany.ca

About Savvy Company

Savvy Company is about creating memorable experiences with wine, craft cider and artisan cheese. Through its popular ‘of-the-month’ clubs, educational and fun Savvy Events, as well as custom private tastings, the Savvy Team of experienced Sommeliers connects consumers to the dynamic people behind the products. The Savvy Team takes pride in showcasing hard-to-find beverages and cheeses that are not available at retail. Deepening the relationship between the people who make the product with the people who enjoy it is the essence of every activity that Savvy Company creates.

Visit www.savvycompany.ca or follow on social media channels:

Instagram: @savvycompanyinc
Facebook: SavvyCompany
Twitter: @SavvyCompany

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The Rosé Report – July 2019

Posted by Ophelia Bradly

Tuesday, July 16th, 2019
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~ The Rosé Report ~
July 2019 Edition

Thank you for ordering a Rosé Deck Party Pack.  You are in for a treat with these refreshing Rosés! 

Again, this month, our team of Savvy Sommeliers have done the ‘tough work’.  We’ve been sipping & sampling the latest Rosé wines made across Ontario & have hand-picked the ones to be featured in this assortment. 

So get your corkscrew & wine glasses ready to Clink & Drink Pink!

In this month’s Rosé Deck Party Pack, you will find:

Several of these Rosés have just been released & you are the first to enjoy them!  And the coolest part…the bottles that you have in your hands are not available at the LCBO, rather they came straight from the winemaker to you. 

To help you enjoy the wines, our Savvy Sommeliers have shared their tasting notes along with food pairing tips and our favorite recipes to serve with Rosés.

At any time during the summer, if you would like to order additional bottles of your favorite Rosés or other hard-to-find Ontario wines, contact me at 613-SAVVYCO (613-728-8926) or debbie@savvycompany.ca. We can source artisan cheeses & craft ciders too!

Here’s to summer!

Debbie & the Savvy Team
613-SAVVYCO (613-728-8926)
debbie@savvycompany.ca

PS: Show us how you like to enjoy these Rosé wines. Post a picture on Instagram & tag us! @SavvyCompanyInc #RoséAllDay


In this assortment of Rosés, you will find…

Foreign Affair Amarosé 2018

$18.95
Niagara

Foreign Affair specializes in the Italian Appassimento method of winemaking.  Originated by the Italians in making Amarone or Ripasso wines, the grapes are naturally dried in open barns for months. This allows for the water in the grapes to evaporate leaving concentrated grape flavours that gives the wine a rich, intense flavour. It also allows the winemaker to pass fresh juice over the skins more than once, in the Ripasso style.

Savvy Sommelier Tasting Notes: A pink with an orange tinge, this has intense aromas & flavours of tangerine, mandarin with a touch of floral & red berries (raspberry & cranberry). Each sip is smooth, round & soft with hints of dried herbs on the finish that lingers and lingers and lingers….

Suggested Food Pairing: Pair with cheeses, charcuterie, salads…another words a picnic!

KIN Vineyards Pinot Noir Rosé 2017

$24.95
Ottawa Valley

A drive to Carp should be in your plans this summer!  Visit this neat town that is the home of KIN Vineyards (along with the Deifenbunker Museum, Carp Farmers Market, Ridge Rock Brewery, and several cool restaurants – Alice’s Café, Cheshire Cat, Juke Joint).  KIN Vineyards tasting room has a lovely setting where you can sip on their wines while surrounded by the vineyards…you may never leave!

Savvy Sommelier Tasting Notes: A hint of pink shows in the glass that lures you into the bone dry, crisp wine that has aromas of lemon (or is it the lemon rind?), with a backbone of pink grapefruit-like acidity.  This light bodied wine is elegant & fresh. 

Suggested Food Pairing:  Served well chilled, this wine will transform as it comes to room temperature – enjoy the different flavours all the way through!

Being light bodied, we would recommend to pair with foods of a similar weight – prosciutto wrapped melon, tabbouleh or quinoa salads, goat cheese or white fish. 

Morandin Estates Cold Creek Rosé 2018

$20
Prince Edward County

This is a BRAND-NEW winery located in Prince Edward County (opened in July 2018). As The County’s ‘newest kid on the block’, they know what they are doing as they have been growing grapes for other winemakers in the area, for several years. And to top it all off, the winemaker’s name is Amelia and worked for wineries in Nova Scotia & Niagara before putting down roots in The County.  We introduced Morandin to our customers at our County in the Capital event this past April to rave reviews.  When Amelia told us that this wine was just released, we knew we needed to add it to the assortment PDQ before the wine sold out!

Savvy Sommelier Tasting Notes: This stealth wine is not even listed on their web site. Only 45 cases made (540 bottles…and we got a bunch of them!)

With such limited supply, we acted quickly to order the wine that our Sommeliers didn’t sample the wine in advance.  We were confident that this wine would be delicious as all of Morandin’s wines have impressed us so far.

Amelia’s Wine-Making Notes: About three quarters of a tonne were picked from a small two acre parcel on Cold Creek Vineyard located on Danforth Road in Hillier, during early October over two days. Grapes were hand sorted, crushed by foot stomp, and pressed off in a basket press after a two day skin soak to extract the pink colour from the skins.

93% of the wine was fermented in two batches in stainless steel. About 7% went through carbonic maceration in a neutral French oak barrel. The wine was bottled in June 2019, unfined and unfiltered. The bubbles are created through natural secondary fermentation in the bottle, almost like a pet-nat. Sedimentation is normal.

The wine is hazy with a pretty, dusty rose hue. On the nose, there are wild strawberries, white blossoms. The palate is brisk from the bright natural acid of Frontenac Gris, but finishes beautifully with a hint of sweetness. The bubbles are persistent but light. There’s a return of the strawberries, dried apricot, and a bit of creaminess. Drink now.

Redstone Winery Rosé VQA 2017

$17.15
Niagara

This is a wine that is only available for restaurants.  We have the inside scoop so we are able to get it for you.

Savvy Sommelier Tasting Notes: This is an unusual blend of Pinot Noir, Cabernet Franc and Merlot grapes.  The result is a stunning warm pink colour with aromas of ripe strawberry, red apple & a zip of rhubarb. It’s ripe and fruity in taste, delivering flavours of red berries, and ending with a punchy balanced finish.

Suggested Food Pairing: Truly…this wine would be great chilled on its own or anything!

Southbrook Vineyards 2017 Triomphe Cabernet Franc Rosé

$19.75
Niagara-on-the-Lake

Southbrook is a certified organic & biodynamic winery.  Their uber talented winemaker – Ann Sperling – always makes home-run wines in our opinion.  We are confident that you too will be impressed with this wine.

Savvy Sommelier Tasting Notes: Pale salmon in the glass with striking aromas of wild strawberry, orange zest, tea roses with a thread of sweet herbs. There is a replay of these aromas into the taste with a refreshing acidity combined with a round mouthfeel “that tastes like more”.

Ann’s Food Pairing Suggestions: “Pairs well with characuteri – especially spicy salami.  Grilled salmon, trout, black bean tacos, niçoise salad….friends and good times. 

Tawse Winery 2017 Spark Rosé

$30.15
Niagara

What is summer without bubbles?  Always lots to celebrate or just to have in the fridge for when the moment strikes, you are the first to get this vintage.  Just released last week, this bubbly is made with 100% Pinot Noir organic and bio-dynamically grown grapes in the Traditional Method.

Savvy Sommelier Tasting Notes: A beautiful salmon colour in the glass with delicate aromas of red fruit, berries, pink grapefruit and toasted almonds (because the wine was on the lees – winespeak: in contact with natural yeast).  Strawberry tastes stand out with a zippy & refreshing tartness that makes this an elegant sparkling to enjoy.

Suggested Food Pairing: This would be delicious with BBQed shrimp skewers (with lime & honey sauce), salmon tartar or spinach & strawberry salad.


~ Rosé Recipe Box ~

A Summer BBQ favorite to enjoy with Rosé wines

Crunchy Thai Salad with Peanut Dressing

Recipe & Photo credits: Jessica Gavin
Serves: 4
Prep time: 30 minutes
Cook time: none

Ingredients

Thai Salad

2 cups kale thinly sliced, or baby kale
1 1/2 cups napa cabbage thinly sliced
1 1/2 cups red cabbage thinly sliced
1/2 cup red bell pepper thinly sliced
1/2 cup carrot shredded
1 mango thinly sliced
1/4 cup cilantro chopped
8 mint leaves thinly sliced
1 tablespoon green onions thinly sliced
1/4 cup peanuts roasted, roughly chopped

Peanut Dressing

1/3 cup peanut butter natural creamy or smooth
2 tablespoons lime juice
3 tablespoons honey or pure maple syrup
1 1/2 tablespoons rice wine vinegar
1 1/2 tablespoons soy sauce low sodium
1 teaspoon Sesame oil
1 teaspoon sriracha
1/2 teaspoon ginger minced
1 clove garlic roughly chopped
1 tablespoon water

Instructions

Thai Salad

In a large bowl, add all salad ingredients except peanuts; kale, cabbage, bell pepper, carrot, mango, cilantro, mint, and onions. Set aside while you make the dressing.

Peanut Dressing

In a blender add all peanut dressing ingredients; peanut butter, lime juice, honey, vinegar, soy sauce, sesame oil, sriracha, ginger, garlic, and water. Puree until smooth and combined, about 1 minute. You can also whisk the ingredients together in a medium-sized bowl. Add more water if needed to thin out the dressing if desired. Season with salt and pepper as needed.

To Serve

Gradually add enough dressing to coat the salad, toss to combine. Drizzle with more dressing if there is any remaining, top with freshly cracked bell pepper and roasted peanuts.  Enjoy!


Why not have your fridge full of Rosé wines all summer?

Summer is far from over! To order additional bottles of your new found favorite Rosés from this assortment OR to receive next month’s assortment, call your friends at Savvy on 613-SAVVYCO (728-8926) or order online at www.savvycompany.ca/summertime.

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

Price for August’s assortment:

$122 for 6 bottles
~ OR ~
$244 for 12 bottles (2 of each of the featured wines). 

Deadline to order this parcel is Sunday Aug 11th.  

Call the Savvy Team on 613-SAVVYCO (728-8926) or order online www.savvycompany.ca/summertime.

Cheers & Enjoy your summer!

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The Rosé Report – June 2019

Posted by Ophelia Bradly

Friday, June 21st, 2019
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~ The Rosé Report ~
June 2019 Edition

Finally, the sun is out and we’ve stopped talking about the long winter we endured! Enjoy every moment of sunshine this summer on your deck or dock with a glass of Rosé wine in hand. 

Again, this month, our team of Savvy Sommeliers have done the ‘tough work’.  We’ve been sipping & sampling the latest Rosé wines made across Ontario & have hand-picked the ones to be featured in the June assortment. 

It’s time to get your corkscrew & wine glasses ready to Clink & Drink Pink!

In this month’s Bouquet of Rosés, you will find:

Closson Chase Winery Rosé VQA 2018from Prince Edward County
Creekside Estate Winery Rosés VQA 2017from Niagara
Di Profio Estate Wines Gamay RoséVQA 2017from Niagara
Di Profio Estate Wines Sparkling Rosie VQA 2016from Niagara
GreenLane Estate Winery RoséVQA 2017from Niagara
Queenston Mile Vineyard Pinot Noir Rosé VQA 2017 from Niagara

Several of these Rosés have just been released & you are the first to enjoy them!  And the coolest part…the bottles that you have in your hands are not available at the LCBO, rather they came straight from the winemaker to you. 

To help you enjoy the wines, our Savvy Sommeliers have shared their tasting notes along with food pairing tips and our favorite recipes to serve with Rosés.

At any time during the summer, if you would like to order additional bottles of your favorite Rosés or other hard-to-find Ontario wines (we do craft ciders & artisan cheeses too!), call me at 613-SAVVYCO (613-728-8926) or debbie@savvycompany.ca.

I’ll be happy to arrange a special delivery for you.

Here’s to summer weather!

Debbie & the Savvy Team
613-SAVVYCO (613-728-8926)
debbie@savvycompany.ca

PS: Show us how you like to enjoy these Rosé wines. Post a picture on Instagram & tag us! @SavvyCompanyInc #RoséAllDay

In this Bouquet of Rosés, you will find…

Closson Chase Winery Rosé VQA 2018

$21.95
Prince Edward County

Closson Chase is one of the first wineries to break ground in The County when farmers fields were transforming into vineyards.  Focused on creating the best Pinot Noir & Chardonnay wines with County grown grapes, our Sommeliers were super keen to showcase the newly released wine with you.

Winemaker’s Tasting Notes: Delightful aromas of floral, cedar and red fruit fill the glass. The mouth is round and soft with hints of dried herbs and underripe strawberry. This fresh acidity has a slight salty taste that leads to a long finish.

Suggested Food Pairing: Pair with young cheeses, cured meats and lightly pickled vegetables…another words a picnic!

Creekside Estate Winery Rosé VQA 2017

$15.95
Niagara

Heading to Niagara this summer? Be sure to visit Creekside around lunchtime to enjoy a meal on their deck overlooking the vineyards…you may never leave!

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… It’s a versatile wine that 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 & Mayo condiment in the fridge in case you feel the urge coming on to crack open this bottle of wine as the sunsets.

Di Profio Estate Wines Gamay Rosé VQA 2017

$18.95
Niagara

Gamay is best known as the grape of Beaujolais Nouveau, but it has a growing reputation as a true Ontario wine star! Thriving in Niagara’s cool climate, Gamay balances bright, fruity cherry and raspberry notes with lively acidity.

Savvy Sommelier Tasting Notes: There’s an explosion of red currants when you sip this, tempered with great minerality, orange blossom, and pomegranate. At 13 % alcohol by volume, it’s medium-bodied and has a hint of sweetness. It’s a big, complex rosé that’s ready for the dinner table.

Suggested Food Pairing: This will stand up to spicy food, such as Mexican food or red curry lentils.

Di Profio Estate Wines Sparkling Rosie VQA 2016

$28.95
Niagara

This lovely sparkling wine is named after winery owner Joe DiProfio’s mother, Rosie. Unique, as it is made with Gamay grapes grown in the vineyards that surround Di Profio Winery.

Savvy Sommelier Tasting Notes: This unique bubbly is crisp, dry & delightfully refreshing. With each sip, delicate aromas and tastes will remind you of red roses, tart cranberry or perhaps wild raspberries. It is rare to find a sparkling wine made with Gamay grapes – enjoy!

Food Pairing Suggestions: When our Savvy Sommelier Debbie visited the winery, Joe was busy hand labeling the Rosie bottles…while watching the news!  Intrigued, Joe gave her a bottle to enjoy on her summer holidays. The sample bottle was tucked away in her suitcase, then popped in Nova Scotia to accompany a lobster feast. “The pairing was heavenly”, Debbie reports.  If you are not planning a lobster dinner, enjoy this sparkling wine with a picnic, tapas such as chicken satay, marinated olives or try something completely different… Serve it with BBQed hanger steak & chimichurri… Wait for fireworks to explode in your mouth when the fresh spices meet the delicate bubbles!

GreenLane Estate Winery Rosé VQA 2017

$17.95
Niagara

Greenlane is another hidden gem in Niagara.  Often overlooked, the wines that are made here are worth stopping in.  We were thrilled to get the last couple of cases of this wine to share with you…and if the timing is right, you’ll get a bottle of the 2018 vintage in a Rosé 6-pack next month.

Savvy Sommelier Tasting Notes: There is no disputing this Rosé wine – it has classic aromas & tastes of red berries, watermelon with a splash of rhubarb in the taste.  Our Sommeliers prefer dry crisp Rosé wines – and this one fits the bill.

Queenston Mile Vineyard Pinot Noir Rosé VQA 2017

$30
Niagara

Just opened in January, this is the sister winery to Creekside.  Chris MacDonald is the winemaker at both wineries showing his winemaking talent with different styles and grape varieties.

Savvy Sommelier Tasting Notes: This is the first Rosé made under the Queenston Mile label.  A premium Rosé that has outstanding aromas of strawberries, citrus (do you smell mandarin?) with some acidity that ‘tastes like more’ remarked Savvy Sommelier Debbie.

Suggested Food Pairing: This would be delicious with BBQed salmon, shrimp or spinach & strawberry salad.

~ Rosé Recipe Box ~

A Summer BBQ favorite to enjoy with Rosé wines

Homemade Condiments

Our Savvy Team offer some of their go-to condiments to enjoy with your next midweek feast burgers – beef, chicken, turkey or veggie!

Condiment #1: Tomato Jam

From Martha Stewart
Makes 1 ½ cups

A blend of tomatoes and spices.  “I make a jar and keep it in my refrigerator all summer to add pizazz to BBQed burgers, pork chops or even salmon” shares Savvy Team member Karen Wright.

Ingredients

1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
2 small cloves garlic, minced
1 piece ginger, peeled and minced (1 tablespoon)
1 small red onion, peeled and finely diced
1 can (28 ounces) plum tomatoes
1/2 cup red-wine vinegar
1/4 cup honey
1/4 cup firmly packed brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
Pinch of ground cloves
2 cinnamon sticks
2 star anise

Method

1.  In a medium saucepot set over medium heat, heat olive oil, add garlic, ginger, and red onion, and sauté until translucent. Add tomatoes, breaking them up with a wooden spoon. Add vinegar, honey, brown sugar, ginger, cloves, cinnamon, and star anise.
2.  Simmer, stirring occasionally, until tomatoes have dissolved, and liquid has evaporated, 60 to 75 minutes. Discard cinnamon sticks and star anise before serving. This jam may be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks.

Condiment #2: French Fig Olive Tapenade

From Simple Nourished Living
Makes 1 ½ cups

The addition of figs in this version takes the classic tapenade to a heightened state of wonderful. The figs and olives strike a lovely balance of savory and sweet.

“It’s super simple and can be made whenever you want something a little different on your grilled goodies,” shares Debbie.

Ingredients

5 cups pitted brined cured olives
1 large clove garlic
8 dried black figs, stemmed
1 tablespoon capers, drained
1 small bunch mint, stemmed (about 3 large tablespoons)
2 anchovy fillets (optional)

2 tablespoons olive oil

Method

1.  Place all ingredients except olive oil in a food processor and pulse to form a chunky puree.
2.  Add the olive oil and pulse until it forms a smooth mass.
3.  It is best to make this tapenade at least one day before you intend to serve it which allows the flavors to meld and develop.

Additions & Variations

The texture of the tapenade is totally up to you! Buzz in a food processor for a finer texture, or chop it by hand for a chunkier version if you prefer.
No mint?  Omit it.
Other herbs?  1 teaspoon minced fresh rosemary or thyme
Sweeter?  Add 1 – 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
Zestier?  Add 1-2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice and/or 1-2 teaspoons Dijon mustard

Condiment #3: Herb Mayonnaise

From the kitchen of Shirley Roy – member of the Savvy Team.
Photo credit: www.taste.com.au.

Ingredients

Salt & pepper
Mayonnaise
Various fresh herbs from your garden:

  • Parsley
  • Chives
  • Dill
  • Oregano
  • Thyme
  • Basil

Method

1.  Add 2 ½ tbsp chopped fresh herbs plus salt and pepper to 1/2 cup mayonnaise. Try a mixture of herbs such as parsley, chives, dill, oregano, thyme, basil. Alternatively, just focus on one herb like dill.
2.  Add a ½ tsp of lemon juice and blend well.

Condiment #4: Sriracha Mayonnaise

Another from Shirley’s kitchen. 
Photo credit: www.HealthNutNation.com.

Ingredients

2 tsp of Sriracha
1 tsp of lime juice
1/8 tsp light soy sauce
¼ cup of mayonnaise

Method

Mix all together gently & enjoy!  This is best served immediately or refrigerated.

Why not have your fridge full of Rosé wines all summer?

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 (we are calling them Deck Party Packs), call your friends at Savvy on 613-SAVVYCO (728-8926) or order online at www.savvycompany.ca/rose.

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

Foreign Affair Amarosé VQA 2018 from Niagara
KIN Pinot Noir Rosé VQA 2018 from the Ottawa Valley
Morandin Estates Cold Creek Rosé 2018 – from Prince Edward County
Redstone Winery Rosé VQA 2017 – from Niagara
Southbrook Triomphe Cabernet Franc Rosé VQA 2017 from Niagara-on-the-Lake
Tawse Spark Rosé VQA 2016 from Niagara

Price for July’s assortment:

$130 for 6 bottles
~ OR ~
$260 for 12 bottles (2 of each of the featured wines). 

Deadline to order July’s parcel is Sunday, June 7th.  

Call the Savvy Team on 613-SAVVYCO (728-8926) or order online www.savvycompany.ca/rose.

Cheers & Enjoy your summer!

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The Rosé Report – May 2019

Posted by Ophelia Bradly

Thursday, June 20th, 2019
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~ The Rosé Report ~
May 2019

Did you know…Rosé wines can be made with any grape? Unlike shopping specifically for your favorite grape variety, allow yourself to discover a different style with Rosés. Select based on recommendations, price, colour in the bottle, pro reviews…or by the creative label!

Our team of Savvy Sommeliers have done the ‘tough work’. We’ve been sipping & sampling the latest Rosé wines made across Ontario & have picked the most refreshing ones to be featured in the May assortment. 

So…get your corkscrew & wine glasses ready to Clink & Drink Pink!

In the May Bouquet of Rosés, you will find:

Huff Estates Rosé VQA 2018 from Prince Edward County
Keint-He Portage Rosé VQA 2017 from The County
Meldville Wines by Derek Barnett Rosé VQA 2018 from Niagara
Rosehall Run ‘Just One Rosé’ VQA 2017 from The County
Two Sisters Vineyards Margo Rosé VQA 2017 from Niagara-on-the-Lake and a Savvy Exclusive!
Westcott Vineyards Pinot Noir Rosé VQA 2018from Niagara-on-the-Lake

Several of these Rosés have just been released & you are the first to enjoy them!  And the coolest part…the wines that you have in your hands are extra special. They are not available at the LCBO, rather they came straight from the winemaker to you. 

To help you enjoy the wines, our Savvy Sommeliers have shared their tasting notes along with food pairing tips and our favorite recipes to serve with Rosés.

At any time during the summer, if you would like to order additional bottles of your favorite Rosés or other hard-to-find Ontario wines (we do craft ciders & artisan cheeses too!), call me at 613-SAVVYCO (613-728-8926) or debbie@savvycompany.ca.

I’ll be happy to arrange a special delivery for you.

Here’s to summer!

Debbie & the Savvy Team
613-SAVVYCO (613-728-8926)
debbie@savvycompany.ca

PS: Show us how you like to enjoy these Rosé wines. Post a picture on Instagram & tag us! @SavvyCompanyInc #RoséAllDay

In this Bouquet of Rosés, you will find…

Huff Estates Rosé VQA 2018

$20
Prince Edward County

This is one of Huff Estates’ signature and most popular wines. Rosé and County wine fans clamor for it every year – Savvy Team included!  Always crafted with 100% Cabernet Franc grapes grown on the estate, there is the regional characteristic of minerality & crisp acidity that makes this a class act wine.

Travel TIP: If you are heading to Prince Edward County this summer, plan to visit Huff on Sunday when they have live jazz performers playing on the el fresco patio overlooking the vineyard.

Sommelier’s Tasting Notes: This refreshing wine is bone dry with a light pink hue that resembles classic Rosé wines from Tavel, France.  Fresh strawberry & rhubarb notes with a splash of pomegranate creates a well-crafted refreshing balanced Rose wine with refreshing acidity.

Keint-He Portage Rosé VQA 2017

$22
Prince Edward County

This is a Rosé to serve to any friends who think all pinks are light and sweet.

Savvy Sommelier Tasting Notes: The colour of candy floss, this is a beautiful, Provençal-style Rosé. Made from 100% estate Pinot Noir, you’ll find notes of strawberry, honey, and vanilla and a hint of muskmelon in this dry watermelon-pink summer sipper. Piquant lemon rounds out the flavours.

Suggested Food Pairing: Enjoy on its own this year or serve with a chilled gazpacho.

Meldville Wines by Derek Barnett Rosé VQA 2018

$20
Niagara

Derek Barnett was the first winemaker that we hosted a winemaker’s dinner for when we started Savvy Company over 15 years ago.  We were tickled pink when he told us that he planned to release his newest wine creation – this Rose – at our Spring Pop-Up Wine Shop in April. The crowd was WOWed!  And we wanted to make sure that you got a bottle before it is all gone.  Derek only made a small batch.

Winemaker’s Notes: A pale cherry skin colour with orange hues, the aromas and flavours are of wild strawberry and raspberry, a dry wine with a rich texture on the mid palate, a balanced acidity brings a mouth-watering finish with a red citrus note.

Suggested Food Pairing: Derek says it best: “This wine can also be enjoyed just by itself with good friends.”

Rosehall Run ‘Just One Rosé’ VQA 2017

$17.95
Prince Edward County

This blend of Gamay Noir and Pinot Noir (50/50) was a tasting panel favourite, and the excellent price point is a real bargain for such a quality wine. The Gamay was left on the skins for 24 hours, providing the pretty pink colour, and the Pinot was produced in the Saignée method, bleeding some of the juice from the tank.

Savvy Sommelier Tasting Notes: This is all about the strawberry flavours, but there’s candied orange, here too, leading to an expressive strawberry jam finish. But don’t be fooled: this is a bone-dry rosé, ready to wow the red wine drinking crowd.

Suggested Food Pairing: Serve this year, chilled, and pair with grilled ribs.

Two Sisters Vineyards Margo Rosé VQA 2017

Savvy Exclusive! $18.75 (regular $34.80)
Niagara-on-the-Lake

Two Sisters Vineyards continues to impress us with their fine wines.  We were certainly intrigued with this wine when we saw the beautiful bottle… and each sip impressed us too!

Savvy Sommelier Tasting Notes: A classy pink colour delivers classic aromas & tastes of a well-made Rose.  Red berries, lime zest, watermelon and rhubarb in the taste with a weave of floral notes in the aromas. Bone dry in taste with a lingering finish.  A class act!

Suggested Food Pairing: Great for a romantic picnic for two or to enjoy while the sun is setting with nibbles of plate of prosciutto & melon or grilled shrimp.

Westcott Vineyards Pinot Noir Rosé VQA 2018

$22.95
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.  In the past years, their Rosé 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 100% Pinot Noir.

Savvy Sommelier Tasting Notes: Aromatic, dry, and supple, there are loads of strawberries and mandarin notes, along with some racy acidity that makes it dry & refreshing. The bright watermelon pink of the wine is a visual treat, and it looks every bit as mouthwatering as it tastes!

Suggested Food Pairing: This would be delicious with BBQed salmon.

~ Rosé Recipe Box ~

A Spring & Summer favorite to enjoy with Rosé wines

Gorgonzola & Strawberry Canapés

From Food & Drink Magazine
Makes 24 canapés

Crisp, golden toasts are ideal for the bold, herb flavour of the Gorgonzola. A fruity and colourful topping of strawberries or grapes makes this an enjoyable fresh canapé, perfect for summer entertaining.

Ingredients

6 slices bakery white sandwich bread
2 Tbsp (25 mL) unsalted butter, melted
Freshly ground black pepper
6 oz (175 g) Gorgonzola cheese, softened
3 Tbsp (45 mL) whipping cream
2 Tbsp (25 mL) chopped fresh basil
1 tsp (5 mL) chopped fresh thyme
¼ cup (50 mL) chopped toasted walnuts or pecans
12 small strawberries, sliced or 6 each seedless red and green grapes, quartered

Method

Preheat oven to 425°F (220°C).
Trim crusts off bread and cut each slice into 4 squares. Brush with butter and place on baking sheet. Sprinkle with pepper.
Bake for about 10 minutes or until golden. Let cool completely.
Using electric hand mixer, beat Gorgonzola, cream, basil and thyme together until very smooth. Spread evenly on toasts. Sprinkle each with walnuts. Top each toast with strawberry slices or 1 of each grape quarter.

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 (we are calling them Deck Party Packs), call your friends at Savvy 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:

Closson Chase Winery Rose VQA 2018 from Prince Edward County
Creekside Estate Winery Rose VQA 2017 from Niagara
Di Profio Estate Wines Gamay Rose VQA 2017 from Niagara
Di Profio Estate Wines Sparkling Rosie VQA 2016from Niagara
GreenLane Estate Winery Rose VQA 2017 from Niagara
Queenston Mile Vineyard Pinot Noir Rose VQA 2017 from Niagara

Price for June’s assortment:

$133 for 6 bottles
~ OR ~
$226 for 12 bottles (2 of each of the featured wines). 

Deadline to order June’s parcel is Saturday, June 9th.  

Call the Savvy Team on 613-SAVVYCO (728-8926) or order online www.savvycompany.ca/rose.

Cheers & Enjoy your summer!

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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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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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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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